Blog Archives

Contributed by Lauren Soderberg

One of the benefits of being a full-service agency is the ability to tap into several points-of-view at a moment’s notice. While the culture at PPBH is cohesive and unified, each employee brings a unique sensibility to the table.

After reading this recent article in the New York Times (and considering the fact that every time I wear super-high heels to work, they are jokingly measured . . . with an actual ruler) I thought, what better way to illustrate the aforementioned point than to show the world some of the footwear of PPBH’s finest?

The categories are as follows:

These boots are made for walkin’ (featuring the Interactive, PI and PR departments, plus a centerpiece, because we can)

From our East Coast office (Interactive represents again)

Fancy footwear (the PI and PR departments know a good shoe when they see one)

PPBH goes on vacation (currently billing my time to Hawaiian Punch)

Our calves are probably irreparably shortened by now (featuring Ad, Finance and PI… plus the highest heel in the history of PPBH)

Media Men (get it?)

From our West Coast office (proving that a little comfort goes a long way)


Casual Friday (and yes, casual can still mean that sparkles are involved… sometimes)

and finally…

PPBH junior: The next generation (just because we’re young doesn’t mean we’re not fabulous)

Bonus points go to anyone who can identify whose shoes are whose.

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Contributed by Melanie Donahoo

Every year the Utah AAF holds a competition to unearth the most creative and groundbreaking creative work done by local advertising professionals. The winners are then announced at an awards gala called the ADDYs.

Several PPBHers attended the awards gala last night, which was all about making your mom proud. What we discovered is that it’s not just our moms who love our creative work. We took home two ADDYs—a silver for the Zero Fatalities Teen Memorium and a gold for the PPBH Holiday card.

Congratulations to our creative team who works hard day in and day out! They don’t do it for the awards, they do it for the good of the client and the love of the job, but taking home a little hardware every now and then never hurts.

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Image courtesy of MSN Now

Contributed by Melanie Donahoo

We all know about Facebook friend requests, but now one airline is bringing its passengers Facebook seat mate requests. Dutch airline KLM unveiled a new program to allow its passengers to grant fellow passengers access to certain personal information from their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

According to an article on, the idea behind the social media integration is to allow passengers to make the most of their time in the air by networking and connecting with like-minded individuals, friends or even that cute someone across the aisle you’d like to get to know better.

While passengers can’t block someone from sitting by them, they can move. This could lead to a pretty entertaining online game of chasing someone around the plane as they frantically try to avoid you.

I think the overall concept of this is a smart one, but I expect it will be received with mixed reviews due to the fact that everyone has a different traveling style. While some people are eager to chat up the person sitting next to them on the plane, others would prefer to mind their own business, and would like you to do the same. I guess that’s where choosing to reveal or not reveal your social networking information comes in. It will be interesting to see if other airlines adopt a similar program.

What do you think? Would you like to use your air time to network and connect, or would you prefer to be left alone?

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Contributed by Jason Alleger

Arby’s creative agency of record, BBDO, was ousted by CP&B without a review. The shocker? BBDO had helped Arby’s in its fifth consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth.

Why would a huge brand switch from a winning agency? One word: relationship.

Arby’s new CMO, Russ Klein, had worked with CP&B for five years while he was with Burger King. According to Klein, “this transition is about where we are taking the brand and how we are going to get there. Our opportunity is to turn a great brand into a great business. We are building a brand that will be authentic, emotional and enduring, and I know that CP&B can get us there.”

If this was all about a making a great business, BBDO was already ahead of the game. After winning the Arby’s creative account in December 2010, BBDO delivered some great results. This includes the tagline ‘Good Mood Food,’ a contest that generated 1 million views a month, and tripling Arby’s Facebook fans to over 800,000. Yet, in the end, it seems that nothing beats a solid relationship.

Agencies need to foster relationships with their current and previous clients. Instead of always scouting new prospects, more agencies could be scrolling through their roll-a-dexes and rekindling relationships. The best leads will likely come from distant connections.

What is more important to you, results or relationship? Let us know in the comments.

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Contributed by Lora Stead

Safe kids make for happy parents, so join us for free at the sixth annual Zero Fatalities Safe Kids Fair. The event is happening February 24 and 25 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. The safety festivities run from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and activities include:

  • A visit from Captain America
  • Face painting
  • Fire truck exploration
  • Petting zoo (including snake-holding)
  • Anti-tobacco display
  • Child passenger safety demonstrations
  • S.N.A.P. performances
  • Interactive car simulations
  • Bicycle safety activities

We’ll also have plenty of giveaways for the kids, including our popular Zero Fatalities buckle-up backpacks. Make sure to stop by our booth first so your children will have somewhere to store all of their goodies—but they only get a bag if they promise to always buckle up!

So click those car seats and seat belts, look both ways when crossing and head to the Zero Fatalities Safe Kids Fair on February 24 and 25 for some free family fun, safety style. Your kids will thank you.

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Most businesses understand that they need a website, but some don’t really know why they need one or, just as important, how to get people to visit it. They mistakenly assume that the “If you build it, they will come” rule applies to websites too and not just baseball diamonds built in the middle of Iowa cornfields. The reality is, if your marketing director isn’t a voice from the beyond, like it was in the movie, you had better develop realistic techniques to get people to come.

Driving traffic to a website starts by building it right, and that means understanding the roles it plays in your business strategy. Typically, the purpose of a website is threefold: educate, motivate and communicate. With basic elements such as securing the right URL and deciding how the site will fit into the overall marketing plan taken care of, the next step is to develop a strategy for the site with the intent to guide customers down a linear path that begins with awareness and education, motivates them to transition to an action mode and communicate for more information or to complete a purchase.

When developing your strategy, consider the following:

General Internet Awareness
Generating awareness among potential customers starts by making the site easy to find. Optimizing it for search engines and creating strategic channels is critical to gaining a prospect’s attention. Do it right the first time. Don’t try to trick the search engines because chances are the site will get black listed and that’ll be the end of that URL.

Trigger Action
Companies need to learn how to connect with their customer and guide them to their website. This can happen both offline and online. Online, a company needs be where the customer is looking. Don’t misunderstand, because that doesn’t mean a company needs to be everywhere, just where a potential customer is looking for them. That means SEO rankings, paid search, social media, banner ads, etc., all of which are designed as triggers to get people to a website.

Access to Information
Once people get to the site, they need to be able to quickly find what they came for. A grocery store is a physical entity. As such, they strategically shuffle their products to keep people browsing around the store for hours looking for the tapioca. Conversely, websites can’t keep people guessing because users can pop in and out with a flick of their wrist and the click of a button. Put the most important information up front and then provide opportunities to dig deeper.

There’s a difference between providing good content and over dot-com-vomiting. Too much information can actually sell customers out of an opportunity. Provide the right, valuable information and then get out of the way.

Once people have developed some trust in a company and its product or service, they will typically transition from a research to an action mode. For companies that can sell online, that means the person makes a purchase. For companies that can’t sell online, it means the person initiates contact by filling out a form, making a phone call, or physically visiting. Whatever that next step is, it needs to be very clear and easy to take.

Bonus: Creating a Relationship
All too often, companies mistake a website as a necessary evil. It gets pushed down to the IT department and left in the capable hands of those who like to try things­­—just to see if they’ll work. It is a good idea to think of the site as an employee of the marketing or sales team. After all, in any given day, your website probably speaks to more potential customers than your entire company—combined. Make the site something that customers can relate to, expose company culture and personality and then find ways to create triggers so people will actually come.

This article was originally published in the February 2012 issue of Utah Business.

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Thanks to Edelman Australia for the visual.

Contributed by Jane Putnam.

It’s time to combat the common misconceptions of the field I love: public relations.

Often, too often, in fact, when people find out I work in public relations, I get this response, “So do you write press releases all day?” Thankfully (as much as I enjoy writing press releases), the answer is no . . . but then how do I explain what I do each day? I guess you could say I have a PR problem on my hands—how do I properly and accurately convey and educate others on what my job entails, and more importantly, the value of PR?

A PR practitioner is a strategic communicator (and strategic is so overused! I should hope that in business, everything we do is strategic!). PR professionals are often tasked with everything under the sun when it comes to brand management, perceptions and communications. In PR, we work with a variety of audiences (or as we in the industry call it, “publics”) to best represent and manage the relationship with an organization or company.

So, yes, I do write press releases. But I certainly don’t do it all day! I also develop messaging to support the launch of a product, respond to a crisis or even overall brand message of what a company is and does. Our PR team works with the media—and these days, it’s all kinds of media including TV, radio, online, bloggers, etc. We do research. You know those calls you get about your awareness of a product or issue and how you weigh in on it? It’s a pretty safe bet that a communications professional is involved and will be reviewing the research findings to strengthen or develop communication efforts. We manage internal communications, too. The external audiences are very important, of course, but you also need to have strong relationships internally.

The value of PR can’t always be equated to an X percent increase in sales, or X dollars in ad equivalency. As we tell our clients, it’s often the intrinsic value. How do you put a dollar amount on a good reputation, or the quick resolution of a would-be crisis? Sometimes you can’t, but any PR professional worth his or her job will be able to show you, through their work and results, the value of PR.

The Public Relations Society of America is actually in the process of redefining public relations. Sure, PR has been around for more than a century now, but things, as we all know, keep changing. To keep up with these changing trends and services and value PR provides, a new definition is in the works, with industry professionals worldwide weighing in.

So, next time I see you, feel free to ask what I do all day. I promise I’ll have a good answer and it will be educational!

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There was much digital chatter in the wake of Google’s announcement and debut of its new panel-based web measurement system. So much that Google quickly fulfilled its quota for panelist participation. Visitors to the official Screenwise landing page are now greeted by the following statement: We appreciate and are overwhelmed by your interest at the moment. Please come back later for more details.

The way Screenwise works is this: Willing participants install an extension in their Google Chrome browser that lets Google monitor their activity. They get an immediate $5 Amazon credit for installing the extension and an additional $5 every three months. Google gets all of the data (although it will not combine Screenwise data with web history data when users are logged into Mail or YouTube, for example).

This isn’t much different than the way research firms Nielsen and ComScore collect data on web users. Traditionally, Google has been able to see virtually unlimited (and anonymous) data for anyone using their search engine, mail, photo, blogging and seemingly infinite other amounts of products it puts out. Its Chrome browser was a huge step enabling the company to see a much clearer picture of how users navigate the web. So it is interesting that Google would now take the panelist route on collecting data. It is apparent that it sees a future where privacy concerns and government regulation might completely scuttle the traditional method of collecting data through cookies. Ironically, Google is being heavily criticized over this move for privacy concerns! We don’t see anyone taking Nielsen and ComScore to task for essentially doing the same thing.

Whatever the public reaction may be to this move, we at PPBH wonder how scientifically sound Google’s panel can be. Is it getting a panel of Google Alert-notified digital geeks who instantly flock to the latest unveiled product? Is it getting a ton of users in the digital marketing industry? Since we were too late to the party, we’re not sure what the vetting process is. But considering the way Google got its panel, how representative of the United States population can it possibly be?

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Contributed by Mitchell Vice

“People come for the bright lights, but they stay for the show.” – Mitchell Vice

When a client comes to us with a request to “redesign” their website, we perform a website audit before we push a single pixel. This audit process helps us determine what the current message of the website is, and more importantly, what message the user expects to hear from the website. In more cases than not, website owners think that a graphic redesign or “freshening up” will solve problems like low conversion rates, poor sales, high bounce percentages and other signs of frustrated or confused users. While intuitiveness and clarity are important usability factors, more often than not the problem lies in the content of the website.

Content is by far the most important element in user interface design. A webpage with a simple structure but quality content performs much better on usability tests than a nice layout with subpar text.

Quality content that grabs your users and keeps them engaged comes from understanding exactly what your users want to hear. The text, the photography, the media, the documents and the products all need to be strategized according the needs of the user, not the wants of shareholders, the IT Department or a designer.

In The Web Content Strategist’s Bible, Richard Sheffield emphasizes the importance of editorial process to content strategy…

If you allow any designer to start laying out a new interface with “Lorem Ipsum” text, you are assuming that there is no problem with the content on your website, or with the way you’re communicating with your users. This is a dangerous assumption and could lead to wasted money, frustrated users, a lack of results and a great looking website.

Before you ask for a website face-lift, make sure you have a solid understanding of what your users are expecting from your website and that you’ve scrutinized the quality of your content according to your online communication strategy.

Without the content to back up your “new and improved” website, you may see a quick surge in traffic but it will be fleeting. Behind the curtains of a new interface, users will quickly realize that the same old movie is playing and they will quickly change the channel.

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Ah…the Super Bowl. An American past time rich in football tradition. But let’s not let a little game of catch overshadow the real reason we watch. That’s right, Super Bowl Sunday has come to be less about the football game and more about the pizza, chicken wings and seven-layer dip associated with this glorious occasion, and let’s not forget the commercials. Oh the commercials! The Super Bowl is notorious for its budget-busting commercials that can make a company a pop culture icon or a laughingstock.

Almost every year there is a stand out ad that is touching, shocking or just downright funny (the ads of the era seem to be the exception, but I digress). This year we found that, while there weren’t necessarily any clear standout ads, the majority of them were pretty darn good. We did an informal office poll, and these were the top commercial picks from the PPBH crew:

10. Fiat: Seduction – Tantalizing and hilarious. Definitely will make some blush.

9. Chevy: Sonic Anthem – Putting the car front and center in these crazy stunts was purely awesome!

8. Coca-Cola: Polar Bears – Great branding and great storytelling! Plus, the kiddos loved them.

7. Audi: Vampire Party – Twilight fans beware the new Audi LED headlights.

6. Honda: CRV’s Day Out – Who doesn’t love Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? A witty spin on a classic!

5. Chevy: Happy Grad – Don’t worry dude, most of us would think the car was our graduation gift too. What kind of a graduation gift is a mini-fridge? Yeah, we said it.

4. Sketchers: Go Run – How can you not love a French Bulldog in little red shoes?

3. Doritos: Man’s Best Friend and Sling Baby (tie) – As always, Doritos delivers! The Crash the Super Bowl contest provides great concepts and overall hilarious ads.

2. Chevy: Silverado “2012” – Perfect tapping into the 2012 end of the world zeitgeist and they showed off the clear benefit of Chevy trucks. Well done! But really, the Twinkies made this commercial.

1. M&Ms: Just My Shell – ‘Naked’ M&Ms dancing to LMFAO’s hit ‘Sexy and I Know It’? Hands down one of the best commercials of the night.

This year there were so many great ads it really is hard to choose just 10. If you haven’t had a chance to view all the ads yet, you can catch them all and vote for your favorite on the USA Today Superbowl Ad Meter.

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