Marketing Authenticity: Can it Motivate Your Audience?


In the recent years, social media has been polluted with trolling, fake news and a lot of negativity. These issues make it harder to build trust with people, which is a problem for business.

Now, marketing authenticity and brand activism in social good campaigns are key considerations for brands.

It’s time to get real.

What is a Social Good Campaign?

Studies on global consumers show that just 52% of people actually trust businesses.

Instead of trying to persuade people for a quick buck, brands must seek to win the trust of their customers by proving they are out for social good.

Whether they are responding to political decisions, supporting a cause, or promoting a much bigger idea than their company’s financial interests, brands can show they are for social good.

While using a cause to promote your own message runs the risk of a negative backlash, if it’s done right, your company can showcase marketing authenticity and align your business with a cause.

The Impact of Marketing Authenticity on your Brand Growth

There are a number of key benefits to using marketing authenticity and brand activism in your growth strategy.

It Nurtures Trust

With successful campaigns that demonstrate what your company cares about more than profits, you will find it easier to build trust with consumers. This adds to your brand credibility and makes it easier to build a larger audience over time.

In 2017, The New York Times responded to the influx of fake news by launching a campaign called, “The Truth is Hard to Find”, which promoted quality journalism and facts.

Not only did they demonstrate integrity in their reporting, but they boosted awareness, which led to a rise in subscription numbers.

It Boosts Brand Awareness

Social good campaigns can deliver quite an impact, which spreads quickly as more people start talking about it. If it connects with people on an emotional level, then the impact can be huge.

A 2018 study found that 77% of people feel they have a stronger emotional connection with purpose-driven companies, as opposed to traditional companies. That makes many people more loyal to that company and more likely to defend it.

It Makes Your Brand More Relevant

Following trending topics is an integral part of modern marketing, especially on social media. By aligning your business with a trending social movement, your brand activism can make you seem more relevant in the eyes of a wider audience.

Marketing Authenticity must be Customer-Centric

Marketing authenticity is a key link between what your brand does and what your customers want. Through brand activism in social good campaigns, your business can transcend the quest for profits, and show you care more about your customers and about the things they care about.

The danger is that if it’s done wrong, people may view your efforts as a gimmick or shameless plug. With some smart strategy, your brand can prove their integrity to forge strong connections with your existing audience and grow a larger one.

In the long run, that will benefit both the people and your business fortunes.

Evolution of the Digital Marketing Landscape


Digital disruption is a hot topic among marketers.

While the biggest websites in the world have held a tight grip on their places for years, seismic shifts in the marketing landscape have begun to unsettle some digital giants.

It seems the future isn’t as certain as it was before.

The Fall of Facebook

Over the past two years, Facebook has been hit with one storm after another, from fake news and Holocaust deniers, to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The backlash has been epic, with traffic being decimated, falling dramatically from 8.5 billion monthly visits to around 4.7 billion in just two years.

CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, hasn’t been immune to the damage either, as his personal net worth fell by a jaw-dropping $15 billion in July. It was the biggest single-day wipeout in the history of U.S. stock market losses.

However, don’t get the tombstone out just yet.

Facebook is much more than their own namesake property, as the parent company still owns WhatsApp and Instagram.

One is rapidly becoming the world’s favorite instant messaging platform, while the latter is arguably the hottest platform in social media right now, thanks to the world’s new-found obsession with visual content.

Facebook might be down, but it’s not gone which is good news, as they have some serious competition on their hands.

The Rising Digital Giants That Are Changing the Digital Marketing Landscape

Have you heard?

Content is no longer king.

Video content is king.

By 2019, video content will account for some 80% of all internet traffic. So, it’s no surprise that YouTube is bigger than ever, and Facebook is pushing video hard. It’s new Watch platform is Facebook’s very own TV channel.

Research shows that the YouTube video platform now has more than 1.8 billion active monthly users, putting it in 3rd place behind Facebook and Google.

Interestingly though, it is growing at twice the rate of Facebook, with user numbers up 20% from 1.5 billion over the past year.

And then there’s Amazon.

Currently fourth among the digital giants, Amazon is dominating retail, with expectations that they will account for at least 80% of total growth of the entire ecommerce market this year.

The rise from online bookstore to far-reaching technological behemoth has been astonishing. In just three years, revenue has surged from $149B in 2015 to $258B this year, increasing 29% since 2017.

With these big changes among the major forces, companies must consider how to adapt in the new digital marketing landscape.

How Marketers Are Adapting Their Digital Strategies

Facebook made big changes to its algorithm this year, with a desire to reconnect people with their friends and family, and thus retain their user base.

What that really meant for companies was it became even more of a ‘pay to play’ platform than it already was.

Social media is abundant with opportunities to build targeted audiences for your brand.

However, the changes mean that to really reach a large audience, you need to use paid advertising.

The cost of Facebook advertising is on the rise, having grown 70% since 2017. Marketers continue to pay it though, as denoted by the 40% bump in overall spending.

It seems that rising prices are little deterrent for ambitious marketers, as many companies realize the overall ROI of targeted ads is worth investing in.

Amazon too have hiked their prices, with Prime membership growing to $119/year, with almost no negative impact on traffic and sign-ups.

CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed this year that subscriber numbers have topped 100 million, making it a worthy rival to Netflix.

What Does the Future Hold for Digital Marketers?

The digital marketing landscape is always shifting.

Facebook looks set to slip behind YouTube and the unstoppable force of Amazon.

Video marketing is undoubtedly the way to go now, regardless of your industry.

The younger demographics have helped Instagram grow by 80% since last year.

To remain relevant to your audience, decide on the best platform for your brand and build a video content strategy that appeals to your audience’s needs.

We are recognized as a top California Digital Marketing Agency on DesignRush!

5 Unique Benefits of Small Agencies for Big Brands

E29 Larkspur Office

E29 Larkspur Office

In recent years, there has been a major shift in the way companies outsource their marketing needs. More and more big brands are deciding to work with small agencies, which begs the question:


Just what can these smaller agencies offer that larger agencies with greater resources cannot?

Let’s find out.

5 Factors That Influence How Big Brands Choose Agencies

As agencies grow over time, there is a tendency for the quality of their work to suffer, and big brands suddenly find themselves pushed to the back of an ever-growing queue.

Here are some key benefits of small agencies that big brands should consider.

1. Small Agencies Are More Committed

Small agencies have fewer resources to attract big contracts.

When they get one worth having, they go above and beyond to deliver the goods. They are more passionate and more eager to please.

The CEO of Ten35, Ahmad Islam explains that you just don’t get that same level of focus from larger agencies.

2. Smaller Agencies Deliver Faster Results

In bigger operations, there is much more red tape to wade through. From various personnel and processes, to elongated chains of communication and approval.

For big brands who want a quick turnaround, dealing with large agencies can be frustrating. Turning your focus to work with smaller, more nimble agency teams is just the tonic.

In the digital age, staying agile is vital.

It’s important to adopt this concept in your marketing campaigns, and you will be more flexible to react to changes in the market with a smaller agency.

3. They Are More Transparent

Paid advertising is increasingly important nowadays. But just because businesses know they must invest in advertising doesn’t mean they are willing to hand over complete control of their finances, with no questions asked.

Forbes believes that transparency can help build better companies, and even big brands with deep pockets want to know their money is going to good use.

Smaller agencies are usually more transparent, making it easier to see the true return on investment (ROI) you are getting.

4. Cost Is More Reasonable

Big agencies tend to charge higher prices, without offering any added value. Once you’re on board, there’s no knowing who is actually working on your project, and if they are really “experts.”

Smaller agencies aren’t just transparent with their pricing, but also with the talent they have available. You may well meet the team before striking a deal, and can be more confident of the value for money you are getting.

5. They Are More Consistent

Typically, working with big agencies involves several points of contact. You might discuss options with one person, sign a contract with another, and then never hear from them again as you’re passed along the assembly line.

While large agencies have a higher turnover, small agencies tend to keep the same core team together for longer.

You have more chance of getting a dedicated team and constant point of contact this way, and over time, you’ll develop a relationship with the team.

It’s Better to Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond

One of the overarching benefits of small agencies, is that big brands will become their top priority. By choosing to work with a small team, you can receive all the time and attention your business needs.

You will form stronger ties with a small team, facilitating a better working relationship that delivers faster results, and a greater overall ROI for your investment.

Also, a smaller agency will grow to know your brand intimately. Their collaborative nature breeds greater productivity, which makes small agencies a greater asset for growing your business in the long-term.

The Truth You Must Know About Slack for Marketing


The digital age has lots of apps to offer, but hardly any can compete with Slack. The current king of business communications has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the past few years.

And now, it can do much more than send a funny meme to work colleagues.

Today, using Slack for marketing campaigns is a strategy that many are testing out.

How Can Brands Use Slack in Their Marketing Efforts?

There are several ways to use Slack in marketing, as the app is easy to integrate with many other apps and programs. Here are some of the best ways to use it.

Connecting It with Hootsuite

The pro version of Hootsuite allows you to do a lot more than schedule your social media marketing.

By connecting with Slack, you can send social posts from your Hootsuite dashboard to any of your Slack channels.

Twitter Integration and Monitoring

Connecting Slack and Twitter makes it easy for your team to stay on top of live updates and brand mentions.

You can create a specific channel on Slack for marketing on Twitter, then assign team members to monitor activity there.

Engaging Your Community

Outside of work conversations, Slack is great for building a community. You can integrate it with a WordPress blog through various plug-ins.

It’s even possible to hook it up with WooCommerce and build more engagement around your products, chatting with customers through an exclusive channel.

Curate Hot Content

Nuzzel is a content aggregator with a focus on social engagement of interesting posts related to your brand.

Hook it up with Slack to create a Nuzzel channel, which will deliver these updates for your whole team to browse and enjoy.

This is a great way to use Slack for marketing strategy, both with content creation and promotion.

What are the Challenges When Using Slack for Marketing?

Despite its quick rise, Slack is still relatively new, and there are many companies who are yet to adopt it on a consistent basis.

Trying to roll it out to customers and clients may take some time.

It works well for smaller teams, but encouraging large teams with various demographics is a bigger process.

A full-scale digital transformation will take time.

Turning Slack into the central hub of your marketing operations may take some patience and coercion in some cases.

But eventually, your company will need to move with the times to keep up with your rivals.

Could Slack Become the Next Social Channel For Brands?

Studies show that once a team exchanges over 2000 messages with Slack, 93% of them tend to stick with it.

The app has had incredible growth in the past five years, reaching a value of more than $7 billion. It certainly seems like the sky is the limit, and the brand has no intentions of slacking off.

The ability to integrate other apps makes it an easy choice to integrate Slack for marketing. From bots to project management tools, Slack is evolving with the times, and looks to be around for the long haul.

This app might be the future of business communications. If they don’t sell out, they might just unsettle the big guns at Microsoft and Google.

The Agency Retainer or Project Debate: How to Make the Best Choice


When you’re thinking of scaling up your marketing efforts, chances are you might begin working with an agency.

If you have a particular need for a lot of content or creative input, a big decision awaits you:

Should you work with an agency retainer?

While there are benefits to sticking with project fees for each and every assignment you need from your agency, the option of an agency retainer is one that many businesses are opting for.

In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of an agency retainer, and give you the insights you need to make the best choice for your brand.

What is an Agency Retainer?

This is one of the most common agency payment models used today.

Whereas project-based is pretty self-explanatory, an agency retainer needs a little elaboration to understand fully.

Put simply, a retainer is when an agency and client make an agreement that they will work together for a long period of time, collaborating on several projects.

The actual retainer allows the client to reserve a set amount of the agency’s time every week or month, for an agreed rate.

This involves some thorough forward-planning so that you can make accurate projections on the scope of your project(s), its goals, and the time required on a weekly and/or monthly basis.

If you have a clear vision for your goals and the needs of your projects, an agency retainer is an effective way of ensuring you get preferential treatment from your agency.

Some retainers run on a month-by-month basis, though others usually cover a longer time period.

The Key Differences Between Agency Retainer and Project-Based Fees

The key differences are as follows:

  • Agency retainers have a flat monthly fee. Project-based services are paid per project.

  • Agency retainers cover a wide scope of services and deliverables. Project-based services are much more defined.

  • Agency retainers offer dedicated personnel for the account. Project-based services often tend to rotate personnel, depending on available talent.

  • Agency retainers are used for long-term goals that consider ongoing marketing needs. Project-based services focus on short-term goals and one-off assignments.

E29 Marketing offers both avenues and can work with clients on defining their projects, providing the flexibility of hybrid options too so you can have the best of both worlds.

The Pros and Cons of Using an Agency Retainer

To give you a clearer picture of the benefits of using an agency retainer, and the potential drawbacks, here is everything you need to know to weigh up the decision. 

Pro: It is Less Expensive

  • Nothing matters more in business than your bottom line. With a retainer, your rates will always be less expensive, which makes this the best benefit.

Con: You Might Not Have Enough Work to Use the Retainer Time

  • Sometimes, there may be a quiet spell where you don’t have enough work for your agency. This can lead to some retainer time not being used, which could be a waste of money.

  • To avoid this, keep in contact with your Account Director to ensure there is plenty of work planned in advance. By staying proactive, you can ensure your agency is always kept busy.

Pro: You Can Delegate Tasks You Don’t Have Time For

  • There’s a lot to do in marketing, and unless you have specialists on your team, it can be very time-consuming to try and manage everything from planning, execution and analytics yourself.

  • With an agency retainer, you have the time on your account to put to good use. You can be confident all work will be done, which makes it easy to put it on their plate, freeing your time for other tasks.

Con: It’s Hard to Track Where Time and Money is Spent

  • This is a big concern about outsourcing marketing, as you can lose a little control on time management for the people you are paying.

  • However, good agencies tend to be pretty transparent about how they use their time, which means you can request a detailed breakdown of what they have done each month.

Pro: You have a Dedicated Agency that Knows your Business

  • With project-based fees, typically you get a freelancer or agency who will approach the work as a one-off arrangement. They aren’t always concerned with getting to know your business on a deep level.

  • By contrast, having an agency retainer invites an agency to the table, which makes them more likely to take more interest in truly getting to know your brand, your goals, and your audience.

  • The best agencies will be more invested in your business and will want to continue building your brand the longer they are working with you.

Pro: The Costs are Fixed

  • This makes spending more predictable, which is good news for your budget and financial projections. It also gives you more flexibility in project management, as you don’t need to negotiate with different agency personnel for every project or get clearance from senior management.

Con: You Have Several Agencies

  • Digital marketing is a wide umbrella, and below it you may have a separate agency for specific aspects, from web design, SEO or copywriting, to advertising and social media.

  • As these begin to stack up, you might find yourself stressing over managing all these agency relationships.

When an Agency Retainer is the Right Choice For Your Business

For businesses who really have a clear vision for the future, and believe they have the resources, products, and potential to operate for many years - then there is a lot to gain from an agency retainer.

If you are a big brand, or have the plans to become one quickly, then you’ll most likely have a lot of work to do. Being able to delegate this to an agency takes the weight off your own in-house team, allowing the company to be more productive as a whole.

Not only will you save time and money in the long run, you will gain a dedicated agency that understands your business and their goals.

Ultimately, this will result in better content, and a better ROI on your marketing.

You can forge a strong working relationship with an agency that you trust and will never have to worry about their availability whenever you need them.

This long-term partnership is also likely to pave the way for more experimentation and optimization over time.

While the upfront costs may not be possible for smaller start-up businesses, by booking in advance you can actually save money. And, it definitely works out to be less expensive than budgeting your projects individually.

This makes it straightforward to include the agency expenses into your long-term financial forecast and the overall marketing strategy of your company.

When an Agency Retainer is the Wrong Choice for Your Business

If you don’t already have experience working with an agency, then jumping into a long-term arrangement might not be a wise choice.

It’s important to get some experience working with several agencies first to figure out if you work well together.

Moreover, it’s essential that your company has already got a well-defined plan for the future. This must be mapped out, so you can clearly articulate what needs to be done to accomplish your goals. Without this, an agency retainer could be a bad move that leads to more stress than its worth.

By underestimating just how much help you need, you run the risk of upsetting your agency with unexpected changes to the workload. This could lead to tensions in the relationship.

Conversely, overestimating your needs could lead to a colossal waste of money as you have paid for the agency’s time but have nothing to give them.

The Decision Must be the Best for Your Company

An agency retainer isn’t for everyone.

While the benefits are certainly attractive, it’s important to weigh whether or not that is enough for you to go down that road.

An agency retainer is most beneficial to companies who understand the value of a steady relationship. They have a long-term plan, many well-defined milestones they would like to reach, and they are looking forward to focusing on that journey.

Project-based fees are good for smaller businesses with short-term goals and small budgets, but as you grow, the benefits of an agency retainer are well worth considering.

With help from a flexible agency like E29 Marketing, you can figure out a long-term plan best suited to your needs.

As your business grows, you might find the workload is getting too much for you or just one agency. They might specialize in written content, whereas you need experts in graphics or marketing.

By choosing experienced professionals, you can form a network of agencies that are comfortable working alongside each other.

So long as everyone is transparent about their duties and capabilities, you can build strong working relationships that allow your brand to flourish from the help of these specialized organizations. 

10 Captivating Ads and their Captivation Triggers


As much of the work we do at E29 Marketing involves advertising, I asked the team to share their favorite ads and explain their reasons for being impressed. As you know, consumers are inundated with ads, so it is imperative that ads are excellent in order to capture attention and encourage ad and brand recall.

What makes an ad captivating?

Ben Parr's book, Captivology is a wonderful resource describing the seven captivation triggers to capture immediate, short and long attention. The seven triggers are automaticity, framing, reputation, disruption, reward, reputation, mystery and acknowledgement.

1. Starbucks: Afternoon Made at Starbucks

Megan says "My favorite ad right now is a Starbucks ad titled "Afternoons Made at Starbucks." It's REALLY visually captivating. I saw it on Hulu and I think it's a great placement. Hulu is the only place where I see ads besides the occasional one on social (YouTube, Instagram or Facebook). Starbucks has been doing a push to get more people to there stores in the afternoons. I've gotten notifications through their app regarding their "Happy Hours" and it ties in really well with the ad I saw. On a side note, I believe they are testing serving alcohol so this could be a pre-test to see if they can get more people to visit in the afternoons/after work."

Consider the audience who watches Hulu, which is predominantly females 18 – 34 and how much this audience appreciates cool, hip and well…sugar! This ad effectively makes use of the automaticity trigger with sensory cues of color and sound. Zooming in on the drinks and showing the swirling of ingredients together could be argued to be the framing trigger, because it is forcing the viewer to imagine seeing each drink very close their eyes so that they imagine how it would feel to be drinking one.

2. okcupid: DTF

This campaign while somewhat controversial, does a good job of making people think. Once you understand what DTF means and how it plays on the millennial favorites of "WTF?," and "Down to F___" then you understand what it's all about. I like ads that make me feel smart, so when I feel like I understand the ad after spending a little time to figure it out, I feel part of an elite who get it. This is good for brand building and makes use of the acknowledgment trigger by encouraging a deeper connection with the brand because I feel validated and part of a community who use "WFT" and also understand the innuendo of "DTF" and how OkCupid is changing the meaning in an empowering way. Take a look at AdWeek's article about the campaign where the CMO says the DTF campaign boosted buzz by 50%. The campaign is also using the disruption trigger as it includes all types of relationships and for a dating app, it is very well targeted to daters of all sexual orientations.


And the results of the campaign are telling too: "In the crowded category of dating apps, OkCupid has rarely been one of the most high-profile options, but its recent "DTF" campaign seems to be working at changing that." 

3. Geico: Longest Goal Celebration Ever & 4. Old Spice: Talk to the Land

"My [Terra] household watched every single World Cup game. If we weren't home to watch live, we recorded it and watched as soon as we got home. This was extremely different for our family as I can't remember the last time I watched anything LIVE, let alone RECORD something to watch. We are die-hard HBO and Netflix fans.

This meant that I watched a boat-load of Fox TV (ugh) and real, live, TV ADS (gasp!)

There are two ads that stand out for me. No, they don't have talking animals or babies (which I typically LOVE), but both are similar in the following ways:

  1. They make me laugh out loud even as I watched them for the 3rd and 4th time
  2. They have nothing to do with the product being sold - or even really mention/show product benefits other than their taglines (gasp again…), no RTB, no POD, and, I'm not even sure there is a consumer insight?
  3. They are both PURE entertainment, and almost make their products feel irreverent. I didn't feel like I was being "sold", there wasn't any fluffy marketing speak, just pure entertainment.

The first ad is Geico's Longest Goal Celebration Ever, the robot at the end leaves me on the floor.

The second ad is: Old Spice's "Talk to the Land". Why would he need deodorant spray when he's going to crash? The whole thing is so absurd, it's awesome.

My 10-year-old son asked me why we don't have Geico and is Geico better than what we have? I told him that all insurance is the same. He said, "Well, why wouldn't you want to save 15% or more on car insurance?" It's a good question. My 12-year-old son asked my husband why he doesn't buy Old Spice. Another good question. Net, net, even though I loved these ads, I will not change my insurance, or buy Old Spice for my husband.

This begs the question of the role of cable and network TV ads. I would argue that yes, broad-scale awareness can be achieved. but ONLY if it's entertaining. My next question won't be confirmed for another 10+ years but... will my boys purchase Geico and Old Spice? Or, will they stick to boring old State Farm and Aussie Products?"

Thanks to Terra for her very entertaining perspective and accurate observations. The Geico ad also makes use of the acknowledgment trigger in that it was placed during live soccer games and who is more likely to appreciate goals and soccer idiosyncracies than soccer fans?

The Old Spice ad makes use of the disruption and mystery triggers. Disruption because the ad is so strange and unexpected and mystery, because it is a story and we watch in order to know the outcome. Mystery, uncertainty and suspense are very good at keeping an audience intrigued until the end.

5. Smove

You may have seen this one on Facebook or Instagram for the ultimate in selfie-sticks. The ad runs equally well whether sounds is on or off for the viewer as it has captions. What Smove is doing well is capturing attention with frequency and appealing to the audience who wants to look good on social networks. The special offer code makes use of the reward trigger and for the gadget loving yuppie with disposable income, this lifestyle enhancing device looks like it could be a winner. The number of reactions and views of the video don't hurt either.


6. Pepsi: Radio Ad

As Carol is often exposed to ads is when driving long distance and listening to the radio, she says "I really like the Pepsi Stuff radio ads that are currently airing. One, in particular, has the male speaker say stuff so many times, and in such a hilarious voice, it not only drives home the promotion (buy Pepsi, earn points, redeem for stuff), but also makes the listener want to go check out what all the stuff is (and on a 90 degrees day as you're driving around in a hot car, hearing the cans opening in the background actually almost make you crave a Pepsi because they sound so refreshing)… There is no image obviously with radio, it all has to be imparted verbally, and in my opinion, this ad does it well, not only through the repetition, but also with humor."

The ad uses the automaticity trigger with the sound of opening a Pepsi and probably also the disruption trigger in that the voiceover is saying unexpected things to be funny.

7. FullStory

On Instagram, I was stopped in my scrolling for an ad for FullStory. The ad is very well targeted to me and tells me everything I need to know about eCommerce checkout funnels in less than 30 seconds. The role of an ad is to spark curiosity to get the potential customer to want to learn more and therefore visit the website. This one worked on me. Also notice the colors that match Instagram. That was no mistake as people have very strong feelings about Instagram which will be sparked again with this ad.

The trigger/s used? Acknowledgement as well as reward.


Another one that does an excellent job of explaining a product 30 seconds is one for The ad is fast, succinct, fun and makes me want to check out the product since after watching it I believe it will save me and my team time. The captivation trigger here is framing, which as Ben Parr describes it is: "Adapting to or changing somebody's view of the world so they pay more attention to you," and also the acknowledgement trigger, because the Monday seems to understand me in my work life and need to manage projects differently.

The ad isn't shy about being an ad and the confidence is very compelling to the viewer. They don't say "confidence is sexy" for nothing.

9. Suburu: A Life Story on the Line

Another commercial Megan loves. "It captures your attention from the beginning by telling a story, while you are unsure what the ad is about. At first, it seems like a love story, taking you through a couples big life moments, which is appealing to women. Then it pans over to an accident, which then made me think it was an anti-drunk driving ad and that the children (in the car) had died. But then it informs the viewer that the family is still happy and alive because of their Subaru Forester. Ending on "That's why we will always drive a Subaru. Make sure your life story is a long one." They use a bit of a scare tactic, but I don't think it is overdone as now many people in their lives have some connection to drunk driving, texting and driving, etc. Typical car commercials are showing how fast and cool their cars are, but this Subaru commercial speaks to its safety awards. The story is very compelling and does a great job connecting to parent drivers who want their kids to be safe."

The trigger being used for this one is the mystery trigger as we want to know how the story ends, so we watch it all the way to the end.

Sidenote from Megan: "Acura tried to create a commercial like that, where they talk about seeing their test dummies as real people to convey how important they think safety is. But they do not do as good of a job conveying the importance of safety as the Subaru commercial does."

I totally agree. As humans we are hardwired to enjoy and be captivated by stories. Where the Subura one takes us on a journey we can imagine ourselves on, the Acura one is just Acura telling everyone how wonderful they are. As consumers we connect better with stories than with brand touting their own prowess.

10. Barbie: Imagine the Possibilities

Our fearless leader's favorite ad is one that is super entertaining and while watching it I challenge you to try not to smile. Amie says "At the core it taps into the insight of how little girls play with Barbie and encourages Girl/Women empowerment." It completely reshaped Barbie for the current times and the creative execution is fantastic.

This one makes use of the mystery and disruption triggers because it keeps our attention by being unique, unexpected and intriguing.

On the Horizon:

Not yet fully mainstream, but something that looks interesting and coming soon are scroller ads for mobile. “Scroller” mobile ads are ads where if you’re reading an article and you scroll, the image scrolls with you. Megan says "With all the competition, it does a great job of capturing attention as it is not what you are expecting." Making use of the disruption trigger due to its uniqueness, scroller ads are sure to soon be commonplace on mobile devices.

Your turn:

What is your favorite ad and why do you think it is effective? Also, there's extra credit for identifying which captivation trigger the ad is using.

10 Digital Tools for Everyday Effectiveness (and Fun)

We asked the E29 team to share some of their favorite tools that they use every day. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you may find something in here that you didn’t know about before and it could save you time and make your workday more productive too. Some of these are also good for personal use, so read on and share any tools you love in the comments.

1. Slack

Megan says: “Slack is a [great tool]! A few of us in the office use it all the time and helps us stay connected. It’s so easy to message, send files, ping people during meetings, and know when people are online or not.”

Slack has definitely changed the way work teams collaborate. Launched in 2013, Slack has grown to have 8 million daily active users in 100 different countries. If you thinking, why do I need another tool for collaboration and project tracking, it’s more intuitive than you might think and very easy to keep track of activity for each project, client or team. I’m sure you’ll be surprised how much time it saves you.


2. Pinterest

Annabelle says: “I’ve been using this app for a few years now and I use it for everything! My wedding, Honeymoon, Fashion, Home Decor and Organization. I remember before getting married I would spend hours and hours looking up ideas and wedding DIY’s every day. Not only did I had the wedding of my dreams, but we saved a lot of money thanks to all the great ideas I found.

Features I love from this app?

I was looking for a Jute rug for my living room a month ago, so of course, I went to Pinterest to look for ideas. I saw a pin of the rug I wanted, click through to Pottery Barn's website and purchased it on the spot.”

Fun fact you may not have known about Pinterest: It is headquartered in San Francisco and took several years before becoming one of the main social networks. 81% of Pinterest users are females.


3. Screenshot Tool

For a tool that is both a feature and a utility, I use the screen capture feature on my phone and Mac a few times a day, at least. I love screenshots and I really don't know how I would survive without them. On the iPhone X to take a screenshot, you click the power and one of the volume buttons at the same time. On pre-iPhone X phones, you hold down the home and power buttons. And on a Mac for a screenshot, my favorite way to do it is to press Shift + Command + 4 and then select what I want from the screen. Of course, there are many tools for screen capturing. What's your favorite?

Screenshot created from an iPhone X

Screenshot created from an iPhone X

4. Repost for Instagram

Anne says: “I'm sure most of you are familiar with this one, but it's been a game changer for me just because it makes sharing content from other people on Instagram so much easier. All you have to do is copy the link of the post you want to share and then open up the Repost app. From there, you can share the post and caption if you like to your own Instagram feed or story. I went ahead and purchased the "premium" Repost package, which allows you to repost content without the watermark. For an $8.00 investment, you can clean up your Instagram feed without having to include a bunch of watermarked images - totally worth it.”


Note the repost icon in the lower left hand corner of the image. This can be removed with a subscription.


Anne discovered this app about a year ago while hunting for better filters and presets for Instagram pictures. This is far and away the best photo and video editing app she has used. VSCO's motto is, "By Creators, For Creators" and you can see why once you explore their arsenal of filters. Once you select a filter you really like, you can go much, much deeper and truly adjust your photos and videos to balance and refine them to your liking. 

The other cool thing about VSCO is they have an online community where creators can share their photos and videos so you can search through all sorts of original content based on style, filter, color scheme, topic, etc. It's a great source of inspiration if you're looking to change up your Instagram feed. This one will help you up your Insta-game for sure.


What’s your favorite Instagram tool?

6. SimilarWeb

I use it a lot for competitive research to see where a client stands compared to their competition. There's a great Chrome extension that lets you see the results and easily screenshot them for use in presentations.


7. SpyFu

This tool shows us competitor information for organic search and paid search. It's great for understanding spend, rank and keywords. 



Melissa says, “This app works with Instagram to make posts about clothing, beauty and home items easy to source and purchase. It uses influencers and links to retailers online. 

Here’s how it works: Download the app and link it to your Instagram account. When one of their ambassador's posts an outfit or specific item you would like to purchase on IG, you can like the post. It must be tagged with Then it becomes part of your feed within In the app, you can choose items and it links directly to the retailer for purchase. 


At the end of the week sends a recap of what you liked.

The app is an evolution from their first version. They now provide a better experience. I can go directly to the app, scroll through people I follow and purchase the items I see. 

The app features clothing, accessories, and home decor. Great find for me!”

9. Google Analytics

Melissa says, “The Google Analytics app is my new favorite! I love having Google Analytics right at my fingertips. You can see specific campaigns, e-commerce transactions, where people are visiting from etc. The information is so easy to comprehend and you can dig deeper if needed.


10. Marco Polo

Amie says, “For personal use, my cousin introduced me to an app a couple of weeks ago called Marco Polo. I’m loving sending video messages to my family across the country and to my sis in London. It’s so much more personal than a text or voicemail.”


Your turn: What are your favorite digital tools for marketing, productivity or just plain fun?

Team Passions Grow a Giving Tree

Organizations E29 Supports

Organizations E29 Supports

Each month a team member at E29 picks a way to challenge the team to do something that will push them, help them grow, get outside their comfort zone, or just do a little extra. I picked June and I was SO inspired that on a personal level I am carrying it out through the rest of the year. I asked the team to find a way to “give back” once a week. In any way that helps others and that is close to their heart. I gave examples of different ways we could help with personal goals and/or as a team.

So, I’ll start with what I set out to do...

Week 1: Make dogs pull tugs and blankets for shelter animals. At any craft store during this time of year (in California) fleece fabric is on clearance so my daughter and I picked out fun patterns and got to work! It was so fun going to the shelter and delivering these handmade items, and I loved that my daughter was a part of it.

Week 2: I posted on Facebook that I was collecting canned goods and non-perishable food items for the Orange County Second Harvest Food Bank for the homeless. It prompted many of my neighbors to clear out their pantries and throw away the old, but donate their overstocked items. We donated bags and bags and bags of canned goods with the help of my amazing friends and family!

Week 3: is a charity close to my heart as my nephew is on the spectrum and in the past, we have attended walks in his honor, and purchased goods to increase awareness and fund research. I couldn’t let this challenge go by without a monetary donation in Cannon’s honor.

Week 4: This was my biggest challenge and it’ll be one that continues all year, and hopefully years to come. Being a trail runner in California and seeing the devastation of the numerous forest fires that burned away my morning runs, scenic drives and neighbor’s homes and memories...this would be my finale. I set out to become a Tree Ambassador through to assist in reforestation. This organization is awesome! They are located in Vermont but work with local arborists all over the nation to raise money and recruit ambassadors to help spread the word and actually get in and get dirty. You can log on and donate and $1=1 sapling. Every area requires a different type of tree for its environment and I am learning so much through meetings with their team, reading up and speaking with my local reforestation rep. This unfortunately is a poor time to replant in our areas, so until the Fall, I will be raising money that will go directly towards the trees that I will be replanting with a team in Laguna Canyon.

The organizations we as a team supported:

  • American Red Cross for Volcano Relief in Hawaii
  • Autism Speaks
  • The Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence
  • End the Backlog
  • Goodwill
  • One Tree Planted
  • San Francisco - Marin Food Bank
  • Salt Lake County Animal Services
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • SpoofDawg Animal Rescue Shelter
  • Youth Potential South Africa

“Especially in the #MeToo era, it is important that survivors get the justice they deserve. END THE BACKLOG is bringing awareness to the backlog of untested rape kits throughout the United States. I’m so happy to support this organization that is doing such incredible work. By ending the backlog and supporting survivors, we are supporting all women and gender equality.” -Megan

“YOUPSA helps pave the way to awaken the creativity, potential and purpose in South African youth. It is a non-profit education project for disadvantaged rural youth in the Eastern Cape Province.” -Suse

Through this process, our team raised money or donated their time to some amazing nationwide, and local organizations and I’m so happy that everyone became a part of this challenge. It made me think of different ways to give back everywhere I was…and just as important, my daughter did too.

A Millennial Marketers Take on #29Rooms from Refinery29

Inside the Palace of Fine Arts, #29Rooms

Inside the Palace of Fine Arts, #29Rooms

#29Rooms is Refinery29’s exploration into connecting with their readers in an experiential way. #29Rooms is an annual funhouse of style, culture and creativity created by a group of global artists and visionaries. It launched in 2015 during NY Fashion Week and has expanded to major US cities, including San Francisco where I attended. You'll find food, drinks, music, singing, pictures, shredding, (temporary) tattoos, donating, boxing, painting, sharing (dreams and secrets) and more! To no one’s surprise, it didn’t take long to sell out. And when they released more tickets, it just built up the hype leading up to the show.

As a media company, it’s not surprising that the #29Rooms brand is on point. The name is geared towards millennials and ready to trend on Twitter. #29Rooms itself has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, their own merch line and a special Snapchat filter. Their branding is the perfect shade of millennial pink.

#29Rooms is one of a kind. Everything from the art, creativity and experiences is exciting and a must-see. It’s culturally relevant and inclusive. #29Rooms is a genius experience that marketers can take advantage of. I am a huge fan of creative marketing placements and experiential marketing. And #29Rooms combines them brilliantly. #29Rooms is an excellent creative placement for brands to showcase their creativity in front of a millennial crowd. Each of the 29 rooms was inspired and created in partnership with an artist, visionary or brand. Each room was unique and captivating in its own way. Each space had its own relevant story to tell. Jake Gyllenhaal, Haagen-Dazs, Planned Parenthood, Pure Leaf, A Simple Favor (Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively movie), Demi Lovato, Janelle Monae, Adobe, Emma Roberts, Laneige and more partnered with #29Rooms.

Experiential marketing is continuing to rise in popularity. Consumers “ are hungry for all things immersive,” said Karen Wong, deputy director of the New Museum. “It’s a byproduct of us spending an inordinate amount of time on our screens.” The fact that some people attend [#29Rooms] to plump up their own social media feeds is “bringing us full circle,” said Ms. Wong. Many many attendees did use #29Rooms to plump up their social media feed. Just look on any social platform, use the hashtag #29Rooms and you will find thousands of photos, which not only built awareness of the event, but also enhanced the #29Rooms brand. 

#29Rooms’ themes and partnerships were carefully approved to ensure they would fit within the space that Refinery29 was working to create. Some brands utilized their space at #29Rooms better than others.

One of the secrets I found in the room "Tell Us Your Secret"

One of the secrets I found in the room "Tell Us Your Secret"

The movie, A Simple Favor starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick is still building hype. Before the trailer dropped Blake Lively “deleted” everything on her Instagram, only followed people named Emily Nelson and changed her bio to “What happened to Emily?...”. A social media wipe is an increasingly popular tactic to build buzz by top-tier celebrities (Taylor Swift). And now the movie has its own room in #29Rooms. Inside the room, it had the fragmented profiles and voices of the main characters, Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. It also had a large board where you could write your own secret, roll it up and put it on the board for other attendees to read after you leave. It was very memorable and tied well to the movie.



Haagen-Dazs had its own room where attendees could experience their new Trio Crispy Layers Ice Cream with a sample and a hanging column of caramel-colored (and scented) thread. Their current marketing efforts focus on trial, and this was a great opportunity to encourage trial. In the past, they’ve had brand ambassadors in San Francisco handing out samples of their new flavors. Their room put their new ice cream flavor top of mind, for when attendees go grocery shopping, stop by the ice cream aisle and can find the new Haagen-Dazs flavor they tried at #29Rooms.

The water works photo backdrop, featuring the laneige watermark

The water works photo backdrop, featuring the laneige watermark

Laneige had a fun “Water Works” photo backdrop with pink pool floaties and a photographer. They were giving out samples of one of their products, while you waited in line. Once your photos were taken by a professional photographer, they were sent to an iPad, where you could send yourself the photos. When the photos arrived in your inbox they were from Laneige, they had a watermark with Laneige’s logo and the #29Rooms logo and they automatically signed you up for their email list. Laneige had a thoughtful and well-executed plan for their time at #29Rooms.

Mastercard was a partner of #29Rooms and for cardholders, you could get a key at the beginning of the event and use it to skip to the front of the line for one room. Maybe it encouraged loyalty to current cardholders, but it did nothing to enhance their brand or to encourage trial. It also brought minimal awareness compared to the other partners of #29Rooms. 

Overall, I take away a lot of creative inspiration and desire for more things experiential and expressive. My advice to #29Rooms as a consumer, do not let so many people in at once. It dampers the experience and does not leave enough time to experience all of the rooms when you are waiting in line for the majority of the event. My advice as a marketer to brands, take advantage! All attendees left with no less than 50 photos that are sure to be shared across their social media accounts. Let your brand be featured in one of them. 

Lessons Marketers Can Glean From Megan and Harry’s Wedding

The official photographs were released on Kensington Palace's official Twitter account. Credit: Kensington Palace/Twitter

The official photographs were released on Kensington Palace's official Twitter account. Credit: Kensington Palace/Twitter

On Megan and Harry’s wedding day I found my inner cynic having an all-out battle with my inner romantic. I kept trying to decipher which bits were calculated, and which were authentic, which were from the heart and which were from the head. In the end, like any romantic movie, I suspended my disbelief and gave into the awe. I suppose a large portion of the 29 million Americans who got up at the crack of dawn left with similar positive feels.

While other Royal dynasties have crumbled under the weight of the will of the people, Britain's longest serving Monarch Queen Elizabeth II understands that their very survival depends on a favorable public opinion. In the UK public opinion of the Royal Family remains high with over 70 percent support. The Royal family’s wealth is estimated at $33.8 billion dollars and injects an estimated $2.4 billion into the UK economy per year from mostly tourism. Dwarfing this is the estimated value of the Royal Brand at $89.3 billion.

Much was on the line with the Royal Wedding and the entire affair was pulled off with perfection. If they can soften a misanthrope like me I’m sure their fan club just melted with joy. We left the Big Show entertained, enlightened and uplifted. Huge ROI for the Royals and the United Kingdom. How’d they do it?

Control the Message

Quickly after the wedding was announced, Megan jettisoned her career and her 1.9 million Instagram followers, 350,000 Twitter followers and 800,000 Facebook likes. All messages now come from the Royal Press office. For the wedding day, only 1 reporter was allowed into the events and 4 photojournalists. Without these controls, everything can quickly devolve into a circus.

Flawless Strategic Planning & Execution

It’s almost a given that the Royals and the British run things with military precision. With limited concern for budgets, world-class teams were assembled to guarantee perfection. With so much at stake, failure was not an option for the Royal vendors. No doubt the enormity of the opportunity was the true value proposition for Wedding partners. A small business can turn into global brand overnight with a successful execution. Indy baker Claire Patk was tapped for creating the wedding cake and went from 60,000 Instagram followers to over 212,000 today. Book deals and a torrent of orders were in the wake.

Stay On Brand

Big events need small details to personalize the experience. Tatler describes the details of the Barnard & Westwood invitations, “using American ink on English card, they are printed in gold and black, then burnished to bring out the shine, and gilded around the edges.”

For the flowers, “wherever possible, seasonal plants and flowers that bloom naturally in May will be used, including branches of beech, birch and hornbeam, as well as white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves.”

As the newlyweds sauntered in their carriage waving to the adoring masses on the most picture perfect of British days, we witnessed not only a fairytale coming to life, but also a total brand immersion coming to life.

Show Off Your Personality

Queen Elizabeth II seems to understand that William and Harry are the new faces of the brand. With their prime-time ready spouses and cherubic children straight out of central casting a succession plan is firmly in place. The camera seemed to understand this and whenever possible told that story.

Stories were leaked to say how Prince George and Charlotte were bribed with chocolates to behave. And we will always remember the Chelloist’s socks, the awestruck pageboy carrying Megan’s train, the choir singing “Stand By Me” and the authentic tight-upper-lip-relaxed reactions to the spirited sermon from Bishop Michael Curry.

And the hats, from the Queen to Oprah, the head art kept the eye engaged and reinforced that the Windsors know how to throw an impeccable event for a brand that deserves the crown.