Brands Lead The Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

Hurricane Harvey was the first major storm of its kind to make landfall in the US in over a decade and caused mass destruction along the southern border of the nation. Companies from all over the country are offering funds, goods, their employees and offices to help with the relief. At this point, corporate donations have already surpassed $157 million.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged $2 million to the mayor of Houston. They also have plans to match customer donations on a two-to-one basis. These funds will add up to $10 million that will be donated to the relief effort. Dell is a Texas-based company that has been around for decades and has become a global brand of choice in the computer industry. They pledged a whopping $36 million to assist Texas. The Starbucks Foundation has pledged $250,000, and the chain is encouraging its customers to chip in by allowing them to make a direct donation to the organizations aiding Texas in any of its coffee shops across the country. Home Depot is pledging one million to numerous organizations that are helping out with relief efforts and has put together its Team Depot volunteers who are on their way to help with the cleanup effort.

When Hurricane Harvey hit, people tried to prepare for the worst: buying up provisions from grocery stores and stocking up on water. Because of this, companies raised the price of water bottles to make even more profit. Companies such as Best Buy are being scrutinized by the public for their price-gouging during a time when people have lost their cars, homes, and even loved ones. Anheuser-Busch sent over 255,000 cans of emergency drinking water to Corpus Christie, Houston, and Austin to aid Hurricane Harvey response efforts and donated all of the profits to The American Red Cross.

Even fashion companies have stepped in to help. For example, Lime Crime, a trendy makeup company, will be donating 100 % of sales of their Beet it Matte Velvetine lipstick to help Houston. Keep in mind that many animals were affected by Hurricane Harvey too, which is why companies like PetSmart are giving one million dollars to animal welfare agencies that have been working to rescue and relocate homeless pets in the storm-ravaged areas.

It’s amazing that so many companies have been doing everything they can to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. However, it’s important to ensure your business’s disaster relief donations are well received. For smaller companies, your efforts can be coordinated with an accredited organization or the local government to determine whether your donations qualify. Depending on your industry and your business’s size, you may have access to supplies or service that will be useful to victims and aid workers. Media Companies have worked hard to list companies and organizations that will accept certain donations so that the general public can help.

In the corporate world, it’s all about competition. It’s the reason why we see CVS open across the street from Walgreens. It’s the reason why commercials will refer to their competitors and claim they are better. In times of Disaster, these companies come together for one unified reason: to help. Now the incredibly powerful Hurricane Irma is barreling towards Florida, and everyone in America is watching worried that Florida will be in worse shape than Houston was after Harvey. If you missed your opportunity to help after Harvey, here’s your chance for you or your company to employ a plan to help.


Heating Up Your Summer Marketing

Summer is usually one of the perfect times for a vacation. The weather is beautiful, kids are off from school, and people tend to take things slower than usual. As everyone takes a break from the rest of the year, however, marketing brands and entrepreneurs may want to use this time to get ahead of the curve. Though the season can be a slower one for some companies, summer promises a time for new opportunities in promotion, something that can affect business for the rest of the year.

One way to do this is to understand the certain trends that remain popular every summer. For instance, the summer months have notably higher numbers of beer and hot dog consumption. The Fourth of July also earned approximately $755 million for the fireworks industry, one of their busiest days of the year. Moreover, studies at WalletHub have found that an average $941 is spent on every person during a summer vacation. Summertime is not a relaxed time for the wallets, but how do brands reach beyond those products?

The answer to that question is basic content management. This means not only tooling the products to fit with the season but tooling the message to fit as well. In the new age of social media, it’s almost a requirement to be on top of reaching out to the public, and online settings can provide the best way to form a content strategy. The best way to understand this method is looking towards online trends and the content that Americans share across social media. Those sharing pictures of their families at the beach could be good targets for ads regarding summer wear or even vehicles for travel. By keeping track of this online activity, companies can better understand the consumers they want to target, thereby learning what is best to market to them. Simply extending ads to popular social sites like Pinterest or Snapchat can be a good start.

Most importantly, the summer season allows companies to plan for the rest of the year. Upon reaching out to people and their online preferences, businesses can update their content strategy with empirical data revealing new favorites or new sales numbers. If these months are inevitably slow, the summer can be the perfect time to reach out to new clients and revitalize the home base. Even if some consider the summer to be a vacation break, there is no time like the present to manage the industry better.

Whether the summer months means extra work or vacation time for people, the season is always the best place for opportunity. Sometimes, that’s all an ad campaign needs to work.


How Can Retailers Capitalize on the International E-commerce Opportunity this Christmas?

With the global market for cross-border e-commerce valued at $230 Billion in 2014, and predicted to surge to $1 Trillion by 2020, the business opportunity for online retailers has never been greater[1]. International consumers are increasingly favoring shopping from the comfort of their own homes and this is even more appealing during the holiday period, as it avoids the big crowds and stress that Christmas shopping entails. Empowered by the supercomputer in their pocket, consumers are in control. With nearly every 18-54 year-old using a smartphone[2], it comes as no surprise that consumer expectations will reach new heights when it comes to shopping across channels and devices.

Research from Adobe’s Digital Index suggests this year’s festive season now represents 20% of worldwide online spending[3]. With Christmas offering a massive amount of potential revenue for retailers, ambitious brands need to make sure they have the right processes in place to capitalize on the online opportunity – not just nationally, but globally.

International e-commerce promises a great deal of revenue potential for retailers as it offers brands an unprecedented ability to quickly grow businesses internationally, enabling them to offer their goods to customers in foreign markets. Commitment to delivering a seamless shopping experience, without the need for a physical presence, will be the driving force global online sales this Christmas.

The problem is, many retailers often struggle to match impressive homeland sales in international markets. This is due to various cross-border barriers to e-commerce such as high shipping rates, unknown import duties, inefficient returns, and difficulties supporting local currencies and payment methods. These issues take on new weight in the competitive Christmas climate where poor customer service will send shoppers elsewhere.


The following four considerations are a necessity[4]:

  1. Have multiple shipping options at reasonable rates. Providing a simple and risk-free returns process is crucial for every customer, as it gives them confidence to buy online with you.
  2. Offer the local currency. There are few things more off-putting to online shoppers than the need to calculate the cost in their own currency while browsing, not to mention exchange rates.
  3. Always aim to put the customer’s mind at ease. Avoid any potential surprises for customers by being upfront about these transactional costs.
  4. In most cases, avoid translating your website content or building local sites. These tasks require high investment and usually generate low return. Therefore, hold off on any action until you have proven yourself within the new market(s).


The key rule of international trade is that, in order to be successful, customers must enjoy a great shopping experience regardless of their location. This is where the much-forgotten, often disregarded, user experience (UX) is paramount. To keep customers engaged, retailers need to make sure their e-commerce portal is simple, intuitive, safe, and seamless.

These are some important UX considerations for e-commerce:

  1. Seamless touchpoints: Many consumers now utilize several devices before completing a single purchase – for example a shopper might research offers on a phone and complete the transaction on a laptop when he or she gets home. Retailers that allow consumers to move seamlessly between devices will come out on top this year. Remember that a mobile first strategy is becoming a prerequisite for an e-commerce presence.
  2. What I want, when I want, and where I want it: To succeed, companies must have a complete view of stock at all times and offer services like click and collect, specified delivery times, and even delivery lockers. It is the consumer that dictates transaction channels and fulfillment.
  3. Personalization: When consumers share their location, preferences and device information, retailers must use them to deliver messages in a tailored, non-intrusive, and relevant way.
  4. The new service experience: Intelligent retailers see the value in extending their services far beyond the basics. Some brands are two-way conversation with consumers and digitally connecting with them to provide insights and/or help with items purchased. Businesses can take advantage of the chance to become the go-to solution for customers’ needs by going above and beyond what’s offered by the competition.


Brands cannot afford to ignore the cross-border e-commerce opportunity this Christmas. Achieving this doesn’t necessarily require massive time and resource investment in-house either; retailers can find a global partner to better service their needs and meet international sales expectations, increasing the ROI of going global.

Technology partners can support retailers in providing a seamless international e-commerce experience and offer customers the level of service that is essential in the competitive retail market. Without the assurance of a localized experience, accurate timings for delivery and transparency in total cost of sale, retailers will see their consumers abandon purchases or move to competitor sites in a matter of clicks.





Market Information, Seasonal, Sports

Super Bowl 2015: The Best and Worst Ads | Velocity Agency | New Orleans, LA

This year’s game stunned us, and it wasn’t just the final score or what some are calling the worst play call in Super Bowl history. It was the brands. While some of last night’s commercials were inspiring, some should serve as a cautionary tale for years to come.

Velocity Agency New Orleans Super Bowl Ads 2015

Specifically, Anheuser-Busch aired a sarcastic attack ad against the ever-growing craft beer industry. At first glance, one might understand their stance, as their dominant market share has slowly started to erode due to the growth of the craft beer industry. The moment that gave many viewers pause was the us-versus-them declaration of, “Let them sip their pumpkin peach ale. We’ll be brewing us some golden suds.” What most consumers don’t know is that Anheuser-Busch has been on aggressive campaign of acquiring regional craft breweries. Most notably, they recently acquired Elysian Brewing, which currently offers a pumpkin peach ale. It makes you scratch your head at how a company could call out and attack some of their own brands. This strategy had an immediate backlash, spurring a Twitter uprising and the trending hashtag, #BETTERBEER.

Also, Nationwide Insurance’s commercial generated immediate backlash because of its dark nature. You know you’re in trouble when you have to issue a late-night statement regarding your TV ad, and Nationwide did just that. In an ad that was meant to “start a conversation” on preventable child deaths in America, Nationwide was actually testing their latest strategy for selling insurance.

Among the most memorable commercials was the Chevy Colorado ad. The car manufacturer conveyed a simple message in a very creative way: the new Colorado is equipped with 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Seconds before kick-off, TV signals across the nation seemed to go out, only to be greeted by Chevy’s line “What would you do if your TV went out?” See it for yourself.

Several brands tried to convey a more social message, but only Always succeeded. Their #LikeAGirl ad was a great TV success, and it went beyond traditional media. The campaign translated flawlessly to Twitter and Facebook, generating thousands of user interactions.

The biggest story in advertising, however, was not on the TV screen. This year, brands took on to Twitter in an unprecedented level, generating more than 1.5 million Super Bowl ad mentions in one day. Beyond that, advertisers focused on an ever-increasing form of engagement: brand-on-brand tweeting. This year’s Super Bowl generated more brands tweeting one another than any other game.



Overall, brands are finding new ways to interact with consumers across different mediums. The proliferation of smart phones and tablets has allowed for us to connect and communicate instantly –whether in front of a TV or at the actual game.

Check out other commercials that made it to the top of our list.

Velocity Agency is a digital marketing and advertising firm specializing in digital and internet marketing & advertising, print, web design, graphic design, film, and HD video promotion and post-production. Velocity serves clients all over the United States from our Metairie, LA office just outside of New Orleans by strategically implementing proprietary tools and techniques to get you the most conversions for your business through lead generation, cost-per-acquisition, and top line revenue.







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