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photo1-croppedWhen you consistently use your advertising, website or packaging to entertain as well as inform, you're likely to increase the anticipation of future encounters with your brand.

In other words, if your previous commercials, for instance, have made your audience laugh, those people are more likely to watch your future commercials, rather than actively avoid them.

Here's another example. While getting ready for work the other day, I saw my Old Spice deodorant and was reminded of the company's very funny TV spots and online videos. Then, I wondered if they had thought to inject their brand personality into their packaging. And sure enough, they had.

Old Spice 350When I flipped over the container, I saw the content on the right. I chuckled and even read the copy to my wife.

I already like Old Spice products, but my previous experience with their funny marketing got me to interact with the product more than I typically would. And that bonus of the funny content on the container endears the brand to me even more. Why?

1) It shows that they care about my experience with their product. They want it to be enjoyable, unique and memorable.

2) It tells me they don't take themselves too seriously. Sure, deodorant sales may represent a huge portion of their revenue, but Old Spice understands that the product category is just not that important in the lives of their customers. By making their products more fun to interact with, they make them more valuable. 

As a marketer, I love that they're consistent with their brand identity to the point that consumers can COUNT on being entertained at every Old Spice touch point - the advertising, the website and the products themselves.

What can you do to spice up your marketing, and create content for every point of consumer contact that's more engaging, endearing and worth sharing?

Boggle 1 CropHave you ever played Boggle?

The idea of the game is to make as many words as possible by "connecting" the letters on the dice that are touching each other.

As an experiment, take a minute or two to see how many words you can find using the image on the left.

We played Boggle for many months at my house. Then, one day, we added a twist.

Now, about halfway through each game, we spin the container that holds the dice 180 degrees.

And it never fails.

Once our view of the dice changes, we all start to see words we hadn't seen before. Give it a try: Do you spot any new words in the "twisted" view of the dice below?

Boggle 2 CropAs a new year begins, I urge you to "spin the dice." Change how you look at your marketing goals, obstacles, tools, content and style to see if there are any interesting possibilities hiding right beneath your nose.

A few ideas:

  • Throw a wrench into how or where you conduct marketing meetings. Changing the day, time, format, length or location of your meetings can add new life to them. Remove the chairs once so everyone has to stand. Does that affect the energy in the room? Hold your next marketing meeting at an art museum, in a beautiful park, or right after taking a tour of a client's facility.

  • Add a few new temporary members to the team, even if they aren't technically marketing people. You never know who may come up with a game-changing idea or identify problems or solutions that you've never considered. In a few months, switch out that first group of temporary marketers with another batch to keep the unique input coming.

  • Try looking at your clients differently this year. You may work directly with them every week, but they still might be your greatest untapped source of new revenue. What else do they need - and how can you meet those needs? What other marketing channels can you use to communicate with them? How can you leverage your client relationships to appeal to each client's extended business network?

Sometimes, the most obvious answers are right in front of you. It may only take a fresh perspective for those answers to reveal themselves.

It's been an exciting year for our agency! A few highlights:

  • The introduction of the Madison Avenue Marketing Group identity.
  • The development of The Mad Ave Collective for freelance creatives.
  • The first-ever Madison Avenue Makeover giveaway.
  • And, of course, many marketing successes with our clients. 

But as we reminisce via this year's Christmas video, we're looking back even further - many decades in some cases. Take a humorous look at how a few of our staff members once celebrated the holidays.  

Deliver More ValueWho doesn't like getting more value than they expected?

I know I do. So, when I pulled into a local car wash this weekend, I was happy to see the cart (at left) near the vacuums.

On top were spray bottles of glass cleaner and tire dressing, plus a couple stacks of clean rags.

"Hey, cool," I thought. "My tires could use a thorough dressing!" And my windshield was in dire need of a cleaning. The folks at the car wash helped me get both tasks done at no extra cost and without having to make another stop.

Nothing to write home about, I know, but I sure appreciated the gesture and the "little something extra."

Think of a time when you got more than you were anticipating. Did it make you feel good about the business? Did you tell a friend about the place or share the good news on social media? Did you go back because of that added value?


Now, think about what you or your company can do to generate that same positive vibe.

  • Could you empower employees to give extra reward points "just because"?
  • You might offer free shipping to any caller who places an order after being on hold.
  • What about partnering with another business to give away samples of their products at your store, and vice versa?
  • Could your company offer free workshops, training or how-to sessions?
  • What if you thanked your best clients by delivering a catered lunch to their offices? Throw in some live music to boost the wow factor!

There are all sorts of ways you can surprise, delight and provide more value to the people who keep you in business, and you don't have to break the bank to do it.

When you give more, you'll make memorable impressions, differentiate your company, earn your customers' loyalty, and encourage good word of mouth. And isn't that what the best marketing is supposed to do?

recycle-it-makeoverIt was a very tough decision, but we've chosen the winner of the Madison Avenue Makeover.

It's Recycle I.T. USA, the small company that works to refurbish computers, printers and other electronics and keep e-waste out of landfills. They currently serve Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. (Click here to see their entry.)

The company will receive $15,000 in point-of-contact marketing services from Madison Avenue Marketing Group. They can choose from the following:

• Website Design and Build
• Website Marketing
• BE-Mail Email Marketing
• On Hold Marketing
• Video Production
• Radio Spots
• And any of our other services

Barb Bruno submitted the winning entry and will also receive a prize worth $500:

• A $250 Macy's gift card
• A $150 Visa gift card
• A $100 Massage Envy gift card

The panel of six judges enjoyed the Recycle I.T. USA video entry. They also felt that we could offer the most marketing benefit to that particular company, helping them spread the word about a service that nearly everyone in their service area can use. The judges also saw a greater potential for growth with the Recycle I.T. USA business model and its ability to affect even more people.

We'll keep you up-to-date on the progress of the company, let you know what we're doing for them, and how it's working. We hope you'll follow along in this blog and on our Facebook page.

We are so thankful to everyone who entered the Madison Avenue Makeover. Please let us know if you'd like us to do it again next year.

We’re happy to announce that we’ve chosen seven finalists for the Madison Avenue Makeover. One of these entries will be named the grand prize winner on Thursday, October 31st, 2013. (By the way, thank you so much to EVERYONE who entered!)

The entrant will receive $15,000 in new marketing services for his or her company or charity, plus his or her own personal makeover package worth $500. 

In alphabetical order, here are the seven finalists our panel of judges chose. (Click on the image on the left to view each entry.)

sober-rants-makeover Amy Oathout - This aspiring writer shares her story of beating alcohol addiction and losing weight in her blog “Sober Rants in Skinny Pants.” Read her story and learn how she inspires others at
art-corner-makeover Art Corner Toledo (ACT) – This small group brings together area artists and activists to improve “our corner of the world.” They use public art to brighten blighted neighborhoods and promote Toledo’s artistic community. See more online
erel-holdings-makeover Austin Erel - He's a young entrepreneur who's working to develop an area along the Maumee River on Toledo’s east side. Austin hopes to revitalize this section of town by introducing new businesses and a neighborhood association.
Catholic Club Makeover Entry

Catholic Club of Toledo - This non-profit agency provides child care, parent support, and other services to Toledo-area families. In their video submission, they mention that their website could use a little help.

dj-one-tyme-makeover DJ One Tyme - Maybe you've heard this radio personality on JUICE FM 107.3, or maybe you know him as a video DJ. Either way, he says he's ready to take his act to the next level - the national level.
Recycle I.T. USA

Recycle I.T. USA - This new company works to refurbish computers, printers, monitors, and other electronics, and keep harmful e-waste out of landfills. They’re now serving Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Learn more at

making-strides-bc-makeover The Town Center at Levis Commons - Each year, a team from Levis Commons puts together the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. The event attracts 5,000 people, but the organizers want even more participants to join in next year.

 You could win $15,000 in new marketing services for your company or your favorite charity.  It's the Madison Avenue Makeover! (Enter here.)

Get creative and tell us why your company or your favorite charitable organization wants, needs or deserves a marketing makeover and you could win 15 grand in marketing services. (See our list of services here.)

Explain why you want to win in a video or audio production! Write a poem or story! Create a PowerPoint or photo collage! It's up to you. Then, upload your entry to the Madison Avenue Marketing Group Facebook page

We'll accept entries beginning October 1st until noon Eastern time October 24th. We'll announce the finalists on October 25th and the winner on October 31st, 2013. 

The winning company or charity will receive $15,000 in new marketing services from Madison Avenue Marketing Group. And if you submit the winning entry, you'll get a makeover Makeover Logo Blogpackage of your own, including: 

  • A $250 Macy's gift card
  • A $100 Massage Envy gift card
  • A $150 Visa gift card

Get creative and enter by noon Eastern time October 24th!

You just may win the Madison Avenue Makeover!

Green and CreativityCreativity is one of the most valuable traits in the workplace. So, what can you do to encourage more creativity in your staff?

Start by painting the walls green.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examined how color influences creative thinking.

Conducted by a German psychologist, the study revealed that people who were first shown a green rectangle came up with more clever and creative solutions to a specific request than those who were shown rectangles of different colors.

The researchers concluded that the color green inspires creative thought because of its connection with growth. The fact that the green used in the study was the same color as plants growing in a meadow seems to support the "growth" theory.

A separate study conducted at the University of Michigan reinforces the same conclusion. That research showed that, after going for a nature walk, people were better able to come up with new ideas and solve complex problems more effectively, compared to those who went for a walk in their gym or around the workplace.

Speaking of the link between green and creativity, check out the section of our website dedicated to The Madison Avenue Collective. That's a venture that brings together businesses and freelance creative professionals. Let us know if we can provide any more information for you: 419/473-9000.

(This post was inspired by content at

The Mad Ave Collective

We're working on a new way to bring creative talent and business together. It's called The Mad Ave Collective, and whether your company needs freelance creative talent or you are a creative professional, you can benefit. 

The Collective works two ways - as a physical space and as an online showcase.

The Space

On-site members of The Mad Ave Collective lease very affordable space in a newly renovated floor at 1600 Madison Avenue in Toledo's UpTown District. It's an open-concept design with shared conference / presentation rooms, as well as available private offices.

When you work out of The Collective, you'll have three sources of job opportunities:

1) Overflow work from the agencies of Madison Avenue Marketing Group. (We're just a couple floors upstairs.)

2) Jobs posted on The Collective website.

3) Collaborative work with other members of The Collective.

On-site members of The Mad Ave Collective also get:

  • A very affordable workspace with a short-term commitment
  • Private spaces for phone calls and meetings
  • A professional address where you can present to clients and prospects
  • Free admission to the monthly speakers series
  • Networking and social opportunities with other members of The Collective

The Website

Even if you don't live near Toledo's historic UpTown District, you can still join The Mad Ave Collective as an online member. That will entitle you to present your profile and portfolio to potential clients and other creatives who may want to collaborate with you on projects. 

Need to Hire Freelance Creative Talent?

You'll be able to look through profiles and portfolios of all The Collective members and chose the creatives you want based on their past work, their ratings and other factors. It'll be an easy way to find the skills and talent you need quickly without committing to the time and expense of a full-blown hiring process.

Take a look at the video below to see the new space in its early stages. We're almost ready to open, so give us a call to reserve your space: 419/473-9000, or check our blog, News section and Facebook page often for the latest updates on The Mad Ave Collective.  

Put Yourself On HoldI know: why would you call your own company and ask to be put on hold, right? 

The answer: Because your company puts customers on hold, and you want to make sure their experience is the best it can be.

Checking your automated systems - such as your On Hold Marketing, website and others - to make sure they're functioning properly is well worth your time.

When you go to our blog post on the topic, you can listen to some unfortunate audio that would make any Marketing Director cringe. It just may inspire you to review your own systems. Read "Put Yourself On Hold" on the BusinessVoice website. 

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