Nano Scaling-up

As part of our ongoing work with the University of Pennsylvania, MSK Partners recently rebranded the Singh Center for Nanotechnology – located on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in Philadelphia, the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology is a multi-user facility where the research and educational programs at the University, partner institutions and industry come together to form a regional hub for nanotechnology. The firm developed a new logo, messaging strategies and a series of direct mail and collateral materials.


Don’t Visit In The Winter

After claiming to be the first country to abolish censorship 250 years ago, Sweden is now boasting that it is the first country with a phone number.

“The Swedish number” is part of a campaign for the Swedish Tourist Association by the Ingo ad agency (part of WPP). The concept is simple – dial the number and you will be redirected to a random Swede who will happily (we assume) chat about their country. Campaign magazine spoke with a nice person from Stockholm called Jan who said he’d been getting up to five calls per day through the scheme. Asked if he had any messages for Campaign readers who might wish to visit Sweden, he said: “It’s lovely in the summer.” See? Well there you have it.

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Fundraising Intelligence

{98b08f2c-3429-4c68-bbea-ec8c0169064d}_Philanthropic_Landscape_3rd_Edition_2014Recently, MSK wrapped-up a number of campaign assignments where clients partnered us with CCS Fundraising including the White House Fellows Foundation & Association, the Latin American Community Center, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the International Youth Foundation. CCS has complimentary reports and white papers available for download that can be useful to non-profit organizations in developing fundraising strategies.

Thanks David

David Ogilvy is typically hailed as the ‘father of advertising’. Although it always seemed to me that his forte was direct marketing.

In any case, content marketers can learn a lot from Mr. Ogilvy. He was a pioneer of information-rich, soft sell ads that didn’t insult people’s intelligence. For example, he produced “The Guinness Guide to Oysters” in 1951 – an early form of what today we call native advertising.

We can study Ogilvy’s campaigns to learn how to persuade prospective customers, influence readers and create memorable, evergreen content. But he also has plenty to teach us about productivity, branding, research, ambition—and writing.

On Sept. 7, 1982, Ogilvy sent the following internal memo, titled “How to Write,” to all his employees:

“The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly-minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches. Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words like ‘reconceptualize,’ ‘demassification,’ ‘attitudinally,’ ‘judgmentally.’ They are hallmarks of pretense.
  5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning—and then edit it.
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal-clear what you want the recipient to do.
  10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.”

What It Costs

While MSK is in the business of adding more strength to communication programs for our own clients, what are national advertisers paying to add exposure to their campaigns? Here’s what it costs…

$2.5 million – approx. cost for four weeks on Times Square’s biggest billboard

$750,000 – amount Snapchat demands per ‘Brand Story” ad

$237,406 – cost for a back-cover Vogue ad

$615,000 – 30-second sliver of airtime in the Fox NFL package

$20 – CPM of a sponsored photo on Instagram

$675,000 – the daily rate for YouTube’s universal video masthead ad

$500,000 – cost of a native ad program on The New York Times website

$2 – the minimum per-click bid for an ad on LinkedIn

$1.5 million – 30 second ad in the NCAA men’s basketball championship

$9 – a thousand impressions for a sponsored post on Buzzfeed

$400,000 – average for a commercial during AMC’s “The Walking Dead”


Delivering Customers

Courtesy of the WSJ: A half-decade after killing off its hefty catalog to focus on the Web, J.C. Penney is bringing it back, armed with data showing that many of its online sales came from shoppers inspired by what they saw in print. The new, 120-page book will feature items from Penney’s home department and will be sent to select customers in March, the first time the struggling department store chain has sent out a catalog since 2010.


The move highlights an oddity of the digital age. While shoppers are increasingly buying everything from shoes to sofas to cars over the Internet, they still like browsing through the decidedly low-tech artifacts of page and ink.


Now, retailers are rediscovering print as a branding tool that can drive sales. According to retail consultant Kurt Salmon, 31% of shoppers have a catalog with them when they make an online purchase.

The call to bring back the catalog was made by Chief Executive Myron “Mike” Ullman, who is trying to return the retailer to good health. It also was Mr. Ullman who decided during his first turn as Penney’s chief to stop publishing it. In an interview, he said he thought at the time that catalog shoppers would migrate online. But the company eventually learned that a lot of what they thought were online sales were actually catalog shoppers using the website to place their orders. “We lost a lot of customers,” Mr. Ullman said.


Save The Snowmen

Our erstwhile client, Zurich Insurance, has launched a highly engaging, Europe-wide cinema and online campaign showing the insurer’s employees going to great lengths to protect some snowmen. The ad, which was created by McCann Worldgroup, opens with snowmen melting in a village. Zurich staff then show up in refrigerated trucks and take the snowmen to the top of a mountain in the Alps. The ad ends with the line: “When you truly love something, you protect it in the best way.”

Digital Ink

We continue to publish new editions of various alumni and research publications on iTunes Newsstand for a variety of clients, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, for whom we also design and distribute the print edition.

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Three iPad editions of Promise & Progress for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins can be downloaded for free via this image.

Philanthropy Snapshot

Each year, CCS Fundraising produces a snapshot of today’s philanthropic landscape – reviewing the previous year in a nationwide perspective. This year is no different, and in addition to infographics on where the money is coming from, the correlation to stock market performance and other indicators, the report provides a good update and reminder on why people give. In light of the 2013 Gallup Poll that suggested 83% of Americans donated money to a charitable organization in that year, here are the top reasons why:

  • People are inherently generous
  • People give to people
  • People respond to a meaningful mission
  • People give to the person who asks
  • People respond to specific requests for support
  • People respond to successful and beneficial programs
  • People give in a campaign atmosphere – annual or capital
  • Most people want, and all deserve, recognition for their gifts
  • People relate a gift to a specific need or project
  • People give to positive, enthusiastic solicitors
  • People give most often to their peers
  • People give because they are asked