Archive for 2015

Despite 1.3 Million Shares, Emotional Story Ads Still Don’t Cut it in US Holiday Market

Monday, December 21st, 2015
Campaigns that tell a brand story before asking people to make a purchase tend to be more effective than those that encourage people to immediately buy something. The holidays have the ability to capitalize on this storytelling tactic.

Brand Story: Macy’s “The Wish Writer”

Macy’s new holiday web ad, “The Wish Writer” is a recent example of a brand sharing their story. The video emulates the brand’s eight-year-old “believe” theme by featuring a little girl who uses a magical pencil to do good deeds for others. Ultimately, the magic allows her to “believe” in the power of good and elevate her in the eyes of others. This story line illustrates that Macy’s is aiming to align themselves above the mediocrity of purely sales-driven ads that seem to be popular in the U.S. this year. (View the video below)

“The Wish Writer” has gained a lot of traction so far. It has about 8 million views on YouTube. AdWeek attributes its viral success to its sentimental appeal. Furthermore, the shares, views, and emotional value all drive brand recall, which is the holy grail to retailers and marketers.

Why is the US missing the boat on emotional story-driven ads?

Given Macy’s success with emotional story-driven ads, you would think many other US advertisers would follow suit. Not so. AdWeek reports that U.S. Advertisers lean more on concise call-to-action ads during the holidays. They trust this format for immediate return on their investment, and writing an ad around a story is still difficult for many American marketers to justify. It’s understandable considering that without an offer and call-to-action, it’s more difficult to track exactly how the ad impacts sales.

Another reason American marketers favor these concise ads during the holidays is that the U.S. has more major events (think Superbowl) than the UK. During these other cultural events, they can try story ads. Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” ad during last year’s Superbowl garnered more than 1.31 million shares on Youtube. During a holiday shopping frenzy, viewers may not have given the same ad enough of their attention span for the emotional story to resonate.

Also, British advertisers devote more money to ad spending around the holidays. This year CNN Money found that in the U.K. $2.2 billion was spent on TV air time while $3.3 billion was devoted to online advertising. That equates to 70% of ad budgets being spent in the fourth quarter.

UK’s Christmas Ad

This year Sainsbury, a U.K. supermarket chain called on the power of a classic British story to develop a memorable holiday campaign, “Mog’s Christmas Calamity.” In the ad, Judith Kerr, a children’s writer, revived her forgetful cat character, Mog. Mog is an accident-prone cat that always finds himself in a pickle, and the Sainsbury’s ad is no exception. In this video, Mog accidentally finds himself destroying his family’s kitchen. See for yourself.

Mog’s ad is a nod to the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” because after Mog wreaks havoc, the neighborhood shows up to clean the house and make sure that Mog’s family does not have to miss Christmas this year. It’s a wonderful story that extends beyond the single commercial. Merchandise, such as Mog plush toys were created, and Kerr also wrote children’s books to go along with the Mog ads, which creates opportunities for sales outside of current products.

So, while the U.S. doesn’t trust stories to bring customers into their stores during the holidays, many organizations are trending towards using storytelling to gain loyal followers. Think how memorable Budweiser and their Clydesdale ads are.

Brand storytelling is integral to good marketing. The US should take a cue from Macy’s and bring more of it into their holiday ads.

The Modern Web Palette: Color Trends for 2016

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Have you noticed more bold and energetic colors around the web? The modern web palette is unafraid of vibrant color. While I applaud these choices, here are some observations of how websites are making this bold new palette work.

Use Bold Color to Portray Energy

For example, Mint Twist uses great shades of neon pink and greens on their site to great effect, and White Rhino does a great job at using various shades of orange throughout the site. Mint Twists color palette helps portray that they are a new, creative agency. White Rhino’s color choices while still bright, are a little more grounded and show that they are a professional, reliable company who is still up-to-date with technology and current trends.


Rhino Website

Web Page Color & Flat Design

Flat design is proliferating web design now, which makes it more necessary to introduce a wide variety of colors to design. Flat design incorporates minimalism and simplicity. It features two-dimensional or flat illustrations that have clean, well- website uses flat design. Below is an example of a web page that uses flat design:

web palette flat design

You can see on this flat design site, that the variety of colors brings back an element of interest, and allows designers to set apart very similar, flat elements to engage the user.

Web Color & Technology

Another major reason for the increase in luminous color choices is advancements in technology that have allowed us to increase the variety of web-safe colors. Many years ago web designers were limited to just 216 colors. Today, the increase in screen resolution and retina displays have opened up millions of new color options.

Who’s Your Digital Audience?

While I agree that the use of these colors is often warranted, and most of the time necessary, don’t lose sight of your target audience. Will these vibrant colors resonate with them? If you are designing for a doctor’s office, you should consider the serious tone of the content. Notice how this company makes use of muted tones on their site.


When choosing your site colors, think about your audience and your subject matter. Does it make sense to use neon orange for this, or would a subtle blue be more appropriate? Too often, we like to jump on board with the current trends without analyzing who will be reading that material. Colors evoke different emotions from users, and it’s very important to research and recognize these differences.

Look at Larger Lifestyle Trends

While it has been growing steadily on the web, we are beginning to notice these brighter colors in our clothing and household items too. Website design trends are not solely informed by the internet. Like fashion trends, they are pulled from the world around us.

skirt photo


We can find new color palettes anywhere. Be on the lookout for color inspiration everywhere and try them in your website design.

living room


These color trends are likely to continue throughout 2016 and beyond, so research your audience, and go unabashedly into this bright new world of color.

Case Study: Great Plains Moving & Storage

Friday, December 11th, 2015
Great Plains Moving & Storage is an agent of the Specialized Transport, Inc. (STI) and currently operates as the Colorado hub for STI’s 48-state services. Great Plains prides itself on employing highly trained, professional movers instead of temporary labor to ensure that their customers’ valuables are taken care of during the entire moving process. Not only will Great Plains move your items, but they will store them in their top-rated warehouse.

FiG’s Website Marketing Approach

Denver website designers, FiG Advertising & Marketing designed and launched a new website for Great Plains last month that highlights the organization’s exemplary services.

Website Design

Great Plains came to FiG with a marketing problem. They had a fairly attractive website, but it was wasn’t modern enough, which can lead a customer to view the company as behind the times. As a result, the site’s bounce rates increasing and page views were starting to decrease. (See screen shot below)

Great Plains Old Home Page

In order to update the site and increase user engagement, we designed a more visually compelling site filled with beautiful images that illustrate Great Plains’ great services and offerings. (See screen shot below)

great plains commercial page

Great Plains also wanted a way to show off their great customer service. To highlight their exceptional service, we added colored call outs featuring testimonials to each of the sub-pages of the website.


Search Engine Optimization

Not only did we design a beautiful website for Great Plains, we also optimized their new site with correct tagging and link building for search optimization.

Our SEO strategy is already garnering results. When we compared the traffic in the period between November 9th to December 9th in 2014 versus 2015, we found organic traffic had increased by 23%. Moreover, since the site’s launch on November 9th, organic traffic increased 40% over the previous 30 days with the old site.

Great Plains Website Traffic Results

The newly designed website is already starting to see great traction. By completing a year over year comparison from November 9th to December 9th, we found that Great Plains’ new website has increased its users by about 14% and its sessions by 23% (See Graph Below).

great plains sessions graph

We have also found that the new site is more successful in engaging users than the old site was because its page views are up 69% from last year and the pages that people view per session has increased by 37%. Also, people are readily leaving the site less than before because the bounce rate has decreased by 7%.

This positive trajectory will continue as we continue to make SEO improvements on a monthly basis. Great Plains will see increased traffic and ultimately new customers.

Check out the new website for yourself.

Is your website in need of an upgrade? Contact a Denver website designer, FiG & Advertising and Marketing for a consultation.

FiG New Client: Landtech

Friday, December 4th, 2015

We are proud to announce a new client, Landtech.

Landtech specializes in commercial landscaping and outdoor construction projects. They offer a robust list of capabilities and a comprehensive collection of powerful resources. Their services include:

  • Landscape
  • Irrigation
  • Maintenance/Management
  • Reclamation
  • Renovation
  • Snow Removal
  • Design/Build

The Digital Marketing Challenge

Landtech needs to strengthen their digital footprint in order to attract new business and define their brand in the marketplace. They have a strong value proposition and significant differentiators from their competitors, but these strengths are not adequately messaged on their current site. They also have done outstanding work for clients like Denver International Airport, but their current site doesn’t have enough visuals of their completed projects that accurately reflect the depth of their experience.

The Marketing and Website Project

FiG is going to deliver a complete overhaul of the organization’s website. Not only will the site demonstrate LandTech’s value proposition and competitive edge, it will also deliver compelling visuals that sell their expertise as commercial landscaping professionals. The site will be search engine optimized through FiG’s in depth SEO process so the site produces more leads for LandTech. Be on the lookout; we will post screen shots of their new site soon.