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Jason Alleger

Contributed by Jason Alleger

PPBH’s digital department uses an ad server: a tool that builds and traffics all online ads. Most of the ads you click on, such as banner ads or video pre-roll, are stored on a server and retrieved when your web page loads. The benefit of an ad agency serving all the ads is it has complete control and awareness of how a digital campaign is running.

Most local advertising agencies will just make a banner ad and send it to a vendor. Let’s use as an example. will run the ad for the allotted amount of impressions and send a report at the end. The advertiser is in the dark during the campaign and hopes that everything is performing well.

Serving the same ads through an ad server gives the advertiser a huge advantage. The advertiser can now see how the campaign is pacing, the percentage of ads served above the fold and which ads are performing best. By optimizing our campaign, we save our clients money and ensure they get the best delivery for their dollar. Even better—we can send reports as often as our clients need (along with screenshots) to keep them apprised of their campaign.

Overall, using an ad server really gets our clients better results. Are your ads being served through an ad server? Let us know in the comments.

Utah Ad Server

Image courtesy of

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After accidentally calling one of the PPBH Partners dad, I thought that there is at least one way the partners are like my dad; I can’t help but absorb wisdom when I’m around them. So here are a few gems I’ve picked up about how to be a better professional and a better person.

Chuck Penna, Executive Creative Director

  • Lose the clutter. Keep your office and yourself sharp. Your appearance reflects on you as a professional so clean up.
  • Take care of your own. Show employees that you appreciate them and recognize them when they excel. Make them feel at home.
  • Take the high road. The communication industry is competitive, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to discredit a competitor to elevate your agency. Let your own good work elevate you.


Mike Brian, Interactive Team Leader

  • The more you know the less you guess. Guessing is expensive.
  • Keep the crowd interested. Just because you’ve done a lot of research and you think the too-long explanation is interesting doesn’t mean the crowd will. Speak to them and their self-interests.
  • Don’t be afraid to lighten the mood. A good joke at the right time can boost the mood of any meeting.  


John Haynes, Managing Partner

  • Relax. This stuff is fun. We’re lucky to do what we do. Don’t let the daily stresses make you tense and keep you from enjoying the things that made you want to get into this business.
  • Make it simple. Most of what you want to say can be condensed. Boil it down.
  • Plan. If a campaign is coming up, sit down with a simple calendar before you do anything else. Back every project out from its deadline so you allow the time needed to make the work as high quality as possible.

Dave Smith, Client Services Director

  • Treat people well. It doesn’t matter if they are an intern or the communication director of the agency’s biggest client; treat everyone well and with respect.
  • “Seek to first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen R. Covey Listen and think before you speak; you’ll understand what is being said and you won’t have to put your foot in your mouth.
  • Be present. If you are at a meeting, be at the meeting. Stay engaged. Give input. You and your brain are the main products that the agency offers.

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Image courtesy of JobTrackr.

In advertising, creating a campaign takes a lot of time, love and nurture. You become so invested and close with your ads, it’s hard not to become attached or get into ‘mama bear mode’ when someone says your idea isn’t working (as any good mother should).

Sometimes, even when you feel like it’s your most handsome, smartest, cutest campaign yet, the idea baby has to be tossed. The idea may be off strategy, it might be off brand, or maybe the client just has a bad gut feeling (perhaps from some bad tacos they ate). While there are times to defend your creative work, you also need to recognize when it’s time to let go.

But all is not lost. What should you do when your creative idea baby doesn’t reach primetime?

After indulging yourself in a bit of mourning in the form of leftover agency snacks, I recommend these steps:

1. Look at the situation optimistically. It’s a new chance to come up with an even better idea. Advertising is all about solving problems and finding a new way to connect product with consumer.

2. Try to understand where the pushback is coming from. Ask questions about what isn’t working and what is. Find out what nails you need to hit on the head so you don’t head in the wrong direction twice.

3. Don’t take it too personally. Not every idea is going to work. Even great ideas get tossed now and then.

4. Keep that idea baby for another day. If it really is a good idea, it might end up working for another client or project.

Ever had a time where you had to toss an idea baby you really believed in? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Contributed by Lora Stead

With school ramping up in the next few weeks, a new wave of teens will be getting their driver licenses. My nephew is one of those upcoming drivers and it seems unreal to me that he’s old enough to be driving—and sharing the roads with me! I know his parents are also apprehensive about the transition, as are many other parents preparing for new drivers.

It’s natural to be concerned. Traffic crashes are the no. 1 killer of teens, and the traffic-crash rates for 16- to 19-year-old drivers are higher than any other age group.

However, research shows that involved parents who set rules and monitor their teen’s driving behavior in a supportive way can cut their teen’s crash risk in half. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, teens whose parents are involved in their driving and training are:

  • Twice as likely to wear seat belts
  • 70 percent less likely to drink and drive
  • Half as likely to speed
  • 30 percent less likely to talk on a cell phone while driving

To encourage parent involvement, the Zero Fatalities teen program, Don’t Drive Stupid, is giving after-school presentations about safe driving to parents and teens as part of a Parent Program initiative. Each parent will receive a parent guide that outlines the Graduated Driver License Laws, explains the top causes of crashes and gives tips on how parents can help their teens succeed in this important learning process.

Additionally, parents are asked to set the example. If adults are the ones driving distracted, speeding and not wearing seat belts, how can we expect success from the youth? It can be easy to doubt it sometimes, but teens do watch their parents and follow their lead.

If you’d like to a free booklet or more information about a Parent Program presentation near you, please email

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QR codes are popping up everywhere in marketing campaigns and they’re getting more and more creative. Agencies and creative folks around the world are thinking outside of the (QR code) box. Guinness created a beer glass with a QR code that could only be scanned when filled with Guinness beer. I’ll drink to that.

PPBH has been using QR codes for client campaigns for a number of years. Last year we created a custom QR code for our holiday card that led clients to a behind-the-scenes look on how we created it.

The QR Code, or ‘Quick Response Code,’ was created by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, for use in manufacturing and distribution operations now a part of popular culture. We’re glad that QR codes got to see the light of day, or at least the light from our smartphones anyways.

To see some of the most creative thinking with QR codes, check out 2012 Trends on This is an independent group of more than 100 worldwide trend spotters that seek and report on the trends in both the consumer and B2B realm.

According to, the POINT & KNOW phenomena of accessing visual information instantaneously through QR codes, apps and even augmented reality is in high demand. As with other recent trends, it’s the rise is being fueled by the (always-in-my-pocket) smartphone and our insatiable craving for immediate information gratification.

What are the cool QR code campaigns that you’ve encountered recently? Let us know in the comments below.

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Does Subliminal Advertising Work?

Image courtesy of Business Insider.

Contributed by John Haynes

Why are we so fixated on the possibility that it really can work?

Subliminal advertising started with a market researcher named James Vicary who conducted a number of unusual studies. The one that seems to have gained the most traction was a research study conducted in 1957 in a New Jersey theater. He flashed “Drink Coca-Cola,” and “Hungry. Eat Popcorn,” in front of moviegoers every five seconds for 0.03 of a second. The results—an amazing 18.1% increase in Coca-Cola sales and 57.8% increase in popcorn sales. Subliminal advertising at its finest.

It turns out Mr. Vicary was unable to duplicate the results when later challenged. In an interview with Advertising Age in 1962, he admitted the original study was nothing more than a gimmick and that the original data was too small to be meaningful. Questions were also raised if the original research was ever conducted at all.

However, because of lingering interest in his original claims generated, attempts at subliminal advertising became somewhat of a fad during the late 50s, 60s and 70s. Many advertisers placed subliminal messages into print ads and TV spots with the hope of generating an equally impressive response.

While more recent research has proven conclusively that subliminal advertising does not work, does it still exist today? Certainly. But not to the extent it did decades ago. Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes I think people have too much time on their hands looking for and finding images that aren’t really there.

Today, there is the occasional art director who tries to hide things in ads and brochures. We have even attempted some of it at PPBH. We hid some messages and offers deep in our first digital Christmas card we put out in 1998. We gave a digital tour of the agency with some subliminal gems hidden inside. Later, our programmers tested out subliminal advertising on our website. No one ever commented on either. So, we too concluded that subliminal persuasiveness really doesn’t work. (At least to this day, no clients have mysteriously been motivated to ask us to double our hourly rates or write us into their family’s inheritance!)

What do you think, does subliminal advertising work?

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Contributed by Jason Alleger

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, trailing only Google. There are over two billion YouTube videos streamed every day, and advertisers want a piece of this viewership pie.

So how much does it cost to run an ad on YouTube?

YouTube advertisers pay per view of their ad, with an average cost-per-view ranging between $.10 – $.30. The views also count toward your overall YouTube views.

On YouTube there are four standard types of ad formats:

  • In-search – an ad shows up above the YouTube search results.
  • In-slate – an ad shows up in the suggested videos after your video ended.
  • In-display – an ad shows up on the suggested videos beside the video you are watching.
  • In-stream – an ad plays before you can watch your video.

The pricing varies slightly per ad unit, with in-display ads ranging towards the higher end ($.30) and in-search toward the lower end ($.10).

Advertisers can target viewers by age, gender, location or by what types of videos they like to watch on YouTube. Generally, advertisers pay incrementally more for focused target audiences.

For example, if the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) wanted Utahns to learn how to drive a new type of intersection in Salt Lake City, it would only want to target men and women 16+ years old within a 10-mile radius of Salt Lake City. It would probably select more in-stream video ad units so the locals could watch how to drive the intersection, as well as in-search for anyone searching for driving tips in the area. At an average cost-per-view of $.20, UDOT would pay around $2,000 to educate 10,000 people how to drive the intersection.

Overall, YouTube ads are an excellent means of boosting your web presence at an affordable rate. For most ad units, potential customers actually CHOOSE to watch your advertisement. Also, the overall boost in views gives more credibility to your company and gives it a better chance of showing up organically in YouTube or other search engines.

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