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$3.3 billion in revenue – still worth it? standard

– John Gielow, Director of Digital Strategy With this week’s reported sale of ATT’s print yellow page and business units to private equity firm Cerberus, the immediate reaction is … just another nail in the coffin for the yellow page business.  At SMZ, we have placed clients’ print and online yellow page business for 25+ years.  We’re not pretending to dispute the continued shift of print to online, but let us not forget the millions of US adults who do not have smart phones yet.  We’re not talking about the under 40 crowd who respond to these stories in amazement that anyone ever uses a print directory. We’re talking about your parents,  aunts, uncles who have lived a lifetime without being attached to ...

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Titanic lessons apply 100 years later standard

– Jamie Michelson, President The word titanic was around long before it became a capital-T brand, instantly, when the White Star Line luxury ship sank 100 years ago next week. It dates back to powerful Titan gods of Greek mythology, and gained lasting power in another context that moonless night of April 14, 1912. A century later, “Titanic” remains shorthand for avoidable disaster. Its saga spawned analogies so common they’re clichés, particularly in business. Small market shifts could be the tip of an iceberg. Cosmetic changes by a firm in peril are compared to rearranging deck chairs on that legendary liner.    For those steering companies — whether a retail business, a mid-size creative agency or a global corporation — the ...

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Sports Marketing 101: Get a Tebow standard

[youtube;rel=0;showinfo=0;&w=640&h=360] – Zak DeHondt, Art Director When Tim Tebow was drafted in 2010, he set an NFL record for jersey sales by an NFL draftee. Even when he was a backup quarterback in Denver last year, his jersey sales were topping starting quarterback Kyle Orton’s. His on-field performance has also sparked massive debates on ESPN and other sports networks about his highly controversial playing style. You can’t buy SportsCenter coverage for three months. You need a Tebow. If you can buy coverage, it’s to allow HBO to film your team through training camp and then release a miniseries about it for the world to see. That’s exactly what the loud and rowdy New York Jets brand did in 2010 ...

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Mad Men Before Mad Men standard

— Jamie Michelson, President With all of the hype and build up after a 17 month hiatus Mad Men returns to AMC on Sunday evening. John Hamm who plays Don Draper told TV Guide, “one of the big questions the show asks about the human condition is: do people ever really change?” You could also ask: does the advertising business ever really change? Take a look at this ad our agency ran in 1954, the 29th anniversary of the agency. It appeared in the Adcraft Roster, a publication that exists today. It told of the agency’s ability to craft a story that moved merchandise. Wow, technology and social media sure made that approach antiquated! And it had a sexist lead line of copy that demonstrated that some Mad Men ...

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Brilliant Risks standard

– Ann McGee, Senior Vice President, General Manager Brilliant ideas are fun to market but inevitably require some risk taking.  The family that turned an old psychiatric hospital in West Virginia into a tourist attraction had a brilliant idea, took a risk and it’s paying off. According to a recent AP article, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum originally opened in 1864 and in the 1950s housed nearly 10 times its intended 250 patients.  It closed in 1994, some 130 years after originally opening.  So imagine the spirits hanging around, even if it’s only in people’s imaginations. You would have thought the facility would be the perfect candidate for demolition.  And it was.  Joe Jordan, a Morgantown asbestos abatement and demolition contractor, ...

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Comedy is translation standard

– Trish Cowan, Copy Writer “Every act of communication is an act of translation.” —Gregory Rabassa I ran across this video on This guy, Chris Bliss, talked about how great comedy tells the truth. Changes conversations. Gets people thinking differently about things—even subjects they thought they knew where they stood on. Comedy helps tear down walls. All while laughing at ourselves, or at someone else, stirring our brains with assorted truisms. So every set of words is open to interpretation, correct? How many times have all of us said, “No—that’s not how I meant it!”? Been interpreted and misinterpreted. Adds a little pressure to the ad copywriter, doesn’t it, not to be taken the wrong way, especially at the ...

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Typography Annual 2012 standard

– Zak DeHondt, Art Director We at SMZ definitely appreciate the art of typography and its role in design. In fact, seeing poorly treated typography makes our eyes very displeased. Luckily, the Communication Arts Typography Annual always leave our eyes smiling with some of the most creative and tasteful type treatments from the past year. We bet your eyes will like it too.

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