Hello, I’m Stephanie

Since I’ve been at OBI Creative for a few months now, I thought it would be a great time to introd

Happy Customers are Better Customers

Happy customers are also return customers. It’s nothing new, so why is it so difficult to find tho

Marketing to Children: Ethical or Not?

New print technologies offer an interesting debate to marketers. In an article by Andrew Liszewski o


Hello, I’m Stephanie

June 25, 2013 in The People

Since I’ve been at OBI Creative for a few months now, I thought it would be a great time to introduce myself!  My name is Stephanie and I started at OBI back in February.  I was hired as an Account Director and at the moment I am involved with the marketing efforts for the redevelopment of Nebraska Crossing Outlets.

Though I’ve only worked at OBI for a short time, I already feel like I’ve found another family.  Not only is OBI a great company to work for from a client perspective, but I’m excited to come into work everyday to learn from my colleagues.   It’s really a great team here that collaborates daily to find the best solutions and creative direction for our clients. It’s great to be surrounded by people who know how to work hard but have fun at the same time.

I’ve traveled a ways to get where I am today but I think it’s instilled characteristics in me that I can use everyday as an Account Director here at OBI.   I started my career in the news industry as a Producer at 10/11 News. I produced the morning show, which meant I went into work around 10pm and left at 8am.  Though I loved helping residents of Lincoln get their day started, the night shift did not agree with my body! From there I moved back to New Jersey (where I’m originally from) and worked as a Commercial Producer for a production company.  All those infomercials you see in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep- my job was making those spots come to life!

After several years as a producer I decided that I needed a change, and that’s when I made the switch to advertising/marketing.  I think I’ve found my niche in this industry.  I love seeing how the power of marketing and advertising can help our clients companies grow and succeed.

When I’m not working, you can normally find me relaxing with my husband and golden doodle puppy.  We’re big fans of finding new restaurants and bars to try in Omaha and traveling to new and exciting places.

Happy Customers are Better Customers

May 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Happy customers are also return customers.

It’s nothing new, so why is it so difficult to find those few good companies that will take the time to make sure that you feel like a valued customer? Or, even better, a real person?

We know it’s not earth-shattering. We don’t think that seeing marketers as being concerned with customer service is earth-shattering either, but most people don’t think of marketers that way. In reality, the business of customer service extends far beyond our initial thought of someone on the phone answering complaints all day. While those jobs exist and are very important, wouldn’t it be better if we could develop call centers that only took compliments? Businesses could change that, if only they took the time to.

In Terry O’Reilly’s Canadian radio show and podcast Under the Influence, he discusses the implications that customer service truly has on a business. He draws this connection by utilizing examples ranging from giants such as Disney and Zappos to a small restaurant in New York that has made the “best restaurant” list for it’s notoriously friendly wait-staff.

Customer service has become more prevalent and more attainable than ever before seen in business. With companies utilizing communication sources such as email, phone, social media, etc. there should be no excuse as to why a customer cannot reach a company (and be answered for that matter).  So why are so few doing it? We don’t have the answer. Could it be laziness? Maybe. A company’s sheer lack of interest? Possibly, but we hope not. Or what about the lack of consideration? Definitely, maybe.

Whatever the laundry list of reasons is to NOT be customer-friendly, the good far outweigh the bad.  So no matter what business, industry, customer or position you are in, there are always opportunities to make a happy customer.

If you would like to read more from Under the Influence please see the link to the article that inspired this post.



Marketing to Children: Ethical or Not?

May 7, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized

New print technologies offer an interesting debate to marketers. In an article by Andrew Liszewski on gizmodo.com entitled, “This Ad Has a Secret Anti-Abuse Message That Only Kids Can See,” provides the background to a recent case study in an effort to provide abused children with a safe way to reach out for help, a Spanish organization called the Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation, or ANAR for short, created an ad that displays a different message for adults and children at the same time.

In this case study, the experience and message tactics make sense. The execution empowers kids – specifically those victim to abuse – a message and call to action that supports helping them stop the abuse. The debate begins when we open up the dialogue to what “should” or “should not” be targeted to an adolescent audience?

Check out Liszewski’s article and let us know your thoughts!


Dove’s Simple Real Beauty Sketches Campaign

April 22, 2013 in Contagious, Uncategorized

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign has been quite a hit – both the real thing and the parody by New Feelings Time Comedy.

What interested us most at OBI was the simplicity of the campaign and its multimedia launch. The video, released last Tuesday, now has over a million views.

The Dove® Real Beauty Campaign has been in existence since 2004. According to the campaign website, “The campaign started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after [The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report] proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. Among the study’s findings was the statistic that only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful.”

Dove’s latest campaign evolution is proving to be yet another example of the importance of video in today’s social world. The campaign was launched through Facebook, YouTube and with the hash tag #wearebeautiful on Twitter. The press release is a shining example of a multimedia news release.

Unilever and Dove have made it easy for anyone to view and share the release and the campaign video, which links to a simple website. The website may be simple, but it is filled with interesting and moving content. It opens with a brief, 61-word introduction. Then features the short film and shorter video interviews of the cast along with the sketches of each. The bottom of the page simply reads: You are more beautiful than you think.

On top of that, throughout all elements Dove is mentioned sparingly. Even the press release leads with a compelling headline and first paragraph that are NOT about Dove (until the last few sentences):


Dove® “Real Beauty Sketches” Campaign Reveals the Dramatic Difference Between Self-Image and What Others See

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ — April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The way women depict themselves is dramatically different from how others perceive them. Over half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic1, which equates to a staggering 672 million women around the world.2 Dove® is committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety and in response has conducted a compelling social experiment to illustrate how this problem manifests. Documented in the short film, Real Beauty Sketches, Dove explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.

Simple. Moving. Easily shareable. Content-driven. These are the hallmarks of a noticeable campaign.

Ted Talk Thursday: Trust Thy Stranger

April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Trust. It’s a little word that means a lot and is not typically tossed around casually in day-to-day conversation. But this little word could be the key to the digital economy in the 21st century, That is the theory behind Rachel Botsman’s Ted Talk entitled: “The Currency of the New Economy is Trust”.

Botsman is a social innovator who writes, consults and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing through network technologies. In her 2012 Ted Talk, she discusses her idea of collaborative consumption, which she defines as “a social and economic system driven by technologies that enable the sharing and exchange of assets from spaces to skills to cars in ways and on a scale never possible before”. In simpler terms, online reputation can be key to solving problems, getting things done and sometimes even trusting total strangers online to do them.

An example of collaborative consumption in action, Airbnb is a network of renters opening up their spare bedrooms and summer homes for travelers to rent. Initially, it sounds like the start to a bad teen horror film, but upon further inspection of this unusual business model, the idea is truly revolutionary and is made possible thanks to trust and reputation.

Through comments, ratings and badges awarded online, sites like Airbnb and TaskRabbit and other collaborative consumption sites have gained a reputation amongst users and tapped into new ways to solve problems using social networks.

It has created a whole new sort of networking: ‘service networking’, by utilizing social networking to solve problems and get things done in the real world.

So next time you second-guess those online reviews, know that they are only there to ensure your trust in the stranger operating it. Oh, and who is to say those comments are trustworthy as well?


Catching Contagiousness

March 19, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized

“Friday” by Rebecca Black, a blender that can shred an iPhone in seconds, a $100 cheesesteak and a man in a tutu sneaking into the Olympics and completing a high-dive belly flop. What do all of these random products and events have in common?

They went viral.

Good, bad or ugly as they may be, they got people talking. Seemingly unrelated, all of these topics have more in common than what surface judgments would normally allow.

Things don’t go viral for no reason; as Jonah Berger explains in his new book “Contagious – Why Things Catch On”, virality has some elements of rationale and consistency that are easily picked out and applied to almost anything.

Assistant Marketing Professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Berger has dedicated his research to why we talk about the things we talk about. He found six elements each of these things had in common. Berger refers to them as the six “STEPPS” to creating content that is share-worthy.

These STEPPS are:

S – Social Currency (We share things that make us look good)

T – Triggers (Top of mind, tip of tongue)

E – Emotion (When we care, we share)

P – Public (Built to show, built to grow)

P – Practical Value (News you can use)

S – Stories (Information travels under the guise of idle chatter)

Berger highlights certain things that have gone viral, such as the examples above, and picks them apart according to the STEPPS of creating viral content.

For example, “Friday” by Rebecca Black has been socially known as one of the worst songs in the history of all time (and potentially the future, too). So why does everyone know it? According to Berger, “Friday” is one of the best uses of the trigger element. By graphing out the days of the week the song was viewed the most on YouTube you might not be surprised that the peak of view occurred on, you guessed it, Friday. The day itself triggers the thought of the song title and thus people flock to YouTube to curb the teenage, excitement for the weekend craving.

By relating content back to one or more of these STEPPS, we can create content that is shareable and likely to spread quickly. As in the case of “Friday”, viral content can be either positive or negative, great ads that work or a total flop (refer to man in a tutu sneaking into the Olympics).

Berger’s book will be hitting shelves this month. We received an early copy at OBI by becoming a BzzAgent. If you would like to learn more about becoming a BzzAgent please visit their website at www.bzzagent.com.

Google Glasses – Seeing is Believing

February 11, 2013 in Be Brave, Blog, Future of Retail, Uncategorized

A recent Mashable article entitled, “How Google Glass Could Change Advertising”, intersected a topic we’ve been discussing a lot lately at OBI Creative’s office. What do innovations like Google Glasses, and other’s like it, mean for advertisers and brands alike?

In what could be the most innovative tech accessory unveiled by Silicon Valley in 2012, Google Glasses will be the ultimate tool in serving up an excellent customer experience. Designed from the customer’s perspective, brands will be able to connect at critical touch points in the customer’s experience. While it is still unclear what the cost will be, users can expect this technology to fit and frame to their lifestyle. The device should in fact give users a customized, social experience. With mobile and retail trends heading in this direction, this is the hardware solution positioned to be the gift that will keep on giving for software developers looking to communicate through the eyes of their end users.

Where Advertising And Social Media Intersect (And Where They Shouldn’t)

January 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

In a recent movie trailer for Broken City, the TV ad featured tweets of praise for Wahlberg in the upcoming flick. As reported in Forbes, “the trailer is exciting, and certainly novel, but it comes with one caveat, the tweets quoted within it are from people who have yet to see the movie.”

This raises an important question for advertisers: when using social media to promote a product or brand, when is it good to blend social media into an advertising strategy, and when should you draw the line?

Some Good Mixes

In a recently announced contest, The New York Times is allowing tech startups to present ideas and strategies for publishing, advertising and social media for the chance to earn a four-month partnership with the Times. The program, called TimeSpace, is a new initiative geared towards new and fresh tech companies (of which there are plenty in New York alone) looking to learn and grow in the booming field.

This opportunity allows these startups “an opportunity to demonstrate their products while teaching and learning alongside Times’ employees in the company’s 8th Avenue headquarters. The Times suggests the best candidates will come with seed stage funding and be focused on products like mobile, social, video, advertising technology, analytics and e-commerce.”

Some Bad Mixes

Let’s get back to this movie trailer that features Twitter. Though sources say that the tweets were never intended to act as reviews for the movie (that has yet to be seen by these tweeters), it is still receiving negative feedback by movie critics who are calling this pure laziness. The buzz it’s creating on Twitter is more of confusion than excitement, as no one seems to be able to rationalize the purpose of these tweets in movie advertising.

Lessons Learned

Using social media as a form of advertising is no doubt beneficial and often self-propelling (thanks to viral marketing, advertisers have more opportunities to build a brand through millions of users). The important thing to consider, however, is reputation and credibility. Advertising that does not attempt to use social media as a legitimate source of information is often successful. Advertising, however, that boasts “Wahlberg is a badass” in an attempt to appeal to people, well, that’s when you start to lose trust in users, and ultimately in your advertising strategy.

Companies, like OBI Creative not only build strategies that blend social media and traditional advertising, but they also have innovative ways of using the two in new and exciting ways. When working with clients, OBI recognizes the uniqueness in the business and helps to develop a strategy that works for the company, not for the internet. Using agencies such as these ensures that tweets don’t become reviews, and that strategies become an investment.

featured photo credit: snaphappygeek via photopin cc

To Air or not to Air? That is the Advertisers’ Question

January 23, 2013 in Blog

Up until recent years, much of the hype around the Super Bowl centered not so much about the teams playing or the halftime show, but more so around the commercials that are specially made for this game. As stated in the LA Times post, “Super Bowl ad conundrum: Do early releases spoil the show?” advertisers began unveiling teaser ads (if not the actual ad) prior to kickoff, as “strategic ploys to create an instant social media fan base — acolytes who will spread the word or better yet post a clip of the actual ad on their Facebook pages.”

With so many outlets and opportunities to expose ads in hopes of going viral, the question lies in whether or not to release these ads early.

Advertisers are torn. On the one hand, air time during the Super Bowl is among the most competitive, and will no doubt get the most viewers and yield better results. On the other hand, those ads that are airing early have the potential to steal much of that hype that revolves around anticipation of Super Bowl ads.

Throughout the years, some of the most talked about commercials have been those that first aired during the Super Bowl. Among those, are:

But in recent years, much of the hype has been centered around the feeling of having “privileged” access to many of these commercials before the millions that will all watch on game day. As it turns out, however, advertisers are starting to wonder whether “they can get more bang for their buck by holding the commercial back.”

When it comes down to it, the main consideration to keep in mind is the consumer. Yes, advertisers are aware of the hype around these particular ads and how many viewers they will get. But they also need to consider how quickly boredom sets in and how quickly hype can settle, making the millions of dollars spent for these spots almost useless.

Still, according to LA Times, it seems that most advertisers say that there is so much hype for the game before the actual game, that it is crazy not to release a teaser. Taking this route, Taco Bell has released theirs for 2013, which is already nearing three-hundred thousand views (see the video here).

Whether or not advertisers choose to release teasers or hold back to build anticipation, the most important thing is to have a strategy. Advertising agencies all over create marketing and advertising strategies specific to the different target consumer markets. Though not every ad will run for several million dollars and be seen across the country, it still takes a certain amount of planning to achieve the best end-result, which is why agencies, like OBI Creative develop specialized campaigns for a wide variety of markets, locally and larger.

About OBI Creative

At OBI Creative, we strive to live up to our founder Mary Ann O’Brien’s Be Brave philosophy in the work that we do for our clients. OBI is an ad agency hard-wired for innovation and we know the rules of marketing inside and out because we’re always looking to rewrite them.

Inauguration App: consumer convenience at a cost to advertisers

January 16, 2013 in The Work

The stage is set for the presidential inauguration. But do you have the app?

President Obama’s inauguration ceremony will have its own app to follow the day’s events live. According to Social Times, the app “features a schedule of events and will serve up SMS texts during the proceedings to keep users up to the minute. It will also update with photos and videos being shared by official social media accounts.” For people without the capabilities of seeing the highly anticipated event in person, on TV, or who don’t have a social identity online to follow status updates, this new app will become the most useful app . . . for one day.

But this leads to questions of the possible implications and repercussions that this app will have after all of the tweets and status updates/rants are drowned out by The Biggest Loser discussions.

The Pros of this app:

  • If you weren’t invited to a viewing party, or have no friends, you can watch on your own device.
  • If you have more important things to do, like having wisdom teeth pulled, you can multi-task.
  • In the event that POTUS muddles his lines and causes concerns for the validity of his swearing in, you’ll be updated in real-time. (Remember his first slip? Here.)
  • Know when and where all of the events will take place, and where POTUS will be (where was this in 1963?)
  • Many of the app’s features are downloadable, so in the event of network overload, public toilets can still be found.

The Cons of this app:

  • Real-time social platforms (those that rely mainly on advertising) will see a decline in traffic during key moments, losing critical advertising opportunities.
  • The app is funded largely by individual donors, causing conflict with public entities that are supported by consumer use.
  • If people are on this app, they are not on others. This means that those companies are losing traffic, users and money.
  • Advertisers lose branding opportunities.
  • Interactive social sites lose steady user base to the development of more privately owned apps.

The convenience of this app is undeniable. Not only does it allow those present at the festivities to find their way around and stay updated on POTUS’s whereabouts minute-for-minute, but it also allows those who download the app to participate in volunteer events in their own communities.

But when all is said and done, and the streets have been swept, where will advertisers stand? And where will businesses go to find customers if privately-owned apps become a larger success? With possible changes in advertising on the horizon, it is becoming more imperative for companies, like OBI, to stay proactive in finding new ways to reach their large consumer base.

photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks via photopin cc

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