PepperMill March 2014

Tim’s Gettin’ Distracted

Warning, warning! There are multiple links in my article this month. Read through and then come back and have some fun with them. I promise you, you’ll share at least one of them before the day is out. And no, I don’t think any include cats…

Props to our client, Scott Silver at Printable Promotions. He recently sent me a little clip via email. Like most of you, I get a lot of stuff, well intentioned as it is, that might distract me from my daily tasks. Many are discarded for lack of time, but I’m certainly happy I took the time for this one.

AdFreak is a collection of really cool ads (and a few classic stinkers) with great commentary. There are also international pieces that really prove that great is great, wherever you live. Certainly worth subscribing to.

Can food videography and a great music track move you? It did me. This video creates drama and perspectives that completely engaged me. It’s very clever. And that one had a link in it to this one. I know, I went down the video vortex. Worth it.

Is it OK to laugh at yourself as a strategy for a sales pitch? It takes bravery, but when you do it right, it dances. There’s a stock video house that’s called Dissolve. They’re very innovative and they put together this video to showcase their goods. While the script is self-effacing, as an audience of designers, we weren’t put off. And while images are nice, we all wanted the narrator’s voice—if only for a week or so to do phone pranks.

So, I leave you with one of the ten best commercials of 2013, which just happens to be one about baseball—tis the season. What I love about this one is the essence. The advertiser doesn’t sell stuff, they enable experiences and their agency got that. Enjoy.

20th Anniversary Update:
In the spirit of St. Patty’s Day, this month’s company sharing a 20th Anniversary with Pepper Group is Mickey Finn's Brewery, located in Libertyville and owned by Brian Grano. We got our hands on a few bottles and tested the fine brew at Beer:30 this past Wednesday. You can see and learn more on our blog, The Spice Report. “What’s Beer:30?” you ask? Let’s just say, “It’s a special time,” reserved for Peppers to take the edge off.

And the last thought…

Could this be the Cubs’ year?

Just askin’!

Tim Padgett

From a couple of Martins: 

The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass.” 
—Martin Mull
I like a woman with a good head on her shoulders. I hate necks.”
—Steve Martin
Client Spotlight: 3M eTransformation Presentations

We’ve all had to sit through PowerPoint presentations that are overflowing with bullet points, too much information, bad shapes and cheesy clip art. This often leads to a disengaged audience that misses the message being delivered. For 3M’s Global eTransformation team, driving digital innovation and building superior online capabilities within a global Fortune 500 company means selling ideas and quickly evolving best practices to C-level company executives around the world. This is not a vision to be shared through the same old presentation methods.

Pepper Group partnered with 3M to develop a series of presentations that focus on impactful visuals, engaging infographics, and multimedia content and animations to bring eTransformation’s vision, goals and programs to life. For each presentation, Pepper Group worked with 3M to understand the specific goals and target audiences for the slides. We then developed the overall flow and content of the presentation, and identified key metrics and statistics to support and enrich the message. Next, we designed the slides to visually enhance the speaker’s verbal message to the audience, instead of just having the viewer read everything off the screen. Finally, we added custom animations, transitions and video content (where appropriate) for an extra “pop.”

Knowing that 3M may use these presentations everywhere from small conference rooms to gigantic auditoriums, our versions can be shared on the latest 16:9 format widescreens and on various devices—whether using PowerPoint on a PC/laptop or with Keynote on an iPad/tablet. The results have wowed audiences who are strongly engaged in the information being shared. In fact, they often ask how 3M created such impressive presentations. And now you know …


Going to Market: An Epic Internet Expansion is Underway.

Here Are Three Things You Need to Do Now.

Hundreds of new “.whatever” domain name extensions will become available in 2014. Even if you’re totally happy with your “.com” web address, this is a change you can’t ignore. Here’s what you need to know and some actions your business should consider taking.  

Until now, there were about 20 Generic Top Level Domains or gTLDs for short. These include the familiar .org and .gov, as well as the less-familiar .mobi, .tv, .me and various country codes like .ca and .uk. Over the next few years, however, around 1,300 new gTLDs will be introduced. And while .com is currently the granddaddy of them all, this is set to change.

  1. Identify your risks: With extensions like “.inc” and “.llc” on the way, you might want to lock up some obvious URLs before someone else does. For example, XYZ Company the HR consulting firm may be happy with, but when XYZCompany the improv comedy group puts up a new website at and also grabs, that consulting firm is going to wish they hadn’t sat on their hands.
  2. Proactively submit your important trademarks: Brands can stake their claim(s) at the Trademark Clearinghouse. It was put in place to bring some order to this expansion as well as to create a deterrent to cybersquatting. (“Hey buddy, I got and for sale.”) It also gives your business the right to register a domain name before it’s available to the public through a 30-day period called Sunrise. But don’t wait on this. The rollout of new gLTDs has already begun and many gLTDs, such as “.partners” for example, are in Sunrise as of today!
  3. Find new opportunities: Beyond the risks, there are now tremendous new opportunities available. Instead of, you could have Perhaps your business is HR consulting and a thought-leadership site at would be a great way to provide your customers with a valuable resource at an easy-to-remember URL. There are thousands of new possibilities you can take advantage of now. It just takes some knowledge and creativity to uncover them.

Whether you see this as a long-overdue expansion or a blatant money-making scheme, you need to move now to protect your brand and grab valuable URLs that you may want to use, now or in the future. It’s a new dawn in the Internet world and the land rush is on.

It’s also very confusing, and where do you even start with thousands of new extensions to consider? The good news is that we can help. If you’re a Pepper Group client, ask us about the new program we’ve developed to help our clients navigate this new wilderness, protect their brands and identify new risks and opportunities.

George Couris

Double Take: April Fool’s Jewels

Short-sheeting the bed. Balancing a bucket of water over the door. Sneaking the clocks ahead two hours. If you’re up to good-natured mischief, today’s your day. Advertisers are famous for getting in on the fun, too. In fact, it’s a long-standing tradition.

Do you know about Burger King’s left-handed Whopper (where all the ingredients are rotated 180 degrees to the left side of the burger), BMW’s insect deflector screen that caused bugs to bounce off a windshield, and the vertical parking locator that lets MINIS park vertically against the sides of buildings? We kid you not. These were all real. Hoaxes.

It’s a great day for a laugh, so join Joe and Sharla as they take a tour through some of their favorite April Fool’s gotcha’s.

You Tubin’: 10 Bets You’ll Always Win

Sleight-of-hand tricks can be rather entertaining in their own way, but when you include clever applications of science, that’s when it becomes magic. Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, author and magician has created a fun YouTube channel called Quirkology that is loaded with brilliant tricks you can play on your friends and maybe even win a bet or two. This latest installment includes a new way to make Pepper stand out!

Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood