Campaigns with a Cause: How Celebrity Marketing Can Empower the Masses

Alive, Awake, Aware, Hands, Embrace, Holding, Being

From a progressive 21st century lens, it’s not “what” a brand is doing that sticks. What matters most is “why” a brand is doing so.

A well-polished brand is a promise to its following. When that promise is supported with strong social consciousness, a brand’s “why” becomes that much more appealing to those who trust their mission.

As brands increasingly become socially aware, it is important to understand the basics of Cause Related Marketing (CRM) and why the strategy is an all around winner for its four key players.

  1. The Charity
  2. The Brand
  3. The Perfect Celebrity
  4. The Consumer

CRM is a strategy used by organizations to boost revenue exchanges in both for-profit and nonprofit businesses. This philanthropic driven effort is ideal for charitable organizations because it boosts consumer awareness and provides a generous donation from the partnered brand. Many celebrities are interested in partnering with projects driven for the greater good of the world. Not only does it look good for these stars, but it feels good. When having the perfect celebrity signed for these projects, the conviction of the cause has the potential to skyrocket.

In honor of International Women’s Day this year, an A-List class of powerful women including Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon, and Gabby Douglas stirred incredible social media buzz for Tory Burch, calling all users to #EmbraceAmbition. Proceeds from Tory Burch sales are to go to her foundation, which is geared to empower future female entrepreneurs.

In 1994, MAC Cosmetics created their own charity, the MAC Aids Fund, where they promptly signed Rupaul as their first celebrity endorser. Over the next 22 years, the Viva Glam campaign has featured artists such as Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, Rihanna, and most recently Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett. The company continues to outperform itself annually, as Miley Cyrus brought Viva Glam to its incredible $400 million benchmark in 2015.

These celebrity driven CRM campaigns get their deserved recognition within the brand world as well. Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign featured ballerina Misty Copeland, making the brand one of the biggest winners at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Today Under Armour controls 75% market share in athletic wear, and much of that is thanks to the empowerment that the brand instills in its user base.

The beauty of CRM is that it’s overwhelming positivity allows for its reach to span across brand types. This calls consumers of all ages, races, shapes, and sizes to use brands that they typically wouldn’t respond well to.

The push for clean water in developing nations is an issue in particular that multiple brands have taken into consideration. Unicef’s partnership with Selena Gomez and Matt Damon’s partnership with Stella Artois both broke boundaries that have called all users to take action to take part in helping the water crisis. The issue transcends multiple brands, charities, and viewer bases, driving immense amount of funds for one sole cause.

While the celebrity certainly gets the glory, these campaigns are made to empower the consumer. For these individuals, there is a sense of pride knowing that they are doing something for the better good, alongside the celebrity they adamantly trust.

photo credit: https://pixabay.com

Part II: 6 Digital Celebrities That Can Boost Your Brand Quickly Via Celebrity Marketing

When determining effective talent for a brand campaign, it’s crucial to review their overall relevance and likability.

As mentioned in Part I, as the industry continuously leans towards a niche approach, it’s important to realize that digital talent engages younger audiences in a way that lets a brand resonate in a uniquely relatable way.

Arguably the truest way a brand can resonate with an audience is through their funny bone.

While traditional ad campaigns thrive off planned ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and slapstick humor, digital celebrities produce impromptu comedy that is immediate and personal.

Here are the final three influencers from the 2016 Variety Magazine study that particularly use comedy to enhance their YouTube clout:

  • PewDiePie: Since August of 2013, Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie), has been the most followed YouTube account, only being surpassed once by YouTube’s Spotlight channel. The Swedish video game vlogger begins his videos with a high pitch, goofy voice making it seem as if every viewer is a close friend. His praise comes from the fact that he is genuine and unfiltered, which also drives controversy to his brand. While he may not always say the “right thing”, this vlogger speaks his mind on such an immensely influential platform, making him stand out as a truly new form of an artist.
  • Grace Helbig: This YouTuber has been an influential content creator since 2007 when she began YouTubing with her college roommate. Since then, Helbig has expanded her brand to podcasts, film, books, and television, where she created and starred in her own E! Network talk show. Marriott booked Helbig for a 2015 digital campaign for the brand’s direct booking service, calling for brand followers to “be more direct”. Helbig’s zany comedy chops offer an approach to viral storytelling that has an immediate appeal to young women.
  • King Bach : Andrew B. Bachelor, better known for his web alias King Bach, is most popular for his comedic Vine channel. Since the app’s downfall, Bach has transitioned from the 6-second platform to the big screen, stretching his 15.7 million fan base to multiple platforms. Bach uses parody to his advantage, having played Big Sean, Tupac Shakur, and Pharrell Williams in his short spoofs. Using these well known pop culture icons has allowed Bach to leverage his brand to unforeseeable levels. Bach has been used for several social media brand plugs, providing companies eyeballs that are increasingly difficult to reach via traditional means.

Comedy may not always be the answer for certain brands, but when trying to be direct with a young audience, it certainly presents itself as a viable option.

An authentic message is key, especially for Gen Z brand skeptics. Luckily for brands in the digital landscape, these six individuals are speaking their language.

photo credit: www.homeminterssante.com.br

Part I: 6 Digital Celebrities That Can Boost Your Brand Quickly Via Celebrity Marketing

With the niche approach that digital influencers bring to their global platform, it is clear that the definition of “mainstream celebrity” has changed.

Especially for millennials and Gen Zers.

Variety Magazine conducted a side by side study that compared the positive Q-scores of top traditional and digital stars, a score that utilizes celebrity familiarity to further show respondent’s “favorite personalities”. Unfortunately, among all respondents, digital influencers still continue to be no match in the awareness category to upper echelon Hollywood starlets.

For digital influencers, overall awareness does not have to be an immediate goal. What matters most is the segment that they resonate with the most: age groups 6-12, 9-14, and 13-24 year olds. The non-traditional content that digital influencers produce attracts these young media message skeptics, plain and simple.

This group had an appeal to their youngest viewers that their overall Q-score doesn’t exactly reflect. What is clear by the Q-scores, is that those that are familiar with these digital influencers also consider them to be their favorite personalities and for many of these top influencers, they are equal to some well-known traditional celebrities. There are several digital celebrities that are finally reaching the same positive feedback as critically acclaimed actors such as Brie Larson and Jeremy Renner.

Unfortunately, a truly precise way to measure the effectiveness of digital influencer brand interaction is still in its infancy. As the industry climate shifted away from a traditional approach, we took a deeper look at the influencers that paved the way as a new breed of celebrity.

Based on the Variety Magazine study, here is a current list of 2016’s top six digital influencers who continue to use YouTube to leverage their brand image across multiple channels:

  • Pentatonix: This five-member a cappella got their break on NBC’s The Sing-Off, which awarded them a recording deal with Sony Music. The group has amassed 12.8 million YouTube subscribers by covering iconic songs and adding their own unique flare that appeals to a younger audience. Riding off their victory at this year’s Grammys, Pentatonix is one of the most desired influencer groups for brands that want to portray youth and vibrance.
  • Ryan Higa: This 26 year old comedian began his career as lip-synching YouTuber in high school. After experiencing difficulty with copyright issues, Higa has been able to transform his brand, owning an impressive 19 million YouTube subscribers. Now Higa spends most of his time in the parody K-pop band Boys Generally Asian, a group headlined by YouTube’s five most influential Asian YouTubers. 
  • Bethany Mota: This lifestyle vlogger loves to show off her fashion purchases and has been doing so via YouTube since she was just 19. Since then, Mota has started her own perfume and clothing line at Aeropostale, essentially saving the brand from extinction. Recently Mota broke the coveted 10 million subscriber threshold, unconventionally positioning her as a dominant force in the fashion market.

Please stay tuned for influencers 4-6, as these three have a knack for comedy that allows users to feel heightened connection to the content they create.

photo credit: www.marketingland.com

2017 Oscars Delivered Social Media Spontaneity for Celebrity Marketing

Despite last-minute excitement Super Bowl LI and the 2017 Oscars displayed, it’s evident traditionally pinnacle television events are not strongly impacting young audiences.

With a 4% viewership drop from 2016, the 2017 Oscars experienced its third consecutive viewership decline, marking 32.9 million viewers as the second lowest Nielsen viewership since 1974. The ABC broadcast continued the trend of low millennial appeal, bringing a 9.1 rating in comparison to 2016’s 10.5 rating in the advertiser-friendly 18-49 demographic.

Ratings may not tell the show’s entire story. This year’s show accrued a reported $115 million in ad revenue, likely to be the most lucrative entertainment event all year.

Largely, this is thanks to socially relevant personalized messages and strong celebrity influence in key Oscar associated brands.

Host Jimmy Kimmel did an incredible job of appealing to a younger demographic using social media. Echoing Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe political stance, Kimmel effectively live-tweeted President Trump, including “#MerylSaysHi”. This unexpected political and celebrity interaction stirred over 1.37 million responses via Twitter. This interaction was instant and memorable.

Kimmel also added an experiential event by inviting a group of unsuspecting Hollywood tourists to the ceremony, nearly crashing Twitter with tweets about a goofy tourist from Chicago named Gary. Unanticipated events, when paired with the right social influencers, brought millennials and Gen Zers to brands surrounding the show.

The political message spots such as the New York Times’ “The Truth is Hard” or Hyatt’s “For A World of Understanding” mirrored the active social voice of the show very effectively. According to a Brandwatch report, peak social media mentions came at the time when social issues were discussed during Viola Davis and Gael Garcia’s speeches.

However, being political doesn’t always define brand success, nor does it have to.

For high end brands who align with the affluent viewer base of the Oscars, it is important to have a strong celebrity influence within the brand’s message. Rolex, the official sponsor of the 2017 ceremony, implemented an impressive array of Hollywood icons into their one-minute spot “Celebrating Cinema”. The one-minute spot coincidentally featured the late Bill Paxton, triggering an immense amount of unanticipated brand awareness. This surprise appearance created a flood of positive social media responses, proving that timely nostalgia is a powerful theme with the Oscar viewer base.

The traditional means in which showcase events appeal to their expansive viewer base is evolving. No longer can traditional television be the bottom line goal. As seen in the Super Bowl’s first ever live ad spot and the Oscar’s live-tweeting frenzy, younger audiences appreciate an experience above all else.

That personalized experience is truly memorable when spontaneity and celebrity influence can effortlessly combine.

photo credit: www.flickr.com

3 Ways to Incorporate Celebrity Marketing via Pinterest’s Latest Experiential Tools

Now, with the roll out of a camera-based search engine for their 150 million unique monthly viewers, Pinterest positions itself among the elite social media celebrity marketing tools.

Considering the app’s niche approach to the marketplace, Pinterest has struggled to keep up with Snapchat and its innovative ad measurement technology.  70% of the company’s ad revenue came from the 11 major strategic marketing tools launched in 2016, propelling the app back into the forefront of innovative ad traffic measurement. Luckily for Pinterest, the number of advertisers using the app’s data offerings quadrupled by year’s end.

A majority of Pinterest’s marketing profit now hinges on tactics that are tailored for the app itself, differentiating Pinterest from its top competitors.

Pinterest recently introduced Lens, a mobile app that enables a phone’s camera to identify nearby objects and instantly display related items from Pinterest. The visual search technology is allegedly able to recognize 1 billion objects, allowing Pinterest users to ideally match any desired object in sight with a brand or product. With this type of experiential technology being added to the marketplace, it is certain that the younger user base that Pinterest has will immediately gravitate to the platform.

34% of Pinterest’s user base are millennials and older Gen Zers falling between the ages of 18-29, an age group that is highly receptive to visual and experiential marketing rather than traditional advertising means. For these younger users, once a trusted influencer is matched with a brand, the rest of the purchasing process is seamless.

Here are three ways Pinterest can have celebrities work with brands:

  • Keyword Campaigns:  Unlike the various other keyword campaigns that search marketers are accustomed to, Pinterest now has their ads posted as visual pins. Thanks to the app’s visual pin-saving structure, Pinterest can better understand how users are saving a celebrity’s interests. Pinterest can match celebrity interests with a designated brand and share that insight directly to advertisers through keywords. This allows the users, to in turn, intake promoted products at the utmost personal level.
  • Shop the Look: As an extension of Pinterest’s Buyable Pins program, which allows users to “pin” an item and purchase it right through the app, the ‘Shop the Look’ feature now allows Pinterest users to shop by pin preference. Macy’s, Nieman Marcus, and Wayfair are partnering with this innovative shopping filter, which opens up the floodgate for celebrities associated with those brands. Now if a user sees Adam Levine wearing Dior, they can simply”shop his look” and find products of similar brand, taste, and style.
  • Promoting blogs: Many celebrities have passions that align well with Pinterest’s theme of beauty, fashion, and home goods. Therefore, they also have the opportunity to promote brands associated with that interest. For example, Lauren Conrad promotes categories titled Primp, Wear, and Get Fit.  Many celebrity personal pins have products within them that are gifted from brands tailored to their unique interests, which drives an influx of traffic to those specific brands.  

While Pinterest may not possess the same universal social clout as Snapchat and Instagram Live, Pinterest has a unique opportunity to excite its niche user base with celebrity influencer interaction.

photo credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com

Super Bowl & Celebrity Marketing Brands Told Gen Z’s Story, Not Their Own

Many brands that welcomed the $5 million sticker price of a 30-second spot in Super Bowl LI implemented the tactic of timely nostalgia.

That reminiscent undertone didn’t merely attempt to tell the brand’s story–it attempted to tell the story of “you” the viewer.

The “you” for certain Super Bowl brands has been Gen X and Millennials. Capitalizing off of their 2015 double-digit growth, Audi tactfully destined itself for success with the 60-second spot that featured the late David Bowie’s “Starman”. The Audi spot “Commander” directly appealed to those that yearned for the sense of promise they were born with and had the purchase power to act on that feeling.

However, for Super Bowl LI the “you” for Super Bowl brands, had changed.

The “you” is now Gen Z.

This year Audi continued with their platform of nostalgic storytelling by chronicling a little girl in a homemade go-kart. Considering Audi has no women on their executive team, this year’s spot intended to accentuate social and economic gender equality, a theme that Gen Z is very passionate about.

Having been born between 1996 and 2010, early Gen Zers’ youth was marked by exposure to the economic struggle of the Great Recession. These individuals possess a mental and financial shrewdness that is forcing traditional brands to work with experiential creative tactics to become loyal users.

In 2016, Wildness, an L.A based firm that informs brands on the habits of Gen Zers, reported that 27% of teen Gen Zers created and shared original videos via social media on a weekly basis. Of the 3,000 polled, 84% had reported that they’d had some direct contact with a celebrity on social media.

This attention craving group craved that same attention from their Super Bowl brands in 2017 and Snickers effectively recognized that.

With a $44 billion spending power in the USA alone, Gen Z is the richest and most independent purchase influencer on the market. While Gen Z may not be ready to buy a luxury sports car, they will definitely buy a candy bar.

Well known for its playful “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, the Mars brand has featured authority figures, such as Betty White, Joe Pesci, and Willem Dafoe. In its first full year, the campaign reported a 15.9% global sales increase and growth in 56 of the 58 markets in which it ran. While their current influencers may be older, the Mars winning creative formula should translate to Gen Z.

  1. Create a more compelling creative platform, on a large scale.
  2. Make the brand “iconic” with strengthened internal engagement and commitment.
  3. Relentlessly enforce a global approach.

Snickers attempted to appeal to Gen Z with the Super Bowl’s first ever live ad spot. Featuring a youthful influencer in Adam Driver, Snickers embarked on unprecedented experiential creativity. This revolutionary ad ran in the first break of the game’s third quarter, immediately keeping the attention of Gen Zers who tuned in for the halftime performance.

Driver was upset by the mayhem of the ad’s scene, which sparked excessive viewer anger and confusion. However, the Snickers spot was revealed to be an intentional faux with a follow up Adam Driver apology, which provided an effective call-to-action for fans to avoid their own hunger mishaps.

Regardless, live video will be a brand’s best friend in 2017 to connect to Gen Z, ensuring that they truly understand the immediate connection that makes Gen Z thrive.

Live streaming is exposing a brand’s vulnerability in a playful way. That is what Gen Z is gravitating to; immediate action with a level of spontaneity that makes the brand story feel as if it is their own.

photo credit: www.flickr.com

Facebook Commands Live Video for Celebrity Marketing

Periscope may be reborn, but Facebook Live will thrive in 2017.

There is no doubting that Facebook Live remains at the forefront of live streaming content for celebrity marketing entering 2017. Thanks to its user familiarity and instant audience connection, Facebook Live has had the luxury of paying 140 media groups and celebrities a total of $50 million to produce live content.

An overwhelming 78% of businesses that use Facebook Live claim that it is an effective marketing tool.

Moving forward into 2017, Twitter’s live stream extension Periscope has implemented 360 degree video technology that allows a broadcaster to go live and share their entire environment, making the broadcast as immersive as possible. CES’ Hardware Battlefield has already used Periscope 360 to expose their series of events to their 8.3 million following on Twitter. Now considering the Periscope feature is synced with Twitter in a single app, Periscope may possess a threat to Facebook Live.

Brands such as Airbnb, have taken to Periscope 360, allowing to provide potential users a fully immersive experience to a foreign country. The video attracted 455,000 views in a single day. Twitter astoundingly attracted a record  6.8 million viewers for the inauguration via Periscope, but the avenue has yet to reveal the effectiveness with celebrity marketing.

Currently Periscope has 1.9 million daily active users, which is astounding. Yet, when compared to the clout of Facebook’s 1 billion daily users, Periscope is simply dwarfed.

Facebook’s size should not discredit the capabilities of Periscope, as it is an extremely viable option for a current business. Yet, the tool must present itself as user friendly as possible to compete.

To Periscope’s credit, the tool presents itself as business and brand friendly. The live streaming tool enables brands to create a community with how-to videos, allowing those brands to share industry news, mailing lists, and product demos. Periscope is ideal for celebrity branding, but it simply isn’t used at the rate Facebook Live is.

According to a Socialbakers finding, media, celebrity, and brand’s “official pages” have shown preference to Facebook Live over Periscope.

Of the top 500 celebrity accounts on Facebook and Twitter, celebrities are opting to use Facebook Live at a 40% higher rate than the Periscope tool.

33% of companies were using Periscope compared to Facebook Live, but by the end of the year, preference had shifted to 47% preferring Facebook Live to Periscope.

Ultimately, Facebook is proving itself as an unstoppable live streaming force, due to its size and accessibility. Periscope may possess unique business features to effectively track celebrity engagement, but currently the comfortability of Facebook Live will help the platform remain in its own live streaming class for celebrity marketers.

photo credit: www.flickr.com