July 2014

Agency Fluff

Marshmallow Challenge 1, Ideopia Egos 0

Agency Fluff

Marshmallow Challenge 1, Ideopia Egos 0

Team Ideopia's experience with the Marshmallow Challenge can be summed up in one word: kerplunk. After all, balancing a marshmallow atop a freestanding tower built from spaghetti, string and tape is no fluffy task.

Senior designer Joel Steczynski organized the friendly creative competition. He pitted three teams against each other for 18 nerve-wracking, "please don't fall, please don't fall" minutes.

Bill, Susan and Emily squeaked out a victory, while the rest of our towers crumbled with our egos.

But the real winner here? Tom Wujec, the challenge's creator, who accurately predicts how certain characters and career types will perform. Watch his TED Talk video, and take note of the bigger the prize, the bigger failure rate.

Corral your team into the Great Marshmallow Challenge Showdown. We'll bet you a S'mores you won't beat a bunch of kindergartners. Check out our Facebook photo album. Please, don't eat the props.

Creative Advertising

Drop Everything. Watch This Epic World Cup Ad.

Creative Advertising

Drop Everything. Watch This Epic World Cup Ad.

The world's biggest soccer tournament spans continents. Religions. Industries. Political parties. You name it. For one month, we put all of our differences aside and unite on the turf in the name of futbol, soccer, or whatever you call it. No matter who you cheer for, there's one thing we can all agree on: This epic ESPN commercial from 2010 nails the spirit of the World Cup. What's your favorite ad? Tweet us or drop us a line, and we might feature it.

Go USA.

Over on Facebook: Ideopia celebrates World Cup fever with an office party, ice cold brewskis and one heckuva cool bottle opener.

Public Relations

5 Handy Tips to Ace Reporter Queries

Public Relations

5 Handy Tips to Ace Reporter Queries

You've chummed the water. You've staked out the goat. You've greased the trap, baited the hook, and smeared peanut butter on the mousetrap.

In other words, you've sent out your pitch or news release. Now what?

What do you do when the phone rings, or the inbox pings or Twitter tweets? That reporter needs details and lots of 'em. And maybe needs to talk to a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or wants a quote from the CEO.

Here are 5 tips so you don't get caught flat-footed:

Expect the call. Lots of people in the public relations biz think the job is over when the press release goes out. Maybe you make a follow-up phone call or email. But that's just the first bean in the burrito. Most reporters will use your release as a starting point, but they're gonna have lots more questions. So don't be surprised when they call.

Be prompt (and available). Reporters (like most of us) have deadlines and they're usually pushing them to the max. Answer the phone. Or email. Or tweet. But get back to them quickly. The curse of the 24-hour news cycle? You're expected to be accessible during waking hours (and sometimes after). Being accessible via social media can be a big advantage for both you and the reporter.

Get technical. Have relevant information handy – not just the information pertaining to the news release, but basic company information and background. And if you don't know something, find out and get it to 'em ASAP.

Be prepared. Have the contact information of your Subject Matter Experts available. Make sure the SME has been briefed. Coordinate between the SME and the reporter. And have a few pithy quotes ready from the SME just in case the reporter and the SME don't connect. Make images available, hi-res and web-ready, plus video and audio, if relevant. And have a way to get it to who needs it in zippy fashion (reference to speed and compressing files…see what I did there?)

Be friendly. And helpful. And pretty, and witty and wise. Help the reporter get what she needs. PR is a service industry. The better service you provide, the more successful you'll be. <Ring! Ring!> It's for you!

For more PR advice and where to plan your next microbrewery tour, call or email Ben Singleton, Ideopia's director of public relations. 513-947-1444 ext 18.

Email Marketing

Canada's New Anti-Spam Law: Salty Consequences

Email Marketing

Canada's New Anti-Spam Law: Salty Consequences

Like an iron fist smothered in maple syrup, Canada is sticking it to brands with the toughest email marketing law in the land. And if your company deals in the Great White North, it may apply to you.

Effective July 1, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) requires businesses to obtain permission to send emails, text messages and possibly social media postings to customers or prospects.

Two Varieties of Consent: Implied or Express

Implied consent requires documented proof of a relationship with a consumer. For example, Jasper in Nova Scotia ordered a batch of squeegees last May and gave you his email address.

Express applies mainly to prospects, or any customer you can't prove you've done business with in the last two years.

To gain the golden stamp of approval, you must dish out opt-in messages and compete with a flurry of others doing the same thing.

While mega brands like Ford entice customers with freebies – a chance to win a free Mustang – small businesses and non-profits don't have the same resources.

Some experts believe companies will see opt-in rates of less than 20 percent without the help of an agency or digital marketing plan.

Whether you're a global brand with customers up north, or considering business ventures there, it's best to have an agency (and lawyer) on your side. Or risk stiff fines – up to $1 million per person, and up 10 times that for companies found in violation – and an email list worth less than a can of spam.

But for now, let's just hope this crackdown doesn't spread south of the border.

Read more about CASL here.