Category: awesome stuff

Make It Worth Watching

It always amazes me when I hear people talk about leveraging the power of YouTube to “go viral.” But a lot of brands don’t want to step up and create content that will actually work on YouTube. Instead of the short, funny video with a subtle underlying ad message, so many companies end up creating an 8.5 minute history of their brand. (And they wonder why it only gets 12 views).

If you’re a brand and you want to make YouTube work for you, you have to be prepared to create content that works on the platform. The shorter the better. The more shareable the better. And that ad message of yours, you’re going to have to find a way to work it in without smearing it across the screen in the most boring way ever.

A local law firm was bold enough to do it the right way. Their recent series of YouTube videos are, short, to the point and most importantly, they’re shareable.

Our Favorite Digital Work

Better than Boullion Facebook Contest

Better Than Bouillon Culinary Inspiration Campaign
Our Better Than Bouillon fans are such passionate cooks and they all have such amazing stories to tell. This campaign allows the brand to really engage with the fans and reward them for sharing their culinary inspiration story on how they became the fabulous at-home chefs they are today.

Better than Boullion Facebook ContestScreen Shot 2014-01-02 at 11.14.39 AMScreen Shot 2014-01-02 at 11.09.28 AM







ADP Employee Referral Program Email Campaign
We had a lot of fun in creating the photo booth concept for ADP’s employee referral program.

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Arts Council of Anne Arundel County Web Site

The mission in redeveloping their web site was to break the municipal design approach and make the site more inviting to local artists, programs, venues, and donors.  The new site enables visitors to search for local artists, programs, venues, and events, as well as online donations, event registration, and more. 

Arts Council of Anne Arundel County Website Design and Development




Get Ahead on your Holiday Shopping with zestt!

Holiday Pop Up Shop

1458552_448016171977182_1471010861_nWe love all things social media, but sometimes ( especially when we’re really obsessed with something) it is nice to get out and actually interact with people! This is why we are encouraging everyone to make the trip out to visit our friends over at zestt for their holiday pop-up shops. They have two open right now, one in Georgetown, Dc and one in Prussia, PA. You can get all of the information on their Facebook page ( see we’re not abandoning social media all together!)

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

Here at The Cyphers Agency, we like to take social media marketing pretty seriously #yesifacebookforaliving. Sometimes though, usually on Fridays #TGIF, we can’t help but sit back and laugh at this digital world we have helped to create #whatdohashtagsevendo
#rememberwhenitwasthepoundsign. If you haven’t already, take a look at this video about #hashtags. Hopefully you get a kick out of it too. #happyfriday #socialmedia4life.

Taking A Bite Out Of Shark Week

Shark-WeekOkay, okay, we get it. It’s Shark Week. We’re reminded every time we turn on the TV, log into Facebook, or read the news online. Shark Week is EVERYWHERE. For whatever reason, Discovery’s weeklong program has become one of the biggest cult phenomenon of the 21st century. But why? Is it because the programming is that awesome? Or is it because people feel the need to be a part of pop culture?

Shark Week is nothing new; in fact it has been running for 25 years, which makes it the longest running cable program of all time. However, it was not until recently that Shark Week began drawing in thousands of cult followers. Part of the reason it has become so wildly popular is Discovery’s incredible social media integration.

The Discovery Channel, and Shark Week really know how to create a successful integrated social media campaign.  You will notice that throughout all of the programming, Discovery refers to their twitter account. They post comments from fans, and encourage online engagement. If you are watching Shark Week you better be telling the world about it! This year’s campaign really hit the ground running on June 23 with the release of the Snuffy the Seal commercial on YouTube. This 17 second video was an instant hit, and went viral almost over night. The video now has more than 1.8 million views. The social media madness doesn’t stop there. The Discovery Channel continues to push the campaign by integrating hastags like #teamseal and #snuffytheseal into regular content. They are very good at cross promoting their campaigns with their own accounts. The @SharkWeek twitter will talk to the @Snuffytheseal twitter and the @DiscoveryUS twitter simultaneously. They have worked hard to completely own the Internet during one week out of the year.

Because of the overwhelming success of the campaign, brands are hopping on board (not off-board because that would be dangerous!) in hopes of tapping into the snuffy_dot_com_300x276success of Shark Week. Tide posted this Vine saying “ we get out blood stains too”, Doritos released this photo on their Facebook page saying “ This week, the snacker becomes the snack”, and Ben and Jerry’s tweeted this picture of a bucket of Phish Food with the caption “shark bait”. Under any other circumstance, these brands would probably never be a part of the same campaign. But during Shark Week, anything goes.

Although Discovery has found a way to be a leader in the social media marketing world, that’s not the only reason that Shark Week takes over our lives for a week. There are so many factors into what makes Shark Week cool, its hard to pin point one.  But either way, we’re all going to sit on our couch every night playing Shark Week drinking games and tweeting about it. Enjoy everyone!

March Madness: What does it mean for marketers?

marchmadnessThe month of March brings many exciting things: warmer weather, St Patrick’s day, the first day of spring, and of course March Madness. For many of us, March Madness is the time of year when our officemates bet against each other, and all of our sitcoms are talking about brackets. But to marketers, March Madness means opportunity.

Over the last 75 years, the NCAA has turned a simple college basketball tournament into a household name. Today, March Madness is one of the most sought after sports broadcasts for marketers, pulling ahead of the NBA, and the MLB. Huge companies like Dove and Capital One are now harnessing March Madness themed campaigns to promote their own products. This incredible accomplishment has many people asking how did they do it?

Here are a few of the marketing 101 tactics that the NCAA has used to create success.

  1. Brand Yourself: The NCAA has effectively made non-fans care about basketball. In an
    attempt to reach a larger audience, they created a strong brand identity for the tournament. Using catchy alliterations like “March Madness” “Sweet Sixteen”, “Elite Eight”, and the “Final Four” brings life to the tournament. The success of the NCAA is obvious to big brands like this year’s leading sponsor, Capital One. They have launched a March Madness campaign using TV spots, online spots, print, digital and social media. The ads will feature Alec Baldwin and former NBA player Charles Barkley promoting the Capital One Venture card within a framework of the March Madness tournament. Capital One is using the hashtag #rallycry to get fans on Twitter talking about their favorite teams. capitalonemarchmadness
  2. Get Digital: It is no surprise that more and more consumers are engaging online. Last year, The NCAA saw 2.2 million unique visits to their website during the tournament. In addition, March Madness generated nearly 3 million tweets, and currently has a Facebook following of 410K. By incorporating digital media into their traditional marketing plan, the NCAA was able to generate a huge amount of online buzz. This online presence translated into a large amount of revenue. Last year alone, March Madness brought in $60 Million dollars in online advertising for
  3. Generate Passion: Although not everyone can incorporate a game into their marketing strategy, it is clear that adding a competition engages consumers on a whole new level. March Madness brackets attract bothdovemarchmadness hard-core basketball followers,and non-fans looking to add a little chance into their lives. This year, Dove launched their Dove Men+Care March Matchups. The campaign will mimic a March Madness Bracket, matching up things like Cable TV VS Buffalo Wild Wings. Each contender is a prize packet, with the final prize being a trip to the real March Madness Final Four. The Dove campaign combines and element of surprise and chance to have their consumers consistently engaged for an extended period of time.

We all know there is never a magic formula to a lucrative marketing campaign, however the NCAA is using a successful strategy that can be applied to any industry.

In keeping with the times we have decided to create our own Cyphers Agency bracket facing off different elements of the advertising industry. Stay tuned for updates!



#SMWWDC: Back to the basics


For the past five days, Social Media Week has been ongoing throughout the Washington DC metro area (#SMWWDC). Social media pros and amateurs alike have traveled throughout the city to attend a variety of sessions, hosted by communications agencies, firms and organizations to learn more about how to effectively use social media as a business tool. I’ve already written about the importance of getting out of the office to attend professional industry events, so I won’t reiterate the same message. However, I will say that while these events are great avenues to learn about new platforms and tricks of the trade, they’re also a great way to get back to the basics.

Though I haven’t worked in social media for a prolonged amount of time (can anyone say that, really?), I can say I’ve been in the industry long enough to get bogged down by the monotony of the daily grind. Whether that’s monitoring clients’ Facebook engagement, conducting Twitter searches or creating LinkedIn profiles for clients who know nothing about the platform, somewhere along the road, I lost my spark and let the excitement fade.

However, attending a variety of #SMWWDC events this week reminded me that what we, social media professionals, do on a daily basis is, in fact, pretty cool. No, we aren’t curing cancer or launching space stations. But we are in a unique position in that we have both a client and an audience to please. We are the voice of our client and it’s our responsibility to be the bridge the gap between the client and the audience. It’s our creativity and the relationships we build with audience members that can translate a client’s boring press release into a Twitter frenzy or a viral video on YouTube. Yes, the day to day brass tacks of our job might not be super sexy, but if you step back from your desk and think hard about what you represent, then it’s actually pretty cool. Sometimes though you need to step out of the office to realize that and along the way you might learn something new or you might realize that you just need to get back to the basics.


What’s the buzz about? A social media grab bag of new platforms and apps

One of the really cool things about working in social media is that the environment constantly changes. One of the challenges of working in social media is that the environment constantly changes. In this case, the pro is the con and the con is the pro. With lots of new platforms, applications and generally cool stuff debuting at a pace that seems weekly, it’s sometimes tough to stay on top of it all. However, this week, here’s a grab bag of some cool things we found on the internet that we want to share.

It’s still too early to predict its success, but the new Vine app that Twitter launched late last week is definitely proving to provide Tweeps the video capability they’ve been demanding. With six second video loops, the app encourages users to “share their life in motion.” Though Vine has encountered some…obstacles concerning porn material popping up in users’ feeds, it will be interesting to watch this new application grow. It’s great for individuals sharing active bits of their lives, but the challenge will be to leverage the new “it” platform for brands.

Instagram v. Vine. Share life in motion.

A Google-A-Day
It seems as if any question is answered these days with, “Google it!”. Whether as a board game or during pub trivia, players encourage you to leave your smart phone in your pocket to keep the playing field even. In true Google fashion, they’ve embraced this challenge and created “A Google a Day” — a 24/7 online trivia game in Google+ that encourages quick, crafty and creative use of the famed search engine. For those who love online games or are just looking for another distraction from a boring desk-job, this could be your ticket!
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If Pinterest and Instagram were to collide and create an offspring, you would fine Pose. As the newest fashion and style social media platform, Pose cultivates an online, mobile community that allows fashionistas to share images and videos of outfits, makeup, shopping and fashion. With an endorsement and significant financial investment from fashion powerhouse, Rachel Zoe, as well as a significantly large following, Pose is sure to succeed in the fashion, cosmetic and beauty industry.


The Jungle and the Internet

Jungle and the Internet

Last week, I traveled to Ecuador with a medical team. We hiked into the jungle, ‘Heart of Darkness’ style, and set up a mobile clinic for the local tribes. It was an incredible experience. This post, however, is not about what I did on the trip. It’s about the lack of internet.

When I say that I was in the jungle, I mean that I was *in* the jungle, about a two-day hike from anything resembling a road. There was no power in the villages, much less internet or cell service. As a millennial with a smartphone in my pocket and a job on the internet, I was very curious to find out what being disconnected for a week would feel like. Would I implode? Would I reach a new plane of enlightenment? If my friend Instagrammed a latte and I wasn’t there to see it, did it exist?! Read on for these answers and more!

The surprising answer is that I didn’t really notice. I didn’t reach for my phone, I didn’t wonder what was happening on Twitter, I didn’t lament my missed Reddit time. It was almost like it didn’t *occur* to me to miss them, which was weird because I have set a routine for my internet time. I check my social networks in the morning from my phone. I read blogs over breakfast. I keep my Twitter app on the side of the screen through out the day. I peruse pictures at home after work. I look r/TIL whenever I’m sitting on the… never mind. The jungle showed me that I do these things because they’re in front of me to do. When they got taken away, I didn’t miss them.

My conclusion from this isn’t internet abstinence and a Thoreau-style abandonment of society. Our digital lives aren’t bad, but we tend to devote our time to the things we put in front of us. I check certain sites because I bookmarked them. I open certain apps because they’re on my homescreen. I need to be more conscious of what I put in front of myself. Twitter is fine, but do I need to check it 16 times a day? Probably not, so why do I have the app open all day? Instead, I think I’ll try to do something more productive like… go outside! Sun! Fresh air! I should check Twitter to see if any of my friends are outside right now.

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

This year, we at The Cyphers Agency have much to be thankful for. In our Thanksgiving Thankfulness video series, staff members took a few moments from their busy schedules to tell you what they are thankful for and to offer other tips and advice for the holiday season. Some are funny and others are serious, but in the spirit of the holiday, we are truly thankful to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful clients, to work with such talented colleagues and at an agency that allows us to be ourselves.

We will be spending the next two days enjoying our holiday and hope you will, too. We’ll be back to work on Monday, but not until after enjoying an extra helping of turkey and pumpkin pie! Happy Thanksgiving!

This year, we wrote our thanks on leaves that came together to create our Thanksgiving Tree. It also serves as our kitchen table centerpiece.