The Scary Guy Ad: Q&A with Kegan Beran

What initially attracted me to the Bravo Group was the fact that it is a place where Public Relations and Government Relations intersect. As an intern, I have been exposed to both of these aspects of the company through events, research and multiple Q&A sessions, which have all been thoroughly interesting and informative.
This week, I had the pleasure of talking to Kegan Beran, President for Strategic Media Placement, Inc.—the advertising placement arm of The Strategy Group for Media. Kegan is responsible for the planning and execution of paid political media campaigns. Below, Kegan answers some questions regarding his background, online marketing and political ads:
Can you tell us about your background and what was most influential in getting into marketing and advertising?
My father is an eye surgeon here in Columbus, OH, and he was doing a significant amount of marketing, so that started the buzz. And coming out of college I got a job doing cable advertising sales. I was working with clients who were allowing me to put together marketing plans, all being confined to one medium. I was fortunate enough to have a mentor in that job for almost a year and a half that taught me a lot more about broadcast television and online media. I came into the Strategy Group looking to get involved in media buying and I started out doing that for about two and a half years. I was then promoted to President of Strategic Media Placement. I specialize in politics with some corporate work as well. I probably worked on over 1,000 political campaigns across the country, planning the media and enacting those media timelines.
What got you involved in the political aspect of it?
I took a passion for marketing and advertising, but I developed a passion for politics just by being here in this building. It was something that was never really on the radar, but there’s a lot of energy in it. And what we do does make a difference. So that’s really been the specialization—but the skills as far as finding people and driving messages, they drive to the corporate world as well, and that’s why we’ve had a lot of success in taking these fundamental skill sets of putting a message in front of people and translating that into a corporate world.
Can you talk about custom segmentation and data driven ads and why these models are so effective?
It starts out with media and how it is fragmented now—people are consuming media on a ton of different platforms. With this fragmented media content, it becomes more important to get in front of those people depending on what screen they’re watching. Fortunately this is all becoming easier with technology, and people are no longer anonymous online. Finding online and offline data, whether it be social media or voter registration— everywhere where you put your fingerprint online, we’re collecting information. It gives us the ability to put these people into customer groupings or customer segmentations with like-characteristics. So that’s the first step, and the second step is to take that information, leverage it and find other people that fit that profile.
What are the benefits of online ads?
You know, the targeting used to be door-to-door, or making phone calls, or direct mail—you knew these people’s information and who you’re delivering to, but now we have that information on the online space. Again, people are no longer anonymous online. We’re targeting audiences and people versus direct sites. Now we can limit the people who actually see the ads. The other important thing is that it’s intrusive. People have short attention spans so we need to capture their attention quickly, and deliver that message. Being able to be online allows us to further the engagement with the consumer or voter.
What is your favorite political ad of all time?
I really like Ronald Reagan’s Bear in the Woods. I just think it was smart, clever, and for the time no one had done anything like it. It caused the viewer to make an interpretation and I think that’s important. It’s not always what you say; it’s what the viewers interpret. Let them make up their own decision, but you put the facts in a very cookie trail way so that they make their decision in the way you want.
What is your favorite political campaign ad that you helped produce?
It was Andy Barr who was running for Congress in Lexington, KY. That’s one of many. We believe strongly in humor and emotion. I always tell people that we’re not competing against other politicians; we’re competing against people’s attention just like McDonald’s, Ford, or the Pennsylvania Turnpike who are trying to get people’s attention. We like to make them creative. We want to tell a story and entertain people more than anything.-It really comes down to the fact that people are reached in different ways. It’s important to get in front of those people and identify who you’re trying to reach, but more importantly, what are your goals and what are we driving them to. I try to take a blank canvas and figure out who we’re trying to talk to and then find the best way to talk to that person in an intrusive fashion.
Talking with Kegan was definitely a highlight of my week. He shared his knowledge of the online marketing space and the benefits of custom segmentation, along with an award winning ad that is beyond humorous and creative. If you’re looking for something witty to add to your Friday afternoon, watch Kegan and The Strategy Group for Media’s ad now:

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