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Marc Stryker

Glasses on open book.

In our age of instant gratification, reading a book can seem like an old-fashioned exercise.  Who has the attention span or the time to stay with a book for hours on end? Fortunately, we found enough PPBHers who still seem to read books, either of the digital or analog format. And that’s a good thing for our clients – it’s not like you pay us to be illiterate and ignorant, right?

Here’s what we read (and liked) in 2013:

David & Goliath by Malcom Gladwell – Gladwell’s books are so popular because he spins an everyday situation and makes you look at it through a different lens. His findings can be applied to a variety of situations – this one’s no different as we are often tasked to take our Davidesque clients and outwit their Goliath competitors.

The Circle by Dave Eggers – The Wall Street Journal has called this novel “The Jungle for our own times”.  As Upton Sinclair’s novel changed the way we saw industrialization’s effects on the meatpacking industry and its workers, Eggers explores the  consequences of our society’s digital transformation.

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward – Not exactly the feel-good memoir of the year, Ward beautifully explores the death of five men close to her that occurred within four years and the statistical probability of impoverished men in the rural south succumbing to this fate.

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout – Two brothers return to their childhood home in Maine to help out a troubled nephew. Illuminating and heartfelt family entanglements ensue. If you loved Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, you’ll love this one even more.

The Elephant Keepers’ Children by Peter Hoeg – Fourteen year old Peter and his siblings try to track down the mystery of their eccentric  parents who’ve disappeared from their eclectic island town, a sort of multi-religious commune. The novel ranges from the zany, non-requiter-type of writing that makes Slaughterhouse Five hilarious, yet still manages to be poignant in all the right places.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – It didn’t take long for J.K. Rowling to be outed as the true author of this crime novel. But this is much better than her first stab at adult writing, The Casual Vacancy.

Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath – The authors of the brilliant Switch take a stab at the how and why of our decision-making process. But the good thing about the Heaths is that they don’t just talk theoretically about the nature of decision-making, they offer specific, practical tools that can help us to think more clearly about our options.  

The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker – We still can’t believe this is Wecker’s debut novel.  She recounts the unlikely relationship between two supernatural beings in 1899 New York City with the effortlessly smooth and imaginative prose of a veteran author.

Contagious by Jonah Berger – Wharton marketing professor Berger explains why some ideas and products catch on and others do not. This was a must-read for us, since it’s kind of what we do.

To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink – One in nine Americans work in sales, but this book makes the case that we’re all in sales in today’s workplace. You won’t regret picking this one up.

If you enjoyed a book that didn’t make our list, let us know about it. And be sure to check out PPBH’s picks from 2012 and 2011.

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2013 was quite the eclectic year for music promotion. We had artists like Kanye West eschewing traditional marketing tactics in promoting his new album Yeezus, while Beyonce one-upped him and just released her album without any warning. And Mr. Beyonce himself, Jay-Z, released his album via app download, drawing both praise and criticism among fans. And then there’s Miley Cyrus…

But let’s not get into that. Instead, we present to you PPBH’s picks for best music of 2013, regardless of whatever the fox says.

Lorde, Pure Heroine – Although she’s been all over the radio, Lorde is unique and fresh enough that it’s hard to tire of her. And she’s not just a one-hit wonder.


Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze – The ex-war on Drugs member is doing some pretty amazing solo work.


Jake Bugg, Shangri La – If you haven’t heard this British folkie/Everly Brother’s voice yet, you must. He was interviewed on our local KRCL and sang a ditty. The dude sounds like he just got thawed from being cryogenically frozen in 1952. We’ll take him over Captain America.


Arcade Fire, Reflector – Some have criticized their latest album for self-indulgent excess (and really long songs) but we love the electronic/disco vibe they’ve integrated into their sound.


Queens of the Stone Age, Like Clockwork – It’s nice to hear the sounds of an actual, real life rock group these days, what with our fascination with all things EDM, pop and hip-hop. Josh Homme reunited his rock star super group for some metal-tastic tunes to make the hipsters blush.


Mideau, Mideau – This is our local selection. Mideau is an amazingly talented duo out of the fertile musical greenhouse that is Provo. When they get signed and blow up, remember, you found out about them here first.  But they may be too dang understated to blow up. 


Daft Punk, Random Access Memories – Those French boys are back at it and this time (bien sur) they’re rewriting the rules of whatever the hell “EDM” means.


Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest – Yes, her “Brave” anthem is plastered over everything (even weirdly used in a Microsoft ad), but Sara’s got the chops and a sound unique enough to rise above the tide of pop suckitude.


Avicii, True – The Swedish EDM master DJ turned a corner this year when he merged his electronic know-how with the rootsy, folky vibe currently running its course through pop culture. The result is the catchy track, “Wake Me Up”.


Pretty Lights, A Color Map of the Sun – This double-album of dense richness left us spellbound. An amazing collision of the past and the present styles and instruments, wrapped up in that perfectly honed Pretty Lights signature style.

Honorable Mentions: Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City; One Republic, Native; Kanye West, Yeezus; David Bowie, The Next Day; Miley Cyrus, Bangerz; The Neighborhood, I Love You; Fitz & the Tantrums, More Than Just a Dream; My Bloody Valentine, MBV; Youth Lagoon, Wondrous Bughouse; Bill Callahan, Dream River; Ylvis, “What Does the Fox Say?”

We know we missed a ton of good ones, so fill us in and destroy our ignorance! And since you have so much time, check out our 2012 and 2011 picks.

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PPBH's Top Picks

This was the year of Netflix. While the DVD mail/streaming service wasn’t the first online-only platform to launch an original series, it became the first one to score an Emmy nomination and eventually bag several wins in direction, casting and cinematography for its political drama, House of Cards. Netflix now has the distinction of not only being its own “network” but also a platform that has given life to other shows like Breaking Bad. Viewers (including many of our own during the lunch hour) binged on the AMC show and caught up just in time for this year’s fifth and final season, peaking with its highest ratings ever.

Now if only Netflix would accept advertising…

Here’s what PPBH watched this year. Let us know in the comments if you disagree or think we missed something.

Breaking Bad (AMC) – We’ve heard critics call this series our modern Shakespeare or that it approached the grandeur of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Whatever the ambitions, this series was as addictive as the very drug at the center of Walter White’s business operations. Walter, you had us from the first moment we saw you frantically driving a motor home in your underwear.

Parks & Recreation (NBC) – Trust us, if you binge watch this show (hey, it’s on Netflix!), you will very quickly come to love all of its many characters and better understand the recurring jokes and references that frequently pop up episode to episode. Do your patriotic duty and get caught up now!

Watch this video for a proper introduction to Mona Lisa, the sister of the amazing Jean-Ralphio

House of Cards (Netflix) – If you think Kevin Spacey is snarky, loathsome and generally sociopathic in his other movies, House of Cards makes all of those other performances look like Mr. Rogers. If you like your political dramas pitch black and utterly cynical, then drink this one in. We dare you to stop watching once you start.

Modern Family (ABC) – Hands down the best sitcom on broadcast television. Part-time Salt Laker and Bar-X co-owner Ty Burrell continues to expand his comedic chops as the dorkiest and best dad ever, Phil Dunphy.

The Blacklist (NBC) – Without the genius of James Spader, this drama wouldn’t be half as entertaining. But we have Spader, so all is right with the world and with this show that continually pulls the rug out from under you. Best new drama of the season.

Arrested Development (Netflix) – Originally on Fox for three seasons, this show found new life in the loving arms of Netflix. While there was a lot of hype surrounding the release of season 4 (all the episodes were available at the same time like all other Netflix shows), the buzz quickly died down as both fans and newbies alike failed to warmly embrace the continuing saga of the dysfunctional Bluth family. But we wouldn’t have it any other way: unappreciated in its inception on Fox, why should it be any different for its resurrection on Netflix?

Scandal (ABC) – This is one of those shows that just grows on you, until you’re hooked and waiting for the next insane plot turn. ABC has become really good at these kinds of prime-time gonzo soap operas.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix) – Now that we’ve brought up House of Cards and Arrested Development, let’s introduce the Netflix show that has beaten both of them in terms of views. This unlikely hit for Netflix about a wealthy, waspy girl’s stay in a women’s correctional facility is about to start its second season.


The Carrie Diaries (CW) – For those PPBHers who are still suffering from Sex and the City withdrawals, there’s this series that shows us how Carrie came to be that incredibly deep woman we know and love. Poor AnnaSophia Robb, we wish you were still that innocent young actress in movies like Bridge to Terabithia and Soul Surfer

Honorable Mentions: New Girl, Sherlock (from 2012), Vikings, Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, Hannibal, Game of Thrones

Be sure to check out what television shows we liked in 2012 and 2011.

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Young people in 3D cinema
If 2012 was the year that superhero movies reached total saturation with The Avengers, 2013 will be remembered for a series of mediocre blockbusters that just seemed to wear us out. Man of Steel washed out all the fun and color of what Superman should be. No one who starred in Thor 2 seemed to enjoy being in it. And why did we get lame sequels like Red 2, Kick-Ass 2, Grown Ups 2 and The Hangover 3? We asked our employees to list which films did the trick for them in 2013. Here’s what they came back with:

Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Katniss Everdeen is our kind of superhero. Overwhelmingly, PPBHers couldn’t resist cheering her and her district counterparts on as they held up a big middle finger to the Capitol. A nice improvement on the original, we think.

Star Trek Into Darkness – This is one sequel that should have made more money than it did. We liked it as a sort of companion piece to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. While the action was good we think the chemistry between the characters on board the Enterprise is what really elevates it above the rest.

Frances Ha – For something different than the usual bombastic action flicks or formulaic rom-coms, check out director Noah Baumbach’s French film set in New York. This one rises above the other many indie films about arrested development (what does it mean to “grow up”?) because of Greta Gerwig’s one-of-a-kind performance.

Gravity – We were hooked from the debut of first teaser trailer about Sandra Bullock’s and George Clooney’s disaster in space. No one would have guessed that this sparsely inhabited tense little film would become as big and scary as space itself. This is the kind of film that IMAX was made for. Don’t watch it on your phone, please.

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card controversy aside, PPBHers liked this adaptation of the author’s immensely popular book. Audiences expecting a sci-fi action extravaganza got a philosophical examination of war instead and came away disappointed. This was probably one of the most misunderstood films this year and largely dismissed by critics because of its political baggage. 

Frozen – Disney animation is back! The teaser trailer between the snowman and the moose made us think this would be a zany, Dreamworks-style throwaway flick, but we were pleasantly surprised by an actual story that made us both laugh and cry.

12 Years a Slave – Not your mother’s epic slave movie, this is a visceral, brutal journey into the horrors of slavery like no one’s ever done it before, especially not Quentin Tarantino. Artist Steve McQueen’s third full-feature captures all of the raw terror for a black man up north who was ostensibly free, only to be kidnapped and sold into slavery down south.  

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – This was on our top 10 list even before it came out. After actually seeing it, the citizens of PPBH Middle Earth have declared it a masterpiece.

Warm Bodies – This one came out in February but it’s still easy to remember it for being the first heartfelt zombie film ever made. Funny, moving and a little scary, it’s a story told from the zombie point of view (finally, we’re so xenophobic, right?). You see, all they need is love. It also introduces a scary subgenre of zombie called “bonies”.

Inside Llewyn Davis – Not sure if any PPBHer actually saw this movie already (it just came out in SLC), but we’re always suckers for the latest Coen brothers movie, this one set inside the New York folk scene.

Honorable Mentions: About Time, 42, Blackfish, Fruitvale Station, Short Term 12, Captain Phillips, American Hustle, Austenland, The Place Beyond the Pines, Fast & Furious 6, Mud, Despicable Me 2, Chasing Ice, The World’s End, Pacific Rim, Jobs, Monsters University, Oblivion, The Great Gatsby, John Dies at the End

Tell us what you liked this year. You can check out our past picks for 2012 and 2011

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PPBH Nevada Open House

Penna Powers Brian Haynes has officially opened its office in Nevada. To commemorate, we held an open house on December 17, 2013 and invited clients and media partners.

The event will live in infamy for its drinks, exhaustive tours and baseball-themed décor. We are grateful for all of the support that our clients and media partners have been giving while setting up our shop.

The employees located in the Nevada office are:

  • Kyle Kubovchik, Nevada Director.
  • Adrienne Packer, Public Relations Supervisor.
  • Jason Alleger, Digital Media Planner.
  • Melissa Deitz, Media Planner (who works out of Reno).

The agency is located at 2470 Saint Rose Parkway Suite 210 in Las Vegas. We are excited for the future growth of our Nevada office!

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Who Do You Love?

Every day we have a gazillion decisions to make – what cereal to eat for breakfast, what we wear, what we drive, the technology we use, what we drink – e.g., the never-ending cola war!

Why do we choose what we choose? How we make these decisions is very personal. Contributors can be quality, making our life or work easier, filling a need gap, or connecting with how we see our self with how we project our self to the external world.

Paul A. Argenti and Janis Forman in their book The Power of Corporate Communication described the strength of a brand as the “Personality, intimacy, and direct incorporation into a customer’s daily life.”

It’s when a brand makes this leap to being incorporated into someone’s daily life—something that you can’t live without—that it makes the leap from brand to “love brand.”

Polling the PPBH team, the following made the list of our top five love brands:

  1. Apple
  2. Nike
  3. Google
  4. Nordstrom
  5. Diet Coke, Coke and Coke Zero

Knowing the personalities of our team, I’m not surprised by any on this list. We are predominately a Mac shop with a lot of runners and cyclists. We are on the Internet more than we’re not, we love Nordstrom’s free shipping and boxes arrive quite regularly at Major Street. And, while we’re almost evenly divided on the numbers of who likes their caffeine hot and who likes it cold — of the cold crew, Diet Coke is the overwhelming go-to quench.

Some interesting points about some of these brands:

– Apple, for the third year in a row, was named the world’s most valuable brand. Coca Cola has a strong presence at No. 3 and Google is listed at No. 5.

– Nordstrom, as reported by Mobile Marketer, has the largest number of Pinterest followers, more than 4.5 million, of any luxury brand.

With the goal of filling a need gap and creating a brand connection so strong that it becomes one that people can’t live without, as marketers we work with our client partners to achieve primarily three things:

  1. Identify and communicate the brand values that incentivize trial of new products – with the end goal of having it become a loved brand
  2. Maintain a brand’s value proposition to retain loyalty for an established brand
  3. Create a personal connection

Social channels are one of the single biggest contributors to facilitating a personal connection. They effectively remove distance to enable fans, followers, pinners, etc. to authentically build community and share why a brand matters in their lives.

So we want to know, what brands have captured your heart? Who do you love?

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Social Media Campaigns

Contributed by Jane Putnam

The holidays are in the full swing. Black Friday quickly turned into Gray Thursday—even seeping into some night-before-Thanksgiving sales. Snow has been falling rapidly throughout the country, including here in Utah. And, many brands and companies are ringing in the holiday spirit through their social media channels.

Here are some examples of innovative, fun and engaging holiday social media.

Target’s 10 Days of Gift Card Giveaways
Have you personalized and decorated your Christmas tree on Target’s Facebook page? You get to choose the style of tree, the lights and even the setting (I opted for the North Pole scene). Every time you hang an ornament on your own personal tree, which you create within an app on the Target Facebook page, you could instantly win a $25 Target gift card. The app lets you hang a new ornament each day, and even add your Facebook friends to ornaments. Every ornament you hang counts as an entry toward winning the grand prize.

Image via

Image via

Tide’s Thanksgiving #StainSearch Bingo
Gravy. Cranberry sauce. Stuffing. The list of potential sources of stains could go on and on. For Thanksgiving, Tide made the threat of stains from the holiday dinner into a game: Bingo. With six different cards to print and Tide logo tiles to mark your board, Tide has made stains kind of fun.

Image via

Image via

Coke Zero’s Holiday Sweater Generator
We shared this a few weeks ago on the PPBH blog—and it’s worth mentioning again, in case you missed it the first time around or even for a second look!
Coke Zero’s holiday sweater generator puts the user behind the design wheel, allowing them to create a one-of-a-kind holiday sweater. The creator shares their design, in hopes of rallying their friends to vote on it. The 100 designs with the most votes at the end of the contest will actually be turned into a sweater. Now, that’s something you can wear to that ugly sweater party for years and years to come.


Delta’s #CheerCart2013 Video
Delta doesn’t miss a beat. This “aisle-hopping, beat-dropping” holiday video is fun way to wish customers happy holidays, and to thank them for flying with Delta. One commenter on YouTube wrote, “I’ll expect this show on my next flight.”

ABC Family’s Festive Facebook Cover Photos
ABC Family is helping its Facebook fans get into the holiday spirit by updating their cover photos with a new festive “25 Days” photo, with nine options to choose from. The cover photos are easy to install and the app even tracks how many times each design has been installed.

ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas - Image via

Image via


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Celebrating our Utah BusinessBest Companies to Work For” win today!

Partner Mike Brian sharing some of our best said accepting the award, “

Have you seen Madmen? it’s not that. But, here’s how we describe the agency:

“#Outside the box, in the game, user respect, real, creative, hardworking, unpredictable, radical, buttoned down, professional, happy, unpredictable, and they’re our family.”

Some additional reasons we love where we work:

–       Collaborative and creative work environment

–       Monthly lunch barbecues during the summer months

–       Monthly birthday parties

–       Annual bowl-fet (bowling and feasting party) the day before Thanksgiving

–       A holiday party that people actually want to attend

–       Impromptu celebrations (complete with good treats) following new business wins

–       Flexible hours – get the work done and you can come and go as you please

–       Monetary performance bonuses

–       Excellent health benefits

We’re doubly proud because it’s our second win. Our first win was in 2009.

The Best Companies to Work for competition is an annual award competition that recognizes Utah companies for their outstanding workplace environments. Companies are recognized in four categories: micro companies, small companies, medium companies and large companies. The rigorous evaluation process includes a series of written essays and staff participation in online surveys that rank a company’s compensation packages, work/life balance, corporate culture and employee benefits.




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Twitter offers three types of advertising options – promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends. The first two cost between $.50 – $4.00 per engagement, and promoted trends will cost you $200,000 per day.

Twitter Promoted Tweets

Promoted tweets are exactly that – tweets you have already tweeted that you wish to promote. They appear in timelines and search results. These ads can be targeted by interests, gender, device, geography (by DMA) and similarity to existing followers.

You only pay when users interact with your ad by clicking, replying, retweeting or favoriting your tweet. These engagements typically cost between $.50 – $2.00, depending on your targeting. For local campaigns it averages $1.35 per engagement.

Samsung famously bought all of the iPhone search terms during the iPhone 5 release. So users searching for “iPhone”, “iPhone 5” or “Apple iPhone” within Twitter were greeted with this Samsung ad:

twitter promoted tweet

Twitter Promoted Account

Twitter Promoted Who to FollowWant more followers in a jiffy? Twitter offers advertisers the ability to promote their account to potential followers. Advertisers can target by interest, geography and gender.

The price per follower depends on your targeting, but you can expect $2.50 – $4.00 per new follower. For local campaigns we have seen it on the lower end of $2.50 per follower.

Twitter Promoted Trends

Twitter Promoted TrendsIf you’re looking for massive exposure in a short amount of time, promoted trends are your best friend. You receive guaranteed placement in the Trends section of Twitter for one day. The price tag? $200,000 per day.

If you decide to run a promoted trend, you will need to contact Twitter directly to schedule it. Be sure to put some strategy into choosing your hashtag for the day, so you don’t have a backlash like #McDstories did.

Additional Perks to Advertising on Twitter

The new followers, retweets and conversions that happen from paid advertising are well worth the investment in themselves; however another HUGE advantage of running these ads is you gain access to analytics for your whole Twitter handle. This provides deep insights to which tweets perform best and insights about your followers. Another perk is advertisers on Twitter have a higher chance of gaining a verified account.

Need help getting set up with promoted tweets? Let us know!

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China great wall

Contributed by Patty Clark

It’s easy to see why people stay so long at PPBH. But with life a’ calling, I’m riding off into the horizon and bidding farewell to the agency I got my start at. After my two years here as a copywriter, I wish I had a montage video with an 80s ballad to commemorate the great time I’ve had here. It’s a bittersweet moment for me, but at least I have all these great memories and lessons to take with me.

Camaraderie. At PPBH, we work together and as Chuck says, “We don’t work in silos.” Both inside and outside of work, I felt like people believed in me here and that pushed me to work harder and improve my craft.

Pathfinder. People think that creative types are cool and sophisticated when in all reality we’re nothing more than nerds. So every two weeks, a secret society of dorks gather together to slay dragons, complete quests and conquer kingdoms. I’ll definitely miss playing a version of the game Dungeons and Dragons and I hope that my character, Boom, survives their future raids.

Strategy, strategy, strategy. Results, results, results. I learned how important strategy and results were here. Especially in the smaller Utah market, it’s so important that our communication services actually gave our clients solid ROI to preserve our industry.

Hilarious email chains. The workday never seems too long when you like the people you work with. The numerous funny videos sent through email were among the ways we could take a break and have fun with the people we work with. In fact, I don’t embarrass myself anymore when I play pool or foosball.

A culture of growth. Whenever we had downtime, we were encouraged to develop our skills in some way. PPBH has a subscription to a website with a never-ending supply of tutorials, not to mention training meetings and even personal advice from one professional to another.

Never-ending M&Ms and Red Vines. I blame PPBH for all my cavities. (But I also thank them for their excellent dentist and health care coverage.)

Thanks for everything, PPBH.

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