Friday, January 30, 2015
Welcome to Checkpoint Number Three

A summary of 10 more Media Spikes, together.

Gosh the days are flying by aren't they. I hope you're enjoying these tips.

#21: In advertising parlance we express it as testing. In any other sport we'd call it practice. On stage we'd call it rehearsal. Your ads should always be injected with something new to see if they can continue to be improved on. That Grand Slam of success may be only one or two words away!

#22: Truly your advertising campaign is not unlike your golf game. The right media, just like the right clubs- and how you use them-make all the difference to your success making the 'green $$$$' or putting on the green. Use them in the right combination and you can avoid the rough.

#23: Remember to test on a small scale so you can see what will work on a grander scale.There is no panacea, no one size fits all. Every client, every campaign, every customer has their own style. Finding the media mix that pulls the trigger for the most candidates is what your testing is all about.

#24: The success of outdoor advertising is measured by it's impact with brevity. Space is at a premium. No place for long copy. Formats, facings and geographic placement can all drive increased response and traffic.

#25: Satisfaction of a job well done leads to wanting to do more just like it. Nearing the halfway point in our series, you are head and shoulders above most competitors already!

#26: The media evolution continues. New technology is expected to cannibalize and obliterate all its predecessors. Funny thing is- most of them are still here. Because they have evolved too. Do not be a Chicken Little.

#27: The Internet is not going away. It has become such an indispensable part of the fabric of our global communications. But we continue to caution to not abandon all the media which brought you to this point. Test it. It is a veritable goldmine of testing, with prompt results and will do in days what historically took weeks or longer. Test.

#28: Please do not pull all your media eggs in one basket. Adding a secondary and third and fourth media will enhance your reach and memorability and just maybe....sales.

#29: At the half way point now, we reveal how 57 Spikes was born, and provided a link to Nine Secrets. Another link [] will allow you to access and download our e-book with Nine (9) Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising. This summarizes 30 years in the media trenches for $30, and gives you specific worksheets and assignments to help you improve your campaigns Just Like That!

#30: Be creative. Be different. There is a world of ME TOO!  Do something unexpected. Not bizarre as that sends the wrong message, but do something that helps your ad get noticed.

This is such a treat for me to be able to share these experiences and tips with you. I genuinely hope they are a good refreshing read for you and have offered some guidance for you.

Thank you for your continued interest and support. The Media Spikes will resume their standard delivery pattern. Once again, please don't hesitate to send me any media questions. I'll do my best in response. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Stay Tuned.

Dennis Kelly

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are you creative?

If you don’t mind me asking can you Sing? Draw? Paint? Dance? Compose? or have a flair with any of the multitude of art forms? My most appreciative applause of your talents if you do.  I’m always impressed by anyone who possesses these skills which elude me. One of my brothers is an accomplished amateur musician who still has expertise I long for, but I fear will remain out of reach.

I ask because two decades ago, one of the Creative Directors at the agency I was with posed that same question to our entire Media Department of ten or so people. When only a handful of hands were raised-including mine- he admonished us for not understanding that we are ALL Creative. For some it’s more easily manifest in impressive works of art. Others in the grace of dance. Still others can command a room with their vocal expertise, and yes, us media people too.

The creativity comes from starting with a multitude of random items, objects, events and opportunities out there, and moulding them into a powerful, compelling platform which showcases the client’s product in a new or innovative or provocative way.

Think Different. Think Outside The Box. Break the Rules.

Start somewhere new unexpectedly.

Change it up.  Something new you should try.

Advertise on the TOP of trucks to reach people in office buildings.


When the times comes for you to advertise, and it will – BE BOLD- DISTINGUISH YOURSELF- CREATE SOME PIZZAZZ (That means attractive and exciting vitality and not more Pizza’s).

But while we’re on that topic, I had one client use exactly that tactic. For one of their promotions, we had a digest page size, 4 colour flyer produced and attached to all Home Delivered Pizzas in one market for one month.

These were affixed to the top of the delivery box. It’s not parting the Red Sea, or breaking the sound barrier, but it was distinctive for them to break a mold as a more staid advertiser and launched them to a whole new audience. The response to the flyer was very positive and the return on investment more than justified the expense of this novel approach.

Capitalize on opportunities as they come up. They can be unexpected goldmines and show your client and their customers you’re thinking. In one memorable effort, a Front Page Banner position of the National Newspaper came available. That NEVER Happens (or at least in 32 years for me, it happened once)

We presented this opportunity to the client, understanding we would be in rotation with other advertisers and appear every 8th day for one year. THE CLIENT LOVED IT.  It was a spend in excess of six figures, but the exposure, the brand recognition and the resulting sales made it worthwhile.

A series of five or six ads were done, all in Newspaper Banner format. Full page width, about 2” high. One ad featured a very intense looking, bald, black male, who was tattooed on shoulder, neck and side of face. Beside him read the Line: Not for Everyone.  Next to that was a client product picture. Beside that were the words: This is.

Other ads in the series were along the same line of ‘Individuality’ versus being made for each individual.It was DIFFERENT. It drew praise from multiple places and importantly helped trigger sales. Certainly I had a client who had the resources to take advantage of this. But I would not have brought it forward if I didn’t think they had the funds for it.

Being creative doesn’t mean it has to be zany, or wacky – because you send lots of the wrong messages with those tactics too. But it does have to show a distinctive and relevant way of showing off.

Whichever media mix you choose, let their strengths and inherent creativity help you make the sale.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Defining creativity (I personally liken it to being resourceful with the items you have all around you)

That teachable skill, creativity, has been defined in many ways. It has been called
  • A "mental activity performed in situations where there is no prior correct solution or answer" (Encyclopedia of Creativity, vol. 2, "Teaching Creativity")
  • A "process of developing new, uncommon, or unique ideas"
  • An experience of thinking "characterized by a high degree of innovation and originality, divergent thinking, and risk taking"
  • The "generation of novel, useful ideas"
"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.

Friday, January 23, 2015
Hello again, come on in. Can you believe we are half-way there already?

Seems we only just got a chance to say hello a short time ago and we’re halfway through our fifty-seven Media Spikes.
Are you enjoying them? If you’re still with me till now I’ll take that as a yes. A few questions have surfaced from readers to date so now’s a good time to exhale and respond.

R.A.F. writes… Where did Media Spike come from? Is it somehow significant for you?

Thanks R.A.F., Media Spike comes from a variation of my Newsletter – The Spike of Angels. I believe your ad message should have the impact and staying power of a Railway Spike driven into the frozen ground. Immovable. Yet it should be served up with the sensitivity and grace of Angels. Each of these messages to date imparts one more Spike in my epistle to you that communications should be delivered in a multitude of formats. Each one able to stand alone, but when used together, an unbreakable link to build a campaign or nation. Thank you RAF

Hey Dennis, writes K.K., what’s with 57 Media Spikes? How did you arrive at that number?

In a lucky twist of fortune, those are the last two digits of my birth year, and at this writing, I will have been on this planet for that many years. So one Spike for every year seemed a good target.  Thanks K.K.

Tell me Dennis, asks T.C., if we like what we’ve seen so far, do you have any other resources?

Several readers have already explored some of the links provided to my website for articles on :
  • Radio advertising
  • My Outdoor media series
  • and some readers have also learned I offer a downloadable PDF e-book which will distill my 30 years into a guide book of nine (9) Media Secrets. Originally offered at $97, this practical hands-on How To Guide is worth multiple times that asking price. In keeping with the spirit of numbers, it’s now available for $30 in keeping with my 30 years in the media trenches. I think you’ll like this one.
M.L.S. asks, Why have you stayed with this business so long? Aren’t there other things you’d like to do?

A great question MLS and I stay in this role because I’m seldom if ever bored. I genuinely still like my work. I love being able to present a solution to a client which spends their funds smartly and creatively and bolsters their profile. I get a lot of satisfaction in turning a blank sheet into a creative plan.

I can’t think of another industry or job which would have given me exposure to so many other industries.

I’ve been privileged to work with many fine professionals on accounts including, hotels and trucks and financial services, plus computer printers and carpeting, workboots and medical services, not to forget cameras and beer, and chicken and florists, as well as several charitable causes, and travel and provincial and federal government accounts.  Also in my portfolio is planning and placement for a variety of automobiles and auto parts and a host of others have kept me sharp and interested. And I love bringing that daily enthusiasm to your doorstep. Thanks M.L.S. I still like what I do for ‘work!’

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Welcome aboard.

A couple of weeks ago, back in article Media Spike #15, we spoke of the importance and relevance of having multiple media touchpoints for recognition. You might also recollect A Day in the Life of article Media Spike #18 on the diversity and omnipresence of media vehicles. Most recently we shared our analogy of media vehicles and golf, in article Media Spike #22.

Tell me dear reader, have you only ever had the same dinner, every day, forever?

One likes to hope not. Change. Variety. Diversity, are keys to health, life, happiness and media. Introduce new players one at a time to see how well they work. Keep the ones that do. Discard the ones that don’t. In several references thus far in this series, I’ve noted how one insurance firm used only two media, but were there all the time. They had done their testing, and these media prevailed and were a foundation of their ongoing marketing efforts.

Several advertisers have plowed forward by sheer brawn of their budgets. They just bought more of whatever media they were using.  While it dwarfed the competition- until budget ran out- it just overwhelmed their target group beyond saturation point and failed to expand their geography long term because too many funds were tied up in one media.

I grant there is merit in having a strong leading media. I would suggest you never have a reliance on any one media for any product or service. Many online purists were startled they had been delisted from the G-man of online due to algorithm changes or an unintended hiccup. More than one client has put everything into a newspaper campaign just as the union goes on strike for three weeks. One United Kingdom client had the misfortune of bankrolling his TV campaign to start on the day of Princess Diana’s tragic car accident, and his campaign was nowhere to be seen in the melee of news reports on the tragedy. That’s a lot of eggs in any one basket.

A minimum of two media is preferred, and five, eight, ten media at a time will certainly help to keep you consistently top of mind.

Sure Dennis, but does it work?  How much difference does it make by adding a secondary media?

To this point in our series, we’ve only touched on magazines intermittently. So let’s give them some deserved attention.

Many advertisers have relied on television as their sole media. It has doubtless worked for many of them as it is a vital part of their messaging strategy. So what happens when you suggest…Instead of buying 100% TV, let’s consider spending 75% on TV and the remaining 25% in magazines?

Study after study, survey after survey, results from 14 aggregated Return on Investment (ROI) studies validate the power of magazines to drive purchase decisions* (Magazines Canada – Consumer Magazine Factbook 2013 Page 116)

If television is our base at 100%, then the addition of onion ads raised the index between 101% and 114%. The addition of magazines to TV and online raised the index between 160% & 175%. This is just in their ability to drive purchase decision.

Magazines demonstrated their great impact of addition to the mix where their biggest influence is felt in Brand Imagery and Purchase Intent at 91% and 81% respectively. Higher than each of TV and Internet.

No less a name than Meredith Corporation, a prominent magazine publisher, created a program to prove advertising with their brands (magazine titles) guarantees a direct increase in sales. After one year, in several product categories, participating advertisers realized an average return of $7.81 return for every dollar spent on ads in these magazines. 781% Return!!!  The Power of Print cannot be overstated.

Would you consider it beneficial to spend the same and increase sales? Then you’ll appreciate this:

The Dutch based firm Unilever proved this ‘multiplier effect’ as they changed spending from 100% TV to 75% TV and 25% Magazine and saw a 6% increase in sales volume.

(The above results are all available for confirmation from this same Magazines Canada Consumer Fact Book 2013 as referenced above.)

If you’re already combining media to further your awareness and increase sales, you have my applause. If you’re still waffling, then test it for yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results, especially when they show up on the bottom line.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Hi, thanks for coming and recently…

One reader W.M., asked, So Dennis, are you suggesting that we dig in our heels and resist change? Are you closing your eyes to the platform that is the Internet?

Well formed and valid questions.

To the first, no I am not for a moment suggesting we resist change. It is the only constant, and all our efforts to stop the tide will only have us swept up in the undertow. Change is necessary. It disturbs complacency and challenges us to get more out of ourselves and our communication. 

To the second, my eyes have been keenly adjusted to the Internet as a media platform for over a decade with different clients experimenting (testing) different messages and delivery styles.

But ultimately it is still Marketing. The tools change, and we change to better use the tools we created. But human nature being what it is, we all crave communication, and ideas, and content, and useful information. The Internet and the digital age have ushered in instantaneous communication. In a heartbeat, a message which once was a feature ad in National Newspapers is now delivered to only one neighbourhood, or globally with unmatched speed and precision to an online audience who see it on a host of stationary, or mobile media tools.

My contention, and I’m pleased to say, multiple clients have concurred, is to introduce these new elements to our ad campaigns with a ‘let’s give it a try and TEST IT’ approach rather than abandon everything that got us to this point. If you’ve been testing your creative and your media mix as you go along, then these new components are part of the normal integration and they have to prove their worth in delivering sales. (Not likes, or retweets etc., but actually get down to a measurable and useful metric- SALES.)

I work with several clients who care less if they are liked, but have a huge passion for how many SALES-how many units of product did we move as a result of the last campaign. It strikes me that advertisers who integrate ‘Social Media’ into their campaigns need to do so with a recognition that historical sales strategies don’t play as well in this environment.  The messages today need to be informational, educational, and supportive to the customer buying process so that the customers get to know and like and trust you before offering a sales message.

Incidentally, when you are prepared to offer up a sales message—beyond just education— this is the time to move them from the social media forum to your website. Now they are on your turf. By way of analogy, when Television was in its infancy late 1940’s early 1950’s, networks recruited performers, entertainers, personalities from that ‘old’ media Radio to help them get underway. No less a powerhouse name than Vaudeville and Radio personality, Milton Berle, was the lynchpin to the commercial success of this fledgling new media, Television.

Initially warmly received, revered, idolized and known as Mr. Television, the tool which had invented him was rapidly transitioning as audiences were looking for new and different entertainment. Change was so rapid in TV, that only a few short years after ‘Uncle Miltie’ ruled the airwaves on Tuesday nights, he was supplanted by other programming.

So too with the Internet and social media. The early successful models are giving way to new methods of interaction with consumers. They are not dismissing all previous methods of contact, and most of those should remain a part of the mix. But the message from advertisers needs to reflect the new reality of consumer engagement.

Expect a longer courting process (back to my dating plan strategy unveiled in article Media Spike #3) online to win more hearts and wallets with a longer term relationship build. Such is the start of a customer for life—the best you can hope for.

Stay tuned.

P.S.  Keep testing. Keep practicing. New messages. New Media. Create the hybrid mix that works for you.


About Me
Dennis Kelly
A professional to his fingertips, Dennis Kelly of First Impressions Media brings a deft touch as your media magician. Extracting incremental media value for you from suppliers is second nature for Dennis. His versatility in all media is bred of 3 decades of hands-on media planning & buying experience in the media trenches. As a steward of your media budget, Dennis excels in delivering smart, efficient, creative and targeted campaigns to showcase your creative to the right audience.

Dennis is the author of “ 9 Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising” and is available to Masthead Reader for $197 through a special offer at this link
Most Recent Blog Comment
Dennis Kelly says:
Thank you Gloria. What a perfectly apropos link. Thank you for sharing that. You are quite correct. ...
Blog Archive
2017 (4)
2015 (41)
2014 (22)