Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

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.

7 Ways to Doom your Marketing or Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Sometimes marketers think they know what they are doing. Other times, if they don’t, they pretend that they do.¬† Luckily, our little Pittsburgh based ad agency is smart enough to know that it’s easier to say I don’t know or to appeal to a higher power than it is to suffer these 7 marketing mistakes.

1) The lights are on but no one is home: In your push to increase customer loyalty and retention, you’ve driven your customers away with poor messaging, poor communication and complete disdain and compassion for them and the product they love.

2) We must be #1: In your zeal to hit the ground running with your product, you have failed to realize that the product has serious deficiencies and you choose to launch anyway. Your product awareness campaign has only increased the awareness of how bad the product might actually be. Why? You were not listening and your timing could not be worse.

3) You have burned bridges. In your quest to create brand advocates you have created the anti-brand champions who have made it their goal in life to do everything in their power to make sure that your brand does not succeed. You made enemies and yet you continue to not listen and you decide to push on without addressing it.

4) You really don’t know who your customer is. In pushing to roll out your social media marketing plan, you miss the mark completely¬†and are marketing to the wrong¬†people. In your¬†rush to create new revenue streams, you‚Äôve decided to beat a dead horse. Not knowing your customer and assuming you did. Bad.

5) Stubborn as an old school mule. You decide to do it your way. You think your one way style of contacting and talking at the customer using the latest social media tools should work just fine in its own intrusive way. You have decided that frequency is better than reach and breadth is better than depth. You have not heard a thing that has been said.

6) You’re an impostor.¬† You‚Äôve decided that you need to hide behind a few layers. You don‚Äôt want the customer to know anything about you, the company, the realness of the people behind the product. Nothing.¬† One of the most important aspects of social media marketing is being transparent, or had you not heard that yet?

7) You’re a liar. You’re not who you say you are. This speaks as much to #6 as it does all of the rest.  But one of the keys to any relationship be it personal, or business, is honesty.

Have anything to add?

What Social Media is Not…

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Often times we get caught up in the semantics of what social media is and isn’t. In this slide share presentation we look at what social media is not.

The RO-Why of Social Media

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

So do we talk about the ROI of social media or KPI’s? Do you know the difference? The difference is similar to the difference between an advertising agency and a company that focuses on marketing. Or better yet, Heinz Field and PNC park.

From a purely definitive standpoint ROI is pretty basic, ROI = (X – Y) / Y, If you invest $10 and get back $30, your ROI is (30 – 10) / 10 = 2 or 2 times your initial investment.

Now let’s apply that to social media. Having solid goals and a realistic baseline measurement is crucial to figuring out your social media ROI.¬† So before you set out to measure and monitor your social media returns, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you want to accomplish. <—-Isn’t this something you would do in any business situation?

So once you have your goals defined, you need to gauge the baseline for your levels before starting or changing your social media strategy. For example, if your goal is to increase social media mentions of your company, in order to measure the ROI of any actions taken toward that goal, you need to know where you stand now. You can’t evaluate the ROI accurately without a baseline. If the baseline is zero, so be it.

Now KPI’s are completely different in that you’re tracking and making sense of interactions, which is a fundamental part of social media. Many of these metrics are factored into the notion of “Key Performance Indicators” and in the same way you can score different interactions to create some kind of interaction index, each one has it’s own merit. For instance here are 15 fairly common social media KPI’s.

  1. Alerts
  5. Email subscriptions
  6. Fans
  7. Favourites
  8. Feedback
  10. Forward to a friend
  11. Posts
  12. Social media shares / participation
  13. Uploads
  15. Widgets

So what are the KPI’s that you are using within your organization to measure your social media interactions?