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.