ChefSteps Visits Albuquerque

We were fortunate enough to have Grant Cilly of ChefSteps visit us in Albuquerque.

It’s worth a minute (or a few hours) to visit the ChefSteps website. They make the process of cooking and the finished product look and feel like art, but in a way that is accessible and doable even for the most novice chef. And the best part…it’s Free!

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What Your Real-time Metrics Aren’t Telling You: 4 Reasons to Test Your Digital Content.


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Ameritest Tips for Marketing to Millenials


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What Marketers Can Learn About Brand Building From Disney Pixar’s, “Inside Out”


Inspiration for marketers can come from surprising sources. As our kids kick off their summer break and we seek ways to spend that extra time with them, what better place to gain insights into the marketing world than from one of America’s favorite family activities? Going to the movies.

One film receiving critical acclaim is Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. Besides finally explaining what is up with our kids’ roller-coaster of emotions in a language both parents and even the youngest of audience members can interpret, this fascinating story can also teach us why understanding emotion’s relationship with memory is fundamental in effective marketing.

In fact, the movie’s crucial takeaway is where we begin:

Memory is About the Future, NOT the Past.
Better understanding the importance of memories left behind about your brand can truly help marketers understand and potentially even predict brand loyalty and future purchase behavior.

However, to understand and even measure memories, we must first recognize that emotions help create those memories. Here’s where Inside Out helps dramatize the concept:

In the movie, the emotion of Fear is needed to keep the main character, Riley, out of harm’s way. Disgust, as is brilliantly depicted as the emotion with good taste, is necessary to help Riley avoid being poisoned, both physically and socially. Anger’s purpose is to make what Riley believes to be wrong, right. And finally, Riley’s lead emotion, Joy’s purpose does everything in her power to keep Riley uplifted and the other emotions in check.

Through an entertaining turn of events, the emotions, all of them, join forces throughout Riley’s 11 years of life to help form memories. Some memories are short-term and plentiful. Some get filed away into long-term memory—described in the movie as a labyrinth in which emotions easily get lost. And some get vacuumed into a Memory Dump, never to return.

And finally, it’s the core memories that power Riley’s Islands of Personality. These are what formulate or change behavior, which is what marketers are constantly trying to do.

Avoid Being Joy-Centric
Importantly, marketers can use emotion to their advantage. It’s not just about communicating all of the good things that the brand has to offer—that would be speaking to just Joy. As the movie teaches us, Joy actually needs Sadness to help make decisions about where your customers are in their lives. They need the memories that Sadness—or Anger, Disgust, and Fear for that matter—create to help set up the need for a product or service.

Furthermore, in brand communications, the memories created by our emotions help us interpret stories correctly. The use of emotional storytelling in advertising, for example, would not work if all ad stories spoke to Joy.

Picture TV ads for Nike: In nearly every ad, every emotion can be spotted quite easily. Easily because we, as viewers, have our own memories to grasp and relate to what’s happening as we watch each of Nike’s brand stories unfold. And, even more powerful, memories about Nike are created with every brand experience consumers participate in—from watching an ad, to shopping for, then later running in, the shoes, apparel, etc.

In a nutshell, these memories, skillfully co-created by the brand and its customers, are what have made Nike such an enchanting brand.

Be Mindful of the Memory Dump
Other characters helping form Riley’s story include the Forgetters. The Forgetters’ purpose is to vacuum up the old memories that Riley no longer needs. Once sucked up, these old, unnecessary memories are sent down to the Memory Dump. This process of vacuuming up un-needed memories is necessary to make room for new memories.

Subconsciously, the same eventually becomes true in the minds of customers. As competitors create new brand memories, it’s inevitable that they will “erase” old ones.

Of critical importance to marketers is that they must constantly create new memories for consumers through experiences that appeal to all emotions.

Think of the new “target consumer” as equal parts Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.

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5 Tips to Ward Off Pre-Roll Ad Skips


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Breakthrough by Category: It’s Not Me, It’s You

On an old episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza perfected the phrase, “It’s not you. It’s me,” when ending relationships. To him, it was a simple, relatively painless means of getting out of a sticky situation. The irony, of course, is when a woman with whom he is in a relationship uses the same phrase on him to end it. Was it her? Was it him? Who was really responsible?

In marketing, different categories market different products. It’s intuitive. Financial service companies market their 401ks and credit cards. Restaurants offer up their menus. Telecommunications companies want you to try their mobile devices and television service subscriptions. Not all products are the same. But when it comes to advertising, might certain products be at a disadvantage because of the nature of the product? Might it be a case of “It’s not me, it’s you”?

To understand this nuance, we looked at our database of television commercials tested in the past 5 years. Totaling almost 1,400 tested ads, it provides us a look at roughly 200,000 interviews over time. This includes a majority of finished film executions, but also roughly 300 pre-finished advertisements. These ads were split into larger product groups, including retail, business services, telecommunications, financial services, consumer tech products, beverages, toys/games, food products, automotive products, restaurants and household products. We then looked at Attention (the Ameritest key performance metric of interested recall – often called breakthrough).

The question was: Are there certain categories that just struggle on breakthrough by the nature of the category? The short answer is: no, there are not. All of the categories tested (except household products) fell into the average range in terms of breakthrough (the average across all categories is 44% breakthrough power), indicating that they largely perform in similar patterns on breakthrough regardless of category.

More interesting to note is that within each category, the strongest and weakest performers also vary greatly. Any one category can have a very strong execution or a very weak execution on breakthrough, depending on the strategy and content included. All categories (except household products, which still had wide variations in performance) include at least one ad that had 60%+ breakthrough power and at least one ad that had less than 30% breakthrough power (see below).


The data suggests that there is no category that is held back by the nature of what it is advertising. The content and structure of an execution CAN hold an ad back, and we have seen this be the deal-maker or deal-breaker over and over again in our research. Consider these two ads from the QSR category, featuring similar product offerings but performing very differently on Attention due to how they hook and keep viewer interest.


So what will help you achieve strong breakthrough? After 25 years of testing ads, we know that Attention is a function of 1) entertaining content and a 2) well-structured storyline. Things that factor into the first element include whether an ad is perceived as unique, humorous, likeable and whether it has the ability to spark buzz or talk value. Excessive irritation, confusion or boredom can hold these ideas back and keep breakthrough from its full potential.

The second element involves making sure the elements of your story capture key syntax elements, such as 1) having a rising opening that hooks in viewers; 2) ensuring the focal points of the ad are relevant to the storyline by including pertinent story points, key information to the ad’s message and/or branded visuals; 3) having a continuous flow with no long breaks in viewer interest or focus; and 4) building interest over time visually, so that the ad ends on a higher note than which it began.

So is it me? Is it you? The answer is that it doesn’t have to be either. As an advertiser, you have the power to affect your own strength or weakness in performance. No brand or category is at a disadvantage just by the nature of the business; each unique execution has the ability to be a home run or a bust. That kind of knowledge is power, and it should empower us all to know that excellence may be waiting on the end of our pencils or in the mind of the person in the next room!

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