Monthly Archives

May 2013

The Latest In Outrageous

By | Newsletter | No Comments

It’s been a very interesting month. We have a few stories for you: Google Glass has been gaining major traction and raised questions about privacy and security. YouTube announced the launching of its first paid channels that target an ever-growing market of “cord cutters”. Lab created hamburgers, the taste won’t blow you away but the price tag might.

Google Glass has recently been handed over to developers so they can create software that can innovate the way it will be used. A developer recently found software pre-built into Glass that detects when the user winks and takes a picture. Let’s hope that it can tell when something is in their eye too. Google Glass should be available sometime next year for consumers.

For the first time ever – YouTube will offer paid channels. This is the first sign of an “A-la-carte” television subscription. Content providers that believe their content is valuable enough for consumers to pay for on a subscription based system will make charge a monthly fee for their content to be viewed. Currently the roster is fairly small with 53 content providers but if those prove successful we could see more very soon.

Picture a burger that “tastes reasonably good” and costs $325,000. The most expensive hamburger in the world was recently created in a lab. We’ll spare you the details of how it’s made because it isn’t pretty. The price of innovation is high and although this burger doesn’t sound the least bit appealing; it still shows that there are advancements to be made in the science of food. NASA is even looking into putting down money to investigate the possibility of printing food with a 3D printer.

That about wraps up some of the latest outrageous trends this past month. Stay tuned for more trends in June.

Outrageous marketing ideas gathered from ‘round the Web

By | Newsletter | No Comments

We live in an age when marketing messages are ubiquitous. They’re on gas pumps, Facebook pages and woven into our clothes. As a result, marketers must work harder than ever to stand out. One approach is to go for the outrageous. By outrageous, we mean anything that is highly unusual or unconventional, extravagant or remarkable.

Think Liberace, the late classical pianist and showman, now in the news with HBO’s biopic debut of “Behind the Candelabra” movie starring Michael Douglas, Matt Damon and Rob Lowe. Liberace was over-the-top outlandish with giant rings, fancy clothes and campy style. He made a fortune being outrageous.

To get your creative juices cooking, here are some outrageous and successful marketing ideas gleaned from around the Web that you can apply – with your own twist, of course – to the audiences you want to reach.

Create an irresistible contest
In 2010, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry held a contest, offering the winner a chance to live for a month at the museum in a hotel-like room. The winner posted a flood of entries on social media sites and earned $10,000. The museum drew more than 1,500 contestants and generated loads of local and national news coverage and traffic to its website and Facebook page.

Forget the “elevator speech”
Drop the standard pitch. Instead of giving the lowdown on your company when the opportunity arises, focus on what you provide. For example, “I help my clients make the most effective use of their ad dollars.” In short, arouse the prospects’ curiosity so they start asking questions.

Sis Boom Bah! Rah! Rah! Rah!
Advocate for others by nominating a customer or someone in your company for an award or special recognition. Although preparing an application takes time, your investment demonstrates initiative and appreciation in addition to some well-deserved recognition. Many publications accept brief items about promotions and awards. Include a head shot if you can. That’s why deans’ lists and scholarship winners always make news.

Turn into a tenacious Terrier
Terriers are high-activity canines that demand a lot and give a lot. Once you know a prospect fits your niche, why send just one letter? Repeated direct mail advertisements to the right customers associate you with a product or service they need, maybe not next week but perhaps within a year. Make sure they know who to call.

Offer the unexpected
Across the pond, Britain’sTesco, which started as a grocery in 1919, expanded to include apparel in the 2000s, according to Wikipedia. By repositioning itself, Tesco went from being seen as a “sell ’em cheap” retailer to a broader appeal that included Tesco Value to Tesco Finest products, says Wikipedia. The chain grew from 500 stores to 2,500 stores in 15 years, according to a British newspaper.

Seize the moment
Tie your company’s expertise to news or events by contributing advice or commentary. Issue a news release or media advisory offering your expert. Examples: In the aftermath of a Des Moines restaurant fire, a Red Bull distributor offered free Red Bull to cleanup crews generating goodwill and positive news coverage. Personal fitness coaches or chiropractors can suggest stretching exercises before local 5K runs or charity walks.

Create a unique association
Form a group or association of like-minded potential customers to market your business. Try a Savvy Consumer Association that gathers tips, such as best bargain of the day, anecdotes on how to save money or find the best deals and prizes via social media to other members. This could be as simple as a Facebook page. Your experts can offer suggestions too.

Trade on the unexpected
A guerrilla marketing tactic, “promotional graffiti,” offers unexpected imagery in unexpected places. Though tough to execute and sometimes controversial, this approach catches potential consumers by surprise and can generate a buzz. It can be especially useful to counter myths about your product or services. Audi, the high-end car maker, painted streets in selected cities with messages that read, “Di*sel is no longer a dirty word.” Check out Audi’s campaign:

Red Bull Pit Stop
Red Bull, known for staging extreme events, set up a NASCAR-style pit stop in Times Square. Media-saturated New Yorkers responded and Red Bull scored a huge success. Check out the promo here:

Beam Me Up Scotty

By | Newsletter | No Comments

You would think that there was some type of cross-promotion with Star Trek: Into Darkness for this outrageous story… but there isn’t. Thousands are getting the opporutinty to participate in a privately funded colonization of Mars. Yes, that Mars. The program named Mars One will send four lucky (or unlucky depending on your point of view) people to Mars in 2023.

Once those four have established a small colony they will send another wave of people. The process is currently in its infancy. They are still receiving applicants (current number is around 78,000) from over 120 countries. Note that these people aren’t your Buzz Aldrins or Neil Armstrongs of the world. They are not required to have any previous NASA experience or formal training.

The plan is to record the teams training and have the audience ultimately pick who will go to Mars. It’s reality TV. There will also be a video feed of the astronauts while they are on Mars.

Here’s the kicker – the astronauts will have a one-way ticket. That’s right. There is no coming back after liftoff. This is one of the most outrageous things we have ever heard of and we dare you to do one better.

What we’re up to

By | Newsletter | No Comments

With the late arrival of Spring, our normal outdoor activities have been replaced with indoor entertainment. Here are the books and movies that haves been occupying our team’s free time:

Most recent movie: Mud – Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.
Fred’s Rating: ****
Currently Reading: Daniel – A story about the appearance of a mysterious soldier in the Vietnam War.

Currently Reading: Neverwhere – The story of a man who finds a hidden city under the streets of London.
Latest TV Obsession: The Tudors
Next up on the Movie List – Star Trek Into Darkness

Most recent movie: The Great Gatsby – An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.
Jordan’s Rating: *** Liked the modernization of the story and the music.
Currently Reading: Beyond Belief – The story of a girl who grew up in the Church of Scientology.

Most recent movie: Wreck it Ralph – The animated story of a video game villain who longs to be the hero.
Most recent movie that I actually enjoyed: Silver Linings Playbook
Tina’s Rating: ****
Currently Reading: The Paris Wife – Hadley Richardson, wife of Ernest Hemingway, tells the story of their turbulent time spent together in Paris in the 1920’s.

Most recent movie: Star Trek Into Darkness – Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.
Tim’s Rating: *****
Currently Reading: Hey Whipple, Squeeze This – the classic guide to creating great ads.
Must Read Recommendation: American Gods – An imaginative fantasy novel that tells of how a diaspora of ancient gods organizes itself for battle against the new American gods of commerce and media.

Currently Reading: One Thousand White Women – Pioneer women travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians as part of a controversial “Brides for Indians” government program.
Looking forward to – Allegiant (available Oct ’13) The 3rd book in the Divergent Trilogy, it is set in post-apocalyptic Chicago where society is divided into five factions and individuals choose which they will join, which determines the value they will commit to for the rest of their lives.
Latest TV Obsession: Marathon episodes of Love it or List it and Four Weddings.

Most recent movies: Mud which was an interesting character study and Star
which was entertaining.

Book: I’m trying to read The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Painting
has overtaken my reading time.

Currently Watching: Mad Men and The Voice
Looking Forward to: New episodes of Breaking Bad

Favorite TV: Castle and movies on the Turner Classic channel.
Currently Reading: The Beautiful and the Damned. It is a portrayal of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age in New York Cafe’ Society.
I was inspired by the Great Gatsby to do a Fitzgerald retrospective this summer.

Product placement – outrageous or not?

By | General | No Comments

Overall, do product placements in media add or subtract from the experience?

Product placements promote the brands willing to pay for the screen time and also create a more “realistic” cinematic experience. We’re bombarded with messaging in our normal lives; it’s logical that movie and television characters would also be exposed to this constant stream of messaging as well.

Product placement truly becomes problematic when it’s blatantly obvious that the product is not adding anything to the narrative or story. Here are a few outrageous examples of product placements:

  • Samsung Galaxy Phone during Shark Tank
  • Anything on the Biggest Loser
  • Oracle Servers throughout Iron Man 3
  • FedEx throughout Cast Away

Do you feel product placements add or subtract from the experience? Is it worth it, overall, for brands to feature their products in narrative stories?


-Jordan Bainer is a senior account executive at d.trio marketing group

Outrageous Marketing That Paid Off

By | General | No Comments

Sometimes, marketing campaigns break the rules and go against conventional knowledge in order to make a point or build awareness. Since this month’s theme is all about “outrageous ideas”, what better way to celebrate that theme by talking about risky marketing tactics that paid off?

Doritos Crowdsources It’s Advertising
Back in 2007, social media was become more and more pervasive in peoples’ lives. Doritos decided to hand over control of their Super Bowl TV ad creative to consumers who submitted 30-second spots. Doritos asked the world to rate those submitted ideas and then aired the winning entry.

Why Risky?
Super Bowl ad space runs between $3 and $4 million for a 30 second spot. Turning over creative control to consumers could have been a very costly social experiment.

Why Successful?
Doritos has developed a niche for itself in future Super Bowl ads and has since continued to tap into their consumers for funny, engaging TV spots.

Dominos Says “We Stink”
In 2010, Dominos came out with a campaign telling the world that the old Dominos was dead and gone and there was a new Dominos in town. Instead of focusing only on the good, they admitted their past faults in specific ways, calling their old pizza crust “cardboard” and pizza sauce “ketchup”.

Why Risky?
You risk alienating your brand advocates by calling your past product faulty and you may dissuade future customers from trying your product.

Why Successful?
Sales soared nearly 15% after the new recipes debuted and the campaign started. Many people commended Dominos for their honesty and forthcoming communications.

What outrageous, risky campaigns do you think paid off for the marketer?


-Jordan Bainer is a senior account executive at d.trio marketing group

From Fresh to Outrageous

By | General | No Comments

Our word for the month of May is Outrageous and I have to say, we’re all pretty excited about this word and have some fun ideas lined up to represent it. Last month our word was Fresh as we were thinking April…Spring…Fresh…right? However, April brought more snow than showers but with a few adjustments, freshness prevailed. As we now transition from Fresh to Outrageous the recent show at the Minnesota Art Institute comes immediately to mind. Art In Bloom is a yearly event which just recently celebrated it’s 30th year at the institute. At Art In Bloom, local artists and florists re-create the essence of artistic masterpieces using flowers in a most Outrageous way. If you’ve not been, you’re missing out on some serious artistic inspiration, not to mention amazing scents.

For some photos of this years winners, check out the Art Institute page:


-Maureen Dyvig is one of the founding partners of d.trio marketing group

Fresh blog from our fresh face

By | General | No Comments

The following blog is written by Tim Swenson, the newest member of the d.trio team. Tim joined us mid-April as an Assistant Account Executive.

A lot of images come to mind when I hear the word “Fresh”. Most of these images are of food.

Personally, I don’t eat out a lot and try to avoid fast food restaurants when I can. A recent article on explains at length why this should worry many chain restaurants (including the heavyweight champion McDonalds). To the dismay of many restaurants it seems to be a trend with millennials. The article states that McDonalds “doesn’t even rank among the demographic’s top 10 restaurant chains.”

I’m one of the 59 million (give or take a few) millennials, and I have some advice for every restaurant. It’s not about whether you’re a chain or one of the best-kept secrets in the city. It’s about keeping it “fresh”.

The first thing we want to be fresh is our food. I recently went out to lunch with some colleagues, and we chose to eat at Chipotle. Once there we started talking about how Chipotle makes a strong effort to only sell the freshest ingredients possible while maintaining high ethical standards in regards to raising animals. We were ultimately happy with our decision, not only because it tasted great, but because it felt morally responsible.

We want another thing to be fresh and that’s the menu. More options will never be a bad thing. This will keep the menu from getting old and will keep us coming back for more. It would be a very demanding task for major companies like McDonalds and Burger King to change their menu but it’s worth looking into for the company’s future.

Don’t just give a more diverse menu though; give a customizable option for when we’re trying to eat a little healthier or when we want to build our own culinary masterpiece. A “Build-Your-Own” or “Á La Carte” option is something consumers crave for in almost everything in life, including meals.

Restaurants need to keep an eye on millennials. Remember that “fresh” can be more than a piece of copy in an ad. It can be a statement.


-Tim Swenson is an assistant account executive at d.trio marketing group

3 fresh trends in food, funding & technology

By | Newsletter | No Comments

Trends are always changing (that’s why they’re called trends). Sometimes trends can give a glimpse into what the future holds. It’s a dynamic world out there and I’m here to give you a snapshot into some of the freshest trends in funding, food and technology.

Kickstarter is fundamentally shifting the way people invest in ideas, having funded tens of thousands of projects with over $500 million donated. This site shows that asking for funding on projects can be as simple as presenting a great idea that needs some cash to get started. Not only is Kickstarter a fresh trend that is shifting the way people invest in ideas; it’s also a great tool to see what fresh trends are in the works. Take the time and to browse some projects and maybe you’ll find something to help “kick-start.”

Food trucks have been around for over 100 years; so you may be wondering why they’re being talked about in an article on fresh trends. Take this into consideration though; they now offer great food, at reasonable prices, and can go basically anywhere. This cost-effective restaurant on wheels has put them in direct competition with other sit-down restaurants. It’s only a matter of time before we start seeing this trend become a staple for every (and I mean every) restaurant.

Green tech is still in its infancy as an industry but recently it’s been making leaps and bounds into larger markets that have been traditionally dominated by shiny plastic objects – bamboo keyboards and a bamboo mouse are just the beginning. Green tech is a niche market right now but I’ll bet in the next 6 months to a year this trend will bring a shift in attitudes. Check out the iBamboo Speaker ( to see how you can amplify your iPhones sound without being near any power supply.

These three fresh ideas may soon turn into more than a trend. Stay tuned for more fresh ideas from d.trio in the coming months.

What my mom meant by fresh

By | Newsletter | No Comments

My mother used to call me fresh. Or more accurately she would say something like, “don’t get fresh with me.”  What I remember most is that being called Fresh felt more like a compliment than an reprimand. Maybe my mother said it with some sort of repressed smile on her face that let me know she somehow appreciated the fresh thing I had just said. Usually I felt pretty good about being fresh.

This month we’ve focused upon and explored the word fresh for our marketing communications. We wrote about fresh campaigns, fresh marketing tools, fresh ways to solve a marketing problem, even old campaigns that are still fresh today. We’ve also posted a blog about the fresh snow that we in Minnesota saw way too much of this April.

But Fresh as an attitude…a sometimes-not-all-that-admirable type of attitude? This seemed worthy of further exploration, especially as it is seldom used today.

The official dictionary definition of fresh in this context is:
Fresh /freSH/: Bold and Saucy.

Kind of like the sound of that. Sounds like a marketing asset. Seems as though being fresh in this business might be a really good thing. (Full disclosure, it was also defined as impudent, but I’m going with Bold and Saucy because I’m sure that’s what my mother meant.)

So here we are. All of us who work in marketing are continually challenged to develop fresh campaigns, ideas, designs, tag lines, tactics and strategies. There exists an endless need for the new, the next, the better…and that’s a really good thing.  We are the purveyors of the the new, the next, the better. We are the daredevils of the business world. We get to push limits. We get to be bold and saucy.