Archive for the ‘video’ Category

No Matter How Corrupt FIFA Is, It Is Here To Stay

June 16, 2015
Flickr / Steven Depolo

Flickr / Steven Depolo

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for FIFA. The world’s governing body of soccer has been the subject of numerous headlines, not for the Women’s World Cup currently taking place, but for a large-scale corruption scandal.

It all started on May 26, when several top FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges. A little over a week later, the long-standing President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, resigned. And to add fuel to the fire, FIFA recently fired its communications director after making a public joke about the organization’s legal troubles.

There’s no denying FIFA’s reputation is in shambles. The media is laser focused on scrutinizing the organization’s actions and missteps. But despite all the negative media, the criminal investigation, and widespread corruption, FIFA is still as powerful as ever. Do soccer fans even care about the FIFA scandals?

Sports organizations are hit with scandals all the time, yet the sports stay as popular as ever. Take the NFL for example. Last year, the NFL was thrown under the bus for its handling of issues concerning domestic violence. The NFL’s reputation took a hit, but did the sports suffer as a result? No. Fans continued to support their favorite teams and brands continued to spend millions of dollars in advertisement with the NFL.

When it comes to sports, fans care more about the game than the organization behind it. As a sports fan myself, I’ve seen some of my favorite sports get hit with scandals that dealt a blow to the organization’s reputation. Did the scandal stop me from watching the games? No way. As a fan, you’re part of a community that has one unifying factor: the love of the game. My loyalty is with my team, and almost nothing can shake that.

No matter how corrupt FIFA is, in the end, it is going to be fine. Soccer fans aren’t going to just turn their back on the sport that they love. For many countries, especially outside the United States, soccer is about more than just a game, it’s a religion. The team you root for is part of your identity and fans aren’t going to abandon the sport that’s so integral to their community and culture.

As long as soccer is still soccer, fans will continue to watch FIFA’s games. They will continue to attend the World Cup and brands will continue to shell out millions of dollars in advertisements. No matter how corrupt FIFA turns out to be, as long as soccer remains a powerhouse sport, FIFA will be a powerhouse as well.

John Oliver tackled this love/hate relationship with FIFA perfectly last year before the World Cup. As he says, no matter how appalling FIFA may be as an organization, a fan’s love for the sport outweighs everything else.


What I have learned about using video in public relations: 3 Valuable Takeaways

October 21, 2013

As an intern at EZG, I have seen several video projects begin with a simple idea and transform into a valuable part of marketing campaigns.  Part of my responsibilities at EZG include helping out with a variety of traditional and new media initiatives for the PR team, but I’m most interested in the video production process and how it fits into the client strategy.  What I have learned so far is that producing informative marketing video requires a great deal of creativity and legwork—but the results are worth it.

As more digital channels become available to for us to utilize in public relations, we have seen the demand for viral content increase.  Just look at the way we share news today, often through popular sites like Newsy.   I have personally seen the demand for videos rise during my internship time at EZG—which is a good indicator of things to come.

At the end of August, EZG posted about the benefits of using video to help boost a client’s brand.  Today, I want to take an opportunity to share a few tips that I have learned from my leaders and mentors while editing PR videos here at EZG.

  • Shoot more video than you need: This tip seems like common sense, but I have found myself in the position of needing more footage when I have assumed that there was enough. It is always better to have too much footage than not enough.  For example, filming fifteen minutes of footage for a two-minute video usually provides enough usable content in the end. It is always better to get too much content during the original filming of the video than to have to go back and re-shoot more footage later; it can be very difficult to re-create a scene.
  • Tell a story: Like everything we do in PR, video is another tool that helps us tell a story.  Without a clearly defined message within the video, the story will get lost and inevitably the work will lose value.  To stay away from this misstep, I always try to connect the edited clips in a way that the story is told fluidly.  Our videos are not scripted, so we often end up with a wandering narrative until the source clearly defines their main points. It can take people awhile to get to the point, but it’s the video editor’s job to hear through the words and amplify the most interesting points in an easy to understand story.
  • Use the correct tone for the video:  Our EZ|TV videos are designed to show our personality, and we think that’s great—but not every video will have the same feel.  When creating videos for our clients, I have to remain mindful of their branding messages to maintain consistency with their other marketing materials. Design, music and font choices are all part of distinguishing the client’s brand in the video, and are used as an accent to highlight the expert content that is communicated to the audience.

It is important for videos to be professional, engaging and creative in order to appeal to target audiences and inspire viral pick up.   In the public relations field, we are constantly required to attract attention to messages that reflect our clients’ brands.  Simply put, the videos that we produce are not just footage of talking heads, they are multimedia vehicles meant to teach, inspire, and motivate.

If you’re interested in learning more about video used in PR campaigns please check out these articles:

Boosting brand with video production

August 15, 2013

Public relations – and marketing in general — never seemed boring to me.  Even in the early days when I was faxing letters to the New York Times (yes, faxing), the ability to convey a story through channels that reached such a wide range of audiences was a fascinating exercise.

Today, the core of that buzz is the same.  It’s about the story.  And yet the channels available to us have expanded tenfold (stay tuned for more on this from EZG TV).

Video production is a great example that we’re seeing more of every week.  A medium that used to be reserved for big budget clients looking to mass-market has now become a tool we can use on a variety of levels.  I dug into this a little in PRNews, examining when it’s appropriate to use film clips in-house and when it makes sense to seek out a production house.

That’s a valid discussion, as we use deploy video for quick Facebook clips, YouTube channels, multimedia press kits, corporate branding exercises, and of course B-roll and commercials for more traditional broadcast placement.  We have longstanding relationships with production professionals who can do a far better job than we can of creating sophisticated, crisp content that will play well with more discerning audiences.  Those studios are expensive, but they play a key role in maintaining client brands in some circumstances.

Hemenway & Barnes, investigated these options earlier this year.  H&B is the oldest law firm in Boston (celebrating its 150th year in 2013), an EZG client, and was looking for a way to convey its traditional values through a modern vehicle.  When it came to developing a video overview of the firm’s history, a high end production house – in this case, Moody Street Pictures – was absolutely appropriate for the job.  Our internal team could certainly have filmed interviews and spliced together clips that conveyed H&B’s character, but to capture a culture that has persevered for centuries it was more powerful to invest in a higher end product.

The resulting video series has generated outstanding awareness of the firm and stayed true to its traditional values.  For H&B, it speaks well to the firm’s client base and influencers; for EZG, it becomes another effective storytelling device as we interact with the media.  A lower-budget effort would have cheapened the look and feel, and in this case the brand itself.

We know more video is on the horizon, and likely more innovative channels through which to distribute it.  PR continues to bring the ultimate media mix to the table, keeping us engaged at every corner.

Are you using the social media cycle?

July 8, 2013

3 Additional Tips for PR Success: A blog post collaboration authored by EZG’s PR Squad

On EZG TV, we recently discussed the basics of how social media and public relations practices fit together. Traditional media and approaches to PR remain crucial to shaping a story, but social media outlets provide us with an additional toolset.  Traditional media is a great “one to many” channel, and by working with journalists and other influencers we can help bring a story to life online, in print, and in broadcast media.

Social media gives another dimension to the story.  It allows companies to directly engage with audiences, provides an outlet to monitor conversations and trends, and serves as a forum to add expertise and unique experiences. This engagement with our audience allows us to connect with them on a more personal level; in a nutshell, companies are no longer just a brand, they have a personality!

To hear more of our tips on social media, please check out our EZG TV video.  As a bonus, we are sharing 3 additional tips that take social media plans to the next level:

  1. Don’t forget about creating original content

Original content is key to an influential social media presence. In order to attract attention and maintain your audience, you must come up with unique content that highlights your expertise. For example, each week we publish an EZG Tip of the Week on Facebook and Twitter as a piece of original content. We take our advertising, PR, and media relations expertise and create our own ways to share that information with our audience on social media.  We advise clients to do the same – what better way to communicate your original expertise than by sharing it to your audience of influencers?

  1. Respond and Engage

We touched on this a bit in our video, but social media is the go-to platform for responding and engaging with your target audience.   Social media allows consumer brands to respond to comments, reviews, or posts in a timely manner, opening the door to customer interaction. When something positive or negative appears on your Facebook page, for example, companies can reach out directly to the poster and respond to the situation quickly and appropriately.

Additionally, our clients ask us how we can be proactive as opposed to reactive.  Our answer is: ask questions!

People love to be asked a question because it makes them feel as though someone is listening.  This kind of brand engagement was big with consumers when Lay’s launched its “Do Us A Flavor” campaign, for which fans were asked to vote on a new potato chip flavor. The winning flavor would be Lay’s latest chip to hit the shelves. Bonus Tip: By asking your audience questions, not only are you demonstrating that you value their thoughts, but it also allows the brands to tap into the wants and needs of their audience.

  1. Pick Appropriate Channels

There are multiple sites that you can utilize on social media, but it is important to pick the right channels for your brand and message. Most consumer brands take advantage of a wide variety of channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. A consumer brand can utilize almost any social media site, but the content on each site should vary. For example, photo sites should share posts that inspire desire, Twitter posts should be designed to spark a conversation, and Facebook posts should be full of relevant information.

Professional brands must also choose appropriate channels for social media. Unlike consumer brands, it is not always appropriate for a professional brand to be on all forms of social media. LinkedIn, Twitter and a corporate blog are much more appropriate and influential channels for professional brands.  When crafting original content on a corporate blog, professional brands should utilize “share” tools as a way to engage with their followers.

These 3 tips – as well as the points we discuss on EZG TV – are all important elements to consider when making the most of your social media presence. When you use each feature properly you will see the benefits of social media content: the right channel that communicates your original content will help engage audiences, and effectively bring more traffic back to your website…it’s the social media cycle!

Speaking of original content, we are always interested in your thoughts; do you have any tips for creating posts on social media?  Let us know @ebben_Zall

Super Bowl 2013: The Anticipation of Ads

January 10, 2013

Here in Boston, football fever is high as the New England Patriots are still a contender for Super Bowl XLVII.  As #TB12 and Belichick prepare to lead the Pats through the playoffs – and to the Superdome in February – big brands are getting ready for the commercials they’ll air during the game. With 111.3 million viewers tuned into last year’s game, it’s a no-brainer for companies to advertise during this event.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that advertisers looking to buy commercial space may be out of luck because airtime has already been “sold out” according to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves. However, for a few big bucks (errr, five or six million), Moonves says CBS “will find room.”

In between snacking on endless dips and finger foods, you’ll be sure to see commercials of alcoholic beverages, food, and cars. One company making their presence during Super Bowl commercials is Chrysler. For the past two Super Bowls they have had attention-grabbing commercials, lasting longer than the usual thirty-second spots that other brands used. In 2011, Chrysler’s ad “Imported from Detroit” – which featured rapper Eminem – hinted at the revival of U.S. automakers. In 2012 they held another two-minute ad narrated by actor Clint Eastwood titled “It’s Halftime America”, which gives a hope filled message about our citizens overcoming economic hardships.

As influential as Chryslers ads were, I have to wonder if the longer ads really make a bigger splash as their usual thirty-second counterparts, or do they lose their impact and likeability because viewers just want to see the next commercial? This year Taco Bell is stepping out of their comfort zone with a sixty-second ad, and is one of the only non-car brands scheduled for a longer spot. Besides the longer ads, brands also know to pull on a few heart strings when creating their commercials. A usual trend in Super Bowl commercials is babies and dogs. Brands know that viewers cannot resist the cuteness of both, so tying them into the ads is a way to keep viewers glued to the T.V. and a way for them to remember their commercials in the long run.

This year, we can expect to see some returning favorites like Coca-Cola, Doritos, Audi, and M&M’s, but for the full list of Super Bowl commercial announcements, click here.

While we cheer on our teams (unfortunately the Steelers are out of playoff contention) to victory in hopes they make it all the way to the Super Bowl, let’s take a look at some of our favorite 2012 Super Bowl Commercials:


I Know What You Are, But What Am I?

November 28, 2012

The holidays have always meant the same thing; my extended family comes over for an evening of food, fun, and a decent amount of wine. There are also the inevitable conversations about our careers, when I get the question, “what exactly do you do?”

Of course, I answer that I am a Public Relations professional for an array of clients in different industries. The response? Blank stares and someone says “Oh yeah! Like that Samantha Jones from ‘Sex and the City’.”

Uhm, not quite.

Explaining to my family what Public Relations is — and what I do on a day-to-day basis – is entertaining. I’m always surprised at how little some know and how on point others are. Most thought I spent my days planning lavish parties, or attending events with Boston’s elite. I pulled up the PRSA definition that was created earlier this year and read it aloud to my audience:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

I think this definition hits the nail on the head. We PR Gurus are the storytellers. We shape and mold what you see from our clients. We ensure that the message we convey advances or protects our client’s image, audience, and goals.

After an enlightening conversation about public relations, I thought; if my family doesn’t know what PR is, what does the general community think? I was intrigued and compelled to find out! With the help of my fellow EZG’er-turned-camera-woman, Jenn, I hit the streets of Needham to ask average Joes two questions; what is public relations, and could they name someone or a company that needs public relations assistance?

Some of the participants we asked had answers that were in the ball park. I was surprised to find out that one woman was able to touch on key points of what a PR pro does and even named a hot topic in the news (General Patraeus).

Although I think the PRSA definition illustrates the profession of Public Relations well, it’s still missing the heart and soul. Public relations professionals know the story from the inside out and vice versa – we track the news and media, write pitches and releases, liaise with media, and yes, we utilize acronyms that were taught in school. We are smart and savvy, and are “people persons.” We have strong social media skills, and know that preparation, planning, and research are necessities to creating a successful PR campaign. When a crisis breaks out, we step in with strategies that have been carefully crafted to suit a client’s situation. We engage with the target audience, and tell the client’s story in the most compelling light.

The moral of the story?  As good as we are at telling our clients’ stories, we may need to upgrade the way we talk about our own profession.

YouTube, YouAds…YouKnow?

July 20, 2011

YouTube’s most recent endeavor has them pitching advertisers to exclusively sponsor YouTube Original Series.  This initiative would take original programming from being solely based on broadcast or cable to be strictly on YouTube…not just repeats or clips. With this idea YouTube would use big stars to draw in advertisers and views to the interactive big screen.  Advertisers get the ability to have an exclusive sponsorship of the program therefore owning advertising property on YouTube.  Exciting, right?

At first glance this seems like a natural progression of television in the digital age, but it’s actually much bigger than simply bringing together TV and the internet.  If this really catches on it would be quite a turn of events for media planners/buyers.  If an advertiser could truly buy interactive television advertising (assuming it has the same popularity as shows we watch today on broadcast or cable), media planners would then be able to utilize the benefits of being online. Selecting the right program and or daypart would evolve into something more…they would be able to target an audience by a certain behavior.

For example, Honda would have the ability to their ads to viewers who recently searched for new or used car online.  Orbitz could utilize remarketing to make sure that 5 days after you booked your flights to Aruba they were running TV ads for hotel or car rentals during your favorite television program. Talk about big brother!  All your interactive behavior would begin to work in synch.

I’m not entirely convinced the general public is willing to allow advertisers to have this much accessibility at the risk of becoming too invasive.  Advertisers, on the other hand, would probably be very interested in seeing this initiative move forward.   Today more and more clients want the ability to measure traditional advertising in the same way that we measure interactive.   As for advertising professionals this would certainly be beneficial to help develop even more targeted media plans to reach the most qualified consumers for their clients.

Could this be the next “big thing”?

Message in a megabyte; lost in a sea of social networking

June 30, 2010

In the 1990s, there was a famous anti-drug use PSA which opened with the juxtaposition “This is your brain,” and, “This is your brain on drugs.” As times have changed, I soon see another anti-addiction PSA opening with “This is your brain…This is your brain on technology.” Steve Rubel recently blogged about an Experian study that revealed “43% of online Americans [are] addicted to social networking.” Just this morning, Good Morning America followed up on a New York Times article which exposed an entire family addicted to computers, video games and cell phones. Brian recently posted about how to get retweeted, highlighting not only the importance of being online, but also spreading your online message both far and wide.

At EZG, we often tell clients that, much like traditional media exposure, social media success is based on reaching the right audience. If your audience is online, you should be online—but simply being online is not enough. You have to be online and know what it will take to capture your audience.  A question that is often overlooked when assessing your audience is “Why are you online?” Experian asked that question, and revealed the following numbers:

According to their research, the top three reasons people use social networking is to stay in touch with friends, to have fun, and to keep in touch with family. Only 29% are looking for information that is relevant to them; 25% are looking for recommendations. This may explain why some brands, online and off, are turning to entertainment, also known as conversation starters, rather than showcasing their products features and benefits.

If Experian’s research is correct, that means that for every Coors Light fan that signs onto Facebook and searches “Coors Light,” most will likely stay on their Facebook long enough to play with the apps, maybe send something to a friend and only one of four will stay there long enough to see if there are any recommendations for the beer. Does that “reach” your target audience? It all depends on what your goals are for your brand and audience.

Much like print ads in a magazine, the online world is fighting every nanosecond for your attention. There are billions of blogs, Twitter,YouTubeFacebookflickrslideshare, even what some may call a dying MySpace. You can publish, share, discuss, network, microblog, livecast, broadcast, game, download, upload, and even create a virtual world. iPhone users alone can talk, type, tap, listen and see anything their heart desires at the tip of their fingers. With all these options, it’s easy for companies to flock to the largest social media sites and “set up shop” so to speak. Yet without answering why your customers or audience are online, and what your goals are for a social media campaign, your message is bound to be lost.

So the tools have changed but the song remains the same: right message, right audience, right result.

Video killed the, eh…reading…thing

November 11, 2009

Is it just me, or is the confluence of Internet and TV starting to “noise things up” a little more than expected?  I want to like CNN’s new site design, and ESPN’s, and any number of others that  are prioritizing video content.  But I keep finding myself scrolling through the page, struggling to find written content – everything’s in video, everything has volume.

I’m a firm believer that we need to keep advancing media until we find the right delivery mechanisms.  There is great value to online video and podcasts, but are we approaching overkill?  Doesn’t this trend prevent visitors from consuming content at their desks (unless they’re wearing headphones, in which case will we all soon have our ears and eyes locked to our screens for 10 hours a day, with no human interaction – and yes, I’ve seen Wall-e)?  Doesn’t it make it difficult for researchers, which I often am, from referencing valuable sources?  And more apocalyptically speaking, does it signal an inevitable decline in reading on the whole?

I’ll be watching to see if the video gets scaled back, or if I am in fact just a curmudgeony old skeptic.

Get proactive: save thought leadership from online advertising

July 2, 2008

It’s taking some time for the advertising world to figure out the most effective means of playing to online audiences, but they’re making progress. As online video becomes more mainstream, the format is getting more familiar to the ad world. That means more sales, which means climbing rates, which means more mainstream providers in the limelight, which means user generated content gets out-branded. It’s a theory worth investigating, so…

Let’s start here, as Kenneth Corbin reports on that online ad spending is growing at Jack-and-the-beanstalk rates. Projections run to $106.6 billion by 2011, grabbing 13.6 percent of the market. More to the point:

Analysts cite a variety of reasons for advertisers’ slowness to warm up to the Web, including the ongoing development of good tools to measure a campaign’s effectiveness. Another favorite explanation is that advertisers historically have been skeptical about new media and tend to spend conservatively until they are convinced the emerging format is a viable way to reach their audience. It happened with broadcast television in the ’50s; it happened with cable television in the ’80s; it’s happening today with the Internet.

Now for the application. YouTube is getting all ad-savvy on us, and leveraging partnerships to share customers with outlets like iTunes. And the NYT reports that Google and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane are teaming up to produce original, high quality web content – and advertising is a big part of the plan. Among traditional sponsorship and product placement, the production studio will leverage Google’s reach to capture revenue:

Media Rights Capital, a boutique production company that has the ability to invest about $400 million a year in movies, television and Internet episodes, thinks it has figured out a sustainable business model with the Google Content Network. Every time someone clicks on one of the syndicated videos, the associated advertiser pays a fee, with shares going to Mr. MacFarlane, Media Rights, Google and the Web site that generated the click.

This is a natural part of online evolution. I support it.

The down side is that professional services providers are just getting their toes on the playing field of online media. They are warming up nicely, with white paper distribution, some quality blogs, podcasts, and video on the short horizon. The lower budgets allow a range of deserving and inspired thinkers to enter the fray through a variety of channels.

But when advertisers finally get the hang of this, studio-quality production will edge out the appeal of user-generated content. Keeping pace at that level will demand higher budgets, eliminating an outstanding medium for thought leaders to bring their insights to the fore.

Thought leaders may need to leapfrog this sea-change. There will always be a new frontier of communication, and instead of lagging years behind — as is the professional services way — perhaps it is time to claim the front of the line in communications advances.

Note: No, I don’t know what those advances are or where the line forms. But I’m working on it…

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