Moving the Needle

Independent and private schools face unique challenges – and also unique opportunities – when it comes alumni cultivation and stewardship. CCS Fundraising has published an interesting white paper called “Moving the Needle from Alumni Engagement to Alumni Giving,” Co-authored by Detroit Country Day School (DCDS), you can download the report and discover how DCDS developed stronger bonds with their alumni and dramatically boosted their giving.


A Valuable Resource

Our print and digital work for Johns Hopkins spans many decades and various institutions, departments and programs. A recent assignment for the Health System allowed us to write and design an annual report for the Department of Human Resources. Targeted primarily at an internal audience, the piece aims to communicate the value created by the department across multiple entities and institutions.


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.