Test yourself with our Super Bowl advertising trivia

There’s really no point in adding to the commentary about this year’s forgettable Super Bowl ads. Seriously, do you recall what Jason Momoa was hawking? Do you care to know what in the heck is Quibi? Even the much-loved “Smaht Pahk” was no “Whassup”. Good thing the game was memorable. Anyhow, this is where opinion ends and the fun begins …UNLEASH THE AD TRIVIA! We’ll begin with an easy one.   Which brands are the top-five Super Bowl advertisers of all time?  Considering the ad spend for type 2 diabetes drugs these days, four out of five of these brands should be of no surprise. The top advertisers during Super Bowl games in order of prominence are Budweiser, Pepsi, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Ford. Because, after decades of poor dietary choices, you’re gonna need a heavy-duty American truck to haul your butt to the ER.   Name five brands who advertised during the first Super...

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THREE MEGA-ISSUES FOR MARKETERS IN 2020 and how we need to address them

If your New Year’s resolutions include staying ahead of the curve, this article is for you. We’ve separated the wheat from the chaff (sorry for that paleo & gluten-free friends) to focus on today’s mega-issues for marketers.   1: The Steady Rise of Voice Search.   Yep, just when your SEO team thought they had mastered the game, Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri change the way we all search. Now it’s less about keywords and more about answering very real and human questions.   Smart speakers play a huge role in this trend. According to Canalys research, smart-speakers grew by 82.4% in 2019 and will overtake tablets by 2021 with over 400 million installations. In fact, the use of Google Assistant has quadrupled in just one year.   What to do about it: Start thinking about the questions that prospects and customers will be asking and insert those questions in headers. In addition, adjust web content so that...

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That’s the Spirit! Creative ideas for giving back during the holidays

Feeling challenged to come up with an event more interesting than a toy drive or canned food collection? Look no further than the agency world. Marketers are known to turn their fundraising up to 11 during the holidays (perhaps they feel a bit guilty for all of the crass consumerism). Last year for example, a Toronto agency auctioned off some of their prestigious awards via Instagram (including this gold Clio) as a means of raising funds for their favorite non-profit.   If you’ve been following Direct Choice, then you may recall voting for our Ugly Sweaters or  Holiday Album Covers to raise money via Facebook. Both of those holiday campaigns motivated our staff, friends and clients to join together for a good cause. This doesn’t mean you have to create a social media campaign to get creative. Consider these alternatives:   Auction off some perks within your organization During a holiday party, you could auction-...

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Medicare Advantage Plans Enter a New Age of Innovation and Competition

When your business is heavily regulated by the federal government, innovation and progress don’t come easy. Such is the case with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans which provide health coverage to 22 million Medicare beneficiaries. Everything about operating these plans (benefits, rates, marketing campaigns, etc.) happens under the watchful eye of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).   Last year, MA plans received some good news. CMS announced that plans could add supplemental benefits for home care and adult day care in 2019.  Now, CMS is allowing MA plans to expand coverage in 2020 with benefits that are “not necessarily health-related but have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health.”   Watch for new plans and new benefits coming in 2020.   According to Home Health Care News, there are at least 16 new MA plans becoming available  during the 2020 Annual Election Period when members can switch MA plans. Added competition is...

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Back to college: Reaching tomorrow's consumers today.

Back-to-College: Reaching tomorrow’s most valuable consumers today

Now that U.S. campuses are beginning to fill with nearly 20 million students, it’s a good time to consider what this means to your brand today and tomorrow. At this very moment, they have back-to-school needs and interests. Not too far down the road, they have the potential to become your most profitable customers.   3 key reasons why they’re the most sought-after segment: Today, Gen Z represent 44 billion dollars in estimated buying power   After they graduate, they will earn anywhere from 42% - 135% more than workers with no degree   College years represent a pivotal time in people’s lives when they are straying from parents and defining who they are and want to be. Connect with them now and you could reap some serious lifetime value.   How do you connect to Gen Z? Some traditional brands are doing surprisingly well.  Student brand ambassadors have been a big thing for companies such as...

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Tapping into Conscious Consumerism?

Be Aware of These Four Cautionary Tips. As we advance toward the 2020 election, climate change is rising to the top as a key issue. Following a year of record CO2 emissions and the largest year-on-year increase in seven years, it’s no surprise that more people are concerned about their impact on the environment than ever.   Brands that have already commoditized this trend are on the uptick. Nielsen recently reported that products with sustainability claims (think “fair trade,” “all natural,” “organic”) generally outperformed the growth rate of total products in their respective categories. Millennials are especially conscious consumers, with 90% willing to pay more for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients.   It’s easy to assume that marketing the “green” qualities of your company or a specific product can only add to your success. The truth is, the path forward is littered with pitfalls which, if you are reckless or even the...

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Would you settle for a 30% retention rate? Neither should colleges.

In our last blog, Higher education is desperate to lure more of Gen Z. How will they succeed?,  we focused on how Colleges and Universities are bolstering their efforts to attract Gen Z as new-student enrollments continue to drop. The college strategies we reviewed are applicable to any business looking forward to Gen Z or serving them today. Of course, onboarding is just part of the story. The next challenge for higher education is retention - how to keep Gen Z engaged and enrolled through to graduation.   According to the most recent statistics available, 59.4% of students do not graduate from 4-year institutions and 70% of students do not graduate from 2-year institutions. It’s a sad statistic for our young people, the colleges they attend and our nation as a whole — especially when you consider that a majority are lower-income, minority students who may be the first in their family...

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Super Bowl advertisers fearlessly go for the laugh.   With an audience as monstrous and diverse as the Super Bowl, are brands taking a risk by using humor? A study of 6,500 ads by Ace Metrix concluded that humor grabs our attention but seldom motivates action…   “Humorous ads tend to garner higher levels of viewer attention, increased likeability for the ad, and improved willingness to watch the ad again in the future … however, low information and relevance on many funny ads results in creating lower desire for the advertised products than non-funny ads.”   So why are so many brands willing to spend 5 million dollars to generate a chuckle in 30 seconds? Most of us would agree that trying to be funny but failing is far worse than doing nothing at all. Let’s chalk it up to the basic human need to be noticed.   Who was SUPER-FUNNY?   Bud Light differentiated why their flavorless beer is...

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Spotlight On Angela Evans-Evans

How long with DCI and what brought you here? Angela: I’ve been here at Direct Choice for two years. Previously, I was a Senior Accountant for an affordable housing non-profit. Although rewarding, I eventually realized I need a position with a company that was less frenetic and overly stressful. That’s what led me here. What keeps you there? Angela: While I still take on responsibilities beyond accounting, I’ve always thrived at smaller companies. I prefer the friendly atmosphere and respect that everyone has for one another.   What’s the worst job you ever had? For me, it would be my first job as a dishwasher. Angela: I can’t say that any job, even retail work I had through college, was a negative for me. I’ve always learned something valuable and met great people throughout my working life. You have a very calm and composed quality, yet you live a very active life. Tell me a little about that. [caption...

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Lonnie “the man” Bidwell now Director of IT!

Along with the planned expansion of our Information Technology (IT) capabilities comes the advancement of Lonnie Bidwell from Senior Programmer to Director of IT.   Lonnie has been an integral part of Direct Choice for eight years and leads all the agency’s programming functions. During his tenure here, Lonnie has advanced our data processing through new protocols while continually winning accolades from clients.   “The feedback I usually hear from our clients is, “Lonnie’s the man!” He’s not just technically savvy, he’s a people person and a strategic leader.” – Nick Lanzi, President and CEO   In his new role, Lonnie will continue to work in development and data processing for our clients while expanding our IT department’s capabilities beginning in 1Q19....

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