Author Archives: Renee

21 Things You Now Know About the c21 Team

Drumroll please…  Below are the answers to Wednesday’s blog post with 21 things you didn’t know about the c21 team.  Tell us how many you got right!

  1. Lauren
  2. Amy
  3. Telleen
  4. Caitlin … and she still hasn’t broken 100.
  5. Sharon
  6. Renee
  7. Diana – her current favorite is HGTV’s Flea Market Flip.
  8. Valerie
  9. Amy
  10. Meigan
  11. Diana
  12. Marlena
  13. Meigan … Roll Tide!
  14. Lauren
  15. Caitlin
  16. Telleen
  17. Renee … there is video on the c21 server next time you’re in the office.
  18. Sharon
  19. Valerie – but don’t ask, she’s not taking clients.
  20. Marlena – but she won’t let me put it on the Internet.
  21. Four – among three team members, but we’re not telling who.

– Compiled by Renee Spurlin


21 Things You Don’t Know About the c21 Team

In honor of our 21st anniversary, we thought we’d tell you some things that few people know about us.  Click through to each of the links to find out the c21er behind the “secret,” or check out our update later this week to learn the answers.

  1. Which c21er has more than eight nicknames, including Widge and Veev?  In fact, at home and among friends she’s rarely called by her given name, which is what we use around the office.
  2. This c21er has a goal of singing the National Anthem at a sporting event.  Perhaps since the NCAA is a client, we could make that happen!
  3. Which c21er is visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World this year, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
  4. In high school, this c21er was the captain of the varsity golf team and made it to the state championship tournament … all without ever breaking 100.
  5. Which c21er doesn’t know the difference between the greater than and less than symbols, no matter how many times she’s been shown the alligator trick?
  6. This c21er broke the Boston Red Sox 86-year curse.  Well, rather, she moved to Boston just months before they won the World Series, and thinks she had an influence. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had the same effect on Atlanta teams since moving here.
  7. Which c21er is a reality TV show junkie, and admits that the worse it is, the better the odds that she’s watched it?
  8. This c21er grew up on a 400-acre farm, growing green beans, soy beans, feed corn and tobacco and raising beef cattle.
  9. Have you spotted this team member eat her potato chips and French fries in order of size – smallest to largest?
  10. Which team member had a childhood friend who later became Miss America?
  11. You won’t see this team member sampling food or drinks at stores – they just can’t be trusted!
  12. Which c21er shares a birthday with Elvis, David Bowie, Stephen Hawking and R. Kelly?
  13. This team member has watched her favorite sports team win three championships with the same two friends, and they always take the same photo together after each win.
  14. Which c21er is a huntress, specifically for deer, turkey and hogs?
  15. Which team member was named after a character on “Miami Vice,” but only found out about her namesake this month?
  16. This c21er is a true marketer.  She won a contest by Flying Dog Brewery to develop a slogan for one of their new beers.  You’ll have to ask her about her winning entry offline.
  17. Which c21er knows every word to Warren G’s Regulate, and much to her grandparents’ dismay, demonstrated this on the mic at her wedding?
  18. Which c21er won a dance contest in college, and still has the $100 bill that was the prize?  (The other half of the prize – a $200 bar tab – didn’t last more than 24-hours!)
  19. Which c21er is a certified massage therapist?
  20.  This c21er’s brother got to select her middle name.  What did he choose?  The name of his crush at the time (he was in second grade), but he spelled it wrong!
  21. Bonus question:  How many tattoos does the c21 team have collectively?

Feel free to send us your guesses on Facebook or Twitter, and we’ll post the answers later this week.

– Compiled by Renee Spurlin, vice president of client services

Holiday Ads: The Naughty and Nice

A recent Advertising Age article lists Best Buy’s holiday commercials as some of this season’s best, but I cringe every time I see one.  These ads are based on the premise that Best Buy, with all of its great gifts, renders Santa Claus useless.  Personally, I’m a big fan of Santa, so any commercial that makes him look bad goes on my naughty list.

With daily news reports on the dreary state of the economy, politics, business, real estate and so on, we could all use a little Santa-style hope and magic.  My holiday plea?  Let Santa do what he does best – spread joy and cheer – and stop turning the holidays into a competition.

So what commercials are on my nice list?  Frankly, no holiday ads are stand outs, but I’m loving this Travelers Insurance Puppy Love spot.

Tell me, which ads are making your holidays merry and bright?

Renee Spurlin– Renee Spurlin, director


QR codes are fun! From bikini bottoms and tattoos to headstones, these scannable images that can be “read” by a smartphone to link to a website are a marketing novelty.  But marketers are going to have to start using these trackable codes more intelligently if they are going to move from a gimmick into a useful marketing tool.

Don’t get me wrong – QR codes are useful.  They allow users to get detailed information in a quick (hence the QR – quick response) manner not before possible, and marketers can track QR code scans directly back to the magazine, direct mail, sign or even body part from which they came.  However, many marketers are using QR codes simply for the novelty and not providing any real value to consumers – running that risk that consumers will grow tired of the codes before smart marketers truly prove their value.

First, many marketers are using QR codes in mediums that don’t make sense.  For example, Email Insider, of all places, suggests integrating QR codes into email content and email signatures.  Please tell me, what value does this provide consumers?  For starters, more than 13% of emails are viewed on a phone (and I’m seeing in excess of 30% for some of my clients!).  How am I supposed to scan my phone with my phone?  I can’t.  And for the rest of the readers checking email on their computers, what’s easier – pulling out your phone, opening your QR scanning app, scanning the code and viewing the content on your phone screen OR simply clicking the link in your email and pulling it up on the screen you’re already viewing? Hmm…

Second, too many marketers aren’t providing any real value with their codes.  Nissan and Home Depot are getting it right, providing videos, buying guides, product details and financial information that a user would often have to spend time searching and going to multiple locations to find.  Far too many others are missing the boat.  QR codes that simply link to your website or Facebook page (I’m looking at you Taco Mac) in most cases don’t provide any value to the customer.  If I’m already in your store, eating at your restaurant or reading your ad, I probably already have a good idea of what you do.  Take the extra step and provide me with a reason to make a purchase, sign up for more information from you or add another beer to my Taco Mac Brewniversity list.  Sure, links to your website and Facebook may increase your traffic and fans – but what does it do for the consumer?  If they can’t tell you, odds are they won’t be back – or will think twice before scanning the next code they come across.

I want to see QR codes succeed – they have the potential to benefit consumers and marketers alike.  So I propose a QRevolution where marketers motivated by strategy, not novelty, implement QR codes into their marketing tactics. Novel idea, right?

Renee Spurlin– Renee Spurlin, director

New York Times Web Site to Charge for Content

Beginning in 2011, will allow visitors only a certain number of articles for free each month before requiring them to pay a flat fee for unlimited access.

newspaperWith print media struggling to stay afloat in the new world of online news consumption, all eyes will be on, the most popular newspaper site in the country according to Nielsen Online, to see if it creates a successful business model or drives its customers to look for free content elsewhere.

What do you think?  Will you pay for articles on media Web sites?

Pepsi Forgoes Super Bowl Advertising

For the first time in almost 25 years, Pepsi will not advertise during the 2010 Super Bowl, focusing instead on its Pepsi Refresh Project – a digital campaign that will fund projects that “refresh” communities – from feeding the hungry to educational programs.

While some call this strategy risky, we commend Pepsi for recognizing the power of digital media and reallocating the millions of dollars it would have spent on ads to helping communities improve.  Not only is Pepsi connecting with its customers and making a positive difference, it can measure the campaign in a whole new way – from who submits entries and votes to how long they engage with the brand and more.  That’s insight that even the most expensive Super Bowl spot can’t provide.

What Does Your Brand Say About You?

c21’s Sharon Goldmacher and Reneé Spurlin recently hosted a Webinar on the keys to a strong brand and tips to evaluate if your brand is working for you.  With examples from some of the world’s leading brands, as well as some of our own clients, the 30-minute Webinar explores c21’s “6 C’s of Branding” — Clarify, Conduct, Collaborate, Create, Confirm and Communicate.

Check out the Webinar, and leave a comment to tell us your favorite brands and why you think they are so strong.

Note: The Webinar audio begins at 1:15 on your media player.