Leading up to NIU's Orange Bowl Game on New Years day, my fellow NIU Foundation board member Ty Ballou and one of my favorite actors, Dwier Brown, who played  Kevin Kostner's father in Field of Dreams, partnered up to make this very cool video about the hospitalized @NIUAthletics footballer George Gipp and the teams historic run up to the Discover Orange Bowl.  Please enjoy and share!


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Check out some of the innovative pioneers and remarkable people, places and 2012 events in Google's Zeitgeist Year In Review Video. Another remarkable year for curious people…"see you in the sunshine"!


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Today the new FCC rules for TV ad sound volume go into effect, better known as the CALM Act.  TV ads are no longer allowed to be broadcast at a higher volume level than the programming they actually interrupt.  For most consumers this is a welcome change–but not for some advertisers, especially the multinational corporations who are forking over $3.7 to $3.8 million per ad to CBS to be featured during Super Bowl XLVII.  When viewers are hudled around their TV sets on Sunday Febuary 3rd, unable to hear the rapid/clever ad copy, and yelling at their party hosts "what did the Bud guy say"…"turn up the volume", lets hope these advertisers below get their money's worth.

Here is the latest list of the 3013 Super Bowl XLVII from Ad Age:

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Buy: To be determined. A-B InBev is perhaps the Super Bowl's largest ongoing sponsor and typically buys between three and four minutes' worth of ad inventory. The 2012 game saw A-B InBev take a total of four and a half minutes of ad time across six commercials.

Creative: To be determined. In 2012, A-B touted Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light and flagship Budweiser. The company is planning significant marketing to introduce Budweiser "Black Crown," a higher-alcohol version of Bud, early next year, so it may be a contender for at least one Super Bowl spot.

Agency: Translation, led by Steve Stoute and Jay-Z, among others, is said to be working on two spots for Bud Light Platinum, repeating the Super Bowl assignment it had for the beer marketer in 2012. In the last Super Bowl, Bud Light was handled by McGarry Bowen and Cannonball. The Budweiser ads came from Anomaly.

Audi of America (Volkswagen)

Buy: One 60-second spot. This will mark Audi's sixth consecutive entry as a Super Bowl advertiser.

Creative: To be determined.

Agency: San Francisco independent Venables, Bell and Partners

Best Buy

Buy: To be determined. In 2012, the retailer aired one 30-second spot.

Creative: To be determined. In 2012, Best Buy focused on inventors such as Philippe Kahn, an early camera-phone developer, and Kevin Systrom, who developed the social photo platform, Instagram.

Agency: To be determined. In 2013, Best Buy tapped MDC Partners' Crispin Porter & Bogusky.


Buy: One 30-second spot

Creative: Expected to focus on how the site's tools make car shopping a great experience

Agency: Dentsu's McGarryBowen, which was named Cars.com's agency in May following the company's long relationship with Omnicom Group's DDB.


Buy: Coca-Cola has purchased three 30-second spots.

Creative: To be determined. In 2012, Coke prepared two versions of a minute-long ad starring animated polar bears and waited until the last minute to choose which to air, based on which polar bear's favorite team was winning. Online, Coke let the bears run wild, so to speak, as they offered up reactions to the game and the ads — drinking Coca-Cola all the while.

Agency: To be determined. Independent Wieden & Kennedy has worked on Coca-Cola's Super Bowl advertising for several years.

Century 21 (Realogy)

Buy: One 30-second ad set to air early in the third quarter

Creative: To be determined. The company said in early November that it was "looking at creative concepts." Century 21 made its Super Bowl debut in the 2012 game.

Agency: Independent Red Tettemer and Partners of Philadelphia

Ford Motor's Lincoln MotorUpdated: 12/3/2012

Buy: One 60-second spot. Ford Motor routinely avoids the Super Bowl, so its decision to place one of its brands in the game is somewhat eyebrow raising.

Creative: To be determined. Ford is rebranding Lincoln by calling the unit "Lincoln Motor Co." and introducing a campaign that makes use of legendary president Abraham Lincoln.

Agency: WPP's Hudson Rouge, a new unit dedicated exclusively to Lincoln.

Gildan Activewear's GildanUpdated: 12/13/2012

Buy: One spot set to air in the third quarter of the event.

Creative: Long known mainly as a supplier of printed T-shirts and other athletic apparel sold to tourists or sport fans, Gildan is trying to step up its game with clothing whose appeal hinges on the Gildan brand itself .

Agency: Independent shop DeVito/Verdi


Buy: Two 30-second spots

Creative: To be determined, though GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Barb Rechterman said in an October press announcement that "We are doing something we've never done in a Super Bowl — we are repositioning sexy." Whatever that means.

Agency: After years of making and producing its own ads with the help of small shops, GoDaddy has enlisted the New York office of Interpublic Group's Deutsch.


Buy: To be determined. Hyundai bought two 30-second spots in 2012.

Creative: To be determined

Agency: Hyundai has long relied on its internal ad agency, Innocean.

Hyundai's Kia Motor

Buy: To be determined. In 2012, Kia ran one 60-second spot in the fourth quarter

Creative: To be determined. Kia's 2012 ad featured an "extreme dream sequence" featuring, among other things, a sleeping husband, model Adriana Lima and Motley Crue.

Agency: To be determined. Independent David & Goliath has crafted Kia's Super Bowl ads in recent years.

Mercedes-Benz Updated: 12/03/2012

Buy: One ad in the fourth quarter, length to be determined. The 2013 game is being played in Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans — one reason why Mercedes decided to return to the game after appearing in 2011 but skipping 2012.

Creative: The carmaker will highlight its CLA, a model that will be introduced with what is believed to be a surprising price point and aimed at broadening the consideration set for the auto brand. Model Kate Upton is expected to team with rapper Usher for the carmaker's Super Bowl effort, but the head of the company's U.S. operations has also hinted that other celebrities have joined.

Agency: Omnicom Group's Merkley Partners

Mondelez International's Oreo

Buy: One 30-second spot set to air in the first half of the game

Creative: To be determined. Oreo has set about a wide array of ad and marketing efforts in recent months to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Agency: The brand has named independent Wieden & Kennedy to lead Super Bowl work behind Oreo.

PepsiCo Beverages

Buy: To be determined. In 2012, Pepsi ran two ads, one for its flagship brand and the other for PepsiMax

Creative: To be determined

Agency: Omnicom Group's TBWA /Chiat/Day has led Pepsi's Super Bowl efforts in recent years.

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay

Buy: To be determined. Doritos is running its venerable "Crash The Super Bowl" contest for the seventh year in a row

Creative: Doritos will again conduct a contest offering amateurs the chance to have a self-produced ad run in the Super Bowl. It is also offering the consumer who creates the top-ranked Doritos commercial to run during the game the chance to work with director Michael Bay on the next installment of "Transformers." (Rankings will be determined by USA Today's Ad Meter consumer poll.)

Agency: Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein and Partners has long assisted.


Buy: To be determined

Creative: To be determined. Samsung ran a 90-second ad in the fourth quarter of the 2012 game that mocked Apple fans. That theme has continued in the consumer-electronics marketer's recent advertising.
Agency: To be determined. MDC Partners' 72andSunny worked on Samsung's 2012 Super Bowl effort.


Buy: To be determined

Creative: To be determined

Agency: To be determined

SodaStream International Updated: 12/04/2012

Buy: One 30-second ad set to air in the fourth quarter of the game

Creative: The ad will be based on the company's current effort showing scenes of soda bottles suddenly disappearing as people effortlessly make their own soda with SodaStream. That spot (watch it here) caused controversy in London, where authorities deemed the ad disparaging to big sodamakers such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

Agency: The earlier spot being revised for the Super Bowl by SodaStream was created by Common, the independent agency that includes former CP+B creative executive Alex Bogusky, but the agency and Mr. Bogusky are not involved in reworking it.


Buy: To be determined. The most recent game saw one 60-second Volkswagen spot in the second quarter.

Creative: No dogs allowed. After making a mild splash around the 2012 game with a teaser ad and a Super Bowl follow-up that used dogs as its centerpiece, the automaker will veer in a different direction, according to press reports.

Agency: The Los Angeles office of Interpublic Group's Deutsch

Categories : General

After talking with hundreds of startup teams around the world, from the ones we are accelerating at  1871 in Chicago to a new stealth startup in India, I have found that, sometimes the best advice is to tell them to stop meeting so often at their favorite cafe/coffee shop, and instead, get out there and  work on the actual startup idea!   Waiting until everything is "just right"  can be a entrepreneurial trap.  In reality, is OK to shift and pivot along the way–some of the most successful startups have.  A great Sketchbook video from our friends at Kauffman Foundation puts this into a simple perspective…"just go be an entrepreneur". Enjoy!


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Over the last decade I have worked with Congress and The Administration, through various organizations like TechNet, SINET, CEC/1871, DeVry and NIU and many other groups to help improve America's competitiveness in the highly competitive and global innovation economy.  Our initiatives have ranged from H1B's, so we can keep the foreign students, graduating from our colleges and universities, to join our high-tech work force and/or start new companies here, to improving our STEM Education results so we can graduate American kids in critical tech. jobs that still go unfilled.

After decades of work across public/private partnerships, it seems our STEM efforts still have a long way to go if we are to train, educate and collaborate with our next science, technology, engineering and math graduates.   We seemed to have created and ecosystem around STEM with hundreds of programs and dozens of summits discussing the issues–from training the teachers to encouraging students to pursue a STEM educational journey.  That is all OK, but more focus is needed on the results–specifically what we are doing to create the next-generation of inventors and entrepreneurs after high school– in the post secondary market.  This sector of our educational system really needs a reboot–more on that soon.

I think there is something missing from our high school though post secondary STEM programs.  Something that would better prepare our students for the competitive global economy.  I think they also need to be equipped with the skills that can bring it all together for them–entrepreneurship.  So lets reboot it, and for those of you who look for the next acronym, we can call it STEEM. 

STEEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Math.  With innovative entrepreneurial curriculum in the mix, we can get to work on developing the best equipped generation to help lead the next phase of growth of our innovation economy.  

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Startup Weekend is coming to Chicago and 1871  is ready to host new entrepreneurs who think they have what it takes to create a startup in 54 hours.  Ever wonder what it takes to be an entrepreneur–and take a leap into todays fast paced digital development climate?  Well, Startup Weekend, along with the Kauffman Foundation and 1871 have come together to provide the platform you need to make that leap.  So, register quickly so you can experience first hand what you can do when you put your mind to it and also have access to a supportive ecosystem around you.


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Yes, the economy is tough, and yes, it’s hard for all businesses at the moment, but when I recently spoke at the SMB Digital Marketing Conference and I couldn't’t help but walk away feeling what a good time it is to be a small business entrepreneur.

It used to be that for local merchants an effective sign, a few ads in the local paper or on the local radio, maybe some distributed flyers and sponsorship of a little league team were the scope of weapons you had in your marketing arsenal–if you could afford them.  Mostly marketing was confined to do what you do well, treat the customer right and hope for word of mouth.  Not a bad recipe, and many small businesses became big businesses using that approach, but many more did a lot of sitting around waiting and hoping.

But that is not the case for small businesses anymore.  The highly efficient and effective marketing tools available to small businesses today is impressive–like social/mobile media, digital advertising, search optimization, OOH displays and discounts & promotions.

In a featured Q&A, I detailed for the audience how best to balance all of these emerging, often overwhelming, tools at their finger tips and focus on what matters most–customer engagement.  Because, one thing has not changed in this digitally overdrive operating era, and that is that all of this ultimately is about engagement.  It’s about how you can not only attract a customer, but become an important vital part of their lives–how you can make their lives better in some small way.



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Why is it – as new research shows – that despite lots of hype and big increases in traffic from social media platforms to ecommerce sites (up 77% from 2011), very few of the visitors coming from this platform actually buy anything?

Why is it that the cranky “dinosaurs” of digital marketing – the email blast and the search result – still far outpace the bright shiny object that is social media when it comes to effectively getting people to buy?

According to the analysis, traffic to ecommerce sites coming from email has a conversion rate of 4.25% and from search results 2.49% but from social media platforms just 0.59%.

Could it be that one of the most fundamental tenets of marketing has survived even through the new world of technology—relevance?

The basic difference in these platforms is that a marketing message delivered through email or one that comes as a result of a keyword search is directed to the individual—a social media message is usually directed to everyone within the community.  Even though logically the consumer might know that the same marketing message she or he received through email was sent to hundreds of thousands of other consumers—the message or coupon they received was “just for them”.  It was therefore highly relevant.

Marketing is successful when it is based on certain truths of human behavior and perception that have been learned over decades of observation and application.  No technology can change those basic human truths.  And foremost among them is that it is all about “me” and only “me” and if you want marketing to work you better get innovative and you better make it relevant.

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