Watch Super Bowl Commercials Like an Expert

We love Super Bowl at RIESTER because the day is about competition. The two teams who have passed, kicked and darted to the ultimate showdown should be applauded, regardless of the outcome. The secondary competition, which has been the topic of the day for the last week is all of the anticipated commercials. Brands will be vying to leave a long-lasting impression on the more than 100 million viewers tuning in.  Ideally, winning over the audience for: 30 seconds equals the beginning of a relationship. It’s certain, that the day has evolved into a cultural event that celebrates and critiques.

And we at RIESTER are right there on the sidelines, judging the commercials just like many of you will be at home. With more than 20 years of advertising experience under his belt, Tom Ortega has become an expert at judging TV commercials. The chief creative director for RIESTER stopped by ABC 15 studios where he discussed three Super Bowl ads and the secrets to a great commercial.

Key elements separate a great advertisement from a bad one. The top factor is emotional appeal. Commercials that make you laugh or cry are more likely to be memorable. Additionally, Tom points out that a good commercial should relate to the brand and be smart, leaving you with an “ah-ha!” at the end. The three commercials Tom selected as his favorite accomplished all those things. Watch the ads below:

Axe Deodorant “Peace”

Doritos “Finger Cleaner”

Volkswagen “Wings”

And share the ads you enjoyed the most with us on our Facebook page.

50 years after the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, there’s a lot left to be done

Today is the much-anticipated release of the new Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. This marks the 50th anniversary of the first report that sounded the alarm for generations to come.

Since the initial report was released in 1964, rates of smoking in the U.S. have declined by more than half. With nearly two decades of experience creating and implementing some of the most successful tobacco prevention and cessation campaigns in America, RIESTER is proud to have contributed to this important public health accomplishment.

 The first smoking and health report was a crucial turning point because it irrevocably shifted the country’s perception of smoking from a harmless habit to a serious health threat. It named smoking as a direct cause of not only lung cancer, but also laryngeal cancer and heart disease, capturing national headlines and becoming one of the top news stories that year.

But until smoking is no longer killing our country’s adults and youth, and exposing all of us to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, our work is not done. Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S.

RIESTER’s legacy in anti-tobacco initiatives is diverse and deep-rooted. Over the years we have conducted hundreds of research projects with tobacco users, and with their family and friends. Through these experiences, we have heard first-hand the heartache, desperation and even resentment caused by tobacco addiction. Every personal story has been a source of inspiration for our more than 20 years working on anti-tobacco campaigns—from helping people quit to preventing initiation. Some examples include: and

Building on a long history of reports detailing the reality of tobacco, today’s Surgeon General’s report will reveal the latest data about how using tobacco detrimentally affects your health and will highlight the past five decades of achievements in tobacco control and prevention.

On this important occasion, RIESTER celebrates the many strides that have been made. Moreover, we are reaffirming our commitment to help educate and protect people of all ages from the life-threatening health effects of tobacco.

The Surgeon General’s office (@Surgeon_General) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (@CDCTobaccoFree) will be live tweeting during the report’s release at the White House today using #SGR50.

Watch the live broadcast of the new Surgeon General’s report at the White House website.

VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt’s First National Ad Campaign Launched Today

As the very first makers of Greek yogurt in the U.S., family-owned VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt has a long tradition of making authentic, great-tasting Greek yogurt. The California company’s years of experience means VOSKOS® knows exactly what it takes (and what it doesn’t take) to make award-winning Greek yogurt – and the brand’s first national ad campaign showcases this expert dedication to quality.

Straight from the farm to the national stage, the new national television and digital media campaign is part of RIESTER’s integrated branding program that tells the VOSKOS® story: beginning with simple ingredients, VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt makes you feel good about what you’re eating because it’s fresh and authentic.

RIESTER first conducted focus groups to gain insight into what most strongly resonated with consumers about rich and creamy VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt. Based on those learnings, and on subsequent consumer panel testing with AmeriTest, RIESTER created and launched a redesigned in November 2013 and produced a 30-second TV commercial with Backyard Productions from Venice California.  The commercial has a close-to-the-earth feel that reflects VOSKOS® authentic approach to making the best-tasting Greek yogurt.

For the freshly redesigned website, the campaign theme “happiness in every spoonful” inspired playful graphics, hand-sketched artwork and bright photography incorporated throughout the site. RIESTER built exceptional user-friendly features for the site like product and recipe filters and a community page that allow users to navigate easily and keep up with the latest updates.

The campaign also includes digital ads, social media assets and mobile elements that advertise VOSKOS® products and healthy recipes.

With simple, fresh ingredients and nothing extra, you can’t help but fall in love with the authentic taste of VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt. Start off the new year right and try VOSKOS® today.

Social Media engagement is no longer free

facebook-promoted-postsPaid promotion has long been an excellent tactic to extend reach across social media platforms. However, some recent changes have shifted this tactic from a nice add on to a must have. The final nail in the free-engagement coffin being Facebook’s confession that it is suppressing content that performs well to push companies to use promoted products. As Facebook explained it, “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”

With Twitter going public and the addition of Instagram and Pinterst ads, it’s only a matter of time before these platforms turn to similar tactics to boost ad revenue. We don’t like these changes. The need to promote posts makes it increasingly difficult to distinguish what content performs best, and adds additional costs for brands. Unfortunately, we see no indication of this changing in the near future.

While we lament these changes, it’s important to realize that social media has always been an outlier in the marketing world. What other advertising and marketing mediums allows brands to connect its customers with its messages at no cost? We’re all accustomed to paying for audience on television and the web, now social media is no different. As a platform with a direct link to consumers, it still provides exceptional value, at a cost that is still quite low when compared to other platforms.

So instead of lamenting the chances, we suggest you get ahead of the game and get a plan in place today. Here’s our three-step guide to initiating or optimizing social media advertising:

  1. Establish a social media advertising goals and budget. Increasing likes will require a different type of campaign than an objective to increase engagement. Depending on how many people you want to reach, a Facebook ad campaign can be successful for as little as $500 a month.
  2. Identify promotion-worthy posts. Focus on the content that speaks best to your social media and marketing goals/objectives. Promote content that has a clear call to action, links back to your website, and/or which will drive significant engagement. We recommend starting with one promoted post weekly, or bi-monthly.
  3. Monitor organic/viral reach and paid reach metrics separately. This will help you determine the true engagement of content. Continue to measure and make adjustments as the campaign progresses.

If you’d like to know more about the implications of these changes, or to help set up your social media adverting program, contact the social media marketing experts at RIESTER.

Monkeys, macaws and turtles have recently reminded us why we should be thankful.

For the first time in decades, a troop Capuchin monkeys has been spotted on the RIESTER Reserve.

For the first time in decades, a troop Capuchin monkeys has been spotted on the RIESTER Reserve.

Recent news from the RIESTER Foundation left all of us at RIESTER feeling thankful. Thankful we were able to make an impact. Thankful we have some amazing clients who make it possible for our Foundation to do its share of good.

On the RIESTER Reserve in Islita, Costa Rica, the good news was heralded by a troop of Capuchin monkeys. These were the first Capuchins seen on the Reserve in decades. And they’ll soon have company, as the Scarlet Macaw was recently reintroduced to the area.

Another milestone on the Reserve has been our new native plant nursery. Managed by Reserve caretaker, Norman Quiros, the nursery not only provides native species for the Reserve, but also for the people who call Islita home. The nursery has taken root and is already a local success.

Just a mile down the winding, unpaved road from the Reserve is Corozalito Beach. This half mile stretch of pristine beach is where the RIESTER Foundation supports PRETOMA, the international organization that protects the Olive Ridley Turtle. Poaching continues to be a threat to the Olive Ridley, but by mid-November, more than 1,500 turtles were recorded nesting at Corozalito. For the Olive Ridley Turtle – and all of planet Earth – those are numbers to celebrate.

At RIESTER, we are thankful that we are able to maintain the Foundation and support its efforts. None of it would be possible without the people we serve each and every day. Thank you.

Idahoan’s National Advertising Campaign Debut

Idahoan potato farm at sunsetLongtime client, Idahoan® has taken its category of packaged potatoes to many new heights. From delicious flavored mashed potatoes, to hash browns and casseroles, Idahoan continuously showcases why it is an industry leader. Now, Idahoan is going into another new realm for the company – national advertising.

RIESTER began with focus groups to determine how best to introduce Idahoan’s incredibly convenient and delicious products to consumers. Next, Idahoan and RIESTER rebuilt so that it would be responsive to tablet and mobile users.  Then, RIESTER conducted a digital media campaign, which graced computer screens across the nation this past spring.

With knowledge about consumer responsiveness to key messages gained from the digital media campaign, RIESTER developed storyboards for a few different television campaigns. These campaigns were then tested in an online, national survey by Ameritest. Consumers, it was found, demanded authenticity and convenience in their products. Born in Idaho and made from 100% real Idaho® potatoes, Idahoan’s products were a perfect fit.

Debuting today, Idahoan’s new, national television campaign “Idahoan on Your Table” features a real Idahoan potato farmer, Conn Crapo of Skyline Farms, tending to his crop. RIESTER and Cosmic Pictures filmed the television commercial in the heart of Idaho potato country. It shows the essence of how Idahoan farmers are so passionate about what they grow, how real Idaho potatoes go into every package of Idahoan, and how simple and convenient it is to prepare authentic, homemade tasting potatoes in a variety of flavors. The campaign consists of a 30-second television commercial, digital ads and social media elements.

Now that’s what we call delicious! Everytime.

Television Commercial Credits

Cosmic Pictures – Filming

Universal Post – editing and CGI animation

Palmer Sound – sound mix

Jason Barber – music composer


Infuse Culture Into Marketing: Turning Heads and Skulls

RIESTERite CJ gets his face put on for the Fox Day of the Dead segment

RIESTERite CJ gets his face put on for the Herdez Day of the Dead segment

Culture is a conduit to one-of-a-kind connections.  When brands embrace it correctly they are telling their customers, “I know and appreciate you.” More so, they are able to introduce all of their consumers to new experiences.

Since its launch in the U.S., HERDEZ® brand has exemplified this dynamic. They are a leader and expert in Mexican food, with diverse salsas that are a staple in homes across the country. Additionally, this year they introduced a line of cooking sauces that make complex Mexican dishes easy to cook, ready in half the time and equally flavorful.

The brand’s Mexican roots are apparent in its product innovation and in all aspects of the brand. is a library of authentic recipes and the brand’s Facebook page engages people in ways that teach about Mexican culture. There, both general market and Hispanic customers learn and share a range of cultural nuances.  This genuine approach separates HERDEZ® brand from the competition and this month provided a unique opportunity with Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead—recognized on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 as a way to commemorate loved ones who have passed away.

Día de los Muertos has been growing in popularity in the U.S., with people from all backgrounds attending local festivals and embracing the iconic skull or ‘calavera’ face. This symbol is at the center of the HERDEZ® brand: The Face of Día de los Muertos Facebook face painting photo contest.

The contest helped catapult the HERDEZ® Facebook family beyond the six-digit milestone and already has hundreds of photo entries all vying for multiple product gift packs and cash prizes. It also presented an opportunity to celebrate and educate people about this unique day of remembrance.

The topic was irresistible to news shows in Albuquerque, Phoenix and Los Angeles where RIESTER made arrangements for viewers to hear first-hand from HERDEZ®  brand representatives. They explained the meaning of the holiday and invited people to participate in the Facebook contest. Hear how much one news anchor knew about the holiday:

FOX 10 News – Phoenix, AZ | KSAZ-TV

What Instagram and Pinterest ads, Twitter’s IPO Mean For Brands

instagram ad-example

Example of an Instagram advertisement

Social media sites are quickly evolving from places where people merely interact, to serious companies that can provide for their employees and their consumers. The clearest path toward that goal is to provide opportunities for brands and marketers to engage with audiences and buy ads. This is exactly the path that Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are heading down.

Instagram and Pinterest to Introduce Ads

Looking to move out of the red and into the black, Instagram and Pinterest are both showcasing their new advertising units that will be unveiled soon. The sites offer great opportunities for brands to connect with consumers through highly visual ads. Based on what we’ve seen, we’re anticipating that the in-feed layout of these ads will have high engagement levels, perhaps similar to Facebook news feed ads. Neither site has announced when ads will be available to all marketers, but we’re expecting it to be within the next six months.

Twitter’s IPO Shows Channel’s Strengths

Twitter began monetizing in 2010 when it launched its advertising program. Since then, Twitter’s advertising revenue has skyrocketed from $7 million in the first year, to a whopping $221 million in the first six months of 2013. This puts Twitter in a good place as it takes its next step – going public.

The specifics regarding Twitter’s IPO are becoming clear: the company expects to offer 70 million shares at $17-$20 a share when it goes public next month. The site is joining Facebook (currently at $52 a share) and LinkedIn ($243 a share), other social networks that have already evolved to full-fledged media companies on the exchange. The current success of Facebook and LinkedIn is proving that these networks are evolving and will likely be a part of the digital landscape for years to come.

Why This Matters For Brands

Since RIESTER isn’t an investment firm, we’ll refrain from offering any recommendations on the Twitter IPO. But as marketers, we can offer some direction in terms of the new advertising options on Instagram and Pinterest. These ads will be an excellent way to reach key demographics with bold and visual ads. But you won’t be able to properly leverage these platforms unless you have mastered use of the sites for brand purposes. We’re here to help you do that.

RIESTER acquires Search-Werks- e-commerce, search engine marketing leader

Alan Perkel, Tim Riester and Kurt Krake toast to the acquisition

Alan Perkel, Tim Riester and Kurt Krake toast to the acquisition

RIESTER strengthens its expertise in search engine marketing, web analytics and e-commerce with the acquisition of Search-Werks. Search-Werks, an Internet marketing innovator, has built and maintained a notable roster of national clients. The acquisition broadens the services available to Search-Werks’ clients and deepens RIESTER’s breadth and depth in online marketing.

“Today’s ‘multi-screen’ consumers provide opportunities for marketers like never before,” said Tim Riester, CEO of RIESTER.  “RIESTER’s acquisition of Search-Werks demonstrates our ongoing commitment to deliver optimal online marketing services to our clients and incorporate emerging technologies in our cutting edge campaigns.”

Search-Werks founder and President, Kurt Krake, who takes the reigns as RIESTER’s executive media director, said, “Joining RIESTER is a mutually beneficial endeavor. We will help the firm build on its extensive digital services and our clients will benefit from its fully integrated disciplines.”

Krake perfected his online skills in digital marketing leadership positions at Hanesbrands Inc. and PetSmart. He launched Search-Werks in 2006 and brings key team members to RIESTER.

“Kurt’s impressive background and success as an entrepreneur appealed to me right away.  He is one of the most experienced people in digital marketing and possesses the ‘let’s make it happen’ attitude for which our firm is known,” said Riester. “Because we have partnered with Kurt on projects over the years, the integration of his team will be seamless.  In fact, their consistent, exceptional track record played a big role in our decision.”

RIESTER Volunteers at U.S. Olympic Committee Summit in Park City, Utah

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir

American Olympic figure skaters Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir being interviewed at the USOC Summit

RIESTER staff volunteered at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Media Summit that took place at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. The event welcomed hundreds of media from across the country and more than 100 athletes who are vying to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Russia February 7-23, 2014.

Teaming up with the Park City Chamber Bureau, RIESTER Park City helped out behind the scenes including assisting at press conferences, interview roundtables, and escorting athletes and other dignitaries to media events.

Fun highlights included assisting with press conferences for two new Olympic sports, skier halfpipe and slopestyle. These new events will introduce X Games medalists Simon Demont, Tom Wallisch, David Wise, Grete Eliassen, among others to the Winter Olympics. Also at the U.S. Olympic Committee Summit, 2010 figure skating silver medalist Meryl Davis and Charlie White were interviewed by Cat Greenleaf, host of NBC’s Talk Stoop, and U.S. Champion figure skaters Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were featured in a round table press event with other talented athletes.

Join RIESTER in cheering on America’s athletes and counting down to the Winter Olympics this February!

Catch a glimpse of behind the scenes via the USOC’s video recapping the Media. And see more photos on the RIESTER Facebook page.