February 12, 2024

KingFish + Partners’ Expert Eye on Super Bowl Ads

Like sweet and spicy, bourbon and water, the Super Bowl/advertising experience is about entertainment that balances 3 ½ hours of immersive content. Humor, when done well, challenges nostalgia (the ads were rife with it) and emotionality as a core response. The KingFish team collaborated to share their perspectives on the brands that successfully took advantage of their Super Bowl commercial limelight, and others that missed the mark.

What Caught our Eye...

State Farm: Like a Good Neighbaa

By: Julio Colon, Digital Account Manager

State Farm could not have chosen a better celebrity to play Agent State Farm in the Agent State Farm movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger's inability to nail the slogan offers several moments of laughter throughout the :60 spot due to his thick Austrian accent. State Farm’s slogan, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” has been made memorable in recent years by the brands series of unfortunate event commercials featuring now Golden State Warriors, Point Guard, Chris Paul. This year's Super Bowl spot continues to convey the brand's commitment to reassurance in the face of adversity by pivoting from Arnold as the lead star in the film and having Danny Devito step in and save the day, like a good neighbaa.  

Verizon - Can't B Broken

By: Cam Brown, Founder & CEO

Verizon’s offering with Beyonce featured an epic production that was worth the watch even without the dry responses of straight-man Tony Hale. But he’s Buster, and everyone knows it. Which is why it worked. Verizon wins. 

Dunkin' Donuts - The DunKings

By: Scot Forbes, Creative Director

Maybe we’re biased here in New England, but the latest Dunkin’ saga featuring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez stole the show for me, solidifying Dunkin' Donuts' position as not just a purveyor of coffee and donuts, but also a key player in pop culture.

In this glorious spectacle, Ben Affleck crashes into the recording studio to surprise his singer-songwriter wife, Jennifer Lopez. But this wasn’t just any recording session—it was the birth of “the DunKings”. Wearing matching outrageous pink, orange, and white Dunkin’ tracksuits (complete with Red Sox logos), this boy band supergroup is revealed to include other Boston legends. No, not the New Kids on the Block, but Tom Brady spinning beats as “Touchdown Tommy” and Matt Damon offering his reluctant support (with a nod to his Good Will Hunting days)—with a Dunkin’ beverage in hand, of course. Lopez, playing along perfectly as the annoyed wife, was not impressed with the dismal performance. Hilariously, she offers Brady to stay after Affleck and Damon leave in shame. 

Dunkin' advertising seems to effortlessly capture the essence of its Boston heritage, wit, and charm, seamlessly intertwining the city's rich cultural fabric with its brand identity.

As promised in Affleck’s final words, the DunKings’ signature beverage, a real iced coffee, hits stores today, prompting many, myself included, to make a run to the nearest Dunkin' to purchase. As a surprise bonus, exclusive “DunKings” merch (including the hideous track suits!) were made available on shopdunkin.com which immediately sold out within an hour of release. I hate to admit it, but had I scored one, I would totally wear that jacket. Kudos to Dunkin’ for yet another vital hit.

Disney+ - Well Said

By: Erica Lashua, Account Management Intern

Disney+ kept it sweet & simple for this year’s Super Bowl spot. The :30 commercial was nostalgic to viewers typing out some of the most classic Disney movie quotes and ended with a subtle nod to all the Swifties tuning in. Changing from a white to black background featuring “...Ready for It?” remarking on Swift’s popular track of the reputation album. The streaming service was recently announced to be hosting the highly acclaimed Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour movie. Disney+ was strategic in recognizing the new audience of young fans watching while also noting others may be over the Taylor talk. For Disney+, the commercial immediately created buzz for online debate regarding if the clip is a possible easter egg teasing at the highly anticipated reputation (Taylor’s Version). The “if you know you know” moment was well executed for the brand and highly enjoyed by many.

Dove - It's the Hard Knock Life

By: Maria Hanchuk, Project Manager

Every year, Dove continues to resonate emotionally with its body positivity campaign, and two decades after the campaign's launch they have secured a spot in the Super Bowl. The use of what seems to be authentic videos captured by the public, Dove showcases young girls' ability to fail in their respective sport but ultimately conveys that failure is not the reason for young girls quittingBy leveraging the iconic song "It's The Hard Knock Life" from the musical Annie, Dove exposes the reality of young girls quitting sports due to poor body image and low self-esteem 
This was a clever tactic not only to align with the theme of their past commercials but also to connect with a younger demographic audience and their parents. It is also important to note that this was a way to launch their partnership with Nike and the ‘Body Confident Sport’ program. Dove's emotional strategy positions them to garner greater customer loyalty compared to their competitors while also conveying a positive and, in some cases, life-changing message. 

Budweiser - Old School Delivery

By: Rosemary Poppe, Digital Account Manager

Budweiser’s Old School Delivery, set in a snow-covered mountain town, makes you warm and fuzzy all over. The return of Budweiser’s signature Clydesdales and their best bud (pun intended), a friendly yellow lab, pull on our nostalgic heartstrings. The eagerness of the animals to help sends a clear message that Bud, and its customers, are worth any harrowing journey. 

The drivers receive a hero’s welcome when they arrive at the bar with a wagon full of Bud, allowing Budweiser to convey its appreciation for its distributors.  The perspective into the Budweiser supply chain encourages viewers to see Budweiser as more than just a beer or a brand – but as a sum of many hardworking parts (people) – and thus, quintessentially American.  

From a marketing perspective, viewers absorb over 10 clear impressions of the Budweiser name and the chosen song reminds us that Bud is exactly what we need to “take a load off” and relax. In direct comparison to many of the Super Bowl commercials featuring well known human celebrities, Budweiser’s celebrities are its Clydesdales – four-legged friends who are guaranteed to please viewers.   

Fun fact: the yellow lab featured in this commercial is named Roy Hawn Russel and belongs to none other than celebrity couple, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel. 

Bud Light - Easy Night Out

By: Ariele Lee, Lead Designer

This commercial had a lot of potential to be incredibly clever. The ad itself was a standard, run-of-the-mill premise including a wish-granting-genie that ends with the characters wishing to go to the Super Bowl. However, at the conclusion of the ad they cut to a live feed of the game and a few of the actors/celebrities were in the stands in character and costume, continuing the concept as if the story were actually happening. The moment was surprising and clever, bleeding a silly idea into the real word for added impact.

However, the shot didn’t linger enough for the other people at my super bowl party to recognize the characters or understand the concept was continuing to play out. Seemed like a missed opportunity to do some sort of real-world PR, experiential story design to the campaign, maybe cutting back and forth between the real world and the ad world, or ending the ad story within the stands itself, or even just lingering on each character a little longer. However, the cut was a little too unmemorable, and a little too short. Props to the creative team for the idea! It just needed a little extra push at execution which is where they probably ran into logistical issues that inhibited the final outcome. 

November 27, 2023

The Taylor Swift Effect

It’s difficult to come across news articles these days that don’t mention Taylor Swift in some record-breaking way. Whether it’s multiple tracks of her album dominating the Billboard 100s, concerts selling out shows – breaking Ticketmaster to the point of policy change and entirely shifting/boosting the American economy – concert movies breaking theater records in an era where the movie theater industry has been struggling to fill seats, or her dating life with football star Travis Kelce revitalizing interest in the NFL for a new demographic, Taylor Swift has become somewhat mythic in the pantheon of American idols. The simple authenticity that permeates her songs about crushes, love, and imagination have remained resonate across ages, and it’s come to the point where Taylor Swift’s presence has developed into an homage to girlhood, to Americana-core, and to the sort of long-standing powerful nostalgia that is difficult to find in an era where trends come and go faster than water.

It's difficult to know what an ordinary individual can learn from this level of superstardom. We as consumers can only marvel as spectators, enjoy her music or her shows, or simply nod passively in acknowledgement at the name if we’ve never really resonated with her material.

But what I think is interesting about the Taylor Swift Effect is that it brings to attention the power that loving a thing can not only have on an individual, but on an entire community.

America is in a period of deconstruction. Deconstruction of once long held American values, of religion, of identity, of politics, of media, of society, and the list goes on. The tentpoles of what used to easily hold our American ideologies together under a neat bow come into question daily as the world undergoes intense changes and diverse challenges. Changes and challenges that are now more visible and accessible than ever with social media and the internet. And while change is not only necessary but inevitable, one disheartening side effect of it becoming such a spectacle is the loss of belief.

The loss of belief is the loss of easily loving a thing for not only what it means to you but what it means to a collective. It’s the loss of being in awe of a symbol, and for being in awe in general. It’s a moving experience that can reorient a person in the direction of purpose and motivation and joy. But it’s also a simple experience, unencumbered with the complexity and nuance we often ask of our leaders, our teachers, and ourselves especially as media bombards us with a million new views. So, to choose into the experience of simple joys especially in an age where everything is visible, we must find ourselves indulging all the way, incautiously, wholly, and deeply into things that bring us together.

Something important to remember when it comes to the work we do, no matter the industry we’re in, the role we have, the person we are, is to enjoy and pay attention to things that cause this kind of unity and excitement. Even if you don’t listen to her music, it’s hard to ignore her impact. And maybe you don’t even like Taylor Swift, her personality, or her music. Because again, so many others do.

So, to find the Taylor Swift effect in our ordinary lives is to be excited about the shows everyone is watching at the office, to talk about the commercial at the Superbowl everyone remembered, the meme circulating social media, the trend we decided to participate in, the client everyone loved, or even the day at work where everyone was on the same wavelength. To find the Taylor Swift effect is to find anything that collectively revitalized our beliefs in what it means to find lively meaning, together. Even if on a much smaller scale.

When we all do this, we not only revitalize our personal economies, communities, and experiences, but we also allow significance to re-enter the daily grind. Maybe not at Ticketmaster-breaking-box-office-smashing levels. But levels, nonetheless. Deeply personal levels that make you remember what you like about your job, the people in your life, or the little rituals of your day.

When we do this, we allow ourselves to be excited by the value of it all, to celebrate that we don’t only exist in vacuums of lonely existential consciousness but exist among other people whose experiences are just as actual as ours. We allow ourselves to be a fan in the back row of a Taylor Swift concert, screaming about the agony of an unrequited crush at the top of our lungs among a sold-out show of tens of thousands, in total admiration that everyone out there is fully present.

Just like us.



August 29, 2023

MarTech Stack Fundamentals

A well-built MarTech stack that works together cohesively, will allow your organization to amplify its marketing efforts and achieve measurable results, while fostering collaboration, drive efficiency, and enhance the customer experience.

Building Your MarTech Stack:

  1. Identify Your Goals: Start the process by identifying your marketing goals and objectives. This will guide your selection of tools and ensure they align with your overall strategy.
  2. Core Tools: Your toolkit should include a customer relationship management (CRM) system, marketing automation platform, content management system (CMS), and analytics tools. These tools will allow you to manage your customer data, automate marketing processes, and measure performance.
  3. Specialized Tools: Your business’ needs might call for specialized technologies. These could include email marketing software, social media management platforms, search engine optimization (SEO) tools, advertising platforms, and more. These critical tools will enhance your stack's capabilities and allow you to target different channels and tactics.
  4. Integration: Ensure that your tools can communicate and share data with one another seamlessly. Integration eliminates data silos, provides a holistic view of your marketing efforts, and enables efficient collaboration across teams.
  5. Scalability and Flexibility: Your MarTech stack should be scalable and adaptable to your evolving needs. As your business grows, you might need to add or replace tools within your stack. Choose tools that offer scalability and flexibility, enabling you to adjust and optimize your stack as required.

By carefully selecting and integrating the right tools, you can unlock new levels of effectiveness and creativity in your marketing efforts.


August 10, 2023

The Remix Revolution

In the era of digital media and social networking, Gen Z is harnessing their collective creativity and technological prowess to reshape the way we engage with advertising content. The power of YouTube and TikTok has provided a sandbox platform for “the kids”, as I call them, to embrace and remix video advertising songs, creating a vibrant subculture of creative expression and unexpected content, of which advertisers have almost zero control over. The latter can be downright absurd, and sometimes even scary. (More on that later.)

But it’s not just the latest pop or rap song subject to a digital hacksaw, advertisement songs (aka jingles) and videos are transformed into something entirely new and unexpected. This process provides a sense of empowerment to the consumer. By engaging with advertising content in this way, they actively participate in shaping popular culture rather than passively consuming it. These creations have the potential to go viral, reaching millions of viewers worldwide. This virality creates a ripple effect, sparking conversations, trends, and cultural references that become a part of popular culture.

But first, a brief history:

The origin of advertising jingles can be traced back to the 1850s when businesses started using catchy tunes to promote their products. The 1920s to 1950s marked the golden age of advertising jingles with the rise of commercial radio. As television became popular in the 1950s and '60s, jingles found a new medium to reach a larger audience. Companies like Coca-Cola, Oscar Mayer, and McDonald's are among those that used jingles to create lasting brand awareness. Catchy little tunes became an integral part of commercials, embedding brand messages into the minds of viewers on a national scale.

After a slight decline on the late 90s / early 2000s, jingles are back in a big way. In the digital age, jingles have found a new life through online platforms and social media. Short, catchy sounds are used in digital campaigns (sometimes just a few seconds), and brands intentionally create viral shorts (or try desperately) to gain widespread attention.

Which bring us to power tools, and a cat.

Created way back in 2021 (an eternity for web culture), the Cat Vibing to the Home Depot Theme Song is an origin story of sorts, to an unexpected new genre. (The vibing cat itself originated in yet another video but I digress…)

It has all the critical elements of a smash viral hit:

  1. A cat (Cats in internet memes are a tale as old as time.)
  2. A cheesy corporate jingle
  3. Comedy

The video itself is hilarious. The cat’s head bobbing to the beat juxtaposed with images of construction workers and power tools makes me laugh every time, and yes, I have watched it many times over. It’s absurd.

It’s popularity among Gen Z is something a corporate marketing campaign could never achieve intentionally. (Go ahead and try Home Depot, prove me wrong!)

First of all, the video is uploaded with a straight-to-the-point tagline of “F*ck Lowes. All my homies use Home Depot.” If I was the VP of Marketing at Home Depot, I would have that quote framed and hanging in my office. I might even pitch it as the new official tagline and get fired.

But in all seriousness, here’s the magic within. Comments for this creation include:

Not going to lie, the Home Depot song is actually pretty good.”

“Why did it take me 21 years of living before realizing this song SLAPS”

And THIS gem:

“I want this to be an official ad on tv.”

Can you imagine this running as an actual ad? It would be amazing. But you can’t. The UGC aspect is the key to success.

But not to worry Home Depot, as of today the video has amassed well over 4M views. (The average video on the Home Depot official YouTube channel has about 10k views.) Clearly this is resonating.

Does Home Depot have a clue? Do they know this even exists? That nugget of information is not known to me, but it’s still here at 2 years after upload, and that is the right course of action. Leave it alone. Don’t stop the fun. The last thing you want as a brand is a negative reaction viral sensation.

The trend of remixing video advertising songs and videos is revolutionizing the advertising industry itself. Smart brands recognize the value of engaging with young audiences through this user-generated content. Some brands actively encourage users to create their own remixes and share them online, further blurring the lines between traditional advertising and user-driven content.

A Purple Monster is on a Murderous Rampage

An example of a massively viral campaign gone completely off the rails is the McDonald’s celebration of the goofy purple-blob mascot Grimace and the return of the limited-time offer, purple “Grimace Shake”.

Photo: McDonald's

In the "Grimace Shake" TikTok trend, users have created mini horror movies mocking the effects of drinking the mysterious concoction.

That’s right.

Horror movies.

I can just imagine the boardroom meeting at McDonald’s.

“What’s the status report?”

“Good news boss! Our Grimace Shake is going viral on TikTok!”

“That’s amazing. Tell me more.”

“Well, what’s trending is… kids drink the shake!”


“And then… well, this is awkward.”

“Yes, go ahead. Out with it.”

“After they drink the shake, they… ummmm… convulse and die.”

“WHAAAAAAAT?” *Boss spits coffee all over shiny conference room desk*


So, what is really going on here? Thousands of examples on the social media platform show users in a creepy scene after trying out the mysterious beverage (which is meant to celebrate Grimace’s birthday). Shortly after taking a sip of the special shake, the video cuts to the creators mimicking horror movie-style death scenes. The purple liquid can be found dribbling out of their mouths, splattered like blood all over the floor, and even oozing from their nostrils. It’s all very nasty.

I can't imagine McDonald's could have ever pictured the Grimace shake going viral quite like this.

@ruiz_alv04 via TikTok / @McDonalds via Twitter

It would have been very understandable for McDonald’s to try to put a stop to this trend immediately. Videos of customers literally going crazy and dying from consuming your product? A nightmare!

Or is it?

As a brand, what would you do?

McDonald’s did the right thing.


They sat back and watched.

With a wink and nod from Grimace himself, McDonald’s gave a sly seal of approval essentially saying, “We get it. We’re not going to interfere with this. Go forth and create you crazy rascals! Oh, and btw, please keep eating at McDonald’s!”

Full disclosure - my young son, who typically does not eat at McDonald’s, bought the shake (along with a giant burger meal) immediately when this was all happening.

McDonald’s understood that Gen Z has a particularly wacky sense of humor, and this trend was high praise. Taking an innocent mascot like Grimace and mixing it with a Stranger Things vibe is just… so Gen Z. It’s weird. It’s retro. It’s parody. And even though it’s dark and creepy, it’s playful. It’s the ultimate mashup.

The trend absolutely blew up online with videos containing the hashtag #grimaceshake amassing over 3 billion views.


With a B.

McDonald’s provided the tools - A stylized online campaign featuring a nostalgic retro character, and a weird purple shake. The creative audience provided the content. It’s very hard to intentionally plan something like this. Can you imagine a meeting where a marketing agency pitched this very idea, and promised McDonalds a billion engagements? You’d get kicked out of the room. Even when brands pay big bucks to influencers, the content often seems forced, fake. Gen Z in has a keen bs meter. When marketing content blows up organically and is a genuine positive experience, it’s the best-case scenario a brand can ever dream of.

As an “old man” Gen X’er myself, I hate to admit it but, through their imaginative reinterpretations, Gen Z has not only contributed to popular culture but also transformed the advertising industry itself. As this trend continues to evolve, it presents exciting opportunities for brands to connect with their target audience in new and authentic ways, harnessing the power of user-generated content. But as you can see, proceed with caution.

The “kids today” are indeed leading a revolution, where the remix becomes an art form and advertising becomes a source of inspiration and creative collaboration.

Now please excuse me, I gotta go... I’m suddenly in the mood for McDonald’s.

Photo: McDonald's



June 8, 2023

How changes to Twitter have affected Advertisers post-Elon Musk Purchase

From a $44 billion acquisition to an exodus of advertisers, Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter has sparked a seismic shift. Structural changes on the platform have failed to address harmful speech, leaving brands wary of compromising their 'brand safety.' As Pathmatics analysis reveals, over half of Twitter's top advertisers have pulled the plug. Dive into KingFish's timeline documenting the game-changing alterations on Twitter and their aftermath since Musk's purchase.

Twitter Infographic


May 31, 2023

Design Isn’t Just Aesthetics

Something unique about working for a marketing agency is that all forms of creativity must be tethered to an objective. Here, art isn’t just expression – it’s precise strategy.

As an artist, at the very least your baseline knowledge of design, color, typography, composition, geometry, white space, aesthetics, trending styles, etc. needs to be top of class. That knowledge is why you’re getting hired. However, good design is only the foundation. You are more than just an artist. You are a marketer, a thinker, a strategist.

Aside from aesthetics, here are a few principles I employ when designing a brand:

Be Memorable

  • Solid brand identity achieves recognizability at “first glance.” Many times, brands have limited time, real estate, and budgets to pull off making a name for themselves. Every second counts. This means designs must combine elegant simplicity with complex messaging into a single punchy product. From colors, to the form, to resonating visual themes, designs must stand out. And stand out well.

Think Like a Consumer

  • As an artist it may be natural to think about designs from a solely aesthetic perspective. But designers also need to think about how a consumer may be interacting, interpreting, or remembering these designs. Consumers don’t always have an artistic eye. So, if your design is too abstract without being clear in its messaging, or is hard to read, or doesn’t resonate with the target audience, the designer may need to rethink “how can I help my audience appreciate what they’re seeing?” It may mean adjusting, simplifying, or clarifying your vision.

Achieve Multiple Goals

  • Good design should be able to juggle multiple things at once with precision. Is your brand identity elegant? Representing the industry well? Standing out against the industry well? Achieving the tone and goals of the client? Easy for other designers to utilize? Good design balances all without blinking an eye.

Designing a brand isn’t only about creativity. It’s about understanding some of the most abstract parts of the human experience and then turning them into concrete products. Good designs are beautiful. But the best designs achieve goals.

May 25, 2023

Brand Activism: Deterrent or Loyalty-Builder?

Anheuser-Busch's recent collaboration with transgender social media influencer, Dylan Mulvaney, sought to generate publicity for Bud Light during the NCAA March madness tournament this spring. What resulted was an enormous controversy that sparked a mass call to boycott the brand. The overwhelming backlash that Anheuser-Busch received for working with Mulvaney will undoubtedly have significant repercussions into the future as corporations weigh the outcomes of explicitly promoting their values in marketing campaigns, or even just implicating their values as was done with this recent collaboration with Mulvaney. With a backdrop of increasingly divisive politics in the US, brands must decide whether to advocate for social issues and risk alienating some of their consumer base or remain neutral in the face of heated current events.

Brand activism isn’t new

Partisan politics appearing in marketing is not a new phenomenon. Issues like abortion rights, BLM, LGBTQ+ visibility, and gun laws are just several of the hotly debated topics that have surfaced over the past couple decades as businesses engage with brand activism. Over ten years ago, JC Penney launched a campaign that featured a lesbian couple and their daughter. The campaign was met with outrage from some, including the conservative mother’s group One Million Moms who protested the company on the basis of “protecting their children” (Block, 2012). Other brands have similarly incited controversy due to treading in political waters. For example, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek explicitly opposed Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill,’ resulting in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempt to revoke the corporation’s special land tax status. In 2018, Nike featured Colin Kaepernick in their Just Do It campaign with the message “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” after the football quarterback kneeled in protest during the National Anthem. Nike initially lost 3% in its share prices, but within four days the brand’s online sales increased by 31% (Birch, 2022).

Consumer Brand Identification: a theoretical framework

So, is the risk of controversy and negative press worth it for these companies to engage in brand activism that could potentially generate stronger customer loyalty? From a theoretical perspective, Consumer Brand Identification Theory explains how self-identification affects loyalty (and disloyalty) to certain brands. This framework posits that agreement/disagreement between the self and the brand is the basis for consumers’ decision-making in supporting or renouncing a brand. Researchers Sourjo Mukherjee and Niek Althuzien found that brand-identification produces an asymmetric effect, contrary to previous studies demonstrating that self-brand agreement generally leads to positive marketing results (2020). That is, while self-brand disagreement regarding a brand’s values produces negative attitudes toward the brand, self-brand agreement did not generate a significant change in attitude toward the brand. This asymmetric effect on consumer attitudes and behaviors would suggest that taking a social stance only results in negative outcomes, and not vice versa.

Behaviors and attitudes in the real world

Consumer brand-identification is a strong theoretical foundation, but real people seem to have different perspectives about brand activism. According to a 2018 study by Sprout Social, almost two-thirds of consumers want brands to connect with them, regardless of political affiliation. On top of that, the survey found that 78% want brands to use their social presence to bring people together.Despite the seemingly asymmetric effects of brand-identification theory, real consumers want and expect brands to use their social platforms to spread positive values and connect people. Data from the 2023 Edelman Trust survey corroborates these results with 63% of consumers saying that they buy or advocate for brands based on beliefs and values. Consumers recognize the power of social media and are looking for companies to speak about relevant socio-political issues on their platforms.

The jury’s out…

The jury’s still out on whether activism in marketing is advantageous in the long term or if it risks driving away consumers. Some argue that brands’ addressing social issues only exacerbates political polarization and alienates customers with opposing views (Zahn, 2022). However, there is also evidence supporting the idea that taking a stance can lead to increased consumer loyalty. The Edelman survey found that when customers felt connected to brands, more than half would increase their spending with the brand and 76% would buy from them over a competitor (2023). With all this said, brands need to prioritize the issues important to their customer base to build stronger connections and ultimately increase sales. Aerie, for example, has incorporated #AerieREAL into their branding which celebrates body inclusivity and fosters much stronger customer relationships. There’s a lot to consider when connecting with and appealing to a certain consumer base – customer expectations and age demographics just to name a couple of things. Ultimately, the choice to engage in socio-political brand activism relies on building a connection with consumers, leading to greater brand loyalty and increased sales for the company.

April 10, 2023

The Creative Process: Start With Discovery

Marketing is one of the most cluttered industries in the working world. There are thousands of companies calling on agencies every day to help sell their products and services through effective deliverables and measurable results. Over the years, KingFish has carefully crafted a five-step approach that yield just that: 

1.     Discover

2.     Strategize

3.     Create

4.     Launch

5.     Measure


One core element to the KingFish process is the first, also known as the discovery phase. It’s the foundation of our entire approach and is the point we uncover the insights that drive a company, its mission, and its marketing objectives. Along the way, this exchange often identifies holes a client did not know they had in their business and marketing strategies.  

Passion drives inspiration

When you ask someone what they love about their role, their eyes light up inevitably. There is a reason behind why people do what they do, and we see this passion come alive during the discovery phase. We see this excitement from our clients during our early conversations that shape the concepts and content that will be created throughout their campaign. Our clients’ passion sparks our inspiration. 


Knowledge fuels creativity

When we speak with clients, we want to know what makes them tick. What colors motivate them? What words would they use to describe their employees? Our creativity is fueled by each nuance of their business. 


There’s strength in diverse perspectives

A client’s perspective and knowledge of their company runs deep. When paired with our marketing expertise and unique insights — we can shine a new light on workable solutions to each marketing challenge. 

What is the bottom line? When you take the time to understand the passion that drives individuals and businesses, your purpose, and direction becomes that much clearer. 

March 13, 2023

When Emotions and Experiences Are Sacrificed

We're throwing it back to 2018 — when Target celebrated the opening of its new storefront on the Lower East Side, Target — and when production partner, David Stark, created fake storefront facades mirroring the street as it was in the 70s. Included was an “homage” to famed NYC dive bar/music venue CBGB (the venue was shuttered in 2006). CBGB is considered the mecca of punk rock and new-wave, the place where bands like Blondie and the Ramones cut their teeth. The installation featured Target-branded exercise bands, and band-aids (get it?), as well as a poster inscribed with “The Resistance”. The installation was met with the expected outrage and ire, forcing Target to issue an apology.  

Why were people so miffed about a squeaky-clean brand co-opting the likeness of a dingy, dirty, club? It comes down to authenticity, or the lack thereof.  

Among many things, the internet has afforded us the opportunity to find our tribes, and our identities as individuals are linked to these groups — and to be honest, brands toe a fine line when trying to connect with these communities. Whether you are a yogi or a gearhead, you can sniff out fraud from a mile away.  

As a brand, you must be aware of the emotional connections that people have to their tribes. If you do not take that into consideration, the results are cringe-worthy and can derail your standing within that group. Trust us, you will know when you missed the mark. (One should never underestimate the power of the comments section. People can be savage.) Musicians, fitness buffs, makeup artists and nerds are all passionate about their niches. Everyone knows you are trying to sell them something. How do you execute on that pitch? Well, therein lies a world of subtlety. As an agency, our role is to help brands understand what makes tribes tick, and then to find the best ways to speak their language.  

But language extends beyond words. Color, photography, and tone of voice must be in lockstep with each other. Not only do you have to create an emotional connection, you must position yourself as an insider, someone who has been in the trenches with your customer. You saw the Talking Heads play at CBGB. You, too, get up at 5 AM to flip tractor tires. You know the best drug-store mascara. These kinds of insights are revealed through talking with your customers, and most importantly, listening to them. It must feel real, and that is hard.  

As a creative partner, and as members of many different tribes, we bring a diverse set of beliefs and experiences to the table. We can be that objective eye. Let us help you understand your customers and deliver creative that truly connects. The last thing you want is to be the TRGT of an angry tribe. 

March 9, 2023

Marketing Requires End-Goal Focused Metrics

You’re confident that all the elements of your marketing campaign are aligned: the target audience, the branded message, a compelling offer, the engaging creative, and the right multi-channel outreach plan.  Now that the campaign is in market, you are waiting anxiously for the weekly reports on measurement to understand how effective it is in driving results. But are you looking at the right metrics?  And, more importantly, how are you using that information?

Getting to the heart of the campaign, marketers need to identify key metrics that lead to the quantitative and qualitative assessment of campaign effectiveness. Is my campaign working, and what can we learn to make improvements now and in future campaigns? What’s not working, and how can we validate and shift dollars accordingly? Bottom-line results are critical from an ROI perspective, but longer-term learning and insight gathering will make the marketing organization smarter, more agile, and effective in the long run, campaign after campaign.  

Tracking 20+ metrics may make for a robust measurement plan—but does each metric lead to valued learning and more informed decision-making that will support achievement of the end goal, be it sales, leads, referrals, or softer endpoints like awareness and engagement? To ensure you get the most actionable data and insights from your campaign, develop your plan by working backward through the customer journey. Instead of starting with initial observation points, such as impressions, clicks, and pageviews—all of which are viable to prove that the campaign is live and drawing attention—start with the end goal.  

This “end-goal first” approach puts the hard metrics front and center and keeps decision-making focused on achievement of the real end goal that will impact your business. Other metrics are waypoints that, when interpreted correctly, can enable you to quickly fine-tune a campaign and optimize how and where the marketing dollars are spent in order to make a larger impact over time. Rather than celebrate 5 million impressions, 34 shares, or a surge in new unique visitors to a site, marketers should be asking how effectively those impressions, shares, and unique visits are empowering prospective customers or buyers to find value and solutions they need and desire based on the content presented. What are the most telling indications for this activity, and at what point can that data fuel a reasoned decision? Clear identification of actionable metrics, not just waypoints, will set the course for near- and long-term campaign learning and success, which is what really matters when seeking to drive ROI.

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