Super Bowl 2017

“Football” by Jeff Turner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This year, I did the unthinkable. I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. I had what I think is a good reason — I’m learning how to produce online courses, and I’ll talk more about that in a sec. Anyway, I was knee deep in one of the learning modules Sunday and lost track of time.

I’m a huge fan of the Super Bowl. Not the game itself, really. The commercials. I watch solely for the commercials. I’m not gonna say I don’t get caught up in the game, that’s just not why I’m there. I’m there for the ads. One year (2013, maybe?) I even live-tweeted the ads. I’m a complete and total geek for the ads.

This year, though, I only saw two or three of the commercials. Budweiser and T-Mobile and Kia (nice touch on the Bonnie Tyler). So I went hunting for the replays. Because there’s always a lot of commentary about the replays.

For instance:

  • GNC is thinking of suing Fox for banning their ad over the presence of DHEA in some of their products. (Watch the 30-second spot here.)
  • Ad Exec’s think National Geographic’s “Bad Romance” is the best Super Bowl ad of 2017. Can we please be done with the sticking out of the tongue, Albert Einstein?
  • Cards Against Humanity (CAH) put up a fake Super Bowl ad with the accompanying explanation (which I would think is genius, except for all of the other fake everything these days.)
  • CAH is not wrong about the cost. Budweiser needs to sell almost 5 million six-packs, for example, to make back the cost of a Super Bowl ad. H&R Block would have to sign up 285,796 users, and Wendy’s would have to sell 963,391 burgers.
  • Depending on who you talk to, it’s either the wisest way to waste money, or advertising is in a death spiral.
  • Probably the most interesting thing I learned from this year’s advertising “after-party” involved the making of the Hyundai ad. It didn’t run until after the Super Bowl because they were capturing and editing footage of the game in real time with soldiers and their families to illustrate what real sacrifice looks like.

So yeah, no Super Bowl ads this year. And I gotta say, the “after-party” without the event itself isn’t nearly as fun.

What was fun was figuring out how to offer online courses, though, and HeyAmyLou is going to go all in this spring, offering our first ever digital training. We’re super excited to think that we’ll be able to reach a bigger audience, in the comfort of their own space, while continuing to provide cutting edge content. Watch this space for more details in the coming weeks, and for a chance to help us test run our inaugural course.

And until then, February’s deal is still on. Looking to put up or refresh a website? We’ve got everything you need to make it happen. And, my domain registration company is currently having a sale, which means even more savings for you!

P.S. If you’re interested, my 2016 Super Bowl Write Up is here, 2013 is here, and my first ever, 2012, is here (although the video has been taken down).

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

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Are Our Websites Actually Working For Us?

Everyone needs a complicated, multi-layered website, right? (hint: wrong).  It’s gotta have moving parts, flashy design, lots of tabs and most definitely lots of words, right? (hint: wrong).

Too much of a good thing can be bad. Really bad.

Have you heard of heatmaps? Probably not, and that’s not bad. I’m a geek for all things design and think spending a Saturday afternoon with heatmaps is fun. And it’s perfectly ok if you don’t see things my way.

Heatmaps are this cool tool used to track where users spend time on websites. They’re designed to work in one of two ways, mousetracking or eyetracking. Yep, tracking where a person’s eye lands on a website is actually a thing.

Heatmaps are also very expensive things, as you can imagine. And, unless you think spending Saturday afternoons watching heatmaps work is time well spent, they’re kinda unnecessary.

Because, you see, other people’s heatmaps (and good old-fashioned newspaper design) can teach us a lot about how users engage with websites, without all the cost and coding necessary to install a heatmap on your site.

For Instance:

  • People spend more time on the left side of the page.
  • People have developed “banner blindness”. Think Facebook. How often do you pay attention to all the ads on the right side of your screen? Most people are blind to them. Avoid mimicking that design on your own site.
  • The most important content should be at the top of your site, or “above the fold”. Here’s where good old-fashioned newspaper design comes in. Journalists know to put the most important stories above the fold in their newspapers. The digital equivalent of a “fold” is the length of your screen. All the gold should be captured on your website without having to scroll.
  • “Above the fold” pt 2 – viewing time decreases sharply below the fold. People will scroll, but we have a short attention span. The further the content is away from the top of the screen the less attention a person has in reading it.
  • When using images of people, it matters where there eyes are “looking”.
  • There’s something known as a recency effect. Essentially, what we see last, we remember longest.

So, with all that in mind, what is your website saying? In our over-scheduled, multi-tasking existence, is your website designed to convert visitors into customers, or do they get lost below the fold and lose interest?

HeyAmyLou’s February Deal can answer that. The first 5 people to contract with us this month for a website design*  or refresh will receive a free audit of their existing site.  We’ll evaluate your current site’s overall design, ease of use and responsiveness.  Normally $150, this month we’re waiving the cost because we want your site work for you, not the other way around.

*If you’re designing your site from scratch, we’ll subtract $150 off the total cost of the design.

Consults on our monthly deals are always free. Schedule one today by emailing us at heyal@amylouthatswho.com and let’s see how HeyAmyLou can support your small business.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

Planning A Blog Planner

Blogging makes me happy. I like writing, I’m proud of 90% of what I’ve written here and when I know what I’m doing I look forward to writing in this space.

Did you catch that little admission right there? The one where I admitted I don’t know what I’m doing? Yep. Most of the time I’m winging it. I have no set schedule for blogging. What? When? Why? I don’t know. I rarely know.

I’ve tried it all: blocking off time in my planner, developing long lists of topics, drawing nifty diagrams and pinning them to the wall opposite my monitor. And the only thing I do with any consistency is blow by all of it. Not because I don’t like writing, I truly do. My “planning” doesn’t have a consistency to it.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was developing a blog planner. When I hit on that idea I had an ulterior motive: it was really because I wanted to learn how to design printables. And a blog planner designed using those new-found skills seemed like a useful thing for folks.

Publishing said blog planner has taken me longer than I originally thought it would. That’s not because of any deign learning curve. It’s because I’ve become my own best customer. I am the person for whom I’m designing a blog planner. For real. The one who needs a consistent plan for getting it done.

It’s getting there. It’s almost a blog planner I see my self using. Consistently. Watch this space for more on when it will be available. And an “insider” series on how it came to be. Because now I know what I’m doing. 🙂

___________

If you’re curious about what’s going on elsewhere in the land of me, head on over to Irish Yoga Chick later today where I’ll be talking meditation.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Speaking of books . . .

And we were, a couple of days ago. Sort of.

Anyway,  if you follow me on Instagram, you saw my fangirl post about Jenny Lawson’s book Furiously Happy being my last book of 2015.  Now, barely into 2016, my first finished book You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day is going to cause me to have my second ever fangirl moment. Holy wow, these two books have set the 2016 reading bar pretty high.

I’m going to write  a more in-depth post on them soon. For now, though, if you’re looking for something to read head to your local library or bookstore and block out a weekend. And then come back here so we can discuss how good they are.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

I’m A Music Geek

Chipotle - Back to the Start

 

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m a music geek. I love everything about music. And yes, I schedule time to watch the Grammys. Live. From start to finish.

 
I’m also a failure at sitting still. And I’m terrible at watching TV. The fast forward button on the remote control is my best friend.

Sunday night during a commercial break for the Grammys, as I was checking Twitter for the latest updates, letting the dogs out for the 19th time in an hour (good grief), and trying to decide what to have for dinner, I found myself standing still.
 
The almost impossible happened. I stopped multi-tasking to focus 100% of my attention on listening to Willie Nelson cover Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” As I walked back into the living room to see what I was hearing, I found myself watching a Chipotle commercial.
 
Except it was so much more than a commercial. Titled “Back to the Start,” it’s two minutes and twenty seconds of stop-motion animation. It’s a short film.
 
Chipotle got me, Ms. Perpetual Motion, to stop and pay attention to their message. Harder still, once they had my attention they kept it for the full 2:20. Much beyond that, really. I’m still thinking and writing about it today. And I’m seriously craving a Chipotle burrito bowl vegetarian with extra guac.
 
They asked Willie Nelson, one of the founders of Farm Aid, to lend his voice both figuratively and literally. They chose Coldplay’s “The Scientist” to convey the idea of sustainable farming and “getting back to the start,” and they wrapped the whole message in stop-motion animation that illustrates the genesis of what they stand for as a company: Food with Integrity.” Plus–be still my heart–it has a charitable component. When purchased from iTunes, $.60 per download of Willie Nelson’s cover of the “The Scientist” benefits the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which provides funding to support sustainable agriculture, family farming, and culinary education.
 
Then, as if that weren’t brilliant enough, they elected to air their 1st national television ad in the 18-year history of the company during the Grammys. (Willie Nelson has received multiple Grammys on top of being a lifetime achievement award recipient, and Coldplay performed in-house. Slam dunk.)
 
Why is all this so brilliant, according to me? Let’s look at the stats.
·         “Back to the Start” has been on YouTube since summer 2011.
·         To date, it has been viewed over 5 million times on YouTube.
·         Shortly after its release, it was the eighth most-shared ad on YouTube (September 2011).
·         Since the fall of 2011 it has run in 10,000 movie theaters nationwide.
·         “Back to the Start” was named by AdWeek as one of the 10 Best Commercials of 2011, coming in at #2 behind Volkswagen’s “The Force.”
·         It was listed by Zeta Interactive as one of the top 10 ads to generate online buzz in 2011one of only two ads to make that list without debuting during the Super Bowl.
 
To sum it up, an old YouTube viral video that has been shared millions of times and won a couple of awards last year was just repurposed as a TV commercial aired during a music awards show with the largest viewing audience since 1984. They can’t improve on that marketing strategy if they tried. But I’m betting they will.
 
Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts about Chipotle’s marketing strategy?
 
What do you think about stop-motion animated short films as advertising? Is this the next trend in “traditional” advertising? Or is it so unique that once it’s been done it can’t be recreated in a meaningful way without being compared to “that great Chipotle YouTube video”?

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2012 – All rights reserved
(publication on RGA Public Relations New Media Observer Blog Feb 2012 permitted)