The only thing better than football, beer and wings are the commercials. For those of us who work in advertising, the commercials hold almost as much weight as the game. (Kidding. Not really.)
The growing trend over the last few years is to start releasing the commercials before the Big Game. A few years ago I was totally against this. I liked being surprised. I liked how everyone at the party didn’t stop watching when the commercials came on.
But now, all that has changed…and you know what? I totally get it. These commercials eat a huge chunk of budget. Why not leverage the buzz and maximize client investment?
This year has been dubbed “Celeb-Bowl.” From Ryan Reynolds to Christopher Walken, agencies have invested a chunk of their money with celebrities. And you know what? It (mostly) worked.
This year’s batch of pre-released spots are some of the best I’ve seen in a while. Here’s a few that I watched more than once:
Walken Closet: Kia
Because who doesn’t love a good double entendre when its Walken.
Puppy Monkey Baby: Mountain Dew
Three of the best ingredients to put in a commercial, combined into one. Brilliant.
Perfect for the target.
Bowie. Great nod to a legend. Getting old stinks, driving an expensive Audi doesn’t.
Top Secret: Taco Bell.
Love the pre-order integration element of this idea.
Meet the Ketchups: Heinz
Hot dogs dressed as hot dogs? Nice rebound after last year’s spot.
TJ Miller Shock Top
Because it's funnier (and more original) than Bud Light.
This past week, news about social media advertising has genuinely revealed opposites of extremes for two well-known platforms: Twitter (which is experiencing great trouble) and Instagram (which has been experiencing tremendous triumph).
Twitter has also been going through tough times. Announcements that were made last summer of how this platform was going to reassess, reorganize and restructure have not yielded positive results. Executives have been reportedly stepping down (which is nothing new), and according to The Verge, Twitter has had as many as five production heads since 2009 (which is not a great track record). In regard to advertising,
Peter Kafka of Re/Code, noted that Twitter is no longer displaying as many ads to some of its most important and powerful customers. Some believe that Twitter initialized this as a way to accommodate (i.e., not lose) these particular customers. But as social media generates revenue through advertising, Twitter is not making the money that it needs. (In a sense, it seems as though Twitter is incongruously incorporating its own form of ad blocking.)
Recently, Marketing Land’s Greg Finn (using data from Brand Networks), reported that of the 1.6 billion Instagram ad impressions within the last six months, performance of the video advertising side of the platform was nothing short of outstanding. Among the findings, Brand Networks revealed that the 9.54 percent of Instagram video ad impressions in September eventually increased to an impressive 22.52 percent by December.
In still another article from Re/Code, Kurt Wagner (also consulting data from Brand Networks) calculated that Instagram displayed 13 more ad impressions within a period of five months. He concluded: “These numbers come from just one ad partner [Brand Networks], so it’s possible that Instagram’s overall figures are different. But the general trend, that Instagram is showing more ads and those ads are holding their value, is a major positive for Facebook.”
(To view the “Instagram Advertising Research Report” infographic from Brand Networks, click here.)
It may be symbolic, or a sign of how these two social media platforms are performing, but it was reported last Sunday that Kevin Weil, once a longtime executive at Twitter, is leaving that company and joining the ranks of Instagram. Oh yes…Mr. Weil was also head of production, making him the most recent executive in this position to leave Twitter.)
So, will Twitter will be able to change direction, experience a positive reversal of fortune, or in short – be saved? Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter, regained his position as the CEO since he returned to the company seven months ago. Perhaps the appointment of Leslie Berland as CMO may also help Twitter’s cause. A former EVP for Global Advertising, Marketing and Digital Partnerships at American Express, Ms. Berland brings a wealth of impressive experience to her new role at Twitter, but it will be a challenge.
Ingrid Lunden, writing for Tech Crunch, states that, among other positives, Ms. Berland: “…brings inroads and connections into the financial space, which could possibly give some much-needed oxygen to Twitter’s own ambitions in payments (an area that seemed like a big interest for the company but has not really gone anywhere very fast).” Inroads, connections, and “building bridges,” as Ms. Lunden also notes in her article are among many things Twitter needs now. Here’s hoping.
And not much more can be said right now for Instagram, other than its success continues onward and upward. By connection, parent company Facebook is also seeing the benefits. In a report of Facebook’s fourth quarter performance, business and finance site Trefis noted: “Owing to the secular shift towards mobile advertising and rapid growth in advertising on Instagram, the share of mobile in Facebook’s overall ad business increased to 80% by the end of last quarter. We expect this to rise to nearly 90% by the end of 2016.” The happy new year that these sites experienced looks like it will last year-round.
The ever-growing challenges faced by advertisers to make connections between the brands they represent and the audiences they hope to reach are great. The recent and by now all too well-known rise of ad blocking apps is a perfect example of this.
Ad blockers are a left curve (and left hook) to mobile advertising, but let’s face it: it is human nature to block out seemingly random content that are not relevant to a person’s needs or interests. (Take note of the magic word in that last sentence: “relevant.”)
Zeroing in on micro-moments (where content – mobile or native) where an ad must be available and viewed in the right place at the right time has become a main strategy for marketers. But how to know – or anticipate – when a customer will want to see content that will attract them to a brand? One possibility is “beacon technology.”
Merriam-Webster dictionary gives these general definitions for the word “beacon”:
a strong light that can be seen from far away and that is used to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.;
a radio signal that is broadcast to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.;
someone or something (such as a country) that guides or gives hope to others
These general terms definitely fit the “beacon” in the term “beacon technology” (and the third one will especially be appreciated by marketers).
In general terms, beacon technology consists of a protocol – the iBeacon – which was developed by Apple in 2013. (Watch this brief and informative YouTube video, courtesy of Moti Mimeran, which describes Beacon technology – and how it is beneficial for both the customer and the merchant: “What is Beacon Technology?”) For a more in-depth description of the iBeacon, read this recent article from Nanalyze, a site which offers insights and details about disruptive technologies. (While Nanalyze aims to be objective, the writer of the article could not resist calling iBeacon “really cool technology.”)
The iBeacon is applied to compatible hardware (“beacons”), which are Bluetooth low energy signals that communicate with any smart device in its range. Beacons can be used on computers, iPads, smartphones and USB devices.
These beacons are activated simply by walking near a particular place. So, a customer with a mobile device (that is iBeacon-activated), will receive an alert within the micro-location in the vicinity of the beacon. Suppose it is a notification from a nearby store. If the notification looks interesting, the customer walks into the store where they are (personally) greeted by a salesperson. The beacon notices the product that the customer is interested in and presents them with a coupon, and the discount for the purchase is applied when the mobile coupon isscanned on the device at check-out. Once the customer leaves the store, they get another notification which offers yet another discount on their next visit.
Sounds like a great situation, right? The customer is not likely to block the offers that appear via beacon technology because (here comes the magic word listed above) the content being displayed is relevant to particular products or services that appeal to them. Another benefit to beacon technology is that it will be a boost to the brick-and-mortar sector, which has dealt with its fair share of competition from online merchants. There is however, the fact that these changes will take time to implement…
In a recent article for “Luxury Daily,” Roger Hurni, managing partner and chief creative officer of Off Madison Ave, beacon technology is not as understood or as utilized as it should be – by brands and customers. As Mr. Hurni states, “Despite Google’s prediction that 85 percent of the top 100 retailers will have beacon technology in place by the end of 2016, true mainstream adoption on either side is still probably a couple of years away. Why? Well, like most new tactics, brands are simply not applying the right strategies to employ beacons effectively.”
Mr. Hurni goes on to state that the best possible marketing opportunity on the horizon is “geo-relationship engagement” – where a brand engages with a prospective customer “in real-time at store level – sometimes without ever sending a single mobile message.” Because appealing to and attracting customers continues to become a more personalized experience for them (hello, micro-moments), it is vital for marketers and brands to develop beacon technology-based strategies that will keep customers interested and making return visits to a store.
And, developing these strategies may not be that complicated. Essentially, by combining the data of a customer’s purchase history with location-based marketing technology, the customer gets a personal, customized shopping experience. One caveat is to avoid overdoing it with sending these offers and coupons, as the customer may start to feel overwhelmed and bothered by them (as they were by too many mobile ads, and the last thing any marketer or advertiser wants to see is the invention of “beacon blockers”).
By having the right intention (i.e., strengthening the relationship between a brand and customer, as opposed to making a quick sale), and the right strategies (i.e., knowing how, when and where to present an offer through beacon technology – as well as when to hold back), digital advertising will become stronger than ever, thanks to beacon technology. As Mr. Hurni states, “…beacons and their promise of increased customer interaction is the next playground in mobile.”
CES 2016 has officially come to a close, and while there were miles of new technology, we're recapping what we thought were the coolest and most notable products on the show floor.
If coolness were measured by social media mentions and buzz, then the clear winner is the Ehang “184”, which is the world’s first autonomous aerial vehicle (a.k.a. human-carrying drone).
This works like a drone, but can carry a human, can take off and land fully vertically and is only 18 feet long. It can be folded into a five-foot space and can run up to 23 minutes on a full battery.
The second most buzzed about CES product launch was the FFZero, a beautiful Batmobile-inspired electric car prototype unveiled by Faraday Future, who many call the “secret Tesla competitor”. With big backing by the “Netflix” of China, online media company LeTV, they have what it takes to become a huge player in the electric car space, and they vow to roll out new models this year.
If coolness were measured by booth lines, the Samsung VR Theater won for coolest and most well-attended attraction at CES. In opening day alone, 20,000 visitors lined up to a theater with moving seats and VR headsets to experience an interactive roller coaster.
If coolness were to be measured by the agency company you keep, then we have to recognize two EGC client partners, Voxx and Canon, who both had an unbelievable show floor presence. Voxx had an interactive karaoke booth for its product, Singtrix, which demonstrated just how it makes bad singers sound great.
And finally, if coolness were to be measured by what this reporter spent the most time coveting, it has to be Whirlpool Smart Fridge. Our Whirlpool rep reported that the organization was built on years of research and data that tracked most commonly used products and common space pain points. See the expandable shelves that clear room for bottles of wine? Genius. It also has a "Party Mode," that fills up ice bucket up faster and adjusts its temperature when its doors are opened repeatedly by party guests. The refrigerator has Wi-Fi connectivity that allows it to sync up with your smartphone or tablet, where you can receive an alert to check if the power goes out or if its filter needs replacing, and also connects with the Nest Learning Thermostat in order to save you money by running at lower energy in off-peak hours.
There you have it: our best of the best of CES. Looking forward to CES 2017!
We recently spoke with CNET about celebrities in 2015 leaving social media despite its brand-building benefits, on account of what we termed its “dark side.” Celebrities such as Lena Dunham, in the face of misogyny and body-shaming, for example, decided to put their social brand in the hands of their team rather than deal with the unpleasant aspects of negative and abusive comments.
Twitter in particular has developed a reputation for playing host to some of the worst of these kinds of comments. In an effort to revamp its image and create a more hospitable social space, Twitter has examined its policies and issued new guidelines.
In a Twitter blog entitled Fighting abuse to protect freedom of expression, Megan Cristina writes, “Today, as part of our continued efforts to combat abuse, we’re updating the Twitter Rules to clarify what we consider to be abusive behaviour and hateful conduct. The updated language emphasizes that Twitter will not tolerate behavior intended to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence another user’s voice. As always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs – but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse.”
Twitter introduces its new rules warning, “All users must adhere to the policies set forth in the Twitter Rules. Failure to do so may result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of account(s).”
Not only do the Twitter Rules specify that users may not share violent images or threaten violence and harass other members, but they add that users may not use “hateful” language. “You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.”
Twitter has struggled to meet investors’ expectations, with Chris Sacha having unleashed an 8,500 word blog over the summer outlining what he thought Twitter was doing well, where he believed changes were needed and a proposal that Google purchase the social network.
Will Twitter’s new rules change the tone of the network and encourage users to return, become more active or create new accounts? Do you have an account you haven't used in a while or (like some celebrities) have allowed to be inactive because of frustration with the platform? Twitter now says it will look at inactive accounts closely and may consider them “username squatting” and deactivate them. Want to keep your account? Start tweeting.
EGC is proud to share some of our best work from 2015! We've produced digital and social campaigns, logo creation, packaging and TV spots that have energized fans and helped our clients reach new fans. We're excited about the creativity and energy at EGC that shows in our work this year and look forward to new projects in 2016.
As 2015 draws to a close, we celebrate the creativity, moments of delight and great entertainment we′ve enjoyed from our favorite brands. We also were surprised, however, by some big –and avoidable– social disasters this year.
5. The IHOP Tweet
Ugh. In a year with amazing advertising moments like Always′ award-winning “Like a Girl” campaign (which just added an Emmy to its accolades) and Ram Trucks′ "Courage Inside" ad, seeing a tweet that uses sophomoric, sexist "humor" to promote pancakes was jarring.
IHOP apologized, but the tweet was part of a series of tweets that ranged from offensive to bizarre as the brand apparently sought to adopt what they thought was a hip tone to appeal to a younger demographic.
Trying to expand appeal is a good idea, but these tweets? Not so much.
4. The Bud Light #UpForWhatever Campaign
Creating an integrated campaign that ties a hashtag on social to messaging across brand touchpoints (including packaging) sounds like a big win. Unfortunately, the execution for Bud Light failed to think through the way its campaign would be perceived by the public.
With the hashtag #UpForWhatever and the message: "The perfect beer for removing the word ′No′ from your vocabulary for the night. #UpForWhatever" printed on bottles, the ensuing backlash on Twitter should have come as no surprise.
The campaign was even the subject of a Last Week Tonight with John Oliver segment on HBO. Oliver mocked the campaign saying it had a "certain rapey feel to it."
Bic was already working to undo the “For Her” pens PR fiasco from two years ago when the brand launched pink pens that, as Gawker noted, were “for reasons we can′t fathom…” They were met with a flood of snarky, funny reviews on Amazon and a backlash on social.
This year, for Women′s Day in South Africa, this was the brand with a head-scratcher of a post to celebrate. Not surprisingly, the post didn′t go over too well.
Jumping on a holiday to promote your brand can be fun when the content is in the spirit of the particular holiday. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which honors the work of a historic social justice leader, and who was assassinated while working to advance the Civil Rights Movement, would call for a level of respect that many found lacking in the Seattle Seahawks′ tweet of the day this year.
Many were offended by the apparent comparison of centuries of civil rights struggles in the US to competing for a spot in the Super Bowl.
Humor. Many advise folding in humor within social posts. But it can go oh so wrong sometimes.
In a classic I-45 rivalry in Texas, the general managers of the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks spar in the press, and the fans from both teams trash-talk in salty tweets. There′s always a little snarky humor in the back and forth, but one tweet from the Houston Rockets, for many, went beyond snark, and landed somewhere creepy and dark.
In a mashup of the Jack Waltz scene in 1972′s The Godfather and the 2010s′ obsession with emojis, the Houston Rockets tweeted a horse emoji (the mascot for the Dallas Mavericks is a horse) with a gun next to its head. The copy read, “Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.”
While the tweet garnered considerable bad press everywhere from USA Today Sports to Huffington Post, and a backlash on Twitter, some Houston Rockets fans defended the tweet as “funny.” Columnist S.E. Cupp, writing in The Dallas Morning News went so far as to pen a piece decrying the criticism suggesting, “It was friendly trash-talk.” This sentiment brings to mind the saying, “With friends like that…”
The poster, Chad Shanks, Digital Communications Manager, was fired from the Houston Rockets. He, of course, took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the incident.
Sometimes you can go too far. I will no longer run @HoustonRockets but am grateful to the organization that let me develop an online voice.
The latest word on Chad Shanks? He transformed his negative press into an opportunity. He apologized publicly, owned what happened and used it to redirect his own story. He did a social takeover for @LeBatardShow and is now the Director of Marketing for StatMuse, giving hope that despite even huge social missteps, it is possible for brands, and individuals, to bounce back.
So what started as a terrible social moment, transformed into some good news for Chad Shanks. Looking for more good social news? Tune in next week when we share our pics for the best social moments of 2015!
The joy and the excitement of the holiday season go hand-in-hand with energy and creativity. Let’s look at advertising – specifically, television commercials.
One of the most inventive television spots that has made many “Best of…” lists was the “Norelco Santa” commercial that dates back to the 1960s, featuring 3D animation of a Norelco electric razor serving as a sled for St. Nick. A commercial of this caliber may one day be considered part of history, because the future of television commercials (as anyone born before the 1990s remembers them) is uncertain.
Toni Fitzgerald recently wrote in Media Life Magazine the claims from Magna Global that television advertising in the US alone will fall 3.9% by the end of the year. Concurrently, it's predicted that the revenue from digital advertising will surpass traditional TV commercials by almost as $68 billion.
Magna Global’s executive vice president and director of global forecasting, Vincent Letang, states: “New generations increasingly rely on online video on demand (sometimes ad-funded, sometimes premium ad-free) for video entertainment, while advertisers are keen to embrace new digital formats (video, social).”
One example of how grim the future for television advertising may be seen in a recent decision from General Electric. Yes, General Electric – a brand that is as much of an institution as television is – has decided to stop spending ad dollars where prime-time television advertising is concerned. Only events that are televised live will be in the budget.
In an article by Jay Yarrow for Business Insider, Linda Boff, CMO for General Electric, was quoted as follows: "We still believe in TV, but we believe in an audience that is going to stay." Because it is a different time and a different generation populates the consumer base, the media that they will “stay” with is obviously not television (or only for very specific instances, like sporting events, awards or concerts).
Alongside digital advertising, virtual reality has become another competitor of tradition television commercials. In fact, Mr. Yarrow goes on to report that last month, General Electric sponsored ‘The New York Times Virtual Reality foray.’ An event that sent a cardboard virtually reality headset to one million people, it's a clear sign of General Electric's forward thinking.
Marcelo Garcia Cisneros, in a feature for Business 2 Community, describes how virtual reality is expanding (and fast) from the video game station to a multitude of settings – and beyond. With the advent of Google’s Cardboard, anyone can invent what is termed a “Cardboard VR” for him or herself. All that is needed are a smartphone and $10.
Mr. Cisneros claims that with these advances in virtual reality: “Marketing and advertising will become an active experience, instead of a passive experience (watching a video, reading text),” and he concludes: “The bar to the creative element will begin to be set higher and higher as brands get more and more creative in what they can showcase via VR technology.”
Miss Fitzgerald predicts television will somdeday make way for progress, yet "old school" outdoor advertising has made slow, but steady increasing profits thanks to integrating digital components to traditional billboards and signs.
Do you have a favorite commercial that is currently airing, or have fond memories of some from the past?
Trying to decide which department should manage customer retention? Whose responsibility should it be to reach out to existing customers, engage with them and continue to build the relationship?
Customer retention management (CRM) is no longer a one man or one department job. It takes an integrated approach of teams working together to contribute to creating memorable customer experiences.
The days of CRM falling to a salesperson and, using “Thank you, please come again” messaging at the end of a sale are gone. It’s not enough to simply offer a discount on a customer’s next purchase if they fill out a survey about the services they received.
CRM is about the collaboration of the marketing, sales and customer service departments, and this must take an omnichannel approach. The goal: Find new customers.
Engage customers enough to make a sale and reach out to the customer afterwards to ensure they are happy with their purchase or your service. But it is also more than an “acknowledgement” email with a coupon attached. It is about building a relationship, especially through social media.
How does a business put social media to work for customer retention?
“Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but only 38% of consumers agree. More than 60% believe passion for a business or brand is a prerequisite for social media engagement. Companies need to find creative ways to tap the power of the trusted social community. To successfully exploit the potential of social media, companies need to design experiences that deliver tangible value in return for customers’ time, attention, endorsement and data” – Carolyn Heller Baird & Gautam Parasnis, IBM Institute for Business Value
The biggest mistake a company can make is to confuse customer satisfaction with loyalty. Key CRM Tips:
1. Spotlight What Sets You Apart: Customers are turning to digital channels more than ever to do research. Our Millennial Infographics highlight how much this trend has grown with this generation, but we’re seeing this grow across demographics. Make what differentiates your brand clear on social, in inbound marketing, and on your website.
2. Create Real Interaction: Engagement shouldn’t only mean getting Likes on a post. Create real dialog. Respond to comments on social posts and blogs. Check reviews on platforms like Yelp to demonstrate quality customer service and care. Use comments to inform future content and shape insights about your customers.
3. Leverage Influencers: Understanding who the key influencers are (that are relevant to your market) can help your brand tap into their followers. Studies show that opinions posted online matter to customers. Creating brand ambassadors among influencers can help boost your brand’s visibility and shape customer opinion.
4. Turn Comments Into Action: Not only do customers increasingly want two-way conversations, but it’s important to show that they are truly being heard. By listening to what is being said on social networks, people feel both understood and appreciated. By not only responding to customer suggestions – but promoting how these suggestions from social posts have shaped new products, policies or campaign ideas that have been demonstrated – your brand becomes customer-focused.
Social media may be the best opportunity for companies to connect with customers and prospects, as well as strengthening existing customer relationships. All it takes is good content, engaging in conversations and listening to your audience. In the end, your audience will appreciate it.
Today’s consumers, especially Millennials and Centennials, seek to engage with thoughtful, community-minded brands.
1 – Know Your Audience. They already "Liked" your page, so visit their pages; learn about them. Then Segment Your Audience. Separate them into logical, titled groups that you can then send highly-targeted messages to.
2 – Understand that Social Media is a Single Channel. Just like MTV, one channel that plays programming 24/7 must cater to many different Audience Segments, and playing the content at the right time is critical to Overall Viewership.
3 – Deliver messages at the right time, to the right Audience Segment, and most importantly – to the right place. Not everyone who uses Facebook also uses Twitter, or Instagram, or Pinterest. Understand which of your Audience Segments use each Channel.
4 – Content Authenticity. This is the downfall of most social media agencies. Know your product inside and out by living your brand as a Lifestyle; it’s the best way to ensure that your messaging gives your consumers the 'real deal' vibe. If you don’t know enough about a subject, it’s best to leave it alone on Social Media until you do.
5 – Use Magnetic Content as much as possible. Absorbable, share-worthy, highly-targeted content that is made to look attractive; this combination ensures your message is consumed and engaged with by your fans.
6 – Success is always Subject to Change in digital marketing. Always test. Try two different, three different, five different approaches to a campaign – and run them all. Cancel campaigns along the way that don’t do well. Experimentation is always a fun way to find the things that work. Never forget that Social Media is a full-time job.
7 – Build relationships with customers at a personal level. Don’t be afraid to send a Private Message to engage them to learn even more about your brand. Build Brand Ambassadors by sending occasional private messages, hooking them up with gifts, tickets for local events, etc. This is a very inexpensive way to learn more about your brand at a Street Level.
8 – Success relies on the effective curation of content. Use as much Magnetic Content, and also Epic Content – the kind that generates a positive emotional reaction, or disrupts a common belief or trend. This is the content that is so persuasive, your customer can’t resist but to CLICK-TO-FIND-OUT-MORE.
9 – CTA RULES. Add a Call-to-Action to as much of your content as possible. If you did your job by using the advice I've mentioned, your viewer is DTC (DOWN-TO-CLICK).
10 – Always follow the 80/20 Rule. Use 80% of your posting for General Interest Content, and save 20% for Overtly Promotional and General Housekeeping Content.