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9 Ad Campaign Fails from Years Past (and lessons learned along the way)

Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” remains a standout after more than 14 years.  By deconstructing beauty norms at a time when few women considered themselves beautiful according to modern standards (in other words, skinny, young, and blemish-free), the personal care brand created what Ad Age considers the No. 1 campaign of the 21st century.  A successful brand campaign such as this may look effortless, but it’s the product of skilled marketing expertise, good strategic judgement, and boundless creativity. But what about the campaigns that don’t meet these criteria?

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Trade Wars, Ad Campaigns, and Tackling Issues that Matter

You can be forgiven for not knowing where exactly the U.S. stands on foreign trade on the day-to-day, with talk of everything from trade wars to truces.  Yet the shifting economic climate poses a significant challenge to industries trying to market themselves at home and abroad - along with the creative agencies who support them.  

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Hey Advertisers, Here’s a Lesson: Teachers Are Changing the Game from the Grassroots Up

If advertisers understood the importance of social media before, the protest marches and unprecedented string of teacher strikes provide even more confirmation of digital media’s critical role — when used well — in engaging an audience and shaping public discourse from the grassroots up. K-12 education is a particularly tricky industry for advertisers. It’s one of the two largest industries in the US - comparable with healthcare - accounting for 7.2% of the nations GDP and the largest employer in every state, but spends only a fraction on advertising compared to other industries, according to Forbes.


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Never Again? The Power of Advertising to Move the Gun Debate

It’s a classic ad. Gun-related death statistics from around the world run in a vertical column down the page:  48 people in Japan.  8 in Great Britain.  34 in Switzerland.  The list goes on, finally jumping to 10,728 in the United States.  A handgun is painted red, white and blue to resemble the nation’s flag. 

That was 1981, not long after John Lennon was assassinated.

Nearly four decades later, Progressive Turnout Project, a Democratic political action committee, launched a billboard campaign inspired by 2018 Oscar nominee, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, demanding stricter gun control laws. The group called out US House Speaker Paul Ryan for repeatedly not passing gun reform legislation, particularly after the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla..  

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The Power of Ad Agencies to Combat Climate Change

Less than three months ago the North American Climate Summit, held right here in the Windy City, brought together mayors, civic leaders, and businesses from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico to sign a charter pledging to reduce greenhouse emissions and address the impact cities have on climate change.  But despite the overwhelming support, some of the most important players living at the forefront of innovation, strategy, storytelling and creative thinking were missing from the table.  Advertising and PR agencies.  These are the professionals who determine what and when we buy, and much of what we believe.  Their job is to tell stories, deliver on the most powerful ideas and campaigns that in turn change our behavior and perception of not just brands, but of society as a whole.

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2018 Advertising Trends: Reaching Audiences Here, There, and Everywhere

It seems hard to believe that most advertisers once flocked to TV and newspaper. Advancements in technology offer unparalleled possibilities for targeting and engaging audiences, irrevocably altering the media landscape and consumer behavior.  The digital marketing revolution affects everything from how content is created to audience expectations, and experiential advertising stands at the forefront. Consumers, who see more than 5,000 advertisements in a single day, are looking to connect less directly with products and more directly with one another through meaningful brand experiences.  

Here are some of the top trends we anticipate having the most impact on advertising in 2018:  

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Women, Production, and an Age of Reckoning

Working together is more powerful than working alone, and that particularly holds true for women who work behind the scenes in critical yet often unrecognized roles in advertising, music, film, live performance, and broadcast media.  

That’s just one reason why our team here at Curmudgeon Group recently launched Scope, a wide-ranging conversation focusing on the most visionary and emerging female producers of today. As a women-owned creative agency, we are in the unique position of being able to cultivate a community of veteran producers, creative leaders, and industry newcomers to alter and diversify the landscape, along with shifting attitudes and expectations.  

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#MeToo: A Q&A on Women in Leadership with Curmudgeon Group Founder Josie Davis

At a time when the Twitter hashtag #metoo has officially become a thing — and hopes for serious change along with it — we thought it was time to ask our own Josie Elizabeth Davis, Curmudgeon Group’s founder and Chief Creative Officer, for her take on being an entrepreneur/woman/risk-taker/go-getter at the frontlines of experiential marketing, creative production, PR and advertising.

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