The BFG spin on all things digital,

social and creative – or otherwise blogworthy.

Leading the Charge: BFG Looks to a Brand’s Fan for Some Creative Thinking

Posted by Bfgcom on July 18, 2014


Smiley face

ESPOLÒN Tequila's creative team here at BFG came across a unique scenario recently — a digital artist went rogue and used the brand's beloved logo mark (Ramón the Rooster) on Instagram. Okay, people post this image all the time; it’s even become a popular tattoo. It wasn't just that this artist USED the artwork, though — it's that he brought it to life.

"I love the @EspolonTequila label illustration, but couldn't resist the urge to move it," motion designer Ryan Woolfolk said about why he animated Ramón the Rooster, whose head now vividly bobs as he runs.

Bridging the gap between the brand and its fans, Ryan's Instagram post paved the way for BFG to use truly fan-generated social content for ESPOLÒN. The creative team reached out to the artist and asked him to create a more in-depth animation of the bearded calavera, one of ESPOLÒN's scraggly skeletons with a knack for good music. Ryan eagerly agreed to help in exchange for a box of swag and some credit, and then created an amazing video for ESPOLÒN's social channels that is now part of a highly visible media takeover.

The lesson here is to take note of a brand's fan base. BFG could have easily used its extensive network of designers to put together a similar video, but by using an actual ESPOLÒN fan to create the artwork instead, a sense of trust is built between ESPOLÒN and its creative community, and a new resource was discovered.

Read on to learn about Ryan Woolfolk's process throughout both animations, Ramón the Rooster and the bearded calavera.

ESPOLÒN is hands down my favorite tequila. Smooth and full of flavor. You don’t need a chaser. Most of the time I’m sipping on it neat from a lowball.

The thing about ESPOLÒN that first caught my eye was the label. Hand drawn in a traditional Day of the Dead style, it looks more like something I would frame and hang on my wall than a typical tequila label. I appreciate great illustration work, but the motion designer inside me always wants to see it move. Every time I saw the bottle the urge to animate Ramón grew stronger. One day I finally caved.

Typically I have the original file neatly split up into layers that I can then rig and connect to create some sweet motion graphics magic. Since I was going rogue I had to surf the web to find the highest res image available. The detail in these characters is intense. When a skeleton rides a rooster, his legs swing and his arms bounce. To achieve that motion I had to cut out the skeleton in order to manipulate it, leaving a cavity in the rooster, like holes in a magazine when you cut out images. I had to clone different parts of the rooster to seamlessly fill the holes.

As difficult as Ramón was, he was easy compared to the guitarist. Cutting up the skeleton resulted in several late nights ending in blurred vision and crossed eyes. It was almost impossible to tell which lines belonged to his beard versus his shirt. His crossed legs took several attempts to get right.

Once all the legs, feet, arms, hands, guitar, and other moving parts were separated and their resulting holes filled in, it was time to rig the character so I could bring it to life. Rigging is basically connecting layers and setting them up to move and bend like they would naturally. To get the strumming arm to move properly I had to cut it into three parts, shoulder, forearm, and hand. Then I made sure they all rotated in the proper spots, i.e. shoulder rotates upper arm, elbow bends forearm while forearm moves with shoulder, and hand follows forearm while rotating around the wrist.

Once the character was rigged and had the proper controllers set up, I began setting key frames to animate his foot taps and head bobs to music. I had my musician friend and digital film director at LEAPframe demonstrate the type of strum pattern. Getting the right pattern to hit at the right time was tedious. The fret hand was even more complex. I had to rotate the fingers while simultaneously moving both the hand and arm to match guitar hits.

Motion design is just another form of illusion. It’s always cool to start seeing something lifeless begin to move. There were several times I felt like giving up but overcoming challenges keeps things interesting and the need to see something come to life pushes me through the difficult moments. That and my glass of ESPOLÒN Reposado.

— Ryan Woolfolk is the Sr. Motion Designer at LEAPframe, a digital film and motion design boutique located in Cincinnati, OH.

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Why Organic Facebook Reach Is Dropping, and the Value of a Fan

Posted by Bfgcom on June 12, 2014

Any brand with a Facebook page has noticed a steady decline in reach in recent months. Facebook let us know that this was coming, promising that the change was all about improving user experience and not about making money.

A recent blog post by Facebook's Ads Product Marketing team lead Brian Boland set out to answer some questions that marketers and brand page owners might have about reach. There’s not much in the way of new information included, but this paragraph caught my attention:

Ok, there’s more content now. But what’s the value of having more people like my Page? I paid good money for my fans on Facebook, and now I can’t reach as many of them.

Fans absolutely have value.
• Fans make your ads more effective. When an ad has social context — in other words, when a person sees their friend likes your business — your ads drive, on average, 50% more recall and 35% higher online sales lift.
• Fans also make the ads you run on Facebook more efficient in our ads auction. Ads with social context are a signal of positive quality of the ad, and lead to better auction prices.
• You can use insights about your fans — like where they live, and their likes and interests — to inform decisions about reaching your current and prospective customers
• Fans can give your business credibility
Fans may represent your best customers, but it’s important to note that they don’t represent all of your customers or potential customers. For example, if your auto dealership has 5,000 fans, those fans represent only a fraction of the people that matter to your business. Fans can help you achieve your business objectives on Facebook, but having fans should not be thought of as an end unto itself.

The first and last bullets, that fans add social context and fans give the business credibility, are a bit of a stretch. Bullet two is only beneficial to page owners if they are purchasing ads, so there is an added investment involved. The third bullet holds true, provided you have not used too many gimmicks to “purchase” fans that would not otherwise have interest in your product or service.

This paragraph immediately follows:

So, how should I use Facebook for my business?
Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed. However, anticipating organic reach can be unpredictable, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads.

Like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals. Your business won’t always appear on the first page of a search result unless you’re paying to be part of that space. Similarly, paid media on Facebook allows businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably, and with much greater accuracy than organic content.

So there it is — think of Facebook as a place to inform customers about your business, keep them up to date on sales and drive them to actions you want them to take elsewhere (in-store sales, app downloads, etc.).

Most importantly, we need to begin to recognize that Facebook is “like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform” and requires paid media to be most effective.

If you have questions about how to use Facebook, social media or digital channels for effective marketing, get in touch with BFG Communications.

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Can’t Afford $1M for Pinterest Ads? Invest in Your Content.

Posted by Bfgcom on March 25, 2014


Connecting with consumers on Pinterest has been a goal of businesses and agencies since a report claimed that users of the social platform were spending twice as much as those of the next closest platform.

When Pinterest revealed its intention to offer advertising, it seemed like an easy solution. But it won’t be cheap, with early reports claiming Pinterest will want a commitment of at least $1 million from any potential advertisers.

The ad model is one that Pinterest began testing last year with select partners, but results of those early ads have not yet been made public. The rumored model would seek a CPM of between $30 and $40, much steeper than the average CPM of rivals Facebook ($0.59) and Twitter ($3.50).

This steep price tag will limit the brands that can afford to advertise on Pinterest and is likely intended to help ensure those advertisers fall into the “premium” category. So what do you do if you were banking on Pinterest ads to help your business, but you don’t have that sort of cash? Keep the focus on the content.

Your content is still what you want people to pin, and good content on your website will always drive Pinterest traffic back to you. Invest in improving that content (especially “pinnable” photography) to get a boost in your organic traffic from Pinterest.

Another key component is to always give visitors a pathway to a sale. The fewer steps you have between your pin and the purchase point, the better. If your site isn’t equipped to handle sales, let people know where they can find your products.

If you need help with Pinterest strategy, content or advertising, or you’re just looking to get your brand message in front of the right people, contact BFG at

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iPhone App Helps You Dine and Dash Legitimately

Posted by Hal Thomas on November 26, 2013

WSAV: News, Weather, and Sports for Savannah, GA

A new iPhone app called Dash is putting a positive spin on this old, negative phrase by trying to make paying your tab faster and easier.

We've all had the experience of dining at a busy restaurant, and when it comes time to pay the bill we can't seem to find our server. And depending on how big of a hurry we're in, it can ruin an otherwise great meal. Dash wants to change this by letting you decide when it's time to pay the bill and leave.

Dash works simply enough. Whenever you dine at a restaurant that accepts Dash payments, you tell your server at the beginning of the meal that you'll be paying with Dash. Your phone will pair with software right there in the restaurant, and when you're ready to leave you just pay your bill with your phone.

Currently, Dash is being used in a limited trial in about two dozen restaurants in New York City, so I haven't seen a lot of documentation about how it actually works. My guess is that there is some sort of pre-authorization when you indicate that you'll be paying with Dash, which would protect restaurant owners. If you are a restaurant owner and want to know more about Dash, check out their website.

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Coin Offers One Card to Rule Them All

Posted by Hal Thomas on November 19, 2013

WSAV: News, Weather, and Sports for Savannah, GA

Coin is a tiny, credit card-size device that will store information on up to eight of your credit, debit or gift cards.

How does Coin work?

The front of the card features a tiny display that you use to select your method of payment. The back of the card has a magnetic strip that merchants can swipe just like a regular credit card, so in theory you can use Coin anywhere you can use a standard credit or debit card.

How do you get your information into Coin?

Coin comes with a card swipe that plugs into your smartphone. Using the companion smartphone app, swipe your card and the necessary information will be entered.

Potential problems with Coin

Initially, I was impressed by Coin. My first thought was I want one. But after giving it some thought, I realized Coin has a few potential problems.

  1. Price. Coin can lighten your wallet in more ways than one. While you can preorder Coin for only $50, it will retail for $100. That's an awful lot to pay just to carry around a couple fewer cards.
  2. Limited shelf life. Electronic wallet technology will probably be a part of most major smartphones within the next couple of years, and once that happens Coin’s technology is obsolete.
  3. Merchant support. I’m a little concerned that merchants might not accept Coin. Sure, merchants can swipe Coin as they would a traditional card, but it has no signature, no familiar, trusted logo, and no numbers on it — all the things cashiers usually look for when you pay with a card. As a result, it’s possible that some merchants may refuse to even swipe Coin.

To buy or not to buy?

I'd say it's a coin flip. Early adopters and technophiles probably won't blink at the price tag; the cool factor will be reason enough for them to purchase. Personally, I'm going to watch and wait. I'm holding out for the day when I can pay for everything with my iPhone.

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