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)

NBA Playoffs vs. Primetime Television Celebrity Marketing

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With millions of viewers worldwide, how does a brand decide which commercial platform, a championship series or Primetime television, is best for them?

Celebrity marketing can be an influential part of a brand and knowing when to air their campaigns, during a championship versus primetime television, should be determined based on budget, viewership numbers and overall brand goals.

Generally speaking, championship series have more viewers than primetime. In Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals there were 17.4 million viewers. On average, a top-rated television series such as This is Us has 9.56 million viewers.

In 2017, This Is Us had the highest costing 30-second TV commercial slots, with one commercial costing $394,428, however the NBA Finals commercial slots went for roughly $520,000 (in 2015).

When deciding to air a celebrity campaign a brand should ask these questions:

  1. Who is the audience?

Allstate’s Mayhem commercial, ‘Ring Bearer’ with actor Dean Winters and music licensing of song “Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups was focused on wedding season and causing mayhem during the big day. Allstate’s humor intrigues a variety of viewers. While it could work during the NBA finals, primetime television would be better because of the commercial’s target audience.

Since ‘Ring Bear’ was about a wedding Allstate was targeting a younger female demographic. This commercial would be more accruable during episodes of This Is Us or Greys Anatomy where the typical demographic is female and the episodes are pulling at their heartstrings.

  1. What is the brand message?

NBA’s campaign had basketball stars, Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan speaking up about mental wellness. They brought to light that as an athlete it is okay to have an illness and health matters.

Advocate for mental health, Kristen Bell, would also be a great candidate for a mental health campaign, however, since the NBA was sponsoring the commercial they wanted young athletes to know basketball stars have illnesses too. Love and DeRozan are clearly a better fit for the NBA’s mental wellness campaign.

If the NBA had played this during an episode of the Big Bang Theory, it would not have given the same effect as it did during Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

  1. What celebrity do you have?

Nike’s commercial surrounding the NBA Finals was with the infamous LeBron James. Nike’s “The Tattoo” commercial was released on the eve of the NBA Finals. It was about James getting his tattoo of the ‘Chosen 1’ 16 years ago.

Nike’s Always Believe campaign worked during the Finals and not on primetime because it was about him believing in himself to make it to where he is. Nike wanted to inspire other athletes to believe in themselves as well.

If these questions all lead to airing the celebrity endorsement during the championship series then do it. The brand will get immense exposure with the right target audience.

Celebrity endorsements could be used on multiple platforms and also work well. If it’s not feasible to do both primetime and a championship series, asking these questions should determine the best fit for the brand campaign’s message.

photo credit: Nike via (YouTube)

The Monthly Report Card: May

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

 

(1). Victoria’s Secret – The Angels

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Grade: D

The Cotton Collection commercial by Victoria’s Secret (VS) was like any other VS commercial. With the setting on a sunny day, a beach background and the word ‘cool’ popping up on the screen creates a light and airy feeling for viewers. However, the VS Angels are not like the majority of females and with their reported 10-14% monthly sales decline since 2017 their marketing strategy could use a new direction to match the realism of their consumers.

(2). Atom Tickets – Anna Faris

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Grade: A

With their first-ever national brand campaign, Atom Tickets nailed this one. Using Anna Faris to show the features of this new app, Director Peter Berg made this national campaign simple yet memorable. Faris uses some of the most iconic movie quotes throughout the commercial while showing what the app does to make the movie experience that much better. Faris is a good representation for the consumer because of her relatable and loveable persona that can reach a large demographic of movie goers.

(3). T-Mobile – Bryce Harper

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Grade: C+

T-Mobile partnered with Bryce Harper during their Hats Off campaign. This campaign donated one dollar to Team Rubicon every time someone posts #HatsOff4Heroes. The commercial with Bryce Harper targeted baseball loving veterans and families. T-Mobile’s campaign was centered around Memorial Day and touched many Americans, however, the commercial stated that T-Mobile was giving 50% off to Military Families. There was nothing about the hashtag to help veterans, making it more about their company than the campaign.

(4). Pepsi – Dierks Bentley

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Grade: B-

Who doesn’t love free things? ‘This is the Pepsi that Gets You Stuff’ is part of the Pepsi Generations Campaign. When drinking Pepsi, there is a chance to win Pepsi Retro Gear. This commercial was full of summer. Then, obnoxious screaming girls finding out they could win Dierks Bentley tickets ruins the commercial. Bentley’s calm demeanor attempts to balance out the girls, but viewers are left remembering the horrific screaming.

(5). McDonald’s – Gabrielle Union/Charles Barkley/John Goodman

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Grade: A-

McDonald’s changed up how food commercials are looked at now. In a series of commercials, Gabrielle Union, Charles Barkley and John Goodman all took action in the ‘Speechless’ campaign. For this campaign, McDonald’s produced two types of commercials. One is the celebrity silently eating while subconsciously talking to themselves about the deliciousness of the Quarter Pounder. The second produced commercial has them commentating for the customer eating the Quarter Pounder because they are ‘Speechless’. The ‘Speechless’ campaign proves that nothing can describe the feeling and taste of the burger.

(6). Gatorade – Bryce Harper & Michael Lorenzen

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Grade: A

Gatorade has always shown what hard work and dedication looks like with the world’s best athletes. This is no different with their current campaign featuring a ‘friendly’ competition between rivals Bryce Harper and Michael Lorenzen. In the commercial, it states that Gatorade has been “studied, tested, proven for the world’s best athletes,” while showing how well Gatorade works for Lorenzen and Harper. Gatorade proved its success for the world’s best athletes and made a successful attempt to persuade customers.

(7). Corona Extra – Ryan Johnson

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Grade: A

Corona did it right in their summer can campaign. It leaves viewers wanting to go to the beach on a hot day and enjoy a Corona Extra. Having a beach guy yell “Summer is here” puts you in a mood to go out and enjoy the Summer. Jimmy Cliff’s song, You Can Get it if You Really Want brings together the visuals and the feeling of summer with a Corona in hand.

(8). The Jordan Brand – Maya Moore

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Grade: A

The Maya Moore commercial begins with Moore putting on her line of basketball shoes. Then cuts to footage of when she was a child, in college and finally in the WNBA winning a championship. Moore signed an endorsement deal in 2011 with the Jordan Brand and recently released her own line of shoes. What makes this campaign so iconic is that her number in the WNBA, like Michael Jordan, is 23. Jordan’s symbolic picture of his wingspan with the infamous William Blake’s quote “No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings” is replicated at the end of the commercial by Moore doing the same pose while a female, re-purposed version of William Blake’s quote “No bird soars too high, if she soars with her own wings” is being sung in the background making the new Jordan commercial “WINGS” that much more iconic.

(9). Visa – Zlatan Ibrahimović

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Grade: B+

As the Official Sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Visa partnered with professional soccer player, Zlatan Ibrahimović. Visa’s campaign was about FOMO (fear of missing out). Zlatan was a seamless fit for this because he said, “A World Cup without me is not worth watching.” While the commercial showcased his arrogance on how he could have played if he wanted; the underlying message was the simplicity Visa brings to fans so they do not miss out on the action. Visa will roll out multiple other commercials during the course of the World Cup to show the ease of contactless payment through Zlatan’s adventure in Russia. Zlatan will also have exclusive behind-the-scenes access during the tournament that fans can join-in on from home. With Zlatan’s soccer background and VISA’s quick payment methods, this campaign simply showcases how effortless using Visa is at sporting events.

(10). Mountain Dew Kickstart – Kevin Hart

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Grade: A-

Mountain Dew partnered with comedian Kevin Hart for a yearlong campaign. Mountain Dew Kickstart’s three different commercials capture what goes on in the mind of comedian Hart before a performance. His electrifying energy embodies what the customers would get from the refreshing boost of Mountain Dew Kickstart. Mountain Dew selected an excellent celebrity for this campaign because of his comedic side and energy. His commercials will leave a memorable mark for customers.

photo credits: YouTube