Author Archives: accel

The Other Shoe Has Dropped. So Has Another One, And One More!

Well folks… 2012 certainly was filled with angst, hand wringing and nervous waiting for one big watershed resolution after another. Obamacare, the elections, and finally the holiday season sales numbers have kept us marketers paralyzed on the sidelines. Shame on us for being afraid of something as silly as a falling shoe.

It’s time to stop worrying. It’s time to strike out and get on with building a better business for our shareholders, our workers, and our families.

The challenges and punishments that we are going to have to weather in the next few years will be harsh, but they won’t finish us. Not by a long shot. So, let’s get out there, be brave, make some bold moves, and advance fearlessly in 2013. It won’t get better until we make it so, together.

Who else is ready to be bold in 2013? Drop us a line and let us know your plans.

Written by: Timo Matero, Primary Founder / CEO Accelerator Advertising, Inc.

It’s the Summer of Love 2012 with Accelerator!

We all want it… love! Love from our customers, from our co-workers, the bean counters, the boss. We all want that business love, but how do we get it?

Well, like the old saying goes, “You have to give, to get.” So this summer, join Accelerator in dishing out some love and let’s see what we get back.

With customers, giving love can be as simple as special deals promoted socially. With co-workers, it can be taking on more responsibility on a project. And love for the boss can be providing ingenious solutions to a problem, as you announce there is a problem in the first place.

Since we’re in the marketing business, let’s look at two other ways to put love out there for your customers.

1. Take your website mobile. For example, Accelerator has just finished putting the final touches on its previous mobile site to take advantage of the new power of the smart phone and tablets. While it’s a small move, it’s a smart one, because the use of these mobile components is now the consumer’s first choice to find information. Plus, mobile purchasing is exploding more and more and will soon become the dominant outlet for marketers within the next five years. So if your company is still waiting for a mobile enhanced site and a strategy to go along with it, call us, we can help you sort things out.

2. Creativity! Yes, good old-fashioned creativity spells love. How about creating some entertaining, engaging, and memorable advertising for a change? Notice I said, entertaining. Not necessarily funny. Give your audience something to appreciate and remember, and maybe even enjoy. Once you have fancied their hearts, their wallets will follow (which will bring love from your boss and the bean counters, too).

So join Accelerator now in celebrating the Summer of Love 2012. It all starts by calling or emailing us here at our groovy pad in Lewis Center, Ohio for some fun, creative ideas everyone will love!

Written by: Timo Matero, Primary Founder / CEO Accelerator Advertising, Inc.

Hey Facebook! Say “Goodbye!”

In a move beyond comprehension, Facebook has implemented Timeline, with no opt-out option, much to the dissatisfaction to mega-hoards of Facebook users.

After reading several pages of reader comments from readers of Yahoo! News, The New York Times Online, and other sources that reported the Timeline change, I would estimate that 99% of reader commentaries that I read were totally dissatisfied with the implementation of Timeline.  Nay, dare I say, enraged?

In my opinion, this shows that Facebook either didn’t care about the user, or perhaps had faulty research showing that Timeline was wanted.  Either way, Facebook has p***ed off a huge chunk of it’s user base.  And make no mistake; the user base is the only thing that makes Facebook of any value in the marketplace.

When Facebook first came out, people were attracted to its simplicity of design, ease-of-use, and best of all, being able to share their life with their circle of friends and family.  Now with Timeline, the interface has become cluttered, confusing to navigate, and worst of all, drudges up all sorts of embarrassing posts and pics from days gone by.  Like the one from long ago, of you wearing nothing but undies, dancing around a beer keg at some bash.

A crazy post was OK when you only had five college friends on your account, but now, you have over a hundred friends, including your boss, mother-in-law, and pastor.  What once was buried down deep is now front page news. Thanks a lot Zuckerberg!

Users don’t want the past, embarrassing or not, being forefront. Facebook is all about the here and now, duh. They don’t want a more confusing interface, or advertising slammed in their faces.  Nor do they like having no opt-out.

I guess Facebook didn’t learn from the Netflix disaster.  Netflix brutishly changed the structure of offerings and features that made them successful only to lose customers and revenues so fast that it is now headed towards the ash-heap of has been successes.

A company like Facebook can’t take their users for granted by making arbitrary and universal changes to the platforms they have come to feel are an intimate part of their lives. To do so disenfranchises them and breaks the bond of trust that once existed. Changes need to be made slowly, and after much research in order to better the experience.

My advice for Facebook? Treat users as if their entire business and future depends on them.   Because guess what?  It does.  Goodbye Facebook.

Written by: Timo Matero, Primary Founder / CEO Accelerator Advertising, Inc.

It’s Major Award Season!

When holiday decorations appear and jingle-bells jangle, you know it’s time to celebrate winning Major Awards! And here at Accelerator, we’ve got plenty of them to make the old man proud.

Our talented writers, designers, and promotion freaks have done a fine job of gathering national attention and recognition for outstanding creative work. (To see the whole list of Major Awards, click here.)

But like we always say, “Awards are nice but we’re paid for results!” And results are what our clients get each and every time we roll out a new campaign or promotion.

Thanks to our great clients from White Castle, Hoover, Dirt Devil, MGA Entertainment and more, for allowing us the opportunity to do great work! If you’re not a client of ours yet, let’s talk. Who knows? Maybe your project will win a Major Award too.

From all of us here at Accelerator, Happy Major Award Season!

Written by: Timo Matero, Primary Founder / CEO Accelerator Advertising, Inc.

The Economy Is Scary Now, But You Can’t Live In Fear.

Wow. I hate to be the glass is half-empty kind of guy, but the economic numbers and outlooks aren’t getting any better out there and probably won’t improve for the rest of the year. Spooky, huh?

But like we’ve been counseling our clients, now is THE BEST time to get your marketing message out there. Here’s a few reasons:

1. There’s all sorts of media bargains to be had. Marketers have trimmed budgets. And now the media outlets, especially traditional ones are starving and willing to provide huge discounts.

2. There’s less advertising going on overall. That means your message can be heard and remembered without needing much frequency. You can spend less, and be heard more! What a bargain!

3. Creativity doesn’t end at the designer or writer’s desk. Our agency is busy helping clients discover new ways of reaching people everyday. If you haven’t had a good marketing audit and review lately, chances are you’re missing out on some really great tactics that don’t cost much, but bring heaps of results.

I like to say, “You can’t live in fear.”

And you know what, you can’t successfully market your business in fear either. Here’s where you take the first step. Call us or email us and we can set a time to discuss Accelerator performing a painless marketing audit and review on your current efforts. From there, we can recommend some great ways to take advantage of today’s current climate.

Next up: Don’t be afraid of the future. Shape it!

 Written by: Timo Matero, Primary Founder / CEO Accelerator Advertising, Inc.

Normal Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Essential Survival Skills for the Way We Live Now!

What once was normal for marketers isn’t anymore. Once you could write a press release and get your information out there the way you wanted. Now, everyone has a podium to discuss your products and your business and you have very little or no control over what they say. Once you could on seeing a lift from a running a flight on a particular broadcast channel, now your well-crafted and creative commercial gets DVR’d or Tivo’d.

Back when things were normal you could always count on the holiday season to make your year. Now you don’t even try to make a year, just the quarter. Things have changed forever. People’s buying habits. The way they communicate. How brands interact with their end users. And the economy.

Everything isn’t normal, and it’s never going to be again. So what’s a marketer to-do? Well, if you can adapt, think quickly on your feet, and not be afraid of trying new things, then you will do fine.
But if you’re hunkered down in survival mode, waiting for things to simmer down, or the other shoe to drop, you’ll be missing out on a lot of markets hare and dollars. Sure there are too few spendable dollars floating around out there, that only means that it will be the smart marketer who can chase them will get them.

Here’s how to survive the upcoming years of not normal.

1. Realize that Normal Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Normal has moved out of the house, and he’s not coming back. Ever. So don’t enshrine his things in his old room and be pining away on the couch for him. Don’t leave the porch light on, and don’t be jumping up looking out the window every time a car drives by. He’s left you and is not coming back. Face it.

2. Get abnormal! Now that you have accepted the fact that things aren’t normal, and never will be again, you can start thinking abnormally. Yes. You are now free to think differently, act differently, spend differently and be different. Liberating isn’t it? Nothing else is normal, so why should you do the same things you’ve always done? That’s nuts. Getting abnormal is the most rational thing you can do as a marketer right now.

3. Advertise and market your buns off! When the economy tanks, marketers and CFO’s get jangled. They cut marketing and advertising budgets in some sort of pre-emptive strike against the bad indicators. But in reality, all they are really doing is setting the stage for a self-fulfilling prophecy that portends poor sales and declining numbers. Well duh. You’ve just pulled back on your ad spends, people aren’t hearing about you any more making you out of sight, out of mind, and out of luck. What a marketer needs to do in a down turn is advertise, advertise, and advertise some more. That way your brand becomes the loudest in the marketplace, you gain heaps of exposure, and then leap frog over stronger competitors because they, like the rest of the marketing lemmings, have bailed on advertising. The only cost that actually pays. Don’t be like them. Don’t be normal.

4. Hire Smart. Hiring smart means hiring people who are versatile, quick and eager to get on with things. There’s no shortage of qualified, good talent to be had in just about every discipline. Now is the time to conduct a few search and rescue missions to secure the talent that you couldn’t afford to hire a few years ago. They need the work, you get a good person. And when your sales begin to improve because you’ve advertised your buns off, you’ll be glad they’re on your team and can reward them for their dedication appropriately.

5. Stay on top of all the new tech and social media trends yourself. You. Yes you. Get a Twitter account. Follow a few people. Join Linked-IN and Facebook. Do all those new fangled things that your audience does. You personally need to learn them. Not a subordinate. You.

We hope that helps you understand the new normal! Watch for more tips on our next post.
Stay abnormal!

 Written by: Timo Matero, Primary Founder / CEO Accelerator Advertising, Inc.

Marketing and Advertising for the Way We Live Now™ *

Way back in January of this year, I was predicting a basically flat economy, stinky housing outlooks and $4.50 a gallon gas by summer. Summer’s almost here and the indicators are right on track with my predictions.

It’s not too hard to figure out by now, that THINGS ARE NEVER GOING TO GET BACK TO “NORMAL”. Our current economy, our personal situations, and consumer behaviors are the way they are going to be for a very long time. There will be some incremental improvements to be sure. But these last few years have fundamentally changed industry, people, politics, investments, and our thinking forever.

Marketers will have to adjust their messages, offerings and mediums for the way their consumers live now. CFO’s will have to adjust budgets, settle for less top line and more trim bottom lines. Retailers will have to raise prices; consumers will continue to be squeezed for their last few dollars. Even the retailer giant Walmart announced not too long ago that their customers were “running out of money”.

Consumers are going to act differently moving forward. Hard times have a way of altering behaviors permanently. Folks who lived through the great depression were literally stuffing money in mattresses and burying coffee cans filled with coins in the back yard for the rest of their lives. They scrimped, saved, never wasted, re-used, did without, and lived well within their means. Just like most of us commoners now have to do today and probably will for decades to come.

So, my advice to you as a marketer is this: Don’t wait for things to go back to normal. Don’t settle for normal. Don’t think, act, communicate, assume, promote, budget, and plan like you normally would have in the past. Normal doesn’t live here anymore.

Be sure to read my upcoming blog, “These Guys Aren’t Normal… Thank Goodness!” for the bright side of all this.

Author: Timo Matero, CEO, The Accelerator Companies

*Not only is this headline a descriptive introduction to my latest TruthSerum post, it is Accelerator’s new slogan!

Don’t Just Engage Your Fans, Motivate Them!

You’ve done what everyone’s told you to do. You’ve gotten your Facebook fan page up and running. You’ve got your Twitter, tweeting. And you’ve even got followers and likes-a-plenty. Now what?

If you’re like other socially savvy marketing folks, you’re putting up timely information about your products, causes, and promotions. You’re listening for customer complaints and helping to turn grumblers into ambassadors. Basically you’re keeping busy but haven’t yet found a way turn social media into something that will contribute to your revenue stream.
Revenue is something most social media efforts are missing. Why? I can tell you what it may be…motivation.

Getting your followers and likes to actually DO something that will build your business. Testing the personal relationship you’ve made with them and motivating them to take the next step to buy or try your products and services.

It’s a lesson every small business owner from a dry cleaner to a pizza shop learns about motivating customers early on, something they don’t teach at the Snootington College of Business, and that is , ” WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS and PLEASE TRY OUR OTHER OFFERINGS”. Marketers get so caught up in devising ways to “go viral” from sweepstakes, to group deals, to hash tag contests, they forget the simple, pure power of simply asking people politely to “Buy something from us…”

I know. Social media conventional wisdom says you’re not supposed to be pushy. You’re not supposed to sell in social media or you’ll turn your base off. But I say, if you have a true relationship with your social followers, they will appreciate and respond to a sales invitation, provided you don’t do over repeat it or it isn’t relevant to their lifestyle.

Ask your followers to buy or try something in a polite, friendly way. You will be amazed at the results! Oh, and if you appreicate sound advice like you’re reading today, Please call or email us for a consultation. We would love to work for you. Thanks!

Author: Timo Matero, CEO, The Accelerator Companies

Mr. Matero’s Crystal Ball 2011

Way back in 2008 before there was an “official” recession, our agency noted a significant pull back from our clients in terms of media spends and initiatives.

Then along came the paralyzing slump of 2009 that killed off many independent ad shops, printers, and media agencies despite the so-called “stimulus”.

2010 however saw everyone climbing into and clinging onto the “social media lifeboat” for all they we worth. And thankfully we survived.

So what will happen in 2011?

Prognostication, unless you’re a ground hog can be a tricky past time, but I’m willing to stick my neck out. From what I’m foreseeing now, here’s how it looks:
• Unemployment will continue to hover around 10%
• Housing starts will continue to wallow in the pits
• Oil will continue to climb and yes, this will put at gas at around $4.50 this summer, as it always magically does between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Go figure.
• Retail sales will remain flat
So there you have it. Another bleak outlook for yet another challenging year. But now for the good news. (There always is a silver lining you know!)
• As people get adjusted their new “Normal” personal economies, new services and products based upon value and making a connection with the consumer will skyrocket. You’re already seeing this happen. Just yesterday I saw a commercial where H & R Block is offering free simple tax return preparing in an attempt to lure a new base of customers based on value. Of course, there will be an up sell once they get they in the door, but hey… they’re there!
• More social media applications will flood the market making it even easier for brands to monetize their social media efforts, and for fans to “like” them.
• People who have been putting off larger purchases such as cars, computers and appliances will buy this year. Not because they want to, but because they can’t put it off any longer. Heck. It’s been almost 3 years since last they’ve had a technology upgrade, and that family wagon is going on 7 years or more.
• People are going to stop waiting for the government to pull them out of the malaise because they can see the stimulus plans have done nothing but stimulate the government.
• The unemployed are going to look for ANY work, not just work they want.
• Businesses are going to find ways to survive despite all the new mandates and regulations, and that means forcing innovation and supplying products people want versus cutting back (which they can’t do anyway).

2011 will be a year for people and business to adjust to the downsize, and come to the realization that America has a far way to go to get back to the heady days before the bubbles burst.

2011 is the Year of Acceptance. Let’s move forward in confidence knowing that we’ve woken up, we’re going back to basics, and we’re up for restructuring and rebuilding our lives, our businesses and our country, one positive step after another. It’s going to take patience, work, and determination. I’m up for the challenge. Are you?

Author: Timo Matero, CEO, The Accelerator Companies

Spuds and Buds: The Story of Spuds McKenzie and The Bud Bowl

Anyone growing up in the 80s remembers Anheuser-Busch’s Original Party Animal, Spuds McKenzie. Originally appearing in a 1987 Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light, he’s always accompanied by three beautiful “Spudettes” and is always the center of attention.

Calm, cool, collected, and never short on girls or beer, Spuds was completely likable and memorable and beer sales reflected it. The commercials were wildly successful showing Spuds dancing, high-diving, playing drums, pole vaulting, and even ski jumping. By 1988, he helped Bud Light, which was introduced in 1982, soar to the number 3 spot of all beer sold in the U.S. Most memorable (at least for me) was at the end of each commercial, one of the supermodels always had a suggestive compliment for Spuds, which he always took in stride. Good Boy!

Robin Leech (of the popular show ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’) provided the voice over’s, which contributed to the image of “living the good life”, not to mention the “coolness factor”.

The commercials with Spuds, who was actually a female Bull Terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye, continued their popularity with millions of bottles of beer sold in American grocery stores along with countless t-shirts, glasses, mugs, key chains, and beach towels.

His extreme adoration, however, led to his demise. Mothers Against Drunk Driving began a nationwide protest against Anheuser-Busch claiming that Spuds popularity with children lead to an increase in under age drinking. Complaints were filed with the FCC and an investigation was launched. Although the FCC found no proof of Spuds delinquency of minors, the public relations damage had been done.

Anheuser-Busch began to fear that Spuds popularity and new notoriety may be overpowering the Bud Light brand. That, along with the MADD complaints, led to the decision to retire Spuds from commercials in 1989.

Looking for a replacement and a character that wouldn’t overshadow the product, Anheuser-Busch turned to the product itself and unveiled Bud Bowl I during the 1989 Super Bowl. These unique ads featured bottles of Bud Light and Budweiser playing each other in a football championship. The spots were created using expensive and time-consuming stop-motion photography. (This was before computers were technically advanced enough to handle this type of animation.) Each game provided lots of drama, last-second heroics, comedy, and, to the delight of Anheuser-Busch, hundreds of shots of the product.

Despite the intense labor and cost involved, the commercials were a huge hit and the consumer response from Bud Bowl I was an unprecedented 17% spike in Budweiser sales that month. The following year Bud Bowl II continued on the popularity and brought a spike of 19%. In 1992, Bud Bowl IV brought in an unbelievable 46% increase in grocery store sales.

Kitschy and cool, each year brought more game-within-the-game Bud Bowl commercials, characters, celebrities, and highlights. It was Anheuser-Busch’s most successful campaign ever. However, by 1999, consumers had become weary of the annual contest and Anheuser-Busch ended the campaign.

Later Super Bowls featured the Bud-weis-er Frogs and the “Whassup?!” guys. Each was extremely popular, instantly recognizable by a majority of Americans, and spawned numerous commercial sequels. But they failed where it mattered most, as neither managed to increase sales quite as well as Spuds and Bud Bowl did a few decades ago. Shortly after, the campaigns were ended.

So the search continues for Anheuser-Busch for the next great spokesperson, or frog, dog, or bottle, which will propel sales during the Super Bowl once again. Tune in next year!

Author: Marc Obregon, President, Accelerator Advertising, Inc.