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Millennial Moms Wrap-Up - AMP Agency Ethnography Series

The Strategy team at AMP is on a mission to better understand marketers’ most sought-after consumer segments. Each week, individuals from these segments take over @AMP_Agency Instagram stories to give us a peek into their world as part of our digital ethnography series, “Through Their Eyes.”

Throughout the fall, we focused on millennial moms to babies and/or toddlers and saw the world from the perspective of Caitlin, mom to Ridley (almost 5) and Elliot (2), Alessandra, mom to Mila (almost 2), Victoria, mom to Mason (3 months), and Monica, mom to Jack (3) and Tucker (8 months).  

A year ago, I remember a colleague at AMP Agency, a mom to two youngins, declared she was tired of mom marketing. Her argument was that companies like to make motherhood seem like a total chore, and try to relate to mothers by acknowledging how hard it all is. She said that most brands failed to also recognize the pure fun of it all. As we followed our four moms for this ethnography series, we certainly saw a lot of chaos and business, but, luckily, we also got to see that fun shine through. Let’s dive into our evidence – those real mommy moments, taken directly from their phones.

There is no blessing quite like the drive-through.

While it’s safe to assume that most moms rely on coffee, we were surprised to see so many moms actually snapping from the Starbucks or Dunkin’ drive-through. More often than not, the kids were in tow in the backseat. Not only does the drive-through provide Mom with the caffeine she needs, it serves many other functional benefits, from avoiding buckling in and out of car seats, not disturbing coveted naps, and providing fun chat time between mom and child(ren). Brands with drive-throughs should find ways to celebrate this cherished time in the car, perhaps by designing games for kids in their app, or designating a few days a year to “surprise and delight” families who pull up with kids in the backseat.

 

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L to R: Alessandra excitedly enjoys her first sips; Mason peacefully sleeps as Victoria sits in the Dunkin’ drive-through; Caitlin and her boys have some fun while waiting in line

Whether multi-tasking, hurrying, or wading through the backlog, each day is a new race.

To no one’s surprise, moms are really busy. From multiple kids to multiple jobs, they’re juggling a lot. What was evidenced from our Instagram Stories, though, was an optimistic, “go with the flow” attitude rarely seen in stereotypical depictions of moms. Whether they were distracting their kids with toys to finally load the dishwasher, rushing through a shower before their infant cried, or not getting to the breakfast dishes until 2 pm, brands should take note of the light-hearted tone of their chaotic Stories, including their use of stickers and emojis, which proves they’re willing to shrug their shoulders and say “c’est la vie” with a smile, rather than with frizzy hair and a scowl. 

 

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 L to R: Caitlin’s boys play with Play-Doh as she cleans up the kitchen; Victoria humorously writes a how-to guide on showering with a newborn; Monica finally tackles the dishes as her kids nap

Sneaking in “me time” is necessary – not just as a mom, but as a woman.

Moms realize that to show up for their families everyday, they need to take care of themselves too. While it may only be for a few minutes or at odd hours of the day, brands should consider how they themselves can support women’s efforts to recharge. Yes, this may be by finding ways to make chores easier and faster, but outside of their duties, moms’ needs as holistic humans should also be acknowledged and prioritized. 

 

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L to R: Victoria sneaks in a little reality TV as she pumps; Monica finds an hour for a pedicure; Alessandra winds down after a long day by digging into “Call Me By Your Name” 

 

Moms have a sense of humor.

Let’s say it again: MOMS HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR! When we think of moms, especially in the media, certain stereotypes may come to mind: the nagging mom, the strict mom, the overly sentimental mom. If we learned anything from this ethnography series, it’s that moms don’t always take themselves too seriously. They laugh at themselves, and they laugh at the dumb stuff their kids do everyday. While they love and protect fiercely, they’re also willing to have an innocent chuckle at their kids’ expense: Alessandra laughed upon discovering her daughter perched on a shelf as if it were a chair, while Caitlin tried her best to be “sympathetic” as her son started to cry that the wet playground slide had made his pants damp. We certainly appreciate our moms’ senses of humor as they let us follow them during this series!

 

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L to R: Caitlin and her kids play “Restaurant” at the park; Alessandra can’t help but laugh as Mila steals her glasses and “tries them on”; Victoria plays everyone’s favorite game – “Put The Binky In, Spit The Binky Out”

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Google Search Trends Insights January 2020 - AMP Agency

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for January 2020. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+. After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. A Somber Start to the 2020s  Well, I am not going to sugarcoat it. Some of the top queries in January 2020 were about troubling events. In the beginning of the month, Iran was a top-searched topic after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani. The other 10 million+ queries were as follows:  Iran - Jan. 7th - 10 Million+ queries Iran - Jan. 2nd - 5 Million+ queries World War 3 - Jan. 2nd - 2 Million+ queries By the end of the month, the top searched queries centered around a tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna and seven other passengers. Although we don’t focus on this topic here in our blog posts, celebrity deaths do drive people to query Google for details and make the top three phrases every month. That’s why this past month, the shock of Kobe Bryant’s death overwhelmed the search volume on January 26th. Here are the top queried phrases on that day: Kobe Bryant - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries Kobe Bryant children - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries TMZ - Jan. 26th - 10 Million+ queries Typically, we don’t see all three of the top queried terms have over 10 million queries each, but this tragedy was an exception. Holidays Continue in January Even though December is well known as being a holiday month, January 2020 had a few holidays of its own that drove queries: Martin Luther King Jr Day - Jan. 19th - 10 Million+ queries Lunar New Year - Jan. 24th - 10 Million+ queries Chinese New Year - Jan. 24th - 500,000+ queries The holiday keywords that had over 10 million queries had the additional support of Google Doodles to increase their numbers. But even when our attention shifts away from the year-end holidays, there are still major ones in January that consumers are looking to learn more about with Google searches. Boxing Is Still Relevant As Revealed In Search Queries Sport-related queries take up a good portion of the top queried phrases of any month. January 2020 had a few days where the subject of boxing made the top three. In last month’s post, we discussed the popularity of European soccer. This month, it is clear that boxing and mixed martial arts also have a strong interest.   Conor McGregor  - Jan. 17th - 10 Million+ queries McGregor fight  - Jan. 18th - 2 Million+ queries McGregor fight - Jan. 17th - 1 Million+ queries Jake Paul vs Gib - Jan. 30th - 500,000+ queries Conor McGregor commanded top billing for his fight on January 18th. People searching for results or perhaps a free stream of the fight had to type quickly since it only lasted 40 seconds.  The fight on the 30th between Jake Paul and AnEsonGib also drove search queries. These two YouTube stars fought a professional bout in Miami and generated enough interest to become one of the top 3 keywords searched in Google for the day. Disease and Other Natural Disasters I really wish I had happier keywords to share in this post. But looking across the different terms for the month, another big trend included news items related to epidemics and disasters around the world: Coronavirus - Jan. 21st - 2 Million+ queries Earthquake - Jan. 28th - 1 Million+ queries Lyme disease - Jan. 8th - 1 Million+ queries Australia fires - Jan. 2nd - 1 Million+ queries Taal volcano - Jan. 12th - 500,000+ queries Coronavirus symptoms - Jan. 29th - 200,000+ queries Puerto Rico earthquake - Jan. 6th - 200,000+ queries We can thank Justin Bieber for raising awareness of Lyme Disease. The rest of these are driven by people wanting to get the latest news on these stories.  As we say goodbye to the first month of 2020 and welcome February in full-force, we’ll keep track of the top keywords queried in hopes of finding more positive, uplifting search terms.  See you next month!

2020 Media Innovation Day Takeaways - AMP Agency

Perfect Isn’t Worth It: Hot Takes from the 2020 Media Innovation Day Think about your favorite brand – and if you can’t pick just one, don’t fret. You can focus on your top three, or five, or whatever number will get you through this exercise. Got a few in mind? Great. Now ask yourself: what makes the brands you’re thinking of so wonderful? Is it the quality of the products they sell? The tone of voice they take on? Or maybe, just maybe, is it the fact that they connect with you on some level that you can’t quite put your finger on, but know is there? If that’s the case, then you probably love your favorite brands because they feel real to you – and that makes total sense. Because as people, we tend to favor brands that feel honest, authentic and human. Despite this affinity, there aren’t as many brands that have this real, human element to them as there should be. That’s because brands have long equated success with perfection, holding themselves to a standard that, in actuality, puts them at the risk of seeming fake. So, as we wondered where we as marketers should draw the line between achieving success and losing humanity, we decided to gain further insight into the matter. That’s why we sat down at this year’s Media Innovation Day and listened to a series of industry experts share their thoughts on the topic of “Being More Human” in the land of brands. Now, we’re going to break down some of our key takeaways. Let’s Get Personal It’s always nice when things have a personal touch to them, isn’t it ? Well, according to Bertrand “Coca” Cocallemen, Teads’ Global Creative Director, this rings true for brands, too.  When brands can create personal experiences for consumers across all touchpoints, it’s highly beneficial for the brand as a whole. For example, during his Media Innovation Day presentation, Coca recalled a rich media unit Teads created for a Dior perfume launch. What started as a 60-second video transformed into an interactive in-content unit that allowed the model, Jennifer Lawrence, to maintain eye contact with users as they scrolled through the page. This use of eye contact proved to be eye-catching for consumers and successful for Dior. Not only does the use of eye contact in an ad increase ad recall and lead to better overall metrics, but it can help brands become more personal and recognizable when paired with clear branding. Since simple optimizations such as this can make advertisements feel more personal and engaging, we as digital marketers can weave tactics with a human touch into the work we create for our clients in order to help them find success and build a world of better brands. Trust Us During his discussion on The New Media Experience, Brian Stelter, Chief Media Correspondent at CNN, honed in on the responsibility brands have to build trust with their consumer base. According to Stelter, gaining a trustworthy reputation for CNN was built on honest journalism. For us as marketers, it comes down to creating content that our clients’ consumers can connect with. Since a show of simple humanity can go a long way on making an impact with viewers or consumers, we want to help our client base find moments where they can have these trust-building interactions with consumers.  Don’t Worry: Everybody Makes Mistakes One final key takeaway from the 2020 Media Innovation Day pertains to quite possibly the most human thing there is: making mistakes. Everybody does it – even brands. And according to Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing at PUMA, what matters most isn’t whether a brand messes up or not, but how they reach out to consumers after a mistake is made. When brands reach out to consumers and own their mistakes in a way that stays true to their brand mission statement, they add value to their brand in a way that is honest and human. For PUMA specifically, Petrick explained that their company mantra is to be “Forever Faster” – always a step ahead, acknowledging that they aren’t perfect and turning any mistakes they make along the way into learning experiences that can improve and grow their brand. While the “Forever Faster” mantra is specific to PUMA, the thought of maintaining transparency with consumers is something any brand can get behind. By weaving humility into our clients’ brand platforms and practices, we can help them all feel more human and relatable. So Let’s Get Real With all of this in mind, we now ask ourselves: what’s next in the media industry? For us, it’s finding ways to take this human approach to marketing and use it to drive engagement and connections.  Stacy Mienro, Head of Twitter Arthouse said it best: “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” Since the rules of branding are what put the pressures of perfection in place, our job is to help our brands impart a bit more humanity into everything they create and how it shows up in the world. Sometimes, that might be achieved by adding a personal touch to ads wherever possible. Other times, it could entail capitalizing on moments where we can build trust with consumers. And once in a while, it may simply require us owning up to our mistakes should they ever be made. Hey – we’re only human, after all.   Authors Thays Tejeda Kristen Forbes Nikki D'Amato Marianne Lukes

Defined by Defiance: How AMP Agency Embodied Naughty this Holiday Season

The holiday season means something different to everybody. For some, it’s about snowball fights with friends and baking cookies with grandma. For others, it’s all about celebrating traditions and spending time with family. And for us at AMP, the holidays are when we as an agency get to show appreciation for our wonderful clients with a gift of our very own creation.  It really has become quite the tradition – using our agency’s creative capabilities to craft something our clients can truly enjoy. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at what we made for our clients in 2018. We feel these custom-made gifts are a great way for us to connect with clients during the holidays in a way that reflects who we are at AMP. But with any good tradition, there comes a time when things need to be shaken up. That’s why instead of crafting a creatively thoughtful gift this year, we decided to do something different; something a smidge outside the box; something a bit, well, naughty. This past holiday, AMP rebranded coal as the hottest gift of the season and sent it to some of our clients on the East Coast. WHEN THINGS WENT “BAD” It all began in the heat of summer. It was mid-July, temperatures were high, and our Boston creative team thought “hey – let’s talk winter.” Because in an agency setting, timing is everything, especially when it comes to the creative process. As a team, we needed to give ourselves enough opportunity to ideate on something people would not only enjoy, but that would stick out to them amongst other gifts they’d receive. That’s why in order to get things right, the first of many brainstorming sessions started five months ahead of the holiday season. During that first brainstorming session, COAL was one of the very first concepts we came up with – although we didn’t envision the luxury branding, bold copy and seamless UX design that came out of this project right from the get-go. We simply liked the idea of elevating something from bad to badass, and we felt that a lump of coal could be a cool place to start. Since we didn’t just want to go with our first thought, so we continued to think up as many festive ideas as we could for our holiday gift. There was talk of Mrs. Claus taking over the season, mention of making a festive video game, and some serious consideration for custom-branded hot sauce. Yet after compiling our ideas into a list as long as Santa’s, COAL still remained at the very top. So we rolled with it. CHISELING AWAY With our concept in place, we knew we needed to capture the essence of COAL in a shareable format. So after lengthy discussions about what COAL truly means and days spent deciphering exactly how we wanted to bring this experience to life, we were ready to begin crafting a brand that would encourage people to “Embody Naughty” at every possible touchpoint. Building out the COAL brand began with pinning first, second and third drafts of logo exploration on a wall for full-scale critiques. From there, we sourced artists in France to craft our COAL resin cubes, tracked down decadent chocolates our clients could devour, built an eCommerce web experience from scratch, captured the look of COAL in black and white photography, and designed the perfect packaging to tie everything together. As everything came to life, we also shot an anthem video that could live on our eCommerce site and across social. Written, directed, filmed and produced entirely in-house, our COAL video took a total of four days to film, but those days were scattered throughout many late nights and lunch breaks. Once final video edits were made and the last caption for the @coal_by_amp Instagram was written, everything was ready to be sent to clients and shared with the world. THE OUTCOME By mid-December, our website was launched, our Instagram was live, and our clients were given the hottest gift of the holiday season as a token of our appreciation. Our full list of deliverables included an anthem video, an “eComm” microsite, a faux Instagram page, and a mailed COAL branded package containing a designed COAL card, a resin coal paperweight, high-end chocolates with an AMP-branded ribbon, and a nice bottle of wine with a black label. All in all, we’re quite proud of this project. Not only was COAL a unique way for us to express our appreciation for our clients, but it illustrates that when you work in a creative environment, sometimes, it’s good to be defiant.  Want to score yourself a spot on the naughty list? Check out all COAL has to offer here.