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Out Of The Pain...A Positive Message

This is not about business, or advertising or marketing.  It's personal.  And, as I write this I know I am going to cry.  Yes.  I do that...and if you admit do to.  Call that "truth in advertising"?  So, if you came by today for our business insight.  It's going to have to wait for a bit.

A brief background:

Kunta is an African Gray Parrot.  One of the brightest of the species.   The experts Kunta Cropsay they have the intellect of a five year old and the emotions of a three year old. No wonder we bonded.  They are excellent talkers and Kunta has quite a vocabulary.  They also live forty to fifty years.  Kunta is three.

On Sunday the 26th of April a door was opened and Kunta flew out of the also open garage.  He was gone in seconds.  We've not yet found him.  We search every day and in many, many ways.  Before I go on...I need to let you know this is a critter.  Not a person.  Yes he is and was a loved member of our family.  And we know the deep hurt and emotional pain.  But...we can not imagine how people cope when losing a child.  So, I don't want to build this...over that.  Please understand.  But the amazing.

Kunta Beak Brushing 2And so it goes.  Posters, e-mail, Twitter, BLOGS, newspapers, television and radio stations....and so many people are helping.   This coming Friday I'm going to tell this story on Mac's World Live a local Internet radio show.  So, if you may hear this twice.  Kindness is the message of this post.

Within hours of posting the news on Twitter, Craigs List and on our Blog dozens of people joined in promoting the news.  The Des Moines Register picked up the story, called and wanted a brief interview.  Here is that story.  WHO-TV-13 picked it up and ran with it.  My friend Bradshaw from 98.3 WOW-FM told his listeners. And people responded.  Friends like Robin Pruisner, Tiffany Menke, Sharon Steckman and so many more...I've never met.

Oh...there is goodness in the world.  Sometimes it is hidden by the conflicts in Michael Spring 2 Statehouses and Chambers or in politics and name calling.  But there is goodness.

When Dave Corbett saw, from a Twitter post, where we were going to search...near I 80/35 north of Des Moines.  He came and walked the woods.  "Hey, it was close and I felt so bad for you."  I had never met Dave before Monday.  He just came.

And Nancy Schram who has been in daily contact after she saw the sign at a local McDonalds window.  She has been passing out fliers and information.  I've never met her.  She just came and helped.

And Wilma Johnson who wrote a lovely note and remembered her own Gray and then sent us further ideas of where and how to look for Kunta.  I've never met Wilma...she just offered her help.

And Bob Santi, a Twitter friend, who took the flyer and wrote to everybody on his e-mail list and passed on the word.  I've never met Bob in person....we know each other from the Twitter Community.

And, the Twitter Community.  Dozens and dozens of people have "re-tweeted" our messages and poster.  And those messages have been passed out far and wide.  I have met maybe one or two of these people...but they helped and we're grateful.

And we've heard from hundreds of people we know...and those we've never met.  They have all offered support and hope.

On Tuesday afternoon I stood in Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey's office with his Deputy Secretary Karry Claghorn and told this story about the kindness of people and wept.  Secretary Northey said, "In a way it doesn't surprise me we're all seeking a meaningful connection and a way to help."

There I stood in the shadow of the Capital where, on more than one occasion this year, there have been deep and divisive arguments.  It was like living in a different zone...but it's not.  There is still kindness...

Kunta_Kage_web I just wanted you to know that.  For some reason, I thought it important...

The "Kunta Kage" is still empty.  We put it outside.  Somebody said "maybe he'll see it and return".  Maybe.  And we're still looking...every day and now expanded the search to 50 miles around Des Moines....maybe further.  We've written every Vet in the area, contacted the pet stores, Animal Rescue League...we're trying.  Partly because we need to...and partly because so many of you give us hope.

Thanks...thank you so much.  We'll keep you in the loop.

Michael & Georgie Libbie

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelLibbie


Do It Yourself Television Advertising...really?

Video Shoot image "Do you folks do video and television commercials?"  Yes, yes we do.

I got a call the other day from a young lady who works for an upscale shop in Des Moines.  She wanted to know what it might cost to shoot a thirty-second television commercial.  It was clearly her, and the shops, first time in this world of TV.  She told me about her thoughts:  "We want to show quality and how buying the best makes a real value statement.  We want to reach a specific demographic that understands this." 

She went on telling me her ideas regarding the video treatment.  It seemed that she had a "handle" on the look and 'feel' of the project.  Of course I had some questions:

  • Will you be using experienced talent or volunteers? - "Volunteers"
  • Will you want to shoot on location? - "Yes, in an upscale home."
  • Where are you planning on airing the ad? - "We're looking at cable."
  • Will there be speaking parts or a voice over?  "We're not sure at this point."
  • How long will you air the commercial?  "We're not sure yet."

And then THE question:  "So, tell me what kind of budget number do you have in mind Bob Bracken for the project?" - "We're not sure, can you give me an estimate?"

This is where it starts to get weird...  I told my eager young friend that it all depended on what they wanted.  Doing a location shoot, volunteer talent, edits.  ( At this point in injected that our editor has an Emmy for editing...honest - here's the photo: check over Bob's left shoulder on the monitor.)  Hey good quality is good quality!

Her reaction: "Well, I'm not sure we need an Emmy Award Winner..." I went on:

I told her the cost would be "someplace" between $1,500 and $3,500 (could be higher too) depending on what she wanted. The response, "That sounds like a lot.  Why the cost difference?"

I went on to explain quality, the cost of continued time or "takes" using raw talent, on-site video work costs more than studio work, speaking lines or voice overs, proper edit to make it sparkle, camera quality...and the fact that they were in the very early stages and didn't exactly know what they wanted.  "You know, somebody will have to write this piece."

She said, "Oh that should be easy!  I took a class in college about broadcasting.  I still have the book on how to write a thirty-second ad."  And, "What if we use stills and shoot the photos ourselves?"

I stopped talking and listening at that moment wondering to myself where in the world the "...high quality and buying the best..." statement went?  We went from showcasing "quality" to "do it yourself".

Guess it depends on who is selling and who is buying...and we're in a learning curve.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - We're not sure we'll hear back...we hope so because we're all about quality.  Thanks for reading. On Twitter at @MichaelLibbie


Who Will Fill The Hole?

When I get a bit more composed I'm going to write a short piece about the wonderful Kunta Crop people I've met over the past 24 hours since our African Gray Parrot, Kunta flew out of the house and left our world.  But, I'm not quite ready yet.  That wound is still too fresh.

So, let's talk advertising, marketing, business...

and holes...

When you make a hole in something...something will fill that void.  Make a hole in wood Dog sand hole and air fills that space.  Make a hole on the beach (as our friend here is doing) and soon water and sand will fill that hole...and your work (or his) becomes a memory.

Now let's talk about advertising in a recession.

Let's say you believe you must conserve and the easiest way to get that done is slash the advertising budget.  By no longer being in the newspaper, on the radio, television or taking part in some social media program you have left a "hole".  A hole that will be filled by the product or service that has the belief in market share and the fact this recession will turn.  They fill your hole and by doing so grab another slice of the market.

And, they didn't even have to battle for it...  After all, you left the hole.

I've written about this before.  Back in October I did a series about marketing in a recession.  But, if you won't listen to me how about this great article from November of last year:  "When the Going Get Tough...the Tough Don't Skimp on their Ad Budgets"  They tell you the same thing...but with more words...

Enjoy...and let's do something!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications.  Follow us on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or visit our site



Lost Bird - Flew The Coop

If you can help...that would be great.  Sunday afternoon the smartest member of the Kunta Beak Brushing 2 Insight Advertising staff left.  Kunta is an African Gray parrot.  He was lost near 86th and Douglas in Des Moines.  We've walked the area several times.  He simply flew out the door and we never saw him again  Georgie was "on his tail" but she lost him in a second.

If you can help...that would be great.  He is the kind of bird you'll quickly notice.

Kunta Beak Brushing

Twitter - Why Business Should Pay Attention

I've written about it before.  How, when in a business discussion,  the "Twitter Man blindfold sissors Experience" comes up the person I'm talking with rolls their eyes and says, "What a waste of time.  Nobody cares what I had for breakfast!"  That's not quite true...

This is an example of people, who don't understand Web 2.0, attempting to define it in their terms. 

Look, I'll grant you there are a bunch of folks with 50 Twitter Followers that share stuff like they would share things in a newsgroup or on a 1950's Party Line.  "Headed off to the gym.  Lifting or running?"  Maybe their 50 followers care...  But, if you don't "follow" the person who is using Twitter to mumble about their life you'll never be dragged into the "conversation".  And, if the "conversation" you are following gets too banal you have the opportunity to cease following "Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss (trying to be PC about this...) Gotta-Tell-You-Everything-About-My-Life" with a simple "click".  

It's that easy.

However, if you use Twitter to connect, to learn, to share and to find out what folks are saying about you, your product, your service...then, what seemed silly, suddenly makes sense. 

We use Twitter all the time to keep track of bits of information we might not find anywhere else.  People talk about things we're interested in (advertising, marketing, new ideas, new products and trends).  We often pick up a new idea for a client or are able to alert our folks about an opportunity long, long before it hits "mainstream".  It takes practice and, to be honest we'll sometimes engage in silliness: Kids Sale

Most recent was this Tweet from our office:  "What?  We're now selling children in Iowa!?!??"   That sentence ran next to this photo:

Funny?  Maybe.  But it was also a photo essay into being careful what you write vs. what you mean.

Know what I mean Vern?

Twitter is a tool.  And, if you care about what folks are saying about your product or service it might be something you'll use.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we view Twitter as another communication too.  You can follow us @MichaelLibbie and our site:


Happy Birthday Phyllis Cox - NTPDA Executive

Years ago I headed to the National Tractor Parts Dealers Association (NTPDA) meeting in New Orleans.  It was my first adventure with this group.  I knew NOBODY butPhyllis and grandchild quickly fell in with guys like Jeff Griggs and women like Phyllis Cox.  (That's Phyllis...not Jeff!)  Phyllis happened to be the Executive Director of the organization made up of tractor parts folks.

The relationships made there and in the years that followed continue to this day.  And, for the past four years NTPDA has been a client of our advertising agency.

You see, people still buy from people.

And, one of my favorite people, Phyllis,  is having a birthday today.  And, no...I ain't telling how old.  You wouldn't believe it anyway!  We've been to lots of places together, sat in more than one Board Meeting, shared business and personal thoughts and dreams. 

She's a pal and a good person.

Oh, did I mention creative?   Long ago she talked to me about building a business using more of her creative talents.  And, she's done it.  The House of FiFi DuBois is an Fifi Dubois eclectic shop located in San Angelo, TX.  Go ahead, take a's a hoot!  The story of how it got the name and the stuff that went on getting it off the ground is great.  It's a true lesson in advertising and marketing.  But, that's not the reason for this post.

The reason I'm writing about Phyllis Cox is because she's my friend and I think so much of her.  So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHYLLIS!!  You Rock!

Thanks for allowing a trip down the lane...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we actually like our clients..and they become friends. or follow us on Twitter @MichaelLibbie

Is Your Advertising Plan...Working?

The Twitter description for our advertising and marketing profile @MichaelLibbie says, "Hey, I own an advertising agency, even my mother doesn't know what that Mom means...should I?"  It's a tongue in cheek reference to a real story.  You see most folks, including my Mother, honesty have no idea what an ad agency does...or does not do.  It sounds nice in cocktail conversation.  The person I'm visiting with politely nods their head as if they get it while I drone on about market potential, market share social media, print, television and radio advertising.  (I'm telling you I am a real hoot at a party!)

It's when I get to this line...the ears perk up:  "Oh, and we can tell you if your advertising plan is a failure or if it's really working."   It's at this point we get the, "Really?  How?"  

It is that question that takes some time.  The next words out of my mouth are:  "So, are you selling enough of your product or service to your existing market and to your future market?" 

I think that's also where I lose Mom...

You see, it's not enough to sell what you have to sell to today's market because it's fickle and always shifting.  Ask the folks in Detroit.  It's not that they had "blinders" on.  They really worked at not listening to the consumer.  They really worked at making sure the blindfold was tight.  "Hey, I make ten bazillion dollars a year and can afford $4 gas, let them eat cake!"  Or worse, "This energy savings stuff?  Old hippies and tree huggers, crank out another 4 million SUV's!" 

Are you listening?  Are you seeing the next thing?  Are you in tune with your fickle consumer?  If so then...maybe...maybe your advertising plan is working.  But, do you know?

Thanks for reading!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we do this...everyday. And you can follow me on Twitter @MichaelLibbie



Even while there are still a vast number of American's still trying to figure out how to open an attachment to an e-mail...progress has not come to a grinding halt.  What I'm going to share with you isn't "exactly new" but it is coming and my job is to keep you in the loop.Tower   Right?

In just a few days a new Internet Radio show will emerge here in Des Moines and, with some luck, the show will be heard in dozens of cities here in the Midwest.  Those of you who look at this with loads of skepticism might want to consider that was the same feeling when in the 1920's radio became mainstream.  "We have the newspaper!".  Or in the 1940's when television made a debut, "Hey, we have radio and newspapers!".

Needless to say, with nearly every new communication technology there were those who laughed it off.  But, consider this:  Right now, today, in your city there are more folks with the ability to listen to their computers...than the radio. 

That is today...what about tomorrow?

We can see this moving, quickly into full broadcast potential...and the cost?  Pennies compared to what it costs to put up a terrestrial broadcast facility. 

"Oh, but nobody is listening!"  Well, somebody will.  It may not be 3,500 folks but it may be 350.  And, in reality, those 350 folks may be more influential than 3,500. 

All of this on the heels off increasing radio, television and newspaper advertising rates...while actualy audiance and readership continues to slide.  None of this is what traditional media wants to hear...or face.  But, it's real, it's here and in a few weeks...we'll be able to share more.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Because it's always about communications.




Advertising & Marketing - Do It Yourself?

DIY - Do It Yourself - It's very popular.  Ask the folks at Lowes, Home Depot, Ace...they've been banking on the fact that folks, out to save money, can buy the raw materials and Hy Vee own back yard build a house (well, maybe not a house...but perhaps a shed).  Even the grocery stores, that see profit in selling garden stuff, are into the act.  When times are tough the focus is on saving money. Do it yourself...even,  "vacation in your own back yard".

Does it work the same in business? 

Let me try to answer that with this story. 

Over the years, I've attempted to do my own taxes.   As our business grew so did my lack of ability to fill out the right forms.  Trying to "save" a couple of hundrend dollars cost me $6,000 last year.  I may have the "tools" to do my own taxes...I just don't have the talent.  That's why, this year, I went to a professional.

And, it worked...

So let's, for a moment, consider how you are marketing and advertising your product or service.  You can "do it yourself".  You may be able to retain your market share.  But will you grow?  Will you be able to see the "next big thing"?   Who will have your back?  It's not that you won't "get the job done" but you need to remember the target is always shifting.  Focus is harder and harder...your customer does not expect the same things as yesterday...and he or she has more choices today.

How are you reaching them?  Do you know who they are, what they want today that is different than yesterday?  Are you up to speed on new ways of communication, brand enhancement and getting your message to a constantly shifting target?

Something to think about on a Monday morning...what do you think?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Where we get to do this every day...and love it!  And, follow us on Twitter @MichaelLibbie








Ken Sherman On Bicycle Safety & Rural Road Rage?

Some of you know I do a weekly radio show, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country.  This past Sunday we had a discussion about bicycles, rural roads and safety.  It's Bicycle Rally DSM 0409 crop interesting to see how much press this issue has received.  We thought we'd post that twenty minute interview here so folks outside of our rural lifestyle forum can pick it up.

You can click here for the interview portion of the show.

Our conversation is with Ken Sherman (you can click here to hear just that interview) an avid bicyclist in Iowa.  We learned that "avid" means riding 20+ miles a day starting in January!   Ken who was hit by a vehicle this past March knows of the safety issues and the disregard by many vehicle drivers toward cyclists.  He and 500+ other riders (above) made their way to the Iowa State Capital this past Wednesday to call attention to the legislature's failure to pass SF 117 put forth by Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo, Iowa and managed by Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City.  The Bill passed the Senate but stalled out in the Iowa House where it appears House Majority Leader, Pat Murphy, allowed it to die in committee.

Ken Sherman 1 And, all of this in the state that hosts the largest annual cycle event in the nation, RAGBRAI.  We're confused too..  Especially when you learn the cost to the state

In this interview Ken (Center between Brian Duffy and Kim West who also spoke a the rally) suggests that it is a Rural / Urban issue and we talk about how the Iowa / Nebraska Farm Equipment Dealers Association made a decision to not support the bill (due to "problems of moving farm machinery") to the continued anti-bicycle crusade by the Iowa League of Counties and David Vestal whom we're referenced before regarding bike events in Dallas & Hardin Counties.

Was it a party-line vote or Rural vs. Urban?  We'll let you decide...but one thing, we think, is clear...these folks are not going away this time and in memory of the seven cyclists killed in 2007 and the dozens hurt by vehicle / bicycle collisions this debate is far from over.

Highway 6 Your Road to the Country is heard each Sunday morning at 8am Central on 983wowfm.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications - Thanks for coming by.  You can keep up with us on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or head to our advertising agency website.