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February 2008
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April 2008

The $600,000 Ad Campaign You Financed

Woman_smoking There's been a little dust up here in Iowa about smoking and if you are one of the 3 million folks lucky enough to live here you've seen/heard the ads.

They are compelling to a point.  They feature "hospitality workers" in print and on the radio telling of the dangers of second-hand smoke.  About how they are  forced to work in unhealthy conditions because there is no ban on smoking.  And, because there is no legislative ban on smoking in public places they are putting their health at risk.

Some folks are complaining that the people who portray the workers are really actors.  But more are questioning the fact that public money, to to tune of $600,000, has been spent by the Department of Public Health to produce and run the campaign.

And they may have a point.

Never mind that Iowa is quickly becoming the Nanny State of Record by lawmakers convinced that banning nearly everything humans do will somehow make our lives better.  We wrote about this a few weeks ago but since's gotten even more bizarre.

Everything from banning cell phone use to banning teens from sharing a ride in their vehicle with other teens is getting support. 

Brad_zaun But what troubles State Senator Brad Zaun (R - Urbandale) is that a state agency spent $600,000 of our money to convince Iowans that they should pressure the legislature into a state wide smoking ban.  Money that some say could be better spent.

Meanwhile Tom Newton the interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health defends the campaign by saying the mission of the department is to "...foster a social and legal climate in which tobacco use Cigrettebecomes undesirable and unacceptable".

(Quick sidebar:  Last year the legislature passed a law that raised  taxes on tobacco products by $1.00 a pack.  So, if we ban smoking...gotta find another revenue source.  Maybe a cell phone tax?  Note to legislature:  Please disregard that statement.  You don't need my help in coming up with ideas for taking more of my money.)

Frankly we think the state needs to butt out but then again maybe we're just sore that we didn't get the $600,000 client.  (However just to "make up" maybe they'll ask us to help them with the new "Cell Phone Tax Bill Campaign"?)

So, what do you make of this? 

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we would have used actors too.

"No, We Don't Sell Advertising, We Buy It."

Cash_register_no_sale_2 We're an advertising agency.  Not many people know what we do...or so we think.

Advertising agencies have been around for a long, long time.  From sitcoms (Bewitched) to drama (Mad Men - 2007 on AMC) advertising agencies have been the focus of lots of publicity.

Or so one would think...

We do lots of telephone work like gathering data for our clients, doing research on projects and talking to all kinds of people for the two radio shows we do.  The point is we talk to lots and lots of folks.  Who, for one reason or another think we are calling them to pitch them advertising that they believe we are SELLING to them.

Today...on two separate out calls on behalf of clients the person either answering the phone or the one who took the call said, "No, we're not interested in buying any advertising..."

That is good...because...WE DON'T SELL IT! 

Advertising agencies don't usually "sell" advertising.  In fact...we usually BUY advertising for our clients along with creating the media (ads) that will go on TV, Radio or in Print.

But, those of you who are reading this...already know it.  I just needed to let off some steam.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where I suddenly feel much better.  Thanks for reading.

What's In A Name?

Business_man_sign_blankLast week I gave a "Lunch & Learn" noon address to 25+ employees of Group Benefits Limited.  The topic was "Passionate Change".  Change is something we all deal with...but do we attack it with passion?

Part of the speech has to do with "naming things".  Our advertising agency, like others, get asked all the time to name new products and/or services.

It's something we don't take lightly.

We often don't have the luxury of naming a product like parents name children.  Parents can stick a "Junior" at the end of a name and, tah-dah....done!

Or they can name the child after a family member or a good friend.  But best of all the parents decide.  There are no corporate committees (unless your Mother-in-Law counts...she has almost as much power!)

Naming a product or service isn't as easy.  There are too many factors to consider.

And...chances are the "name" may already be taken.

Sometimes a client will "go it alone" and try to name a product or service.  Usually not a good idea.  Far too often the client knows his/her product TOO well.  So we get names that don't mean anything to the general public or have any call to action.  It happens more than you think.

And then there are the goofy names or misspelled names that are increasing in popularity: Wii, Razr, Flickr.  Why is this happening?

A lack of names...and the Internet.  Here's a great article from last year from Brandweek.

The bottom line is that naming a product or service takes lots of things into consideration and it's not always a good idea to go it alone.

Michael P. Libbie -Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications...yep, we came up with that name.  It's grown on us.

Rural Lifestyle Radio - Highway 6 - Sunday Morning

Hwy61_image A brief reminder for those of you interested in small farms or acreage living.  This nation's only full hour live radio show about the rural lifestyle can be heard here in Central Iowa at 8 Sunday morning.  If you're in the area you can pick it up live on 98.3 WOW.FM.  If you're living out of the area you can still listen.  Just click here and sign up to listen on your PC.

Our guest Sunday morning will be Mary Lou Garcia from Wildwood Hills Ranch.

We'll talk about the issues that impact rural lifestyles of folks living on acreages and small farms.  To see our line up all you need to do is head to our Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country radio blog and you can read all about it.

Enjoy...and hope you catch us Sunday morning.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications