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Image, Image, Image...Got Yours?

Active_dog_food_bag_new Thanks for coming by.  Our Blog efforts here at Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications are meant to be a free (WOW....that word!) resource for people in the business of trying to sell their product and/or service to consumers.

I guess I could have put that at the end...but often we get that question.  "Why do you Blog?"  One reason is the answer above the other, frankly, is to allow existing and potential clients understand how we think.  And, perhaps somebody that does not use us...may consider our talents and sign on.  (Shameless Plug!)

So, let's get to your image.

Here is a great story of how you can visually capture what your product is for and to whom it is marketed.

Our client is Country Vet Pet Foods.  And we have a very close working relationship.  The dog food bag you see above is their new look for this particular brand.  This brand of pet food is marketed in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and further west.  We think we captured that "image" pretty well.

Active_dog_food_bag_old Here is an image of their old bag.  When they asked us to come up with a new design the first thing we did was get rid of the "dairy farm" look.  Sure, it could have been a "ranch" but it looked like it came from someplace close to Devlin, Wisconsin...not Libby, Montana.

It matters.

Take a closer look at the image of your product or service.  Does it "match" the name?  Does it "match" the target audience?  Are you marketing the product to the correct demographic.  Are the colors right?  Does it capture the "imagination" of the consumer?

All of it fact all of these things are critical to the success of your marketing and advertising process.

Thanks for reading...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we work with our clients to better understand how to promote both product...and image.

Penny For Your Thoughts...

Penny On Tuesday voters in and around Des Moines loudly said "no" to a proposal increasing the sales tax from six to seven cents on the dollar.  This is not a Blog about politics...remember we're interested in marketing and advertising. 

And Trust...

The proponents of the measure (mostly large business interests) raised over $770,000 to push the one cent local option sales tax.  If the tax passed, supporters said the money would be used for property tax relief, cultural attractions and help in bolstering various government bodies.

The opponents spent $4,000

The vote?  85% of the people voted "No".  $770,000 didn't buy much.

The "no" vote did not mean these people didn't want property tax relief.  Did not mean they did not want to increase the quality of life in Central Iowa.  Did not mean they did not want better streets, fire and police protection.  They did...and still do.  But the reason so little money won the day over BIG BUSINESS and BIG POLITICS...  TRUST.

The people had enough...where there is no trust...there is no support.

It did not help that the "Yes" crowd spent lots of money on California consultants and other "well connected" Iowa consultants.  It didn't help that it was the area "fat cats" that were out in front of this with donations up to $25,000 each.  It just amplified the disconnect.

Let's turn to you and your product or service.  Have you built and maintained "trust" among existing and potential clients?  From the message to the's important you know.

As this can't build a following with money alone.

So, penny for your thoughts...what think you?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we attempt to build trust between ourselves and our clients...and their customers.   Every day.

HUNGER & Waste! What to do?

Dumpster_food_close I have a question for all of you who read our Blog.  Maybe you can help me understand what to do.  A diversion from advertising and marketing for a moment.

The other day in the Des Moines Register there was an article taking to task schools who do not participate in free lunch programs during the summer.  Yes, kids do get hungry in the summer as well.

But, do you know of the waste that goes on daily and nobody can or will do anything about it.

Our office is near a grocery store.  Each day staff from the store dump food.  We didn't think much of first.  But, as time went on we would see more and more people coming by and picking through the garbage and taking what they want.

Dumpster_food_distant Then, I started visiting the dumpster myself.  I was amazed.  At least twice a month they will toss 40 - 60 loves of bread and donuts and cake.  Daily there are dozens of canned goods, trays of tomatoes, fresh meat, baked goods, fruit...enough to have daily garbage pick up.

I asked the store employees about giving the food to charity.  They told me they could not.  "It was past the expiration date."  I asked them to let me know when they were going to throw stuff away.  They said they could not.

Remember, this is ONE dumpster from one rather small store.  The waste must be enormous.

So, what do we do?  Are there really kids in local school districts going hungry?  I don't know.  But I do know we are a wasteful bunch of folks.  And it is sad.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we keep busy wondering how we can make a difference...for lots of people.

The Cost of Marketing...Peanuts or Dollars?

Peanuts_money Everything is a "trade off".  If you are trying to market a niche product your costs can be higher or actually lower depending on "how" you are going about the work.

I'm going to answer the "cost question" by sharing a story with you. 

Last year, here in Des Moines, a group got together to push for an additional penny increase in the sales tax.  The increase would move the sales tax to seven-cents on the dollar.  How it works, what it does or might do isn't the point of this post. 

The cost to market is....

In the target market area for the tax increase (Polk, Warren & Dallas Counties) there are 318,200 voters.  In the 2006 General Election 183,426 people in these counties voted. About 42%.

The orginizers of the campaign have raised $770,000 to seek a win.  Much of that money, $350,000 has been spent on external (California) and internal (Iowa) "consultants".

Keep in mind most votes of this type pull much less than 30% of the registered voters.  So if 95,500 voters make it to the polls on Tuesday and 48,454 (or a simple majority) of them vote for the measure: SUCCESS!

So, to target 51% of the likely voters in a very small geographic area...we'll spend nearly $800,000.  That ain't peanuts.

Now, look at your marketing and advertising campaign...

Oh...the "other side" has spent about $8,000 on the "No New Tax" message.  Smart money would be "with the money"...but maybe not in this case.  We'll let you know after Tuesday.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations where we also try to break down the numbers for our clients...but for $350,000?  Sign us up!

Rural Lifestyle Radio - For Sunday Morning

Hwy61_image Hey...before you get too far into the weekend here is your invite (if you live in the Des Moines Market) to take a listen to our weekly radio show on 98.3 WOW-FM.  Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country is on each Sunday morning at 8am we talk about the issues and news that affect living the rural lifestyle.

If you're on an acreage, small farm or just want to be...this show is for you.

For a complete line up of guests and some of the topics we're going to cover...head over to our Highway 6 BLOG.

Have a great weekend!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we love the rural lifestyle!

Hey, A Little Help Here With Phone Messages?

Georgie A "wise man" will move over when asked by a woman.  Especially when that woman is having "issues".  Oh my...

So...this is Georgie and she has taken over the BLOG CHAIR this morning.  You are warned...proceed at your on risk.

ARGH!!!  I can't take it anymore!

Sorry for the outburst, Michael's secretary here.  Move over, Michael, I'm doing the Blog today.

I'm pretty frustrated right now.  You see, one of my pet peeves is when people don't return a phone or e-mail message in a timely manner or perhaps not at all.  But, what if the person who gets your voice mail...can't return it?

Img_2759_customer_service You see, I just finished listening to some messages on my voice mail and for a couple of them I had to listen to, two and three times each.  Know why? Because, for some reason the person leaving the message feels as though they have to talk at the speed of light.  They rip off their message and phone number as if they were being chased by and about to be eaten by space aliens with giant forks!  Like I said, I had to listen (to the entire message) up to three total times to understand the phone numbers they were leaving.  UGH!

I've decided today that from now on, I'm going to listen to a message one time (well maybe).  If I can't get it, then I suppose they will call back.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a fanatic about returning emails and messages and getting them to the proper person - that is so important in any business!!  It's just plain rude not to - what kind of message does that send to your clients or business associates if you don't return calls and emails?  But...isn't it just as rude when you leave messages that aren't "legible"?  It's frustrating to the person that is listening to it and trying desperately to write down the message and number correctly.

Do me, and other "message takers" a favour and please slow down and repeat the phone number twice.  It's such a simple thing. 

Do I hear an "Amen"?!

P.S.  By the way, if you really were being chased by space aliens when you called - my apologies.

Selling GM via Transformers? Oh my....

Gm_hq_detroit We've got a pretty "small potatoes" advertising agency.  We couldn't afford the rent in just one of the offices here at the GM Headquarters in Detroit. 

But, we think we have some common sense...maybe?

So, that's why a recent story out of Detroit caught our eye. 

According to the article GM is betting HUGE sums of money on product placement in the movie "Transformers"  hoping it will transform  sluggish sales among 18 to 34 year old consumers.

Will spending "millions" on "Transformers" tie-ins work?


One thing is certain, you can't step anywhere in a GM showroom and not be "run over" with the images.

In the movie the Camaro, Pontiac Solstice, GMC TopKick (truck) and the Hummer H2 are the "actors".

Here is the's all substance.  Maybe if you are 27 years old you don't care about substance.  Maybe.  But, if you are 35...will you really purchase a car based on a cartoon?  We don't think so.  But, when you're looking for an answer...any answer...because your industry has failed the consumer.  You'll even bet on cartoons.

Maybe their marketing team knows more than we do.  Maybe.  But, if you are in the business of trying to capture your target market one of the very best things you can produce is a solid "reason" to buy.  And, follow that up with quality.

We'll watch this...should be fun.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we are always transforming our clients programs...into winning messages.

Independence Day - 2007

Dsm_fireworks Des Moines, Iowa is such a cool place.  OK, so you already know I think this is the best city in the best state in the best country on the planet.

And, it's Independence Day.

We write about advertising, marketing and communications in our business blog.  Today we'll stretch a little.

It started at 6am.  One of my favorite things to do is have a cup of coffee and read the Des Moines Register.  I love the Opinion Page.  I save it, like dessert, until the end of my reading.

Declaration Carol Hunter and her staff placed on the page the full text of the Declaration of Independence.  I started to read it.  Some of the words were familiar.  Much of it I read as if it were the first time.  

I wonder what the men who signed that document might make of the government that now controls us.  About the politicians who come to Iowa and leave behind a swath of adoring "fans" who are played like puppets.

I read the document and wondered what they would make of an executive branch that deems it is above the law.  About a legislative branch that makes a career of being lawmakers but can not or will not listen to the people.  About a judicial branch that is used by the same politicians to tear further at the fabric of this country.

Mary_ringgenberg After that depressing thought process I reflected on a great story on the front page.  It's about a 78 year old woman in the town of Early, Iowa (pop. 600) who, for months, has waged a one-person protest against the war.  She marches down the street and stands for 90 minutes with her hand-made sign.

What courage.

Today she becomes the face of the Declaration of Independence.  And, it reminds me that we do live in the greatest country.  But, do we as a nation, have her courage?

Then it was on to the computer and I read Doug Mitchell's Blog.  Great stuff...and you should read it too.  Maybe add your items to his list.

Flag_wagon So, my turn at our Blog.  Later today we might go to a parade.  Later still grill a bit, have a beer and reflect on how lucky we are to live here.  And, lucky that we still have the freedom to ask why things can't be better.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we'll return to the world of advertising, marketing and public relations later on.  Thanks for reading.

Calcium Products - A New Baby!

Baby_hand_and_adult Last week we launched a new website for Calcium ProductsThe site we replaced (go ahead...take a look) is one we created seven years ago.  Seven years in the world of the Internet is almost a lifetime.

We're fortunate to have Calcium Products as a client mostly because they seek our advice, make a decision and move on it.  This website was no different.

They wanted a "change" but left it up to us to create the image.  Our first goal was to allow visitors to know, right away, what Calcium Products does.  In this case Calcium Products is an input company and the primary customer group is agriculture.  Specifically farmers in the area of corn, soybeans and alfalfa. 

They also wanted a Business BLOG to be part of their site.  And, just like we did with the National Tractor Parts Dealers Association we created one here as well.

They are also about to launch a new product that will be a huge boost for turf professionals and will impact golf course care and athletic turf projects. we're tooting our own horn here but the real story is about the client.  They gave us their overall needs.  We, and our strategic partner DWebware, answered with the design and function.  The result?  Everybody wins.  What made it work so well?


Calcium Products has been a client for several years.  We communicate with their operations staff, management staff and sales staff several times each month.  We call them or they call us.  It's a partnership.  And everybody realizes that.  That's how we run this advertising agency...and we all win.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we think business should be a win - win - win.  A win for the client, the agency and the consumer.

Is There Truth In Advertising?

Truth_in_advertising We're in the advertising and marketing business.  We're often asked if there really is truth in advertising...and what the effects might be.

The simple answer is, "Yes!"  We know when we are coming up with an advertising slogan, image or brand we always make sure we're telling the truth to the end user.  Does it work?

We hope so. 

But, to better tell you the story about Truth in Advertising let's re-visit a scene from my OLD RADIO DAYS.

We had a guy who worked for the station as a "part-timer".  Those of you who have worked in radio know that the "part-timer" is on the next to the lowest rung in at the station.  The lowest position is reserved for the Sales Manager.  Well, at least that's the way it was with us "on-air and production types".

His name was "Chris" but we called him "Goat-Boy".  It was "Goat-Boy" that we sent out on some of the more...entertaining...(yeah, that's it!) missions for our morning show.

We'd have him "miked up" and send him out to ask drive up restaurant people for dates or cash a three-cent check.  Lot's of goofy stuff that, at the time, we thought was really funny.  (And this was before Jackass The Movie.)

Money_for_food Once we decided to send "Goat" out to a street corner to hold a sign that said:  "Money For Food".  He was dressed in his finest "street person" clothing.  We mentioned that he was out there...but didn't to say it was "Goat".  We just said there was some "homeless dude" on the corner with a sign and to "check him out".

As I remember, "Goat" collected $1.48 for food.

Money_for_beer The next day we sent him out again.  This time his sign read:  "Money For Beer".  Once again we told the listeners there was this strange guy on the city street corner holding up a sign.  We couldn't read it from where we were...but they should maybe check him out.

"Goat" collected $15.98 for beer.

$1.48 or $15.98.  Truth in advertising.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we'll hold up your sign...anytime!