Teddy Goalsevelt on What Makes Shareworthy Content

Mike D’Amico is a wonderfully talented art director. We worked together when he first got into the business with a gig at Element 79. As a digital native in a largely TV shop, he was an amazing font of information about these new things like Twitter and Foursquare.

But today, suddenly, he’s far better known to soccer fans around the world as “Teddy Goalsevelt.” As you can see in this interview with Chicago’s Very Own WGN Channel 9, he’s rode his costumed-enthusiasm to massive social media fame.  Check out these write ups from Buzzfeed, the NY Post and ESPN. He is viral. And truly winning the internet.


Despite what must be a dizzying maelstrom of international attention, Mike makes an incisive point that is nothing short of absolute genius at 5:31 of his WGN interview on what he’s learned about this experience.

“It’s funny. My job literally is to make content go viral online. And I’ll tell you what; if there’s one thing to learn from this about the internet, it’s that you can not do this on purpose.”

For those of us who work in this business, that statement is undeniably true. Trying to ascertain what will capture the fleeting attention of our ADD society at a specific moment in time is something of a crapshoot. Still, in those rare moments when you do, the result is pure joy. And Mike, you’ve brought a ton of pure joy to fans of US Soccer, and by association, our ever-manly 26th President.

By the way, epic gloves Mike. So fired up for you. So. Much. Fun.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

The Launch of Bauer’s New Campaign: Another Reason Why I Moved To Minneapolis and Olson

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingOn Monday, Advertising Age wrote about our launch of Bauer’s first new brand campaign since 1996. Their angle was how we adjusted our creative in light of the NHL lockout, shifting the focus from our roster of A-list professional stars to our core brand community of young hockey players. It was a nice article. And it was really nice when cbssports.com and ESPN’s Darren Rovell also picked it up.

My own angle would be far different. I’ve launched many brand campaigns during my career, but as a TV storyteller, I’m thrilled to be part of a major brand campaign that launched digitally.  On Bauer’s website. And Facebook page. And it’s been exciting and validating to watch how it’s spreading in the Bauer brand community. #ownthemoment is getting a lot of play on Twitter, even beyond our ice hockey community.

At Olson, we talk about the importance of communities to brands; how their endorsements shortcut the traditional sales funnel, how word of mouth is a powerful new media platform and mostly, how activating a brand community can help shape and improve a brand’s bottom-line.

It’s no coincidence that over the past seven years, the Bauer brand community helped grow this tired old brand that once stood a distant third to become number one in every category: sticks, skates, pads, helmets (and honestly, can you even name three hockey brands?). That’s a tremendous accomplishment that wasn’t done through a huge spend but rather targeted community engagement, giving them relevant content and themes to share with their friends, all of which added credence to Bauer’s credibility as the true brand in hockey.

But what’s most exciting are our plans to later launch the TV portion of the advertising. We’ve already cut a nice :60 brand spot featuring amateurs and pros alike, but we won’t air that version first. Instead, we are running a contest where we invite our community to share personal video showing how they own the moment: in practice, in games, while traveling, wherever.  We are collecting and sharing their footage and the kicker is, we will edit some of this community-sourced footage into our broadcast debut spot.

In other words, our brand community will both shape our message, and then, further spread it as the winners notify their own networks about when to see them in a Bauer TV spot.

This is film doing more. This is TV with no dead ends. And this is exactly why I came to Olson: to learn, to grow, to reinvent. It’s really, really exciting.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

The LeBron James Decision: More Proof That Social Media = Crowdsourced PR

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago AdvertisingMore than anything else, social media has changed our definition of news.  The very nature of always-on, 24/7 update-ability means news organizations no longer serve story deadlines.  Our traditional definition of news as something that’s already happened has given way to something even as it happens.  Since life is fluid and perspectives constantly shift and evolve, news no longer deals in factual reporting on events.  As we’ve all been witnessing for the past week, the news ‘story’ has been the quicksilver vagaries of  speculation and opinion surrounding LeBron James.

“He’s going to Miami to join Wade and Bosh.”  “He’s announcing in Greenwich, that’s like ten minutes from the Knicks practice facility.”  New rumors pop up every minute and anyone with a blog or twitter account has a platform to join in on this evolving story which so far, amounts to little more than educated guesses.  Hardly the stuff of Edward R. Murrow…

This kind of empowered speculation has insidious effects on what news organizations serve up to the public.  Remember how we were all supposed to die from Bird Flu?  At the beginning of this year, the head of the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health admittedly that dire forecasts of a deadly H5N1 bird flu virus pandemic were overblown.  Similarly, the director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Epidemiology testified that swine flue was similarly exaggerated.  In both instances, the news reported predictions–splashy, headline-generating predictions–as news.

Following developments around what the Wall Street Journal has coined “LeBronference Call” on Twitter or Facebook makes one thing incredibly clear: social media is crowd sourced PR, full stop.  It is not a news service; it is a vast and powerful opinion outlet.  On rare occasions like last year’s elections in Iran, it can serve as an ad hoc source for on the spot reporting, but by and large, it’s stock in trade is feeling, prediction and belief, not facts and figures.

So instead of joining the speculative fray about tonight’s announcement, I will instead offer up two predictions that are as good as fact:

1.  Michael Wilbon’s statement this morning that “More people will be unhappy than happy when he makes his decision” is an unassailable truth.

2.  We will be forced to wait until at least 9:25 EST/8:25 CST to hear his actual choice, in order to milk the suspense deeper into the one hour ESPN telecast.

Personally, I will be following the story on my mobile.  I’ve got a basketball game tonight.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


UPDATE:  As part of the deal, ESPN insisted LeBron James announce the selected team within the first fifteen minutes of the show to avoid backlash.  So at 8:14pm CST, stand by…  Or not: ESPN will have three hours preceding the show and two hours of analysis afterward.


So, Does This Make You Think Of Kraft Cheddar Mac & Cheese?

Sunday morning, Texas Stadium–the place where the Cowboys earned five Superbowls, Emmit Smith ran for his career rushing record, and the architects left a large hole in the center of the ceiling “so God could look down on his favorite team”–collapsed into a heap of rubble as part of a planned demolition.  A series of detonations and this stadium and its nearly sixty-six thousand seats were no more.  And it wasn’t just the passing of a storied football venue: Texas Stadium also held a place in advertising lore as the location for the classic Coca-Cola “Mean Joe Green” spot.

Perhaps because Texans have a hardtime underplaying anything, Chris Berman emceed the farewell on ESPN and fans paid for the right to hold all-night tailgaters and watch the minute-long event.

More remarkably, Kraft paid $75,000 for the rights to sponsor it.

All because Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner will introduce a new flavor this year–Cheddar Explosion.  So at the beginning of this year, they ran a promotion to find–in Kraft’s inimitable over-explanatory, legally-safe words-“the nation’s most dynamite kid (9-12 years old).”  And apparently, they did find one dynamite kid (9-12 yearsold) to serve as the Grand Marshall and push the button to detonate Texas Stadium.

I just wonder if anyone told Kraft “Cheddar Explosion” that the detonation was actually an implosion?

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

Without Commercials, The Super Bowl Isn’t

A group of us flew down here to New Zealand for a large commercial shoot.  The weather’s nice, the country’s beautiful and the production team is very buttoned up.  Which is why we had the afternoon of Super Bowl Monday free to catch the Big Game™ at a local pub (Four Nations, Auckland, NZ).  Watching the game on a sunny afternoon certainly changed the experience but not half as much as watching it on an ESPN Live feed where the network fills the commercial breaks exclusively with ESPN promos.

That’s right: no Budweiser ads.  No Dockers, no Snickers, no Coke–just promos for rugby and soccer matches.  When the commercials came on, the crowd just headed for the rest rooms or the bar for another pint of Kilkenny’s (lovely stuff, that).

Without commercials, the Super Bowl is decidedly less Super.  It’s not nearly as engaging.  When it ended, people talked about the game for a while before quickly moving on.  There were no debates about which spot was best, what was a dumb investment, and who got hosed by unfortunate placement.  I’ll probably catch up later by watching them online but it’s not nearly the same as hearing a crowded bar erupt at a good joke or loudly pan a weak execution.

DVR technology allows people to skip past commercials and data shows many do–but they frequently rewind if they see something interesting.  And the Super Bowl majors in commercials that at least attempt to be something interesting.  Just this past Friday, a page one poll on USA Today claimed that 51% of viewers enjoy the commercials most about watching the Super Bowl on TV.  I’d have to agree.

Chalk a big W in the score column for traditional media.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

PS:  Do yourself a favor and read Ross Buchanan’s comment to this post.  Frankly, I wish I’d written it.