Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Apple Box Weighs in on Ad Bowl 2015: Winners & Losers

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

During the four hours of the Super Bowl each year, top brands and agencies compete off-field for the most talked about and shared ad spots. Now that the games have ended, the Monday morning quarterbacks at Apple Box Studios are pleased to bring you the top five best and worst ads of Super Bowl 2015.

Our Top 5 Winners

1. Be More Human – Reebok

To push their new logo and brand message, Reebok has launched a fully integrated campaign designed to decode what it means to be human – capable of anything. This ad not only highlights the physical benefits of fitness, but also the mental, emotional and social benefits that appeal to every type of human. We’re used to brands like Nike and Under Armour tellings us we need to be more like the star athletes in which their ads focus on. Reebok, instead, shows us the parent, the protector, the coach – roles any audience member can relate to. It’s not about being strong like Michael Jordan, it’s about being strong in your daily life and facing the non-stop punishments no matter who you are. Let’s not forget to mention their kick-butt, interactive website, equipped with a first-ever “human score” test.

2. Newfangled Idea – BMW i3

BMW’s ad “Newfangled Idea,” pushes aside the muscle trucks and Internet newbies of the past and braces for a high tech today. In 1994, no one knew how big the Internet would be. Not even broadcast journalists Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. 21 years later, a new big idea has them scratching their heads again. In this spot, BWM shows it has a clear vision of the future and innovative technology with it’s new i3 produced with good fuel economy.

3. #LikeAGirl – Always 

Following Dove’s lead, Always shifts the spotlight on an under-represented issue. During a ritual that seems to be dominated by men, they pose the question: when did doing something like a girl become an insult? By giving women a voice in the conversation, this ad proves that “like a girl” doesn’t have to be something negative. A personal favorite of all the ladies at Apple Box.

4. “Lost Dog” – Budweiser #BestBuds

No Super Bowl ad mecca would be complete without Budweiser pulling at our heartstrings yet again. As the supposed final chapter of the best buds story, Budweiser reminds the beer-in-hand audience that beer is more than just a drink. It’s about friendship, love, home and…wait…a cute puppy?

5. The Brady Bunch – Snickers

“You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” – a commercial we’ve seen a hundred times over takes it to the next level with Danny Trejo starring as a very hungry Marcia and if that’s not enough funny, Steve Buscemi swoops in at the end as the perpetually forgotten Jan. Great writing plus an unexpected casting lands this ad the final spot in our top five.



Now for the Bench Warmers 

1. Showdown with Jerry Rice and Andrew Hunter – Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes let us down with this prequel to their content marketing win, “Fable.” Mercedes-Benz is supposed to symbolize luxury and opulence and to us, the ad screamed tacky and a lack of focus. The best or nothing? Not with this ad.

2. Kate Upton – Game of War

Kate Upton in this ad, hid her disdain for Game of War about as well as she can act. That’s all we have to say.

3. #MakeItHappy – Coke

#MakeItHappy? more like #MakeAFire, cause that’s what would have happened if a full coke bottle were to spill on a bunch of computer wires. We had much higher expectations from the monster brand after a year of success from their “Share a Coke” campaign. Coke probably should have explored a safer and more realistic approach to solving cyber bullying.

4. Make Safe Happen – Nationwide

“Sadvertising” continues to be a common wrap-up word describing this year’s Super Bowl ads, but many are arguing Nationwide took it too far. Although the Insurance brand is gaining a lot of buzz surrounding preventable child accidents, no brand should want to be associated with headlines like “child-death ad.” This could have been an extremely disturbing moment for the tens of thousands who have lost children to a tragedy.

5. Tackle It – Jublia

First of all: who is Jublia? and why are they showing us thirty seconds of toe fungus on one of the most food-loving days of the year?

What ads made it on your top five? Continue the conversation on our Facebook page.

An Ad Agency Year In Review

Monday, January 19th, 2015

2014 was an amazing year for Apple Box Studios. here are a few of the highlights:

We expanded our team and welcomed Andrea Short, Client Services Manager, Molly Fallone, Social Media Manager, Caitlyn Depp, Inside Sales Representative and Sam Eisen, Copywriter Proofreader as the latest Apple Box Studios additions. And, more importantly, a new mascot: Chicko…Director of Cuteness.

We are excited about the addition of some new clients this past year including: DCK Worldwide, NearShore Technology, Visit Milwaukee and Rinovum.

In summer 2014, we continued to support our charity-of-choice, Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania. The Apple Box Team joined forces with friends, family and community members to increase awareness and raise money for the Parkinson Foundation. The fundraising also included an annual Moving Day walk. More than $3 million was raised in 2014, (a $1 million increase) and we are proud and excited to have been apart of it.

We had a video go viral. It wasn’t quite a Kim-Kardashian take-over, but the Mighty. Beautiful Pittsburgh spot for Visit Pittsburgh, produced by Apple Box Studios had a surge of 100K+ video views spanning a little over one week. The video was featured in a blog post from in early November with the title: “If You’re From Pittsburgh, This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See Today. Hands Down”. The blog received almost 540K hits and spread through social media. Along with our friends at VisitPittsburgh, we were beyond excited to see the video go viral and generate so much Pittsburgh spirit and buzz.

We expanded our social media reach. You can now find us on, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and SlideShare! We post content daily on industry tips, trends, inside news and other goodies! Check us out with a /appleboxstudios.

And to top off the year, we ended with a Christmas party for the ages that included stops at some of our favorite Pittsburgh places like the Pittsburgh winery, Meat and Potatoes and Club Cavo in our hood – the Strip!

Thank you to our friends, clients and creative partners for another wonderful year and your loyal friendship. Looking forward to all 2015 has in store for the Apple Box Studios team.


Video Keeps Rolling – Strap in for a year of GoPros, UVACs and 4K Production

Monday, December 29th, 2014

In 2014, three key technological forces combined to keep the creative power and business of video rolling. Today, the use of this impressive trio has proved to CEOs, commercial producers and clients alike that video is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity that can be affordable and effective in telling a compelling visual story. As the video production industry heads into 2015, our tech compass is pointing at the GoPro camera, UVAC technology (unmanned video aircraft carrier, or “drones”) and the growing attraction to (and use of) 4K production as drivers of strong growth in video production.

Let’s start with the GoPro. Since the company went public in June 2014, no device, company or innovation had symbolized the surge of video usage we all experienced this past year like the GoPro. A point-of-view camera made famous by extreme sport athletes and risk-takers alike. 2014 was the year this mobile mini wonder expanded beyond the weekend warrior platform and went mainstream production with commercial and corporate pros behind the lenses.

The camera became a force for transforming the way consumers and pros capture footage and express meaningful life events in video. GoPro has pushed not only its users but also the art and science of video production to new extremes during a year that ultimately showed production personnel and clients that the GoPro can serve as a powerful and even cost effective production tool.

The company’s web site ( touts that the GoPro enables people “to capture compelling, immersive photo and video content of themselves participating in their favorite activities.” Typically, those activities have been outdoors and involved athletic activities., a financial web site, even noted that by mid 2014 there were 500 million+ views on YouTube of GoPro generated video content. It’s important to note that most often, these are consumer-views. However, if we drill down deeper, filmmakers and Directors of Photography from all over the world along with corporate and commercial video pros are using the GoPro to capture some never before seen shots. Check out for a deep pool of GoPro-created videos.

In 2014, we’ve seen feature films like Need for Speed, cable shows like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, and corporate video productions for manufacturing, training and marketing. In these productions, the GoPro has become a staple in the producer and videographer’s toolkit. And let’s not forget to mention quality… the GoPro can quite clearly hold it’s own when intercut with high-end production cameras. In a recent episode of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown produced by ZeroPointZero Productions, Bourdain and his crew outfitted a fishing boat working the waters of Cape Cod with five GoPro units. The cameras, intercut with the compliment of cinema-styled Sony F5’s and 55’s, captured stunning point-of-view imagery of the boat dipping in and out of seas, high and wide-angle views of the boat’s deck from above and unique perspectives from the Captain’s wheel as the boat headed out into even deeper waters. You can catch the episode at

The GoPro camera is like no other before because it goes where most do not or “cannot” go – on helmets, cycles, torsos, in places the size of a coffee mug, in environments where the air is thin or the water is deep and even strapped on and bouncing on top of animals’ heads.  A great example can be found in To Climb An Iceberg, part of the Adventure in Life 4k series The filmmaker’s ventured through dangerous arctic waters in Greenland’s Disko Bay looking for the ultimate iceberg to capture on video and send home. The GoPro’s and their videographers risked their lives and pushed their limits climbing fragile icebergs. Shot 100% on the HERO4® camera, we see one more dramatic example of how and where the GoPro is taking us.

How about flight? UVACs (unmanned video aircraft carrier technology) also notoriously known on the streets as the aerial drone, is our second force that keeps video rolling into 2015. UVAC simply means a drone unit is holding or strapped to a GoPro, DSLR or larger camera. Let’s just say this technology has really taken off in 2014 (pun intended).

British filmmaker and video guru Phillip Bloom, known for his DSLR filmmaking, blog and workshops, says he loves flying a GoPro mounted on his DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, and, “How freeing it can be” even comparing it to his dreaming of being an astronaut (source: Digital Filmmaker Issue 18). More and more, video production pros are using this birds-eye tech to grab shots that typically would have been off limits due to cost or capability- shots that in most cases would have been attempted using a camera crane or even pricier – helicopters. Today, however, it’s getting more and more commonplace to use UVACs to shoot aerial footage for commercial purposes like real estate marketing, outdoor events, travel videos, training videos, wildlife conservation videos and even as delivery vehicles (as we’ve seen with industry leaders like But to experience the freedom Bloom speaks of, professional UVAC operators are working hard to gain experience, record training flight-time and seek out clients. And, on a positive note, never before have we seen pilots flying with such an eagle-eye on safety.

 Prior to October 2014, UVAC regulations permitted use only for personal applications or hobbies. Commercial and paid use of UVACs was banned. However, on September 26, 2014, the FAA granted rights to use UVACs in commercial applications to 6 production companies giving certain exemptions and special status specifically for the purpose of aerial (source: Wikipedia). As we head into the new year, we are beginning to see more structured and safer use of UVACs with much needed governmental guidance in the works at the same time.

Today, video production pros and firms like us have expanded on and embraced UVACs for commercial and marketing use. For us at, Apple Box Studios, we’ve been getting high over beautiful, city landscapes, tall and detailed architecture and buzzing street ways with UVAC technology. In fact, you may have even come across one of Pittsburgh’s 2014 viral videos, Mighty Beautiful Pittsburgh, a spot for Visit Pittsburgh and produced by the Apple Box crew (check it out here: UVACs gave us the ability to capture Pittsburgh’s mighty beauty from all angles. As the video proved positive, utilizing UVACs is a powerful tool for destination marketing, one of our main services at the Box.

We can point to a dramatic example of the growing UVAC phenomenon as in the case this past Fall in the Northeast U.S. when videographer James Grimaldi used his UVAC to capture the first major snowfall of the season in West Seneca, NY. A storm had hit Southern Buffalo and its southern-most towns killing 14 and covering the region in more than seven feet of snow. The storm created a surreal landscape and from high above Grimaldi’s drone brought a magical view on unplowed streets, buried vehicles and a treacherous Arctic landscape. Grimaldi published the footage on YouTube showing the world his UVAC in action as the unit flew through a garage door and out across snow-covered neighborhoods. The footage is breathtaking and can be seen at

Not only did Grimaldi seem to capture the attention of the world with his now classic “snow flight”, he shot the footage with the help of a GoPro shooting 4K footage. 4K. The third force fueling video’s growth storming into 2015.

If you open up almost any television and film production magazine today, you’re bound to see at least one article showcasing 4K resolution cameras and tools. 4K is in. 1080P is fading. In fact, one of the many new podcasts being published for producers, videographers and directors, 4K Shooters, is heralding the new wave of high-resolution 4K production tools and viewing displays. Whether it’s lenses, recording media or cinema-quality digital cameras, 2015 is looking like it will be the year 4k gets a warm embrace.

So what is 4K? 4K Ultra HD, standardized by the International Telecommunication Union, has four times the pixels (four times the resolution) of the 1080p HD format, today’s most-used format for acquisition and viewing. (source:

We saw many ads this past holiday season pitching 4K television sets for consumers. Although 4K viewing is slowly becoming a player, networks, studios and producers like Sony Pictures Television, Netflix and director Peter Jackson (Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies), believe it makes sense to shoot in 4K because the cost is low and because it’s always best to have as much resolution as you can. (source: Having said that, until producers and distribution networks make 4k programming available, 4k will most often be down-converted to 1080P or 2K formats (source:

The good news for 4K shooters is that both YouTube and Vimeo’s are making 4k content platforms available to consumers and pro’s. Although currently limited to mostly nature documentaries and tech coverage, 4k content production and usage online is expected to grow, and as of 2014, Vimeo PRO members and Vimeo On Demand sellers can allow people to upload and download 4K video files. Creators have been able to upload in 4K for some time, but now these files can be downloaded and played on high-end, 4K-compatible displays (source:

What’s the bottom line for our three powerful video industry drivers? These are tools that help our clients and our projects push the bar higher. With new point-of-view technology like the GoPro and the strong embrace of commercial and industrial applications for the UVAC we’re getting wider and more compelling aerials and ground shots than ever before. Drones are soaring and as long as we’re safely operating them when we’re after the next great shot from above, they’ll continue to be a go-to tool along with 4K production that offers the production pro of today and 2015, more resolution, color and vantages than we could have ever imagined.

So, video content lovers and producers alike, brace yourself and hold on tight for an exciting, high-flying, high-resolution year for video production in 2015.

Mighty Beautiful Pittsburgh Video Goes Viral

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Created by Apple Box Studios for VisitPittsburgh, the Pittsburgh. Mighty. Beautiful. tourism presentation went viral last week. Featuring aerial footage of the Steel City, the video showcases Pittsburgh like you’ve never seen her before.

Movoto Real Estate, a realty blog and online guide were the ones who lit the spark on November 3. In their blog post titled “If You’re From Pittsburgh, This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See Today. Hands Down,” Movoto embedded the 3 minute VisitPittsburgh presentation, which has been taking off on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook over the last eight days with 94K+ likes and shares. Today, the original Movoto blog post has reached more than 469K views and is still climbing.

The Apple Box Studios team is grateful and excited to see the tourism piece spreading, but we must admit – Pittsburgh makes it easy to make such a mighty beautiful video. Although next time, as the video’s many comments have repeatedly stressed, the 6-time Super Bowl Champs, the Steelers, just better get some prime aerial coverage too. ;)

Go ahead, one more view ain’t gonna hurt ya! Click here.

Apple Box Welcomes Four New Hires

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

We are excited to announce the four latest additions to our Apple Box Studios team: Andrea Short, Molly Fallone, Caitlyn Depp, and Sam Eisen.

Andrea Short, Client Services Manager, provides administrative, financial, project management and business development support.

Molly Fallone, our new Social Media Manager, manages social media marketing, planning, writing, execution and reporting for clients, as well as Apple Box Studios.

Caitlyn Depp, Inside Sales Representative, is responsible for lead generation, marketing and business acquisition. Here she comes.

Sam Eisen is our newest Copywriter Proofreader. Sam joins Apple Box Studios as a preferred freelance partner providing creative copy writing, technical writing, social media content and proofreading services.

If the opportunity presents itself, I hope you will take a moment to welcome Andrea, Molly, Caitlyn and Sam into the Pittsburgh marketing community.

What is Retargeting?

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Ever log onto Facebook and get the feeling that those sneaky ads on the margins of the page are trying to tell you something? (How does Facebook know that I LOVE shoes, dresses, and beaches in Mexico?!) Well my friends, they are.

At one point or another, we’ve all been victims of retargeting. Here’s how it works:

  1. Bob visits Website A
  2. Bob leaves Website A, but continues to surf the web on popular sites such as Yahoo, ESPN, etc.
  3. Bob is shown a shiny, sparkly banner ad for Website A
  4. Bob clicks on banner ad, directing him back to Website A
  5. Voila, Bob has just been RETARGETED

In case you are not a search & social media guru, there are many firms out there that companies partner with for similar retargeting services. Basically, a cookie is dropped on user’s computers while they are surfing. This cookie then determines what ad the user is shown on future websites they visit. There are many types of retargeting based on the consumer’s behavior; these include: search, site, email, contextual, engagement, etc. Have you ever been retargeted?


My Two Cents on Video Production

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Two big words in video are production value.  What does production value mean?  Often there is a negative financial connotation associated with that phrase, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a lot of money has to be spent.  It’s nothing tangible or monetary, you just know it when you see it.  There’s this great fear that you need a high budget to get production value out of your video.  It’s just not true.  Production value can be masked by intelligence, preparation, and hard work.  And it can most certainly be masked by creativity.  It’s possible to make something stylish and attractive, yet affordable.  There are plenty of great examples of work done affordably that give the impression of high production value.  And they can come from a video company right here in Pittsburgh.  It doesn’t have to be Hollywood or New York.   My advice is watch films and videos.  Watch them closely.  Mimic them.  Emulate them.  We benchmark every video project we work on with our clients.  It’s a valuable form of communication.  Sometimes you can’t describe a transition, or an effect.  Find the videos that can represent your vision and let them guide you, ultimately making them your own.


On the opposite side of the video spectrum, I’ll throw out two more words – double rainbow.  We all most likely know what that means.  If not, Google it.  It will take you 3 seconds to get in on the joke.  Regardless, production value can be thrown out the window if you have the right gimmick, gag, or just good timing.  Viral videos oversaturate already oversaturated social media & web sites.  But, they are harmless & they are here to stay.  People can’t get enough of them.  They hit some nerve.  I guess it’s human nature to share, to create, to vent, to be bored, to participate, to be honest, to connect, to express, to inspire.  All qualities I would never want to extinguish and all goals I try to achieve while creating.  So while I continue to look for production value out there, there are many more double rainbows.  If the desired result of your creation is accomplished, I guess it doesn’t matter which.

The World’s Best Commercials 2010-2011

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I love a great commercial. And recently, Adweek posted their list of the Best Commercials from 2010-2011. Being that it’s merely opinion that those that which they placed are the best, I thought I would review the ads and tell you some of my favorite spots. Keep in mind that I don’t often get to watch a lot of international advertisements, but I do occasionally get to view them – when they go viral. For the purpose of this commentary, I will try to stick to those commercials that I saw on Adweek’s website.

Adweek places Nike’s Write The Future ad as the #1 spot overall. I couldn’t disagree more. Not just because I think there are better commercials out there, but I think this commercial goes over the head of your average viewer, and they take too long to get to the point. That being said, I find it very hard to name a #1 overall commercial, so I will just mention some of my favorite in no particular order.

Heineken, “The Entrance”
What can you say that is wrong with this piece? I’m sure some will find fault with it, but I find it to be very entertaining, great music piece, great choreography and great timing with each piece. And they do what a lot of companies don’t do during these types of commercials – they show branding before the end! This commercial is definitely in my top 10!

Skittles, “Touch The Rainbow”
Ok, so there are several of these videos, but I am lumping them all in together as one. They have some very twisted humor and that’s right up my alley. Great branding and funny scenarios (for the most part). If you love just outright bizarre commercials, you will love the whole series. I’m embedding just one, but please feel free to browse them all when you get a moment. You won’t be sorry!

Volkswagen, “The Force”
Do I really need to talk about this one? This one went viral as soon as it was shown before the Super Bowl. Love the natural comedic timing this kid has (and if you didn’t see any of the interviews, it is a kid inside there). This commercial definitely qualifies as a top 10 smash!

Carlton Draught, “Slo Mo”
If you are a guy, you are going to love this commercial. Very funny. If you are a girl with a lot of patience, you might find it entertaining as well. Listen to the words of the song. Very funny stuff.

Traveler’s Insurance, “Trouble”
From the Super Bowl the previous year, this commercial debut and remains one of my favorite to this day. Just a very clever commercial with a dog that really knows how to act!

Google, “Speed Tests”
Actually, I like a lot of the new Google spots that I’ve been seeing on TV and the Internet. Google Goggles, Google Translate and the one for Google Maps (road view). But this one caught my eye because, to me, the browser speed is key to optimizing time spent on the Internet. Lately I’ve been on Firefox and Chrome and although I have experienced many bugs with Chrome, it definitely seems to be a faster browser. So the commercial rings true.

Honorable Mention

Carolton Dry, “Sheep Impact”
I saw this commercial on Adweek and, although it wasn’t a top contender in their eyes, I still found it to be entertaining. And, c’mon – it has Steven Segal in it!

So there you have it. My top picks from Adweeks Best of. Remember the key is to capture people’s attention and make sure you get your branding across!

7 Realities of Social Media that will change in 6 months

Friday, September 17th, 2010

We’ve been thinking a lot about measurement lately at Applebox Studios. Not only measuring our efforts as an ad agency in Pittsburgh, but also our social media efforts, as well as our marketing initiatives and how it all plays out into today’s economy and it utlimately affects you, the consumer. Thus, we came up with a couple of absolutes that for now, make sense to us.

  • Social media measurement will adapt with the changing of external markets and it‚Äôs influencers.
  • The rules of engaging the consumer and marketing to that consumer are changing at light speed with the advantage shifting towards the consumer.
  • Social media engagement should be measured differently in tough economic times.
  • The tone of marketing and social media marketing is changing.
  • Consumer expectations of social media will not change during¬† the current economic woes because they haven‚Äôt set any precedents yet.
  • The importance of social media optimization and SEO has never been larger.
  • Social nets have a better chance to thrive now, more than they did at this point last year.

Why most people don’t know about your blog.

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Is this your company?

You’ve been told that you should have a blog. Though the reasons why seem somewhat hazy. You’ve been told that you yourself should write the blog posts. Though the last time you wrote anything of length it was a letter to the judge to try and keep you out of Juvee.

Ok maybe I’m kidding about that last part. You know, you probably actually read some blogs yourself. Though you might not even know they are blogs. If I asked you what the basic structure of a blog was, could you tell me? If I asked you what the purpose of a blog was, would you be able to muster an answer?

What If I said it was for SEO purposes-would you know why and how? If I told you that you should write a blog so that you can connect with your customers-would you know how? Would you know what to say? Would you know where they are?

Please don’t tell me that your company does have a blog…

You keep hearing that social media is THE thing that your company needs to get into-but what do you know about social media? Do you even have the time to answer that question, and any of the questions asked above?

If I were you, I would at least make time to learn it before you decide whether it is right for you.

Most people don’t know about your blog, because you don’t what you’re doing or why you’re doing it.