Archive for August, 2014

SMIRNOFF ULTIMATE HOUSE PARTY

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Tired of seeing the same vodka commercial on repeat portraying an exclusive and lavish lifestyle that you can’t relate to? Sick of waiting in the cold for hours praying the bouncer will allow you inside a club you can’t afford? Smirnoff understands, and its new “Exclusively for Everybody” campaign proves it. So did their experiential Smirnoff Ultimate House Party tour, which partnered with Spotify to offer “everybody” to host their very own Ultimate House Party. Once the 4 lucky winners were selected, MKTG INC designed a house party specifically for the winner and threw it in their home town. Several entrants also won a three-month premium Spotify membership, furthering Smirnoff’s dedication to inclusivity – music for everyone. The winner invited attendees through a tactic called “Six Degrees of Smirnoff” – 19 of the winner’s closest friends were invited and then asked to invite 6 friends of their own. This, together with residential venues and decor, gave each event the feel of a real house party. While Smirnoff’s official DJ JayCeeOh spun the summer’s hottest hits, guests enjoyed snacks and Smirnoff cocktails served in mis-matched glassware. The winner’s bedroom was re-created and decorated with pictures and personal items along with posters reflecting their interests or hobbies. Each house was equipped with a game room, bottled cocktail and punch station, large graffiti wall for guests to sign and a movie theater.

The event series kicked off in New York for Colorado native Hannah Small and featured a surprise performance by Kelis. This event was followed by winner Justin Day’s Ultimate House Party in Dallas and and Meghan Reynold’s in Portland. The final event will take place in Warren, Michigan in October. Smirnoff partnered with Uber and Broadway Cab Company (in Portland) to ensure all guests arrived in style and got home safely.

Remember – for your next house party, grab a bottle of Smirnoff. Everybody’s invited!

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Movies, Marketing and the Evolution of Man

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What do movies and marketing have in common? Turns out, quite a bit. While my background is in fiction film and postproduction, after four years making videos in the marketing industry, I’ve realized that movies and marketing share an important common goal: emotions. The goal of marketing or branding is to emotionally connect with people, something that movies have done from the start.

Emotional connection is how innovative brands like Apple or Nike create cult followers. It’s also how films — and all forms of storytelling, really — develop followers, too. That’s certainly how I became such a big follower, fan and, eventually, maker of films.

Never was this made clearer to me than when I recently took a class on branding by Dan Formosa, an award-winning designer and design research consultant. In the class, Formosa talked about branding in the context of the evolution of the species. Just how long has branding been with us?

That depends a bit on how you define branding. One definition of branding focuses purely on the logo or mark that represents a product. By that definition scholars might put the beginning of branding at 1777 with the creation of the Bass beer red triangle. But if we think of branding as any packaged product available for public consumption, we might look back to 1100 BC, with an Indian herbal paste called Chyawanprash. Still, even then, that’s only 3,115 years ago. If modern man has been around for 200,000 years, that means we’ve been building brands for a mere 1.5% of our existence as a species.

In other words, evolutionarily speaking, we’re not built for branding. We did not evolve to love products, companies or brands.

We did, however, evolve to love people. We’re built for connection.

And this is why people gravitate so intensely to stories, because they express the complexities of human relationships. The brands that understand this are the most successful brands out there.

A brand doesn’t win people over by explaining how great its product or service is; it wins people by building human relationships with them and, in turn, humanizing the brand itself. What’s interesting is now, thanks to the omnipresence of social media, brands can engage with consumers in entirely new ways — ways that can truly focus on two-way emotional connection. Marketing can be about building relationships, telling stories and inspiring emotions in both consumers and in brands. Yup, in this new world, brands can have feelings, too.

Imagine if marketers began to think of themselves less as marketers and more as relationship coaches between clients and their consumers; imagine if we spent less time “grabbing attention” and more time nurturing it. What an emotional evolution that might be.

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What’s in Your Wallet?

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Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). In our new column, we take a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hear the stories behind them.

As artists go, Ryan’s kind of weird.
I think it’s fair to say that the “weirdness” is not exclusively tied to being an artist… I am just odd in general.

He’s that rare breed that can blend high-minded artistry with hunker-down work ethic.
The stereotype of lazy artists needs to be shattered, and I am working tirelessly on breaking that glass ceiling. This is what everyone is referencing when they say “glass ceiling,” right?

No matter what he sets his mind to – whether he’s making cleverly crafted, artfully executed videos or baking up a batch of the best damn Irish Soda Bread you’ve ever had in your life.
My family is originally from Waterford, Ireland, and we have a family recipe for Irish Soda Bread that has been passed down for more than 150 years. My mother still has the original recipe in Gaelic, hidden in a safe box in our attic (probably next to my Star Wars figures).

This guy goes whole hog.
The expression “whole hog” had never entered my vocabulary until after this business card was written; I now use it daily. This is just to prove how “whole hog” I really am.

His recipe for success is simple: one part creative instinct, one part technical know-how, and one part good old-fashioned nose-to-the-grindstone. And the recipe works on film and in bread. 
Although the description here says it is simple, let me be honest with you: it’s not. The Irish Soda Bread recipe is extremely hard, which is why I only make it once a year. The film part is really simple; that stuff you can just shoot on your iPhone.

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Guest Q&A: George Dickel Ambassador Douglas Kragel

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George Dickel Ambassador Douglas Kragel  The title “Whisky Ambassador” sounds like a dream job. What’s your background, and how did you find your way to George Dickel?
My background is in both service and sales. I have worked every position in restaurants and bars since my first job as a dishwasher. Before becoming the National Ambassador for George Dickel, I worked as a sales representative for a liquor distributor in Baltimore, MD.

You must love whisky. What’s your favorite way to drink it?  What do you drink when you’re not drinking whisky?
There are so many great ways to enjoy whisky that it’s hard to choose a favorite, but currently I’ve been drinking a good amount of whiskey sours. When I’m not drinking whisky I’m most likely drinking a cold beer.

American whiskey is really hot right now. Why do you think that is?
I think one of the factors behind the rise in the popularity of American whiskey is the rise of craft in the beverage industry. Craft beer has paved the way for consumers looking to quality American products, and craft cocktails have brought attention back to the use of American spirits from the pre-Prohibition era.

Traditionally people think of whisky as a cold-weather spirit. How do you teach people to think differently?
I tell people to drink what they like and not to follow convention. What’s better than a cold whisky sour in the summertime?

What kind of trends are you seeing, either among bartenders or consumers?
I think the biggest trend I’m seeing is honesty. That means bar programs that are upfront and have a genuine identity, and consumers who aren’t afraid to forgo that list and order what they really want.

In July you participated in Tales of the Cocktail, which is like the Super Bowl of the spirits industry. Any favorite moments/experiences?
It’s hard to pinpoint any one particular moment at an event as lively as Tales. What I do love the most about that week is the opportunity to work alongside all of the Diageo Masters of Whisky, and tap into the vast network that they have built across the country.

Whisky brands have been doing a lot to bring new in consumers, including women. What are you doing with the brand?
Generally, to get new consumers to try your product, you have to make it more accessible. Whisky can be an intimidating category. For us, it’s all about educating folks on what George Dickel Tennessee Whisky is, and how it differs from other spirits. For instance, our unique charcoal filtration process produces a smooth sipping whisky that goes down easy.

What’s your favorite meal (or flavor) that people might not think to pair with whisky?
Seafood. I think the rich flavor of say, oysters, can be complemented nicely with the dry nature of rye whisky, for example.

If you could enjoy a glass of whisky with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Eddie Vedder. For the simple reason that it would give me a chance to spend a little time with an idol, and talking while drinking whisky would help me feel a bit less nervous.

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Guinness ICC 2014: Soccer, Smirnoff Ice and Setting Records

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With the excitement of a thrilling World Cup still in the air, soccer fans across the US had little time to catch their breath as the largest soccer tournament in America was upon them. For the second year in a row, Guinness was the title sponsor of the International Champions Cup (ICC), a two-week tournament pitting some of the best soccer clubs from around the world against one another right here in the United States. This year, Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid sought to defend their 2013 title against Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, FC Inter, AC Milan, AS Roma and Olympiacos.

The tournament spanned 12 US cities, drawing in over 640,000 passionate fans to the stadiums and exponentially more through live broadcasting on NBC Sports, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Network Television. The ICC made its presence known, appearing several times on ESPN’s Top 10 plays (including Wayne Rooney’s awesome goal in the final match). Most impressive, perhaps, was the Manchester United vs Real Madrid match in Ann Arbor, Michigan where 109,318 fans filled “The Big House,” accounting for the largest crowd to ever watch a professional soccer game in the US. The irony of Guinness setting a record is not lost here.

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All ICC stadium events featured a Guinness Beer Garden providing avid fans with cold beer, giveaways and MKTG INC staff. MKTG INC also executed 161 events at designated local Fan Hubs across the ICC cities, where consumers competed in prop pick contests to win premium Guinness soccer swag and received complimentary beer samples. These events coincided with televised ICC matches and drew even more viewers for the tournament.

MKTG INC also managed the sampling of portfolio-partner Smirnoff Ice at the Dallas and Miami events. Over 2,400 consumers (21+) sampled Smirnoff Ice Original, Screwdriver and Watermelon Mimosa across these two events. Many had never tasted the brand before but eagerly welcomed the ice cold product on those blistering hot days. Both Guinness and Smirnoff Ice saw impressive sales at the stadiums, further establishing them as drinks of choice when watching soccer.

In the end, Manchester United faced off against its heated rival Liverpool in front of a roaring crowd of over 50,000 fans in Miami. After a slow start, Wayne Rooney and his Manchester United team rallied an exciting comeback to win 3-1, claiming the 2014 International Champions Cup as their own. Once again, Guinness treated fans to some of the best soccer the world has to offer right in their own backyards. While it may have only been considered a friendly, the passion, records and bragging rights are certainly real.

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