The Monthly Report Card: June

Showcasing the best practices of the industry and providing insight into how to best use celebrities or influencers to your brand’s advantage.

(1). Major League Soccer – Miguel

1 MLS

Grade: A

Miguel, a Grammy winning singer/songwriter and fan of the Los Angeles Galaxy, partnered with MLS for their ‘Our Soccer’ campaign. Miguel not fitting into the normal soccer fan was exactly what MLS wanted. He represented the spirit and diversity of the MLS. What makes this commercial a step above other professional league commercials is the ability to show where soccer began for many and who represents the sport. Miguel’s voiceover that described ‘Our Soccer’ was intense and painted an impactful image for viewers on how soccer effects people’s lives.

(2). Wells Fargo – Landon Donovan

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Grade: A-

Landon Donovan, player for the US National Soccer Team, partnered with Wells Fargo for a 360-marketing campaign. In the Wells Fargo commercial, Donovan was supporting the Mexico National Team for the World Cup. Wells Fargo selected the correct celebrity for this campaign because they tied Donovan to his roots. Donovan grew up and played in the MLS with Mexican players. He has supported them even though he did not make the World Cup. Donovan on social media used #MyOtherTeamIsMexico to tie the World Cup and the Wells Fargo campaign full circle.

(3). Sonic – Ellie Kemper & Jane Krakowski

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Grade: B-

Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski are back sitting in a car trying to be hysterical for the Sonic commercial, this one was a better attempt than past commercials. Even though it was predictable, they embraced their roles from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and bantered like they do in the show. Their improv may have made a new word to describe food. “Flispy” is how Krakowski called Sonic Chicken Tenders, flavorful and crispy. If American’s catch on, this Sonic commercial could become a major success…by creating a new word to explain fast food.

(4). Adidas – Various

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Grade: A

Adidas “re-engineered” how to advertise with this campaign. They released “Create the Answers” campaign during the World Cup. Adidas used 56 different celebrities from around the world, including Leo Messi, David Beckham, Von Miller and Pharrell Williams. Adidas’s message was to ‘ignore the script’ and create your own reality. Adidas did that themselves in this commercial. While their campaign was not favorably viewed, Adidas has launched themselves ahead in the celebrity marketing and advertising categories.

(5). Adidas – James Harden

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Grade: A

James Harden was featured in the new Adidas commercialDreams Become Reality” days after winning the NBA’s MVP award. Harden’s mother, Monja Willis, was also featured in the commercial by having a voiceover about how hard Harden worked to be the best he could. The commercial was centered around a note he wrote his mother about being a star when he grew up. Adidas’ campaign showed viewers that stars started somewhere and that their hard work and dedication got them to where they are today. There could not have been a better time to release this commercial.

(6). Perfect Night – Corona Premier

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Grade: A

Everyone has those summer nights outside with their friends that they never want to end. Corona Premier uses a creative way to make the night keep going in their ‘Perfect Night’ commercial. Once the candle burns out, they use a phone flashlight and a full Corona Premier bottle to create light for the table. ‘I Turn You On’ by The Isley Brothers sets the background for the perfect night lakeside with friends.

(7). Coca-Cola – Hannes Þór Halldórsson & Iceland National Team

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Grade: A

This Icelandic Coca-Cola commercial was intended for only Iceland, yet it got international success. This commercial was directed by Hannes Þór Halldórsson, Goalkeeper for the Iceland National Team. The commercial takes you through the lives of Icelandic citizens and how the World Cup, like Coca-Cola, brings the country together. Hannes builds everyone up to this moment where his teammate, Birkir Bjarnason scores a winning goal and the whole country is celebrating…with a Coca-Cola in hand of course. While there are few words the viewer can feel the emotions surrounding the World Cup.

(8). Gatorade – Lionel Messi & Luis Suárez

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Grade: B

Gatorade is pushing into the soccer world by creating a sport specific drink, Gatorade Football Energy. What better two people to promote this than friends on and off the field, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. When it comes to playing for their national teams, the players compete harder than they have before. In the ‘Everything Changes’ campaign, Gatorade uses this rivalry to their advantage and amplifies it in this commercial. Both players prepare for the game by drinking Gatorade Football Energy. While the full version drags on, the 60 second time slot makes a statement for Gatorade’s new target market.

(9). Heineken – ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli’s

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Grade: B

Released at the end of June, Heineken had a World Cup themed commercial. It was about two people that looked as if they were in love and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli made you think they were in love. Then, the camera changed views and showed them actually mesmerized by the soccer team on the television. After the team won, the two ran into each other while celebrating over a Heineken. After becoming the Official Beer of the MLS, it was strategic for Heineken to release a commercial for the World Cup. Their attempt at this, however, was another predictable beer celebration commercial that after seeing it a few times, gets old.

(10). Pepsi/Uncle Drew – Kyrie Irving

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Grade: A+

What started as a YouTube video campaign in 2012 has turned into a big screen movie collaboration. Celebrity Kyrie Irving, promoted Pepsi back in 2012 by creating the character Uncle Drew releasing five-minute videos. Irving has now brought that character to life in a movie titled Uncle Drew. During the time of the movie release, Pepsi created commercials with Irving to promote both Pepsi and Uncle Drew. ‘Timeless’ transitions through history with Uncle Drew (Irving) and Pepsi. The campaign shows that no matter what, Pepsi has always been there throughout the years.

photo credits: YouTube

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NBA Playoffs vs. Primetime Television Celebrity Marketing

nike

With millions of viewers worldwide, how does a brand decide which commercial platform, a championship series or Primetime television, is best for them?

Celebrity marketing can be an influential part of a brand and knowing when to air their campaigns, during a championship versus primetime television, should be determined based on budget, viewership numbers and overall brand goals.

Generally speaking, championship series have more viewers than primetime. In Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals there were 17.4 million viewers. On average, a top-rated television series such as This is Us has 9.56 million viewers.

In 2017, This Is Us had the highest costing 30-second TV commercial slots, with one commercial costing $394,428, however the NBA Finals commercial slots went for roughly $520,000 (in 2015).

When deciding to air a celebrity campaign a brand should ask these questions:

  1. Who is the audience?

Allstate’s Mayhem commercial, ‘Ring Bearer’ with actor Dean Winters and music licensing of song “Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups was focused on wedding season and causing mayhem during the big day. Allstate’s humor intrigues a variety of viewers. While it could work during the NBA finals, primetime television would be better because of the commercial’s target audience.

Since ‘Ring Bear’ was about a wedding Allstate was targeting a younger female demographic. This commercial would be more accruable during episodes of This Is Us or Greys Anatomy where the typical demographic is female and the episodes are pulling at their heartstrings.

  1. What is the brand message?

NBA’s campaign had basketball stars, Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan speaking up about mental wellness. They brought to light that as an athlete it is okay to have an illness and health matters.

Advocate for mental health, Kristen Bell, would also be a great candidate for a mental health campaign, however, since the NBA was sponsoring the commercial they wanted young athletes to know basketball stars have illnesses too. Love and DeRozan are clearly a better fit for the NBA’s mental wellness campaign.

If the NBA had played this during an episode of the Big Bang Theory, it would not have given the same effect as it did during Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

  1. What celebrity do you have?

Nike’s commercial surrounding the NBA Finals was with the infamous LeBron James. Nike’s “The Tattoo” commercial was released on the eve of the NBA Finals. It was about James getting his tattoo of the ‘Chosen 1’ 16 years ago.

Nike’s Always Believe campaign worked during the Finals and not on primetime because it was about him believing in himself to make it to where he is. Nike wanted to inspire other athletes to believe in themselves as well.

If these questions all lead to airing the celebrity endorsement during the championship series then do it. The brand will get immense exposure with the right target audience.

Celebrity endorsements could be used on multiple platforms and also work well. If it’s not feasible to do both primetime and a championship series, asking these questions should determine the best fit for the brand campaign’s message.

photo credit: Nike via (YouTube)

The Monthly Report Card: May

Showcasing the best practices of the industry and providing insight into how to best use celebrities or influencers to your brand’s advantage.

 

(1). Victoria’s Secret – The Angels

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Grade: D

The Cotton Collection commercial by Victoria’s Secret (VS) was like any other VS commercial. With the setting on a sunny day, a beach background and the word ‘cool’ popping up on the screen creates a light and airy feeling for viewers. However, the VS Angels are not like the majority of females and with their reported 10-14% monthly sales decline since 2017 their marketing strategy could use a new direction to match the realism of their consumers.

(2). Atom Tickets – Anna Faris

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Grade: A

With their first-ever national brand campaign, Atom Tickets nailed this one. Using Anna Faris to show the features of this new app, Director Peter Berg made this national campaign simple yet memorable. Faris uses some of the most iconic movie quotes throughout the commercial while showing what the app does to make the movie experience that much better. Faris is a good representation for the consumer because of her relatable and loveable persona that can reach a large demographic of movie goers.

(3). T-Mobile – Bryce Harper

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Grade: C+

T-Mobile partnered with Bryce Harper during their Hats Off campaign. This campaign donated one dollar to Team Rubicon every time someone posts #HatsOff4Heroes. The commercial with Bryce Harper targeted baseball loving veterans and families. T-Mobile’s campaign was centered around Memorial Day and touched many Americans, however, the commercial stated that T-Mobile was giving 50% off to Military Families. There was nothing about the hashtag to help veterans, making it more about their company than the campaign.

(4). Pepsi – Dierks Bentley

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Grade: B-

Who doesn’t love free things? ‘This is the Pepsi that Gets You Stuff’ is part of the Pepsi Generations Campaign. When drinking Pepsi, there is a chance to win Pepsi Retro Gear. This commercial was full of summer. Then, obnoxious screaming girls finding out they could win Dierks Bentley tickets ruins the commercial. Bentley’s calm demeanor attempts to balance out the girls, but viewers are left remembering the horrific screaming.

(5). McDonald’s – Gabrielle Union/Charles Barkley/John Goodman

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Grade: A-

McDonald’s changed up how food commercials are looked at now. In a series of commercials, Gabrielle Union, Charles Barkley and John Goodman all took action in the ‘Speechless’ campaign. For this campaign, McDonald’s produced two types of commercials. One is the celebrity silently eating while subconsciously talking to themselves about the deliciousness of the Quarter Pounder. The second produced commercial has them commentating for the customer eating the Quarter Pounder because they are ‘Speechless’. The ‘Speechless’ campaign proves that nothing can describe the feeling and taste of the burger.

(6). Gatorade – Bryce Harper & Michael Lorenzen

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Grade: A

Gatorade has always shown what hard work and dedication looks like with the world’s best athletes. This is no different with their current campaign featuring a ‘friendly’ competition between rivals Bryce Harper and Michael Lorenzen. In the commercial, it states that Gatorade has been “studied, tested, proven for the world’s best athletes,” while showing how well Gatorade works for Lorenzen and Harper. Gatorade proved its success for the world’s best athletes and made a successful attempt to persuade customers.

(7). Corona Extra – Ryan Johnson

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Grade: A

Corona did it right in their summer can campaign. It leaves viewers wanting to go to the beach on a hot day and enjoy a Corona Extra. Having a beach guy yell “Summer is here” puts you in a mood to go out and enjoy the Summer. Jimmy Cliff’s song, You Can Get it if You Really Want brings together the visuals and the feeling of summer with a Corona in hand.

(8). The Jordan Brand – Maya Moore

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Grade: A

The Maya Moore commercial begins with Moore putting on her line of basketball shoes. Then cuts to footage of when she was a child, in college and finally in the WNBA winning a championship. Moore signed an endorsement deal in 2011 with the Jordan Brand and recently released her own line of shoes. What makes this campaign so iconic is that her number in the WNBA, like Michael Jordan, is 23. Jordan’s symbolic picture of his wingspan with the infamous William Blake’s quote “No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings” is replicated at the end of the commercial by Moore doing the same pose while a female, re-purposed version of William Blake’s quote “No bird soars too high, if she soars with her own wings” is being sung in the background making the new Jordan commercial “WINGS” that much more iconic.

(9). Visa – Zlatan Ibrahimović

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Grade: B+

As the Official Sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Visa partnered with professional soccer player, Zlatan Ibrahimović. Visa’s campaign was about FOMO (fear of missing out). Zlatan was a seamless fit for this because he said, “A World Cup without me is not worth watching.” While the commercial showcased his arrogance on how he could have played if he wanted; the underlying message was the simplicity Visa brings to fans so they do not miss out on the action. Visa will roll out multiple other commercials during the course of the World Cup to show the ease of contactless payment through Zlatan’s adventure in Russia. Zlatan will also have exclusive behind-the-scenes access during the tournament that fans can join-in on from home. With Zlatan’s soccer background and VISA’s quick payment methods, this campaign simply showcases how effortless using Visa is at sporting events.

(10). Mountain Dew Kickstart – Kevin Hart

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Grade: A-

Mountain Dew partnered with comedian Kevin Hart for a yearlong campaign. Mountain Dew Kickstart’s three different commercials capture what goes on in the mind of comedian Hart before a performance. His electrifying energy embodies what the customers would get from the refreshing boost of Mountain Dew Kickstart. Mountain Dew selected an excellent celebrity for this campaign because of his comedic side and energy. His commercials will leave a memorable mark for customers.

photo credits: YouTube

Embracing Change: Why Celebrity Marketing Looks Beyond Facebook to be Effective

reddit (giphy)

The growing trends of consumer dissatisfaction with social media privacy is a roadblock that marketers can avoid with the right strategies in place.

For good reason, headlines around the world have been dominated by ongoing problems for the world’s first social media giant. Privacy has always been a concern for consumers but the issue has flared up again with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

It is important to understand the nuance behind the issue. Social media companies and corporation have been utilizing data legally obtained from users who sign terms of service for years and it has let to features like micro and geo-targeting.

The current controversy deals with the illegal collection of data through a third-party research firm who violated Facebook’s terms of service and multiple requests for deletion of data. As usual, the optics are terrible despite Facebook’s good intentions, while consumers are growing impatient with the lack of progress in privacy standards.

Not too long ago, people were calling on Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to run for President, now he is being called to testify in front of Congress for his company’s shortcomings.

The advent of social media has been a boon for marketers and advertisers, providing endless opportunities to interact with consumers and tailor brand identities, but anticipating change is a much more universal and time-tested marketing tool.

With this in mind, marketers should be very wary not to have a reliance on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by diversifying their ad spend in other mediums.

Television is a tried and true marketing method and will remain so, but more surprising is the relevancy of audio advertising (radio and streaming) in the age of social media. Studies continue to show that radio is still healthy in the ROI department and streaming will become a global standard with the rise of AI home assistants/speakers.

This does not negate the effectiveness of social media marketing however, but there are plenty other up and coming platforms that marketers should be aware of.

Of course there is Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram (I include Instagram even though they are owned by Facebook due to the lack of personal information needed on the platform). There are many other niche sites that can be used to target consumers; check out this great list from Hootsuite.

Other platforms like YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr, and LinkedIn are sites striving to protect their marketing integrity and are free of the issues plaguing Facebook. Diversifying your brand’s digital/traditional footprint by moving away from a Facebook monopoly is a great way to insulate your brand from future scandals involving the privacy of consumers.

photo credit: reddit via (giphy)

What Apple’s Viral HomePod Ad with FKA Twigs Tells Us About Celebrity Marketing

VladJanuary (flickr)

With the viral success of Apple’s ad for its newest product line, what can brands learn to boost the effectiveness of their celebrity marketing campaigns?

In June of 2017, Apple announced their intention to enter the wireless speaker/AI assistant market with their new HomePod line. It marked a significant new step away from the brand’s identity of traditional hardware, but an acknowledgment of the changing pace of the device marketplace.

However, consumers were already well aware that Apple was lagging behind Amazon and Google in this tech sector, so how did Apple’s marketing strategy combat this?

For nearly two decades, Apple’s brand identity has been centered on music. After all, they invented iTunes which dominated the early digital music market and made the iPod a global phenomenon.

They have stressed that the HomePod will be a “music-first” device and followed up that brand message with an ad/short film directed by Spike Jonze and featuring FKA Twigs that quickly gained viral status.

Here’s what this viral spot tells us about celebrity marketing:

1). Incorporating Celebrities’ Talents Can Elevate a Brand’s Message

Any consumer who watched this short film will immediately remember the old iPod campaigns with silhouette dancers and vibrant color pallets, which we must assume was the intention.

Clearly Apple wanted to continue but modernize their core message. For this they used an Oscar winning director, Spike Jonze and a world-renowned dancer/musician, FKA Twigs.

Many outlets praised the ad simply for the credentials of those involved, which gave consumers an early perception of quality of the spot and the brand.

Celebrities in their natural environments not only produce better quality marketing tools, but it streamlines the planning process by encouraging innovation from the artists.

2). Implementing Cause and Artistic License is a Sure-Fire Way to Success

While maintaining the brand message, creative license was taken to incorporate concepts of dealing with depression. During the film, Twigs uses the music that Apple can provide to overcome her feelings of repetition and despare from her career.

It is important for marketers not to take this element to far however. There is often a fine line between partnering or discussing a cause and taking advantage of it to sell products. Consumers are attentive and do not enjoy faux-cause marketing strategies.

Regardless, there is little doubt that the creative element of the ad has led to its viral success. The colorful set has also driven extra content about the ad on social media. The best ads rarely need pinpoint cooperation to show their value. Seeing the passion of everyone involved to discuss their product proves that the correct creative priorities can reinforce a brand’s message.

3). The Ad Directing Trend is Here to Stay

Add this spot to the growing list of short films that have been produced by Hollywood regulars for various brands. Walmart enlisted the talents of Dee Rees (Mudbound), Melissa McCarthy and Nancy Meyers for an Oscars campaign. Apple is no stranger to using this method having first done a similar project with Ridley Scott in 1984 when launching the Macintosh computer.

This method will only continue to prove its power of innovation in the advertising industry. Brands with short films have received very positive responses and it is a great way to partner with celebrity influencers to make use of their talents.

photo credit: VladJanuary via (flickr)

Celebrity Marketing in Six-Seconds

Six-Second Post

When looking to strike a chord with millennials and Generation Z, six-second advertisements lead the way.

A new form of video storytelling has hit the market. With lower attention spans and increased usage of mobile devices across multiple generations, six-seconds advertisements are the solution.

As brands and agencies prepare for this new era, these six-second video advertisements convey simple messages making immediate connections with viewers. There is a niche gap in the market for six-second media engagements and brands have begun to fill that void.

Although these advertisements were first introduced by YouTube as, “bumper ads,” several corporations have joined the movement utilizing the format. Fox began pushing out six-second advertisements during live sporting events, announcing that they will air nine of these short spots during its Thanksgiving Day NFL game. Prior to this announcement, Fox had been running six-second commercials in NFL games and the World Series. Similarly, AMC has decided to run six-second commercials during this season of the series, The Walking Dead. Facebook has also followed suit, announcing intentions to revamp six-second advertisements on its platform.

Even Twitter wants to join the six-second ad craze. In an effort to produce these short spots, they created, #Fuel. This new service is designed to help advertisers create content specifically for the platform as well as edit videos to conform to the six-second trend.

While six-second advertisements are a fairly new format, they have certainly left an impression already. According to a Google-led study, nine out of 10 six-second advertisements drove recall and 61 percent increased brand awareness.

Viewers want entertainment, innovation and disruption, and six-second spots seamlessly fit the mold. While advertisers continuously look to improve the viewing experience, adding celebrity features as another layer to the mix could be just what they need.

While six-second spots are defining digital presence, celebrities and influencers have already marked their territory in the digital sphere. Because celebrity marketing dominates digital, this “snackable content” elicits a new opportunity for brands to enhance this innovative format. Shorter advertisements certainly engage viewers, but celebrities have the potential to make these spots unforgettable. The combination of powerful celebrity marketing and the allure of six-second advertisements can lead to competitive advantages.

Getting right to the point, six-second advertisements keep viewers tuned in, especially millennials and Generation Z consumers with shorter attention spans. These short spots have the potential to command the digital sphere and further evolve with the inclusion of celebrities and influencers.

photo credit: Raphael Silva via Pixabay.com

Enhancing Voice Experiences with Celebrity Marketing

AI Post

Using voice technology, brands distinguish themselves amongst competition and develop strong customer relationships.

Artificial intelligence are two words that have become common place in this newfound digital world. It is a form of reasoning and problem solving that allows computers and machines to function and guide intelligently. As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, voice-based devices have erupted onto the scene, leaving a lasting impact on the advertising industry.

With the introduction of voice search, consumers are more likely to speak into voice-based devices than enter a typed request. According to MarketingProfs, approximately 55 percent of teenagers and 41 percent of adults use voice search at least once a day.

In one year alone, sales of voice-based devices have quadrupled, from just 6.5 million devices sold in 2016 to more than 24.5 million in 2017. As consumers become more comfortable with voice-assistant technology, brands are forced to adapt to an environment of minimal control.

Brands must convey their messages in an almost subliminal manner accounting for consumers’ time, location and circumstance while retaining the value of the message. Keyword search is changing too, and as a result, SEO needs to take a more conversational approach, forcing brands to create new, engaging content to reach their audiences.

While creating new content in an ever-changing digital world may seem intimidating, there are several opportunities for advertisers with voice-based devices, including partnering with a celebrity.

Voice-assistant technology exposes a new form of “always-on” interaction between consumers and brands. It forms an instant, open dialogue, creating a conversational user experience.

Although there are a few voice assistants that dominate the market, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, the barriers to entry are low, allowing brands both large and small to enter the voice technology space.

As voice technology grows globally, brands have the opportunity to monetize their audiences through “voice-native” ad experiences.

Importantly, millennials are driving the market for voice-based assistants. With millennials at the helm of voice technology, brands are able to target this large group of consumers by utilizing artificial intelligence marketing.

Voice technology can also be heightened by the power of celebrity. By partnering with a celebrity while also using voice-based devices, brands attract more consumers and develop a stronger relationship with their audience.

For example, Oprah became the first celebrity voice featured on Amazon’s Alexa, promoting the Favorite Things storefront on Amazon. While her voice is not a permanent feature, her audible presence helps draw attention to voice-based devices and the potential the technology holds for brands. The familiarity of a celebrity voice like Oprah is comforting and encouraging.

Screen browsing could soon become a thing of the past. Voice technology is game-changing technology with the potential to flip the digital world upside down. Brands who learn to adapt beyond the screen and into a world of voice-dominated advertising will settle market share and competitive advantage.

photo credit: Adam Bowle via Flickr.com