Press Releases - DeVito/Verdi - DeVito/Verdi Press Releases at en-us Copyright 2018 The Power of “Idea First” Advertising

How do you go about making an ad?

For some advertisers, they head directly to the drawing board in their respective craft (i.e. TV, radio, print, etc.). Others take the time to brainstorm about the message they want to portray.

Our President, Ellis Verdi, describes these two methods as the ‘Digital First’ and the ‘Idea First’ philosophies of an advertiser.

He says,

“‘Digital First’ assumes that everything has to work in digital as a starting point. ‘Digital First’ has practical benefits relating to the fact that it’s the medium of choice these days– but like any media-centric directive (TV, radio, print etc.) it is an old and limited way of thinking.

It assumes that the media choice does all or a majority of the work. It forces video, for example, to be constructed so that it can be chopped up into different lengths, which usually means there isn’t much of an idea in the first place.

It doesn’t choose the medium to help promote the message–some ideas are just perfect for some media. In fact, an idea that works perfectly for one medium but doesn’t seem to work as well in another usually means that the creative and media are working together at a much higher level of effectiveness.

However, an ‘Idea First’ philosophy claims that a great idea can exist and will reside in the best media for that idea to be successful. An ‘Idea First’ approach is often based on incorporating media choices that support the idea – few great ideas coexist without a media thought.

‘Idea First’ will always win and it’s a matter of time before the ‘Digital First’ crowd learns that they are thinking like old media…and no better than just pushing to do a print ad.”

So before you head to the drawing board for your next project, don’t feel afraid to discuss your ideas with others – after all, a successful campaign isn’t made by the efforts of a few.

Success is made from hours of work, dedication, and teamwork.

2018-10-05 16:13:27
Omnichannel marketing and the importance of consistency It’s Monday morning, and you’re late for work.

You run out the door, but not before noticing an eye-catching pamphlet lying on your front porch. As you hurry to your car and start the engine, the radio turns on to some story blaring from the speakers. Even as you speed out of your neighborhood, you look up to see a digital billboard flash by your windshield.

Today, people are bombarded with messages coming through all kinds of different channels. The rise of smartphones, where people can be plugged into the Internet 24/7, has only added more outlets to the mix.

But how can companies use these new channels to increase their business?

Two words: Omnichannel marketing.

The phrase, considered a “marketing buzzword” by the advertising industry, ties in with the idea that companies need to provide a seamless experience to their customers. Across all channels, companies must focus on providing an experience that remains both consistent and complementary.

Omnichannel marketing does just that. Every device, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, must maintain the same message, woven together flawlessly.

If this marketing is carried out effectively, it can be a fantastic way to win, and keep, new customers. In fact, according to an infographic by PK4 Media, companies with a strong omnichannel presence experience an average 9.5% increase in annual revenue.

Advertisers can do the same. By focusing on an omnichannel approach, sending a consistent message across different outlets, they can target potential customers in a more diverse way that can get more and more people excited to try out the new products.

But remember: consistency across these different channels is key.

2018-08-03 13:51:05
Why the World Cup is an advertiser’s biggest challenge As champions of the New York Corporate Indoor Soccer League, we know a little bit about soccer.

And in anticipation of the FIFA World Cup finals this Sunday, we’ve been thinking a lot about the biggest sporting spectacle in the world. Not just about the showdown on the field between France and Croatia, but also the strategies behind every company looking to get more eyes on their brand.

Every four years, people from countries big and small tune in to watch their favorite soccer teams battle it out on the turf. Estimates on the numbers of these viewers range in the billions, and thus, advertisers everywhere look to target these potential consumers as best they can.

But running ads during the World Cup is another beast entirely.

Unlike the Super Bowl, with its constant advertising breaks, the World Cup provides a mere fifteen minutes of halftime to air commercials. Other than that, along with the occasional added breaks if a game goes to overtime, viewers can comfortably watch the game uninterrupted.

What does this mean for advertisers? Oftentimes, it means doing what they do best: getting creative.

If you’ve been tuning in on the games this year, you may have noticed brands like Hyundai and McDonalds flashing their logo all over the stadium. You can find them on the fences lining the field, the screens, even the players’ uniforms.

Although some would find this type of advertising less effective in comparison with televised, story-based commercials so often found during sporting event breaks, others see this as an important opportunity.

Ben Sturner, the CEO of Leverage Agency, a sports marketing firm, believes viewable ad impressions are a great way to build brand awareness.

“Having a static ad in the background may not give you the exact messaging in a commercial ad,” Sturner said in reference to the World Cup of 2014, “but you’re getting minutes and minutes of time and your brand has association at the highest level.”

This method is particularly effective for brands that are already well known. A recent study carried out by ad intelligence companies Placed, Inc. and Moat Analytics discovered that viewable ad impressions can drive as much as a 53 percent lift in store visits, and a 20.4 percent lift in in-store conversion.

Viewability is important. So if you’re watching the final matches this weekend, look out for all of the ways advertisers make their moves as the entire world tunes in.

2018-07-13 16:33:02
The State of Pro-Justice Advertising as Justice Kennedy Retires Retirement.

The word evokes many emotions. But for those who have plans to quit the 9-to-5, there are always some indulgent hopes. A store-bought cake in the break room. Congratulatory pats on the back. A contented sigh over a mug of coffee as the retiree enjoys their last day in the office.

But yesterday, when US Supreme Court judge Anthony Kennedy announced his decision to retire, the public reaction was far from supportive.

As of now, #kennedyretirement has been trending on Twitter for several hours. Checking out the tag, you’ll find hundreds of tweets from people expressing real, genuine fear for the future of America.

But why is this a big deal?

With a spot newly opened in the Supreme Court, President Donald Trump can place whoever he wants into the seat. This means he has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cement a conservative majority on the top court.

What could conceivably come from this are the removal of rights from several groups. But one hot-button issue that is particularly being explored today is women’s reproductive rights.

Although Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, the hard-won right for women to choose what to do with their bodies has always been on shaky ground.

When DeVito/Verdi was still a young agency, we teamed up with the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP) to create a series of ads to bring awareness to this vulnerability and mobilize abortion-rights supporters. This was in 1999, and the abortion debate had been fraught with dwindling abortion providers and anti-choice terrorist attacks.

Social awareness advertising is not new, and it continues to shape politics today. To increase a campaign’s chances of success, it is often stressed that the company establish a solid stance on a controversial issue, with provocative content that sparks and holds its audience’s interest.

However, with such contentious subject matter, agencies must tread with caution, else the entire campaign backfires. This was seen in the case of Pepsi last year, when the soda company was accused of trivializing Black Lives Matter with their TV spot, in which white reality TV star Kendall Jenner brings peace between protesters and law enforcement by offering a police officer a can of Pepsi.

While public awareness on many social issues, including the vulnerability of abortion rights, seems to have grown in recent years, it’s clear the fight is far from over. From producing conversation-sparking imagery to stepping into a booth to cast a vote, there are all kinds of concrete ways to build awareness and inspire action.

Justice Kennedy’s departure can appear like a step backwards. But it is also an opportunity. His departure will highlight the fight for access to abortion, and with abortion once more in the public eye, now is the time for pro-choice organizations to focus heavily on influencing public opinion.

In the coming months, abortion will once again be at the forefront of America’s political conversations. The time is right to reach people through effective, incisive advertising and take a stand for what is right.

2018-06-28 16:45:32
Could social media be a new TV platform? Instagram launched a new standalone video platform to compete with YouTube. This new feature is a way for users to film and watch longform videos without leaving the app. The videos can be up to an hour long, in comparison to the previous 60-second video feature on Instagram.

The issue with a 60-second limit: Users would post a video to their “Instagram story” and then a link to a follow-up, longer video, on YouTube. The new Instagram TV removes YouTube from the equation, keeping the whole video on Instagram. Realistically, no need to ever leave.

The longform video will take up the entire screen of your phone, and will eventually get its own app called IGTV. The Instagram algorithm will pair you with videos you might like, videos that are popular, and videos from creators you follow. Once you reach at least 10,000 followers, Instagram allows you to post videos up to 60 minutes in length. If you are an average Instagram user with less than 10,000 followers, you can post videos up to 10 minutes.

In the past few years, social media platforms have become increasingly complex, transitioning from just a place to socialize to news and media platforms. Instagram’s recent direction has taken aim at fellow social media platform, Snapchat. When Instagram created the “stories” feature and soon after the “story highlights” feature, competition between the two rose. The new IGTV launch will put Snapchat’s video focused discover page at even more risk.

But, the main competitor this launch targets is YouTube. As the dominant video platform, YouTube has yet to face much competition since Google purchased it in 2006. There is really no other platform just quite like it. If YouTube content creators shift to Instagram, YouTube might lose its dominance, similar to how Vine’s decline was marked by content creators shifting to YouTube.

This new launch will be a test to see how social features integrate with a video platform. YouTube tried to implement social features in the past, most notably the failed Google+ integration, but they are at the very core of IGTV. As Instagram remains a popular social media platform, will longform videos be as engaging as the shorter posts for which Instagram is known?

2018-06-22 14:33:47
Rebranding with a Side of Burgers Ever heard of IHOb?

If not, you will soon. Last Monday, social media went crazy when IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, announced IHOb as its new name on Twitter.

And what does the “b” stand for?


This sudden identity-swap for one of the most popular chain restaurants in the United States took Twitter by a storm. Seeing an opportunity, other food chains latched onto the trend by coming up with their own ideas to get in on the publicity stunt. Burger King temporarily became “Pancake King,” Netflix hinted at becoming “Netflib,” and Wendy’s took a crack at IHOb for trying out burgers because pancakes were “too hard” to make.

And yet, IHOb’s name change has sparked renewed interest across the general public, with the limelight placed on their recently-released Ultimate Steakburger menu. Their seven basic burgers have already been reviewed positively by several food critics and customers.

But why the need for a rebrand?

IHOP was known for doing well in the early morning and late night hours, a time when pancakes and other breakfast foods are most attractive. This did not apply to their midday sales, which had been dwindling over the past 10 quarters. A revamping of the lunch menu to attract customers into their stores for good, quality burgers seemed like the logical solution.

The results of this gimmicky rebrand appear to be positive. Since IHOb’s social media debut on June 5th, Dine Brands Global (DIN) stock rose by +5%. DIN owns IHOP and Applebee’s.

The question remains, however, if IHOb will see an increase in actual sales.

That’s up to the customers.

2018-06-13 11:45:30
TV Advertising Effective, Even For Digital First Brands A recent study by Simulmedia looked into the sales lift that occurs through TV advertising, which brings light to the importance of using TV as an advertising channel for all types of businesses. As many leading brands nowadays are “digital native” or “digital first” companies, it often becomes difficult for them to justify spending on TV when they know for a fact that their customers are on digital platforms.

However, the study found that TV advertising is actually proven to increase website traffic, especially for direct to consumer brands. This justifies that TV is very effective, even for the digital first brands that were analyzed. Essentially, this shows that TV does more than just brand building, it can be a sales generator for digital first brands such as Birchbox that rely heavily on website traffic. For example, Blue Apron had an increase of 1,075% in website traffic after the TV launch. Airbnb had a 307% increase, and the average sales lift was 89%. The companies in the chart below increased their TV spend by 59% in 2016, while receiving a 184% increase in digital actions at the same time. Therefore, the study concluded that TV can and should be utilized for so much more than mass market brand awareness, it can truly drive sales.

Of course, we have our thoughts on this intriguing study. There is definitely a clear rationale behind why TV advertising works for digital brands. Nowadays, people will always check a website before buying a product. When they walk into a store and see a product, they go online and check the price and offerings at other retailers to make sure they are getting the best product for the best value. When they see a new brand or product on TV, they immediately go to the website, as well. In this way, accessing the website has become an essential step to the consumer decision making process. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are making the purchase, but it means they are very close to it. It has become evident that consumers love video content through social platforms, and this love still extends to (and stems from) television.

2018-05-09 14:37:22
Coachella & The Pinnacle of Influencer Marketing

The importance of the digital realm for the marketing and advertising world is indisputable. Social media transcends distance with a single click, thus becoming an easy target for companies that want to reach a global audience. Since the launch of Instagram in 2010, many influencers have cultivated their brand and image into a personal business through social media.

Of all the months in a year, April seems to be the most hyperactive month on social media due to one particular event that attracts people and influencers from all over the world: Coachella. This annual music and arts festival that takes place for two weekends in Indio, California is objectively one of the most publicized festivals on social media due to the sheer number of celebrities and influencers that attend. In exchange for their services of posting subtle advertisements and showing their target audience that they are “having a great time thanks to…”, several companies have turned Coachella into a breeding grounds for marketing through influencers.

What used to be a regional Southern California e-commerce store became an international powerhouse through Coachella and its influence on social media. Revolve Clothing attributes two-thirds of their $1 billion in sales to Coachella and the select influencers that constantly promote their products, earning the unofficial name of “Revolve Influencers.” From Hotel Revolve to Revolve Festival, Revolve has become almost synonymous with Coachella, accommodating over 90 influencers from 14 countries this year alone. When an individual is paid to sponsor a brand on social media, it is within Federal Trade Commission regulations that the post be clear and concise in being a paid advertisement. In lieu of the FTC regulations, Instagram added the “paid partnerships with” tag so that brand partnerships could be visible and apparent. YouTube has also recently added a mandatory callout for sponsored videos.

Yet, when it comes to posts involving the Revolve Festival at Coachella this year, many of these influencers neglected to use this tag, replacing it with #revolvefestival and #ad. From afar, a promotional post with a monetary exchange can be disguised into looking like the influencer is having a genuine experience with no (monetary) strings attached. This leads to the question: is influencer marketing blurring the lines between advertisements and perceived authenticity?

2018-05-02 10:41:50
What Does Consumers’ Increased Awareness of Sustainability Mean For Advertisers? Although Earth Month is coming to a close, consumers continue to voice their passion for the environment. But do consumers really care about sustainability or is this just a phase that comes and goes with awareness?

The answer is yes. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 73% of Millennials are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. Moreover, the number of people adopting vegetarian and vegan diets for environmentally sustainable purposes has been increasing dramatically.

Companies are aware of this, and this has led to a surge in eco-conscious marketing. Unfortunately, this often takes the form of “greenwashing,” where companies pay lip service to the environment with their marketing but do not actually enact meaningful changes in their practices. The reality is that greenwashing can be more effective from an ROI standpoint than practices which are genuinely environmentally friendly. Most consumers who care about the environment do not do research on the brands they purchase, making them susceptible to shallow green messaging.

Then, there is the physical aspect of advertising. Paper advertising– like flyers and posters– will likely be on the decline as consumers start to focus more on sustainability. Digital advertising will increase, but it is difficult to emphasize the environmental friendliness of digital marketing as a differentiating factor. However, incorporating environmental friendliness directly into your creative, such as by making it part of a billboard, can set your brand apart. This can make consumers actively aware of how you prioritize the environment more than your competitors.

The challenge is straddling the narrow line between greenwashing and environmental friendliness. Brands must demonstrate how “green” they really are without sacrificing a competitive advantage by either underselling themselves or appearing hypocritical.

Altogether, as long as consumers continue to care about the environment, companies that are noticeably focusing on the environment will continue to win. The question is– will the public be able to differentiate greenwashing from true environmental friendliness?


2018-04-25 16:31:41
Digital Advertising Need Not Be The Main Focus For Hospitals Hospital advertisers must be aware that ‘retail’ advertising alone is simply not a viable advertising strategy. We have now witnessed numerous of these ‘retail’ strategies from hospitals. They put all their efforts into strong digital content, attributing this digital spending directly to profit. In reality, we can estimate that maybe 1 out of 8 of these programs work; however, even those that work do not provide enough information to ensure continued success in the future.

Therefore, if each of the 8 programs costs $1 million and only one works, shouldn’t we attribute all $8 million in the accountability model and not exclusively to the retail strategy? They need to stop showing the one successful case over and over again at healthcare conferences, when it is truly an improbable success. It misleads hospital leadership to believe that there is a 100% attribution model for digital/social media efforts. I’m most impressed with those that seek the right balance of general media to digital/social efforts tied to an idea.

Instead of believing this misleading information, hospital advertisers must always remember that:

  1. Campaign efforts should not be driven by media-first or digital-first thinking.
  2. Ideas come first, and a great idea with the right strategy has a much higher chance of working.
2018-04-18 11:06:22
Zuckerberg’s Congressional Hearing Risks the Future of Online Advertising If you didn’t get around to watching the 5-hour segment of Mark Zuckerberg testifying in front of the U.S. Senate, that is understandable. However, this case has everything to do with advertising, so it is not something to ignore. The heart of the conversation between the Facebook CEO and our senators centered around user privacy and how advertisers use that information to target customers. This strategy is the basis of all online advertising, and Facebook is a key provider of this information, alongside Google and Amazon. “I think Facebook is safe,” Zuckerberg said, noting that he and his family use the service.

This use of private information has been going on for years, and it is extremely beneficial to brands looking to target specific customers through online ads. For companies that have a very narrow audience, this can be one of the only effective ways to truly reach their desired demographic. Altogether, it is probably a good idea to stay away from extremely targeted advertising if your customers are very concerned with their personal privacy. Younger audiences are used to giving out their information, so they generally won’t take offense to a non-extreme data breach. As Target knows all too well, excessive targeting can backfire, although the famous pregnancy prediction scandal was likely not real.

That said, many users prefer targeted ads, as it is much more relevant than content that is completely irrelevant to them. Most times, the ads are from brands of which you have previously visited the websites or left something in the cart that you considered purchasing. Therefore, most targeted online advertising is useful and fairly innocent, but people are just afraid of how far it will go; hence, the calling of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony. Because of all this drama, advertisers must consider the ethics behind their online advertising, now more than ever. As the future becomes more customizable and personal, advertisers have to set their limits. The real question is– how many Facebook users really care that their information is being used. Realistically, most data is just being utilized to sell you t-shirts that say “I’m 63 years old and proud” through a banner ad. Is that really the end of the world?


2018-04-13 12:59:40
“Ready Player One” Kills the Box Office, Virtual Reality Buzz is Back Ready Player One has been a real hit movie over the past week. Steven Spielberg reimagines a world where virtual reality is more important than real life– and perhaps it is the fear that this might potentially become our reality which makes this movie so intriguing. From teenagers to influencers and celebrities, many individuals in today’s society have integrated social media and the internet into their lives to the point where it is almost prioritized over real life. Virtual reality headset gaming has been on the rise for years, so why couldn’t it be the next thing to truly take over our lives?

As virtual reality becomes more popular and normalized, advertisers should consider this as a new media platform. Just as advertising in video games has become a staple source, VR could also serve as an essential for media buyers before we know it. In Ready Player One, there were many nostalgic 80’s brands featured, which could be considered a form of advertising. The 80’s decade as a whole was a major theme throughout the movie, with references to Michael Jackson, King Kong, and Pac-Man.

Today’s current virtual reality headsets, such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, provide games that are more similar to Mario than real life; however, that doesn’t mean there are no advertising opportunities. Brands could create VR ad campaigns through native advertising and product placement. For brands that have fun and tangible products, product placements could work very well. If a company really wanted to dive in, they could even create their own VR game, centered in their unique universe. What if Pizza Hut made a pizza paradise or Baskin Robbins made an ice cream heaven? Customers would be craving those products in no time. If Ready Player One is any clue to what life will look like in 30 years, advertisers really need to step up their VR game.

2018-04-06 11:40:29
Live Game Show Apps Have Potential to Provide Unique Advertising Opportunities In case you haven’t heard, HQ has been the most notable game on the app store in the past few months. HQ is a live game show app where users can play for real money, redeeming their prize by hooking up their PayPal account… if they make it to the 12th question, that is. There are 12 multiple choice questions in total, and players have to make it all the way to the end to win any money.

However, unlike most apps, HQ is not doing any advertising right now. This is even more surprising given the game’s astounding popularity. It has over 1 million players every night when it goes live. The money being given away currently is all from investors, but the game creators have not yet initiated any revenue sources within the game.

We have a few suggestions on ways that HQ could effectively advertise:

  1. Sponsored questions: Each question is usually something completely random and out of the box. So if the question happens to be about cheese, why not have it be sponsored by Laughing Cow? Having a sponsor for every question would be excessive, but one per game within the first three questions would generate over a million impressions. Not too bad for Laughing Cow.
  2. Videos in between questions: The game is taken like a real game show, with plenty of commentary from the host in between questions. One of these in-between time slots could easily have a video advertisement. Just like with the sponsored questions, it would need to be kept minimal so that the players don’t get annoyed.
  3. Themed games: Potentially, the entire game, or all 12 questions could fall under a certain category. Say, the category is sports, and it would be sponsored by ESPN. This would be a simple way for a company to get lots of exposure time.

HQ is more than just an app, it represents a new wave of interactive streaming platforms. We have some ideas for apps that could take the HQ concept a step further as an advertising platform:

  1. Instead of users answering the questions themselves, they could be the “phone a friend” to real people playing the game show. Therefore, it would be more like a traditional TV game show, but much shorter and through mobile. But then, you add in the interactive portion by having users vote when the contestants need assistance.
  2. Instead of a game show app, it could be a live reality show app. Let’s say you put ten people in a house, and the players have influence on what happens in the house. For instance, should they host a murder mystery party, play beer pong, or have a singing contest? In this way, consumers would engage in a new reality experience because they would have a say, in real time, about what the people are doing.
  3. In the same format as HQ, there could be an app where players submit their own questions throughout the day for the round that will go on later that night. By doing this, the questions would stay relevant to what people actually care about, and they feel like they have more of a say in the game.
2018-03-16 09:12:36
Important Takeaways From Latest Facebook Announcement In January, Mark Zuckerberg made a big announcement about Facebook. Here were his main points:

· Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
· Because of this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.
· The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups.
· You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.

Here at DV, we have an opinion on what this new change means for businesses…

It is important to note that when Mark Zuckerberg talks about “businesses, brands, and media”, he is referring to publishers who create public content. Publishers are essentially media companies whose primary outlet is Facebook, such as Tasty and Insider. Moreover, Zuckerberg is not mentioning promoted posts. Publishers are different because their content is not paid for. These publishers post videos, featuring anything from recipes, to travel experiences, to new museum exhibits. Facebook users follow these publishers because they want to see this type of content, even though it is not personal content from their friends and family, as Zuckerberg refers to. These videos can be very beneficial for businesses. However, this is more of a PR matter, as the company (many times) is not paying for their spot. Posts from publishers have become so valuable because these videos oftentimes receive millions of shares, leading to even more millions of impressions. As per Zuckerberg’s post, there will be less of this type of content showing up on user’s News Feeds’ going forward, in order to make Facebook more of a personal relationship building network.

From this announcement, we can conclude two major points:

1. This renewed News Feed algorithm should not affect paid advertising on Facebook. Promoted posts will remain a viable and necessary tool for businesses to increase brand awareness.
2. Unpaid content from publishers will receive fewer views. Therefore, PR efforts to gain features from popular Facebook media publishers may not be as beneficial. That being said, publisher videos are still a huge resource for Facebook users looking for recipes and experiences, so it is safe to say that this method will continue to be a key player in social media advertising.

2018-03-14 09:16:44
Lacoste Turned Its Trademark Crocodile into 10 Different Endangered Species For a limited-edition shirt collection to benefit a nature conservation charity.

Such a simple, genius idea…

2018-03-06 09:34:50
Opioid Summit at the White House Ellis Verdi and Paul McCormick attended the Opioid Summit at the White House last week. There was a lot of positive energy to make sure that something will finally get done about this horrible, horrible situation.

Problem solving at the highest level deserves respect but in this case might need disruptive, big thinkers. What we learned was: A. the desperate nature and depth of this problem, B. the complexity of any solution, C. the random way it chooses its victims, and D. the insecurity of those that seek a resolution. This problem has message challenges relating to those that have not used that need to be ‘scared’, those that are addicted and require sympathy/help and the population at large that need to understand that this can happen to ‘anyone’. The complexities here should compel us all to get behind anyone who can help at this point by looking for new, bold, creative means to an end.

2018-03-05 11:02:03
AMAZON ENVY IS THE REAL RETAIL NIGHTMARE Amazon’s impact on retailers’ business has brought out the worst in their behavior. The instinct of big box retailers is to quickly imitate their competitors. If you want to know why the retail landscape looks so similar it’s because any new idea is sucked into an industry which systematically copies its rivals. Attempting to imitate Amazon has made them crazy—it’s more costly than they thought, and while some upside exists, it has taken them far away from their core.

Sure, establishing an omni-channel benefit and a better store experience would help them more effectively compete against Amazon and others, but that effort is limited. Most consumers simply say ‘I want a great value on the product I want’. This makes price and selection far above other benefits of service (or presentation). Walmart knows this. Big box retailers should never cede a strong price/value posture, if they want to maintain strength in what matters to consumers.

This unfortunately conflicts with years of quickly copying their competitors. But the strongest bricks and mortar retailers today are those that get behind promoting a strong value proposition—and some aren’t so pretty or easy to shop.

2018-03-01 14:29:09
Three Main Audiences for Opioid Awareness Campaign Recently, Ellis Verdi was featured in Becker’s Hospital Review, discussing the target audiences for our opioid crisis awareness campaign, and how we approached them through advertising. In our ads for Premier Health, focused on a few key groups.

There were three main audiences for this Premier Health campaign. The first group was at-risk individuals, in which the ads instilled fear about the frightening consequences of opioids. Next, was loved ones, people who know someone that is harming him/herself with opioids. This group needs to be informed about the issue, so they can properly help the loved one. Lastly, the opioid misusers themselves are a target for the campaign. They simply need to be encouraged to get help. With these tactics, we hope to make a dent in the grave statistics regarding opioid usage.

See the full article here:

2018-02-28 11:21:37
‘Absence of a Negative’ Advertising and Consumer Research Advertising often feels like a ‘sea of sameness’ where it is almost impossible to distinguish brands within a category from one another. In today’s data and research driven world, it may seem a bit surprising that brands don’t work harder to differentiate themselves. The problem is that there can often be a discrepancy between the perception in consumer testing and actual consumer behavior, particularly when it comes to ‘absence of a negative’ advertising.

‘Absence of a negative’ advertising is a simple concept. It sets up the current, flawed state of a business or industry, then presents your offering as a better alternative that knocks down the status quo. This is a simple comparison with a clear message, but consumer research often discourages it. Focus groups and preliminary testing can make it seem like ‘absence of a negative’ will not work, even if it is effective.

The reason why is because the message often gets panned by consumers in focus groups or surveys. The message that something is wrong in the industry and that your company solves that problem comes across loud and clear, but consumers still react negatively during testing and criticize the ad, even if their willingness to buy has gone up. Pressing consumers further, they often admit that the language forces them to think they have been making a mistake in their decision making, which is embarrassing and hard to admit. Instead of thinking about whether the ad made them more likely to buy the product, they say they don’t like the ad because it makes them question themselves. The advertising can still be extremely effective in influencing consumers to choose your product, but that can often be overlooked by people reacting negatively to the ad in research. This is something advertisers must be aware of when evaluating consumer research.

For example, here are a couple of older CarMax spots that present a view of the retailer that clearly differentiates it from the status quo in their industry. Of course, this retailer needs to feel different than traditional dealers. Attempting to advertise a positive presentation would get lost in the ‘sea of sameness’ of dealers making the same claims and research would overstate its effectiveness versus a better comparative message.

Another example is our National Thoroughbred Racing Association radio campaign. It wasn’t a purely ‘absence of a negative’ campaign, but we incorporated elements of that idea into it, in order to highlight going to the track as an alternative to a traditional night out.

2018-02-21 11:15:48
With Lindsey Vonn Returning to the Winter Olympics, We Look Back to Her Kohl’s Ad With Us As the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang are upon us, Lindsey Vonn has been a hot topic, as she tends to be. This is will be her fourth and presumably final Olympics. Not to mention, she has recovered from serious injuries that prevented her from competing four years ago. On Friday, she cried at the opening ceremony at the mention of her grandfather who recently passed away. Oh, and her dog became a meme.

DeVito/Verdi is excited to see her back at the top. She is an inspiration and captured all of our hearts when we worked with her the Kohl’s advertisement below.

Vonn is more than just an athlete. She has established herself as a public figure and influencer, active on Instagram and Twitter. Unsurprisingly, Vonn is competitive in everything she does. In the ad, she talks about shopping like she does sports, “Your heart is pounding, your pulse is racing, it’s a real adrenaline rush.”

The world champion skier already has 2 world championship gold medals, not including her silver and bronze medals, but she is going for more this year. Vonn will compete in the Giant Slalom, Super G, Downhill, and Combined skiing events.

Where to Stream Her Events

2018-02-09 15:23:24
What did DeVito/Verdi think of this year’s Super Bowl ads? We asked around the office which ads stood out to people while they watched the Super Bowl. Overall, most people thought that it seemed like a weak crop of ads this year compared to past years. Here’s what people said:

Andy Brief

Good: “I couldn’t really hear much at the party I was at, but most of the ads didn’t really stand out to me. If I had to pick, I’d say the NFL ads with Eli Manning were my favorite.”

Bad: “A lot of the ads were mediocre but especially the Doritos/Mountain Dew one. The cost to hire Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman and for all those effects must have been extremely high. If you’re spending so much, you can’t have the ad fall flat like that.

Eric Schutte

Good: “I give big props to tide for trying to take over the Super Bowl with a realistic spokesperson and making fun of advertising using mini campaign.”

Bad: “The rest of the spots made me realize that this year watching the game was more entertaining than the commercials.”

Rebecca Chambers

Good: “The M&M commercial with Danny DeVito. Stood out because the crowd in my apartment became very animated, everyone was laughing, and it was overall a very engaging ad that drew the audience in.”

Bad: “The Sprint commercial. The entire room fell really silent and everyone just remarked how creepy the robots were and said nothing about the brand that was being promoted. The concept overshadowed the product and made the ad a flop.”

Wayne Winfield

Good: “I didn’t particularly love anything. I guess I liked the Tide stuff most.”

Bad: “I was deeply offended by the Verizon spot, which tried to give the company credit for saving people’s lives.”

Barbara Michelson

Good: “I probably liked the E-Trade This is Getting Old commercial the most.”

Bad: “There were plenty that I didn’t love but I’d have to say that Febreze’s Bleep Don’t Stink commercial was my least favorite. It just didn’t resonate at all.”

Amy Weiner

Good: “My favorite commercial was the Eli Manning/Odell Beckham ‘Dirty Dancing’ commercial for the NFL. It was hilarious and made you LOL, whether you love or hate the Giants. ‘Alexa Loses Her Voice’ was another great commercial with cameos by Rebel Wilson, Anthony Hopkins and Cardi B, all who are very recognizable and have very distinct voices. Even Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos made a cameo appearance.”

Bad: “I did not like the Groupon ad with Tiffani Hardish. I didn’t think it was funny at all and was left scratching my head, as if to say ‘huh, what was that?'”

Luis De Castro

Good: “Tide has to be the clear winner. Advertising in the Super Bowl is so expensive, you have to get more out of it than just having people watch your ad. Tide not only got a ton of people online talking about their ad, they got people wondering if every generic looking ad was going to turn out to be a Tide ad. I feel bad for Persil. Tide made it so that Persil’s ad got more people talking about Tide than Persil itself.”

Bad: “There were so many bad ones, especially the ones trying to piggyback off of tragedies, but the worst has to have been Ram’s MLK ad. Beyond the obvious disrespect of using MLK to sell cars, MLK actually gave a speech once criticizing car advertisers. How does nobody at the company or at their agency due their due diligence to make sure something that big doesn’t slip through the cracks? At least the Twitter backlash has been hilarious.”

2018-02-05 12:44:13
Our ad on this subject – after being used for years – will finally be retired Cleveland Indians Will Abandon Chief Wahoo Logo Next Year.

The team was under pressure from baseball’s commissioner to stop using the logo, which is deemed racist by many. Read the full article in the NYTimes here:

2018-01-30 09:34:23
Quick Thoughts on Word of Mouth and the Healthcare Industry The critical nature of word of mouth (WOM) marketing as it relates to choosing hospitals, doctors and it’s overall impact on healthcare choices still needs study—after all, the decisions made are serious/important. Many recent hospital studies maintain its importance and past research certainly identifies WOM as critical in healthcare choices, as it feeds reputation. Has this factor changed as the internet has become a more important part of the consumer healthcare journey? Or has it simply transitioned into eWOM online? There is no doubt WOM is critical and how to instigate it just as important, especially when typical digital targeted efforts and direct marketing may or may not help. PR is usually the vehicle of choice (at one point Mayo measured ‘happy patient’ WOM) but as important as it is, it is not enough to work alone in this area. WOM is also about promoting ‘trust’—the structure every brand is built on. Finally, (International Journal of Business and Management; Vol. 10, No. 4; 2015) WOM is most critical in another serious/important decision: financial services, which operates in a similar manner—especially among younger people.

A recent meta analysis provides an interesting ‘round up’ on past research worth reading.

2018-01-26 16:16:32
DeVito/Verdi visits the White House DeVito/Verdi addressed the White House in the area of opioid awareness and combating the opioid epidemic.

2018-01-22 10:11:20
Embracing the Role of the Underdog

“Underdogs” are defined as those that are predicted to lose in a struggle or competition. Yet, in the advertising world, it is possible to capitalize and market the underdog effectively so that it succeeds. Here are five things we found about the underdog effect in advertising and how it can succeed its bigger competitors.

  1. An underdog narrative that is grounded in determination and a little bit of hard luck can improve a brand’s attractiveness, relevance, purchase intent, and loyalty.
  2. Many consumers can identify with the disadvantaged position of the underdog and share that same passion and determination to succeed even when the odds are against them.
  3. Underdog companies appeal especially to those in traditionally disadvantaged segments– such as ethnic minorities, women and blue collar workers.
  4. The stronger one’s own sense of struggling is, the greater one prefers to support the underdog brand.
  5. The underdog effect transcends cultural boundaries and resonates especially during tough economical times.

A good example of a successful underdog narrative is our campaign for NEFCU, a credit union in New York City.

2017-10-17 12:17:50
Media first or Creative first ‘round 2’ “If you depend on figuring out which old media, new media, internet media, cellphone media or whatever media is right before you have a creative idea that makes that medium actually necessary or work harder, the best result you can expect is to be only as good as your competition — and not better. All those media and internet choices are available pretty much to everyone. However, if you start with a brilliant creative idea you are instantly setting yourself up to do better than the competition since the best ideas are unique, interruptive and make any media idea work harder for you.

Net net, don’t settle by getting excited about some new way to reach people, or any of the numerous new internet and cell phone ad delivery systems. Not good enough. Think about the creative idea that engages and activates and keep the media options available as part of the idea. This side by side sign that went up to get consumers to visit Legal Sea Foods near the Boston Aquarium uses the aquarium logo and importantly comes out of a single creative idea that incorporates the creative and the medium in one thought. Brilliant and effective.” – ELLIS VERDI

2017-10-09 12:44:08
“Fresh Thoughts” from Legal Sea Foods Following a string of somewhat controversial ads, our new “Fresh Thoughts” campaign brings together humor and wit in an otherwise not-so-funny seafood sphere. This new campaign targets seafood enthusiasts that are willing to chuckle for a change.

Seafood is known to be one of the greatest brain foods, and the new ads that ask if “squid sign their name in ink” or if “jellyfish [would] taste good with peanut butter” give suburbanites something to think about on the T.

View all the print ads:

2017-09-26 11:38:44
National Thoroughbred Racing Association Ad Campaign Gallops Into CLIO Hall Of Fame NEW YORK (Sept. 13, 2017) – The New York advertising agency DeVito/Verdi and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association took a victory lap of sorts this past week when their acclaimed radio ad campaign was named to the Clio Awards Hall of Fame.

The Clio Awards, one of the most prestigious international advertising awards shows, recognizes and honors creativity and innovation in the industry. The organization’s judges announced this week that the NTRA campaign, “And They’re Off,” was one of two entries deemed worthy of the Hall of Fame in this year’s voting.

The commercials that comprised the NTRA campaign all followed a similar approach: a fast-talking announcer provides running play-by-play of an everyday outing or happening with the same brio as if he were calling an action-packed horse race. Invariably, all of these events fall short of the excitement and thrill of visiting a thoroughbred racetrack.

The two radio spots from the campaign that earned entry to the Clio Awards Hall of Fame were “Dinner Date” and “Walk The Dog.” To hear additional radio ads from the campaign, visit

To be eligible for the Clio Awards Hall of Fame, entries must have won a gold award in a major international advertising show in the past. The entries must also be at least five years old, with a first appearance or airing prior to 2012.

Since its debut in 2002, the “And They’re Off” campaign has garnered scores of advertising and creativity awards, including top prizes at Cannes, Clio, and Mercury award shows.

According to the Clio Awards, Hall of Fame selections are for “outstanding work from the past that has stood the test of time and cemented a place of honor and respect in the hearts and memories of consumers and advertising professionals alike.”

“We knew right from the gate that this campaign would be a winner,” said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi. “And it’s an absolute thrill to see it recognized by the Clios for its Hall of Fame. This is one of the most acclaimed and award-winning radio ad campaigns in history. We’re so proud it’s been given its due.”

2017-09-13 16:13:48
BayCare Labor Day spot recognized by AdForum Yesterday, AdForum announced its top five ads for the week of Monday, September 4. The 30-second Labor Day spot we created for BayCare Health System was awarded the Editor’s Pick. The spot illustrates BayCare’s importance in the Tampa area in bringing life into the world.

See the rest of their rankings and watch the spot here

2017-09-12 14:48:13
More than just hospitals should fight the opioid epidemic Hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies! It’s time to communicate with consumers about the opioid crisis. It’s not a choice, it’s a responsibility. Exploration and study of this issue has taught us the power of advertising is part of the solution, but it is not enough on its own. As the ‘third bucket’ of necessary hospital communications activities (same group of initiatives as lectures on diabetes control, weight management, etc.) hospitals need to show care for their populations by communicating to them about the risks of opioid usage beyond prescription and the risk of evolving to other drugs like heroin. In addition to helping society and fighting against a tragic trend, this imparts much strength to a hospital brand and its role in combating an epidemic like no other. The same goes for insurance companies and drug companies. Fighting against the opioid epidemic not only helps society, it helps improve their brand image.

Opioid Epidemic Advertising

Opioid abuse affects everyone

2017-09-05 15:02:18
What can the solar eclipse teach us about an underused marketing tool? There are a thousand different ways to make the solar eclipse seem relevant to marketing. There are a thousand think-pieces focusing on how brands are hopping on the eclipse bandwagon, or how the memorable nature of an event like this is an excellent retail opportunity, or how the inherent virality of an event like this can boost guerilla marketing efforts. Those are all well and good, but the eclipse is an excellent opportunity to look at an extremely valuable yet underutilized marketing tool: Google Trends

Trends is a free tool put out by Google that tells you how popular a search term or topic is relative to everything else being searched. Google Trends has a really interesting overview on the solar eclipse, showing the most common searches related to the eclipse, the interest in solar eclipse glasses, and even the interest in solar versus lunar eclipses in the United States over the last five years.

It’s neat stuff, but what does it have to do with marketing? Google Trends is useful to marketers because it is the easiest and cheapest way to get an overview of what the general public has any level of interest in. Think of it this way, following the trends on a site like Twitter tells you what people care enough to talk about online, but does it tell you much about what they’re passively interested in? On the other hand, Google Trends tells you the little things they had any sort of interest in and is very useful for back of the napkin calculations.

Say you are looking for a spokesperson and want to compare two actresses from a very popular show like Game of Thrones. It might seem obvious that Diana Riggs (Olenna Tyrell) is a better choice than Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand), but Google Trends goes further than just guesswork. You can compare exactly how many people searched for each of them in the time frame when they were both on the show.

That’s a pretty simple example, but it can be taken further, such as seeing how often a brand was searched for before, during, and after they ran a TV advertising campaign. It is not a perfect research tool, but it is extremely helpful for some preliminary calculations. Let’s take it a step further and show how it can be used in a more in-depth way.

Put yourself in the shoes of a small airport, let’s say Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Florida. You know you are losing passengers to other larger airports nearby and you’re going to run an advertising campaign to try and fight back. You could commission an expensive study to track how well the campaign is going, or you can jury rig your own market research together using Google Trends. You already have access to sales volume and whatnot, but Trends gives you something else, how often people in your area are searching for particular airports regardless of where they fly out from. Limit your search to the metropolitan regions relevant to you and see how often each nearby airport is searched.

Analyze every 30 day period from when you start your advertising campaign and all of a sudden, you have a free and effective alternative to expensive market research. Is it perfect? No. It would be foolish to rely on this as your only source of research, but it is extremely useful for helping you close the gaps in your knowledge and quickly analyze your marketing efforts. Trends is even more useful when used in conjunction with other tools like Google Correlate and Google AdWords, but it is still a very helpful standalone tool that doesn’t get enough appreciation.

2017-08-21 15:17:12
Distribution versus content: Who reigns supreme in TV land A conversation with Chris Tinkham, written by Darya Bor and Barbara Bell

To those who argue wholeheartedly that TV is dead, Devito/Verdi EVP & Media Director Chris Tinkham says to hold your horses. Although these days it might feel like the media is on the brink of a television apocalypse (read: television is dying, everyone’s watching shows on phones, advertising dollars are going to mobile, this is the end of a medium) Tinkham still wants to challenge that narrative.

Let’s be clear: we’re not denying that mobile viewership is rising or that many advertising budgets are transferring to mobile, but the reality of our TV consumption today is that most viewing is still done at home in shared living spaces.

Even if not on traditional network or cable, our consumption of TV relies on methods of distribution. What matters to traditionalists and cord-cutters alike is that what people watch urgently binds them to their shared screens. Why does this matter?

Distribution versus content companies

For the sake of oversimplification, let’s assume the video-distribution world splits into two major types of companies (that are, in reality, not mutually exclusive): distribution companies and content companies. Distribution companies transfer content from a source to a viewer. Distribution companies include providers (Comcast, DirecTV, Spectrum, Fios) and newer online platforms (Sling TV, Netflix, Hulu).

Content companies are creators. They create content to distribute to distribution companies. Content companies are the entertainers, the brainstormers, and the idea innovators. Content companies include our favorite TV networks (ABC, CBS, ESPN, the CW, HBO, and the list goes on and on). Content companies also include YouTube, Amazon Video, blogposts, the up-and-coming world of podcasts, etc.

Let’s compare… show me the money

Distribution companies are the utility providers of television. They generally have a higher profit margin because they deliver a fixed-rate service to the consumer. Distribution companies do not have to involve themselves in the nitty-gritty of producing the content that they deliver. Content companies, by contrast, assume risk. They do not have a fixed-rate service. Instead, their revenue is at mercy of viewership, overall popularity, and incredible time-sensitivity of their content.

In a business that’s all about money, distribution companies seem to be the sweet spot. So, how do content companies leverage time-sensitive, must-see content? One word: sports.

Live sports programming is the sacred cow of content and the epitome of must-see TV. Watching sports is inherently everything that a content company wants: live, timely, and the subject of tomorrow’s watercooler talk (comparable to Game of Thrones, the Academy Awards, the Grammys, and the latest tweet from Pennsylvania Avenue).

Some real world examples

We see this evolving continuum played out with Comcast’s 2009 acquisition of NBCUniversal. The acquisition gave Comcast (a distribution company) unrestricted and untethered access to NBC Sports (a content company). By getting an “in” into the viable network of sports programming, Comcast was able to leverage its hybrid distribution/content capabilities (especially regarding Disney/ESPN) and drive hard deals for negotiations regarding licensing rights and streaming for other events, championships, leagues, and playoffs, among other layers and layers of opportunities created by sound business sense. It also led to adding aforementioned content — NBC Sports, The Olympic Channel, and the newly-formed Sports Engine to cable bundles. Before, Comcast’s relationship to this very profitable outlet was tangential – and now it’s raking in the money.

This brings us to the Discovery & Scripps acquisition. Last week, Discovery Communications (content company) announced it would acquire Scripps (also a content company) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $14.6 billion. Discovery, which owns The Discovery Channel and TLC, produces mostly non-fiction, lifestyle, sports, and kids content. Scripps produces lifestyle content in the home, food, and DIY areas.

This is a great marriage of traditional audio-visual content, but only in the short-term. Why? Because this merger doesn’t add any must-see value to these content companies. Unlike Comcast-NBCUniversal, Scripps doesn’t have long-term sacred cow programming. Yes, the merger will allow for more travel, food, science, documentaries, home decorating, reality TV, etc. but the main leverage is in content negotiation with distributors other than maybe short-term affiliate life. For a little while, the allure of a consolidated content network might satisfy consumers, but who knows how it’ll play out in the future. According to the Wall Street Journal’s July 31 article on the merger, “investors should see this deal as a sign that more pain is coming for smaller networks.”

So back to the strange question of acquisitions

Now we return to that strange question of distribution companies buying content companies: If distribution companies have fixed, steady, profit margins, why do they buy content companies? Why would distribution companies be interested in assuming the risk of making must-see TV if they could stick to a more solid money-generating distributing model?

Distribution companies see the opportunity to own and control a content company (or minimally use as leverage in relationships) as a cheaper long-term investment than repurposing someone else’s content company. Companies need to make themselves more competitive and versatile nowadays; they can’t just have one specialty. For example, YouTube doesn’t just make content, but it’s starting to distribute it (hence YouTube Red). Meanwhile, it’s not enough for Hulu to just relay content that someone else has made. They, too, need to produce its own content (hence Hulu originals Harlots, Handmaid’s Tale, and Difficult People).

Naturally, these proliferating, merging, and hybrid choices in TV options will mean that people will make more choices; variety breeds variety. But whoever continues to control or create better must-see content will reign supreme in the land of distribution.

2017-08-07 15:30:59
McCormick presents at Hospital Marketing National, urges hospitals to get social Sociability and relatability “huge” opportunities


Devito/Verdi (New York, NY)

“You don’t advertise a hospital with a ‘MRI for $29.99 THIS WEEKEND ONLY’ special,” Paul McCormick, EVP of Account Management at Devito/Verdi said. McCormick presented last month June 5-7 at the Hospital Marketing National Conference in Atlanta, GA.

His presentation, entitled, “Pillars of an Overall Communications Strategy” discussed the changing landscape of hospital marketing and how Devito/Verdi has strategically used its outsider view in the healthcare arena to plug relatability and sociability into hospitals. The New York-based agency has a history of strong retail marketing, but client work has included quite a number of hospitals in recent years. Mt. Sinai, University of Chicago Medicine, VCU Medical Center, and BayCare are just a few examples.

“In the retail world, you pull an ad if median investment isn’t paying you back 3-1, but we all know that’s not how it works for hospitals,” McCormick explained.

McCormick’s presentation discussed the idea that good hospital communication can be broken down into three main buckets: 1) Influence the Influencers, 2) Direct Consumer Engagement, and 3) Population Health Management. With this framework, McCormick explains that Devito/Verdi avoids a major advertising pitfall, placing the importance of retail marketing over reputation marketing.

In practice, he explained that emphasizing reputation-marketing plays out digitally. “Think about what people do when they first become aware of a new health condition,” he said.

“Their initial reaction is to go straight to the web for research: hospital Facebook pages, WebMD, Yelp reviews, etc.” McCormick continued.

Therefore, hospitals and caregivers must emerge in digital conversations as sharers and providers on social media. “[As hospital advertisers], we want to engage with patients by sharing helpful content and presenting information to them,” he said.

For example, Devito/Verdi brought publicity to BayCare’s primary stroke centers by tweeting PSAs during May’s Stroke Awareness Month on BayCare’s Twitter page.

“It’s not as much a sell,” McCormick clarifies. But when a hospital does get credit on social media as a provider, this direct consumer engagement pays off just as much as a standard ad.

McCormick goes as far as to say that social media has solidified itself as the ideal platform for hospitals.

“Social media has unique capabilities for facilitating, sharing and displaying information in a way people take seriously,” he said. “It creates an invaluable word-of-mouth reputation that displays both the usefulness and humanness of your hospital system and its relationship to its patients,” McCormick said.

If you’d like to see the full presentation, it is linked below. Bucket 2 about Direct Consumer Engagement begins at 18:11.

2017-07-18 09:20:14
Is the Syrian refugee crisis relevant from a marketing perspective? A New York Times article last week from columnist Charles Duhigg brought the Syrian refugee crisis to light from a marketing lens. Duhigg argues that amongst the countless charities people are exposed to on a regular basis, it is statistically unlikely that you’ll write a check to help the Syrian refugees. “Though the Syrian crisis is a huge and heartbreaking story, it has translated into relatively little charitable giving because the cause doesn’t project hope,” Duhigg says. In other words, it’s bad marketing.

This theory supposes that without a hopeful image or hero in marketing charitable campaigns, people won’t respond positively.

Fact or fiction? DeVito/Verdi President Ellis Verdi says, “ Let’s not be too quick to limit creativity to a formula where only a ‘positive’ ‘hopeful’ message is effective. After all, right or wrong, those depressing type of spots and negative imagery have worked for many years. They tackle the issue by presenting the desire for the absence of negatives,” he said.

Verdi does admit, “If I don’t know how much of a social problem the Syrian refugee crisis is, I might be more effectively reached with a message of hope.” Therefore he cautions that advertisers shouldn’t be creatively lazy and present what might be the worst just because it’s visually impactful.

“In the end, we should judge the message on how much we are impacted by it emotionally,” he said.

2017-06-22 09:55:38
The new frontier of 15-second television spots Let’s cut to the chase: 15-second ads are here to stay. Nielsen, the global media, information, and data tracking company, measures that the number of 15-second television commercials increased more than 80% between 2008 and 2012. In today’s digital age, the importance of these 15-second spots not only speaks to a more technologically inclined and apt population of mobile users but also tighter budget constraints and higher production costs.

With traditional 30-second or 1-minute content shifting to shorter spots, ad agencies must respond effectively to deliver the same punch in half the time, according to DeVito/Verdi President Ellis Verdi.

“The use of :15 requires creative focus and a rock-solid concept, but research shows that these ads can be just as effective as a :30,” he said. The use of :15’s has been in D/V’s wheelhouse for many years, even before the digital revolution.

“Our better reel of commercials are :15,” Verdi continued. “No science or technology is required if you recognize :15 as a great length in its own right.” However, the tendency some creative teams have to tackle the :15 only by cutting down or trimming longer spots can be problematic.

“The best advertising requires some degree of surprise and :15 ads get you to that surprise sooner,” Verdi said.

Check out a few of D/V’s reels to see what the element of surprise in 15-second ads is all about.

Neilsen Source:

2017-06-15 16:39:30
University of Chicago Medicine ads win “Best of Show” BEST HEALTHCARE TV IN THE COUNTRY FOR OUR UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICINE CAMPAIGN. UCM moved from 6th to 3rd place on US News & World Report since we started. Here’s the campaign: All done with existing footage.

2017-05-31 15:56:30
Mount Sinai – 2017 Mercury Radio Awards Our radio campaign for Mount Sinai is considered some of the best radio ads in the U.S.

See below press release…just nominated for most awards at 2017 Radio Mercury Awards.

2017-05-08 16:48:06
Digital Foundation Strategy

Gregg Lester, Digital Strategist, discusses the basics of having a strong digital foundation.

2017-05-04 11:21:25
Bernie & Phyl’s “marital life” campaign Our “marital life” campaign draws shoppers in by adding a much-needed, playful punch to the mundanity and stress of domestic decision-making.

This campaign pushes the message creatively with humor in order to rise above all the category noise, get heard and disrupt people notions of what Bernie & Phyl’s really has to offer. We want to covey the point that Bernie & Phyl’s sells high quality product in a style that would appeal to the younger home dweller.

2017-04-10 09:28:26
DeVito/Verdi wins GOLD for Gordmans Social Media campaign Our social media campaign for Gordmans, the Midwest apparel retailer, won the Gold at this years’ Service Industry Advertising Awards Show.

More than 600 ad agencies and 800 institutions competed this year with more than 1,900 entries.

We know that Gordmans shoppers love to save money and they love sharing how they did it.

So we capitalized on the YouTube “Haul” phenomenon.

We asked shoppers to send us their own “haul” videos via #GotItAtGordmans and enter a contest — we used their YouTube footage and made commercials out of them to be used in a variety of channels. Click below to see four sample spots:

Shared in social media. (FB)
Played in-store.
Included in Emails to 4,000,000 G-Rewards customers.
Played at outdoor summer concert sponsorships on the big screen.

2017-03-16 16:04:58
Can a liquor beverage warehouse have a personality? Here’s the voice of one that drove a difference…. BevMo! Print

BevMo! Radio:

2016-09-01 16:06:16
“:15 is the new :30” Shorter length creative is an ideal format for success today if crafted properly.

2016-08-29 12:39:06
…Actually, :15 spots are often better than :30’s because of focus, repetition and cost. Here are some examples…

Creative :15’s TV commercials

2016-08-24 11:12:57
Advertising is an effective way to demonstrate the problem.

2016-08-22 13:50:21
A great hospital is visionary, different and has a voice: Mount Sinai This one: from Mount Sinai….

Mount Sinai :15's ]]>
2016-02-01 12:58:26
Free marketing advice: 711-subway-Oreo711-Fashion-week

When I speak around the country, I can’t stress enough how important it is that your communications have, what we call, your own distinctive “voice.” It’s not easy to find your voice, takes YUGE amount of work, but when you find it, life becomes a whole lot easier. You then must integrate this voice in your owned, earned and paid media. A common pitfall is thinking just because all your ads look alike you’ve nailed your voice (but, the client says, all my ads have a red stripe going across the top of the page and the logo is always in the same place). Don’t fall this. The really great ads may not look all the same but there is something in the tone and manner that says: “That’s my brand. That’s the way we talk.”

These latest subway ads for 7-Eleven coffee we are running here in New York City are a good example of nailing a voice.

If you don’t have YOUR own voice in the marketplace, call me.

Paul McCormick

711-Chill-out-768x1207711-Radiator 711-NY-Nuts-768x1207

2016-01-28 10:27:26
Target Vet May Face Resistance In Overhauling Walmart’s Marketing forbes logo
Starting January 1, it will be a new Walmart if Michael Francis has his way. He has been hired as a consultant to overhaul the retailer’s marketing, with CMO Stephen Quinn retiring after nine years on the job.

Francis will challenge the Walmart bureaucracy to add more lifestyle awareness to its merchandising. It will not be easy. Walmart management accepts change like moving molasses – very slowly and very tentatively. While Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, has embraced a number of new initiatives, others have been slow to follow.

Michael Francis has a very successful track record. He spent 27 years with Target. During that time he brilliantly shaped the image of Target through cheap/chic fashions. In one memorable campaign he asked, “Fashion is … .” Target then told customers what the current fashions were. He also showed leadership by highlighting merchandise available at Target from such luminaries as Michael Graves a home design maven.

Francis left Target in 2011 to become President of J.C. Penney at the onset of CEO Ron Johnson’s ill-fated reign. He then left J.C. Penney abruptly eight months later as he disagreed with Johnson’s misguided ideas. He subsequently advised The Gap and joined DreamWorks in 2013 to oversee branding and licensing as well as developing consumer products for the movie studio.

I expect Francis to revamp Walmart’s marketing and advertising, creating more of a lifestyle image (versus just price). I think he will have to change the company’s dowdy image to appeal more to the millennial customer. The key question is how quickly will the company accept change? Walmart people are likely to resist.

2016-01-06 09:13:26
Gold Midas award-winning banking TV spot of the year Our TV commercial just won the GOLD at the MIDAS AWARDS, the annual global creative advertising award for the financial service industry. The spot is called “Heart” and it is for our client NEFCU, the credit union here in the New York City area.

We have positioned them to effectively compete as an underdog in the huge banking industry and the larger bank brethren. No easy task, as you know.

We are proud of this win as we beat out outstanding entries from around the world such as ABA Bank in Cambodia, NEDbank in South Africa, IKANO Bank in Sweden, KEY BANK and Synovus Bank both here in the USA.

Have a look at our winning spot

2016-01-05 15:36:26
Google says “micro-moments” key to connect on Mobile “Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile.”

Pretty good read.

Of the countless mobile interactions consumer make every day, marketers need to find those Micro-Moments when they can have greatest brand impact.

(i.e., 82% of consumers say they consult their phones on purchases they are about to make in a store.”

I like how they organize thinking around micro-moments: “Be There. Be Useful. Be Quick.“

With relevant tips and examples from Macy’s, Walmart, Walgreens, Progressive, Target, others.

Click to download:

2015-12-14 15:18:22
You don’t need big bucks to get BIG RESULTS Below is a Boston Globe article that just ran regarding our client Bernie & Phyl’s, the furniture store retailer in New England.

This is a classic case of an established retailer who was seeing sales declines of 10% in the past couple years and was able to turn the business around — they now are up +10% year-to-date versus same period year ago.

How? We went to more everyday low price, reduced promotions and created a highly cost efficient Television ad campaign that uses existing stock footage (way less expensive than shooting new film) – the campaign has re-invigorated the business, their brand image…and, we dare say, made Bernie & Phyl a bit cooler to Millennials.

Key lesson: you don’t need big bucks to get big results.

(BTW, we produced 18 spots for about the cost of one, industry average :30 TV spot)


By Jon Chesto GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 03, 2015

Bernie & Phyl’s is one of the last retailers you would expect to offend people. This is our parents’ furniture store we’re talking about, after all — the one that offered us “quality, comfort, and price” all in one package.

New York ad agency DeVito/Verdi dug up stock footage, film shot from decades ago, and overdubbed quippy quotes to create a series of new TV spots for the Norton-based retailer. The latest of these, showing a 1950s-era family sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner, prompted a few complaints after the ad started running two weeks ago. The boy ostensibly says, “I’m thankful that Bernie & Phyl’s Doorbuster sale is here so we can finally get rid of this … dining room table,” using a certain adjective that rhymes with “city” to describe the table. The swear word is bleeped out, but just barely.

President Larry Rubin says he personally returned one customer’s call to explain the approach: “I told him, ‘There are other furniture stores in the marketplace that spent a lot more money on advertising than we do. We have to get a little creative so people remember our spots.’”

That said, the overall impact has been a positive one for the company.

Store sales have increased, year over year, throughout 2015, Rubin says. He attributes much of the increase to the irreverent approach that DeVito/Verdi has taken with the ads. And there are no plans to bring back that famous “quality, comfort and price” jingle, which apparently didn’t resonate with younger shoppers. “We’re getting millennials to shop us,” Rubin says, “where they never would have come in before.”

2015-12-14 14:45:22