If you are spending money on advertising, and you don’t think you are getting your money’s worth, maybe it’s because your advertising is too conventional. Maybe, you think that your ads, should be like your competitors ads, only better.
Then you see what a young criminal defense lawyer did with his advertising and you start to understand that being like your competition just means you’re a commodity.
Daniel Buckley Muessig is a defense attorney from Pittsburgh, PA and yet he’s so much more. He recently uploaded an ad for his business, you know, like most lawyers might. But in less than 24 hours, the ad has gone super viral.
Why? Because if you’ve committed a murder or an arson or “even funny throwback crimes such as moonshining” and you live in Pennsylvania, he wants to be your lawyer.
“I may have a law degree,” he says, “but I think like a criminal.”The otherwise plainspoken 32-year-old Pittsburgh native and graduate of The University of Pittsburgh School of Law was formerly a battle rapper by the name of Dos-Noun. As Dos-Noun, he performed with the likes of indie rap heavyweights such as Slug, Atmosphere, before making the successful jump to a career as a criminal attorney a few years ago.
After uploading the video at 11pm Wednesday night, he’s been seeing his phone ring off the hook ever since.
The folks at Crispin Porter + Bogusky used to evaluate if an ad was just an ad- or something special- “how would this work as a press release?” If it isn’t press worthy- it’s almost not worth doing. CP+B launched a body spray for Burger King- called “Flame”. Do you really want to smell like a Whopper? Nope. But, every news outlet wrote about it.
Here is the raw footage of Mr. Muessig being interviewed by the local news- about his “unconventional” ad- which is also 7 times longer than the normal lawyer TV ad:
This was cut down to a 2.75 minute news segment.
Remember, Muessig didn’t spend a dime on media, he paid some professionals to create the ad- and posted it on Youtube.
We always remind clients, we can create interest, but it’s still up to the client to close the deal and follow up. The old adage that nothing kills a crappy product faster than great advertising still holds true.
If Mr. Muessig’s phone really did ring off the hook, he may never need to do another ad, since this ad will always be relevant. No sale, no call before midnight tonight (in fact, he’s ok with you calling him after midnight). People who don’t think it’s professional (other lawyers) or that he doesn’t looks “lawyerly enough” aren’t his target audience. He says he thinks like a criminal in the ad, and since thinking like your clients is one of the fundamental keys to good advertising he’s nailing his advertising since his customers are criminals.
Learn from the X-rapper lawyer. Don’t do ads that aren’t worthy of press coverage or watching twice.
Update- Mar 8 2022- apparently, not only did Daniel Muessig think like a criminal- turned out he was one.
A former defense attorney who became known for his satirical ads offering his ability to “think like a criminal” will spend five years in prison for his role in a large-scale marijuana ring.
Daniel Muessig, 40, of Squirrel Hill, was sentenced Tuesday by Senior U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab to the mandatory prison sentence allowed.
He pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
The word “viral” is a term that gets used a lot these days. People want their content to “go viral”. But “going viral” and creating something that will make your target audience engage with your brand are two different things. If you watched the video above, you’ve heard all you need to know about how to grow your brand the right way; by caring passionately about your audience and giving them everything you have to offer, every time, and expecting nothing in return but their trust.
Twenty One Pilots is a duo from Columbus, Ohio. They have under 14,000 likes on their Facebook page. They also only have close to 3,500 followers* on Twitter. These numbers aren’t small, but they aren’t the huge numbers to really be considered “viral”. So how did they manage to get the attention of some of the hottest national record companies and sign a deal?
They did things right.
How so? First, they teamed up with the right people to generate buzz. The most important connection was with Mark C. Eshleman at Reel Bear Media, a Columbus-based video production company. The team started off with a hit - the first video that they released on their Youtube page was a live live cover of Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”, which gained thousands of views within days of being posted. The original song was at the top of the charts at the time, so the band was able to generate a huge amount of exposure with their timely video post. They were able to catch people’s attention at the right time, and more importantly they gained a large Youtube audience from the start.
While they had a fan base before, they now had a bigger audience - the internet.
Twenty One Pilots - Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn. Image from twentyonepilots.com
When it came time to promote their album Regional At Best, the group created a web series (which bears the same name) that lead up to a rock star performance of the first track from the CD - Guns for Hands, which gained thousands of views within a short period of time. The fans responded; when the band played their next big performance at The Newport in Columbus, Ohio a few months later, it’s no surprised that the show was completely sold out. This was the first time the venue had ever sold out with a local act. According to the above video, that night was the most important night in the history of the band up to that point. So how do you follow up a sold out stellar performance like this? With not one but four videos, of course. Record companies started to notice the band, and were able to track the number of views generated from the show. Almost every video gained over 30k views in a matter of a few months. It gave Twenty One Pilots more than enough leverage to be in the position to choose between a handful of record labels. They eventually chose Fueled by Ramen, which is the home to such bands as Paramore, Gym Class Heroes, and Panic! At The Disco. And how did they announce the news? With a video, of course.
While Twenty One Pilots is far from being a viral Youtube sensation like bands such as Ok Go, the band’s awareness of the benefits of online video content was a huge factor in their ability to gain exposure. Beyond Youtube, the band was successful in creating an engaging brand. Not just through the occasional tweet or Facebook status update - they let you into their world. They reward their fans’ loyalty with intimatevideos and exclusive news. They create a ever-growing relationship with their fans. Every brand needs to do this in order to be successful - does your brand accomplish this? Maybe then you’ll be able to say “It wasn’t always like this.” before diving into a crowd of 2000 of your screaming fans.
*These numbers have been growing since this post was first written.
I will admit, I’m a music videos junky But lately, it seems like all music videos produced by major-label artists are lacking a certain charm. Super high-budget videos with a boring premise, often consisting of the artist performing in a surreal location. Which is fine for the hottest artists who are going to get views regardless of what content they put out.
But occasionally, a music video comes out that is original, memorable, and appeals to a large audience while still having a living, breathing charm.
Enter: Swedish House Mafia’s video for “Save The World” (bet you’d never heard of them or their music before)
Other artists and directors should take notes, because this video does what a video should; it tells a story, it’s funny, it’s well-produced, it’s memorable, it’s charming, and it gets people talking. Oh, and did I mention that it has over 25 million views? It was uploaded in May, which means that it gets over well a million views per week.
This is a perfect example of marketing through viral videos. Think about it, the whole point of a music video is to promote a musical artist, so it’s basically the same as a commercial. The key is to create a “commercial” that gets people talking, entertains them, and most importantly makes them forget that they are watching a commercial!
Oh, and by the way. I’m Max. I do video work at The Next Wave. Pleased to meet you.
America has changed a lot since “Honest Abe” ran for president. There were no Madison Avenue types involved in politics in his day, no spin doctors, no data mining, psychograpics, demographics, Facebook graphs or Google Zeitgeist- a politician had to be convincing, charismatic, trustworthy and most of all honest.
There was a lot of door knocking, face-to-face time, speeches on town squares and debates- true debates. The candidate didn’t know his numbers- he knew people. His word (and yes his- there weren’t female politicians in Abe’s day) was his bond.
As advertising as we know it today was in its infancy, one agency, which grew to be the largest in the US- McCann, introduced its tagline in 1912- “Truth well told” which is still in use today. When it comes to great advertising, the most powerful tool at a copywriters disposal is still the same- find the one unique, universal truth about your client- and hoist it as high as you can. If there is one thing that consumers are on to these days its when they are being lied to in advertising (unfortunately- they haven’t figured out how to do it in politics yet).
Yet, a few days ago, I was a speaker at a social media conference- and looked around the room as I watched the back channel twitter stream fill with those buzzword bingo winners that spew out at an amazing rate of about 1 every 3 minutes. These “Big Ideas” get condensed down to 140 characters or less and copiously get sent into the twitterverse to have a half-life of about half a day (yes, Twitter is very temporary- as the service has grown, the length of time your tweet remains in their system has shortened exponentially- see this post of ours “Note taking at tech conferences is passé”) and include such nuggets as “EC=MC” which translates to Every Company is a Media Company- which all sounds great and wonderful, except that “EC≠MC” in my experience- which is Every Consumer is not a Media Consumer.
How do I arrive at that? I’ve run for office, something few people in advertising do- but lots of politicians are becoming more media savvy than us advertising folks- and here’s why:
We have reams of research and data telling us exactly what consumers are like, but it’s easy to get caught up in myths of popular culture — the focus-group-of-one trap — and assume just about everyone owns an iPad, tweets from their phone and times shifts TV.
Because everybody needs a reality check sometimes, we decided to take a decidedly non-scientific look at some Madison Avenue myths.
And yes- I tweeted a link out on this story as yet another social media experts (the biggest lie of all- as this has become so big, so fast that no one can truly wrap their head around the whole thing) tell us more about how our strategy should include at least Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Foursquare, Linkedin, Slideshare, blogging, and whatever else is trending that week. No less than 5 speakers used both the new Gap logo gaffe (it was in the last 3 weeks) and the Old Spice “Hello Ladies, I am the man your man could smell like” which ended with the hopelessly odd- “I’m on a horse” line.
Yet, despite all it’s success at viral exposure- as I walked through WalMart (where real Americans do shop- as we “on Madison Avenue” hate to admit) there was a video screen mounted vertically with the man on the horse running an endless stream of “Hello Ladies, I’m on a horse”- driving home the message at the last inch of the sale.
And all those people in marketing and advertising, who have an iPad, smart phone, eat organic, sip latte from Starbucks, has friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter- haven’t actually met mainstream America- up close and personal- like a politician knocking on doors, shaking hands and kissing babies. As an ad man who has, let me share this insight (and remember, I was only knocking on doors of those most likely to vote, because I’d be stupid to knock on every door)- there is a digital divide in this country- where people don’t have computers, don’t use them at work, don’t even have an e-mail address. Our country still is embarrassingly strong in illiteracy (even though we have “no child left behind” we’ve forgotten about all the functionally illiterate people we’ve produced over the last 60 years- the US is 27th out of 205).
Those “consumers” that we know so much about- don’t have health care coverage- so all those direct to consumer drug ads may fall on deaf (and illiterate) ears, they can’t jump online to get a custom video from Mustafa-they don’t time shift shows on their DVR, or order Blu-ray quality video from your streaming server.
What they do have is an increasingly smaller wallet (the economic gap in the United States has grown at an alarming rate thanks to our slick media spinning political types) and a tighter grip on their cash. They may be fooled once, but they won’t be back to buy your body wash twice if they don’t end up with the same magnetic personality of “The man your man could smell like.”
Unfortunately for marketers they don’t enjoy the same return purchase habits that politicians do- once selected, an incumbent product doesn’t almost automatically get re-selected again and again. There has to be something more in the equation to buy- like “truth told well.” That’s why this ad agency, with its worn shoe leather leader, has the insight to get buyers to buy more than once with your marketing budget. We know our mission statement has one extra word- “Create Lust • Evoke Trust” than McCann’s and that our promise to “Make you more money than you pay us” seem to come from the less is more school when compared to the mega-global agencies, but we still believe that “the consumer isn’t stupid, she’s your mother” (attributed to David Ogilvy) and that in all this social media mess of buzzwords and “new media” things haven’t changed much since Honest Abe.
A local newspaper does it. Puts a non-inclusive list of pizza shops online and runs a poll for “best of the city” pizza. This will grant “bragging rights” for the next year as “This cities best pizza.”
Now, pizza is a very subjective subject- some like it with thin crust, some thick, some believe in wood fired and others like deep dish. The “contest” is really not about the pizza- but about the paper driving traffic to their site and selling ads.
But, it can have real effect to the winners and the losers. The winner get’s bragging rights- and possibly a business bump. The losers all get ticked off. Next thing you know, you’ve lost a subscriber, a reader, or respect from the pizza aficionados who really know pizza- all because the contest wasn’t really a contest, but a popularity contest- and with internet voting, for the most part- a very imperfect system that can and will be gamed. Bragging rights for pizza is one thing, but a contest for a hybrid school bus takes this to another level. This is a real prize and required the students to invest time in creating a video/work of art to compete. Now, you’ve asked for free labor (crowd sourced creative) and then left the “judging” up to whomever can rig the system best.
We will choose the top 10 finalists, then all of America will be invited to vote online for the ultimate champion. Students of any age can enter (although a parent or teacher will need to sponsor students under 13 years of age). Group or class entries are also encouraged.
There is no requirement to watch all 10 videos before voting, no way of verifying without a doubt that voters are actual voters. It’s not like the Superbowl ad meter- which is a more scientific system, although not perfect by any means.
While all the voters may actually be made aware of your new hybrid bus, the 9 losers won’t be happy. And, does the stunt of the contest really advance your brand? Or does it alienate the losers it creates?
Contests for contests sake are fine, but once you tie in user generated content and ask people to do your work for you- make sure that the user gets more benefit that you do. Considering YouTube is the second most important search engine- consider requiring key words or links to a page that you want to have at the top of search- instead of allowing it to be a popularity contest open to all- have a real panel of judges to filter the final entries- and allow all the other entrants to judge the finalists- with a random prize for those who take the time to review the top finalists.
Just like you wouldn’t bet the farm on a spot that tested well with bad methodology- why run a contest that way?
Unless you like being tagged #FAIL by those who believed in your contest in the first place.
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