Broncos Not the Only Winners: Brands Used Content and Celebrity Marketing to Stand Out

american-football-266393_960_720[1]Von Miller may have been MVP of the big game, but these brands are still winning big.

As the dust settled following the conclusion of Super Bowl 50, it became clear there is no one way to claim victory. Virtually every brand took a different approach, some of which were unsurprising, and others uniquely original. Having a commercial is only the tip of the iceberg – even though it may be exceptionally visible, it must be part of a larger campaign.

Numerous brands took that to heart, and the fans responded in kind. As expected, Esurance’s innovative campaign dominated Twitter, leaving everyone except Beyoncé in the dust. With the potential of $1 million keeping them enticed, 108,000 people tweeted more than 1.6 million times. This was all without paying for a commercial during the broadcast itself, proving that even companies that do not want to shell out $5 million for a 30-second long ad can still get in on the action.

Another lesson to be learned from the game is that, when done right, celebrity marketing can command attention in major ways. With the second most tweets of the night out of all the participating brands, T-Mobile’s two commercials, respectively featuring Steve Harvey and Drake, generated over 375,000 tweets. Despite this immediate sign of success, only time will tell if the attention will translate into more customers.

Above anything else, brands must craft a well-defined message. Good jokes and famous people may inspire droves of tweets, but if they don’t convince the viewers to take the brand seriously, the campaign is a failure – and with such a high price tag, that is not a hit many brands can take.

For Pokemon, having an ad in the Super Bowl provided them a platform, not just to entertain people, but to inspire a new generation of fans. Budweiser and Colgate used their platforms as an opportunity to spread good ethics, in hope that viewers would return the favor in time.

In the end, the ads that proved the most successful were the ones with a clear message promoting their brand, and entertaining content to keep our eyes glued. Everyone else fumbled in front of half the nation.

photo credit: http://pixabay.com

Sporting Event Advertising Fuels Celebrity Marketing

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3 benefits of advertising during sporting events

While it comes as no surprise that many Americans enjoy watching sports; it may come as a shock just how popular they really are.

According to ESPN, NFL is the most popular sport in America for the 30th year in a row. In an Adweek/Harris poll almost two thirds of U.S. adults say they currently watch NFL football.

The Super bowl is the most watched sporting event and this year the 2015 Super Bowl set new broadcasting records. The International Business Times said, “The 2015 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks set a new mark, averaging 114.4 million viewers per minute on NBC’s Sunday night broadcast, becoming the most watched event in American TV history”.

Advertising during sporting events can be expensive but it is well worth it. There are many advantages to advertising during sporting events that you will not get during other programs. Television stations charge much more to advertise during sporting events because campaigns broadcasted during these events are successful at reaching consumers.

It also won’t hurt if the advertisement includes an athlete. Having an athlete as a spokesperson can increase sales, awareness and help to make the advertisement more memorable.

  1. Advertisers invest billions annually-According to Kentar Media, 37% of all advertising spending on broadcast TV is on sports. Kentar Media estimates, “sports programming in 2014-15 generated $8.47 billion in advertising sales for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox”.
  2. Live audience –Live audience is a large reason why advertising during sporting events can be so expensive. It is one of the only programs people watch in real time. With DVR, Netflix and Hulu becoming so popular it has become increasingly difficult to reach consumers by television commercials. But, this is not the case for sporting events. According to Harris Interactive, eight in ten Americans say they never record televised sporting events (79%). People want to watch sports while they’re happening.
  3. Huge reach – NFL games alone accounted for 45 of last season’s 50 most-watched broadcasts. People are watching sporting events more than any other programs. This is where advertisers want to be-you can reach millions of people during just one 30 second spot.

photo credit: www.deviantart.com

Companies are Using Immersive Experiences to Reach Consumers with Celebrity Marketing

Interactive

4 advantages of creating immersive experiences for consumers

When companies create immersive experiences the consumers are absorbed in the experience and the advertisements are interactive. The definition of immersive is “noting or pertaining to digital technology or images that deeply involve one’s senses and may create an altered mental state”.

What would you rather be doing? Watching Maria Sharapova return a serve on a commercial while cooking dinner and cleaning the living room or returning Sharapova’s 100 mph serve in an exhilarating and heated match.

The latter example is part of American Express’s virtual reality game, “You Vs. Sharapova”, created for the US Open. The consumer actually swings a racket to try and return Sharapova’s serve. Sharapova even talks to you by saying phrases such as “good try” and “ breaking a serve is tough”.

Deborah Curtis, American Express vice president of global sponsorships and experience marketing said “For us, virtual reality is sort of the next evolution of what we have been doing, which is put the fan at the center of the experience”. It allows fans to really feel the intensity at the U.S. Open and make them feel like they are actually a part of the game.

1. Engaging – Instead of sitting back and watching a commercial or reading a print advertisement the consumer is actually part of the experience. When they are engaging in the ad their full attention is on it, not typical in traditional advertising.

2. Memorable – If consumers are engaging in the advertisement then they are more likely to remember your brand. Consumers see thousands of advertisements a day so it is very important to not only be able to reach your consumer but to have them remember you.

3. Fun – Immersive experiences are enjoyable for the consumer. If people are enjoying their experience then they are more likely to have positive feelings towards your brand.

4. Creative – Creating immersive experiences gives your company the ability to think of new and exciting ways to reach your consumer.

photo credit: Wikimedia

Celebrity Marketing: Adding An Athlete Can Improve Your Brand’s Bottom Line

Stephen Curry for Degree

Stephen Curry for Degree

Three interesting facts and tips about athletes and endorsements

Choosing the right one

Choosing an athlete for your brand is one of the more difficult parts of celebrity marketing.  Brands look for different characteristics in athletes both on and off the field.  On the field characteristics generally speak for themselves; anything to do with skill level, performance, potential ability, or style of play all help brands make a decision on which athlete they want to use for their campaign.  As a result many brands look to sign players with the potential to become the next superstar.  For example, Steph Curry signed a variety of deals with multiple brands as he started to emerge as an NBA talent. Then, in 2015, Curry won the MVP and the NBA Finals, making him infinitely more valuable to brands.  The brands who signed him prior to his breakout season benefited immensely from this.

Another important aspect to consider when signing athletes to deals is their off the field qualities.  Things like their personality or charisma, how well they interact with fans, their looks, and their background are all important.  A good example is David Beckham, who ticks off all the good measurables from that list. Combined with the fact that he is a world class player it is no wonder Beckham is such a sought after name in the advertising industry.

Finally, it is important to consider how the athlete is viewed by the targeted audience. Ensuring that the sport is popular in the campaign’s region and making sure the demographic in question likes the team the athlete plays for are both important things to consider when choosing an athlete.

Adds 4% to sales

Athletes can bring plenty to the table in terms of success. A study by Harvard Business School concluded that athletes bring in up to 4% more in sales than other celebrities.  This number may sound relatively small but it translates to gains of over 10 million dollars annually.  In addition, this study also concluded that an athlete’s performance over time goes hand in hand with sales.  For example, if a player wins a championship, the amount they bring in for the exact same promotion or ad rises.

How much the athletes make

A contributing factor in signing an athlete to a brand is the endorsement money.  This is one area that athletes are especially keen on.  This is because endorsements tend to make athletes much more money than their typical salary.  According to a study by Forbes, LeBron James makes 53 million dollars from endorsements, compared to only 19 million from his salary and winnings.

photo credit: Degree/Unilever (Disclosure: Unilever is a Burns Client)

Super Bowl Celebrity Marketing–One Up Your Competitors

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Signing a celebrity early is a huge edge over competitors who wait and risk settling for second or third choice.

Push Your Agency to Work Ahead

The day after the Super Bowl is the best time to start planning–when consumer reaction is fresh. Ask yourself: How can we do it better? How can we differentiate?

The big idea needs to come as early as possible and be unique. Celebrities will build awareness and help bring it to life.

Create the Ultimate Celebrity Wish List

Ask yourself: who would be your ideal celebrity and why?

Have fun and don’t worry about budget yet. Creating a list should be straightforward given a small number of recognizable stars fit a Super Bowl campaign.

Use Metrics to Help Make Your Decision

I highly recommend E-Poll Market Research and their E-Score Celebrity tool. It’s a database of 6,000 plus celebrities, athletes and newsmakers, that offers an in-depth look at the key drivers of celebrity appeal. The celebrity scores are updated regularly.

Narrow your list to a final group of 3-5 celebrities with E-Score Celebrity. You’ll be surprised how your target audience selections vary from yours.

Research Category Conflicts and Past Super Bowl Ads

Eliminate celebrities with a conflict or have previously worked for a direct competitor within the last two years. Celebrity Endorsement Ads is a great resource to search for such conflicts.

Before making your offer, ask the agent about any potential conflicts. There may be a deal in the works and if so you’ve saved valuable time.

Make the First Offer

Be proactive. Be aggressive. Take your chosen celebrity “off the market” away from your competitors months before the big game.

Allow More Time for Multiple Celebrities

Multiple celebrities will multiply your time so make sure to begin early. Several agents will be involved, along with managers and publicists.

You may want to create a “favored nations” deal where each celebrity is paid the same amount. This will speed the process up and keep egos in check.

Pay Less Now or More Later

You’re going to pay seven figures plus for a celebrity. Sign them early to limit their fee.  It will cost less than waiting until November or December. The agent knows your back is up against the wall then.

Also, don’t wait for others to overpay and set the market for you. Advertisers are not usually familiar with Super Bowl market value and unknowingly overpay.

Use Leverage You Have

Fear and doubt create leverage.

It is risky for a celebrity to pass on your seven figure deal in hopes that another advertiser will make an offer later. Even if a second offer comes, it is risky to assume it will be more.

A celebrity risks being left out, while others they compete with directly are selected and build their popularity.

Don’t underestimate celebrity egos. It’s amazing for anyone to say: “I’ll be in a Super Bowl ad seen by 110 million U.S. citizens plus a worldwide broadcast in 198 countries in 25 languages.”

photo credit: Josh Lackey via photopin cc

Celebrity Marketing: The Danger of Negotiating with A Celebrity Directly

celebrities and brands

“He who represents himself has a fool for a client” – Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln’s quote is true in a court of law, yet is it true in the marketing world with celebrities?

Many marketing executives believe it is as easy as calling an agent and negotiating a deal similar to any other project they might work on. Unfortunately, this mind set is hazardous to a marketing budget and hiring the celebrity a brand wants.

 If you or your brand is involved in litigation with thousands or millions of dollars at stake, do you represent yourself, or do you hire a litigation attorney who specializes? When your company seeks a new senior executive, does it scan the want ads or hire an executive search firm who specializes in your industry? 

Even when companies work on specific projects, expert consultants are frequently used.  With any celebrity endorsement, how many companies have essential inside information on competitive conflicts, other contract fees, and their fair market value?

The answers are obvious, so why do brand marketers continue to personally negotiate celebrity contracts? 

In many cases, the lure to negotiate and ultimately befriend a star is irresistible.  Sometimes this “star-blinded” marketer assumes negotiating with an agent should be straight forward and even is some cases, easy.

Negotiating directly with celebrity agents without knowing the fair market value and estimated fees for other current contracts grossly exposes marketers to serious problems, especially overpaying. The money issue then turns into the question of perceived value versus actual value, not a very good point to be at in the decision-making process.

Why would it cost me more money to negotiate with a celebrity directly?

Let me answer with the following real example:

One ex-NFL Pro Bowl quarterback was paid $500,000 for a one-year campaign by an ad agency representing a new client eager to break into the sports industry. Why did the client overpay by up to $375,00.00? Because the agent played hardball and gave them a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum and the client was afraid that all similar names would be as expensive. Unfortunately for the client, the athlete had signed another spokesperson deal within the year for $375,000 less less than what the eager company paid.

Not knowing fair market value is dangerous and could even cost a brand its first choice. No one should settle for second, third or even fifth choice and risk not meeting brand objectives.

So what is the best way to proceed?

With billions of dollars spent on celebrity endorsements annually, it will remain a fixture in mainstream advertising.  Yet, even as the task becomes more daunting with ad budgets and sales revenues at stake, many marketers continue to blindly negotiate with celebrity agents.  To avoid this trap, many brands use an expert to step up to the plate.

photo credit: laverrue via photopin cc