Verizon: The New Media Giant

A media giant has been born.

Yesterday, Verizon announced its acquisition of Yahoo for $4.83 billion, gaining access to Yahoo’s brands, technology, and 1 billion users.

This is not the first time a company has set its sights on buying Yahoo. In 2008, Microsoft made the internet company a $44.6 billion offer, which was turned down. As this drastic change in price tag illustrates, Yahoo has struggled to maintain its position as an industry titan in recent years. Despite CEO Marissa Mayer’s best efforts to turn the company around, Yahoo has been unable to keep its stock and street cred from plummeting.

Verizon, on the other hand, has been on its way up. In May of last year, it announced a similar acquisition of AOL for $4.4 billion. Verizon’s aim was to marry its expansive network with AOL’s advertising technology and expertise. Verizon was also eager to tap into AOL’s growing engagement with mobile and video advertising.

Now that Verizon has purchased Yahoo, it can close the gap between its own advertising efforts and those of the industry’s leaders: Facebook and Google. Whereas Verizon once lagged behind in technology, platforms, and usership, it can now harness the power of both AOL and Yahoo’s assets.

Some of the assets now included under Verizon’s umbrella include:

  1. ONE by AOL: an all-in-one platform that allows both publishers and advertisers to run and track digital media campaigns. As described on the ONE website, “The ONE by AOL suite offers Media Planning, Audience Management, Creative Optimization, Analytics and Attribution, as well as our market-leading display, video and TV DSPs. All of this connected through shared technology, data and insights.” For Verizon, ownership of this technology means increased appeal as a one-stop shop for advertisers.
  2. Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Mobile: With Yahoo Mail’s 225 million active users and Yahoo Mobile’s 600 million users, Verizon now has the potential to track and target an expansive user base.
  3. Tumblr: A popular social media site for millennials, Tumblr is a valuable asset to Verizon in that it opens up opportunities to advertise to a younger audience. Sites like Yahoo Sports and Yahoo News also offer advertising potential, Yahoo News alone reaching 83 million people a month.
  4. Verizon Wireless Network: As noted by BBC News, Verizon itself has an extensive user base. As on of the top mobile networks in the US, Verizon has “a wealth of data from smartphone users that it could mine.”

The merger of AOL technology with Yahoo’s advertising potential makes Verizon a force to be reckoned with. Like Facebook and Google, which utilize their built-in user data and ever-evolving advertising technologies to market to advertisers, Verizon now has a data and tech goldmine of its own. It’s an exciting time for businesses who are looking to step up their digital marketing games. Increased competition between advertising platforms means advancements will start churning out even faster. In the coming years, all platforms will have to meet the increasing demand for mobile and video advertising formats, as the world turns away from static advertisements and towards rich media.

The combined brainpower of Verizon, AOL, and Yahoo means the potential for groundbreaking advancements within the advertising world. Google and Facebook, look out: there’s a new giant to wrestle with.

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Video Ad Campaign Hall of Fame: Our Blades Are F***ing Great

Becoming an instant billionaire? Sounds f***ing great.

Yesterday, Fortune announced that Dollar Shave Club, a startup that ships razors directly to subscribers’ homes each month, sold to Unilever for a whopping $1 billion.

The Dollar Shave Club brand exploded into the public consciousness in 2012, when the company released what can only be described as an exercise in absurdist advertising.

The video ad—which features Dollar Shave Club Founder Mike Dubin, a man in a bear suit, and the f-bomb—has almost 23 million views on YouTube. The success of Dollar Shave Club and their Little-Ad-That-Could confirms what great advertisers have been saying all along: advertising and playing it safe have no business being together.

As David Ogilvy, described by some as the Father of Advertising, famously said: “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”

Dollar Shave Club certainly hit it out of the park. Dubin, who has a background in improv comedy, explained that he wrote the ad in an attempt to stand out from brands that take themselves too seriously.

He said, “The world is filled with bad commercials and people who are marketing too hard. I think what we wanted to do is not take ourselves too seriously, and deliver an irreverent smart tone.”

This irreverence has certainly inspired copycats. The Dollar Beard Club, which claims to be the manlier alternative to the Dollar Shave Club, piggybacked off of Dubin’s great idea and gained quite a following of their own.

2 million views? Not too shabby.

There is something to be learned from both the Dollar Beard and Dollar Shave Clubs. First, if you see a strategy that works for someone else, try it out: there is a chance it will work for you too. There is no shame in learning from the success of others.

Finally, take risks. Be irreverent. Dust off that old sense of humor and try it on, even if it’s a bit strange and you’re worried it will weird people out.

If you’re feeling exceptionally brave, you could even try to float some puns. It seems to have worked for the Dollar Shave Club.

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Each Thursday, the Viddyad team will choose a new commercial to add to our Video Ad Campaign Hall of Fame. If you have any nominees (video advertisements that made you laugh, made you cry, stood the test of time, or made you go “WHOA”) let us know! Comment below or shoot us an email at

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Video Ad Campaign Hall of Fame: The Marlboro Man

In 1851, the journalist John B.L. Soule penned the phrase, “Go West, Young Man, Go West.” In doing so, he captured the promise of the rugged West and sold it to the young men of the nation. Since the Western expansion, the West has remained a symbol of freedom, individualism, and manliness. This symbol has been drilled into the American consciousness, making it the perfect archetype for American advertisers to draw from.

In 1954, Leo Burnett, a titan in the advertising world, did just that. Using the image of the cowboy, the simple phrase “Come to where the flavor is”, and the romanticized vision of the American West, Burnett’s ad agency was able to turn Marlboro cigarettes into the epitome of masculinity.

Before Leo Burnett revolutionized the Marlboro brand, Marlboros were seen as feminine cigarettes. The official tagline of the brand was “Mild as May.” The cigarettes were slender and filtered—attributes Marlboro used to appeal to young women. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the brand decided to shift gears and target the population with more disposable income to spend on cigarettes: young men.

According to Jay Conrad Levinson, who worked on the Marlboro campaign with Leo Burnett, the key to the campaign’s success was patience. In his book Guerrilla Marketing, Levinson reveals that the Marlboro man wasn’t an instant hit. It took time for consumers to adjust to the new direction of the brand, and to overcome their deep-seated beliefs that the brand was for women. It took months for the Marlboro Man campaign to produce results.

The Marlboro Man campaign was launched in the days before the Public Health Service declared the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. This was also before marketing a product as “masculine” or “feminine” made the American public cringe. Today, it’s illegal to air tobacco advertisements on TV. It’s also difficult to market a product as “feminine” without backlash—unless you want to incur the wrath of Ellen Degeneres.

Times have changed since the Marlboro campaign. Even so, there are lessons to be learned from it.

1. Use archetypes to your advantage. Archetypes, or universal symbols, may convey your message better than words ever could. For example, water is a common symbol for rebirth in ancient and religious stories. This Clean and Clear video ad uses the water archetype, and its connotation with rebirth, to its advantage. The visual of water splashing over this woman’s face leads viewers to unconsciously associate the Clean and Clear product with rebirth and transformation: a powerful message for a skin care product.

2. Make like Jay Conrad Levinson and have patience. Creating a recognizable brand isn’t fast or easy. Neither is re-branding. Ad campaigns take stamina and a willingness to keep the message consistent, even if it takes months to see any progress. The Marlboro Man wasn’t built overnight.

Each Thursday, the Viddyad team will choose a new commercial to add to our Video Ad Campaign Hall of Fame. If you have any nominees (video advertisements that made you laugh, made you cry, stood the test of time, or made you go “WHOA”) let us know! Comment below or shoot us an email at

Playtime in the Workplace: Six Ways That Making Time for Creativity Is Good For Business

Need an excuse to doodle at work? We have compiled a short list of reasons why creative playtime is in fact good for your company, and may just set you apart from your competition.

  1. Creativity Means Adaptability

In a quickly-changing industry, creativity can mean the difference between thriving and becoming obsolete. Encouraging creative thought in the office instead of sticking to the way things have always been done is what leads to breakthroughs and moves companies forward. When the creative wheels of a company are consistently churning out new ideas, and adjusting for failures and successes, then the company manages to stay relevant in a complex and ever-changing market.

The Miracle Mop, the disposable diaper, and sliced bread were all inventions that made an old idea new. The creative minds behind these inventions managed to anticipate and even guide the future of their industries, simply by focusing their efforts on what could be instead of what was.

  1. It’s a Stress-Zapper

Not a yoga person? Making time for creative activities can be just as meditative as deep-breathing and mindfulness. During more routine tasks at work, the mind has space to wander: my tax forms are due soon…I should really buy my niece a present for her birthday…did I leave the stove on? Creative exercises, on the other hand, have the ability to silence extraneous thought and focus the mind. While painting a portrait, playing an instrument or writing an article, everything else simply melts away. Even taking time for a smaller act of creation, like doodling in the margins of a notebook, can re-focus the mind and allow for big ideas to emerge.

  1. More Smiles Around the Office

Time for creativity and play in the office can lead to happier, more energized employees. Many modern offices now have places for employees to to unwind and play. At Dogpatch Labs, where Viddyad is located, there is a pool table, table tennis, and a chess board. These opportunities to play and think creatively allow employees to exercise their strategic muscles in ways different from their work. When employees finish their games, they are refreshed, maybe a bit sweaty, and thinking in new patterns than if they’d been glued to their desk all afternoon.

There is a reason why “work hard” and “play hard” go hand in hand: each makes the other more enjoyable, more sustainable and more fruitful.

  1. It Brings Employees Together

No need to send your employees to a team building retreat in the woods. Simply allowing employees to brainstorm, play, and create together can allow them to build lasting connections. Table tennis partners who realize they work well together may turn around and co-write an outstanding paper. The very act of writing together, which is an act of creation, will build the trust between these very same co-workers and contribute to a more steady, more comfortable work environment.

Any act of creativity or brainstorming is also an act of vulnerability, since it takes courage to throw ideas out into the world and hope they are well-received. This is both the peril and the reward of creativity. Encouraging an open environment in which even the most outlandish ideas are free to be explored can build confidence among employees and allow for free thought.

  1. Creativity Inspires The Customer

Think back to the most memorable ads you’ve seen on TV. Were they memorable because they were promoting the most useful product? Were they memorable because they were reinventing the wheel? Most likely, they were memorable because they were funny, surprising, or inspiring. The ads that we remember are the ones that make us feel something grand.

Every day, we are bombarded by advertisements. The average person may see as many as 5,000 ads per day. With this amount of competition, only the most eye-catching ads can reach the customer and really stick. Only the most well-thought-out ads can move the customer to action. No matter how great the product, it has to be marketed creatively.

  1. Become a Stand-Out Act

The creative talent in a company can be what sets it apart from nearly identical businesses. Whether it be a creative logo or a clever marketing scheme, the customers want to see how you stand out from the pack. At Viddyad, we believe that a video ad campaign can be that push. The difference between a dry, stationary ad and a colorful moving advertisement is palpable, especially in this video-centric age.
We would love to hear about the ways your business has creatively engaged your audience. As a small but creative business ourselves, we are constantly being inspired by other small businesses. Feel free to email us at or post below.

Create a video ad online in minutes at 


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Planning and Measuring Your Ad Campaign

Google provides a number of tools to help you research, plan, launch and measure your ad campaign. When planning any campaign, it’s vital to know your audience and where they are online (for more on this, here’s a handy post). You do not need to advertise on all platforms that Google provides – choose the one that will give you the most engagement and drive sales – read on to find how you can choose the best platform and ad format to increase your revenue.

Tip: All mobile activity is huge at the moment and will continue to grow massively over the next 12 months (currently 75% of mobile video ads happen in-app) so make mobile advertising a priority when planning a campaign.

Planning Tools

First and foremost, you need to have the following locked down before you kick your ad campaign off:

Target Audience: Specific interests, demographics and device usage, from this research you can make a better decision as to what platform you will use to place your ad.

Budget: With correct planning and execution, you’re less likely to go over budget. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to get some budget estimates.

Planning tools for Google marketing


Databoard for Research Insights

Do your research! Google conducted many studies on all kinds of ad formats, they even let you make cool infograhpics with the data. Check our one out below, if you need to pitch the value of advertising to your supervisor, use this tool!

You need to find out how your target audience is interacting online and most importantly one what device. This tool can give you that insight.

Percent of interactions started on a computer


The Display Benchmark Tool

The Display Benchmark Tool is key for benchmarking your ad views and clicks, below we’ve selected video format and measured completion rate as an example benchmark.

You can also measure advertising trends based on formats using the ‘Trends’ tool. More importantly, you can filter the data by verticals, which will further contribute to your audience research.

Give it a try next time you’re planning a campaign, or want to switch up a current one.

Display Benchmarks tool


The Customer Journey to Online Purchase

This is a marketer’s dream, you can see where different channels impact customer journeys. Once you find your target audience and where their buying decisions can be better influenced, tailor your campaign to this criteria and watch the sales roll in.

Customer Journey to Purchase - Benchmarks Dasbhoard

The Full Value of Mobile Calculator 

Mobile marketing is massive and will only continue to grow, the mobile calculator tool gives you the opportunity to upload your AdWords data or manually input the data, to measure how many of your sales started on mobile devices.

Brand Impressions

What to see how you’re doing? Check out the brand impression tool – it will give you details on what visuals are making an impact, topics your brand has been mentioned with and actions details, e.g. Google+ comments and shares and YouTube activity.

Build a brand impression

Discover Mobile Planet

With this you can dive into mobile advertising data and make your own charts, like the one below. Great for some research presentation data and of course device research!

Mobile Planet

Remember: Videos are everywhere – including mobile – check out this useful infographic for more on mobile video advertising. 

Viddyad - videos are everywhere