I'm Trying To Help But...

The small business owner sat across the table and said, "You know, we Woman Yawnhave all of this collateral to give to our retail clients to help them sell more; but they don't use it. Why?"

The answer hinges on time and talent.

We flipped through the various print pieces and while they were colorful and printed on great stock there was simply...too much. Too much detail, too many offerings, too many pages...too much.

Here's something for you to remember. The average human has an attention span that is below a goldfish. It's true.  If you don't capture somebody's attention in under eight seconds...forget about it.  And, while this business has had a great run, much of what they were producing and sending out seemed old...and a bit tired.

Time & Talent

If you need to capture time...you need to have some amazing talent at creating the brochure/print ad/television commercial/radio ad/video that connects with the right audience. That means you better KNOW who your audience and HOW they want to be reached. 

Be bold and get noticed!

So, what do you think?





Made The Way You - Hills Pet Food

We get it. We also do design work for our clients.  From packaging to direct Hills Flyer June 2015 mail to billboards to flyers.  And, yes, we've made an error or two in the years that we've been at it. (Once we failed to spell an ingredient correctly in on a tiny list on the back of a bag.) So, yes...we understand that mistakes happen and not only to small advertising agencies like ours or maybe even in your business.

The image here is from a direct mail piece that came in the Sunday Des Moines Register. If you look at it carefully you're left with a question: "Made the way you...would what?"

This happens when text boxes are left out of the final design and print run. So, how do you make sure something like this doesn't happen, even if you don't have a staff?  Some tips:

  • Pass It Around - Often the person who writes the copy is expected to proof the copy. Big mistake because often writers may "think" they included the information and on proofing just don't see it.  Pass the piece around to others to review;
  • Print Run - We nearly always demand that if the printing is done locally that somebody from here is at the print run to check color, layout, bleeds, etc. It takes some extra time but worth it;
  • Create a Mock-Up - What we see on a computer screen often just isn't the same as holding the actual print piece. So before it goes to press create a mock-up so you can handle, circle changes, etc.
  • One More Time - We've even gone so far as to take a technical item out of the office for a review from another technical writer.  Again, it might take some time but perhaps he/she might find a goof.

Speaking of Goofs - Before writing this we posted the image on our Facebook Page and asked folks to see if they "noticed anything odd". Many didn't but, once it was pointed out it was, to some, a "brand ding". A negative impact of the brand seemed a little harsh but, for some folks...that may be all it takes. 

Take a little extra time...and thanks for reading!


The New RAGBRAI Logo

When we first saw the 2015 RAGBRAI Logo we LOVED it! And, because Soviet Ag Poster (some of us are old enough to recognize some historical things) it looked faintly like a Soviet Agricultural Poster from the Stalin Era. See...

That made it all the better...great lines and the "red star" made it even more attractive. (Commies....)

Then our friends from the "cycling community" started to voice concerns, "It looks like the tractor is running over a bicycle!" was the most 
RAGBRAI Logo 2015common.  And, indeed, if you look at the logo with that eye...it does.

"News Flash!" (Yep, the words of the RAGBRAI Director...) Clearly the Des Moines Register graphic design folks must have read the piece written by our friend Kyle Munson just days before the logo reveal (maybe not) which centered on the killing of a cyclist in Calhoun County early this year.  The judge set down the maximum penalty under Iowa Law, $1,500.  If you didn't read that you can listen in to a segment of the Business News Hour where it was discussed. 

Did we happen to mention that Iowa has fallen in the rankings of "bicycle friendly states" from 6th most friendly to...25th?

But, this isn't about the pitiful way in which Iowa treats its cyclists.  Or how many folks in Rural Iowa think bicycles have no place on the roads of our state.  Nope, it's about the logo...which, by the way, we still like.

Now, if only, we could get more folks in Iowa to love cycling for more than the dollars it brings some of our hamlets, THAT would be super!




Teeny Tiny?

It's a design thing.  Child Magnifying Glass

Over time we've collected thousands of business cards. Thousands. Recently we've noticed a trend that may impact how people make a connection with you or your business.

Teeny Tiny Fonts and Other Issues

While the name of the company is prominent, good luck being able to read the email address, phone number...etc.

Connection...that is the point of a business card.  Right?

Some simple things to remember:

  • Not Everybody has 20/20 Vision:  When your potential client/customer must use a magnifying glass to see your contact information. Not good;
  • Artwork: We get it because we too are into creating stunning designs. However just because it's cool looking let's not over-shadow the contact information;
  • Clarity: I'm looking at a business card, right now, that has three (3) Twitter addresses. Three...really?
  • Stock: We get it, you are trying to save money. However your business card is such an important touch point. Try to have them printed at a printer, on heavy card-stock and try to refrain from printing them in your office.  Trust us, it's an investment;
  • Does It Work:  If you have a QR Code on your business card, make sure it works and points to something useful, descriptive and informative.

Hey, we're just trying to help.


Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications is a full service advertising agency based in the Des Moines Metro and the fuel that powers Insight on Business, The News Hour. Our Twitter Handle is @InsightADV and our Facebook Page is right here.

Thanks for reading!

Always Fun Being Part of a Launch - Country Vet Naturals

When you watch an idea become reality it's the biggest kick we get here Grouping horz cookies at the agency. Three years ago we started talks with our long-term client Country Vet Pet Foods about changing their formula, creating a natural dog food and packaging that matched what it was. Clearly consumers were asking for it...all we had to do was deliver. 

Then it was testing names, packaging designs, formulas and now, three years later, Country Vet Naturals is being launched at Pheasant Fest in Milwaukee.

All weekend representatives from Country Vet Naturals will be visiting with dog owners about the food and the new treats, Country Vet Naturals Quick Bite Cookies (In Oatmeal/Cranberry thank you very much!).  

Will it be sold in Des Moines?  We're hoping so.  Now that we've finished this round it's on to additional natural pet food products and loads of new ideas regarding the formulation.

We like what we do!


Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications is located in Des Moines, Iowa.  On Twitter it's @InsightADV and here is our Facebook Page.  Thanks for reading!

The Fridge Magnet & Pizza

We're always on the lookout for some neat ideas and when we saw this Red-tomato-pizza-ordering-button campaign from TBWA/RADD for their client Red Tomato Pizza we were impressed. It recently won the 2012 Caples Award for direct marketing.

Not only did they stay in budget ($9,000) but according to the story deliveries went up by 500% and over 93,000 requests from new customers but the company also hit the bulls-eye with free media (this post being one) that was worth over $8 million.

The down-side:  The pizza place is located in...Dubai.  But, what the heck it's still a very cool idea.  Here's a look at their video:


So, what new way can you connect with your consumer base?  Come on now...think!



If you want to comment here, feel free or follow our advertising agency Twitter Stream @InsightADV or our agency Facebook Page, which is right here.  Thanks for coming by!

Comments and Questions and Logos

We've used the business blog to share thoughts and strategy about our Advertising Agency craft of advertising. It really is a craft. We don't make a thing other than create messages and ideas that drive consumers to our client's products/services. Like with any serious craft what we do takes time which is why I need to share this story.

One of the most commented on pieces we've posted is "How Much For A Logo?". It seems lots of people are interested in how much it costs to create a logo. Most of the comments have come from internet companies who make it their business to design cheap "off the rack" logos and they use our traffic to push their website.  It's something that we deal with all the time and we usually delete the comments and mark them as spam.  

However, on this post we decided to leave most of the comments intact. For no other reason than to share with you our strong belief that buying cheap is...cheap.  In our original post we said "...we don't know how much a logo will cost a client because the cost has so many variables". We think a custom logo that is built around the client is much better than buying a "stock logo off the rack" that might be in use in many other places. But, hey...that's us.

If you would like to leave a comment here, feel free or let's connect on Twitter @InsightADV or on our advertising/communication agency Facebook Page which is right here.  Thanks for reading!


Looking at Packages...

Part of what we do is create packaging for our clients. Yep, it's
advertising agencies who design the stuff on the shelves and there is a Miller Lite Ball real science in what goes on labels, cans, bottles and packages.  When we see things we think to ourselves, "Hmmm...wonder what that cost the client?" In addition, we notice some subtle differences/changes that seem to match up with what consumers are requesting or at least think they are requesting.

For example, here is a can of Miller Lite made for the brewer by Ball. Bet you didn't know the old 'Ball Jar Folks" were doing this.  (In fact, they no longer manufacture the glass jars.) The company is the largest manufacturer of recyclable beverage cans...in the world. (Go ahead and click on the image to enlarge) We wondered, out loud, what the cost was to private label with the Iowa Speedway on a national brand.  Talk about regional marketing.  Pretty cool how Rusty and the folks teamed up with Miller to push both brands to a loyal consumer group and hook them as a major sponsor.

Frito Bag CornAnd then there was this from our friends at Frito-Lay.  While the front of the Fritos package is pretty normal there are a couple of interesting points on the back panel.

The corn is a nice "natural" touch and then check out the "Made With All Natural Oil" the wording along with the colors are all meant to scream..."Hey, it's OK to eat this stuff!  Honest." Frito Bag Natural Oil

Then, there is something else about the back panel that caught our eye. Just above the UPC is "Where we live!". Notice the wording.  It's not "Contact the Corporate Office Here!" but softer and more...human.  The addition of the barn cutout is also on purpose...

Frito Bag Where we LivePackaging is an interesting science and something that our team enjoys as much from the design aspect as the consumer psychology side of the business.

Thanks for coming by for a read.  If you want to leave a comment here, feel free.  Or we can connect on Twitter @InsightADV or, should you wish, we can hook up with our advertising agency Facebook Page.


Too Big to Fail?

Late last evening I was flipping through the pages of the Sunday Des Ad oneMoines Register inserts.  Yes Virginia, even on Christmas there are newspaper ads telling us we can save hundreds more on the stuff we already bought.  Anyway...

I came on this ad sheet for televisions and stuff.  (If you click on the image it gets larger.) As you can see, there is deal after deal after deal.  Seems it had been separated from the main body of the flier.  That...happens. 

So, I'm interested... "Where might one BUY one of these?"

I look but, no mention of the company name or what "Big Box" you might buy them from.  Nothing...  No logo, no footer.  Nada...

Ad 2 useThen, I see it...located on the bottom of a placement piece...the word "American".  But, I had to...scan, look, search.

Your tip is to make it clear where somebody can buy your product or service.  Sure, you may not have the big budget these guys do for multiple newspaper fliers...but you can be smarter then them and make sure you make it easy for the consumer to find you.  That goes for all forms of advertising...all.

Thanks for coming by the "Day After"...hope your holidays are going well.  For those of you celebrating Chanukah, today is Day Six.  And for those of you celebrating Kwanzaa it is Day One.  If you wish to connect: @InsightADV or our advertising agency Facebook Page is right here.



Time - The Friend of Creativity

We love our work because it's creative and exciting and no two days areMPL Twelve Thirty the same.  Often folks want us to build a great campaign but don't give us the time needed to be as creative as we could be.  It's the reality faced by nearly every advertising agency on the planet.

And it's hard to explain how this works against our clients... Until now.  Here is a great video piece that shows the correlation between time and creativity.


Big ups to KreativMagazin out of Hungary for the work.  Helps you "get it" huh?  If you want to leave a comment, feel free. And if you would like to connect on Twitter it's @InsightADV or here is our ad agency Facebook Page.  - Michael