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

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.

Social Overall

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

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 Avoid and Respond to Celebrity Marketing Efforts Gone Wrong

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Take precautions before partnering with celebrities and react appropriately if an issue arises to limit being associated with controversy.

Every element of marketing brings a level of risk. Celebrities are no different. They have passionate and engaged fans, large followings, and high credibility—all of which they can transfer onto brands. However, when a celebrity has a mishap, the public’s perception of the celebrity can instantly change, and when that happens, the associated brand also takes a hit to its reputation.

Here are a few steps companies can take to greatly reduce the risk or minimize the consequences to their brand.

Conduct Research and Recognize Red Flags

It’s important to take a deep dive beforehand to find out as much as possible about the celebrity’s past. Understanding the celebrity’s character will allow for better insight into how they may behave. Brands must look for any signs indicating that the celebrity could be on the verge of controversial behavior. While these things can be hard to foresee, conducting thorough research will greatly reduce chances.

Predict the Good and the Bad

When looking at a potential celebrity partner, it’s critical for brands to evaluate areas for opportunity but also areas of potential concern. By anticipating what may happen, brands give themselves a good way to determine whether they think a partnership is right for them by comparing the conceivable good outcomes with the imaginable negative outcomes.

Decide Whether to Continue the Partnership

Depending on the severity of the celebrity’s mistake, waiting out the initial public outrage might be better in the long run. The brand must also keep their brand identity at the core of the decision making process. If the celebrity is mentioned negatively in the media but didn’t do anything that contradicts what the brand believes, then it may be appropriate to continue the relationship. Another key aspect is to take cues from the public. Seeing how the public reacts will further give brands direction on how to respond.

Squatty Potty decided to end their partnership with Kathy Griffin after she posted a picture of herself holding a replica of a bloody Trump head. The CEO issued a statement saying that what Griffin had done was completely inappropriate and not consistent with the company’s values. They took a strong approach in making sure that the public knew their standpoint regarding the issue.

Strategize How to Fix the Damage Moving Forward

Planning future celebrity endorsement campaigns, implementing PR or ad campaigns, and issuing statements to the public are all things that should be considered.

Photo credit: RedCarpetReport via Flickr

Celebrity Marketing: Content Creators Are Key, Not Specific Social Platforms

With dozens of social media apps to choose from, brands often centralize focus on which medium will maximize reach. While honing in on the right social platform is important, it is not the ‘be-all-end-all’ of social media success.

The key for social growth is having the ultimate content creator.

As the social media landscape evolves, so does the way that celebrities interact with their fans. The electronic band Gorillaz released a six-minute VR music video landing them an astounding 3 million views in 48 hours. While these innovative tactics to enhance fan experience are successful, it isn’t the medium that fans are drawn to.

It is what the artist does with this new technology that draws significant attention and increases their overall social value.

Many celebrities have a very specific personal brand, which presents the celebrity with an avid following that craves their thoughts. When a celebrity can build enough social credibility through their personal ideology and or niche interests, fans will follow wherever they post content.

For example, Ryan Seacrest is widely recognized for his on-screen charisma and overall positive energy, which directly translates to his social media accounts. Seacrest consistently posts inspirational notes across his social media handles, which garners significant fan interaction across the board. Being the media mogul that he is, Seacrest has 806,000+ Facebook followers, 3 million Instagram followers, and 16 million Twitter followers.

While his following on Twitter dwarfs the rest of his handles, fan interaction with his posts are fairly even across the board, due to his unique personal brand that he consistently promotes. Seacrest’s personality is extremely beneficial for media brands, which is largely why ABC signed him to co-host ‘Live with Kelly’. Thanks to Seacrest, the show is already experiencing significant rating bumps.

The same trend stands true for the social media influencer pool. When the video-sharing app Vine was discontinued, influencers were forced to translate their 6-second video fame to new platforms. Many famous Viners, such as Nicholas Megalis didn’t fully survive the transition, moving from 1.13 billion all-time Vine loops to a mere 35,000 YouTube following.

However, for Viner Ryan Bachelor (@KingBach), his own rendition of slapstick humor has enabled him to amass 16 million followers across all major social media platforms. Thanks to his unique take on comedy, his message to his following is effective regardless of platform. Bachelor can hop on his Snapchat story or tweet out a short video, and fans will still engage with the same enthusiasm as they had with Vine.

Brands such as Doritos and Brita have taken advantage of his massive following and have partnered with Bachelor to make their brands funny, relaxed, and relevant. Brands that partner with influencers give the talent an immense amount of creative control, which makes the branded message feel organic and not like a cold product placement.

For brands, now is not the time to spread thin across every available social platform. It’s time to focus on meaningful content produced by highly valued social content creators.

photo credit: www.wikimedia.org

Celebrity Marketing: Social Media stars from the Webby Awards 2017

The Webby Awards annually celebrates the best the internet has to offer, spanning hundreds of categories in six unique fields – Websites, Social, Film & Video, Mobile Sites & Apps, Podcasts & Digital Audio, and Advertising, Media, & PR.

Each category has two winners – one chosen by a body of industry experts and technology innovators, and the other by the voting public. These winners represent some of the best creators on the Internet today. The Webby Award stars are a great pool of talent to find premier social media influencers for a celebrity marketing campaign.

The social influencer landscape changes daily, which is why we’ve updated our 2016 list.

Here are some of the Webby stars you need to know in 2017:

  • Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight, identical twin fashion vloggers, won the People’s Voice for Best Celebrity/Fan for their YouTube channel BrooklynAndBailey, which owns over 3.8 million subscribers. A high percentage of their YouTube comments gush over their eyes and mascara, pushing the 16-year-old girls to possibly partner with a makeup brand or begin their own makeup line.
  • Claudia Oshry is the envy of anyone who does anything – literally. Oshry is a 2017 Webby nominee for the social media category “Weird” for her wildly popular Instagram handle @girlwithnojob. Oshry, who is unemployed, takes to her Instagram to post what she calls “relatable humor”, posting pop culture memes to engage her 2.6 million following. Captain Morgan has already taken a liking to Oshry’s high engagement, and was able to draw 4,000 people to a Las Vegas event simply because Oshry was their host.
  • Hank Green took home the honors of People’s Voice Science & Education (Channels and Networks) winner thanks to his daily YouTube series SciShow. The show’s mission is to make science applicable and interesting. The channel nearly has 4.2 million subscribers and is largely due to the fact that SciShow listens to its following. The videos posted on Tuesdays and Saturdays directly answer fan questions, giving avid viewers a reason to residually visit the channel.
  • Corinne Leigh, an eccentric YouTuber, is best known for her lifestyle DIY channel ThreadBanger. Corrine, alongside her husband Rob, are winners of the People’s Voice Film & Video Best Web Personality. Corinne and Rob are constantly posting content revolving around baking and science. Recently, the duo posted a video that revived the short lived Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, gaining 1.6 million views in under four days.
  • Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are the winners of the Interview/Talk Show (Podcasts & Digital Audio) Webby for their booze infused podcast, Another Round. This Buzzfeed couple covers everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes. Nigatu and Clayton have the knack to get their guests to open up about hot button topics and then end their talks by getting their guests a round of drinks.

This year’s Webby bunch is a great place to find top tier creators and YouTube channels that are transforming the traditional celebrity endorsement landscape.

photo credit: www.vimeo.com