the power of great messaging

It can be largely forgotten by those that work in the business, but it’s the messaging that turns an aesthetically pleasing ad into a great and memorable ad. Images alone are rarely enough. Most of the time it’s those concise, well-written words that really have the impact. It’s the tagline, the catchphrase, the slogan, the words that can really make you remember a brand or product.

For the last few years the cOOp has been stumbling across what we’d like to imagine is the first great slogan for a tourist attraction. It makes us smile every time we see it so we decided we just had to share. Forget Disney’s “The Happiest Place On Earth” or Las Vegas’ “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas”. We bring you something far more inspiring and compelling…

The original tourist attraction tagline.

The original tourist attraction tagline.

Worth a Visit“. Yep, the slogan is factually correct, short, it’s not controversial or too clever for its own good. We like to imagine that this was coined by Father Junipero Serra himself, but we don’t really care about the source. If it’s important enough to paint on the wall of the Mission, and put it in quotes, then it must have been uttered by someone important with a lot of marketing savvy. Too bad they didn’t claim the copyright.

If you were wondering, it is worth a visit.

facebook is dead


Facebook is dead. Ok, not really. Actually, not at all. The reason is simple. There is no compelling replacement that offers more and asks less, yet.

We’re not big fans of facebook at the cOOp, even though we spend too much time there, but we are committed to the platform for the near future. It’s too easy – too easy to keep up to speed with friends and family, too easy to find information about companies and brands, too easy to look back on your own (recent) history. Too many of us are too vested with the content we’ve uploaded.

It’s still a viable marketing platform, if for nothing more than to have a presence. Brands are expected to be there, whether just for information, or as a place to interact with customers. It shouldn’t be forgotten or overlooked.


”The kids don’t want to be on Facebook.” They will (caveat: unless something better comes along). The kids don’t want family watching what they’re doing or keeping tabs on them. But when they get over that, probably somewhere into their college years when they don’t feel they need to be sneaky anymore, they’ll be back. Facebook is going nowhere (caveat: unless something better comes along).

don’t be afraid to take chances

The risk to reward ratio

Working on the media side of the business, dealing with the different ad agencies, we discovered that the more established agencies were too siloed, and that they’re often too invested in traditional advertising. Our job was to dream up new revenue opportunities for traditional “print” media companies that were aggressively expanding their portfolio to include all new media opportunities. We would craft proposals with fully integrated and cohesive campaigns that included print, digital, social/PR, events and original content creation. Often, the big agency with the big client would ask us to come up with something big, something that’s “never been done before”. We would work hard to come up with a program that had all the relevant touchpoints included, and that focused in on their ultimate objectives (regardless if it had never been done before). The feedback would almost always come back with the message that they loved the idea, but they’re just going to buy a bunch of print pages, and a little bit of digital display advertising. 

What this told me is that the big agencies were risk averse. They had a comfortable way of doing things, and to them the risk was bad for the individual careers under their roof. It was better to climb the corporate ladder by having a string of modest successes, than be a shooting star that could make a misstep and take the fall for the whole agency. And the culture changes when you make it to the top of the pile, there’s little tolerance for risk. Additionally, another reason to stick with traditional advertising over new is the availability of instant, quantitative analytics – traditional media analytics were soft at best, and it often took weeks or months to get any meaningful feedback or results.

It’s also hard to get away from “that’s the way it’s always been done”. Clearly, the older mentors in big agencies have often been successful in older media strategies, so there can be more influence to think the same way. Plus, the larger agencies often have heavy workloads, and that can require cutting corners to meet deadlines. It’s easier to apply what “worked” for a similar client or product than it is to really dive in and figure out what would work best across the media spectrum for this specific new campaign or client. Why constantly reinvent the wheel if you can get away with the same ol’, same ol’?

In reality, every campaign is different, and should be approached in a different way. Agencies need to tune in to the subtleties. You have to think about the touchpoints – where is this specific consumer discovering, and comprehending, the messages. Any media strategy should throw out their set of rules about the media mix, and customize for their client’s target demographic and psychographic, the brand, the product, the objective, and the message, among a host of other variables to determine the mix. They shouldn’t be thinking traditional media vs. new media – they should only be thinking about which media touchpoints will get the best ROI, and the best ROO (which should be used in unison!).

managing expectations

This diagram isn’t original, it’s ‘borrowed’ from various sources, but it’s also a good illustration of what can be expected from your partner creative agency. The three overlapping bubbles represent the delivery variables – good, fast and cheap. Generally speaking, you can only pick two of the variables; good and fast, good and cheap, or fast and cheap. We always want to deliver good, but sometimes cheap and fast can make that a difficult proposition. So let’s always shoot for the other two options…


design is critical

Cash is king. Talent is indispensable, and design takes you to the next level. It’s a truth that can’t be dismissed. You see examples of fantastic design everyday, from the biggest companies in the world. You most likely don’t even notice the intricacies, you just know that it’s really good stuff. All the thought that goes into the best design was done so you wouldn’t have to think “that’s a great design”, it was done so you’d just intrinsically…know

Examples of great design that you see everyday? Let’s start with the obvious – the iPhone. If you knew the backstory about the design and development of this gadget, you’d hardly believe it made it to market. The technology involved is incredible – it’s a computer in your pocket, your connection to your friends, your family, your work. Almost all of the world’s information is available to read or watch on your little screen. It’ll remind you of the things you need to do during the day, and it’ll show you how to get there. It took some of the most brilliant engineers in the world to put this thing together.

But, the idea wasn’t hatched by those engineers, it was dreamed up by the “designers”. It became the incredibly elegant tool that it is because the designers insisted it would look and feel and act like they wanted. The final form and usability was dictated by design, not by the engineers – even though they were the ones tasked with making the seemingly impossible, possible.

Design was the reason the iPhone has become one of the most world-changing devices in history. Yes, I said it. It’s up there with the wheel, the loom, electricity, and the microchip.