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

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Celebrity Marketing Royal Wedding Edition

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With a monumental event that may only happen once in a life-time, how does a brand tap into the media frenzy to win big on the big day?

Brands can hope they become part of the Meghan Markle Effect. With influential style and millions of women looking up to Meghan, her net value to brands is $212.1 million.

Oroton, a luxury leather accessories and goods brand was saved by the ‘Princess Effect’. Orton was seeing a decline of sales until Markle was photographed wearing their purse. Oroton’s Avalon bag is now on backorder, likely saving the struggling company.

If a brand wants to be proactive instead of reactive, here are examples of brands from different industries who brought awareness surrounding the Royal Wedding.

47.2 million viewers watched the Royal Wedding. With 6.9 million interactions on Twitter and Facebook, numerous brands took part in posting about the wedding via social media.

HBO’s The Royal Wedding Live with Cord and Tish!

When the partnership with Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon was announced, their Funny or Die characters, Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan made guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. After the show, social buzz circulated as to what they would do for their London broadcast. Having the celebrities continue posting on their social media about the event increased anticipation.

On the day of the wedding, with their sense of humor and electrifying personalities, Ferrell and Shannon’s characters were excellent choices to endorse HBO.

On HBO’s YouTube channel, Cord and Tish received 378,000 views in three days. The video announcing The Royal Wedding Live with Cord & Tish received 296,000 views, having the most consecutive views for HBO’s channel. A majority of HBO’s prior videos range from 2,000 to 40,000 views.

Shannon even announced on her Instagram that Tish and Cord would host the Royal Wedding on HBO. Leading up to the event, Shannon received over 75,000 likes/172,000 views from various sneak peek videos and pictures on Instagram.

The RITAS’ Queen NeNe, The Royal Rita

Another successful endorsement was Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita partnership with The Real Housewives of Atlanta, NeNe Leaks. NeNe announced via Twitter May 18th that she would be their ‘Royal Rita’, taking over the RITAS twitter. NeNe sent out a poll on the RITAS twitter receiving over 15,000 votes about why people were watching the Royal Wedding.

During the wedding and events following, NeNe tweeted about the wedding, responded to followers and endorsed RITAS, like posting royal guests’ wardrobes that matched different Rita flavors.

Nene, a sassy celebrity, was a perfect endorser because of her bold and unfiltered personality and large social media followership.

Numerous brands took part in promoting the royal wedding but opted out of using a celebrity endorsement. Kellogg’s Café, New York, had a decadent breakfast and viewing party, with their Instagram only receiving a combined 3,000 likes for their promotion.

Velveeta Shells & Cheese had a campaign, “Royally Treat Yourself”. The first 800 people who registered online won a gold box of Crown & Cheese. And KFC created a Gold Chicken Royal Wedding Edition Bucket for a select handful to win.

Since these campaigns were limited in their promotion, would they have sold out faster if a celebrity was promoting the product?

photo credit: AM> via (flickr)

Embracing Change: Why Celebrity Marketing Looks Beyond Facebook to be Effective

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The growing trends of consumer dissatisfaction with social media privacy is a roadblock that marketers can avoid with the right strategies in place.

For good reason, headlines around the world have been dominated by ongoing problems for the world’s first social media giant. Privacy has always been a concern for consumers but the issue has flared up again with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

It is important to understand the nuance behind the issue. Social media companies and corporation have been utilizing data legally obtained from users who sign terms of service for years and it has let to features like micro and geo-targeting.

The current controversy deals with the illegal collection of data through a third-party research firm who violated Facebook’s terms of service and multiple requests for deletion of data. As usual, the optics are terrible despite Facebook’s good intentions, while consumers are growing impatient with the lack of progress in privacy standards.

Not too long ago, people were calling on Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to run for President, now he is being called to testify in front of Congress for his company’s shortcomings.

The advent of social media has been a boon for marketers and advertisers, providing endless opportunities to interact with consumers and tailor brand identities, but anticipating change is a much more universal and time-tested marketing tool.

With this in mind, marketers should be very wary not to have a reliance on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by diversifying their ad spend in other mediums.

Television is a tried and true marketing method and will remain so, but more surprising is the relevancy of audio advertising (radio and streaming) in the age of social media. Studies continue to show that radio is still healthy in the ROI department and streaming will become a global standard with the rise of AI home assistants/speakers.

This does not negate the effectiveness of social media marketing however, but there are plenty other up and coming platforms that marketers should be aware of.

Of course there is Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram (I include Instagram even though they are owned by Facebook due to the lack of personal information needed on the platform). There are many other niche sites that can be used to target consumers; check out this great list from Hootsuite.

Other platforms like YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr, and LinkedIn are sites striving to protect their marketing integrity and are free of the issues plaguing Facebook. Diversifying your brand’s digital/traditional footprint by moving away from a Facebook monopoly is a great way to insulate your brand from future scandals involving the privacy of consumers.

photo credit: reddit via (giphy)

How to Properly Track the Results of Your Celebrity Marketing Campaign

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To maximize ROI, the statistics of a celebrity influencer campaign analyze the impact and aid future learning.

Celebrity influencer campaigns are fast becoming one of the pillars of marketing in many industries and almost all of these happen in the digital sphere. Whether social media activations, streaming events or website ads, the potential for making unique impressions is massive.

Traditional media relied on sources like Nielsen ratings or simply sales figures to tell them how impactful their ad campaign was, but times have changed.

Marketers today need to understand the importance of measuring your campaign’s success, not just through the use of social media analytics. A combination of data streams will provide a much better proof of your methods and can help refine or reinforce a brand’s message.

Here are three ways marketers can properly track results of their campaigns.

1). Treat Social Media Platforms as your Friend, but not your Spouse

At present, many brands receive data for their campaigns from sources that focus on the Big 3 platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These form the backbone of analysis for marketers, but it should not be the only source you rely on.

Diversity of data sources is never a bad thing.

2). Track Real Time Data of Competitors 

Now I’m not advocating you create a corporate espionage division, but public data that details your competitor’s activities can be invaluable to strategizing your brand’s approach to a campaign.

Programs like Rival IQ and quintly are great sources for data.

Say for example your beverage brand wants to break into a community of consumers who love a certain activity. If a competitor already attempted reaching consumers with an influencer and met severe resistance to corporate influence, you can tailor your message or perhaps avoid the space and learn from others.

3). Search Engines are a Treasure Trove

I’m not sure where search engines rank on the all-time best inventions list, but their impact is pervasive. According to SmartInsights.com, a total of 1.2 trillion searches are made each year. To put that into perspective, that’s 164 searches for every person on Earth.

With this much activity, marketers can take advantage of data available from search engines to show how campaigns increased online traffic relating to their products.

Programs like Clicky, Moz, and Google Analytics are the premier sources for this data.

You don’t need a complex analytics degree to properly track the success of your celebrity influencer campaign, you just need to know where to start. If you want to take the gut feeling out of your marketing decisions, quantify choices and increase confidence, look to these programs to increase your ROI.

gif credit: Tony Babel via (giphy)

Part II: Navigating the Pitfalls of Celebrity Influencer Marketing

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Safeguarding your message and having a clear contingency plan can save countless headaches and campaigns.

As in Part I, brands must evolve to have a conscious grasp on the content their consumers want to enjoy. Approaching a partnership from the perspective of the desired audience lends to the authenticity and relatability of the brand.

However, marketers must also keep the worst case scenario in mind, and have a clearly defined plan of action to protect your brand’s assets. Here are two more ways that marketers can avoid the dangers of influencer marketing.

3. Stay in Control of Your Message

Most important for marketers when dealing with celebrity influencers is to remember to maintain control whenever possible. Crises are always hard to accurately predict, but sometimes it may be wiser to turn down a partnership with a slam-dunk influencer that has the potential to rob your brand of its consumer credibility.

No matter how many precautions you take in selecting an influencer, there is always the possibility that a partnership could backfire should a scandal arise. In a scenario such as this, there are questions to be asked:

First, is the character of the influencer damaged enough to damage the brand immediately?

Second, would a continued association be a hindrance to the brand’s message?

Third, has the influencer alienated the desired demographics?

Ending a partnership in the right circumstances has the potential to place you in the good graces of society for taking action. Yet, it could also alienate your consumers should you detach at the wrong time.

Other marketers advocate for a neutral stance on an influencer’s actions and maintaining a partnership throughout a scandal, believing that they will always be valuable for their exposure. Effectively avoiding catastrophe requires a clear crisis management plan that values your brand message ahead of any other factor, and a proactive stance to take the appropriate action.

4. Beef Up Your Brand’s Personality

The amount of access afforded to brands by social media has created a culture of flashy postings like ‘Twitter wars‘ that come to define how a brand is perceived. Utilizing this resource can be a preemptive resource to protect your message from being harmed by an emergency situation.

By infusing comedy or compassion into your brand’s interactions with consumers, you can begin to construct your ideal position in popular culture. In the midst of a public relations crisis, having a brand personality reserves credibility in the minds of consumers and has the potential to alienate the influencer’s bad behavior from your brand values.

Marketers must be aware how much to push the envelope in the content they release,  a topic for another day. Staying proactive is essential in the digital realm and will remove the ability for influencers to hijack your brands message should a crisis arise.

photo credit: Valentin via pexels.com

Part I: Navigating the Pitfalls of Celebrity Influencer Marketing

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When partnering your brand with a celebrity influencer, knowing the proper ways to safeguard your message can be the difference between success and disaster.

As more and more brands decide to utilize digital influencers to reach untapped demographics of consumers, there inevitably comes a time when controversy sours the phenomenon. It is not secret that influencers sometimes create scandalous firestorms, and more recently a few have made national headline news.

With so many brands becoming hesitant to entrust their image to a potential liability, there is massive opportunity for those who know how to properly position their brand to capitalize. Parts I and II of this post will each highlight two ways marketers can avoid the dangers of influencer marketing.

1. Represent Your Audience

It is simply not enough in the current marketing climate to merely know the audience you are trying to reach with your product. To stay on the cutting edge, marketers must now be able to provide their consumers with the content they desire. This means that your brand message must be excessively tailored to fulfill your established values.

Approach the search for an influencer from the mind of who you are selling to. If you are targeting young professionals, identify the trends in that age group and select influencers who represent those trends.

When searching for an influencer to partner with your brand, seeking relevance should be as important as influence. Rather than chasing the individual that will gain you the most exposure, marketers should turn to those that have engaged followers that will boos the influencer to consumer relationship.

The logic is simple, reaching many small influencers who have a hardcore fan-base can be much more effective than a larger influencer whose fans may not care about endorsed products, which can greatly increase the efficiency of campaigns.

2. Aim for Authenticity and Transparency

Another pitfall of influencer marketing lies in the product’s connection to consumers. Leaving an impression is certainly important, but shock value or even viral status does not last forever.

A lack of connection to a product has been the downfall of many campaigns, leading marketers to favor advocacy over influence. Advocacy differs from influence in that the talent encourages conversation about the product and requires active participation from both marketers and influencers who desire to equally benefit over a longer period of time rather than a simple one-time transaction.

Shallow partnerships have plagued the industry and have left some consumers feeling disillusioned. Marketers can short this by finding influencers that may already use their product or have a glaring need that can be filled, but it is important to keep the relationship two-sided.

Keeping a brand’s message authentic does not necessarily have to be affected by fears of overexposure either. Provided that influencers are clearly passionate about producing content with the product or service and bringing it into their lives or professions, consumers will connect with the brand message and adopt it for themselves.

To ensure that their message remains authentic, marketers should only partner with influencers who are willing to format their content to fit the needs of the brand. Close coordination is essential to tailor the tone properly and safeguard the inevitability of mistakes in a campaign’s execution.

A well-crafted brand identity will come to directly represent the values that their customers hold, which produces brand loyalty and guarantees future sales.

photo credit: rawpixel.com

Esports Fans Crave Celebrity Marketing Through Social Media

nullienphotography (photopin)

Combining trends of rising social media usage and esports viewership can lead to significant future growth from any brand partnership.

Esports have grown out of its trendy status and are here to stay. What many thought would be a fad has now grown into a worldwide phenomenon and is challenging conventional entertainment giants.

The largest global esports event, The Dota 2 International Championship, was viewed by 40 million people with as many as two million watching at one point. The entire tournament drew 92 million viewers with over 509 million hours of video consumed.

The League of Legends World Championship brought in even larger crowds than Dota’s with a total of almost 58 million viewers, a yearly growth of 34%. The semi-finals drew a total of 80 million unique people watching concurrently. The parent company, Riot Games, boasts that their events feature professionals from 28 different countries, its global audience consuming over 1.2 billion hours of content.

If these events continue to grow at their current rates, it will only be a matter of time before they surpass the Super Bowl, which reaches over 110 million unique viewers.

Similarly, worldwide social media usage has been rising exponentially, with an estimate two-and-a-half billion global users. Users within the 16-34 age demographic spend an average of 3.21% of their day watching social media video like esports. The average age of a US esports viewer lies within the 25-34 age group, making up almost 40% of the total audience. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have begun their scramble to be included in the esports market.

However, it is important to reach these consumers exclusively on social media. Companies like ESPN and NBC are trying to bring esports to television audiences, but esports ratings clearly point to fans’ desire to keep content in the digital sphere. Brands can capitalize on this by seizing the opportunity to advertise on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch or even partnering with well-known esports professionals like Lee “Faker” Sang-hyoek, Soren Bjerg, and Yiliang Peng.

Take for example Gillette’s move to announce professional esports gamer xPeke as its Global Brand Ambassador. The Spanish celebrity was featured in first-of-its-kind commercials with esports highlights to promote the partnership and it spread all over YouTube. Gillette also collaborated xPeke with their international superstar partner Neymar Jr. leading to increased exposure for him and esports in general.

Another company, HyperX, decided to endorse a crossover athlete, NBA player Gordon Hayward. This apparel deal showed the early connection between esports and traditional celebrities, with Hayward agreeing to only wear HyperX headsets and appear in campaigns for the brand that is popular with gamers.

Celebrity marketing continues to evolve with the integration of esports into the entertainment sphere. Brands can now reach a sizable market of international consumers through a partnership with talent from prominent esports leagues. Getting in on the action at this point will put brands in a prime position to reap the benefits of larger audiences going forward.

photo credit: nullienphotography via flickr.com