The Ever Observant Alan Spindle Posted This During Yesterday’s Broadcast

NFLHe captioned this Facebook update with: “I must say, this Houston Texans logo is quite groundbreaking. I have no idea what inspired them to create such an out-there design.”

Sometimes social media’s biggest reward is a smart observation or witty bon mot. You know, just like you might overhear in some other social situation.

Because engagement strategies notwithstanding, with Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Instagram, it’s always social first.

Good one Alan…


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 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

Internet Famous

Becoming internet famous was not an option a decade ago.  Not really.  But today, if you tweet hard enough and hilarious enough, you can get a sitcom.  Or at least a Klout score in the forties.  Same if you really know how to work Facebook or Pinterest or YouTube or even Etsy–all of these communities have leaders and shining stars.  Social media empowers a certain kind of meritocracy.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonBut sometimes, people are funny simply because they can’t help themselves. And during this long, loud, relentlessly contentious election season of red asshat vs. blue asshat, I so appreciate that.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Found on Flickr: The Subversive Wit of TrustoCorp

My friend Jeff Berg was surfing images on Flickr when he came across this gem:

Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson, Minneapolis, Advertising, Design

This is the work of TrustoCorp–an organization shrouded in mystery but extremely adept at Photoshop and high-end tagging.  Neither of us had ever heard of them before Jeff happened upon their photostream, but a quick Google search showed they have everything from a simple website that provides a slideshow tour of their postings around the island of Manhattan, to a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

According to their bio on Flickr, “TrustoCorp is a New York based artist (or artists) dedicated to highlighting the hypocrisy and hilarity of human behavior through sarcasm and satire. TrustoCorp targets areas in the public domain typically reserved for messages of trust and authority and subverts them with messages of mayhem and absurdity hijacked from the visual style of our authorities.

Hey, it’s a Friday so try to find a few minutes to poke around their provocative work.  It will make you laugh and make you mad, perhaps even at the same time.  Artists…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Powering Down…

People blog for all sorts of reasons; the discipline of daily writing, the joy of self expression, the fleeting sensation of relevance when a couple hundred people read a post. Over the past two years, I’ve blogged every weekday for all those reasons and one far more important: to keep up. Or perhaps more accurately, to catch up.

I’ve enjoyed a terrific career making advertising but three years ago, when my prior agency’s fortunes changed suddenly and radically, I looked up and realized the world had changed while I was busy making TV campaigns. I had largely ignored the biggest revolution in marketing: the pervasiveness of digital screens, the stunningly-swift adoption of social networks and the increasing presence of mobile marketing.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingI started blogging everyday to force myself to explore all these emerging platforms and immerse myself in the new reality. As Facebook continued to work it’s way every deeper into our lives, I started to recognize how social networks can provide savvy brands with crowdsourced PR. I was amazed how transparent and public people had become, sharing remarkable details of their personal lives. I learned about search and geo-tagging and the seamy creepiness behind unchecked online tracking. And I probably saw more than my fair share of virals and flashmobs and public self-destruction at the hand of Twitter.

I learned a lot, both by actively searching for subjects to discuss and happily, by reading comments posted and emailed from smart people offering their own points of view.  It’s been wonderful catching up.

But I gotta cut back. We’re doing lots of interesting things up here in Minneapolis, expanding the agency as we build and activate all sorts of brand communities for a wide range of clients. And I need to dedicate more time to that process.

So thanks for reading, thanks for your attention, thanks for your help. Going forward, I’ll post every now and then–habits can be tough to break–but my pace is definitely gonna slow.

Because advertising’s pace certainly isn’t.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Three Points Regarding Congressman Anthony D. Weiner

  1. It is damn nigh impossible to fashion a sentence which includes his name that can not be construed as filthy.
  2. Very rarely, the Universe delivers a comedy opportunity that’s almost too easy.
  3. When you have an open layup, you should always take the shot.

The national press knows all of these points implicitly. Consider this post a purging of sorts. All the following images and headlines were pulled off the web in one twenty-minute span. Hopefully, this collection can serve to expunge the puns and return ‘weiner’ to the good folks of Oscar Mayer.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson

You’re welcome. Or I’m sorry. Whatever.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Arianna Huffington: Canned Commentary at the CMA National Convention

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingSo early on this wet Toronto morning, in one of the cavernous convention halls of the Westin Harbour Castle, the Canadian Marketing Association presented its opening speaker–Arianna Huffington.  We were all really looking forward to it–she’s very smart and one of the early and best drivers of new media since launching her very successful Huffington Post in 1995. Her keynote topic was “Where Is New Media Going?” and she spoke for nearly an hour but in all candor, the best part of her presentation was trying to place her remarkably non-specific accent. She is very likable, warming up the Canadian crowd with hockey jokes, but nothing was funnier than how she pronounced “Canucks”.  Somehow she made it three syllables long and worked a ‘y’ into the middle.

But despite her charm and obvious leadership position in the industry, her comments tread well trod ground: the key to everything is engagement, blogging and Wiki editing has taken off because self expression is the new entertainment. And trust is the new black, with a reference to the hysteria around Balloon Boy.

She added some facts: we send 140 million tweets and watch two million YouTube videos everyday, and every month, we spend a staggering 700 billion minutes on Facebook.

All true, but all rather familiar.  And from someone who introduced a whole new media platform based on curating the latest and best content, oddly ironic.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Social Media Hasn’t Replaced TV Viewing, It’s Connected It

Sixteen years ago, academic and data geek Robert Putnam hit a national nerve with his essay “Bowling Alone” about our collective loss of ‘social capital.’  By 2000, he published a book expanding on his premise that Americans were growing disconnected from their families, communities and nation due to culture trends like two-career families and television, which reduce our participation in groups.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonAn article posted to Ad Age yesterday might gladden Robert’s heart…somewhat. Despite DVR’s, the declines in live TV viewership over the past few years are reversing.  Appointment TV has made a resurgence as Facebook, Twitter and cell phone based social media outlets now drive live tune-ins.

Apparently, we still like to watch alone, but we link up as part of a larger social group through talking, texting, posting and commenting. As we watch, e like to gripe about the White Sox bullpen, seek explanations for the Bull’s careless ball handling and whine about the Blackhawks disappearing offense. Okay, maybe that’s just me but the point is we form very active, regularly scheduled communities around live television viewing.

Robin Sloan, who works with Twitter’s media-partnership groups says “If you look at the tweets about a TV show, a huge proportion come from when the show is airing live, not an hour later.” Tweets and status updates have a shelf life shorter than shredded cheese in a warm refrigerator; it’s all about commenting in the now.

And how much do we like to tweet?  At this year’s Super Bowl, the most-viewed TV event in history, viewers launched over 4,000 tweets per second in the game’s final minute, earning that game the highest volume of tweets for any sports event.

We may be alone physically, but not socially. A whopping 86% of mobile net users watch TV with their mobile devices. Further, the communities that form range from the very broad, like for the Super Bowl, to the very, very engaged, like the people who tweet and text about “Glee.”  “Glee” earned the Number 2 spot on Trendrr.TV which measures TV chatter across various social media, which sounds awesome for ratings.  Unfortunately, the show itself ranked 77th on Nielsen’s prime-time list.

So a cheesy show about awkward high school types inspires awkward types to tweet cheesily just like high school…  Hmm, that figures.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Yes, You Can Be a Historical Figure and a Bad Ass

Case in point: Teddy Roosevelt.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OLSON

These posters are part of a series called “Historically Hardcore” by Jenny Burrows (AD) and Matt Kappler (CW) who created it as a spec campaign when they were ad students at Creative Circus.

The fact that so many of us have enjoyedt Matt and Jenny’s old classwork these past two weeks speaks to one of the web’s peculiarities: the ability to confer a certain type of immortality on ideas.

Despite being well over a year old, these posters have captured public attention through the type of key blog and twitter mentions that drive an idea viral. If you go to Jenny’s Behance page, she writes about how the phenomenon caught her by surprise.

But there’s another side to all this attention. Despite creating the precise sort of message any museum should crave–that history is cool, relevant and real–the august group at the Smithsonian, under advice of counsel no doubt, sent Jenny a warning to remove their name from her work. They have a logomark to protect–if they don’t, what’s to stop some unscrupulous upstart from naming their paperclip collection “The Smithsonian”? And so Jenny changed the layouts.

But again, the web bestows a certain immortality. So despite the best efforts of the Smithsonian’s lawyers, I was able to find the original above. And if you Google “viral Smithsonian posters,” you’ll find a URL that reads: Of course, if you follow the link, you’ll find a blank page with this message: “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.”

But even the attorney’s have to admit that’s not entirely right. It should read “Sorry, no posts match your criteria anymore.”


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON


Bad Day Yesterday? I Guarantee Nir Rosen’s Was Worse

I don’t know Nir Rosen.  Apparently, he’s an NYU fellow, a liberal journalist, and a fan of Twitter.  Around 4:00PM EST yesterday, he was also a wise ass, sending this cynical tweet regarding the physical and sexual assault on Lara Logan of CBS:

Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal.”

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago AdvertisingThat particular message is no longer up on his stream, but a sequence of responses remain that document his increasing alarm at the response he generated.  Thanks to their time stamps, the path of Mr. Rosen’s rapidly unravelling day is all too easy to reconstruct.

Apparently, someone named  Joshus Foust was first to take umbrage with the crass joke.  Mr. Rosen responded to him with a few tweets:

@joshuafoust look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than i’m sorry

When that didn’t work, he got a bit huffy.

@joshuafoust my wife didnt dedicate her career to promoting america’s wars

After that, it’s obvious that the direct messages must have really picked up. Fully on the defensive, Mr. Rosen felt compelled to clarify his position–clarifications he hoped would cool down the response to an insensitive crack he forgot to remember he said, not to a few like-minded friends, but to any of the 106 million US Twitter accounts.

jesus christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger

ah fuck it, i apologize for being insensitive, its always wrong, thats obvious, but i’m rolling my eyes at all the attention she will get

and as a result of that i hope people remember her role glorifying war and condemning rolling stone’s hastings while defending mcchrystal

All too soon, he must have felt the unbearable scale of the world wide web’s disdain. And all of it must have felt squarely focused on him. Within fifteen minutes, he was in full fall-back mode, and the apologies started in earnest.

i apologize and take it back. joking with friends got out of line when i didnt want to back down. forgot twitter is not exactly private

As someone who’s devoted his career to defending victims and supporting justice, I’m very ashamed for my insensitive and offensive comments

Oddly, his new found fame led to a rash of new found followers, and one apology clearly wouldn’t do.  He went on to post five or six more, ultimately giving up any defense of his initial joke.  He posted this last one at what must have been a bleary-eyed and deeply depressing 2:45 AM this morning.

but there is no point following me, i am done tweeting. too ashamed of how i have hurt others and the false impression i gave of who i am

He was up, not four hours later and posted this:

I feel I should make one last statement. I offer my deepest apologies to Ms. Logan, her friends and her family. I never meant to hurt anyone

I love comedy. I even enjoy off-color, inappropriate comedy. I can’t pretend to have excised all the insensitive references from my synapses and still find myself occasionally laughing at something that in mixed company would horrify me.

But I do that in small, familiar groups or the privacy of my own home.  Mr. Rosen didn’t.  He has since resigned NYU. When I screw up and make an offensive comment, it echoes in my mind for years. I can’t imagine the repercussions this extraordinarily public mistake will have in his mind. Still, it’s hard to feel sorry for him.

When everyone’s connected, everyone’s listening.  Your online self must represent your better self.  Unless you’re ready to become the latest pariah.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79