•       Taco Bell darkened its Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts, simply replacing all of its previous content with a message driving users to their app. In a marketing landscape where brands are racing to integrate and deploy campaign messages to each social media channel in the most appropriate way, Taco Bell throws a big middle finger in the way of social strategy with a simple "Nothing to see here, go do the one thing we want you to do." There's no idiotic cajoling by a 22 year old social media manager with a minor in communications posting drivel like "Have you tried the new Taco Bell app! Download it today and get a free Quesarito!" Instead, the user encounters

  • Last summer, on my company blog, I wrote a case about how Tough Mudder was started with a small Facebook ad spend. With dozens of targeting variables, Facebook is one of the least expensive and more efficient tools for brands to microtarget their ad creative down to individual interests, locations and behaviors, but it continues to be a missed opportunity for marketers. The biggest barrier for what could be a fantastic opportunity for brands is that the medium doesn't seem to have a home anywhere. For example: Media buying divisions at advertising agencies have the biggest budgets, and tend to buy in bulk. Even agencies who are using DSPs and programmatic buys that they're optimizing daily likely find that spending $5 per ad set

  • I worked with my team to create this Slideshare at DiMassimo Goldstein about how e-commerce companies had managed to work outside of the Amazon.com monster. The common denominator is having an actual personality and level of service that a huge company would never be capable of. Which is pretty much every speech at every social media conference I've been to, but the examples are both inspiring and achievable. [slideshare id=35715292&doc=howtobeatamazon-140610155921-phpapp01]

  • On my company blog, I post about the rise of iBeacons and their implication for retail marketers. It will probably be a long time before stores do something creative with it, but I ordered some from Estimote for the team to play with and I'm sure we'll come up with some weird scavenger hunt idea for them soon. iBeacon, Apple’s tiny Bluetooth-enabled device, is a disruptive technology set to allow brands to intercept shoppers at the exact point of intent. It’s bringing us even closer to an “internet of things” and will give us creative and opportunistic ways to engage the retail consumer. While our phones are currently smart enough to know how to run complex apps or contact servers across the

  • The video and blog quoted below that I put together for my agency website shows how workers in 3rd world countries paid to build likes for shady Facebook managers had to start liking random pages to thwart Facebook's efforts to stop them. Which means randomly liking YOUR page. The problem that arises is when you're paying to boost your posts to increase your Edgerank, you're actually wasting a portion of your budget on people who don't exist, or are definitely not your customers. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oVfHeWTKjag" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> In the above video, Veritasium explores the growing problem of fraud with Facebook’s paid “likes” advertising platform. We know it’s possible to buy them for pennies on the dollar illegitimately outside the

  • For someone who has never worked in an advertising agency before, pitching one any kind of new service can be an extremely frustrating and confusing experience. If there's ever an example of defining the words "mercenary" or "realpolitik," it would be embedded in agency culture and how they are incredibly slow to embrace new ideas and technology. In the more idealistic startup world, it can be quite chilling to realize that the technology you created that will most definitely help a brand market itself more efficiently is met with a "huh?" or "we'll get back to you" attitude at best. In my AGBeat column, I go into these scenarios and how to deal with them. There are some fantastically curious

  • In a perfect world, a graphic designer would close their eyes, imagine a beautiful concept and then use whatever tools at their disposal - pencils, markers, paint, or software to create their vision. But ever since the introduction of computers to the creative process, a great majority of designers rely heavily on what's easy: which is pressing a button and get an effect. The latest such effect that's taken the design world by storm is the "long shadow." In AGBeat, I look at how design trends have been largely sparked by new abilities in software, such as Photoshop plugins, and less about anyone's original vision. 

  • Yes. But like newspapers, they're still hanging on for dear life. More adventurous brands, usually with large budgets and the willingness to experiment are paving the way to a world where iterative real time responses with user generated content on a general brand theme are favored over the bureaucratic and labor-intensive processes that take 18 months to launch new ideas. In my AGBeat column, I look at Coke's new campaign and how it might be the precursor to a wave of change in creativity across the industry. 

  • In today's AGBeat column, the subject is using marketing efforts to have engaging experiences instead of focusing on meaningless social media metrics. These metrics are too easy to fake, for one, and the efforts behind them don't do much more than keep pace instead of breaking through. The metric I propose, Quality of Engagement is one we floated with minimal success back in the days when I was working as the creative director of an experiential marketing agency. While you can decide that a comment is worth more than a like, or someone playing your experiential game is worth more than someone walking by and going "Oh, there's that brand doing a game," measuring such interactions at scale, and without

  • The excitement that comes with starting something new often leads to a myopic and somewhat delusional attitude that going through a proper strategy, branding and marketing process is unnecessary because the new offering is so revolutionary and groundbreaking, people will just flock to it and send it to all their friends. In my AGBeat column, I look at the mistake startup marketers make and why investing in a proper marketing plan is worth the extra effort. 

©2015 Marc Lefton 
All opinions are my own and not reflective of anyone who should be so fortunate to retain my services.