Monthly Archives: August 2014

Smoking – “Finish It”


It’s hard to believe, but it has been 14 years since the first significant antismoking campaign – “Truth” – launched in 2000. In the classic video, young people pull up to the Philip Morris headquarters in New York and dump out 1,200 body bags – one for each person who died daily as a results of tobacco smoking.

It was a stunning commercial, and a very effective one. In a research study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the “Truth” campaign has been attributed with preventing 450,000 teens from smoking. Today, 9% of teens smoke, down from 23% in 2000. That’s a big impact for a public service campaign.

The new campaign is called “Finish it” and it launched this week in video and social media. The campaign wants teenagers to superimpose a campaign logo onto their profile pictures to help spread the message. The campaign’s goal is lofty and worthy – to have 0% of teenagers smoking.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss social responsibility in marketing.
  2. Poll students about public service campaigns. What is memorable, why, and did it change behavior? (ex: drunk driving, texting while driving, seat belts, etc.)
  3. Show the original “Truth” video:

  1. Show the new “Finish It” video:

  1. Divide students into teams and have team analyze the two commercials for messages, target market, effectiveness, etc.
  2. Next, have each team select a social responsibility topic and design a campaign to reach the audience and educate them about the topic.

Source: New York Times

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An Automated Thanking Machine (ATM)


Everyone knows what an ATM is – an automated teller machine. ATMs take the ‘personal’ out of ‘personal banking’. But there was a different twist on the ATM concept at TD Bank in Canada in early August. The company transformed the ATMs in several of its branches into a different type of machine – an Automated Thanking Machine – that thanked customers personally for their business and loyalty.

TD employees distributed green envelopes containing a $20 bill to every customer in more than 1,100 TD branches. And lest online and phone customers be left out of the fun, more than 28,000 additional people were informed that they received a deposit directly into their bank accounts. In total, 30,000 bank customers were thanked and delighted by the personal attention. The video of the ‘thanking’ quickly went viral, amassing more than six million hits in the first week.

Several very lucky TD customers were selected to receive trips, experiences, money, savings contributions, flowers, and cakes. One particularly lucky customer received tickets to a Blue Jays baseball game, and was invited to throw the first pitch. That’s pretty personal service from a usually impersonal industry.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing how students interact with their banks. What services do they receive? Do they have any loyalty to the bank?
  2. Next, discuss the importance of customer relationship building to businesses. What experiences do students have of businesses developing a personal relationship with them?
  3. Show the video:
  4. Debrief reactions from students and discuss the benefits to the company.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a business that is impersonal, and then develop a way for the business to increase its customer relationships.

Source: Forbes,, other news sources

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Viral Videos for August, 2014


Every week Advertising Age, in conjunction with company Visible Measures, publishes a list of the top performing videos. The weekly chart highlights viral video ads that appear on online video sites. Each ad measures viewership of brand-syndicated video clips as well as social video placements that are driven by viewers around the world. True Reach™ quantifies the total audience that has been exposed to a viral video campaign.

There are three key factors for viral video success:

  1. Reaching the tastemakers.
  2. Building a community of participation.
  3. Creating unexpectedness in the video.

Regardless of the type of product or service, the country of origin, or the type of message, what matters most to companies is reaching the audience in a way the both entertains and informs. Check out this week’s top videos and discuss how they address the factors for viral success.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up Ad Age’s weekly Viral Video chart:
  2. Have students examine how the ads are measured by Visible Measures.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an ad on the top video chart and analyze the ad.
  4. Discuss: What is unusual? Who will it interest? What is the key message? How effective is the ad at getting the company’s brand and message across to viewers?
  5. In teams, have students design a viral video for a product of their choosing. What are the elements that are needed to go viral?

Source: Advertising Age, Visible Measures – weekly update

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