Category Archives: Campaigns

Valentine’s Day Spending

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  While today is no Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it is still a major retail and e-commerce event, and a boost for stores and shipping companies early in the calendar year.  With the help of the National Retail Federation, UPS , Ad Age and the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey, I’d like to present you with Valentine’s Day by the numbers.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend $18.6 billion overall on Valentine’s Day gifts.

Jewelry is the big-ticket item for gift givers.  $4.4 billion will be spent on diamonds, gold and silver.

$1.9 billion will be spent on flowers today.

$1.6 will be spent on candy; 51% of those surveyed give sweet treats to their loved ones.

Who would have thought- $1.5 billion will be spent on gift cards.

$815 million will be spent on the ones who love us unconditionally- our pets.

UPS will ship 95 million flowers for Valentine’s Day, with the bulk coming from Latin America on UPS temperature-controlled aircraft from Ecuador and Colombia (big rose-growing countries).

6,000,000 are expected to get engaged on February 14; that number is up from 4 million in 2012.

3,000 TONS of flowers will move through a massive refrigerated warehouse in Miami that UPS has set up to keep flowers fresh.

Can you guess what the average U.S. consumer plans to spend on candy, cards, gifts and more this year?  The answer is $130.97- up from $126.03 last year.

So how much is the average woman spending on today? About $88.78, which is less than half of what men are estimated to spend (an average of $175.61 on jewelry, flowers, and a romantic evening out).

40.7% of smartphone owners are estimated to have used their handhelds to shop for gifts.

26.3% of Valentine’s gifts are found online, up from 19.3% last year

29% of those surveyed said they’d post sweet nothings on Facebook.

Americans spend an average of $8.49 on friends for Valentine’s cards and gifts; they’ll shell out an average of $5.12 on colleagues.

7% of consumers who in a survey said they send their Valentine’s message via Twitter in 140 characters or less.

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BMI Elite Buys Employee A New Car, Then Takes Staff to Bahamas

There’s never a dull moment around here at BMI Elite.  We’re back in the news once again, this time for surprising one of our longest and most deserving employees with a brand new 2013 Ford Escape for his 52nd birthday last week.  We’ve been on the front page of the Sun Sentinel’s money section, on the homepage of MSNnow, and many other news channels including CBS12, CNN and WPBF.

Chris Ninos has been BMI’s chief financial officer for the last two years and is one of the most loyal, honest, trustworthy and hardworking employees that our CEO Brandon Rosen has ever met.

“Chris will call me up at midnight, at 5:00 a.m., and on holidays just to talk about business,” said Brandon.  “He’s one of the hardest workers I know.”

Chris has been driving an old 1998 green Ford Escort for the last 11 or 12 years, and recently it’s been giving him lots of trouble.  Even though everyone around the office has been telling him to trade it in and get something new, Chris was determined to ride it until it died.  So last week, a few days before Chris’ birthday, Brandon and BMI’s president, Dan Lansman, decided to surprise him with the new Escape as a way to thank him for all that he does for the company.

Chris was told by some co-workers that they were taking him out to lunch to celebrate his birthday.  They said they needed to make a stop at the Maroone Ford dealership, and when they arrived at the showroom, Ninos was surprised with a new 2013 Ford Escape filled with balloons.

Before this all happened, BMI contacted the media to capture the moment as well.  Not only did Chris get a new car, but he also got the celebrity treatment for a few days.

If that wasn’t enough, BMI Elite is taking its entire staff on a cruise to the Bahamas this weekend for our holiday party.  I am excited and I feel lucky to be working at a company that is doing so well.  In less than two years, BMI has grown from two employees to 55 and next month, we are moving from a 4,500 sq. foot office to one that is over 21,000 sq. feet.  There are lots of big things to come!

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Target Is Playing Catch Up in the Digital Marketing Game

There has been much speculation that the internet will dominate in holiday shopping this year. With this said, Target is switching up its game in an effort to make sure they won’t fall behind in the digital market.

Last holiday season, many shoppers went to Target just to scan product barcodes and then made purchases from online retailers such as Amazon, instead of actually buying the product for full retail price. Target wants to prevent this from happening again, so they will match the prices of various online retailers between November 1 and December 16. They will even match prices from the online prices of Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Toys R’ Us and Babies R’ Us. Target has matched local competitors in the past, but never online retailers due to the inconsistency in prices.

Target is really trying to prevent a trend called “showrooming,” which is when consumers go to retail locations to test products and then go online to buy it. For example, I know people who have gone to Best Buy, found the exact television that they want, and bought it online. Generally, online stores like Amazon offer cheaper and exclusive internet prices.

Target is also lending out QR codes in stores to help people shop and navigate through their website.  According to Target, they are trying to improve their online marketing to become more personalized and integrated with consumers. If there is a particular item that is sold out, people will be able to scan the QR code on the tag and order the product on Target.com. For example, the top 20 toys will have QR codes on them. This is very beneficial for consumers because all they would have to do is scan the code and they will be lead to the product. Then, they can buy the product and chill out while thousands of consumers are impatiently waiting in long lines.  If people are worried about using up data on their smartphones, Target will provide free Wi-Fi to help access the codes that were scanned.

Target has been recently trying to play catch up with other retail powerhouses with digital marketing strategies. It is part of their new project called Multichannel, which offers consumers various online-related services to make it more convenient to shop at Target and on their website. Although they are behind rival Wal-Mart, they feel it is never too late to implement strategies that others have already put to use. For example, they are also planning to test in-store pickups of online orders and home deliveries within hours, which is something eBay has implemented in some states. Target shouldn’t feel ashamed that they are using strategies that their rivals use. Pablo Picasso once said that “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

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Hey Marketers, Don’t Overlook Halloween!

This year’s version of an annual survey reports that Halloween spending is expected to be huge this year- around $8 billion to be exact.  According to the survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), seven in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, the most in the survey’s 10-year history.  Total spending on the holiday is expected to reach $8 billion, with each person spending about $80 on costumes, decoration and sweet treats.

Part of the appeal of Halloween is that it is the first holiday of the season.  It’s the kickoff to the rest of the holidays, and it excites people and puts them in the spirit for the months that follow.  Halloween is also popular with consumers because it’s a relatively inexpensive holiday to partake in.  When compared to Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day and even New Year’s, which often involve gifts and elaborate meals, Halloween is not that expensive.  Because it is not a gift-giving holiday, people on even the strictest budgets are usually able to indulge a little bit and enjoy themselves.

This year, more people plan to dress in costume, throw or attend a party and give out candy to trick-or-treaters.  Consumers will spend the most on costumes for themselves, their kids, and yes, their pets.  The average person is expected to shell out $43.60 on costumes, up from $40.81 a year ago.  They will spend $32.35 on decorations, up from $28.54 and $24.25 on candy, up from $22.05 last year.

The steady growth in Halloween spending could prove to be an excellent opportunity for both retailers and marketers if they promote it heavily, yet the holiday is overlooked by many.  This has a lot to do with the fact that Halloween falls in between back-to-school and Christmas, two of the largest retail campaigns of the year.  Both of these events attract much more spending than Halloween, and during the months of September and October (when most Halloween purchases are made), retailers are already mainly focusing on Christmas.  Many retailers officially kick off holiday campaigns at the end of October or early November, but holiday merchandise can be found in stores as early as September.  My local Costco in Delray Beach has had their holiday aisle set up for at least two weeks now.

“People are standing in line with a pumpkin looking at Christmas ornaments,” said Mike Gatti, a senior VP at the NRF. “Everyone complains about Christmas creep but people are in there buying it.”

Mainstream retailers that are caught trying to balance both Halloween and Christmas may be missing the opportunity that lies in the growth in Halloween spending. They often see it as a smaller spending holiday that is squeezed between back-to-school and Christmas and do not consider it a significant part of the advertising and promotions calendar.  Those who do focus on heavily promoting Halloween are costume retailers and those who set up pop-up shops, but they are usually not the ones who advertise like crazy.

Mr. Gatti explains, “Everyone from home centers to pet stores is taking advantage of the growth in Halloween.  So it could be a missed opportunity [to include it as part of] the ad calendar.”

With more consumers than ever planning to celebrate Halloween this year, it would be smart for retailers and marketers to take advantage of the opportunity. Those who promote the holiday with ads will likely catch the attention of the seven-in-ten consumers who are planning to spend their hard-earned dollars on products that help them get into the Halloween spirit.

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Derrick Rose Returns… Sort Of

I hope the title of this article didn’t excite basketball fans too much, or fill them with any false hope.  According to USA Today, Derrick Rose will probably not return onto the playing court until at least early next year.  But in conjunction with the launch of the D Rose collection and basketball shoe by Adidas on October 4, the brand has created a campaign that is sure to pump fans up.

Adidas’ “The Return of D Rose” campaign features a commercial that shows how the world stopped when Rose tore his ACL during a playoff game.  Chicago fans are frozen, and the disbelief and shock is evident on their faces.  Then, as he gets back into the game with intense workouts that mark his recovery, the fans come back to life as well.  Hence the term “All in for D Rose.”

The commercial ends with a triumphant Rose running back onto the court, ready to play once again.  The spot will begin airing next week.

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Face Recognition Marketing- Awesome or Too Much?

Facebook check-ins are a powerful way for businesses to reach out and offer deals to loyal customers, but very few (businesses and customers) have come to realize this.  It’s about to get a lot easier, thanks to a new technology that allows people to check-in just by showing their face- literally.

Red Pepper, an advertising agency that specializes in marketing technologies, has announced that it is in its final testing stage for Facedeals, a facial recognition- marketing app.

Facebook can already recognize faces and suggest the correct people to tag in pictures. Facedeals will use a similar technology, installing cameras at local participating stores.  If you opt into this service, the cameras will recognize your face when you pass by, based on pictures from your Facebook account.  The service will then simultaneously check you into that location on Facebook.  You will be sent customized offers and discounts based on your “Like” history.

The app uses facial recognition in an effort to connect in a more personalized way with consumers.  For businesses, there is no easier way to deliver customized deals.   ”At Red Pepper, we explore technologies that can create relevant ways for marketing to intersect with consumers and their lives, as provide some added values,” said Red Pepper’s business director, Samara Andreson.

As incredible as this technology sounds, it has generated criticism and panic from some who think it is a total invasion of privacy.  Andreson points out that the app requires voluntary acceptance and is not forced on anyone.

“The idea is not to invade privacy, which is a big issue right now,” Anderson said. “Your face wouldn’t be in any sort of database unless you opt into it.”

At this point does it even matter?  I thought a person’s privacy pretty much goes out the window the minute they create a Facebook account anyways.  Facebook already knows everything about most of us because we have voluntarily provided them with the information.  It knows where we go, when we go, who we go with and what we like, which helps them to understand why we do the things we do.

While I don’t feel particularly threatened by Facedeals, I do have a few questions for them before I would personally opt into this app.  Is there a setting that would let me approve the check-in before it goes to Facebook?  Or is there at least a setting that would let me approve the check-in before it’s posted for my 1,214 friends to see?  For example, if a raunchy strip club is one of the participating locations and I happen to walk past it, will a camera snap my face and automatically check me in there, even if I never went inside?  Am I going to receive a coupon for a free lap dance that I don’t want?  If I’m going to have to worry about stuff like that, it’s a deal breaker for me.

Would you opt in to Facedeals, or do you think it crosses the line?  Please share in a comment.

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My Favorite NBA Campaigns

In my opinion, the NBA has always had the best ad campaigns, at least in comparison to other American sports. The campaigns almost always use a dramatic buildup and have a cinematic quality to them which I just love.

“BIG” is the word of the NBA’s latest commercial campaign. Since the playoffs began it has replaced the famous “Where Amazing Happens” campaign. The funky, minimalist commercials have featured the different teams playing and discontinued them once the team was eliminated.

The Finals commercials include two 30-second commercials featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat and a 60-second commercial that features both teams as well as great players throughout the history of the sport.


With the instrumental from User’s single “Climax” in the background, the commercial reads:
“It’s not a game or a sport or a series. It’s a shot at immortality, but it’s not just one team against another. It’s two teams against all who have come before.

The legends, the giants but history won’t give – you must take, because the past is present and it’s setting the tone.

Breaking you down, making you think and if that’s a burden your team can’t carry. You can’t win, because for champions the chance to live forever is way too BIG.”

I will admit that “Big” is not my favorite NBA campaign. Trying to follow lots of words flashing quickly across the screen is a bit exhausting, and while some of the commercials were good, overall the campaign just didn’t excite me as much some of the others in the past. Here, in my opinion, are some of the best NBA campaigns and commercials:

“Where Amazing Happens”

The famous five-year campaign presented the NBA the way its most enthusiastic fans see it- as a place where the greatest athletes in the world do things that none of us can even approach. It was created in 2007 as a branding effort to improve the image of the NBA after numerous fights and drama involving players and a referee gambling scandal.

“There Can Only Be One”


The NBA promoted the 2008 Playoffs and Finals with this highly integrated ad campaign that involved interactive, print and film components. The campaign was such a cultural hit that it resulted in knockoff spots on “Saturday Night Live” and on the cover of Time magazine with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“Love The Game”


My all-time favorite commercial came at a time when there was no basketball, and nobody was sure when it would be back. Jordan Brand’s “Love the Game” shows Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony jumping around leagues playing the game they love, despite a lockout. I can recall watching this commercial for the first time during the World Series, and screaming with happiness from seeing basketball for the first time in six months. Major League Baseball’s got nothing on the NBA!

LET’S GO HEAT!  Only one more win until the parade on Biscayne!

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Casey Kurlander, Search marketing Specialist, BMI Elite