Tag Archives: Digital Media

JibJab’s CEO on Strong Brands and Floppy Jaws



For Episode 21 I spoke with someone who’s been an animated head more times than he can probably count: Paul Hanges is CEO of JibJab, which is famous for its personalized e-cards and satire animations that lets your head be the star! If you haven’t heard of JibJab you may have had YOUR head in the sand; they’re the OG of digital branded content. It was born in 1999 to brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, perhaps best recalled from their 2004 glory days of being featured on everything from The Tonight Show to ABC News for then viral political satire, “This Land.”

Hanges, who was promoted from COO 18 months ago, says they’re proud of being dubbed the “original online cockroach” for their longevity and survival of dot-com and economy busts. In our conversation he explains why JibJab is still hot more than 20 years since its inception. They’re even having something of a renaissance with the resurrection of their trademark Year in Review video after a six-year pause. (But how could you NOT do a recap of a year like 2020? For Chief Creative Officer Mauro Gatti and lyricist Scott Emmons it probably almost wrote itself! And I’m proud to offer my big head/floppy jaw cut here for your amusement by way of example!)

Hanges also explains the appeal of low-tech animation and their trademark “big heads and floppy jaws,” how they survive as a subscription model and why they walk away from brand dollars if not aligned with their mission – “to make billions of people happy by allowing them to be funny, wherever they’re having that conversation.”

Here are the highlights – but do hear all Hanges has to say in this very “animated” conversation:
  • How it all started – yes in the proverbial garage
  • Why, in a world of “deep fakes and augmentation” the appeal of JibJab is the personalization and NOT to replace reality. “We want to provide utility to help people say happy birthday or anniversary or other big moments.”
  • How personal micro networks add up to eyeballs at scale – and 1.3 million paying subscribers;
  • How they’ll leverage the rights to hits like “Old Town” or Mamma Mia the musical, but why they’ll walk away from 95% ofbranded opportunities;
  • Why politics and JibJab do not always make good bedfellows, but why they participated in the Facebook ad boycott in July to stand up to divisiveness;
  • How (self-plug here) they balance “brand+demand,” — as we promote in The Continuum;
  • The big data opportunity they’re sitting on to be a personalized service for people and how they’ve had to be nimble and “pivot” in their production and platform access.

And of course, for the last episode of 2020 we have to offer Hanges’ words of wisdom from the past full year as CEO to other new CEOs…and how to embrace your strengths and those of others as well. “I take a step back and look and say, ‘we have a very strong operating team that’s working towards a goal of making billions of people happy.’ …And I’ve been really proud to say I can lead this company with that mission.”

Personally, I could not have wrapped up my first year of Insider Interviews podcasts (AND my “It’s Quite a Living” personal podcast) with a better message than to “head” into 2021 with the inspiration of a JibJab to find the humor and spread the joy throughout this holiday season and into 2021.
 Thank you all for listening and hopefully sharing this podcast. I value your feedback and support. And if I can help you create content that spreads joy or opens revenue doors please visit Moss Appeal or write to me at podcasts@mossappeal.com.

Happy New Year!


IAB’s David Cohen with the Pulse of Digital Media & Marketing



When David Cohen joined the IAB as President, the US was two weeks into stay-at-home mandates. While that may have curtailed in-person conferences the industry association is known for, it upped the focus on all things digital. Not long after, the ante was also upped for Cohen personally when he was named CEO following the 14 year run of Randall Rothenberg. Pressure? Not to hear Cohen, who has helmed major agency divisions and had $20B in media spending under his purview during his days at MAGNA and UM. But pandemic-influenced strategy changes? Definitely.

In support of its mission to “empower the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy” – let alone during a COVID economy — Cohen has “brought an unprecedented number of industry captains into their leadership councils and transformed the timeliness of their strategic initiatives.”

Those words from Rothenberg’s commendation of Cohen on his promotion sparked a song from me. Of course. No one is safe. But that didn’t curtail a compelling conversation about more serious matters, such as Cohen telling me about the advantages that came with adapting to the digital world as early as the 90’s and how he – and the IAB overall – are continuing to innovate with today’s current technologies for marketers. I also put Cohen in the same hot seat he put recent panelists in when moderating a Reach Conference talk himself, asking what he would most like to see fixed in our current digital eco-sphere.

Cohen moderating Reach Conference panel

We also discuss:

  • Cohen’s A-ha! Moment – from the Yellow Pages!
  • The lessons he learned after joining the IAB family that every marketing agency should know
  • “Pulse studies” on changes in consumer consumption trends to media buyers/seller polls
  • The IAB’s Brand Disruption Summit
  • How to navigate through your Brand and Demand goals
  • The shift in how digital engagement is being accomplished
  • How IAB is helping in pushing cross-platform forward
  • Like his friend and recent Insider Interviews guest, Carl Fremont, Cohen has a pro-social personal mission. Hear how he — and ANA’s Bill Tucker — are helping push support of disadvantaged children.

Resources Mentioned:

Social Media Links:

Insider Interviews is on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Please share the podcast and share how smart you are about media, marketing and advertising! To reach out to be considered for an episode or suggest questions or a guest — or to have your own bespoke podcast series produced and/or hosted by E.B. Moss — email podcasts@mossappeal.com. We’re “hear” for you!


VAB CEO Sean Cunningham on Why Video “Simply” Works



Sean Cunningham is the son of a radio personality and the husband of grammarian. That may be why he expresses himself so fluidly and works hard to offer clear explanations about the video landscape at the same time. Those personal aspects combined with deep professional experience in the ad industry and as a strategic media advisor help him helm the VAB, the source for insights-driven research and thought leadership about premium video. As its president and CEO, Sean is laser-focused on maximizing outcomes and championing the medium as a must-have for building high-value brands and driving growth.

It’s not easy in our changing environment, but the mantra at the organization is to simplify what is a very complex ecosystem and offer insights that help all those in the business of video to thrive. They’ve kept up a steady pace of conferences and reports even during trying times, even as consumers have made a steady diet of video during these at-home days.

In Episode 19 of Insider Interviews, Sean tells host E.B. Moss about the definition and best practices around marketing with premium video (spoiler alert: the VAB defines it as multi-screen content that’s professionally produced programming in any form — linear, tablet, laptop, mobile, etc.).

Sean and E.B. also discuss:

  • Our radio dads!…and what happens around Sean’s dinner table…
  • The lessons he learned on the agency side that all media sellers should know
  • The role of media in building your brand during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The power of including authentic messaging around diversity & inclusion
  • VAB and IAB – important bedfellows
  • The changes in consumer habits that marketers need to consider
  • How to put your best foot forward to advance a career in this industry.

Resources Mentioned:

Social Media Links:

Please share the podcast if you liked this episode, and follow Insider Interviews on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

You can also reach out to be considered for an episode — or suggest questions or a guest — or to have your own bespoke podcast series produced and/or hosted by E.B. Moss. Email us at podcasts@mossappeal.com. We’re “hear” for you!


Andrea Palmer of PHM on Marketing Healthcare – with Innovation and a Conscience



Andrea Palmer, now President of Publicis Health Media (PHM) has wanted to be in Healthcare Marketing since her college days despite the field not always getting credit for being dynamic or embracing creativity. With PHM’s reputation for having their “finger on the pulse” (sorry), she’s proven those perceptions wrong and inspired many to follow or stick to the healthcare marketing path.

In Episode 18 of Insider Interviews, in which I perhaps sing again (umm, twice, I’m just sayin’) Palmer clearly demonstrates just how creative and important messaging around healthcare can and should be. It’s certainly an area that’s very top of mind with us all these days and Palmer makes it digestible. You’ll pick up on why she rose through the ranks quickly at PHM — the strategic media planning and buying agency within PHCG, and the only global media agency solely dedicated to the health and wellness space. This industry trailblazer of nearly 20 years shares what’s currently happening in the healthcare media space, along with some interesting projections from PHM’s prescient “Disruptors List.” Get the insider scoop on what inspiring innovations emerged from the “Shark Tank”-type element of their industry-convening Health Front, and what we should be concerned about.

Palmer is determined to ensure the right information is getting out there and helped drive home PHM’s mission to equip brands AND people with the tools and communications they need to make healthy decisions. We learn why it’s important to create content with conscience and why brands need to listen to other voices than their own.

What we talked about:

  • What’s happening in healthcare marketing
  • How a childhood illness put Palmer on the path to healthcare…and college led her to marketing
  • Health trends and disruptors
  • How PHM markets to consumers who’re apprehensive about embracing telehealth
  • How PHM helps its clients with being ‘the resource’ instead of Dr. Google
  • Defining the concept of Content with a Conscience
  • Facing down racism: communicating to diverse audiences and not just “to the mean”
  • How Palmer is advising her clients on approaches to ensure that health message is communicated well and heard by all cohorts and communities
  • Thinking about the bigger picture
  • Pushing for innovation in the health realm
  • The future of healthcare

And yes, I find a reason to close with a song…again.

 

Follow Andrea on Social Media

 Resources mentioned in the episode

PHM: Publicis Health Media

Health Front 2020

The Healthcare Industry’s Big Disruptors


Tom Webster with the Insider Scoop on Audio Research



Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research, describes his job as “telling the stories of numbers.” He definitely make numbers come alive, and he’s a great storyteller overall. So you’re generally okay with Tom as your guest if you didn’t discuss podcast topics in advance.

My industry acquaintance may be self-effacing, but he has a steel trap mind for the insights Edison regularly uncovers about all things audio, and he shared quite a few in our ad hoc but fascinating conversation for  Insider Interviews.

The custom market research company helmed by Larry Rosin may be best known as the sole providers of exit polling data during U.S. elections, but Tom is best known for his big research reveals on webinars (now Zoom presentations) or at conferences. Research junkies lean in to hear which platform has the biggest “share of ear” and how differently are consumers engaging with Alexa. Basically, he’s the go-to guy for sharing and interpreting our evolving involvement with radio, podcasting, voice…even IoT and our social media habits.

As Tom describes it, “I make sure that the data that we collect on behalf of our clients is understood contextualized, put into action and valued, and that people come back for more.” Here’s what’s “more” about Tom and a topline of our discussion: Little known fact? Tom likes words as well as numbers. This former English Lit professor is also the principal author of some widely cited studies and the co-author of The Infinite Dial, America’s longest-running research series on digital media consumption, and The Mobile Commerce Revolution.

In Episode 16, Tom shares some insider scoop from Edison’s audio research – and his considered POV on the current state of radio broadcasting and the growth of podcasting (including some tips that can help you grow your own podcast).

[00:01 – 03:25] Opening Segment

  • More about Tom Webster, his role in Edison Research and a moving from academia to a marketing career

[03:26 – 17:20] The Insider Scoop on Audio Research

  • About Edison Research’s broader offerings – like that exit poll and vote count data – and Tom’s area of focus: Audio
  • More insider scoop from Tom WebsterVoice vs. Audio
    • The growth of “smart speakers.”
    • Where are we – if anywhere — with an FM chip for mobile phones?
    • The general state of radio
    • The uptake on podcasting (Joe Rogan notwithstanding)
  • Tom talks about some Edison partnerships (and E.B. held back “insider” jokes about her old boss, John Rosso of Triton Digital!)

[17:21 – 25:40] Diverse Voices

  • The diversity in podcast listeners and podcast content
  • Growing your podcast in today’s competitive market:
    • Having a distinct voice
    • Showing your unique, distinct point of view
  • How Tom is sharing HIS unique POV, via his own newsletter I Hear Things

[25:41 – 31:27] Closing Segment

  • Tom’s go-to resource gathering platforms
  • The Tom and Tamsen team: “freenoting”with his wife, Tamsen Webster
  • Final thoughts

 

 

E.B. and Tom on the first (last?) VOICE panel at CES 1/20

Resources Mentioned:

You can connect with Tom on LinkedIn and Twitter. Subscribe to his I Hear Things newsletter. Listen to The Freenoter with Tom Webster and Tamsen Webster.

Follow Edison Research on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also visit their website https://www.edisonresearch.com/

Please share the podcast if you liked this episode, and Follow Insider Interviews on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

And reach out to be considered for an episode — or suggest questions or a guest — or to have your own bespoke podcast series produced and/or hosted by E.B. Moss, please reach out at podcasts@mossappeal.com. I’m “hear” for you!

 


Marketing NPR – The Insider Scoop from CMO Michael Smith



Michael Smith joined National Public Radio as chief marketing officer at a time when the nation — and the world — had just entered crisis mode. In addition to adapting to his new job he’s needed to shift the company’s marketing message, outreach and the very stance the brand has taken over the past years. Part of that shift was motivated by more digital audio listening given more at-home workers during our pandemic. The parallel motivation was to amplify more multicultural voices and drive greater diversity within the halls of the company itself. 

In Episode 15, Michael shares his observations, his approach and some insider scoop from his winged-back chair in New Jersey. For example, he explains how different audiences respond to NPR’s content. Michael tells us that “among regular users when we look at people of color versus white listeners, their satisfaction levels are actually higher. So it’s an exciting thing in the sense that if we can get more people to know that we’re there and to get us into their consideration set, when they come, I think they’re going to love it.” 

Michael had primarily been focused on network video, developing strategies to reach younger and more diverse audiences on streaming platforms for Cooking Channel, and Food Network — where he and I worked together during the last big crisis for the country, 9/11! He has quickly learned to apply his know-how to linear radio and on demand audio.

“When they start to know some of these shows where there are young, diverse hosts, a Sam Sanders or [they get to know the] hosts of Pop Culture Happy Hour, that creates so much more engagement than when they just see the three block letters, NPR.”

The fast 35-minute discussion includes suggestions all brands can appreciate from a world-class marketer like Michael Smith. We talked about:
  • The challenges most media companies are facing right now
  • How to move from linear to on demand streaming digital platforms
  • Balancing linear, podcasting and the NPR One app
  • How has Coronavirus Daily evolved as a show…and the ongoing need for that content?
  • How NPR itself has evolved since its origins in the 60s, and why its signature audio style is intentionally like a mental “exhale”
  • Working with the sponsorship team, NPM
  • Michael’s optimism — and any pessimism — for the future.

Follow Michael on LinkedIn. Follow NPR on Twitter.

Follow Insider Interviews on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And reach out to be considered for an episode or for your own bespoke podcast series produced and/or hosted by E.B. Moss. 

Michael’s “studio” chair