Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Content Marketing - Periodic Table

Content marketing can greatly improve a company’s digital footprint, increase brand awareness and sales. With such a myriad of tactics available to marketers, it can be very overwhelming. This Periodic Table of Content Marketing infographic published by Econsultancy provides a fun snapshot its complexity. Even the author acknowledged the table is far from being definitive, but it’s a very creative way to embrace content marketing.


There are endless possibilities that can lead to success. A successful “equation” for one business may look completely different for another; it all depends on your company’s goals and objectives.

Key components to consider:

Goals: Your content strategy must be mapped to business objectives, whether that’s to build brand awareness; increase website traffic or engagement; generate leads or sales.

Formats: Content can take many forms, such as images and infographic (like this one), videos, slideshows, webinars, games, apps or a press release. A single piece of content can be repurposed in many different ways.

Sharing Triggers: What’s the creative hook or emotional driver that will inspire engagement? Is the content funny or sexy? Moving or uplifting? Controversial or Unbelievable? (I thought this chart was cool enough to share.)

Platform: There are multiple options for sharing and distributing content, such as a company’s website, microsite or blog; Twitter;
Facebook; LinkedIn; Pinterest; Instagram; YouTube and other third parties.

Metrics: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will measure success, and may include: increased page views; new visitors; organic search metrics; downloads; engagement metrics, etc.

As a marketer, you must first determine the strategy to achieve goals, identify the content formats, platforms and sharing triggers that will engage your target audience, and then quantify a campaign’s success by tracking metrics.

While there’s clearly a ton of work to do, Smarti’s strategy currently looks like this: Em+Nj+We+Bl+Li+Pi+Ad / Pv+Uv+Nv+Nl =Tf+Le+Br+Sa
What does your’s look like?

Need help figuring out a content strategy for your business? Let us find you a Smarti Solution…

Monday, April 7, 2014

SXSW

Every year, professionals and celebrities connected in the Music, Film and Interactive industries flock to Austin for the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival. With over 72,000 registrants and artists in attendance, it’s a great opportunity for marketers to try create buzz, although each year it gets harder to stand out as the event becomes more commercialized every year. From experiential activations to free food and giveaways, brands look to outdo each other and parties look to be more fantastic than the last.

Key SXSW trends themes this year included 3D printing, online surveillance and privacy, wearable computing, futuristic tech culture. To see an example of a technology enthusiast personified, check out this attendee, Nick McGlynn, 31, photographed riding around Austin, Texas on a Segway, wearing Google Glass while checking his smart phone:

A few highlights from this year’s conference:

"The Strain": While television show promotions were all over the festival, one of the most interesting activations was FX-The Strain's “Transformation Station”. A museum was converted into a “vampire spa” featuring sleep pods with Samsung tablets playing footage. Exhausted festival attendees could sign up and take 20-minute naps, billed as a cure-all for “The Strain of SXSW.”

3D Printed Snacks: Oreo epitomized real-time marketing and printed out customized Oreos using a three-dimensional printing system. Mondelez International (makers of the Oreo) partnered with Twitter to offer attendees "deliciously hyper-personalized and customized snacks based on real-time data collection." The edible, 3D-printed Oreos assembled within two minutes by the machines, let snackers choose from a dozen varieties. The flavors offered were based on which trended highest on Twitter. Wow!

Cookie Shots: My favorite new product launch? New York pastry chef and creator of the cronut Dominique Ansel debuted his latest dessert creation: Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots. The inspiration for the dessert — a chocolate cookie "glass" containing a "shot" of milk — came after Ansel tried his first Oreo and was encouraged to eat it with milk, which apparently is not "a natural combination in French culture." Figuring that "if everyone was drinking milk with cookies, you might as well make a dessert that allows them both to be combined," Ansel has created a chocolate chip cookie recipe that "stayed crispy and moist in parts" even as it held milk." Genius!

Did you attend the show? What was your favorite highlight?

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Oscar for best marketing goes to...

The TV broadcast of the 86th Academy Awards was a great opportunity for brands. Beyond advertising, many brands took the opportunity to build buzz, generate exposure and connect with consumers through social media and experiential events.

Host Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie with the Samsung Galaxy Note (which included stars Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Steep and Bradley Cooper) won "Best Picture” among marketers. Samsung was mentioned 40,000 times across social media outlets. Even though DeGeneres did not mention the brand in her tweet (which was retweeted 1.3 million times), Samsung scored a peak rate of 900 online mentions per minute, which crashed Twitter's server. The tweet broke a record for retweets previously set by President Obama on the night of his reelection in 2012. The stunt chimed well with Samsung's "You Need to See This" commercial that aired during the Awards.

There was lot of live action around the Oscars. Several brands leveraged experiential events to connect with influencers and consumers in tangible ways.

Vanity Fair (part of Condé Nast) invited more than 120 influential bloggers and online reporters to use branded work spaces on Hollywood Boulevard outfitted with amenities; merchandise was given away in exchange for sponsored posts. The Vanity Fair Social Club’s Campaign Hollywood also involved an Oscar night party and special magazine issues.

People Magazine V.I.P. subscribers sweepstakes promotion brought 300 readers and their 300 guests to take part in an Oscar Fan Experience that included seats in the bleachers on the red carpet and a viewing party on Hollywood Boulevard.

And what about the advertisers that shelled out @ $1.8 million and $1.9 million for a thirty-second spot? According to a BrandAds study, American Express was the most effective of all brands advertising during the Awards show, based on a 61.74% increase in the likelihood that consumers would purchase one of its products after seeing the ad. Sprint, Lunesta and Cadillac followed closely behind with 50.67% and 48.35% 47.22%; increases respectively. As for Samsung, the increase in likelihood to purchase after seeing the Oscars rose only 12.35%.

How do you measure success? Likelihood to purchase? Or the buzz meter?

Brand awareness and buzz often generate greater results and greater impact over time.

Share your thoughts!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

12 Tips to Find a Marketing Agency You'll Love


Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to think about the state of your relationships. Of course, this is a marketing blog, so I’m not qualified to help you with your love life. Just like finding the right romantic partner, finding the right advertising, public relations or marketing partner for you all boils down to communicating openly, asking the right questions and paying attention to the details. Are your marketing programs producing results you love? If the passion for your team has faded, you've lost the love for your marketing partner or if you're currently unattached, don't lose heart. Here’s a dozen tips to find a match made in marketing heaven.

1. Be selective. There’s nothing wrong with playing the field a little bit just to see what’s available, but you don’t want to cast your net too wide. The best ones may run away, assuming it’s a waste of time against the numbers, or that you don't appreciate that they’re unique. Limit the lineup. Do the due diligence or use a consultant to weed out the ones that are obviously not a good fit and develop a short-list of the most promising agencies so that you can take the time to get to know each of them well.

2. Consider first impressions.
Is there a good exchange of talking and listening? Like in any relationship, first impressions are usually a good indication of what’s to come in the future. Your first phone calls, emails or meetings with a marketing agency should give you the feeling that they are professional, experienced, and passionate about winning your business. Anything less and it may be best for you to walk away now, before anyone gets hurt.

3. Look for inner substance.
There are countless stories of people who ended up in a bad relationship because they were blinded by a pretty face. Don’t let this happen to you. A particular agency may be one of the hottest names in the industry and have won lots of awards, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they're going to be the right fit for your organization. Look below the surface to make sure that an agency has real ideas and realistic plans for how they can take your brand to the next level.

4. Bigger isn’t always better. Can you be sure your team will be there when you need them, or are they going to forget about you as soon as they win your business? Bigger marketing agencies may have more resources, but they may not be able to provide your account with the level of personal, senior-level attention it needs. A smaller agency might do more to keep your business because it’s more valuable to them.

5. Can they commit? Look towards the long term. What does an agency’s past tell you about its future prospects? Are they the type of agency that frequently builds long, successful relationships, or do they have a lot of “one-night stands” in their client history? Once the “honeymoon” phase wears off, can they keep the work exciting and fresh?

6. Do they “get” you? Do they have relevant experience with clients facing similar challenges? Do they have a pulse on what makes your customers tick? The agency may have a large service offering, but what do they do best? Identify your needs and the agency’s core strengths to ensure it’s a match of the heart and soul.

7. Look for the “spark”: Just like in romance, there’s a certain feeling you get that can tell you whether or not an agency is right for you. Do they bring energy into the room or sap it? You’re going to be spending a lot of time with the marketing agency you choose to work with, so ideally, the thought of attending meetings with them in the future should get your heart racing faster.

8. Meet the family: When lovers marry, the families –crazy uncles and all—are a package deal. The same is true of marketing agencies. You’re be essentially marrying your brand to the agency’s entire staff, so you’ll want to make sure their overall culture, attitude, and work habits are a good match for your own. In larger agencies, the business development team that wins your account may not be the people you’ll be working with on a daily basis. Get to know the team who will be responsible for your account.

9. Avoid Revolving Doors: With the level of turnover that occurs in mostly larger marketing agencies, it’s important to find out if the talent that produced those successful campaigns is still with the agency, and available to work with you going forward. Can they point to recent successes with the current team?

10. Share Mutual Goals.
What’s considered a successful relationship? Develop a scope of work, deliverables and a timeline. What happens in the first 30 and 90 days? Do you agree on the end game and share a vision for the future?

11. Talk about Money. Are they talking “champagne and caviar”, but you’re thinking “fish and chips”? If you don't openly discuss money and manage expectations in the beginning, you may waste time discussing programs that are beyond your means. Let them know your limits so they can work within them.

12. Where Is this going?
Do you have a future together? Have they produced successful campaigns with impressive results? Will they produce a campaign that puts your company on the map? You deserve the best. Look for a track record of success and feel comfortable with their plan for the future.

Even if you’ve got all the right tips, having a matchmaker who can introduce you to the right firm will dramatically increase your chances of success. That’s why I’m here. If you’re looking for marketing love this Valentine’s Day, I can set you up with a meeting that just might turn into happily ever after.

All that it takes is a bit of research and due diligence, and you can find a team that is perfect for what you have in mind. Well, that and maybe a bit of love too.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

10 Ways to Woo Clients and Seduce Prospects

With Valentine’s Day upon us, now is the perfect time to think about how you can make that ideal prospect a part of your life. Do you wish that special client would accept your proposal and pursue that commitment you've been dreaming about? Have you been wondering why you didn't land that last new business pitch? Would you like to know how your agency can become more attractive to prospects? If you're looking for new clients and feeling a little lonely, don't lose heart. Here's some Smarti advice on attracting and keeping clients. It comes down to old-fashioned courtship –setting the right mood to convincing them that you’re a keeper. Following these ten steps will help you find the long-term and profitable relationship you’ve been looking for.

1. Make a good first impression: First dates are all about presenting yourself in the best way possible, and the same is true of your first contact with a potential client. The old saying is true: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so make sure that your first impression is sending the right message. That first contact, whether it happens in an email, over the phone, or in a face-to-face office meeting, should make you appear experienced, energetic, and professional.

2. Communicate openly: Being able to talk and understand one another is an important part of what makes a relationship “click.” You may have a great campaign to share with them, but hear what’s on their mind, first. Taking the time to understand the client’s will make them feel valued, while also helping you craft a targeted proposal.

3. Excite them: If the idea of working with you doesn’t make their pulse pound a little quicker, you’re doing something wrong. Throw out the hour-long, boring PowerPoint presentations and hit them with something that will really get their attention: a level of energy and passion unmatched by any other agency, as well as the skill, experience and resources needed to put that energy into action. Leverage exciting show and tell proof points. Make sure they know what they’d be missing if they don’t work with you!

4. Be genuine:
Tell them what your agency excels at, but don’t feel the need to stretch the truth just to impress them. If your agency usually outsources certain services, feel free to leave those services out of your pitch. Be honest about expectations and don't make promises you can't keep just to win them over. You can only build a lasting relationship with a client if you’re honest with them from the start.

5. Don’t bring up the past: When it comes to bad relationships, you and your client have probably both had a few. Bringing them up painful ex-clients now can make you come off negative. Show your client that you’re focused on the future, and are ready to move forward and build a new relationship with them. Leave the past where it belongs: in the past.

6. Pay attention. If the client wants to point out the faults of the marketers who came before you, take notes, or at least mental ones. This gives you valuable specific direction into how to wow them with exceptional service. The old place never returned phone calls? Make it a point to check in regularly -- before they call you. It was a revolving door? May sure they have your contact information and know that you’re there for them.

7. Give them something to remember you by:
With so much competition, finding a way to stand out from the crowd will make you harder to forget. Make sure the client has copies of your presentations, summaries of your proposals, and analyses of how you plan to meet their needs. When it comes time for them to make a decision, you’ll want to make sure you’ve given them something that makes your agency memorable. You want to be on their mind the next day…

8. Make future plans—and follow through: No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who can’t look past tomorrow. Make sure the client knows that you have a long-term vision for how your agency can help them. Thought-starters create intrigue—but don't give it all away too quickly. Fill them with anticipation for what’s to come.

9. Don’t wait a few days. After your first contact, don’t give them too much time to cool off. Be sure to send a nice thank you note, expressing your desire to work with them. Call them back soon to see if they have any questions, and to share some new ideas you may have had. Make sure that they know you’re thinking about them, and that you value the opportunity to earn their business.

10. Make them feel wanted. In the end, your perspective client can choose to do business with any agency they want. It’s up to you to show them why they should pick you. That means showing off your industry experience and past accomplishments, understanding their needs, and explaining to them why your agency can help meet those needs better than anyone else.

Once you’ve won the business, be sure to keep the romance alive so the relationship thrives!

Is your team in need of a makeover? Is your pitch now wowing prospects or winning the business? Don't lose heart. Smarti’s business development consulting services can improve your new business presentations and take your pitch to the next level so clients will be chasing you.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Super Social

At this year’s Super Bowl, every brand was looking for its “Oreo moment.” In the past, a brand could "win" the Super Bowl by airing the most talked-about TV spot. Oreo changed all that last year, when they tweeted about the Super Bowl blackout. That simple tweet created more buzz than- any of the advertisements that appeared in the actual Super Bowl broadcast, and best of all, it didn’t cost Oreo a thing. Ever since then, brands have been looking to use clever, well-timed messages to capitalize on the popularity of major events like the Super Bowl to maximize brand exposure.

Unfortunately, with such an uneventful game on the field this year, brands had a hard time finding one seminal moment that would become part of a culturally relevant conversation the way last year’s blackout did. Instead, social media marketers engaged in what is quickly becoming a bizarre theme: brand-on-brand action. There was more competition online than on the field.

Who scored?

JC Penney
led the conversation this year and was the clear winner in this year’s social media game. The troubled retailer spent the early part of the game sending a slew of misspelled and illegible texts, including such nonsense as “Who kkmew theis was ghiong tob e a baweball ghamle. #lowsscorinh 5_0,” leading many to believe that the either the person typing the tweets was drunk, or the account had been hacked. They got people’s attention.

Other brands launched an onslaught of snide tweets against JC Penney, including Coors Light (“We know football goes great with Coors Light, but please tweet responsibly”), Snickers (“Eat a #SNICKERS, you’re not you when you're hungry”) and Kia Motors (“ Hey @jcpenney need a designated driver?”)

In the end, the joke was on them: JC Penney had planned the misspelled tweets as part of a clever social stunt to promote Team USA mittens ahead of the Winter Olympics: “We were #TweetingWithMittens.” JC Penney’s smart play was making fun of real-time marketing, while simultaneously benefiting from it. The brand added over 10,000 followers in one night. Although the JC Penney was not even an official Super Bowl advertiser, they became second-most mentioned brand on social media that night, with over 120k mentions.

Other brands were prepared in advance, too. Because many commercials were pre-released before the big game, it created a huge opportunity for brands that did not run a Superbowl commercial to develop “counter-creative.”

Both Tide and Priceline did a great job of riding the coattails of other brands’ commercials and used their resources to create Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram promotions to during the game.

Newcastle Brown Ale used the “#IfWeMadeIt” tag to promote their spoofed commercials. Their efforts resulted in 13,000 new followers during the game.

One reason that so much attention on the social media arena this year was likely because there was so little going on in the actual game to keep the attention of the viewers.

DiGiorno Pizza was able to make a crack at the quality of the competition, while also offering a bit of self promotion with their “YO, THIS GAME IS LIKE DIGIORNO PIZZA BECAUSE IT WAS DONE AFTER TWENTY MINUTES” tweet. That one quick line was able to be retweeted 11,000 times.

Buffalo Wild Wings is known for their hilarious sports themed commercials. An older spot had a man in a command center press a button that tripped a player, causing the game to be extended (so people would spend more time at the restaurant.) They couldn’t resist referencing the poor showing of the game with a tweet, “Sorry fans, we don’t have a button for this.” Over 24 hours, that tweet was shared over 30,000 times.

Hillary Clinton (or her social media team) effectively used Twitter during the game to poke fun at politics, while also hinting at a potential presidential run in 2016. Her tweet, “It’s so much more fun to watch FOX when it’s someone else being blitzed 26%! #SuperBowl” was retweeted 53,000 times.

Although the Oreo didn’t even try to match the success they had last year, they still got plenty of buzz just from announcing that they weren’t going to try. "Hey guys … enjoy the game tonight. We’re going dark. #OreoOut.”

While many were disappointed that nothing “spectacular” happened in real-time marketing this year, keep in mind Oreo didn’t do anything so amazing last year, either. They got lucky: they simply found something exciting and novel to react to. Now witty reactions and comebacks are the norm.

The key to winning the viral-marketing buzz game is finding creative ways to be relevant, get the buzz, and stay above the noise.

While the playful Twitter spats between brands got a lot of attention from journalists and social media insiders, the question remains whether this back-and-forth is actually part of a strategy to capture consumer attention, or if it’s just marketers trying to outdo each other and impress a very small set of social media professionals in the endless pursuit of industry affirmation.

On the other hand, winning industry awards and peer recognition has always been an important part of the marketing industry. Social media is just another channel. There’s no reason that the desire to get both consumer attention and industry recognition can't continue to peacefully coexist.

To learn more and see the tweets and the creative highlighted in this post at Smarti’s new Pinterest page.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bowled Over?

For some, Super Bowl Sunday is a day to hang out with friends, fill up on chips and salsa, and trash-talk whatever team your buddies are rooting for with a bit of friendly banter. However, there is much more going on to the Super Bowl than just what’s happening on the field. For marketers, Super Bowl Sunday is a key time to show off unforgettable ads that will go viral and be talked about throughout the country after the big game.

This year’s Super Bowl telecast of the Seattle Seahawks' victory over the Denver Broncos was the most-watched television event in U.S. history, drawing 111.5 million viewers on Sunday night. At $4M for a :30 second spot plus production costs (which can go up a $1M), there are heavy expectations and the stakes are high.

How do you build your brand and create buzz outside of television on the big day? Market guerilla-style. Doritos scored big with its guerrilla-marketing stunt, which consisted of 50 fans, dressed in orange jackets at the Super Bowl, staged to look like one large human Doritos chip. These prime seats weren't given away; unsuspecting New Yorkers were asked to do something "bold," like get a hug from a hippie, a haircut from a bad barber or help a sensual senior citizen create an online dating profile. Those “bold” enough to take on the challenge were rewarded and blown-away with big game tickets. Brilliant! Check out a making of the chip.

Collectively, the Superbowl commercials were not that exciting. Pressed to create buzz, more than half the Superbowl ads were released on YouTube the week before the big game, which trumped much of the hype. Overall, the vibe was definitely more “feel-good” and optimistic, which is a welcome tone to set for the year.

With a captive audience and an incredible opportunity, it’s a shame that most Super Bowl ads focus on outlandish antics and rarely promote the actual company or product they are selling. This often in results in funny ads that may be very entertaining, yet have absolutely no brand recall, which is ultimately a waste.

Here are my take on some of the best and the worst Superbowl ads:

EXCELLENT

Volkswagen, "Wings": Dad’s VW Passat odometer passes 100,000 miles and he tells his daughter that every time a VW hits that mileage mark, a German engineer gets his wings. This hysterical remarks on the durability, longevity and superior engineering of its cars in an entertaining way and effectively points out that it has more vehicles on the road with that mileage milestone than any other brand. Awesome.

Radio Shack, “The Phone Call": "The 80s called. They want their stuff back." RadioShack pokes fun at itself in this self-deprecating spot. Throwback eighties icons including Twisted Sister, Erik Estrada, Hulk Hogan and Chuckie, reclaim their outdated merchandise to make room for new products. Nostalgia works. Fabulous, attention-getting launch-pad for the brand as it updates its image and its stores.

Microsoft, “Empowering": Narrated by Former NFL player Steve Gleason who has Lou Gehrig's disease and uses technology to overcome his disability and communicate with his son, this beautiful and inspirational spot focuses on how people rely on technological innovations in their lives and how it helps the greater good. Emotional and empowering, great new direction from Microsoft.

Hyundai, "Dad's Sixth Sense": Dad uses his intuition and reflexes to repeatedly save his son from mishaps and near-death experiences. "Remember when only dad could save the day?" When the kid starts driving and gets distracted by a girl, the Hyundai Genesis automatic emergency braking system takes over and protects him from a potential accident. "Count on Me" song in background. Fab spot targeting parents.

GOOD

Budweiser, "Puppy Love": A Lab puppy falls in love with a Clydesdale. When the puppy is sold, the horse runs after him and the “best buds” are reunited. Not the most original concept and no mention of beer, but yes, the puppy was darn cute and the spot was memorable and pulled at everyone’s heartstrings. I do like how they hit it home with “Best Buds”.

Jaguar “British Villains’ Rendezvous": Spot positions the F-Type Coupe it as the “sexy bad boy” car. Star power celebs, Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Strong play Bond-like villains and describe themselves and the attributes of the new F-Type Jaguar. "We're more focused. More Precise. Always one step ahead. With a certain style, an eye for detail and obsession with power." Fun spot is on-message and sells the car.

Sonos, “FaceOff”: The speaker company created a breathtaking spot. Making sound visible by color was very effective. It made me want that sound system.

Kia, "The Truth": Known for entry-level vehicles, Kia wants to change consumer perception and introduce a luxury car, the K900. The spot features Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, from "The Matrix", who offers a couple a choice of two keys, if they choose wisely, they will never look at luxury—or Kia—the same way again. The challenge is that it’s big stretch to associate Kia with luxury. But it’s fun introduction and got people’s attention.

Wonderful Pistachios “Stephen Colbert”: Spot features Stephen Colbert in character, promoting pistachios. Special effects transform Colbert’s head into a cracked open pistachio. Brands rarely use celebrities well, and I they actually did a good job here. It feels like something Colbert would actually do on his show.

Beats, "The Right Music": Ellen DeGeneres stars as a modern-day Goldilocks in search of just the right playlist to fit her mood and location, which she finds with the Beats app, a streaming music service available through AT&T. It communicates the product benefits in a fun way. Notably, after debuting the ad, Ellen gave everyone in her studio audience an LG one so they could try it.

GoDaddy, "Body Builder": Stampede of body builders –including spokeswoman Danica Patrick—races down a street to a spray tan salon found online. When the owner sees group storm her store, she whips out her spray gun, "It's go time.” Great line. Spots elevates the brand’s previously sleazy image and shows it’s starting to mature and take business seriously. Well, sort of...

Heinz Ketchup, "Hum": This spot observes people at various occasions hum the song, "If you're happy and you know it," as they hit the bottom of their ketchup bottles. It concludes with an empty-bottle flatulence joke, giggles around Grandma and closes, “Where there’s happy, it has to be Heinz”. It’s a very family-friendly, feel-good commercial and the brand's first Super Bowl ad in 16 years.

Doritos, “Time Machine": This home-made spot features a kid landing an adult’s Doritos by tricking him into believing he’s entered a time machine. This funny ad was the winner of Dorito’s annual Super Bowl commercial contest and was made in 8 hours for $200. Seriously. This spot proves crowdsourced commercials can be just as good as the big budget ones.

T-Mobile, "No Contract, No Worries": Ad exploits Tim Tebow’s inability to get an NFL contract and promotes T-Mobile’s “no contract” message. "Contracts are limiting," says Tebow. It highlights the advantages of his life and all he has been able to accomplish (like delivering a baby, tackling Bigfoot). Great product information by T-Mobile and good humility on Tebow’s part. But non-football fans may have missed the joke.

Cheerios, “Gracie”: Cute commercial brings back the interracial family. The father uses Cheerios to tell his daughter a baby brother is on the way, and she bargains for a puppy. Sweet, touching moment around breakfast. I preferred the other commercial (where she learned the Cheerios were good for your heart and poured them on his chest when he was sleeping.) But kudos for bringing back the family and keeping it adorable.

Bud Light, "Epic Night": Over the top, bud light commercial using a regular guy off the street and what happens to him on a crazy night involving models, limos, llamas and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The perfect beer for whatever happens. It’s outlandish. But likeable.

BAD- What Were they Thinking?

Audi, “Doberhuahua”: The all-new Audi A3 is "designed without compromise." Because compromising can lead to a freaky Doberman and a Chihuahua hybrid dog-monster. Not even ASPCA spokeswoman, Sarah McLachlan can stand it. Ridiculous. How does that sell Audi? Why did you do it, Sarah? Why!? (I hope they made a big donation.)

Chobani,"Bear": A bear ransacks and destroys a store but wants to pay for his yogurt. “A cup of yogurt won't change the world, but how we make it, might." Huh? Their message is completely lost. The absurd spot and makes no point. C’mon guys. You can do better than that!

Dannon Oikos, “The Spill”: Full House star John Stamos stars as the sexy hunk who spills yogurt on himself in the hopes his female companion will lick it off. Full House” roommates Bob Saget and Dave Coulier spoil the day. Fellatio allusions with a family show cast with. Really? It may drive reruns of Full House...

SodaStream, "Sorry Coke and Pepsi": My, how we have evolved as a culture: The myopic mindset is that all that’s needed to make a winning spot is to have a gorgeous celebrity suck on a straw, disrobe and strut and look sexy. So contrived! What a waste of Scarlet Johansson.

Carmax, "Slow Clap": In this spot our hero is applauded by Sean Astin, star of the sports cliché movie, "Rudy." Most people will likely have missed this reference and the joke. Will this make anyone think of Carmax when they need a car?

Squarespace, "A Better Web Awaits": Spot for this web design firm highlights what’s wrong with the web. But it doesn’t tell you what Squarespace is or why you need it.

Bud Light, "Cool Twist": The entire spot is beauty shots of the bottle with the package redesign and new twist-off cap. What a waste of money; it would have been better spent in-store at the point of purchase.

Axe, "Make Love, Not War": Spot features North Korean and Iranian dictators, Russian soldiers and U.S. soldiers in Vietnam who would rather make love and not war. Over-the-top even for Axe, known for its cheesy spots that at least sell the product better than this one.

Maserati, "Strike": Quvenzhane Wallis, star of Beasts of the Southern Wild delivers a monologue against catastrophic visuals. “We have prepared. Now we strike,” Perhaps this spot centered could work for American Red Cross, The World Health Organization or a beneficial charity that helps children or the needy. But to use the disconnected themes of Beasts to sell a high-end Italian luxury car? What a miss-step.

For your handy reference, creative referenced above can also be seen in one place at Smarti's new Pinterest page.

What do you think? Weigh in!