Brands Avoid Entanglement with Societal & Political Issues by using Celebrity Marketing

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Brands with clear standpoints on political issues open themselves up to losing consumers who disagree.

Celebrity marketing allows brands to appeal to a wide variety of people and remain neutral on societal issues. Using a celebrity that is respected and well-liked will generate widespread appeal for a brand.

In a very polarized political climate, brands that make their political values clear in their marketing and branding lose a considerable amount of consumers and brand fans that fall on the other end of the spectrum.

Celebrities are the best way to stay away from societal issues and ensure brands gain and retain consumers.

A study done by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and research firm SSRS showed that consumers don’t like when brands focus their branding around societal and political issues. 58% of respondents reported feeling this way.

The 2017 Super Bowl, just a few weeks after President Trump’s inauguration, was filled with commercials that contained political messages.

84 Lumber’s 90 second spot regarded the controversial topic of immigration. It showed the story of immigrants traveling from Mexico and entering through a door in the wall President Trump has discussed building to keep out illegal immigrants.

Seeing as it was focused on such a divisive issue, the ad and the brand received a strong negative response from many people.

Not only do consumers have opinions about what brands’ political beliefs are, they take action and desert brands they disagree with.

A survey conducted by Ipsos, a market and opinion research company, revealed that 25% of consumers admitted that in the past three months they had boycotted a brand because its political leanings contrasted with their own.

With the data the survey provides, it’s safe to conclude that the backlash that 84 Lumber received on social media translated into lost consumers. By so distinctly showing their values in this ad they set themselves up to lose potential business from a massive amount of people.

The survey included 28 different brands. Amongst them were Uber and Nordstrom, both who took politically charged actions in the months prior. Uber, by lowering prices during an airport taxi strike that was in protest of Trump’s immigration ban, and Nordstrom, by pulling Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from their stores. Both brands saw over 30% boycott rate from the opposing side.

Comcast and Intel were included in the survey as well. It was revealed that they were two of the brands that were mainly unscathed in the minds of consumers.

Both Brands have partnered with celebrities in that past, allowing them to achieve likability and respect from the masses and avoid political topics.

Intel has long partnered with “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons. In March 2017, they released an ad featuring him and LeBron James, two very well-liked celebrities. Comcast has worked with Sofia Vergara, Taylor Swift, Cole Hamels and Matt Ryan to construct a positive and non-controversial image.

Both brands were able to avoid boycotts by using celebrities to cultivate a good public perception.

photo credit: Ian Freimuth via Flickr

How to Reach Multiple Demographics with the Same Campaign through Influencer Marketing

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Big brands have led the way in using a wide range of micro-influencers to reach a variety of consumers.

Having a single campaign activated across numerous influencers allows brands to access more than just the typical, narrow target market. Strategically using influencers that impact a variety of populations can allow campaigns to reach far beyond the usual scope.

Rather than using a large number of influencers who have followings with similar characteristics, brands can use influencers with extensively different backgrounds whose followings are diverse. This allows brands to use the same central campaign to connect with a larger sphere of people.

Here are a few brands who have successfully executed this approach.

Walmart

In spring 2017, Walmart launched its “Fight Hunger Spark Change” campaign in partnership with Feeding America. Their goal was as many donations as possible to secure meals for hungry Americans. Walmart used 7 influencers on Instagram to spread awareness for the cause and increase donations.

A charitable cause as broad as this one could be taken up by a massive array of people from all different backgrounds. Walmart mimicked this through their use of a mixture of influencers. From professional soccer player Sydney Leroux to YouTube personality and cook Rosanna Pansino to professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, Walmart covered a broad spectrum of influencers.

The result was a huge engagement rate of 23% and raised $1.5 million.

Axe

Axe partnered with 30 male influencers for their “Find Your Magic”campaign with a goal to break the cycle of toxic masculinity and support men in destroying stereotypes and using hair products.

The Haircare VP of Unilever (the company that owns Axe), Piyush Jain, was quoted in AdWeek saying “this is the first time male influencers from all different walks of life are coming together to inspire guys to start styling.”

Amongst the 30 were actor Josh Peck, cooking channel star Josh Elkin and video gamer Joshua Ovenshire. With just these three celebrities, Axe was able to reach men with disparate interests by involving influencers with an assortment of personalities and fan bases who openly used Axe products on their social channels.

Gap

For their “Styld.by” campaign, Gap partnered with multiple prominent influencers across several categories. They enlisted photographers, writers, singers, models and bloggers amongst others, spanning different cultural backgrounds, races, genders and stages in life.

Each of these influencers posed for photos wearing Gap clothing mixed in with their own pieces showing how they incorporated the brand into their own styles.

The material was posted on several platforms, including Gap’s social channels, the influencers’ personal channels and the online community dedicated to the campaign.  

Using influencer marketing allows brands to extend their target market on a budget and/or create multiple campaigns.

photo credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Updates to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat: What Brands Need to Know for Their Celebrity Marketing

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Big changes are taking place across the major social channels as they compete to one up each other and rise above the rest.

Brands and marketers need to stay up to date and adapt their campaigns based on updates. Social and digital trends change quickly. In order to lead the pack and get the most out of a campaign, brands must stay current and be ready for more change.

Social Media has become an integral part of nearly all marketing campaigns.

Here is what the major social channels are doing next, along with some insight on how these features affect influencer and celebrity marketing.

Facebook

Facebook announced that they’ll be releasing an app for influencers to create videos. The feature will operate with Facebook Live and only be accessible to celebrities, journalists and internet influencers, or any other verified accounts.

Brands can integrate themselves with celebrities in an entirely new way through this feature. Current celebrity endorsement avenues include celebrities posting on their Facebook pages or influencers mentioning products or brands in their YouTube videos. The video creation app combines both, creating a new opportunity for brand and celebrity partnerships.

Snapchat

After receiving a lot of criticism from marketers and advertisers who want to use metrics to assess campaigns, Snapchat has tried to match the other social channels in terms of data and analytics. They released the paperclip tool which allows links to be attached to snaps.

This provides brands opportunity to drive more traffic to their websites and measure how much traffic comes from the ads’ placement on Snapchat specifically. When promoting a brand on Snapchat, celebrities can now include a link to whatever the brand chooses right within the snap.

Instagram

In an attempt to help brands follow the endorsement rules put forth by the FTC, Instagram launched a “paid partnerships” feature. It allows celebrities to clearly mark the posts that feature the partnerships they have with brands.

This feature allows brands to be clear and transparent about endorsements. Using this tool on Instagram will keep brands out of conflict with the FTC.

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Across all social media platforms, more tools for data and analytics are being developed. Social channels are accommodating brands’ demands for better marketing outlets and striving to provide the best place for ads.

Using these tools as they are released gives brand marketers opportunity to showcase their campaigns and provides helpful insight for planning future campaigns.

Facebook and Twitter are among channels focusing on live streaming events. This trend is another to follow as it develops. With the decline of TV, this is another potential format for celebrity marketing campaigns to flourish.

 
photo credit: Anthony Quintano via Flickr

Brands Seize Advantage Using Sports Stars to Reach Youth Market via Celebrity Marketing

wheatiesBrands grab the attention of children and adolescents by using pro athletes they idolize for endorsements.

Children are encouraged to “dream big,” and for many of them, that big dream is to one day be a professional athlete. Many kids keep this dream long into adolescence and spend their entire childhood embracing their fandom of these big name athletes. Kids see athletes as super heroes and role models who embody what they hope to accomplish when they grow up.

With that, kids put an enormous amount of weight into what pro athletes say and how they behave. This provides brands with an opportunity to tie their brand to an athlete and reach the youth market.

Perhaps the most iconic of all athlete endorsements belongs to Wheaties Cereal. Since they first partnered with professional baseball in the 1930s, Wheaties has partnered with top athletes to identify itself as the food brand to fuel your body. Children for generations have looked to Wheaties and seen their favorite sports stars grace the front of the box, picking up the product in hopes of achieving the same heights as those pictured.

Another way to effectively reach the youth market with sports celebrities is by having them use the product themselves.

Gatorade used pro athletes to inspire kids and reinforce the idea that they can grow up to be anything they want if they work hard. In their ad campaign Never Lose the Love, they feature Usain Bolt and Serena Williams being cheered on by their younger selves.

By showing kids in the ad, Gatorade is able to relate to children and show them that by drinking Gatorade like these athletes, they one day too can reach the same success.

Even brands that don’t come to mind when thinking of sports can leverage pro athletes. The toy brand Little Tikes used pro athlete Lebron James to reach young aspiring athletes by integrating him into their products and brand.

Little Tikes boasts that LeBron got his start on a Little Tikes hoop and now kids can too. Little Tikes has a range of different products with LeBron’s name and picture. The official partnership is between the brand and the LeBron James Family Foundation, which has a mission to better the lives of children and young adults.

By literally using the face of LeBron James on their products, Little Tikes is able to reach and have an impression on kids who look up to LeBron and want to take the same steps he has taken to success.

photo credit: Mike Steele via Flickr

Star Spangled Brands: Partnering with Olympians for Celebrity Marketing Campaigns

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As symbols of national pride, Olympians hold special status with citizens, consumers and provide great partnership opportunity for brands.

Since the start of the Olympic Games, Olympic athletes have been seen as the standard of perfection. Olympians are elite athletes and medalists are revered by people across the globe.

During their time in the Olympic Games Team USA athletes become the face of our nation. They embody national pride and possess qualities and attributes all Americans strive to hold.

The huge amount of respect and honor they have earned and the role they play in forming and representing national character makes them an optimal partnership opportunity for brands.

Sportswear and athletic equipment giant Nike aims to position its brand with top notch gear that enables any person to reach greatness. To bolster this image of an elite brand of exceptional quality, they have partnered with many Olympic athletes who have earned the perception of greatness.

Nike is currently partnered with 45 Olympic athletes from around the globe. They have major partnerships with some of the bigger name medal winners, such as tennis player Serena Williams. Nike’s alliance with Williams is far reaching, encompassing video ads, billboards and her own product collection. Williams is one of the pieces in Nike’s ‘Unlimited’ campaign that launched around the Rio 2016 Olympics.

These top notch athletes have helped Nike gain and retain their image of the world-class sporting goods brand.

While Olympians may be an obvious fit for sports brands, they have also been used in unrelated industries.

Hershey’s Chocolate entered a deal with the now most-decorated American gymnast, Simone Biles, as a part of their larger ‘Hello From Home’ campaign. The brand aired an emotional spot with Biles prior to the Rio 2016 Games.

Featuring Biles opening chocolate bars with letters from her family and friends, the ad brings to mind love and family. Hershey’s perfectly aligned their desired image of a caring and family-oriented brand with the message in the ad. They used Biles’ respected position with consumers and tied her to their product to achieve a positive public perception.

Not all brand partnerships with Olympic athletes occur in the few months immediately surrounding the Olympics. Olympians can advance a brand’s image long before the next Games begin.

The UK-based grocery store brand Aldi paired with two brothers and triathletes to create an integrated campaign for summer 2017. It uses the competitiveness associated with being one of the top athletes in the world to tie its brand name to competitively affordable pricing.

Aldi used the medal-winning Brownlee brothers to demonstrate that their brand is superior to the opponents, just as the brothers had proven of themselves in the Olympics.

photo credit: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport via Wikimedia Commons

What Brands Need to Know about FTC Regulations for Influencer and Celebrity Marketing Campaigns on Instagram

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Brands must educate themselves on how to use celebrity marketing in the most effective way that conforms to the rules set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Even though the FTC has cracked down on celebrities and influencers for not explicitly labeling endorsed posts, there is still a huge lack of transparency regarding paid relationships.

In April 2017, The FTC issued a notice reiterating the rules for signposting paid ads on social media. They sent over 90 letters directly to celebrities, athletes and other influencers noting their improperly labeled posts. Even so, a study revealed that during May 2017, 32 of the top 50 celebrities posted some sort of sponsored content and 93% of those posts weren’t signposted correctly.

With changes underway, it’s essential for brands to know what the FTC requires, what social channels are doing to lessen the problem and what brands should do to avoid issues and successfully execute a social influencer campaign.

What the FTC Requires

The FTC Guidelines state any “material connection” between an influencer and an advertiser must be made clear. Meaning if there is any kind of relationship that could affect the way the consumers view the credibility of the post, it must be exposed.

The FTC also instructs hashtags must be easily interpretable. Unclear hashtags like #sp (meant to indicate sponsored post) don’t have a clear meaning to all consumers, causing the material connection to go unnoticed.

Hashtags must also be near the top of the post. On Instagram, text indicating the post is sponsored must be before the “more” button. The info needs to be visible without having to look further to find it.

What Social Channels are Doing

In an attempt to restore clarity and structure to sponsored posts, Instagram has launched a “paid partnership” feature. This allows for influencers to indicate the sponsorship above the post, under their name, in the space where a location is often put.

This will give influencers and advertisers a clear-cut way to disclose paid relationships, leaving ambiguity out of it. The #ad or #sponsored labels and their variations being used now leave more room for uncertainty in some cases.

While Instagram isn’t enforcing use of the feature at this time, it is a step towards stricter regulation and allows brands an easy way to avoid any questioning by the FTC.

What Brands Can Do

It’s best for brands to be diligent and stay up to date on the latest news and requirements from the FTC regarding influencer marketing and not just rely on its agencies. It’s necessary to be aware of the regulations to ensure a brand doesn’t end up damaging its image.

One reason why social media influencer campaigns are loved by brands is because of the genuine and natural way consumers are exposed to brands or products. Some brands fear clearly labeled posts could diminish that effect.

The key to getting around this issue is finding celebrity and influencer partners that make sense. If a partnership is logical, then it will seem authentic and genuine even if clearly labeled as a paid endorsement.

photo credit: Heidi Klum via Instagram

How to Advertise to Gen-Z with Influencer and Celebrity Marketing

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Reaching Generation Z takes a particular combination of medium, platform and influencer.

As a younger generation starts to come of age, marketers are trying to find the best ways to target them. Teens and early 20 year olds, like all generations, have their own channels and people of influence. Marketing professionals need to take a focused and unique approach.

With this generation spanning a pivotal age for brand marketing efforts, it’s important to know the optimal way to earn attention and interest.

Marketers must closely consider the way that Gen-Z consumes media. Video is increasingly a preferred way for news, information and other messages. Gen-Z is growing up in a video-driven consumption environment and familiar with and receptive to receiving content in this way. Something visually appealing is necessary to grab Gen-Z’s attention in a media cluttered environment.

The non-profit brand Truth, which aims to end teen smoking, did an innovative video and social campaign using YouTube influencers. The brand had ten influencers co-create and share a song and music video on their social channels. Truth was able to reach Gen-Z with people they listen to in places they go to listen.

It’s vital to recognize where Gen-Z gets media from. Platforms that provide captivating images and video that Gen-Z likes include Instagram and Snapchat. This generation is drawn to mediums that have visual communication at the core of their function.

Artist, storyteller, and Shorty Awards Nominee for Snapchatter of the Year, Mike Platco has been used by many brands for “Snapchat Takeovers.” T-Mobile, Freeform (ABC Family), and Major League Soccer have all relied on him to increase their following.

Gen-Z has grown up surrounded by ads and has become desensitized to many of them. Influencers work great especially with Gen-Z for this reason. It’s a more genuine and authentic approach that catches their attention. They have their own influencer celebrities they look up to that resonate with their generation that can be used by brands to get noticed.

One of these people is Kendall Jenner. She has captivated Gen-Z with her fascinating lifestyle and is followed by millions. Multiple brands have used her to access the hard to reach Gen-Z. In order to compete within the competitive sportswear industry, Adidas has shifted their focus to creating fashionable lifestyle active wear. They’ve used Kendall Jenner to launch them into this space. Her Brand Ambassadorship was announced on her Instagram page–one of the Platforms where Gen-Z flocks to most.

Marketers can easily make an impact on Gen-Z, so long as they consider the how, where and who regarding their media consumption.

photo credit: Abhijit Bhaduri via flickr