Monthly Archives January 2020

After a Week with Akwafina, This is How I Feel

Last Thursday I boarded my normal subway and heard an overly peppy train conductor spouting off the station names. After daily commutes of mostly garbled static and apologies for train delays, this was a weird but welcome switch.

I looked around the train, few other people were laughing, and one person put in their headphones with an annoyed shake of the head. Although not normal, it isn’t entirely uncommon to have a train announcer feel they need to add their own spin on announcements. I took it as that and got on with my book. Five stops later I realized a train across the track had the same voice, and started to piece together what was really happening.

The voice I was hearing was Akwafina, and that comment about watching Nora from Queens while riding through Queens was not the random thing I first thought it was.

It was an ad, in the basic sense. But at the same time it was something so much more. Comedy Central worked with the MTA to have Awkwafina announcements on the 7 train for one week, leading up to the launch of her new show. The MTA hasn’t given a lot of details over the paid announcements, but did say it might be possible to do something similar in the future.

Awkwafina being first is just one of the reasons I loved it. Yes, we’ve heard plenty of celebrity voices over GPS systems, celebrities promoting their shows in the middle of YouTube ads, celebrities talking up their projects on social media. But before this no one had ever heard a celebrity calling out subway stops and PSAs like, “Hey fellas, stop manspreading,” or facts like “…pigeons and doves are the same thing — what!?”

From a strategy standpoint, this idea was everything. They chose a subway line that runs through Queens to advertise a show about Queens, and used an actress who understands everything about the 7 train in Queens because she was born there. Awkwafina doing a voiceover for Waze, for example, would never have hit the same audience.

The best part–the idea worked! While I admit that I wouldn’t have wanted a month of it, and by the end of the 7 days I’d memorized almost every quippy bit of her subway monologue, it got people talking. I overheard conversations on almost every train I was on. People tweeted about it, posted videos on Instagram, and wrote articles–and the majority of the feedback was positive. Plus the FOMO was real. Even celebrities wanted in on the conversation, with some offering to voice other Manhattan subways in the future. And that’s what we want from advertising in the end, isn’t it? Smart ideas that hit home for the brand and for the audience.

Engaging concepts that do more than just sell a product. And storytelling that’s worthy of listening and sharing with others.

How to Benefit from LinkedIn’s New Advertising Updates

LinkedIn has become one of the most trusted social platforms used today. It is an indispensable channel for business to business communication, customer prospecting, and lead generation. Ad placement has risen significantly over the past few years, and LinkedIn is continually implementing new tools and strategies for better reach.

We recently attended a LinkedIn Marketing Lab to learn more about the newest updates LinkedIn rolled out the last quarter of 2019, and is planning to roll out through the first half of 2020.

Stronger Targeting 

In the past, LinkedIn targeting was a more direct process. For example, if a profile had Sales Manager as their title, they would be included in your Sales Manager audience. LinkedIn’s new, smarter capabilities can now crawl all areas of a profile to analyze if that user fits within the intended target audience.

LinkedIn Profile Page


This is beneficial because a job description can be just as telling as a title, especially if a user has a less direct job title listed (you know who you are, Assistant to the Regional Manager).

In addition to gleaning more from a profile, LinkedIn has better ways to track and focus geotargeting. This update works with multiple touch points. The first part is allowing people on LinkedIn to more narrowly describe where they are located. From another touchpoint, LinkedIn now searches a users location from profile information as well as IP address.

Target by location


In addition, when creating ads it’s now possible to target by continent, country, city and designated market area. This type of hyper targeting can help businesses for both B2B marketing and prospective employee searches.

Blended targeting

One of the updates we’re most excited for is the new capabilities surrounding the AND-OR targeting features. Being able to target a group by the title of “Data Scientist” OR the skill level “sales analytics” can increase the reach of the audience you are looking for.

Target by multiple attributes


In contrast, adding another qualifier to that same group, like “AND people with 10+ years experience” can narrow the focus to make sure you aren’t targeting people who wouldn’t be interested in your services.

Essentially this new range of options gives us the ability to expand your audience in a focused way to share your message to a stronger subset of people. Along with this benefit, it also allows for more flexibility to test audience types and discover the best target for your ads.

The best news is, we are already working with these new changes in current marketing efforts, and continue to track and analyze the data gained from these new tools for segmentation. Because one thing we love here is seeing results go up. Another thing that makes us happy? The next round of LinkedIn updates we’ve been teased are coming in the next few months!

Stay tuned for more…