The Potential Profits of March Madness: How Advertisers are Using Celebrities to Win Big

marchmadness_bg3-1024x616With 67 games aired on national TV, the NCAA has only just begun to rake in the cash.

It is not the simplest task to become ingrained in popular culture, but the minds behind the NCAA Tournament have masterfully made it appear so.

Since they first aired on TV in 1969, the post-season college basketball games have grown in popularity, though it wasn’t until CBS partnered with Turner in 2011 that the tournament exploded in profitability. Between CBS and Turner’s channels, all 67 of the games air nationally. That translates directly to a huge bump in revenue.

Today, March Madness reigns only behind the Super Bowl among the biggest annual sports events. There are no prerequisites for participation – anyone can create a bracket, and as many as 60 million Americans do.

Viewership numbers are nowhere near that of the Super Bowl, but they don’t need to be. Last year’s championship game was watched by a record 28.3 million people. This was more than both the last game of the 2015 NBA Finals and the 2016 College Football Championship. In all three cases annual viewership is on the rise, but nothing compares to the revenue gains March Madness has seen.

With Turner Sports preparing to broadcast the Final Four games in virtual reality and total ad revenue expected to rise as high as $1.3 billion, the future of the tournament is incredibly bright.

As is always the case, this future does lie in the hands of the advertisers, but with growing numbers of eyeballs gluing themselves to the TV and related mobile content, the advertisers too are arriving in droves.

Perennial sponsorship partners and this year’s official NCAA corporate champions, AT&T, Capital One, and Coca-Cola, have all returned with tens of millions to spend, but it is the ads featuring basketball stars that get the most bang for their buck.

From AT&T’s commercial featuring Kenny Smith to NCAA’s own ad starring Charles Barkley, wise decisions were made to attract the most attention. Capital One scored big with a string of commercials starring Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, and Charles Barkley too, and even Lowe’s called on Coach John Thompson III for a comedic spot. Buick hired actor Brad Schmidt for their commercial, which also introduced a special deal they are offering during March Madness. Budweiser even adapted their Super Bowl ad to air one dedicated to the tournament, pairing it with a song by Baauer.

Those who made the wise choice to highlight celebrities in their ads will reap the benefits this year, but with ample proof for the direction they should take, it’s up to next year’s advertisers to follow the trend.

The fans watch the games to see the amateurs perform their best, but it’s the trusted, beloved celebrities that remain constant throughout the tournament. The more companies tap into their potential, the more front and center the advertisements will be.

photo credit: www.brianhartz.com

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

Celebrity Marketing: Changes for Pages on Facebook Offers New Opportunities for Businesses

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Facebook has been improving its site to make it easier for marketers to reach their consumers.

Since 2007 Facebook has allowed marketers to create their own profiles and over 45 million businesses have them, according to Facebook. But since 2012, Facebook has not made any major updates to marketer’s profiles.

Creating a Facebook page can be very beneficial to companies. According to Facebook, over 1 billion people look at least one Facebook page a month, while the number of people writing to businesses through their pages nearly doubles every year.

One way to attract consumers to business’s page is with the use of celebrities. Facebook has a huge celebrity presence. Many celebrities have fan pages that users can “like”. A celebrity’s pages are a way they can communicate with their fans, talk about upcoming projects, and post pictures. Because of a celebrity’s impact on Facebook, pages that feature celebrities are more likely to be looked at. It is a good idea for businesses to have a celebrity post the link to the business page on their own page. That way businesses can reach new consumers through the celebrities fan base.

One thing businesses need to be wary about before investing time into Facebook pages is the demographic they are trying to reach. A recent study by Business Insider Intelligence showed that teens still use Facebook but they no longer see it as “the most important social network“.  Instead,Instagram has taken this spot. So, if consumers are younger, Instagram might be the better choice for businesses.

5 things you need to know about the Facebook updates:

  1. Facebook is handing out “very responsive badges” for companies that respond to 90% of the messages they receive within 5 minutes. This will help consumers know which companies will respond to their comments and it also shows what businesses really care about your consumers.
  2. Pages can set up e-Commerce shops through Shopify software so that companies can sell directly from their page. Facebook will not take a cut of the profit or limit how many products can be included.
  3. Pages can list the specific services the business provides.
  4. There will be the option to have links on top of the pages that allow consumers to call or message the business.
  5. To make pages more mobile user friendly, there will be tabs on the top of pages where people can go to specific sections instead of having to scroll through the entire page.

photo credit: http://pixabay.com

The Top 6 Digital Celebrities That Can Boost Your Brand Quickly Via Celebrity Marketing

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Study shows that the most influential celebrities are on YouTube, not the big screen.

Step aside Taylor Swift; YouTube personalities are making more impact on millennials than you.

Variety Magazine conducted a study that asked participants ages 13-17 about 20 well-known personalities’ approachability, authenticity, and other characteristics that rank their overall influence. While they may not be as “mainstream”, YouTube personalities proved their influence by claiming the top 6 spots on the list.

In regards to celebrity marketing, YouTubers scored significantly higher than traditional celebrities in both emotional attachment to teens and engagement levels.

Meet the 6 YouTube stars that beat out Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and Jonny Depp in millennial influence:

  • KSI: Olajide Olatunji, better known as KSIOlajidebt (or KSI for short), is known for his YouTube channel where he does play-throughs of videogames.  Currently at 10 million subscribers, he has a large viewer base.  KSI mainly focuses on reviewing the games themselves or the equipment used to record his gameplay. Olatunji is someone who gaming companies look at as a top YouTube celebrity.
  • PewDiePie: Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, or PewDiePie, is a Swedish YouTube videogame vlogger. He is known for his ‘Let’s Play’ videos where he records himself playing video games while providing ridiculous and unfiltered commentary. Acting like the goofball friend, PewDiePie creates entertaining videos that give viewers the sense that they are hanging with a buddy; he even calls his fans the “bro army” and “bros”. PewDiePie keeps endorsements to a minimum but did an online interactive campaign with Mountain Dew earlier this year.
  • VanossGaming: Evan Fong is also a videogame commenter. His videos include “funny moments” of him and his friends playing videogames while laughing and joking around. Another set of videos are of him completing difficult game modes and challenges. His channel shares authentic and relatable content, which has attracted his 13 million subscribers.
  • Nigahiga: The fourth influencer, Ryan Higa, is a comedian. He began his career while in high school creating a lip-synching and comedy YouTube channel with a friend. After his videos kept being taken down due to copywriting laws, he began to create the music himself. Popular music videos include “Nice Guys”, “Bromance” and “Coffee Shop Love”. The channel includes other original comedy skits as well. Ryan has created 1 full length and 2 short comedy films.
  • Smosh: Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla are the guys behind the comedy YouTube channel Smosh. Smosh posts new videos every Friday that include skits such as “If Board Games Were Real” and an original music video titled “We Rule High School”. The comedy-duo has 21 million subscribers on their main channel and an additional 4 million subscribers on Smosh 2nd Channel. Smosh premiered their first feature-length film, Smosh: The Movie, on July 23, 2015, which featured fellow YouTube stars and actor Michael Ian Black.
  • Markiplier: Mark Edward Fischbach is a YouTube videogame commentator who posts videos to his channel, MarkiplierGAME. He shares his comedic “Let’s Play” videogame commentary with his 9 million followers. Markiplier goes beyond most YouTube videogame channels by also posting original comedy sketches and original animated parodies.

photo credit: www.pexels.com

Instagram Advertising Changes Offer New Opportunities for Celebrity Marketing

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5 important changes for advertising on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social networking sites today. According to their website, there are more than 300 members and more than 60 million photos shared a day. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity for advertisers to reach their target audiences.

Instagram allows advertisers to target its existing customers like its parent company Facebook. This means that you can reach consumers who buy your product and actually use it. Brands can also have added links in their advertisements that direct the consumer to their app or website.  These amenities are huge advantages over traditional advertising such as print ads and television commercials.

Kenshoo, an ad buying firm, said, “people click on Instagram ads 2.48% of the time that they see them, which it said is two-and-a-half times the average for social ads”.

Another advantage to advertising on Instagram is its celebrity presence. Many celebrities have Instagram accounts with huge fan bases. Therefore celebrity marketing does not look out of place.

Here’s what brands now need to know when advertising on Instagram:

  1. Instagram is allowing all advertisers on their site. In the past, Instagram has been very particular on who can advertise but they are now opening it up to everyone.
  2. Markets worldwide will be able to advertise.
  3. Instagram is allowing brands to create 30 second videos as opposed to the former 15 seconds. With longer videos you can add much more content and information into your advertisement.
  4. You can create a “marquee”, which is a full home-page advertisement. This feature makes it much harder for consumers to skip over your ad and guarantees they will actually notice it.
  5. An option of having non-square formats. Traditional Instagram posts are in a square, but Instagram decided to let advertisers choose the format of their post.

With these changes in advertising regulations, Instagram continues to be a great form of media to use for celebrity marketing.

photo credit: Flickr

Companies are Using Immersive Experiences to Reach Consumers with Celebrity Marketing

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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: Using Television and Movie Characters to Endorse Brands

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4 popular examples with celebrities in character who break thru the clutter

A popular trend in celebrity marketing has been stars appearing in character to endorse a product. By using well known fictional personalities, brands have the ability to reach a wider audience including the character’s fan base.

It can be difficult to decide whether to use a celebrity in character or the celebrity as themselves; therefore consider two important questions:

  1. Is the character more well-known than the celebrity themselves? If people would recognize the character on the street but not the celebrity then it may be a good idea to use the character.
  2. What personality type are you looking for to represent your brand? The personality of the character could be very different than the celebrity’s personality. Consider how much media you’ll ask the celebrity to do and how comfortable they are being “in character” during interviews.

Walter White for EsuranceIn a 2015 Super Bowl Esurance ad, Breaking Bad’s Walter White (Bryan Cranston) reprises his role as the infamous meth-cooking chemist one last time. While the show officially ended in 2013, White appeared in this 60-second spot to endorse online car insurance, working at a drug store and comparing himself to a neighborhood pharmacist.  Conveniently, the spot aired a week before the show’s spinoff Better Call Saul.

Ron Burgandy for DodgeAnchorman’s Ron Burgandy (Will Ferrell) served as Dodge Durango’s salesman piggybacking off the movie’s popularity.

Full House for Dannon John Stamos has appeared in many Dannon commercials but in the 2014 Super Bowl advertisement his co-stars on Full House, David Coulier and Bob Saget, appeared in it as well . During an intimate moment between Stamos and a woman, Coulier and Saget barged in which reminded the audience of many scenes in Full House.

Frank Underwood for Call of DutyHouse of Card’s protagonist Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) appeared as an alternate version of himself in the 2014 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer.  In the spot, Underwood appears as a futuristic warmonger named Jeremy Irons obsessed with world domination and power. While the character is identified as Irons, instead of Underwood, the characters are completely parallel. Fans of the show know that Underwood often plays Call of Duty, making this endorsement cross-promotional.

photo credit: Geoffrey Chandler via Flickr