Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays

Enjoy our gift to you this Holiday Season ...

Holiday Game

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

E-mail Deliverability Suffered on Cyber Monday - ClickZ

E-mail Deliverability Suffered on Cyber Monday - ClickZ
By Christopher Heine, ClickZ,

Almost one-quarter of e-mail messages sent on Cyber Monday didn't reach the inbox, according to new data from deliverability services firm Pivotal Veracity. The waves of messages being sent out on one of the busiest e-commerce days of the year resulted in only 76.2 percent of campaigns being successfully delivered. Depending on whose data one looks at, marketers these days generally report deliverability percentages in the 80s and sometimes as high as the mid-90s.

Len Shneyder, a director for Pivotal Veracity, placed blame on an unmanageable glut of messages going out almost simultaneously. He added that the most popular send time was between noon and 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time for Cyber Monday, as well as Thanksgiving weekend as a whole.

"It's not so much a matter of what marketers did wrong individually, but what they did wrong collectively," he explained. "They all sent at what appears to be the same exact time... When volumes go up, [Internet service providers] are forced to take more draconian actions to control the volume of e-mail they are trying to process."

When it came to the four major e-mail services -- AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail -- Schneyder said Hotmail was 7 percent worse than the others on Thanksgiving Day. The report, he said, was based on "thousands of campaigns sent to tens of millions of recipients" between Nov. 23 and Nov. 30. About one-third of the campaigns hailed from retailers, he explained, while the data overall reflects benchmark averages across all the Phoenix, Ariz.-based company's clients.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

MZD Hosting Free Multicultural Seminar


INDIANAPOLIS – MZD Multicultural, a division of locally-based, MZD Advertising – is hosting a free seminar, entitled "Multicultural Marketing in Our Changing World: How to Engage the Minority Consumer with Your Brand," on Thursday, Nov. 12th
from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. The event – scheduled to take place at 8425 Woodfield Crossing Boulevard in the 1st Floor conference room – is free, but seating is limited. To register, please contact T. Julian Gipson at (317) 554-6350 or click here to register online.

The featured speakers at the event include:

• Kip Tew, who served as Indiana Campaign Manager for President Barack Obama. A longtime expert in governmental affairs, Tew will deliver a presentation entitled, "How Obama Used Multicultural
Marketing to Reach the Masses."

• Carolene Mays. Mays is publisher and president of the nation's fourth oldest-surviving African-American newspaper, The Indianapolis Recorder, and the recently-acquired Indiana Minority Business Magazine. She has also served the public, fulfilling three terms of office
in the Indiana House of Representatives. Mays will discuss the changes that have occurred in print and online advertising amid changes and interest in technology. She will also review the issue of journalism integrity and the importance of community news.

• Rickie Clark, founder of Indiana Diversity Magazine and a radio veteran for 20 years will discuss "Why you should always include African-American media in your advertising."

• Ralphael Ayayla, Radio Latina host personality and Latino Community Outreach Specialist. Topic: "How to reach Latinos with your marketing and media."

• T. Julian Gipson, Multicultural Marketing expert & nationally known event producer, will present a series of case studies and offer his insights on marketing.
"Our firm sees this event as ideal for brand managers and marketers from across Indiana to discuss strategies for reaching the multicultural market, and to hear this perspective from experts who have produced real results," said Gipson.

Full bios of the speakers are available here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's Your Purpose?

By Jason Acquisto
MZD Interactive

One of the most rewarding aspects of the agency biz is the
opportunity to work with so many different companies and organizations. I feel fortunate that we get to partner with a wide variety of clients. Manufacturers, restaurants, churches. Churches? Absolutely.

As you might have heard, the historic Second Baptist Church of Indianapolis is undergoing an exciting transformation. Under the leadership of Sr. Pastor David W. Greene, the church has embraced a new vision called "Purpose of Life Ministries".

Purpose of Life Ministries in the Miracle Mile Parade, Sept. 5, 2009

MZD is partnering with Purpose of Life to launch their new brand through interactive and social media tools, PR program and new creative campaign.

Check this out

"We're excited to work with MZD", said Rev. Greene. "Our mission is simple: help people find their purpose, live it and share it."

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Magical, Mysterious, Enchanting World of Advertising

By Kiley Kellermeyer, MZD Account Executive

What is it about fairy tales that captivate us so? Perhaps it’s the way they bring out our inner child, or maybe it’s the enchanting idea that “happily ever after” really is possible.

Or, maybe it’s because they offer white steeds, brave knights and a no hassle rewards program.

Lost? Don’t worry, here’s a little story from the folks at Capital One that might help you out:

Now that we’ve cleared that up, we can discuss why so many advertisers choose to wave their magical wands over storyboards and sprinkle their ads with little bits of folklore.

Inner child, happily ever after, blah blah blah. The easy answer here is: women.

Moms, wives, daughters, girlfriends and lonely spinsters make up a considerable portion of the consuming population. And these consumers, whether they’ll admit it or not, have always dreamed of being the heroine in their own fairy tale, of braving considerable odds, of being swept off her feet by a Tuscan chef after snacking on Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Haven’t heard that one, huh? How about the tale of the charming man who finds the lost cell phone of a poor young girl, whose boorish sisters attempt to say the phone is theirs?

Of course, if I lost my cell phone I wouldn’t care if it was a frog prince that showed up at my door to give it back – as long as it was returned, but I suppose a dashing young man sells those features a little better. Although, I’d have to wonder how said dashing man found my house…

Speaking of frog princes, have you seen Pepsi’s take on the old classic?

Now THAT is a lady who knows what she wants – she wants an ice cold Pepsi even more than she wants a rich, handsome man to call her very own. And we all know a man is what every woman dreams of. Right?

I’m sorry. That was pretty stereotypical, wasn’t it? Sort of like the ads for milk.

To quote Sarah Haskins of Target Women “Wow. That got in almost every cliché about women. Can’t be single. Need to be saved by a man. Want marriage only. I think the only one they didn’t get in there is PMS.”

But, wait! There’s more Milk Magic where that came from!

Hooray! The brave, milk-bearing knight hath alleviated “that time of the month” and rescued the princess and her peasants from overwhelming mood swings! That’s not weird at all…

I think the lesson to be learned here is that fairy tales can be used beautifully and to great purpose if they are used correctly. They are, after all, strange, mystical tales meant to inspire and teach a lesson.

The (myriads of) fairy tales passed down through the years are excellent foundations for a great ad. Pepper the tale you’re weaving with a little humor and irony and you’ll be a hero.

But, whatever you do, beware the evil cliché!

The End.

Sarah Haskin’s Take on Fairy Tales, Advertising and Women:

Monday, August 31, 2009

We talk the talk. And we walk the walk.

By MZD Interactive

When it comes to internet marketing, social media, Web 2.0 or whatever the catchy phrase-of-the-day is, there are a lot of “experts” out there. But when it comes down to it, there rarely show their clients work. Is this because they are over-protective or is it simply because they really have no work to show? It reminds me of the motivational speakers out there.

They charge $300 a pop to tell you how to make millions of dollars and be the best at your profession yet they themselves are simply successful and rich because of the people paying for their books and seminars. Granted, there are exceptions but it seems there’s a lot of talk out there with very little results.

As an advertising firm, our potential clients and current clients want to see what we’ve done in the past so that they know what we can do for them right now. And you know what? They have a right to see what we can do, which is why we told you about our ongoing success with Spaghetti Warehouse on Facebook and Twitter.

And it is why we are redesigning our Web site to show not only our great work in traditional media but also our great work on the internet and in social media. So, be sure to check in at our Web site at and see what we’re up to. We’re constantly adding new things, so our clients now and down the road can get a better picture of what we’re capable of.

At MZD, we can talk the talk just like everyone else but we think our walk is really what you want to see.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No Brakes! No Brakes!

By Aaron Whitaker, MZD Sr. Copywriter

When I leapt feet first into advertising over a decade ago as a creative, the learning curve was fairly short and sweet. Or at least compared to a creative’s learning curve today.

Back then, I basically created radio spots, TV spots and print ads. The print ads could then be resized and tweaked with copy for billboards, bar coasters, table tents, POS, postcards, brochures, posters, t-shirts, bus shelters, bus wraps and whatever other item we thought would make sense to put our clients message on.

As the internet started to boom, there were web sites and eventually web banners. Still, all in all, the message was always the same, it was one way.
For centuries, advertising has spoken to the customer. It has told the customer what they should think. It has told the customer what they should do with the client’s product. It has controlled the client’s brand message almost completely. Sure, there has always been word of mouth, but it never had the reach that advertising had.

Until now.

Over the past two years, social media has boomed and agencies have either sunk or swam like there’s no tomorrow. Our clients are no longer in control of the message, their customers are.

While it’s still important to use traditional advertising mediums to build awareness and put their message out there for the masses to absorb, that initial message is just a spark to start the fire rather than the fire it once was.

Social media is where the message is fanned by the masses developing into an inferno. That inferno, while sometimes daunting, can go wild but it can also be controlled. Think of your clients’ message as a forest fire in social media. It might not be possible to put out the flames, but it can be pushed and directed towards the consumers fueling it with positive sentiments and kept at bay or reduced towards the consumers fueling it with negative sentiments.

The only way to do this is for clients and their agencies to jump into the fires rather than sitting back and watching their brands burn. And as a creative, it is my duty to my clients to understand this wild fire of social media and know or learn how to fight it, how to control it and how to turn it into a positive experience for both the clients brand and their consumers.

The learning curve is steep now and as a creative, you must not stop learning or you will surely drown amongst the waves of this social media hurricane.

The advertising world has indeed changed and tomorrow it will change again. Are you going to sink or are you going to swim.

While it’s more work, it’s tougher and I’m constantly having to learn something new, I am swimming and I’m loving it.

What are you doing?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And the winner is…Wrangler?

This years Press Grand Prix winner at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival was “We Are Animals”, a Wrangler campaign from Paris hot shop Fred & Farid. A stark contrast, to the Wrangler we all grew up with, is what propelled this campaign to the top. Wrangler has always brought to mind images of cowboys, lassos and something our father wears (or at least mine). This campaign basically gives a big “F.U.” to that stereotypical view that has been ingrained into us over the past quarter-century.

This campaign while simple is also simply brilliant in its thinking and execution. If this campaign was to ever roll out around the world, I think it could be a very good thing for Wrangler. Clothes are all about emotions and the way they make you feel. A simple label can say sexy, tough, rich, trendy, rugged, confident or cool. This campaign’s emotion or theme is that at the essence of humans, at the core of our DNA, we are animals and we are primal and we are sexual in nature. Remove all the glitz, the technology and escape to be human again, to be the animals that we are.

The images are models in animal-like poses in nature. Whether it’s the “deer in the headlights” caught by society and normalcy or the “animal by the lake” going for a drink before the noise of humans pollutes the serenity and peace, these images hint, not so subtlety, at our Darwinian roots with three simple words, “We are animals.” Indeed we are.

Is it just another case of “sex sells”? Are you asking yourself “But where’s the product?” and “Where’s the call to action?” Or do you get it? Do you understand that in today’s world, with every ad and tv commercial and radio spot yelling at us to buy this or do this and think this, that an ad like this breaks through the noise and clutter not by making the logo bigger or using bright colors or flashy lights but by being simple and letting the consumer do a little bit of thinking. Sometimes we want to tell the consumer everything in our ads. But sometimes by saying nothing or little at all, we say it all and more. And that can make all the difference in the world. Just ask Fred & Farid.

David Lubars, the president of the Cannes Lions press jury, said the campaign had won because the idea could work globally to change the US-centric view of the Wrangler brand.

"It is a very emotional campaign, you can see how it can go into all kinds of areas," added Lubars. "The theme is we are animals, a very primal, sexual approach. Before the brand was about middle-aged cowboy jeans from America. Now it takes a whole different look overnight."

"It grabbed me by the gut," said Gerry Graf, chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, and a jury member. "I felt what they wanted me to feel. A simple image and a few ads worked on four or five different levels for me. It changed my image of Wrangler. It's talking about primal urges."

US judge Gerry Graf, the chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, said the campaign "screams raw sex". "That's what you want when you put on some jeans. That's what I want," Graf added.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Customer Service – How a Small Beer Company from Colorado Gets It.

By Aaron Whitaker, MZD Sr. Copywriter

In today’s world, it seems everyone and anyone is talking about social media and “Twitter this” and “Facebook that.” And while, I am not about to downplay the power of social media, I was pleasantly reminded yesterday of something way more important. Beyond social media and advertising and pr and cool guerilla ideas, all of it doesn’t matter if your brand or product is backed by less than spectacular customer service. And while we can all recall from memory stories of terrible customer service, this is not one of them. This is a story of a small Colorado brewery that went way beyond the call of duty in order to help a wife give her husband (that would be me) one of the coolest Father’s Day presents ever.

As I write this, it is not yet Father’s Day, but my wife decided to give me my Father’s Day present a little early (she’s awesome). Yesterday evening I came home to my wife and daughter sitting waiting for me in the front yard with the garage door down. My two-year old daughter gave me a Father’s Day card that she made herself with finger paints. Inside the card was a picture of her standing and smiling in front of our old, yellow garage fridge with its door opened. The fridge was packed full with New Belgium Fat Tire Ale cases and tall bottles of Fat Tire and New Belgium’s other beers. Being that I love Fat Tire, I was a very happy man. I couldn’t have asked for more. The end, so now let’s go to the beginning.

New Belgium started selling Fat Tire in Indiana in April. I had heard this news through Twitter and was excited to finally be able to get it. It had always been this cult beer ever since I heard about it in college. It was a beer that people who had it couldn’t stop praising it. but it was a beer that had a small distribution and was no where near where I lived. It was this cult beer, almost a myth. But years later, on that fateful day in April, I was able to buy it in Indiana. It was like Christmas Day for a guy for loves good beer.

Realizing my new infatuation with this delicious beer, my wife wanted to surprise me with a fridge full of Fat Tire as a Father’s Day gift but there was a problem. She couldn’t find it. So, she went online to their website and sent them an email. She told them her plan and how she was panicking because she couldn’t find it and she asked them if they knew where she could get a bunch. Within a half-hour they not only replied to her but they had their “Indiana Beer Ranger” reply with links and directions to liquor stores. The “Beer Ranger” helped her find a liquor store close by, but it didn’t stop there. Most companies could have called it a “job well done” but not New Belgium. Our “Beer Ranger” told my wife that he would drop off some items at the liquor store for her to pick up. He could have left a simple beer coozie and I would have been impressed but instead he left four cool posters of their beer label art and a really nice Fat Tire ball cap (something I would have gladly have paid money for). Through the whole process, our “Beer Ranger” has made sure she got all the beer and has also kept her up-to-date on a new beer that should be out today called Skinny Dip Ale. He has been more than helpful and it has impressed both my wife and I.

So what is the lesson learned? Customer service is golden.

If you go beyond the call of duty and provide great customer service, your customers will then spread the good news, just like I am right now, on those social media things everyone and anyone is talking about. Thank you New Belgium for providing unbelievable customer service, I can only hope others will follow in your direction.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reality TV, Social Media and the Big Crunch

By Aaron Whitaker, MZD Sr. Copywriter

The other day while driving to work, I was thinking about the recent buzz around Twitter and the “social media boom” and the popularity of reality TV shows like American Idol and Survivor and how it’s all related and how it’s nothing new in this world.
Is this “history repeating itself” or “the big bang theory”? Will this be the “new bubble burst” or “the big crunch”? Since the dawn of time, man has conversed. We’ve talked with each other in the streets, in the market, at the coliseum before the lions killed the gladiators, in the coffee shops, and the front porches. Humans have always been social animals. We have always crowded into cities to live on top of each other. We, for the most part, have feared isolation and silence.

But over the past century, something happened called “technology”.
Technology in the form of automobiles allowed people to move further away from each other. Then radio and TV took the role of neighbors and friends as people stayed home listening and watching fictional shows, their eyes glued to light-emitting tubes of glorious wonderment. Technology, while not exactly a bad thing, has been very bad for the social side of human existence. We have slowly become more isolated from each other and with the dawn of the internet in the 90’s, we became even more isolated. And then the Big Crunch came to an end. The Big Crunch is the idea that space eventually stops expanding and reverses and collapses, ultimately leading to another Big Bang. So if we think of technology as the beginning of the Big Crunch of socialization. Slowly over the pat century we have become even more isolated from each other and talked less to each other until that one fateful day we became so isolated from each other that we all blew up.

The Big Bang happened.

And it happened in the form of Reality TV and social media. Reality TV allowed us to become a part of other people’s lives. We rooted for reality TV stars, we voted for them and these reality TV stars became part of our household and part of our dinner table conversation. They started the ball rolling. But for the most part, TV is a one way conversation which is why social media was created. Around the same time that Survivor started the Reality TV Big Bang (yes, there have been other Reality TV shows before then, but Survivor was the beginning of the now boom in Reality TV); Friendster started the Social Media Big Bang or boom. And then came Myspace, American Idol, Facebook, Top Chef, Twitter, Rock of Love and about a hundred more shows and social media tools.

We are now in the first phases of the Big Bang of socialization. Every day, there are news ways to talk and converse with other people. We have gone beyond the idea of talking with neighbors, friends and family; we are now talking with complete strangers and people around the world. We can tell and share with the world anything and everything. Some of us are at the point where we are sharing too much (seriously, I don’t care if you just went to the grocery store to pick up milk). And one day, maybe soon, maybe hundreds even thousands of years later, we will slowly reverse back and experience a new Big Crunch of socialization.
Whether it’s history repeating itself, the cyclical nature of the universe, the big bang/big crunch theory or some other theory or idea, it’s definitely an interesting point in time we are all facing and experiencing right now. Technology has been turned on its side and has now connected the world in one conversation.

Where do we go from here? What will cause the next Big Crunch? Will it be technology, war, disease, natural disasters or will it be Google going down for more than just three hours? (I thought I’d never survive the Google Fail of May 14, 2009.)

Who knows, who disagrees, who cares, who wants to talk about it?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Papa John's, Tony Dungy and The Giant Check

May 12 - On behalf of Papa John's, MZD Advertising presents former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy with a check for $15,000 for the Carson Scholars Fund. The fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity founded in 1994, by Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson and his wife, Candy, to recognize and reward students in grades 4-11 who strive for academic excellence (3.75 GPA or higher) and demonstrate a strong commitment to their community.

Last Fall, pizza lovers were invited to try the Colts Special, a large, two-topping pizza with breadsticks for $15.99. A portion of the proceeds from all 55 Central Indiana Papa John’s stores were donated to the Carson Scholars Fund through the promotion.

The MZD Papa John’s marketing and PR teams, joined Dungy at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for the press conference, where MZD CEO and Papa John’s Franchisee Allan Zukerman presented Dungy with a ceremonial “giant check".

Rich Lunseth, MZD creative director, was also on hand to present Dungy with a unique “thank you” gift from the Papa John’s crew: a Colts Special pizza box with a digital picture frame containing still shots and video from the television commercial starring Coach Dungy.

Coach Dungy repeatedly expressed how important the Carson Scholars Fund is to him, which is apparent, as this commercial with MZD is only the second he has ever done in his career.

Since retiring from coaching, Dungy has been involved with numerous ministries including All Pro Dads and Abe Brown Ministries, a prison outreach. Following up on the success of the biographical “Quiet Strength,” which reached No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, Dungy released “Uncommon” in January.

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PIZZA) is the world’s third-largest pizza company. For nine years running, consumers have rated Papa John’s No.1 in customer satisfaction among all national pizza chains in the highly regarded American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Papa John’s also ranks first among pizza companies in the 2008 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, was honored by restaurants & Institutions Magazine (R&I) with the 2008 Silver Award for Consumers’ Choice in Chains in the pizza segment, and was named 2007 Pizza Today Chain of the Year. For more information about the company or the order pizza online, visit Papa John’s at

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Gist of Social Media or "Don’t Make a Mountain out of a Molehill"

by Aaron Whitaker
MZD Senior Copywriter

The front porch, the fence, the coffee shop, the local bar, the water cooler.

These are all places where we go to converse with other people. To share stories, to tell jokes, to talk business, to make friends.

Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, blogs, Digg, Linkedin.

These are all places where we go to converse with other people. To share stories, to tell jokes, to talk business, to make friends. These places are the online coffee shop, the online water cooler, the online bar. This is what social media is.

This is social media.

Social media gives you a great opportunity to get out there online and talk with (not talk to) thousands of people as a friend and fellow human being first and as a business, product and/or brand second.

People trust those they know. Those they like.

Tell jokes, reply to questions, share something funny that happened on the way to work; the more you converse, the more the people will get to know you and hopefully like you as a friend and as their future sheriff.

The other side of the coin.

People will talk bad about you, false accusations will be written about you. People will praise you. They’ll spread the love, they’ll spread the hate. People will talk about your competition. The key is to know about it as it happens and respond accordingly. The key is to listen. This is social monitoring.

Listen first, talk second.

Social monitoring is probably the most important part of any social marketing effort. The idea is to listen to what is being said about you and your competition and be able to take action. Whether it is a comment on a blog, a Twitter post, a remark on Facebook, a video, or a picture; you need to have the right listening tools to respond in an efficient and timely manner.

Get out there and talk.

That’s the gist of social media and social monitoring. It’s a big, complex world that changing every day, but the core, fundamental idea of it all is talking, conversing and listening. So get out there and talk with your fellow human as they get to know you, your company and/or your brand better.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Did You Know?

Since 2003, the number of American users FREQUENTING online video destinations has increased 339%.

In the past year, time spent on social networking sites has surged 73%.

In February 2009, social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time ever.

(Source: The Center for Media Research,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 “Miracle Mile Parade” Will Honor Hoosier Heroes

MZD Advertising will be providing all of the advertising, marketing and public relations for the 2009 Miracle Mile Parade.

Following its triumphant revival in 2007 and a successful sequel in 2008, the “Miracle Mile Parade” will once again grace the streets of Indianapolis’ Southside beginning at 1 p.m. on Sept. 5, 2009.

This year’s parade theme is “Honoring Hoosier Heroes”. In keeping with that theme, the Grand Marshal for this year’s parade is the Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard, Major General R. Martin Umbarger.

Pictured (from left to right) are: Bart McAtee, a 2010 candidate for Marion County Sheriff; David Ayers, MZD’s Public Relations Director; Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Major Clifford Myers; Col. Kenneth E. Ring, Jr., Indiana National Guard, Director of Operations and Training; Bryan Apolskis, event specialist, Sequence Sport Event Management; David Begemann, Engineer, IFD; Brian Sanford – IFD Chief of Fire; Kiley Kellermeyer, MZD Public Relations Executive; Lesley Warren; David Bogemann – IFD; Matt Keating, MZD Public Relations Executive; Allan Zukerman, MZD CEO; Micki Sheridan, MZD Account Executive; Jason Acquisto, Director of MZD Interactive and Rich Lunseth, MZD Creative Director.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sometimes I Like to Drive

by Jason Acquisto
Director, MZD Interactive

Remember when you first got your driver's license? What was your first car? Mine was a 1983 Toyota Tercel. Yeah baby! I had 6 x 9 speakers mounted in the back seat, a Pioneer cassette deck. Yeah, you could say it was a little awesome. But the greatest part was, I was able to drive myself. No longer did I have to depend on someone else - I was "in control".

Okay, now here's my analogy. We shouldn't let technology drive us. Instead of figuring out how to fit some new gadget into our lives, we should set up our lives and then use technology as it fits. Example? The iPhone. What a gorgeous creation. What an absolutely drool-worthy gadget. But ... for me? I have my smart phone, mobile Internet and messaging device (the vastly underrated Samsung Blackjack) and portable digital music player (the iconic 4th generation iPod Nano) already covered. So I can't really "fit" this uber-cool tool into my repertoire. Do I still want one? Shut up. Of course I do. But not getting one gives me a sense of being "in control".

Is this some kind of personal statement against the Orwellian rise of the machines as foretold in the ancient book of Steve Jobs?
Nah. Bring on the prophecy. Bring on HAL. I can dig it. I can dig it all. In fact, when the time is right, I'll probably own at least one version of the iPhone. But not today.

It's just that sometimes I like to feel the road, just to remind me that you, know - I'm the man. Yup. Sometimes I like to drive.

Monday, April 13, 2009

All in the Facebook family: older generations join social networks

(CNN) -- Penny Ireland's family is so scattered around the world that Facebook, the popular social networking site, has become the family's No. 1 way to communicate.

The fastest-growing age group on Facebook is women older than 55, Inside Facebook says.

The fastest-growing age group on Facebook is women older than 55, Inside Facebook says.


"We call it our living room," the 56-year-old mother said by phone from her home in Houston, Texas. "Everybody can tell what everybody else is doing."

"Everybody" includes Ireland's five kids and her 83-year-old mother, who has a Facebook profile she accesses daily, Ireland said.

While online social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are known hang-outs for younger adults and teenagers, older generations in recent months have been taking to the medium at a faster rate than any other age group, according to industry reports.

Many of these older folks use social networks to keep tabs on younger family members and they often find fruitful connections with their peers after they've friended all of their kids and grandkids, according to an informal survey by Stanford University professor BJ Fogg. Join a conversation on this topic at CNN's Facebook page

The trend is still relatively confined. Only about 7 percent of people older than 65 have online social-networking profiles, according to research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

But Facebook's popularity is growing most quickly among women older than 55, according to a site called Inside Facebook, which tracks Facebook's growth.

For the entire article, click here CNN Facebook article

Did you know?

This is my favorite thing at the moment.

- Jason Acquisto, MZDi

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites

I love sharing. Sharing is great. I love to give donations, presents, compliments, a stick of gum. Whatever. Something else that's really cool is receiving. You know, getting stuff. But what I like best of all is when I get something I really like and I am able to pass it along to someone else. That's sharing. And sharing is great. So please enjoy this article that I found in Smashing Magazine, written by Paul Boag. Paul is the founder of UK Web design agency Headscape, author of the Website Owners Manual and host of award-winning Web design podcast
- Jason Acquisto

Director, MZD Interactive

10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites
source - Smashing Magazine, February 10th, 2009

We all make mistakes running our websites. However, the nature of those mistakes varies depending on the size of your company. As your organization grows, the mistakes change. This post addresses common mistakes among large organizations.
Most of the clients I work with are large organizations: universities, large charities, public sector institutions and large companies. Over the last 7 years, I have noticed certain recurring misconceptions among these organizations. This post aims to dispel these illusions and encourage people to face the harsh reality.
The problem is that if you are reading this post, you are probably already aware of these things. But hopefully this article will be helpful to you as you convince others within your organization. In any case, here are our 10 harsh truths about websites of large organizations.
1. You Need A Separate Web Division
In many organizations, the website is managed by either the marketing or IT department. However, this inevitably leads to a turf war, with the website becoming the victim of internal politics.
In reality, pursuing a Web strategy is not particularly suited to either group. IT may be excellent at rolling out complex systems, but it is not suited to developing a friendly user experience or establishing an online brand.

Zeldman urges organisations to create a separate web division.
Marketing, on the other hand, is little better. As Jeffrey Zeldman puts it in his article Let there be Web divisions:
The Web is a conversation. Marketing, by contrast, is a monologue… And then there’s all that messy business with semantic markup, CSS, unobtrusive scripting, card-sorting exercises, HTML run-throughs, involving users in accessibility, and the rest of the skills and experience that don’t fall under Marketing’s purview.
Instead, the website should be managed by a single unified team. Again, Zeldman sums it up when he writes:
Put them in a division that recognizes that your website is not a bastard of your brochures, nor a natural outgrowth of your group calendar. Let there be Web divisions.
2. Managing Your Website Is A Full-Time Job
Not only is the website often split between marketing and IT, it is also usually under-resourced. Instead of there being a dedicated Web team, those responsible for the website are often expected to run it alongside their “day job.”
click here for full story 10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Turn on the SyFy Channel?

by Kiley Kellermeyer, MZD Account Executive

Having somehow gone unmonitored by historians and semanticists everywhere, the sometimes-vowel “y” has finally ascended the ranks of letterdom and become infinitely cooler than the letters “c”and “i”. This is bad news if your name is “Chris Irwin” but great news for Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel, which will evolve on July 7 to the SyFy Channel in attempts to shed its geeky image.

Here’s Howe’s thinking: “When we tested this new name, the thing that we got back from our 18-to-34 techno-savvy crowd, which is quite a lot of our audience, is actually this is how you’d text it,” Howe told TV Guide. “It made us feel much cooler, much more cutting-edge, much more hip, which was kind of bang-on what we wanted to achieve communication-wise.”

In the official press release on, Howe said that “the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider and more diverse range of imagination-based entertainment,” but I think what he really meant is best summed up by this statement from TV historian Tim Brooks (who helped launch Sci Fi Channel) when he told TV Guide: “The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular.”

The name Sci Fi, said Brookes, is better than Science Fiction, but still limiting.

Now, I fit right smack dab in the middle of Mr. Howe’s demographic. And –bonus points for me – I’m a geek. I enjoy a great lightsaber battle as much as the next girl, and time travel makes my heart go pitter pat.

But, come on now, Howe! SyFy? I’m certainly no “y-hater,” but it seems to me in order to attract people to your channel you need to air shows that will draw them and keep them coming back for more, not simply swivel a couple of letters around. Not to mention, when a middle-aged man says something is “much more hip,” I’m heading for the hills, and I’ll wager a lot of those 18 to 34 year-olds will be right behind me.

One look at the comments on the TV Guide story suggests that Sci Fi Channel doesn’t have a branding problem, it has a content problem. Apparently, it has strayed so far away from science fiction its core audience feels it shouldn’t actually be called the science fiction channel – which is apparently the direction the executives are heading, as well. Unfortunately, that core audience is also “heading” for the remote control.

The Sci Fi Channel – er, SyFy Channel – is a niche. The beauty of the channel is that it doesn’t have to be NBC, CBS or ABC. Those networks are for the general public, with some viewers who aren’t quite capable of stretching their minds past the mundane. A channel devoted to science fiction shows and movies, then, should not hide behind two little y’s when the real marketing efforts could be made building a fan base for science fiction across the board.

See that guy over there who says he doesn’t like anything that couldn’t happen in real life? Make and market something so good he’ll be captivated. I doubt he’ll turn off “CSI:Miami” in favor of “Warehouse 13” because he’s got a fetish for the second to last letter in the alphabet.

Oh, and Mr. Howe and Mr. Brookes, while you’re at it, you might try not publicly insulting your core audience with the “geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys” comments in the future.

Hey, look – “dysfunctional” has a “y” in it!

Friday, March 13, 2009


By Aaron Whitaker, MZD Senior Copywriter

What is Twitter and why do I want to tweet you?

You’ve probably seen news articles recently regarding breaking news and how it is leaks out through Twitter first and not your typical media routes of TV and radio. And if you’re like many, you’ve probably asked yourself “What in the world is a Twitter?” Twitter is a micro blogging platform that allows people to broadcast short messages of less than 140 characters to friends and strangers.

I will have to admit that I was unfamiliar with Twitter up until about a year ago. And at that time, I was told by an “expert” that it allows people to follow you and see what you’re doing during the day like “I’m going to lunch with friends,” or “I’m going to the grocery store for the second time today.” And my response was why do I want to know what someone else is doing every second of the day. It reminded me about the early days of blogs and how most of the blogs seemed like teenagers talking about themselves and their “totally, awesome friends.”

So at that time, I blew off Twitter and called it “stupid” but recently I started researching on how Twitter can be used as a marketing tool. And it was through this research that I discovered that it seems Twitter has grown up in the last year. There are many great examples of brands using Twitter as a marketing tool like Ford, Jet Blue, H&R Block, Starbucks and the Red Cross. So what do they do and how do they do it? They listen, they share and they help but they don’t advertise. And that is what makes or breaks a brand on Twitter.

Think of Twitter as a bar or a party where you talk with strangers, talk with friends, share interesting stories, tell jokes, debate on issues and so on. And then you go home. Well Twitter is a place to share your knowledge of your brands field and expertise. If it’s healthcare, you share healthy insights or new research about the healthiness of drinking wine. You might even help people out who have questions about their healthcare like what is the difference between an FSA and a HSA. You socialize with people who are interested in what you have to say. In Twitter if someone likes what you are saying or is interested in what you talk about, they “follow” you. That means that whenever you write a short message or “tweet” on Twitter, all of your followers receive that message. If they have a specific question, they can tweet you and ask you.

So how does it payoff for your brand? If you are an expert on healthcare on Twitter, I may follow you because I’m interested in staying healthy but I might run into a friend who is looking for a new healthcare policy and have I got good news for him. I can give my friend your Twitter name or your blog or Web site name and he goes to you because I, as a friend, have validated you as a good source for healthcare information. Word of mouth. Yep, that old way of advertising has suddenly made an appearance alongside one of the modern tools of advertising, Twitter.

So when you think of Twitter and other social media platforms think of it as networking and socializing at a bar. If people are interested in what you are saying, they can follow you home to your company’s Web site or blog. Twitter is just one bar in a sea of online bars, so don’t cut yourself short and just use one social media platform to talk about your expertise and brand, use them all or at least more than one.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Putting Your Best Face Forward

By Angie Gookins, MZD Media Buyer

Two evenings ago, I was hanging at my favorite place, with two of my favorite people: the mall with my 9 month old son and my mother. I am a cliché mall-loving woman. Even when I don’t buy, I just love to peruse the different wings, browse through the beautiful clothes, and dabble at the makeup counters. And despite my husband’s emphatic denial, the truth is my son loves to hang at the mall too.

However, a baby in public always brings with it a small source of stress; the unpredictable, and loud mini-humans that they are. So, when I venture out of the “safe zone”, I always take great care in being prepared to prevent or solve a meltdown of any sort. Because, it’s also important, when out in public, to create an image of confidence – “I know what I’m doing and can handle the situation no matter the occurrence.” I want to put my best face forward. I do not want outsiders giving me an “F” in parenting.

I am my own marketing agency.

Which leads me to tell you about the woman in the bathroom, who obviously did not employ a marketing agency – her own, or any one else’s. The cursing, yelling and berating were serious mistakes of the worst kind. Her child, the one who didn’t wash her hands without being told, was far better behaved than the woman, who held the title “mother”. She definitely gets an “F” in parenting, as well as public relations. I’m not sure she has ever heard of putting your best face forward, or marketing, at that.

If I hadn’t been completely terrified, I might have given her my card.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Power of Barney

By Aaron Whitaker, MZD Senior Copywriter

My two-year-old daughter is a handful. I’ve pretty much given up the whole idea of having a clean living room. My wife or I can pick up all of her toys and put them away and when we turn our back, all of the toys are suddenly back on the floor, in between the sofa cushions under the sofa, in the dog’s crate which the dog is now chewing on, and basically in every tiny little hole, crevice and space in the living room. She is a terror, I would actually welcome a bull in a china shop. I mean, eventually the bull would settle down unlike my little girl.

But there is one thing that can grab her attention immediately. No it’s not pointy objects, it’s Barney. “I love Barney,” never thought I’d say that but I do. And guess what? Barney loves me too because he sings it to me every time he’s on the TV. And I love my DVR. Whenever we need my daughter to sit down for a little while, so we can pick up her toys, we play one of the many episodes of Barney that are on our DVR. Somehow Barney makes my daughter sit down on the couch and become transfixed to the TV for the whole episode and then I push replay and she does it all over again. I don’t know if Barney is a hypnotist or the anti-Christ but he knows how to grab my daughter’s attention and keep it which I feel I will never be able to master.

In the world of advertising, Barney is the king of the toddler demographic. And as an advertiser, I think Barney is an untapped resource for advertisers. What if Baby Bop (another dinosaur) sang her song called “The Baby Bop Hop” (I swear she sings it like every episode, I get it already, I can hop now, thanks) with some Fisher Price instruments? Or if BJ (another dinosaur) who is working on potty training takes a dump in his Huggies? And Barney changes him and uses Johnson & Johnson baby powder? And when Barney has had enough trying to watch over all these damn kids and answering all their stupid questions, what if he had a nice glass of Caymus Cabernet and a Roche Pharmaceuticals Valium? Barney is powerful, probably more powerful than the President, I mean Barney has a 100% approval rating among the 0-4 year olds, that’s unbelievable. He can tell those millions of babies and toddlers to do anything or buy anything and they’ll do it. So advertisers, start calling Barney. Oh wait, he doesn’t have a phone and he only comes to life in make-believe. Damn it! Well advertiser, start make-believing Barney is selling your products. Good luck.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mix Tapes (and other mistakes)

By Ryan Porter, MZD Senior Art Director

I’m walking thru the agency today and I hear some co-workers talking about mix tapes. You remember those? The tapes you made for someone you were dating that had all of the songs that reminded you of them. It reminded me of this time in college when I started dating this girl and fell in love and put the song “Rape Me” by Nirvana on a tape for her. Subsequently, I ended up marrying said girl and getting divorced 9 years later in what I now refer to as “The Great Escape”. But that’s a whole other blog post. Trust me!

Maybe putting that song on that tape should have been a sign. It was a mistake. It was cheesy. It was… well, embarrassing. Lord knows that if rethought all of the decisions I made when I was 19, certainly there would have been a few different paths traveled.

Was putting that song on that tape a sign of things to come? Was it the start of an ever so gradual downslide? Did putting that song on that tape turn her into a raging psycho? No, probably not. But if I would have looked closer for the signs, I would have seen that her “brand” was on a serious downturn.

Just like with your brand. A brand isn’t just a logo. It isn’t the smile you put on even when things aren’t going well. Or the makeup you use to cover that untimely pimple. You can’t cover a bad brand with pretty colors and a flashy business card. Sure, those things are part of making a great first impression, but they’re not everything.

Your brand is your reflection on the world. Your brand is nothing without the your performance to back it up. Your brand is how you look, how you act, how you conduct business, and how you treat your customers. Your brand is OTHER PEOPLE’S perception of you.

So baby your brand. Finesse it. Teach it tricks that bring on gaggles of laughter at parties. What I’m saying is PAY ATTENTION TO IT! Don’t just let someone design you a logo or a brochure and think the job is done. When you’re talking about branding, the job is never done. It’s like raising a baby. You constantly have to make sure that someone is looking after it and pointing it in the right direction. Do the job that your clients expect you to do, and then take it 5 steps further. Don’t just meet people’s expectations. GO BEYOND THEM.

Don’t let your brand evolve into something people will despise or laugh at behind your back. Make sure it has a pretty face, but also the intellect and determination to perform miracles.

At MZD we understand brands and how important they are to your business, because ours is that important to us. Be careful not to suddenly realize that your “brand” is on a serious downturn, and find yourself looking to make “The Great Escape” like I did!

Monday, February 16, 2009

MZD creates "Feel Good Site of the Year"

The Feel Good Web Site of the Year – REALTORS Giving Back (

In the tough economic times our nation is facing, it’s nice to read some good news. The problem is there’s not a lot out there and it’s hard to find. Most media outlets focus on the trying times of our nation whether it’s the economy, the war, the fighting on Capitol Hill or the next big storm that is taking out our power and leaving areas completely devastated. Sure, a good story comes along every once in a while like the “Miracle on the Hudson River” story. But most times it’s hard to find heartwarming stories.

That is why Indiana Association of REALTORS came to us at MZD. Throughout the year, their REALTORS gave their time and money to helping others in need in their communities. But most of these stories went untold. IAR wanted to spread these good words about these acts of kindness in hopes that they would lift the spirits of their fellow Hoosiers and perhaps inspire others to give generously of their time and effort towards those in need.

It was from this simple idea, that we created Realtors Giving Back for IAR. At Realtors Giving Back, IAR’s more than 18,000 REALTORS are able to share their stories of giving and read the stories of others. News stories and articles about their acts of kindness are also posted on the Web site for others to read. So if you need a pickup and want to see what great things REALTORS in Indiana are doing for their community, visit

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Business Strategy

By Erik Faigh, MZD Account Executive

New. Business. Those are definitely two words every account person loves to hear. In the past few months of 2008, we’ve added several new clients to our roster. I’d just like to take a minute and mention those names here. (You never know when they might be reading.) Here’s a warm and bloggy welcome to American Health & Wellness Group, Associated Builders & Contractors, GAP Solutions, Inc., the Indianapolis City Market and Energy Management Systems. You’ll be able to follow some of the work we have done and are currently doing for these clients in upcoming posts. We look forward to forging great relationships with each of them, but, perhaps what we’re excited about the most is the new way we’re helping our clients, old and new, do business.

In today’s economic climate, which resembles something close to a bar fight in a broom closet, we can’t rely on fat budgets and lazy methods to drive our client’s objectives. Today it’s lean. It’s tight. It’s squeezing a dime from every nickel and trying to figure out how to polish it into a quarter. We’re all taking a long hard look at more intelligent, diverse ways to set our clients apart.

In order to do so, we’re leveraging our strategic partnerships; staying on top of trends; discovering new ways to communicate; and pushing just a little harder and digging a littler deeper (or a lot harder and a lot deeper depending on how much coffee we’ve had) to do our jobs better.

Has MZD changed its tune? Not exactly. We’re still in touch with the basics of our business and that will never change. But what I want to let you know is that we aren’t resting on our tootsie rolls and letting the basics of our business do all the work. At the end of the day each of us want to know we can do a lot more for a client than just return their phone calls.

You know, there’s two other words every account person, and I’d gather, almost every agency person loves hearing more than “new business” and that’s when the client says, “Thank You.”

-Erik Faigh

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Best Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl happened day before yesterday. But evaluation of the commercials continues. Here is a review of the ads from MediaPost.
- Jason Acquisto, MZD Interactive
Shop Talk: The Best And Worst Of The Super Bowl Ads
By Amy Corr , Monday, February 2, 2009

Underwhelmed and fresh salsa. Those are the two tastes lingering in my mouth following the Super Bowl. The game was far more exciting than the ads. Even this non-football-watcher was glued to her seat.

Everyone's tastes differ, but here's a rundown on my favorite and least favorite ads. Whether you agree or disagree with my selection, I invite you to discuss your favorite Super Bowl ads on the Media Creativity blog.

Don't risk missing these ads with a bathroom break: Hulu. "You know they say TV will rot your brain. That's absurd. TV only softens your brain. Like a ripe banana," says Alec Baldwin, portraying an alien portraying a "TV actor" in Hulu's evil plot to destroy the world.
Crispin Porter & Bogusky created the ad. I rewatched the ad on Hulu, but not before being informed that Teleflora sponsored my viewing pleasure. More on them later.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Bowl Ads Sell-Out?

NEW YORK NBC is closing in on a Super Bowl ad sellout, reducing its inventory of remaining spots to a deuce.

In a Wednesday conference call, Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, said the network sold two of its final four ads for Sunday's Steelers-Cardinals finale. "Considering the state of the economy in the United States, we couldn't be any more thrilled with where we are," Ebersol said. "As of [Tuesday], we had four spots to sell. I'm told within the last few hours two of those four have sold, so now we're down to two spots unsold in the game."