Market research is a staple of advertising. Nearly every product or service advertised has done some form of market research — quantitative surveys, one-on-one interviews, or focus groups. Most do a lot of research. There are generally two types of market research done when developing new strategy or creating a new campaign, the first comes at the very beginning of the process to learn from the target audience (what we often call “Insight Mining”), and the second comes once a new strategy or campaign has been created to see if it would have the desired impact on the audience (which…


Disclaimer: I write on a laptop, not a typewriter. But this looks way cooler.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I write and publish on Medium so I thought I would go a little meta and…write about it. There are a lot of reasons I could give for why I write and they’re all at least somewhat true but I do think there’s one thing in particular that’s drawn me to writing and publishing, even if I didn’t realize exactly what it was when I started.

What I write about (advertising and brand strategy) is directly related to what I do for a living so that opens up a lot of potential…


Competitive analysis reports are one of the foundational functions of brand strategy. They were the first projects I ever owned as a Junior Strategist and they’ve been a constant over the course of my career. The thing is, they really aren’t that useful, at least not from a Brand Strategy perspective. It’s not that competitive analysis has no value, but we devote much more energy and attention to it than it deserves and even use it for the opposite of its intended purpose.

Before I go into all the reasons why competitive analysis can be unhelpful, I’ll start by at…


The word “insight” is probably the most overused word in all of advertising. It’s been the primary advertising strategy buzzword for at least as long as I’ve been conscious of the existence of advertising strategists. Over the course of my career I’ve seen many things called an “insight” (most of which I think incorrectly) and one of the biggest mistakes that I see all the time is writing an insight in the voice of the consumer. It seems counterintuitive but, insights should be written about people, not in their voice.

I suppose I should start by defining an “insight.” The…


Imvexxy — a vaginal insert that treats painful sex due to menopause (i.e. a healthcare brand) — released a new TV spot last week and it’s actually…really good! The spot is set in early 19th century England (think Bridgerton) and features a queen who’s just experienced menopause. The spot already gets points for being bold (“Your vagina is queen”) but what truly makes this campaign stand out is that it’s interesting! It creates a different and remarkable world that grabs the viewers attention and holds it for the duration of the 80 second spot.

Imvexxy’s original spot (or perhaps just…


I recently came across a new brand of canned water called Liquid Death and I LOVE it (well, I love the branding and marketing, I haven’t actually tried the product yet). In a category full of messages about being “pure” and “natural” and from remote untouched bodies of water, Liquid Death tells you to “Murder Your Thirst.” Contrasting the typical category imagery of remote mountains and flowing spring water (almost literally a Sea of Sameness), Liquid Death looks and acts more like a heavy metal band than a bottled water brand.

When we do branding and positioning for a new…


The Trump Presidency is officially over. And while the events that have followed the 2020 election are still raw for many of us, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the 2016 presidential election and how Donald Trump, a man who had previously held no political office, exhibited tendencies toward racism and misogyny, and made promises that seemed almost impossible to keep, had ever won the presidency in the first place.

I think part of the answer can be found in what Simon Sinek calls ‘Starting With Why.’ In 2009 Simon gave what would become the third most watched Ted…


I work in healthcare advertising. One of the many things my agency does is make commercials for prescription drugs — you know, the ones with older couples going on hikes or walking on the beach or gardening, with a long list of side effects at the end? We make those (except I’d say we do much better work than what I just described). Early in my career I met a woman outside a bar and when I told her what I did, she replied, “you are literally the enemy.” It’s a sentiment I’ve encountered often throughout my career: that Direct-to-Consumer…


Every year, advertising agency teams are asked by their client brand manager to propose a new tactical plan for the coming year. Most of that plan is obvious, it’s what we did last year with a few improvements and optimizations. This part takes comparatively little effort. Where most of the work comes in, however, is in the inevitable request from the client for “innovative ideas” (and since the ask is of a creative agency, that essentially translates to ‘innovative creative ideas’). The request makes sense, the point of doing creative work is to give a brand a chance to do…


In July 2020, Postmates launched a new spot called “Pad Thai.” It’s a parody of healthcare commercials. It does healthcare advertising dirty. And it’s perfect. (I should note right off the bat that I work in healthcare advertising so anything I say about it includes me).

The spot starts with an older couple on a hike with typical healthcare ad music and VO, which is then interrupted by Pad Thai. “Life is full of challenges, but you don’t have to Pad Thai them alone” (insert B-roll shot of Pad Thai). Cut to another older couple riding a bike, then yet…

Gregory Yellin

Brand Strategist | American History Enthusiast | Enjoyer of Bourbon | Human Being Out in the World

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