From 13 Minutes of Entertainment to 13 Minutes of Marketing Gold

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The Super Bowl is celebrating 50 this year. In honor of this historic event, we are taking a trip down memory lane with a retrospective of Super Bowl halftime shows and performances, and the marketing tie between the Super Bowl and the halftime performer.

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According to Sports Illustrated, Super Bowl halftime show entertainment started as an idea to fill time in the first title game of football in 1967 (it wasn’t even called the Super Bowl at that time). The entertainment that year was the marching bands from the University of Arizona and the University of Michigan. Advertisers for that game paid $37,500 for a 30-second spot to reach an average 24,430,000 U.S. viewers.
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The marching band trend continued through the first decade of Super Bowl matchups. The second decade or so featured marching bands, but started to include collaborations with drill teams and performance ensembles, such as “Up With People.”
During Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, rival network FOX aired a special live performance of “In Living Color” to draw audience away from the game. The effort was a success, as it drew 22 million viewers. To counter such tactics, the NFL decided it needed to put big entertainment on stage during halftime to attract and retain viewers. So, who was the biggest artist at the time? Michael Jackson, of course.

The performance by Michael Jackson at Super Bowl XXVII in 1993 solidified the halftime show as a must-see event all on its own. His performance was one of the most-watched television events in American TV history up until that point, according to Yahoo Sports. By this time, advertisers were paying $850,000 for a 30-second spot to reach just shy of 100,000,000 viewers.

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According to NBC Sports, Katy Perry’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 was the most-watched halftime show in history, with 118,500,000 viewers tuning in. It was the second most-watched half-hour of the entire telecast for the Super Bowl that year.

Marketing and the Halftime Show
With viewership numbers creeping up to 120,000,000, what advertiser, sponsor or performer can pass up the opportunity to leave an impression on that large of an audience? The Super Bowl, as an entity, has become a marketing-mecca. And, the halftime show is a key part of the overall marketing mix of the Super Bowl.

The NFL neither pays an appearance fee to artists performing during halftime, nor do they charge the artists to perform.

Knowing this, the questions then become – what benefits are the NFL receiving if the artists aren’t buying the exposure to over 100,000,000 people? And, what benefits are the artists receiving if they aren’t getting paid to play in front of over 100,000,000 people?

The answers to both questions are the mutually beneficial capitalization on each other’s brand and marketing efforts pre/during/post game, increased exposure to an otherwise unattainable audience and increased revenue.

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What are the benefits to the NFL? The artists provide access to viewers that may not necessarily be interested in the actual game, but want to see the halftime show performance. An increase in the number of viewers means higher ratings, which means the NFL can charge more for advertising during the game, therefore increasing its revenue. Just look at the history of viewership numbers and advertising costs to see the correlation between the two.

What are the benefits to the artists? The NFL provides access to a massive audience that may not have had exposure to the artists. This exposure has the potential to translate into increased album sales and digital downloads for the artists, increasing their revenue. According to Billboard.com, Bruno Mars had an 81 percent increase in album sales in the week following the Super Bowl over the week previous to the Super Bowl. Accounting for the same weeks for each game, Beyonce saw a 67 percent increase, the Black Eyed Peas saw a 55 percent increase and The Who had a 71 percent increase in sales.

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A Final Thought
The Super Bowl is more than just a competition of athletes. The halftime show has evolved into an event all its own, with artists each year trying to out-perform the artist from the previous year. The entertainment has become an essential part of the entire broadcast, and is heavily promoted in pre-game marketing as a way to attract more viewers. Ponder this…what would the audience numbers be if the halftime entertainment went back to marching bands?

Top Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances
There are MANY lists and opinions on the best Super Bowl halftime performances. This one is from Sports Illustrated:
10. 2004 – Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake
9. 1993 – Michael Jackson
8. 2005 – Paul McCartney
7. 2006 – The Rolling Stones
6. 2009 – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
5. 2001 – Aerosmith, N’Sync, Britney Spears
4. 2014 – Bruno Mars & Red Hot Chili Peppers
3. 2013 – Beyonce
2. 2007 – Prince
1. 2011 – U2

What is your favorite or most memorable halftime show? We’d love to hear your comments.

Photography: NFL.com. From top-bottom: Bruno Mars; Paul McCartney; Michael Jackson; Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; The Rolling Stones

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Fine Art for Only 49 Cents. A Brief History of the U.S. Postal Service Christmas Stamp.

November 1, 1962, was a Banner Day for the United States Postal Service
On a blustery afternoon in Philadelphia, then Postmaster General J. Edward Day, led a dedication ceremony for what would be the first of the USPS’ official Christmas Stamp Series. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (yes, the same guys who print our cold, hard cash) produced an initial run of 350 million units of this stamp. This was the larg­est number ever produced for a special stamp at the time, and the initial sup­ply quickly sold out. Working around-the-clock, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing was tasked to print more. Much more. A mere two months later, 1 billion (with a B) stamps had been printed and distrib­uted. That’s a lot of Christmas cards, my friend! The groundbreaking issue was a simple red and green 4-cent stamp that featured a wreath, two candles, and the words “Christmas 1962.”

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This Wouldn’t be America if We Didn’t Have a Bit of Controversy
The decision to print a Christmas-themed stamp generated some controversy, of course, especially from groups concerned about maintaining the separation of church and state. The United States Postal Service is, after all, a government entity. There have been numerous concessions and appeasements over the years. In 1957, a Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (still in existence) was established to review and recommend new stamp designs to the postmaster general. This committee establishes specific criteria, such as national appeal and historical perspective. The ultimate goal: to create annual stamp designs that reflect America — from the events and people that bind the nation together, to the diversity of cultures that forms its foundation. The annual stamp selections are now known as the Holiday Contem­porary and Holiday Traditional Postage Stamp Series, and over the past few years, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Eid al-Fitr & Eid al-Adha seasonal stamps have been added to the USPS’ collection.

Browse the slideshows below to see Christmas postage stamps through the years.

A USPS Christmas Stamp Retrospective Part 1: 1962-1992

 

A USPS Christmas Stamp Retrospective Part 2: 1993-2015

Holiday Memories
Do you have a favorite Christmas or holiday-themed stamp, or possibly a specific memory tied to one of these images? We at Prejean Creative would love to hear your story. Comment, email us, or better yet, send us a card!

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European Vacation – A Griswold’s Graphics Tour.

Took a trip in March across the big pond to Europe. It was a whirlwind sightseeing extravaganza with stops in London, Dublin, Paris, Florence and Rome. Whilst everyone is taking selfies or snapping shots of historic landmarks and whatnot, I was getting strange looks for snapping shots of subway billboards, type on manhole covers, logos on menus, graffiti and the like. My graphic design peers understand, but everyone else, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in a bunch of selfies and have a plethora of typical tourist pics, too. But you’ve seen those before. So, instead, take a tour of Europe through the lens of this graphic designer.

Some of the photos are clickable for more information. Feel free to comment, berate or share.

Useless “European” trivia for you – The “W” of Clark W. Griswold stands for Wilhelm.

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Go Mobile or Go Home. Mobilegeddon is upon us.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mobilegeddon has officially arrived and otherwise strong webmasters are quaking in their flip-flops. So, is your website mobile-friendly? If you want the biggest search engine on the planet to help people find you among the millions of other sites, it had better be. If not now, soon.

In the often vague world of algorithm updates, there was nothing subtle about the quote issued from Google a couple of months ago. “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

Just to be clear. Google has never made this kind of announcement before changing its algorithm. Even though the search engine behemoth has been warning webmasters for years about the importance of  mobile-friendly websites, it has never been this adamant or this direct. When this 800-pound search engine gorilla makes it a point to say a site’s mobile friendliness will “have a significant impact on search results,” there should be no doubt about what is about to happen.

10 Things We Know About Google’s Algorithm Change
If you are scrambling to deal with this fundamental change in search engine optimization, you might want to get the straight skinny from one of the top Googlers. Back in early March, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes, pointed out a list of 10 factors to be aware of.

Responsive does not have a ranking benefit.
Because Google has been pushing responsive design as a way to handle mobile traffic, some people wondered if the only solution was to also use responsive because it could give a rankings boost. However, Illyes says they recommended it because it worked well for Google. He reiterated that responsive design does not have a ranking benefit.

Your site must unblock CSS & java script.
If you are blocking elements such as CSS and java script, your site will not pass Google’s mobile friendly test, even if everything else on the site passes. So you do need to allow Googlebot to crawl both CSS & java script to pass.

Mobile friendliness is page by page.
When determining if a page is mobile-friendly, Google bases this on a page-by-page case. Passing some pages, or even most pages, as mobile-friendly will not mean your entire site passes the check. All pages must be mobile-friendly.

There will be no specific tablet-only ranking factor.
According to Illyes, Google does not plan at this time to have anything specific for tablet rankings.

April 21st is the date. There’s no gradual roll-up.
To quote Illyes: “I will say April 21st is a very important day.” That means now.

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There should be little delay between a site being mobile-friendly and this being reflected in search results.
Illyes said, “As soon as we discover it is mobile-friendly, on a URL by URL basis, it will be updated.”

This change will not affect desktop computers.
Illyes leaves himself some wiggle room when responding to searches on desktops. “To the best of my knowledge, it will not.”

Google will have a completely separate mobile index in the future.
He said Google already has plans for this and there is a team already working on it.

Google doesn’t need to see noscript if they can crawl it.
Many webmasters used noscript when java script was not executed for whatever reason. But Illyes says that Google still sees noscript, but cancels it out when they crawl the java script.

What about offsite resources that may block java script?
Because webmasters don’t always have control of offsite java script (ie. Google Analytics code) Google takes this into account. However, webmasters need to allow Googlebot to crawl java script and CSS on their website itself.

Change this significant is always disconcerting, especially if your livelihood depends on customers finding your goods and services on the Internet. Having a site which is mobile-friendly is more complicated than one might think. For example:

* Should you have a separate mobile site or responsive site, and what does this do to site resolutions?

* How does the process of linking vary in a mobile-only vs. responsive site?

* How do the sales conversions change with different types of mobile-friendly sites?

* What about future changes in the algorithm? If your site is mobile-friendly now, will it be six months from now?

Having a mobile-friendly website requires the assistance of experts in site design. Fortunately for you, we have some and we’re ready to assist. If we can help you get over Mobilegeddon, let us know.

Contact Prejean Creative

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Let’s Hear it for the Color of the Year. Or Not.

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The color gods have spoken, at least those at Pantone.

In a press release issued in December, Pantone, the global color authority, announced PANTONE®18-1438 Marsala, “a naturally robust and earthy wine red,” as the Color of the Year for 2015. The announcement was met with a hue (literally) and cry from those who make their living by using colors.

The grandiose gesture of choosing one, highly specific color to represent the entire spectrum for the 365 days of 2015 begs an obvious question: “What criteria were used for this monumental decision?” Of course the folks at Pantone anticipated this pesky query. This is their story, and they’re sticking to it.

“The Color of the Year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the fashion and entertainment industries – including films that are in production, the world of art, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, the availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.”

According to Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.”

What Are We Supposed to Do With Marsala?
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One would think something as important as the announcement of the “color of the year” would have graphic designers everywhere a-twitter with anticipation. Meh, not so much, at least around these parts.

The guys who design consumer packaging, websites, signage, collateral, television spots and print advertising at Prejean Creative were asked what they thought of Pantone 18-1438 and the response was reminiscent of a bad stand-up comic delivering lame jokes to the crowd at the Holiday Inn near the airport. Uncomfortable silence.

(Bam! Bam!) “Is this mike on? Is anybody out there?”
In the end, several conclusions were drawn about Marsala’s use for marketing purposes.

k_prejean_linkedinKevin Prejean had this to say about the color Marsala and its best use in graphic design.

“Marsala, she looks to be versatile. One day, she’s sophisticated enough to be comfortable in high-end, elegant design pieces. On other days, she’s casual and working in the garden. She’s comfortable mingling with similar earthy friends: blue-grays, OD greens, dark mustards, tans.

“Other than food branding or packaging, I’m not sure Marsala is a good fit for any long-term branding. She seems to be trendy and not appropriate for most companies’ permanent color palette. Of course, the title itself – Color of the Year – indicates temporary status.”

gster2Anyone who knows Gary LoBue Jr. knows he has an opinion about everything. Here are his musings about Marsala.

“This is a no-brainer. The best use of the color of Marsala in graphic design would be as follows: wine labels, wine bottles, wine steward clothing; vintner identities and logos, winery identities and logos, all associated collateral materials for wine, vintners or wineries; wine glass packaging and its associated materials; invitations for wine tasting events or parties; tablecloths, linens and napkins for residential or commercial use; annual reports, brochures and social media materials for vintners or wine manufacturers; collateral and promotional materials for automobiles such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, but not Fiat. Definitely not Fiat.”

How about consumer products and Marsala, Gary?

“Imagine the excitement that would be generated if these products leveraged the cachet of introducing Marsala-hued versions of their line: plastic clothespins; HP or Dell laptops (actually any cheap Windows-based product); any, and I mean any, kitchen appliance or kitchen accessory; ceramic planters, coffee mugs, men’s calf length socks and ink pens.”

beppBrent Pelloquin is always a good resource for insights into color, even Marsala.

“I think it would really go well with veal. No, seriously, I think this color is an obvious choice for anyone in the wine industry. It’s a nice, rich color that makes me wish I was smelling wine and/or tasting wine. Perhaps a winery could produce a brochure that features their wine labels along with color swatches that indicate the varying shades of wine they produce. The swatches would obviously need to be scratch-n-sniff in nature, so prospective sippers can experience the aroma first hand. I think Marsala could find its proper place in a brochure like that.

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“I also see this as a strong color for the women’s cosmetic industry. It’s a pretty fantastic color for promoting lipstick or nail polish. It definitely has a bold, yet sophisticated, feminine quality to it.

“It also has a nice, chocolatey element to it that could be utilized as an accent color in product packaging for high-end chocolates. Dark chocolate and Marsala look like they were made for each other.”

andreThe newest member of the graphic design team, Andre Dugal, had these observations about the Color of the Year. “It is such a specific color, and a working palette seems to be pretty limited with it. I guess Marsala is better suited for interior design and less for graphic design. It fits perfectly with the trendy, low-saturation rustic craze. And, with Pantone branching out more into physical products, it seems that’s the market they’re going for.

“Black is always the new black. We don’t need no stinkin’ Marsala when we got good ole’ fashioned black.”
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What do you think of the choice of Marsala for the color of the year? Leave us a message below or comment on Prejean Creative’s Facebook page.

Fashionable Marsala photography courtesy of Pantone.

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