“The Perfect Lineup” Returns. This Time, DraftKings Goes GOLF.

We had the pleasure of working with DraftKings last year on a killer fantasy football program for TV and Radio. It was one of those projects where talent, passion and content (football!) came together perfectly.

But our partnership didn’t end last fall – not by a long shot.

In fact, the CBS + DraftKings partnership has evolved, and we have already launched our Spring content! Right now, we’re bringing the love to golf and we’re going big!

Want to win $1 million? Well, you could do it while watching the Masters this week!

DraftKings is bringing the “The Perfect Lineup” to life on the links as Marc Malusis and Scott Gramling bring their signature insights and personalities to the CBS Television and Radio audiences covering fantasy GOLF.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 8.05.47 PM

CBS Radio audiences got in on the action as well – check out the two-minute Radio version of “The Perfect Lineup:”


And by the way, if you’ve only played fantasy football, you’re missing out on a ton of fun. It turns out that the fantasy golf offers big prizes and big fun as well.

Simply pick six golfers with their total salary under the cap, then watch and hope. Your golfers earn points based on the scores they make and their position on the leaderboard. The team with the most points will win the $1 million first-place prize.

DraftKings is revolutionizing fantasy golf with massive cash prizes, and CBS TV couldn’t be more excited to celebrate it with all new content, a new set and new passion for the links!

Most importantly, anyone who uses the promo code PERFECT gets free entry into DraftKings’ Millionaire Maker Event. Don’t miss it!



Heineken and CBS Get Electric at Ultra 2015

Last weekend, the 17th annual Ultra Music Festival wrapped up in downtown Miami. The electronic music festival, which in recent years has drawn crowds of over 100,000, has become an unparalleled opportunity for brands to connect with live music fans.

We were lucky enough to be a part of the festival, teaming up with Heineken for an electrifying scavenger hunt. Here’s how it worked. Custom-made bottles, designed by DJs A-Trak, Junior Sanchez and Ryan Hemworth were hidden across Miami. Using #Heinekenhouse, the stars and Heineken tweeted out clues of the bottles’ locations.

Anyone lucky enough to find them was treated to an exclusive VIP experience.

CBS brought it all to life with Power 96‘s on-air talent and digital assets — seamlessly integrating the station’s coverage of Ultra with the strength of multiple consumer touch points in Miami.


Heineken has been a staple of Ultra for years, setting up up their unique Heineken House where music fans can drink great beer from an even better vantage point. Every year, they up the ante.

“We know that getting in line for beer and being pulled away from the festival itself is something that people don’t want to do,” said Heineken’s Leanne Maciel, when the Heineken House debuted in 2013.”So we said, ‘’How can we keep them connected?’ This year, they’re allowing concert-goers to get behind the turntables and create their own DJ personas.

How will Heineken top themselves in 2016? The Altitude Group can’t wait to see!


How Budweiser is Making Consumers Rethink Their Brand

What does a marketer do when their product is a monolith in a world of microbrew?

We all have our brand prejudices: we avoid products because our parents liked them, or because they’re too popular, or associated with a demographic that doesn’t speak to us. Budweiser is, simultaneously, dealing with all of those issues.

It’s over a century old, and for trendy New Yorkers it can come off as old-fashioned Americana. So how do you get a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters to realize that Budweiser is actually pretty tasty?

Budweiser isn’t alone in this challenge for relevancy. Samuel Adams, the largest craft beer brewer, is looking to reclaim their identity in the craft world after originally pioneering it with similar “blind taste test” ads. Elsewhere, we’ve all seen the Pepsi Challenge, where society collectively discovered that marketing can actually change how we perceive taste. And more recently, consumers decided that the same Miller Lite tastes better in a retro can.

But Budweiser isn’t just challenging preconceived notions, they’re re-focusing their overall strategy on winning over millenials. 44% of 21-27 year-olds have never tried Budweiser, the Wall Street Journal reports, and are slowly being crowded out by craft beers.

After years of developing advertising and marketing that appeals to all ages, AB InBev plans to concentrate future Budweiser promotions exclusively on that age bracket. That means it won’t trot out the traditional Budweiser Clydesdales for this year’s holiday advertising… It means less baseball and more raves with DJ group Cash Cash.

It’s a strategy that worked for Bud Light’s “Up for Whatever” campaign targeted towards millennials culminated in the takeover of an actual town.

Whether or not Budweiser will ever convert diehard craft beer drinkers is up for debate. But their new “Blind Taste Test” is sure to sway some undecided voters.


AG MVP- Brendan Kneeland

Every month, we’re honoring one #TeamAG member who has been absolutely crushing it. Up this month? Brendan Kneeland, Project Manager in our Activation department.

Here’s what Brendan’s boss, Claire Doyle, has to say about the one and only BK:

“Simply put, Brendan is an amazing team player who goes above and beyond for every client. Whether it’s conducting in-studio interviews on Sundays, trafficking copy at 6:00 am, or simply helping where needed, Brendan is always ready to complete any task that is thrown his way. He was unanimously nominated by all department heads, which is a huge testament to his character considering what a stellar team we’ve developed at the Altitude Group.  Brendan certainly lives up to the Altitude “Best in Class” standards.”

So, what’s the deal with this Brendan dude? Check him out:



Job Title: Project Manager, Activation As a member of the Activation team, I manage several of Altitude’s largest brand campaigns – including DraftKings, MasterCard, GEICO, and more – often at the same time. My role includes creating campaign timelines and overall planning, radio spot production, high-level client communications, creative development/trafficking, and live event execution. (That was a mouthful.) In short- once a project is sold, I’m ready to activate.

Who are you inspired by? My parents. My Dad is an insanely hard worker, a selfless, smart guy, and  just an overall truly decent human being. My Mom is endlessly patient, compassionate and super smart. I strive to be like them in my career and life.

What do you love about radio? I got into this industry because I was a fan of brutally honest comedy and free creative expression.

 What’s your guilty pleasure?  Karaoke and anime come immediately to mind. No guilt.

 Favorite writing utensil? I couldn’t pick a favorite. They’re all like my children and I have no favorites.

What’s your Starbucks order?  Flat White. No idea what it is, but I hear it’s artisanal. Plus, it’s loaded with caffeine. After 2 years as a barista I need a little extra.

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on lately? DraftKings – The Perfect Lineup. I worked directly with talent, helped to write scripts, and did sound production myself down at WFAN studios. The MasterCard VIP experiences and concerts were awesome as well.

Favorite part about your job: Writing and sound production are my favorite things to do…plus I really like the friends I have made here. I also love live events.

On the weekends where can we find you? Running down the West Side Highway, wandering the city window shopping, hanging in Hoboken, or out with friends.

Fun Fact: I may still be a proud member of the Meat Cutters Union of New Jersey, but I am not entirely sure.

What’s on your playlist? I can’t stop listening to “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna/Paul McCartney/Kanye West. Huge Beatles fan otherwise. Anything with great vocals.

Congratulations, Brendan! Stay tuned for next month’s AG MVP!


Is Digital Marketing Dead?

digital-marketing1Marketers like to proclaim that the medium which they know best is the be-all and end-all of advertising solutions.

Digital marketers are no exception. But it’s becoming clearer than ever that no one platform alone can reach consumers everywhere they live today.

For example. digital marketing works best when it’s integrated into multiple platforms. So at CBS, that might mean having a compelling presence on TV and radio in the nation’s most important local markets, in addition to exposure on owned and operated web sites and streaming services like

And even more important than platform, marketers need to make sure they’re having a compelling consumer conversation rather than simply ticking off an impression. All the banner ads or TV spots in the world will only go so far if they aren’t entertaining. Want people to remember you? You’d better be funny. Or touching. Or shocking. Or surprising.

“Boundaries between channels are disappearing, and customers expect experiences they personally value,” Mark Floisand writes in AdWeek.

That’s because the lines are blurring, now more than ever. We live in a multi-platform world where TV, smartphone, radio and out-of-home are all part of a 360-degree whole.

Metrics like impressions are being tabled in favor of engagements and interactions. While getting your message in front of consumers is still valuable, great marketers are having conversations with consumers. Those conversations happen on (and span across) different mediums. Whether it’s a TV spot that spurs a Twitter conversations, a product that launched on Kickstarter or a Google search that started with Yelp reviews and ended in an online purchase. To succeed, marketers need to operate seamlessly across platforms.

Kickstarter works because consumers are a part of something bigger, but not every brand can cash in on pre-launch excitement. Bigger brands still can build meaningful relations by actively engaging their audience, however. “Experience marketing is about owning every interaction that a customer has with a brand, in both the physical and digital worlds, and creating a continual, relevant experience that wins customers for life,” Floisand writes.

Meaningful engagement is impossible, however, without an intimate knowledge of your consumer. Brands need to speak meaningfully and locally in a way that invites dialogue and interaction. While analytics are an amazing tool to understand consumer spending habits, purchasing histories and preferences, it’s still no replacement for local marketers who are embedded in the communities that they want to speak to.

Digital marketing isn’t dead, or even outdated, because it’s become part of something much more valuable to marketers: a message that’s everywhere.  And just being engaging and entertaining may be the most important thing of all.


Turning Viewers Into Volunteers at CBS

v2vThe Altitude Group couldn’t be more excited about Viewers to Volunteers, the latest initiative from our friends at CBS EcoMedia.

Since 2010, CBS EcoMedia has been bringing its unique public-private partnership advertising model to all CBS platforms. Their newest effort combines elements of viral video watching, social networking and charitable giving.

So how does it work?

Viewers to Volunteers is a “new multi-screen initiative that empowers people to give to a charity of their choice without spending their own money.” It consists of a destination video hub  where visitors can watch videos and read articles that further a good cause and lots of opportunities for social sharing with friends and colleagues.

When viewers watch or share these advertiser-sponsored videos via their smartphones, tablets or computers, they help direct real-life financial contributions to the nation’s most effective nonprofit organizations.

What is perhaps most compelling about this effort is direct and substantive advertiser integration. The program is launching with the support of Toyota dealership associations in its four launch markets: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Dallas-Fort Worth. (There are plans to roll out V2V nationally with the launch of a mobile app later this spring.)

According to Paul Polizzotto, President and Founder of the division, it’s a unique way for marketers to reach consumers and the issues they care about.“This is a giving platform,” Polizzotto told the Wall Street Journal. “There are no banner ads and no pre-roll on V2V. This is a very different kind of platform.”

As with previous initiatives, CBS is working with some remarkable groups. Eleven of the country’s leading charitable non-profits are serving as launch partners: First Book, Fisher House Foundation, Junior Achievement USA, Kids in Need Foundation, Little Kids Rock, Meals on Wheels America, National Recreation and Park Association, Special Olympics World Games, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Volunteers of America.

We think that this program can be a win-win-win for charities, viewers and advertisers.

“They’re giving our money, but we’re getting what we want as an advertiser, where people are looking at our brand,” Paul Muller, the president of the Tri-State Toyota Dealers Association, told the Wall Street Journal. “Hopefully they’re looking at our brand favorably. In the mean time, we’re doing something that we think is a good thing to do.”



Marketing Lessons from Cadillac’s Reinvention

Last weekend at the Academy Awards, Cadillac debuted a daring commercial fit for the event: a 60 second spot directed by veteran filmmaker Doug Liman featuring a who’s who of innovation: Steve Wozniak, fashion designer Jason Wu, Richard Linklater, Anne Wojcicki and Njeri Riong.

The message: Cadillac isn’t what you think.

In a great piece in AdAge, Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac’s new Chief Marketing Officer, outlined his radical new plan for the American luxury brand. Step one: stop calling it a luxury brand.

“Firstly, if you need to say that you are luxury, you are not luxury,” Ellinghaus said. “Louis Vuitton does not say they are luxury. They simply are.”

The article covers a series of invaluable marketing lessons, but here are three takeaways.

Show, Don’t Tell

If you need to remind people that you’re a luxury brand, you’re probably not. It’s a common problem in marketing, that when you think about it, makes no sense. If a doctor’s advertisements bragged “went to medical school,” you’d be right to be a little suspicious. If Cadillac said “this isn’t your Grandpa’s car,” you might think they were protesting too much.

“Johan de Nysschen, my boss, and I always say we want to build the first luxury brand that just happens to make cars,” Mr. Ellinghaus said. “That sounds like a joke, but we’re serious about it.”

Cadillac, of course, is a luxury brand, and it’s making a few moves that have worked for similar high-end automakers. The company is taking a few cues, like model names, from European counterparts.

Undersell, Over-Deliver

New Cadillacs, like BMW and Audi, will use numbered names to create a brand hierarchy.  To compete against the BMW 5 or Audi A8, you’ll be seeing the Cadillac CT5 CT6 – but no CT7. By having the numbers top out at 6, Ellinghaus hopes to undersell and over-deliver against similarly numbered competitors.

“If we had called the car CT7, it would have been compared to the 7-series long wheelbase, and it is not that expensive and not that big,” he explained. “And same with CT8: It would have been compared with an Audi A8, and still it is not there.”

Make Art, Tell Stories

Luxury is about image, and nothing purveys luxury like beautiful cinematography. In addition to great aesthetics, great storytelling drives Cadillac’s new commercial. Engaging consumers in a narrative is the best way to get, and retain attention.

Cadillac has some ground to pick up after slipping in sales last year, but with Ellinghaus running the company’s marketing efforts it will undoubtedly be one of this year’s most exciting brands to watch. And marketers would be wise to decipher his playbook, if only to use it for themselves.


Live Events Are a Bright Spot for Radio Revenue

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.40.21 PMAn interesting report released by the Radio Advertising Bureau yesterday found that non-traditional revenue from live, off-air events now accounts for one of every ten dollars spent on radio. Live event related business even brought in twice the dollars digital billed last year.

This is exciting news for groups like Altitude which has always seen events as core to our reaching consumers locally.

Erica Farber, the president of the Radio Advertising Bureau told Inside Radio that advertisers see radio as a great way to bring live events to local audiences:

“With radio being closest to purchase, it makes sense that advertisers would look at those stations as a connection to a marketplace,” she says. “It’s a large undertaking to do these kind of events and do them well, but the stations that are focusing on it are finding its very successful. It gets back to no one does promotions better than radio.”

The report also found that AT&T stayed radio’s top advertiser for a second consecutive year, increasing its budget by 3%. And Comcast remained in second place, with with T-Mobile, McDonald’s and Verizon Wireless rounded out the top five spenders.

Finally, automotive was radio’s top ad category again in 2014, despite a 2% drop in total spending. Budget increases by Fiat Chrysler and the Chevrolet Dealers Association led to the growth.

This report underscores something that’s been clear for some time: local consumers are best reached by using multiple platforms and tactics. Live events are integral to that.


The Enchanting Value of Customer Personas


The thrill seeker. The One-of-a-kinds. The diamond cutters. These are just a few names that marketers use to describe their customers.

Customer personas are ways of characterizing consumers and audiences. They’re often based on research that maps out who is buying products or services and can help inform everything from more effective brand copy to new product development.

Some companies have incredibly clear customer personas.

For example, Zipcar’s main buyer is the millennial urban dweller. Recognizing that young city dwellers value health and fitness, Zipcar launched a viral marketing program with Starbucks. Consumers were encouraged to try out a “Low Car Diet.” This experiment led to more than 50% of the participants excited about using their cars less often and walking and biking instead. Thus, Zipcar established itself as an eco-friendly advocate of a healthy lifestyle and weaved that concept into its brand.

When Staples redesigned it’s web site, it applied qualitative and quantitative customer research through every step of the design process, while incorporating feedback from thousands of customers along the way. The company based its design on specific customer shopping characteristics. From this research, the primary Staples customer personas, or types — Lisa Listmaker and Sammy Specific — were born.

According to Staples:

Lisa Listmaker is an office manager whose main goal is to get the order done as quickly as possible. She usually has a detailed list of her “standard order” with item numbers for each product handy while ordering. She shops most often via, in addition to using her Staples catalog and visiting her local Staples store, and usually completes the order in one visit–true to her “in-and-out” nature. She likes special deals if they’ll help her save the office even more.

Sammy Specific runs a small business and is not a planner when it comes to buying office products. Among other characteristics, Sammy typically does not shop by item number, but knows the products he needs by brand and/or general specifications.

Savvy marketers would do well to think hard about their customer and their personas. Here are some samples from a comprehensive (and occasionally amusing) list of brand personas.

(Compiled by


Achievers are accomplished. They crave success and have a way of making things happen for themselves and the project at hand. They are often referred to as ‘accomplished’ or ‘overachievers.’ They wear the title “most likely to succeed.” Their achievements are visible to those around them.

Ambassadors are diplomatic by nature. They know how to get along with others and seek to find common ground. Sometimes they can be seen as political – understanding how to work the system to get things accomplished.

Calmers have a sturdy zen-like nature. They are often the calm in the storm and are almost unshakeable. They are easy-going in nature and although they understand the serious side of challenges, they’re rarely ruffled by it. Because they keep a level head even during stressful times, they are valuable members of teams.

Caregivers think of others, often before themselves. They are supportive, loving and empathetic. They enjoy taking care of others and ensuring that those around them are cared for. Caregivers are usually very tuned in to how people around them are feeling and are quick to help out those in need.

Diamond Cutters are exact. They are precise. They often like detail and speak in specific terms. They are not prone to hyperbole or inaccuracy. They speak and act with accuracy.

One-of-a-kinds are individualists. It is hard to describe them because they have a very special way of being. People use words like as quirky, unique or colorful to describe them. They usually stand out from everyone else you know and are typically comfortable being themselves.

Persuaders are convincing. They have an uncanny ability to make you see things their way. Some use facts, others reason, others analogies. But they all are gifted in their ability to convince those around them. They are often so talented at the art of persuasion that they can get someone to make a 180-degree turn.

Sparks have a natural energy. They are spirited. People refer to them as sassy. They often light up a room and can have a bold aspect to them.

Wonderers have an innate curiosity. They often don’t accept things at face value. They are interested in many things and want to know more about them. They can ask lots of questions to learn more about that which surrounds them.



The Best Valentine’s Day Ads Come From Unexpected Places

While many are vying for restaurant reservations, buying chocolates and delivering flowers, marketers are vying for their own share of Valentine’s Day messaging.

American consumers are expected to spend $18.9 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, and individual spending is up 13% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Some of the most creative marketing comes from companies that people would never associate with Valentine’s Day.

Give a Kiss, Get a Burrito

Qdoba may not be your Valentine’s Day locale of choice, but this campaign is sure to draw attention.

qdoba burrito

With the purchase of one burrito, a smooch from a friend or loved one will be rewarded with another free burrito.

“Smothered for a Smooch is meant to be fun and a bit over-the-top, and both our guests and our team members have a lot of fun sharing the love at this event,” David Craven, Qdoba Vice President of Brand Communications, said in a statement.

Starbucks Coffee Date


For this campaign, Starbucks linked up with a company that has an obvious in to Valentine’s Day:  Match added a feature in their mobile app allowing users click “Meet at Starbucks,” allowing hopeful couples to connect over a cup of coffee.

“The idea for the app’s new section builds on data from Match that 3 million of its members use coffee-related keywords to describe themselves on the site,” Adweek notes.

Dairy Queen Takes a Jab at Jewelry Ads

I was sincerely confused before laughing delightfully at this Dairy Queen commercial. Aside from ordering the cake, there are a limited number of actual spoons (complete with their red boxes) customers can order from DQ.

Dr. Ruth and Clorox

dr ruth clorox

The legendary sex therapist was enlisted by Clorox to add a humorous spin to pre-treating your clothes.

As AdAge reports,

“From a business perspective, we wanted to raise awareness about pretreating,” said Molly Steinkrauss, associate marketing director at Clorox. “We wanted to reach younger consumers too, people who typically weren’t laundry involved. …We thought there was a unique opportunity to leverage humor to reach people who might not be thinking about laundry by talking about something they might be thinking about.”

A British Grocery Chain’s Low Budget Approach

Americans may be unfamiliar with Tesco, one of the largest multinational retail chains, but anyone can appreciate these quirky Vines featuring people running into their ex-lovers at the grocery store.

If you’re not in the romance industry, marketers have two options: get connected (like Starbucks), or just have fun. Amazing marketing means that consumers will fall in love with your brand. It may not exactly be the love we celebrate on Valentine’s Day but great ads can come close.

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