Consider Infusing Humor & Celebrity Marketing Into Your Brand’s Holiday Campaign

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Brands are often reluctant to use humor despite its ability to convey a message both tastefully and effectively.

Humorous ads tend to stick with consumers much better than traditional, non-humorous advertising. And although there is no guarantee it is definitely worth a shot this holiday season.

The logic is pretty simple if you think about it. The holidays revolve around laughter and cheer. When an advertisement makes you laugh, you’re prompted to share it with family and friends so that they too can get a kick out of it. This concept of “share-ability” helps a brand spread their message and extend campaign’s overall reach. Humor elevates both the humanness and authenticity of an ad. In turn, audience members identify more easily with the brand.

Brands usually grow their ad spend budget during the holiday season due to the influx of shoppers perusing the web. So the holidays are a perfect time to dabble with humor, even if it is for the first time.

Pou-Pourri aired their,“You’ve Been Doing the Holidays All Wrong,” campaign during last year’s holiday season. Comic JP Sears and Pou-Pourri regular, Bethany Woodruff were the perfect, red-haired duo for the ad. In it, they touch on common woes of gift-giving like spending money on a gift someone may end up hating. The ad suggests you stop stressing over what holiday shopping and give Pou-Pourri as a gift. It’s the perfect gift for everyone on your list or at least,  “if they are human and they poop,” Woodruff exclaims.

Humor is beneficial on all platforms, not just television – Chick-fil-A’s billboards are an iconic signage example. Although some find the humor to be a bit cheesy, it is a marketing tactic that has withstood the test of time.

It’s important to keep in mind that humor can be damaging to your brand if you do not use it with caution. Steer clear of anything that has the potential to be offensive. This sort of humor can be detrimental to your brand. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the insulting and racy remarks entirely. Politically driven humor will also likely fall flat during the holidays.

Sometimes, CMO’s hesitate to use humor out of fear that their brand will be taken less seriously. This simply is not true, as long as it is properly executed. Humor will provide a refreshing brand detour from the monotony of non-humorous campaigns. And now that your brand is a lot less dull, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the heightened appeal and even better, more business!

Photo credit: Shawn Latta (flickr)

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The Monthly Report Card: September

Showcasing industry best practices and providing insight into best use of celebrities and influencers. 

(1.) Nike—Colin Kaepernick

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Grade A

Nike commemorated the 30th anniversary of their, “Just Do It,” campaign this month. During the 2016 NFL season, Colin Kaepernick brought attention to racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Great controversy arose once the kneeling escalated into a social movement and in 2017 Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers. Nike debuted their new Dream Crazy campaign, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing Everything,” with Kaepernick as the face of inspiration. Although the campaign had immediate backlash, such as the burning of Nike sneakers it had a favorable impact on sales—as Nike saw a 31% increase. Lebron James, Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquem Griffin, Lacey Baker, and Serena Williams are among others taking part in the campaign which encourages you to follow even the wildest of dreams. “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.” #justdoit

(2.) Hulu—James Harden

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Grade B+

Hulu’s ‘Never Get Hulu’ commercial made its debut during the 2018 Emmys awards show on NBC. The spot opens with Houston Rocket’s James Harden suggesting that the audience listen carefully. The reverse-psychology ad relies on celebrity joke-telling in what feels like a very desperate attempt to mock their competitor’s “Netflix Is A Joke” 2017 campaign (which made its debut during last year’s Emmys). Miles Brown, Samira Wiley, Sofia Vergara, Joe Manganiello, Sarah Silverman and Jared Goff also appear in the ad. The overwhelming celebrity variety was a deliberate effort to better represent all of the content that Hulu offers—and it did. Although the cast was superb, the reverse-psychology felt passé and was quite literally unoriginal.

(3.) Levi’s—Aretha Franklin

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Grade A+

Levi’s ‘Use Your Vote’ commercial is a call to action—specifically encouraging millennials to get to the polls and vote. The spot is also commemorative of Aretha Franklin as it features her song, “Think”. The commercial follows diverse individuals as they head to the polls. Each person is linked to the next not only in their choice to wear Levi clothing but also in their choice to exercise their right to vote. Levi’s also set up voter registration booths in select stores on National Voter Registration Day.  This ad is an excellent display of branding, Levi’s drove home their brand purpose all while catering to the millennial consumer.

(4.) Macys—Becky Hammon

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Grade A+

Macy’s and BBDO continue the ‘Remarkable You’ campaign with six female professionals, each of whom is a star in their career. San Antonio Spurs assistant coach, Becky Hammon is perhaps the best known of the bunch. But Hammon is in great company—Mishaal Ashemimry (aerospace engineer), JoAnn Falletta (conductor and music director), Vanessa Beckman (teacher), Patricia Valoy (civil engineer) and Tiffiny Blacknell (public defender). The ad highlights each woman at the helm of their unique professional elements to the tune of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl”—a true image of female empowerment.

(5.) Verizon Fios—Gaten Matarazzo

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Grade A

“Stranger Things” star Gaten Matarazzo, who made his debut as a FIOS spokesperson last year, resurfaces in Verizon’s ‘Good Neighbor’ ad. He sees his neighbor unloading a sweet new 4K TV but is shocked to find out he didn’t get FIOS to go along with it. Matarazzo explains how a fiber optic connection would help all of their devices work a lot better. The spot is simple, to the point and quirky with Matarazzo as the spokesperson.

(6.) Nissan—Naomi Osaka

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Grade A

Naomi Osaka captured her first Grand Slam title and made her appearance as Nissan’s new global brand ambassador within days of one another. Nissan’s Japanese roots were highly attractive to Osaka, the first Japanese tennis player to win a women’s singles Grand Slam event. The partnership feels natural and Osaka embodies all that Nissan strives for. After all, Nissan’s slogan is, “Innovation that excites,” and Osaka’s victory exudes excitement.

(7.) Dior—Jennifer Lawrence

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Grade B

Dior introduced their new JOY fragrance with Jennifer Lawrence as the face of the scent. JOY is Dior’s first new fragrance in 20 years. Lawrence’s face has become somewhat of an icon for Dior as she has worked with the brand for over six years. In the ad, Lawrence is wearing a stunning white gown as she lounges poolside. Each moment leaves her smiling—diving into the pool, basking in the sun, she even smiles as she reaches for a jellyfish and emerges from the pool in a sopping wet gown. Although the aesthetics of the ad are eye-grabbing, the smell that accompanies swimming in a pool is not one that people would be eager to douse themselves in.

(8.) Geico—Stefon Diggs

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Grade A

In Geicos new spot, Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings grabs mail from his mailbox when the mail sticks to his hand. The mailbox, garbage bin and even a neighbor high-fiving Diggs as he jogs past his house, also stick to his hands, because “everything sticks to Stefon Diggs’ hands.” Across the street his neighbors are watching in awe, but for a different reason—it was so easy for them to save money on car insurance by switching to Geico. The Diggs’ spectacle is humorous and timely as it made its debut during Thursday Night Football.

photo credits: YouTube 

Catering to The Millennial Consumer

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As more and more millennials shift from active to passive content consumption, it is important for brands to learn how to extend their reach to better serve this generation.

Millennials frequently consume news and other media via passive channels such as live stream video or podcasts. This means that more often than not, the millennial consumer chooses not to engage with or further question what they see and hear. In fact, Nielsen’s Millennials on Millennials Report found the generation to be a highly distracted audience in regards to their viewing habits. But since this generation’s actions hold authority, especially with spending, it is extremely important to cater to them. Fortunately, there are simple strategies for brands to use to rethink their ties to the millennial consumer.

Millennials are multitasking and they are quite good at it. It’s time to stop trying to convince them to do otherwise and start embracing their ability to do so. Scrolling on one’s smart phone or tablet during TV commercials is the most common form of millennial multitasking. Older generations who are more engaged audience members will likely change the channel during a commercial break rather than turning to their smartphone for entertainment.

Since millennials are plugged-in to multiple devices at once, reconsider your brand’s ad investment strategy. Rather than funneling the overwhelming majority into TV broadcast, split the investment more evenly among different platforms. Better yet, if your ad relates to a TV broadcast favored by millennials, promote a post right at the commercial break.

Make sure your brand has all bases covered. Since millennials are turning to up-and-coming media channels, sometimes instead of TV, your brand should be present across multiple platforms – especially live stream video and podcasts. Live stream video, specifically on Facebook and Instagram, are highly favored by millennials. The live aspect is much more appealing to viewers than a simple post on social media. A whopping 82% prefer a brand’s live stream video rather than a traditional social post.

Another popular channel among millennials is podcasts. They cover specific categories and although this narrows the scope of their topics it is also why podcasts are so relatable for listeners. 42% of millennial podcast followers tune in at least once a week. Podcasts delve right into trending subject matter and immediately the audience is hooked.

Your brand can easily get involved by sponsoring a podcast. Be sure to do some research so that you can choose a podcast wisely. Your brand’s purpose or product should fall naturally into the discussion and appeal to the targeted audience. By linking your brand to both the podcast’s hosts and their audience, the advertisement is mutually beneficial.

photo credit: Elizabeth Hahn (flickr)

Purposeful Branding

How Brands Can Distinguish Themselves and Serve A Purpose

Sometimes brand purpose gets lost in the shuffle. A strong brand purpose will tune consumers in to meaningful cultural conversation. Using social impact makes it easy to unleash your brands full potential. First remember to take analytics into account. Your brand can use consumer data to unveil relevant social issues – specifically ones that people truly care about. Quite often the data unfolds into a meaningful narrative.

Using big data, Amazon broke new ground to make organic food even more accessible. Their partnership with Whole Foods enabled customers to pre-order groceries and pick them up in store. But with newfound convenience there’s always a craving for even more convenience. Cue the Prime now app, which allowed pre-ordered groceries to be picked up curbside. And finally, delivered directly to your household. Amazon is innovative and always looking to fine-tune their product development, which is why they are extra attentive to consumer data.

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After taking the analytics into consideration, nudge the consumer. Content overload makes them an easy target. Take full advantage of technology to help push consumers in the right direction. In order to make things as simple as possible, always provide users with the necessary tools to self-navigate. This way they still feel empowered even though the behavioral shift was induced.  Snapchat partnered with TurboVote to prompt users to register to vote. On voter registration day, a “Tap to complete registration” link appeared on voting-eligible user’s Snapchat profile. The app even offered new snap filters so that users could remind their friends to register as well.

 

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Humans like tangibility and there is no better way to convey your brand’s purpose than with concrete change. Carlsberg’s new “Snap Packs” are an excellent example of one brand’s mission to go-green.

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Plastic six-pack rings have long been a threat to marine wildlife. Carlsberg announced that their beers will now be held together with recyclable glue rather than plastic ring holders. The glue will save a whopping 1,200 tones of plastic annually. Carlsberg doesn’t own the rights to the glue and they did so intentionally. It’s not about competition, in fact Carlsberg CEO is hopeful that other breweries and beverage companies follow suit and swap in glue too!

In the 2018 Earned Brand study conducted by Edelman, sixty-four percent of participants said they are buying or not buying from brands based solely on the company’s stance on prevalent issues in society. By honing in on what your brand does rather than what it says, a narrative of brand purpose unfolds. Connecting brand purpose to a timely issue will leave a lasting impression on the consumer by evoking emotion.

photo credit: Atomic Taco (Flickr), Carlsberg

Partnering With Micro-Influencers Over Macro-Influencers

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When it comes to choosing an influencer for your brand it is not a numbers game.

Micro-influencers have a niche audience of dedicated followers wherein quality trumps quantity.

Recently deemed the marketing force of the future, micro-influencers usually have between 10K and 500K followers on each of their social platforms.

A common misconception is that an influencer must have a following 10 times the actual amount needed to bring value to a brand, but this is far from the truth! In fact, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) found that 96% of brands placed “quality of followers” at the top of their influencer checklist. “Credibility and reputation,” was a close second.

Lifestyle blogger Jordan Santos @jordanrisa partners with brands like Michael Kors and Dolce Vita. OPI recently named her their “it girl.”  She also has a knack for social advocacy and is on a mission to help end drunk driving by any means possible.

In her Instagram post above, Santos sports Michael Kors sneakers and a D.A.R.E t shirt—seamless execution of combining style and social advocacy.

Fitness and wellness guru Michelle Carigma @_modernfit has partnered with nearly all of the big names in sports—Addidas, Nike, and Under Armor—to name a few. She has also worked with Victoria Sport, Wanu water, Beats By Dre and Panera Bread. Like @jordanrisa, Carigma also works to intertwine style and social advocacy. Carigma pioneered the #WCWoman social movement which strives, “to break conformity and introduce the influential power of the modern woman.”

Engagement plays a huge role when looking at the quality of an influencer’s followers. A smaller following means higher engagement rates which parlays into more influence by said micro-influencer. Conversely, a macro-influencer with a larger following likely has lower engagement rates.

Not only is engagement measured in likes and comments but also by the ultimate trust an influencer must gain from their followers. Micro influencer, Nicholas Pakradooni has an average engagement rate of 6.57%. To put that in perspective, Kylie Jenner who is also in her early 20s averages at 3.84%.

Fashion influencer Nicholas Pakradooni @cholpak collaborates with brands such as H&M Man, ASOS, Swatch and Topman.

When it comes to authenticity, celebrities pale in comparison to micro-influencers. Partnering with micro influencers who are genuine in their shared interests and likeness for your brand can be more mutually beneficial than partnering with celebrity macro influencers.

photo credit: Automated Social (Flickr)

The Monthly Report Card: July

Showcasing the best practices of the industry and providing insight into how to best use celebrities or influencers to your brand’s advantage.

(1). StubHub – Future, Todd Gurley & Albert Pujols

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Grade A

StubHub released a new marketing campaign centered around regret. Future proves that concert tickets to his show is better than a fancy dinner and boring birthday present. Todd Gurley is in a pottery class with a bachelorette party where the bride would rather be at a NFL game. Albert Pujols proves you should call your dad and invite him to a MLB game. Tying these commercials together with the slogan ‘Be There’ plays on the viewers heartstrings that they will probably regret the fancy dinner, pottery class and not calling your dad, but they won’t regret buying one of these live experiences with StubHub being the only way to get you there. StubHub is trying to change the way a consumer views them, from just selling tickets, to selling experiences.

 

(2). Ruby Tuesday – Rachel Dratch

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Grade D

At the beginning of 2018, Ruby Tuesday hired a new CEO who wanted to find a way to set the brand apart from the competitors. His first mistake was choosing a partnership with Rachel Dratch. Yes, Rachel Dratch certainly made the commercial different than competitors but not in a positive way. Even though the goal of the commercial was to target the younger crowd, it missed the mark mainly because the younger crowd most likely does not know who she is unless they watch old reruns of SNL. Her voices along with the annoying sub-par jokes would make any viewer change the channel quickly.

 

(3). Walmart – “Let’s Get it Started” by Black Eyed Peas

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Grade A

While Walmart is a household name, their back-to-school ‘Go Back Big’ campaign with “Let’s Get it Started” by the Black Eyed Peas brought more awareness to their brand with the 2003 song. The week of July 23, 2018 the commercial was the number three most Shazam’d commercial, yet again placing Walmart on another Shazam list with a successful music licensing partnership. With the help of the Black Eyed Peas, Walmart was able to stand apart from other back to school commercials because it showed the ease and excitement of back-to-school shopping using the Walmart app. With an overwhelmingly upbeat song, parents lining up-cheering and high-fiving their children as they run up excitedly to school for the first day, makes any parent dream that this is their child’s first day experience. A commercial like this, where the brand and song are benefiting, is definitely a successful music licensing campaign.

 

(4). Dick’s Sporting Goods – song by Nacey

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Grade A

The ‘Play Like You Own It’ campaign by Dick’s Sporting Goods was a refreshing summer sports commercial. It showed the dedication and hard work athletes put into off-season training. “I Own It” by Nacey caps off the campaign by giving it an upbeat feel without overpowering the underlying message of all the apparel and equipment offered at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

 

(5). Coca-Cola & FIFA – Jason Derulo

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Grade A

With the help of Burns Entertainment, Coca-Cola released their #Ready commercial after the beginning of the FIFA World Cup. “You Had Four Years” and “Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute” appeared on the screen to remind spectators not to be like the Jason Derulo or the other fans, missing any of the World Cup because they were not prepared with a Coca-Cola in hand for the game. Coca-Cola has one of the longest corporate partnerships with FIFA, having advertised in stadiums at every FIFA World Cup since 1950. Partnering with Jason Derulo this year, Coca-Cola commercials hit 185 countries before the beginning of the 2018 World Cup. Derulo and Coca-Cola also collaborated on the 2018 World Cup song, “Colors”, continuing that nostalgic relationship between FIFA and Coca-Cola.

 

(6). Gatorade – Serena Williams

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Grade B

Serena Williams, a mother of one, was featured in the Gatorade ‘Like a Mother’ commercial. The campaign shows that Serena did not return to greatness despite becoming a mother, but rather she has always been great because she plays #LikeAMother. She commentates, “you sacrifice, push through the pain, got back to work, gave 100% without any sleep, grew stronger, found an extra gear, never lost you, you created greatness, like a mother.” Gatorade exemplifies the drive that mothers have, much like athletes, and that being a mother is not a hurdle. Gatorade’s commercial is compelling and empowering to all women. The only hope is that viewers do not take the “like a mother”a derogatory way.

 

(7). Specialized – Peter Sagan (3x Cycling World Champion)

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Grade B+

Specialized used the Tour de France to promote the Turbo Electric Bike with the help of three-time Cycling World Champion Peter Sagan and Grandma Joan, creating a lighthearted, “friendly” competition commercial.  Grandma Joan, with two knee replacements and a pacemaker, ultimately wins the race against a world champion cyclist because of the Turbo e-bike. The brand Specialized is proving that “electric bikes are leveling the playing field for the future of cycling” and could be enough for the brand to see a large revenue boost in their turbo e-bikes sales.

 

(8). Rolex – Rickie Fowler

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Grade B

Rolex has been the Official Timekeeper of the U.S. Open since 1980. Their campaign with various golfers tells the story of how they became the golfer they are today. Rickie Fowler was a natural choice for Rolex because he regularly shows off his collection of Rolex watches on social media. Being sponsored by Rolex for a few years, Fowler’s commercial was inspirational and tells a story like every Rolex tells a story. He said, “If you keep being who you are, everything else falls into place.” Rolex makes it clear that the brand holds the same beliefs as Ricky Fowler and other golfers and share in the ambition for excellence and superior performance while making a name for themselves in their collective industry.

 

(9). Speedo – Olympic Swimmers

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Grade B

Celebrating swimming’s most decorated brand, Dripping In Gold features #TeamSpeedo Olympic Medalists Nathan Adrian, Missy Franklin, Conor Dwyer, Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel, Ryan Murphy, Kevin Cordes, Katie Meili, Hali Flickinger and Becca Meyers. Speedo is already jumping on the 2020 Summer Olympics marketing bandwagon with this commercial proving how trusted the brand is among athletes by showing them practicing in the apparel. Being the most trusted brand for over fifty years, Speedo took a subtle approach to show their achievements. Dripping in Gold is a creative way the brand ties the Olympics, athletes and the success of the brand together.

 

(10). Priceline – Kaley Cuoco

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Grade C-

Priceline has done nothing new in their latest commercial featuring Kaley Cuoco. The past two years she has stood in a hotel and talked about the features Priceline has over competitors. This commercial is no different. With her large social presence and fan base, Priceline could have used Cuoco to their advantage. They have not done that in their latest commercial. In 2013 when the partnership began, she sat alongside William Shatner with much better creative concepts. But since Shatner’s exit, Cuoco’s commercials resemble all the other travel website commercials and needs new creative or a new face.

photo credits: YouTube

Collaboration Branding with Celebrity Marketing

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With brands trying to outdo themselves, collaborations are becoming the new trend in celebrity marketing.

Brands are constantly finding creative ways to market themselves, like collaborating with other brands to develop unique products for the consumer. A majority of the time, these companies are related in a way that their products work well together, such as MasterCard and Apple Pay.

There are outcast brands that decide to partner with non-related companies to produce a new item for consumers. Here are examples of different brands coming together with celebrity support to help promote the product.

Coach/Disney

Coach teamed up with Disney to create purse lines. Because of this collaboration, coach took a youthful stand in the luxury goods category. With celebrities like Chloe Grace Moretz sporting a Felix the Cat purse or Chrissy Teigen with the Mickey kisslock bag, Disney was able to target an ‘adult’ demographic that most Disney goods do not. Coach and Disney also created “A Dark Fairy Tale” line that targeted the not-so-sweet side of princesses.

Clarisonic/Keith Haring Foundation

Artist Keith Haring’s artwork was featured on the skin care tool Clarisonic. This collaboration Clarisonic x Keith Haring raised awareness about AIDS by donating part of the proceeds. Haring passed away from AIDS and the co-founder of Clarisonic studied AIDS before he started Clarisonic. At the launch party for this collaboration, model Coco Rocha attended to promote the product.

Collaborations are becoming a hot marketing tool for brands. With the right celebrities, collaborations are huge successes. Here are brands that have recently announced upcoming collaborations:

Johnnie Walker/HBO’s Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones has partnered with Johnnie Walker to create ‘White Walker’ Whiskey. The whiskey’s slogan, set to release Fall of 2018, is “Scotch is Coming” mimicking GOT’s infamous saying, “Winter is Coming”. Johnnie Walker’s target market is urban men from 25-35. Over 83% of GOT viewers are men, with 72% of those viewers in the age range of 18 to 29.

Johnnie Walker is hitting the right target market with this collaboration. Their celebrity should fit this demographic as well. The best option would be to find a Game of Thrones cast member to endorse the whiskey, or they should find a male celebrity, age 25-30 that is a GOT enthusiast to make this campaign an unparalleled success.

Adidas/IKEA

IKEA announced they will be collaborating with Adidas to create at-home fitness for busy women by naturally integrating sport and wellness into life at home. This is a new venture for both companies and could be a success. When it comes to marketing this collaboration, they need an athletic female, preferably a mother, to resonate with their target market.

When creating new products there are bound to be bumps along the way. Unexpected partnerships can cause friction among brands, however, this friction could work to their advantage because the product is not a ‘normal’ item consumers have seen before. Celebrities are willing to jump on board with these collaborations because they want to be the face of something new and unexpected.

photo credit: unconsciousentimentality via (Flickr)