4 Lessons In Online Marketing I Learned From Mom

In recent weeks, Google has officially begun phasing out the existence of its right-rail ads. As you can imagine, removing ads from one position means they’ll show up in another. Presently, this means up to four PPC ads can appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) thereby pushing the organic listings completely below the fold. The example below illustrates this point and shows how product listing ads (PLAs) occupy the right rail for transaction based queries.

Google removes right rail ads

While it’s not the case with this particular search above, the increase in page one real estate is very real!  In some cases, the number of organic listings on page one has decreased from ten listings to seven. That’s if users even scroll below the fold. As an SEO savvy to the consumer journey, I can’t stress how important it is to provide a seamless user experience that captures the transaction after the user moves from the SERP onto your site. Let me illustrate using my favorite, observable test subject; my mom.

It’s funny, marketers sometimes go to a lot of trouble organizing focus groups and selecting just the right individuals to represent their “target market.” But if you really want to know when and where customers are abandoning your site, watch your parents navigate the domain.

During a recent holiday with my parents, I watched my mom book tours and excursions online. The website (which will remain anonymous for this post) that my mom was attempting to book our tickets on using her tablet, provided such a poor user experience. She was unable to properly confirm the reservation had even been made (seriously, you don’t at least provide copy that says “Thank you for your reservation…”) that she proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes on the phone trying to reach a real person in the customer service department to confirm the reservation.

The frustration and confusion caused by this website’s booking design is completely unnecessary and very fixable. Here are the four highly frictional elements which nearly caused my mom not to compete the transaction:

  1. Required a login & password.
  2. Not providing the option to at least check out as a guest.
  3. Multiple information-requesting steps asking for the airline name, arrival and departure dates, even date of birth (seriously!?) prior to purchase.
  4. The website design was not formatted for a tablet device.

Don’t try be original, just be better.

As a consultant, I am constantly observing how elements on a page can help or hinder whether or not the consumer takes action. Simply doing the opposite of the four obstacles listed above will improve your user experience.  One-time visits to book tickets online or make a reservation should not require  a username/ password; it is literally too much for the customer to think about creating yet another username and password for your site that they’ll actually remember.  Which is why providing the option to check out as a “guest” is much more seamless and hassle free to the customer.

If the information requested during the time of checkout is not relevant to the actual tour, it should not be required. Ultimately, the number of steps towards completing a purchase should be as few as possible. If your business requires certain forms of information, indicate to the consumer what information is required versus what is optional. This at least ensures you get the necessary customer information all the while continuing to move them on their way towards their booking goal.

Lastly, website design should be formatted to the device (mobile, desktop or tablet). Otherwise, customers can quickly became frustrated at not being able to see how to successfully complete their transaction and may abandon the process without completing the sale.  Customer, gone.

With the increased competition for page one real estate in the Google SERP, it is imperative for e-commerce and service-oriented websites to provide an efficient online experience that quickly and securely ensures the transaction is complete and assures the customer of their purchase.

Anything less means your competitors will pick up the sale where your website left off.

Gratefulness Begets Greatness

A friend in the advertising industry recently interviewed me about being involved in CrossFit as part of a research project he is conducting working on the Reebok account. While I’m nowhere near a being a competitive lifter, his questions, however did make me reflect on how grateful I am to be able to dabble in the sport of Olympic lifting and compete in ballroom dance.

This week is Thanksgiving and in the spirit of being grateful, I’ll say a few words about what I am thankful for as it relates to my involvement in Dance Sport and Cross Fit. I’ve only met one other person who actively trains and competes in ballroom and lifts with the determination of a serious athlete. She is the reason I became active in CrossFit where I parlayed that cardio and strength training into more endurance and athleticism while on the competition floor. Being able to be competitive in a sport I love by way of another sport—especially with this unusual pairing—is a daily source of gratitude in my life.

I consider myself extremely fortunate for my body to be able to adapt to two different types of competitive sports. To be honest, it is challenging to translate the technique, body mechanics and timing between dancing and lifting, but at the very least, proper posture and dedication to refining my technique in both arenas are transmutable factors. I doubt I will ever be fully satisfied in terms of being truly proficient at either because I’ve realized along the way that achieving greatness is an incredibly frustrating, mind-game process.

Achieving perfection of movement is an illusive destination because our bodies are constantly changing. I’ve spent years being hard on myself for my perceived shortcomings as an amateur athlete competing in the sport of ballroom dance. But I’m starting to realize that by being grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the sport at the level that I am, I’m great at it.

Relocating to the Bay Area has become an incredible opportunity to now increase my involvement in CrossFit as I’m no longer geographically close to my dance partner. Still, we’re making plans to dance at a competition in San Jose in 2016 and I am so thankful to have found a CrossFit gym that I enjoy so that I can maintain (at least somewhat) of a competitive edge in terms of endurance, physique and have the opportunity to be around people who fuel my motivation towards improvement–whether I’m lifting a barbell just enough to duck under it or lifting my arms to take frame with my dance partner.

Everything in life is a process. Everyone seeking to improve at something can relate to setbacks and obstacles. But I encourage you to remember that your health and physical strength are a gift. The technique will come. With enough deliberate practice, it always does. Gratitude for the ability and opportunity to move should be exercised just as much.

I’ll close with a nod to The Hunger Games where even Katniss knows the value in cultivating a mental list of good deeds she’s grateful to have witnessed:

Did you have a nightmare? I have nightmares too. Someday I’ll explain it to you. Why they came. Why they won’t ever go away. But I’ll tell you how I survive it. I make a list in my head. Of all the good things I’ve seen someone do. Every little thing I could remember. It’s like a game I do it over and over. Gets a little tedious after all these years, but… There are much worse games to play.
~Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Surely, we can all use more odds in our favor.

Embassy ball ballroom dance competiton

Flexing before foxtrotting at the Embassy Ball, May 2013.

The Alchemy of Silicon Valley

I had the good fortune of being introduced to Vito Brandle, Director of Finance at BrightRoll, and recently sat down with him to chat about the allure of startups and the collective growth-mindset of Silicon Valley tapping into the fundamental human desire for growth. Vito’s thoughts on the startup scene—how structure can be the foundation of spontaneity—was of particular interest to me.

There was no sugarcoating from Vito on the topic of mergers and navigating change in the corporate setting. But, I found his honesty to be compelling and his unique perspective as both participant and observer equally intriguing.

Design the life you want

In this town, one could argue there are more opportunities for new companies to acquire VC funding or get acquired than there are Tesla’s gliding around on the highway. There’s no shortage of opportunity in Silicon Valley and companies large and small get acquired all the time. While it can be difficult to remain positive in the face of a corporate merger, one of the choices Vito made early on was to consciously disengage from the personal aspect of the job.

“You have to be OK with putting a part of your work-self to bed” he said. “In a bigger company you have to remove that defense mechanism and let go of the fact that ‘it’s mine’.” This allows you to function without succumbing to the highs and lows of working through change.

I’m of the belief that the best parts of life are that way by our own design. They’re architected in such a way where we enjoy what we have yet we still strive to see how far things can go. “Every choice we look at should be a set of options,” Vito said “creating options allows us to optimize.” Once the track is set, then we just need to start the engine and accelerate down that path.”

What’s the best way to begin? Take action and course correct along the way? Or plan it all out in advance and then begin? There are merits to both but only one produces real results.

Structure allows for spontaneity

Just as there are certain types of people that operate better within a structured environment there are those that perform better when given more freedom. The same is true for the framework of corporations and startups where structured environments can be engineered to deliver growth and alternatively, autonomy fosters new developments. The great irony is that while it might not seem to be the case, companies both large and small rely on some form of structure to grow.

While structure provides a starting point, the inescapable fact of life is that there is ambiguity in almost everything we do. Even when developing structure itself. This is why taking action is so important. Actions produce results (or data), which can be mined for insights. It’s in the doing that there is refinement.

The upside to companies driven by large corporations, Vito noted, is that they can teach you about process and equip you with a more formalized method of operating. Vito had virtually made a mini career out of being at corporate giant, Yahoo!, over the course of four years. Albeit having a variety of jobs and the opportunity to “wear different hats” during that time helped to stave off boredom and career stagnation.

His advice, “Tell your manager up front what you want.” Be clear on your interests, inject variety into your work, and have challenges to work towards.

That’s not to say startups have all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks. But it’s the idea, Vito alluded to, of a collective acknowledgement that everyone in Silicon Valley is creating and playing and inventing in the same sandbox. Collectively, we’re making things better as a result of taking action.

Silicon Valley is one big sandbox

“My reason for coming out here was the tech space [because it offered] flexibility and optionality and the ability to pivot quickly. People have a desire to grow and change. There’s this cohesive mindset here—almost [like we’re in] a sandbox of sorts; there’s not that many obstacles here and you can build what you want.”

Indeed, it’s this consistency of mindset among the individuals in Silicon Valley, at large companies and startups alike, that makes this particular “sandbox” a unique playground. Startups may be the bedrock of Silicon Valley but the mindset of the individuals and their willingness to take action and architect a better way of doing something is what makes Silicon Valley attractive beyond measure. “Even if you’re not the one with the shovel, you’re getting your hands dirty,” Vito remarked.

So, get moving! I’ll leave you with a shortened list of Vito’s recent reads and a link to some great pod casts:

  1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by James C. Collins
  2. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt
  3. Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica
  4. http://venturebeat.com/2015/04/03/10-tech-podcasts-you-should-listen-to-now/

Speculations on ‘Spectre’: Bond Girls Should Bring It Too

I recently saw the latest Bond installment, ‘Spectre’…and I’m a bit conflicted on how I feel about the move–especially the ending. (Fair warning for those who have yet to see it, this post is both a movie spoiler and a bit of a rant on how this Bond girl should have been portrayed).  I feel like there were conflicting thematic endings. One where we acknowledge the fact that the M16 agent program is better off using humans (not high tech machines) who are better equipped at calculating and weighing the factors of whether to kill or not to kill. The other where Bond goes against his character in favor of what looks like personal pursuits.

I felt Bond was not being true to the Bond character in the final moments of the film when he’s standing over the villain, Oberhauser, who taunts, “finish it.” And he doesn’t do it. He doesn’t finish off the villain (seriously!? that’s a top action movie rule: always finish the job). Unless there’s a squeal. Then you let the bad guy live.

So James Bond doesn’t finish the job. Instead Bond says “I’m all out of bullets. And…” glancing at the beautiful blonde nearby, “I’ve got better things to do.” It doesn’t make sense! Was his decision more to do with the humanistic aspect of being an assassin and choosing not to kill or the fact that Bond now had legitimate romantic aspirations? I found myself thinking this is maddening and uncharacteristic.

I suppose too that since this was the last installment of this particular Bond franchise, the writer/director would be looking to essentially package things up for the audience. While I agree having Bond shoot Oberhauser in the head would be pretty brutal (even for this film), sometimes, the good guys have to do bad things to make the bad guys pay (seriously, that scene with the small drill had me on the edge of my seat!).  If it were up to me, I would have ended the movie this way:

Oberhauser
Finish it.

Bond
Have it your way. (shoots him)
(But we keep the camera on Bond, see him fire and hear a loud BANG)

M
James, you didn’t have to kill him…

Bond
Yes, I did. Because now I’m all out of bullets and I have better things to do.

I’m all for Bond choosing the girl over the gun, but I didn’t like how the writing made it seem like he was choosing between being who he is and who he wants to be.   His love interest Madeleine Swann even walks away from him at one point saying she can’t be with him because, “…it’s who you are.” Clearly, Swann recognizes he’s not the type of man for her because maybe his lifestyle as an assassin is not something she wants to become involved in (good job, sweetheart!).

When she walked away I thought, “OK, good. She respects him enough to walk away so that he can get on with being a bad ass assassin.”  But I fond myself frustrated minutes later after the climactic scene where Bond saves her, that they end up together.  She didn’t stick to her standard and neither did he–especially tossing his gun into the river.

What?! He tosses his gun away just like that and strides over to take her in his arms?

I don’t feel Bond should have gone against his character in order to be with the woman he (supposedly now) loves.  (His only real choice out of all the Bond girls before should have been taking care not to end up with a crazy one). In my opinion, if this Bond girl were really right for James, she would appreciate him for the cunning (and handsome) assassin that he is and support him in being that.

Which is why I wish this Bond girl had more to offer.  This leading lady is apparently a psychologist working at a private medical clinic in the Austrian Alps (with an amazing office that has an incredible view). Ironically, Swann is the daughter of an assassin (Bond’s old nemesis Mr White) which means she gets him in a way most women do not.  But the chemistry only spiked after the action sequences and Swann didn’t fit the bill for the type of “partner in crime” that would actually compliment someone like Bond.  Her psychology prowess never actually lent itself to the story line, she was afraid to handle a gun (yet she knew her way around one), and she got stuck with random one-liners like “what shall we do now?” followed by a smash cut to Bond and Swann making out.

I just wish her character had been written as more complimentary to that of James Bond. Thankfully, though, she nailed it bringing her own sense of swagger in the gowns she appeared in.

Spectre movie review

LOVER Lace Dress in new James Bond film ‘Spectre’ seen on bond girl Lea Seydoux

Once I have an extra $600.00 I’ll be sure to pick up this little number on eBay.

In spite of the ending, ‘Spectre’ is still a great ride and everything you’d expect from a flashy Bond film. Maybe Bond girls aren’t meant to be bad-asses like James Bond himself. I suppose I’ll just have to wait for a heroine when the Hunger Games Mockingjay part 2 is due out later this month.

More on the film’s gadgets, guns and gowns highlighted in this Bloomberg Business article.

If You Want Your Marriage To Start Out On The Right Foot, Wear The Right Shoes

Lately I’ve noticed an influx of wedding couples in the ballroom where we practice, and I can’t help but notice the array of improper dance shoes worn by the brides-to-be. It looks like something out of a runway fashion show—platforms, open-toe, wedges, and three to four inch stilettos! Take my advice brides-to-be, as a ballroom dancer I’ve competed numerous times dancing the waltz and foxtrot. If you don’t want to be arguing about who is pulling on whom, and why you can’t move gracefully around the floor together, you must choose the right shoes.

Social Dancing—Like a Marriage— Is a Partnership

Marriage is a partnership. So, while it is your special day, it’s also your partner’s big day and the start of your days together henceforth, hereon, and happily ever after. Partnership means you think about the other person as much, if not more than, yourself.

Partnership dancing, such as ballroom, is an amazing activity that can strengthen any relationship. On the other hand, if you and your partner are not on the same page, dancing in close proximity is also a speedy way to end a relationship. For many wedding couples, their first dance as husband and wife is their first foray into the world of partnership dancing. Some couples manage to survive by hanging onto each other and swaying back and forth, some like to have their steps choreographed (to avoid the former), and others invest in ballroom dance lessons a few months prior to their big day. But ladies! Pay attention! Wear shoes to your lessons that you can actually dance in, because those sky-high pumps are not helping you to dance your best!

The most popular song or temp for a first dance is typically a slow waltz or easy foxtrot. As a competitive ballroom dancer who competes in International Standard (dancing the Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep) I can attest that platforms, open toed shoes and anything above 3” in height does not allow for the proper foot movement and body mechanics needed to achieve the gracefulness for either of these two popular wedding dances. I see far too many brides-to-be clinging to their man while they teeter around on the “perfect” shoes.

You’re Paying For Dance Lessons – Learn to Dance

You wouldn’t wear wedge sneakers to a tennis lesson. So why would you wear anything but ballroom shoes if you were doing a ballroom-style dance? It’s hard enough to learn the basics to any social dance if you’ve never danced before. There’s even added pressure of performing in front of a cadre of family and friends. But brides, if you want your marriage to get off to a strong start, wear shoes you can actually dance in. Your practices will be so much smoother with the proper shoes.

At competitions, all of the ladies competing in Standard wear tan satin, close toed, 2-2 ½ inch heels. The tan color blends in with the color of flesh thereby elongating the look of the legs, a suede bottom on the shoe helps ladies glide across the ballroom floor and, perhaps most importantly, close-toed shoes allow competitors to make appropriate contact with the floor using the inside edge of the toe to continuously “feel” for the floor as opposed to, Latin dancers who can move more quickly by maintaining their weight on the balls of their feet. They wear open-toe, 3” heels. You can see that a bride-to-be in very tall Latin heels doing a waltz is not a good combination, since a closed toe ballroom shoe is the most appropriate shoe for dances like the waltz and foxtrot which have the couple gliding across the floor.

ballroom competition, pink gown

And here we are gliding across the floor.

Here are a few tips for ladies shoe styles based on the song selection you and your beau may be considering:

Ballroom Dance Name

Song examples

Recommended Ladies Shoe
Waltz “A Thousand Years,” Christina Perri (from Twilight: Breaking Dawn) Closed-toe, heel height should be about 2-2.5”
Foxtrot “Amazed” Lonestar”The Best Is Yet to Come,” Frank Sinatra Closed-toe, heel height should be about 2-2.5”
Swing “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)” Closed toe, with a low or wide heel
Cha Cha “You Are the Best Thing,” Ray LaMontagne Open toe, 3” heel is ok. But if you’re dancing this slower foxtrot beat, opt for a closed-toe, lower heel.
Night Club/ Country Western Two Step “God Gave Me You” Blake Shelton“Bless the Broken Road” Rascal Flatts Anything flat. Cowboy boots or a low, wide heel

Side note: Regarding the song “A Thousand Years,” from Twilight: Breaking Dawn. Don’t be fooled here; the underlying melody is actually a fast, Viennese Waltz but you could get away with doing a waltz to the slower, melodic tempo of the lyrics.

A quick tip: there’s a slight difference between Smooth and Standard style shoes; Smooth heels typically have a strap to secure the shoe to the ladies foot since that style of ballroom dance involves a lot of kicks and leg extensions. Whereas Standard heels are like most heels you would slide on; they’re snug but don’t have a strap because, most of the time, the footwork keeps the ladies feet on the ground. Both are closed toe. I, however, prefer to wear smooth style shoes even though I compete in the International Standard style of ballroom dance.

ballroom dancers, quickstep, pink gown

Dancing the quickstep with many hops, kicks and flicks even one called “the woodpecker”.

More Stoning!

If, for your first dance, you’re choosing a traditional ballroom dance like a waltz or foxtrot, and you have a number of lessons and hopefully practices leading up to your wedding, I recommend investing in the type of heels competitive dancers wear for competitions. Simply because, these shoes will last and they’re more comfortable than stilettos and, more importantly—if you like—you can “stone” them before the wedding by covering them in sparkling rhinestone crystals.

I wear a closed-toe, 2” heel in tan satin made by Stephanie Dance Shoes. This is one of a wide variety available by a reputable ballroom vendor in California called, Notably Unique. They ship around the country. A typical pair will run you $139.00 USD. Again, they’re great to buy at the beginning of your lessons so that you can gradually break them in leading up to the big day.

Balance is Key

Everyone agrees it’s cute to watch the couples giggle and bump into each other as they navigate a box step for the first time. But with the wrong shoes, it’s only a matter of time before you hear “she’s pulling me” or “I can’t spin around him.” These lessons are a microcosm of how their marriage will play out over the years. Do your marriage a favor; wear the right shoes to your lessons and during your first dance together as a married couple. You’ll be in a far better position (quite literally) to allow your body to move with his to execute your choreography. You can always get ballroom heels to dance in that are the same height as the heels you’d like to wear during the rest of your ceremony, for pictures, etc. Ultimately, with the proper shoes, both individuals are able to maintain their own balance and two strong individuals can come together as one. Now that’s a great way to start a marriage!!

 

Holly Miller has been competing in ballroom dance competitions since 2004. She trains weekly with her coach and dance partner in Los Angeles. Follow Holly on Twitter @millertime_baby

The Inversion Point is Coming – Is Your Mobile Site Ready To Handle Business?

As Joe DeMike, Principal Marketing Consultant at Google explained at IMPACT14 this September, there is an inversion point that’s coming with regard to mobile devices.  Simply put, there will come a point in the very near future where traffic from mobile devices to your company website will overtake that of traffic from desktop (and we’re talking organic traffic). Companies need to be ready and they need to be able to provide a seamless, frictionless experience on the customer path to purchase.

Case in point, I used two types of car services to get me to and from the airport while traveling to the Impact14 conference in Las Vegas this year. I booked an Uber from my office to the airport and I took a cab from LAX back to my office.

Here’s the key difference in my choice of words which, I’ll explain, simultaneously illustrates the difference between companies that are optimizing for mobile experiences versus those that are not: I booked the Uber—implying preference in my transportation arrangements whereas I had to “take” a cab from the airport because Uber drivers are no longer allowed to pick up from the airport…Lame.

Read on and see which seamless and frictionless experience you would prefer:

The Uber

  • Exiting my office building, I open the Uber app and use the pinpoint location to alert a nearby driver I would like to be picked up.
  • Moments later, I get a text message saying my driver is en route and the expected wait time is less than 5 minutes.
  • The driver pleasantly greeted me. He offered me bottled water and gum upon getting settled inside his clean, well-kept vehicle.
  • The driver used the company-provided smartphone to input my desired location.
  • We chatted back and forth during the entire ride to the airport.
  • Since my payment details are on file with Uber, there was no swiping of my credit card or fishing through my purse for cash—even tip is factored into the Uber rides.
  • In short, I arrived at my destination and left the car feeling happy and knowing that I would use Uber’s services again.

The Cab

  • Exited baggage claim at LAX and climbed into the cab giving the driver the exact office address for my destination. He did nothing with the information except nod, start the meter and shift the car into drive.
  • We spend the next minute debating the state of traffic conditions on the freeway versus side streets. When it becomes apparent to me that the cab driver does not know which route is faster, I pull out my smart phone. A quick look on sigalert.com ends the discussion; we will take the freeway (where is his smartphone?).
  • No conversation.
  • I advise the cab driver to exit the freeway and proceed to Pico to make a quick left and then right using back roads to the office (seriously, where is his smart phone?). He is flustered saying “but you said it was on Olympic?…” I say, “this method takes the back roads, it’s OK.”
  • The cab pulls up outside the office. This being the part where we exchange money for his service, I tell the cab driver I will be paying with a credit card and would like a receipt. His reaction is one of visible displeasure that I don’t have cash to give him.
  • I swipe my card into the machine and tip him 20% (since I’m such an inconvenience). The machine doesn’t work and I have to repeat the process again (seriously?!). Finally, receipt in hand, I silently vow not to take a cab again unless I absolutely have to.

These two experiences are night and day and, to a large degree, illuminate the disparity between companies that have optimized their websites to handle mobile engagement and transactions versus those that have yet to. A snippet from DeMike’s presentation, “mobile users will notice and be delighted by the small things you do for them to enhance their experience.” Some of the unique user needs (Read: mobile optimization principles) included:

  • Optimize your entire site for mobile
  • Don’t make users pinch-to-zoom
  • Make product images expandable
  • Tell users which screen orientation works best (if applicable)
  • Keep your user in a single browser window
  • Be clear why you need a user’s location

As it stands, there is a big disparity between the companies that are ahead of the game and those still thinking of getting on board the mobile bandwagon. The time for thinking has past. It’s time for action. I agree, the inversion point will happen and when it does, upon finishing an experience with a brand on a mobile device, marketers will want their customers feeling happy and knowing they’ll use the brand’s services again.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few snapshots of what this years presenters had to say on mobile.  The IMPACT14 conference is an annual event hosted by the Internet Marketing Association.

Joe DeMike's technical check list

mobile commerce

build best in class experience

Cross device compatability

build app that enhances site

Please visit the event photo gallery for more photos of the event.

Dear Domestic Marketing Team at 20th Century Fox,

Dear Domestic Marketing Team at 20th Century Fox,

I happen to think your campaign of your recent release, “Date Night” is a classic case of movie marketing miscommunication.  I happened to be in NY a month ago in Times Square and saw much of the outdoor space filled with “Date Night” creative like the one below (nice job on the media buy).

Date Night movie poster

Date Night movie poster

But, I wrote the film off because this particular image didn’t intrigue or inform me enough about the film’s plot.  I figured I’d seen Steve Carell in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” so this one might be similar.  And Tina Fay?  What’s she doing not impersonating Sarah Palin? “Whatever,” I thought.

A few weeks later I was watching a rental from Netflix, and the teaser trailer for “Date Night” played and I was so confused—wasn’t that the name of the film I’d seen in NY? The trailer actually looked like something I’d spend money on to see.

My point is, I’m in a committed romantic relationship with a decent stipend I’d be willing to spend on entertainment and evenings out; so why did I not rally my boyfriend or other couples to go see “Date Night”? Here’s why:

May we suggest….more relevant creative?

  1. All fonts should be created equal

italicized font in Date Night trailer

You could have really piqued my interest had the type face on the outdoor poster matched the font style used in the trailer.  This copy looks waaay more interesting and action-packed.   And look at the color treatment; gold and black—I’m getting excited.

2. Let the visual reflect the plot

(From IMDB) Plot: In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple’s attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.

Wow! Really? That sounds interesting. But I don’t get that from your poster with the frazzled couple on a gray backdrop.  Here’s a thought, what if the outdoor ads utilized rotating planks and had one version of the couple all ready for their date on one side—flip the panels—and they’re snazzy threads are singed and explosions can be seen behind them. You’d think, “what happened on that date?! I must find out!”

Case in point, someone got through to the creative department when the DVD cover was being made.  Even Germany managed to convey that something went awry on this date!

Date Night DVD cover with explosions in background

Date Night DVD released in Germany

3. To be or not to be—is not a tag-line.

Follow me on this one; an ordinary couple finds themselves in an out-of-the-ordinary scenario. How can we condense this down, make it punchy AND tell everyone when to go see it?

One ordinary couple. One little white lie.
(ok…good attempt…but not punchy enough)

Hit The Town. 4.9.2010.
(umm yeah….why am I hitting the town again?)

On April 9th One Night Can Change Your Life.
(now this has potential; its got a date, and  the ambiguity makes me wonder about the twist. I’m hooked…why is that not on the poster again?)

Why didn’t you go with the latter choice, 20th Century Fox?  You may have. But I never saw it, especially upon my initial brush with the creative in Times Square.  I’ll probably rent this film, because I’m genuinely interested, but you lost me for opening day and any chance of a double date to see this movie… I think we all went to see Iron Man 2 instead.

Domestic Total for “Date Night” as of May 24, 2010: $91,014,887 (IMBD.com)