Brownstone Blog

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Get it Don! Mad Men Returns

We’re so excited we just can’t be bothered to hide it.


Yes, Mad Men is back with ours (and everybody else’s) favourite Creative Director Don Draper. As to what will happen to Don in season five – there’s no spoilers here or anywhere else for that matter due to series creator Matthew Weiner asking reviewers who have seen the two hour opening episode of the new series not to give away any ‘key story lines’. However one bold individual did leak the fact that there is – surprise surprise – a party.

So, we are all left waiting to discover what will happen to Don’s new trophy fiance, whether Joan has her baby and more importantly – what will happen to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce after the loss of the Lucky Strike account. Will Don quit lighting up in protest? Somehow we doubt it.

But if we’re talking brand identity, let’s take a look at Don – on the surface of it the man who has it all – money, talent, charisma, aforementioned trophy fiancé (sorry Megan, but we’re not putting any money on how long your engagement is going to last!). But wait – Don’s not really Don now is he? Don is actually Dick Wickman who took advantage of a unique opportunity during the Korean war to engage in a little re-branding exercise. Bye bye Dick – hello Mr. Draper. However, sometimes it seems even Don’s not convinced by his own attempt to re-position his brand as he spends a lot of time wracked with guilt or with Anna Draper when she was alive (we can also say that his proposal to Megan may have been prompted by Anna’s death – it’s never good to be anybody’s re-bound!).

What will season five bring? We can only speculate. Will Pete Campbell’s ambition be curtailed by fatherhood or indeed, his inability to manipulate his father-in-law into giving the agency accounts? If Joan has her baby what will her maternity wardrobe look like? Will Peggy get over her disappointment at Don’s engagement?  How have the writer’s coped with January Jones’ (Betty Draper) real-life pregnancy in the script?

In the interim, for anyone out there looking for some style or personal advice from the man who has been named as the Most Influential Man of 2009 (beating President Obama), you can write to Don at

For your advertising needs however, we recommend you email or call us here at Brownstone as Don may be a little busy.


Tweet this! Social media gets real

You’ve got your social media strategy in place. Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. A killer blog. But successful social media can only take you so far. You have to ensure the experience you’ve created continues when your customer interacts with you in the real world.

‘What we’re talking about is the end-user experience,’ explains Brownstone’s Dave Jabbie. ‘It’s about more than just the number of likes or followers you have. Of course, these are all signs your social media is working. But businesses need to pay close attention to creating the same kind of experiences when their customers interact with them off-line. It’s no use creating an immersive experience on-line if that’s not going to be continued when your customer walks into your store or phones your customer help-line.’

Solution? ‘Think of your entire business as one vast social network,’ advises Jabbie. ‘Treat everybody that interacts with that network as you would a friend on your personal social media profile – that includes your staff as well as your customers. And above all – don’t confine social media type interactions just to the virtual space. Think of ways you can continue the experience for people when they walk into your store or place of business.’

For example – if you have a brick and mortar location, see how a social media initiative can translate. One inventive Twitter feed campaign inviting customers to post their New Years resolutions spilled over into the store where customers were invited to write their resolutions on Post-it notes and post them on windows and walls of the stores. The stores collected thousands of goals ranging from like “run a marathon” and “get a job I’m passionate about” or (our favourite) “ask her to marry me” which in turn fed the Twitter feed as well as providing a visually engaging and rich experience at store sites.

Another tactic which pays dividends is to make sure your followers get to know your customer service team. How many questions does your customer service team answer every week? For even a small to medium-sized business this can run into hundreds if not thousands of questions arriving by phone, email, Facebook or Twitter. The fact is – followers love you when they get fast answers to their questions. ‘Remember that even highly experienced customer service personnel will need specialised training when it comes to answering questions via your social media platforms,’ Jabbie advises. ‘It’s an entirely different medium that requires a different approach to answering questions over the phone. Communication and social media managers need to bear this is mind when bringing their customers service team up to speed with what’s going on.’

Social media offers businesses an opportunity to get to know their customers better than ever before.

‘You need to take this knowledge and apply it in the long-term,’ Jabbie advises. ‘It’s about relationship building. If you identify customers who are continuing to interact with you on-line in a positive way then single them out and acknowledge their contribution. If you can – meet with them and buy them coffee or offer to make them product testers. Invite them to product launches and special events. Don’t limit your interaction with your customers to one-off comments or engagements. Every user who takes the time to engage with your brand should be acknowledged and cared about. That means answer everything. But more importantly care about everything (and everyone) who cares about your brand. Highlighting the people who champion your brand spreads the most goodwill and usually results in the most ‘Likes’, comments, re-tweets, etc.’

Finally – ‘Make your content social,’ Jabbie advises. ‘It’s not just about your business or product. Comment on what is happening out there that will interest your customers whether it’s the new iPad (even if you don’t have an app to launch), or the latest blockbuster film. Make your comments genuine – authenticity is the key here but by doing so you become more than just your product or brand – you become a social entity to interact with.’

Thanks for the Memeory or – Did We Really Meme That?

Meme is a term originally coined by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene, to indicate “an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Memes are the super-viruses of ideas that catch hold quickly and infect often large groups of people. An extreme example of radical meme infection is of course last year’s riots where there were cases of previously law-abiding citizens actually turning themselves in to the police with the explanation: ‘I’ve never stolen anything before – I just don’t know what came over me.’ Cases like this are thankfully rare and as we saw with the riots, relatively short-lived occurrences.

Internet memes are those propagated via the web and can take the form of emails which go viral, videos, links and images. If you’ve ever been Rickrolled – that’s a meme at work. Recent memes include Angelina Jolie’s leg from her red carpet Oscar appearance to those ‘What I Really Do’ posters (presently the latest sharing fad) ,

Ridley Scott’s viral TED talk 2023 video for his ‘not an Alien prequel’ Alien prequel film Prometheus.

Internet memes can often be short-lived in that they go viral fast and then disappear just as quickly to be replaced by the next meme.

Successful advertising campaigns can become memes in themselves. The danger is of course that the meme actually becomes the idea of the campaign and not the service or product it was designed to promote. If you can think of a brilliant advertising campaign – whether on the internet or elsewhere, but cannot remember what it was selling, then that campaign has become a meme. The challenge for digital advertisers is of course to design campaigns that do both.

‘If the meme is a link to a page on your website, then every time the link is forwarded or shared, that potentially increases your customer base as well as brand recognition,’ Dave Jabbie explains. ‘Social media has played a huge role in the proliferation of memes. Before Facebook and Twitter became memes in themselves, people used to have to forward links and images via email. Now they Tweet them and post them to their walls, increasing their ability to go viral via social networks very fast. If you’re talking memes then social networking plays a huge role in creating the meme.’

‘If you don’t believe me then consider the fact that The Selfish Gene was first published in 1976. The term ‘meme’ had been out there all that time but took 30 years to go viral and become a meme. In other words, we had to have the rise of the internet and social networking for this to happen,’ says Jabbie.

Of course, we couldn’t write about Memes without including a few of our favorites right now.  We’d like to think there’s a lot more to what we really do but we’re also willing to have a laugh at our own expense. Talk to us about turning your message into a meme. We promise to make it a meaningful experience.