Category Archives: Blog

Crisp volunteers with CITYarts

Giving back and the power of community are extremely important to Crisp. Getting trapped in the hustle and bustle of everyday life is an easy thing to do. One of the most rewarding experiences is to take a step back and taking time to work and help in your community. This summer Crisp chose to give back by partnering with CITYarts to add to the restoration and recreation of the Alice in Wall Street Land mural.

After a quick subway ride downtown, Crisp arrived at the location of CITYarts mural on Chambers St. in TriBeCa. The Crisp team was greeted by Eliana Blechman, CITYarts Project Coordinator, and her team of high school students and artists. She gave the group an energetic welcome and explained the background of CITYarts’.

CITYarts is an organization that engages youth and professionals in the creation of public art. Through this creative process, CITYarts empowers, educates, and connects youth and children to become active participants in realizing the potential for their communities.

The Crisp team felt humbled to be a part of this transformation. To begin this process the team began scraping off old parts of the mural that have been damaged by sun, rain, and other natural elements using plastic scraper tools working alongside the art students from Stuyvesant High School.

After about an hour of preparation, it was time to paint! Eliana encouraged each member of the Crisp team to find a spot on the mural that they wanted to rejuvenate or a spot they wanted to add something of their own. Everyone distributed themselves across the block-long wall and bright-colored paint was poured. For the next few hours Crisp team members let the paint flow and helped bring the Alice on the Wall mural back to life!

It was amazing seeing the team, who contribute in so many different ways at Crisp, working together to help spruce up a vibrant part of the TriBeCa community.  I encourage other organizations to take a step back, to take that step forward in their community.

To find out more information visit

Crisp Exhibits at The Shopper Marketing Conference and Expo – Wins “Editor’s Choice”

Crisp team members flew to Minneapolis last week to attend the Path to Purchase Institute’s Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo, the world’s largest gathering of retail and shopper marketing professionals. Crisp sponsored the “Leveraging Mobile and Social Track”, hosted by Crisp CEO Jason Young and featuring presentations from other leaders in the mobile space.

While Jason was busy hosting the track, CRO Tom Jones, and other senior managers interacted with potential clients and partners on the show floor. Representatives attended the expo from top CPG brands, retailers and shopper marketing agencies.

In addition to our track hosting sponsorship, Crisp also exhibited at the show. Crisp’s marketing staff manned the booth, demonstrating ad examples and capabilities to prospective clients walking the floor.

Crisp is thrilled that it was selected as one of the most innovative companies exhibiting at the show, winning an Editor’s Choice award, which was displayed at the booth, the show directory, and the October issue of Shopper Marketing magazine.

After the first and biggest day of the expo on Wednesday, attendees gathered at the Millenium Hotel for a cocktail reception and entertainment by the incredible speed painter, Dan Dunn.

For Crisp, the show was a great success, and we look forward to participating again next year!

Pulling Off a Supermarket Sweep

This article originally appeared on August 5, 2014 on

Mobile advertising platform provider Crisp Media works with a variety of brands in a number of trades – from auto titans like Ford and Jeep, to casual dining chains like McDonald’s and TGI Friday’s, to mega retailers such as JC Penneyand American Eagle. The New York-based firm also does a fair amount of work with brands in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space. While no two Crisp campaigns are identical, the agency has concocted a basic recipe for running an effective CPG program. And geo-marketing plays a prominent, multifaceted part in most every one.

“We work with a lot of leading CPG brands,” says Jim Selden, SVP of Marketing at Crisp, declining to mention brand names without direct legal approval. Crisp’s website, however, boasts of work with KraftPampers, and Johnson & Johnsonamong many other CPG advertisers.

“I think that what [CPG advertisers] like about us is our ability to take what they’re doing digitally and elsewhere and repurpose it for the mobile platform in a way that really takes advantage of the unique benefits mobile offers,” Selden says.

In Stock, Near You

One such unique benefit mobile can offer a CPG brand campaign is a deep and varied locational context. Crisp goes about creating this frame of reference in a number or ways. The agency, Selden notes, has partnered with G/O Digital’s Shoplocal to bring digital newspaper circulars and product advertisements into its CPG campaigns.

“Recently, these CPG brands have been trying to drive people in-store,” Selden notes.

Via its mobile platform, Crisp touts the ability to show shoppers which products are available in nearby stores. This not only helps consumers find what they need, it gives the retailer and brand a chance at nabbing a sale they may have lost to a competitor. 

Creative Forecast 

Steve Sutton, SVP Operations at Crisp, speaks of how the summer heat is presently figuring into a Crisp mobile campaign for a certain CPG client who shall remain nameless. 

“The client came to us looking to promote a frozen treat in a select chain of grocery stores,” Sutton says. “They felt like the best environment in which to advertise the item would be on nice, hot, sunny days.”

Crisp applied weather targeting to the campaign such that mobile ads would only be served to users when the forecast called for an ice-cold snack. The creative of the ads were dictated by the intensity of the temperature in one’s area.

“For example, if the temperature is in a certain range there will be one type of creative. If it’s in a warmer range, there will be another piece of creative,” Sutton explains, adding that this “isn’t a simple swap in texts, but a situation where material changes and there is a change in messaging.”

Know Your Audience

Weather-specific advertising was just one aspect of the geo-targeting methods Crisp deployed with this particular mystery campaign. The CPG brand also wanted to reach a specific demographic, “primarily moms,” says Selden, and so Crisp sought out the “mom types.”

To target the maternal folk, Crisp consulted the women’s channels it had access to within its network. Crisp homed in on “parenting magazines, or similar types of magazines, and whatever else that was obviously a good fit,” says Selden. The agency also partnered with Neustar to use third party data for targeting purposes.

“[The campaign] actually began with the desired target audience in mind,” Sutton says. “Then we applied weather targeting to further narrow it down to the ideal conditions to present the offer.”

CPG’s Mobile Habitat

The mystery CPG product campaign is presently running and “performing very well” according to Sutton. In addition to geo-targeting techniques, the ads also provide a discounted offer.

Crisp’s work on this as well as on other CPG campaigns is demonstrative of the agency’s focus on driving consumers to a local point of retail to make a purchase. This focus isn’t limited to the CPG industry; the QSR sector, for instance, is also an area where Crisp is dedicated to making mobile ads a pathway to in-store dollars spent, Selden notes. But CPG is a space where Crisp is making prominent progress.

“Our footprint in CPG/retail has grown by 28 percent in 2014 so far, compared to 2013, and together represents over 3/4ths of our business,” says Selden, adding that it’s the agency’s existing strength serving these categories that drove it to focus on it more exclusively.

“In our space, a focused business model is important, and we know that mobile is in its correct habitat when serving consumers in the process of making purchasing decisions, near and in stores, using a combination of great, rich creative, next generation geo and behavioral targeting, and detailed measurement to close the loop,” says Selden.


Mobile Infrastructure the Future for Physical Stores

Originally published on August 1, 2014 on MediaPost

Will mobile, driving showrooming and online purchases, be the end of bricks-and-mortar?

I’d argue the opposite: mobile infrastructure can make stores better at all the things they need to do: find the right shoppers, guide them to the storefront and give them an experience that makes them want to buy.

Mobile provides unrivaled targeting data, unifying information from the desktop and mobile web, apps, third-party data, geo-specific information and more, all compiled through a shopper’s personal device. And when you add real-time store inventory and dynamic ad creative into the mix, chains can ensure that mobile ads drive shoppers to the precise store outlets where items are in stock so shoppers aren’t disappointed on arrival. Stores then can match the right shoppers with poorly-selling items, in real-time. As data privacy standards develop, this kind of targeting will become even simpler to deploy without alienating.

Once you’ve found the right shoppers, you need to bring them into your store and toward relevant products. Next-generation mobile maps make it easier than ever to guide shoppers to a storefront from anywhere.  GPS advancements allow stores to pinpoint a mobile device within just a few feet, so merchants can draw passersby from nearby sidewalks or within malls. Take the CoreLocation API of iOS 8, for example, which leverages technologies such as motion sensors, cellular, GPS and WiFi to provide extremely accurate indoors positioning–technology stores can procure with ease. In-store interactive technologies like iBeacon and Bluetooth LE systems let stores or brands message shoppers when they near a specific product or a particular aisle.

Once you’ve brought a shopper to the store, you need to provide a great experience. The moment a shopper approaches, mobile apps can share shopper data such as clothing size, color and style preferences, and key demographic information, helping salespeople greet shoppers with items they’re likely to want, a potential high-end concierge experience for every shopper.

Then there’s the social aspect to shopping: when people involve friends and family, they buy more. Mobile devices are making store shopping more social than ever, largely through shoppers’ sharing pictures of what they’re looking to buy. As mobile cameras improve and data gets cheaper, it’s increasingly simpler for shoppers to share photos and videos of what they’re looking to buy, get fast feedback on from peers on their purchase decisions and ultimately buy more.

Eventually, bricks-and-mortar outlets will also go further in syncing their apps with social network APIs so in-store shoppers can more easily ask their Facebook friends if they should buy a pair of glasses.

Mobile infrastructure can help attract the right shoppers, guide them to storefronts, and give them an experience that drives sales. That’s infrastructure for incredible opportunity. Welcome to the new era of mobile and the new era of stores.


Crisp Media Turns Sunday Circulars Into Hyperlocal Mobile Ads

This portrait originally appeared in Adweek’s July 28-August 10 issue

Who: (From left) Xavier Facon, chief technical officer and founder; Tom Jones, chief revenue officer; Stacey Hafers, chief financial officer; and Jason Young, chief executive officer
What: Mobile ad-tech provider
Where: New York office
Since launching in 2002, Crisp Media has been on a mission to convert Sunday circular promos to location-based mobile advertisers that change on the fly with personalized products. The New York-based mobile tech player has evolved from building rich media ads to developing hyperlocal mobile promos aimed at tracking the entire path to purchase for clients like Unilever, Walmart, McDonald’s, American Express and Chrysler. “We believe there’s a huge opportunity in the combination of mobile, digital and shopper marketing programming,” said CEO Jason Young. The tactic is paying off—Crisp’s revenue has grown 50 percent in each of the last two years. When they’re not looking for the next slam dunk in mobile, employees blow off steam shooting hoops at the office’s Pop-a-Shot basketball game.

How Mobile Will Power a Renaissance for Shopper Marketing

Originally published on July 10, 2014 on AdExchanger

If you work in shopper marketing today, take note: Mobile will do to your business what the Web did to direct response. 

To see what I mean, consider the history of direct response. Back in the days before the Internet, direct response and direct marketing (DM) were pretty much the bottom of the marketing barrel. TV was where the big budgets and big brands went. Direct was where big brands spent their below-the-line marketing dollars and where second-tier brands clogged up mailboxes.

Why was DM an afterthought? A lot of it boiled down to a disconnect between content and data. On the one hand, direct mail was universally recognized as the gold standard for customer insight and ROI. If someone called your 1-800 number, it meant your marketing worked. But on an engagement level, direct TV ads, mailers and catalogs were no match for the most engaging channel of all: television. Brands were left with the hard choice between data-driven marketing and engagement-driven advertising. Brand engagement won and direct marketing lost. 

The Internet changed all that. Suddenly, marketers could deliver impactful rich media ads that came with the magic pixel: the piece of code that measured the real impact of granular actions against an ad unit. Brands could now create powerful experiences akin to TV and carry engagement information across touch points in a way that was previously inconceivable without a response to a letter or a phone call.

Powerful brand experience and data-rich marketing could now go hand in hand. Marketers started putting hard numbers against their branding efforts and applying data to target consumers across multichannel campaigns. It wasn’t long before the celebrated new-found alliance between the CMO and the CFO began to form. Ad dollars followed. It wasn’t just creative and media budgets that grew, either; the power of data-driven engagement quickly turned organizations’ marketing departments into new centers of technology. 

Branding and DM got a lot closer, and DM became the hot new thing. DM has become so hot today that more than half of all digital dollars are direct-response dollars, and the world’s biggest brand-centric ad agencies are shifting to pay for performance payment metrics.  Not a bad turnaround for the forgotten stepchild of the marketing world.

 Shopper marketing is a lot like DM. Both are aimed at driving consumers to a specific action. Both serve as a bridge from product awareness to purchase. Both have incredible analytics on the back end, especially when you throw loyalty programs into the mix. And both are relatively easy to achieve on the low-tech portion of the spectrum, such as paper coupons and circulars, but extremely complicated to mimic at the level of real brand engagement like that of TV or rich media. And so, like DM, shopper marketing has done well for more than a century, but it’s hardly taken its place at the forefront of the ad business.

Much like DM eight years ago, shopper marketing has quietly waited for its data and engagement moment.

The problem is that engagement and data for shopper marketing is a much harder technical proposition than for direct marketing. That’s because DM works in a very controlled environment, such as the tight framework of a letter or a computer screen. Shopper marketing, by contrast, deals with the enormously complicated world of walks down the street and browsing real-life shelves. To create anything close to what the desktop Web has achieved, shopper marketing needs to develop an immersive data and engagement framework that followers customers basically everywhere, in-store and out, and that can plot data across the entire conversion path.

The task gets a lot easier with a device that tracks data, promotes deep engagements and that people carry around a lot. This brings me to mobile devices.

Connecting the app ecosystem and the Web, mobile devices have access to consumers’ past activity. As tools that consumers carry with them everywhere, they’re able to both measure and leverage data specific to where a shopper stands, at any given moment, from using weather data to deliver weather-targeted creative to leveraging location data to target and guide potential buyers the moment they walk by a store. As Apple’s iBeacon and other in-store geotargeting technology takes hold, shopper marketing data and engagement will only become more powerful. If you want to understand how immersive an engagement experience mobile can be, I have two words for you: Angry Birds. 

Mobile creates a framework for data and engagement from desk to store, and everywhere in between. That’s the groundwork for a revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since the desktop Web made DM hot. 

It’s also a formula for driving a lot of in-store sales, which is exactly what pushes shopper marketing far into the C-suite.

Introducing Crisp Air

We are thrilled announce the launch of Crisp Air: mobile retargeting for the real world. Crisp Media has prepared a fleet of unmanned drones connected via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors so that users can be retargeted after visiting their favorite retail locations. 

This Spring, Crisp Air will be available in the five boroughs of NYC, and will support 300mm x 250mm, the first IAB Rising Star format for 3D-printed Out-of Home (OOH) advertising.

You can learn more by watching this short video. 

Will the IAB SafeFrame specification find adoption with publishers?

Today marks the one year anniversary of a new IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) supported digital ad serving specification called SafeFrame. The standard helps advertisers and publishers with serving expandable rich media ads on (non-mobile) web pages in a more secure, more reliable and more measurable way.

The advantage of SafeFrame for advertisers who look to serve engaging and expandable ads more easily is significant, especially for those who seek to execute campaigns through programmatic means. Without this standard, enabling expandable ad formats is mostly handled by publishers as a one-off using a so called Pub File or iframe buster. This Pub File alternative is not easily manageable, is not scalable and thus not possible on programmatic inventory. Another advantage when advertisers use SafeFrames is the support for viewability measurement. In other words, better assurances that the impressions that the advertiser buys are actually viewed by someone.

For publishers, who have to do most of the heavy lifting to implement IAB SafeFrame, the advantage is better control over their user’s privacy and less risk that the ad content will interfere with their web content. This is significant improvement over a slightly different iFrame best practice called Friendly iFrames that only simplified the traditional practice of iframe busters. 

One year after its launch, SafeFrames are supported by Yahoo!, who is the main publisher driving the development of the specification. However, very few other major publishers have support for it. But now that Crisp and 22 other vendors have already made their technology compatible with SafeFrame, why is there still so little support from publishers?

A negative comment I have heard in the ad tech community is the supposed questionable need for changing anything. I heard similar feedback from the industry when the team here at Crisp was pushing for MRAID – the mobile counterpart to SafeFrames – several years ago. Over the past three years, MRAID has been adopted on about 80% of all mobile app ad inventory. Just like with MRAID, the initial reaction to stay-the-course is the wrong one. Instead, publishers that are able to embrace SafeFrames will be ahead of the curve and able to profit from the standard.

In terms of the timing for the SafeFrame specification and adoption, MRAID mobile did beat SafeFrames display on such things as expandable rich media via programmatic channels, publisher control and viewability. It is also likely that mobile and display standards will converge some time in the future. But for the next few years, we think it will be very productive for publishers to implement SafeFrames instead of sticking to the old Pub File approach.

Privacy and security, viewability, scale / programmatic delivery and richer more engaging ads are all key priorities for advertisers, for Crisp and for many other vendors. SafeFrame is designed to meet these priorities, so my best bet is that IAB SafeFrame is here to stay.

Mobile First Digital Ad Spending

Mobile advertising strategies and tactics today frequently take a back seat to traditional media. At Crisp, we are often tasked with optimizing ad creative for various mobile devices, in order to help drive the overall KPI’s of a campaign. 

In 2013, research* showed that for the first time mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51% of time spent online. This number is even more pronounced for the younger 18-24 demographic, which spends 59% of its time on mobile and tablet devices.

Advertisers are catching up to this massive shift, which creates an unprecedented opportunity to redefine digital ad strategies around users, starting with how and when they use the technology in their lives. The capability to present consistent messaging across devices, each with its own appropriate goals, tactics, and KPIs, is a powerful paradigm for advertisers. 

To engage consumers across multiple screens, advertisers are increasingly designing holistic digital strategies. This approach leverages the unique capabilities of each device to serve the overall objectives of the campaign.

There are a number of ways to help advertisers achieve their goals:

  • Cross screen targeting and re-targeting
  • Coordination of an open app with a TV commercial or program
  • Rise of HTML 5 rich media on desktop browsers
  • Rich Media on Smart TV’s 

More than ever, strategic plans are starting with mobile. ‘Mobile First’ strategies begin with defining media and targeting plans, and then proceed to setting a creative direction based on known patterns of how users react to specific types of ads, on specific devices.

In order to capture mobile users time and attention, and get them to indulge in an advertisement, users want to:

  • View product and promotion detail (online and in-store) as part of general awareness and decision making
  • Browse products for immediate purchase, or save opportunities for future purchase consideration
  • Participate in larger social initiatives and share brand messaging
  • Search and find where to go for a particular product or service
  • Play and interact with brand sponsored games and immersions

To be successful with a mobile first campaign, advertisers must have sufficient creative assets to execute common tactics across devices and screens that represent the majority of rich media user engagements: animated messaging, video views, gallery views, data capture, and various click-through CTAs. These tactics can be spread across screens based on available ad placements and the optimal user experience for each device. Device specific tactics (e.g. click to call on phones) are also included as appropriate.

A number of combinations of objectives and tactics can work for any given advertiser.  Sector dynamics, market positions and an appetite for risk taking are all factors that go into strategic planning and campaign execution.  As big brands and their agencies experiment with mobile first, and as ad technologies emerge that can handle innovation that scales, we will continue to see significant changes in how brands and consumers connect through technology.


*Comscore & Jumptap, “Screen Jumping”, September 2013



Crisp Nominated for Best Mobile Video Advertising

Crisp Media was named a finalist for the Digiday Video Awards in the Best Mobile Video Advertising category for work on Kraft Fresh Take with Starcom. The Digiday Video Awards honor overall excellence and breakthrough achievement in video media, marketing and advertising. Crisp is honored to be among the handful of brands, agencies, publishers and technology providers who were nominated and continue to push the industry forward.