Partnering With Micro-Influencers Over Macro-Influencers

influncer blog

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)

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The Monthly Report Card: July

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

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

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Grade A

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

 

(2). Ruby Tuesday – Rachel Dratch

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Grade D

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

 

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

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Grade A

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

 

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

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Grade A

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

 

(5). Coca-Cola & FIFA – Jason Derulo

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Grade A

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

 

(6). Gatorade – Serena Williams

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Grade B

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

 

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

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Grade B+

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

 

(8). Rolex – Rickie Fowler

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Grade B

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

 

(9). Speedo – Olympic Swimmers

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Grade B

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

 

(10). Priceline – Kaley Cuoco

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Grade C-

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

photo credits: YouTube

The Monthly Report Card: June

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

(1). Major League Soccer – Miguel

1 MLS

Grade: A

Miguel, a Grammy winning singer/songwriter and fan of the Los Angeles Galaxy, partnered with MLS for their ‘Our Soccer’ campaign. Miguel not fitting into the normal soccer fan was exactly what MLS wanted. He represented the spirit and diversity of the MLS. What makes this commercial a step above other professional league commercials is the ability to show where soccer began for many and who represents the sport. Miguel’s voiceover that described ‘Our Soccer’ was intense and painted an impactful image for viewers on how soccer effects people’s lives.

(2). Wells Fargo – Landon Donovan

2 wells fargo

Grade: A-

Landon Donovan, player for the US National Soccer Team, partnered with Wells Fargo for a 360-marketing campaign. In the Wells Fargo commercial, Donovan was supporting the Mexico National Team for the World Cup. Wells Fargo selected the correct celebrity for this campaign because they tied Donovan to his roots. Donovan grew up and played in the MLS with Mexican players. He has supported them even though he did not make the World Cup. Donovan on social media used #MyOtherTeamIsMexico to tie the World Cup and the Wells Fargo campaign full circle.

(3). Sonic – Ellie Kemper & Jane Krakowski

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Grade: B-

Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski are back sitting in a car trying to be hysterical for the Sonic commercial, this one was a better attempt than past commercials. Even though it was predictable, they embraced their roles from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and bantered like they do in the show. Their improv may have made a new word to describe food. “Flispy” is how Krakowski called Sonic Chicken Tenders, flavorful and crispy. If American’s catch on, this Sonic commercial could become a major success…by creating a new word to explain fast food.

(4). Adidas – Various

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Grade: A

Adidas “re-engineered” how to advertise with this campaign. They released “Create the Answers” campaign during the World Cup. Adidas used 56 different celebrities from around the world, including Leo Messi, David Beckham, Von Miller and Pharrell Williams. Adidas’s message was to ‘ignore the script’ and create your own reality. Adidas did that themselves in this commercial. While their campaign was not favorably viewed, Adidas has launched themselves ahead in the celebrity marketing and advertising categories.

(5). Adidas – James Harden

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Grade: A

James Harden was featured in the new Adidas commercialDreams Become Reality” days after winning the NBA’s MVP award. Harden’s mother, Monja Willis, was also featured in the commercial by having a voiceover about how hard Harden worked to be the best he could. The commercial was centered around a note he wrote his mother about being a star when he grew up. Adidas’ campaign showed viewers that stars started somewhere and that their hard work and dedication got them to where they are today. There could not have been a better time to release this commercial.

(6). Perfect Night – Corona Premier

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Grade: A

Everyone has those summer nights outside with their friends that they never want to end. Corona Premier uses a creative way to make the night keep going in their ‘Perfect Night’ commercial. Once the candle burns out, they use a phone flashlight and a full Corona Premier bottle to create light for the table. ‘I Turn You On’ by The Isley Brothers sets the background for the perfect night lakeside with friends.

(7). Coca-Cola – Hannes Þór Halldórsson & Iceland National Team

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Grade: A

This Icelandic Coca-Cola commercial was intended for only Iceland, yet it got international success. This commercial was directed by Hannes Þór Halldórsson, Goalkeeper for the Iceland National Team. The commercial takes you through the lives of Icelandic citizens and how the World Cup, like Coca-Cola, brings the country together. Hannes builds everyone up to this moment where his teammate, Birkir Bjarnason scores a winning goal and the whole country is celebrating…with a Coca-Cola in hand of course. While there are few words the viewer can feel the emotions surrounding the World Cup.

(8). Gatorade – Lionel Messi & Luis Suárez

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Grade: B

Gatorade is pushing into the soccer world by creating a sport specific drink, Gatorade Football Energy. What better two people to promote this than friends on and off the field, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. When it comes to playing for their national teams, the players compete harder than they have before. In the ‘Everything Changes’ campaign, Gatorade uses this rivalry to their advantage and amplifies it in this commercial. Both players prepare for the game by drinking Gatorade Football Energy. While the full version drags on, the 60 second time slot makes a statement for Gatorade’s new target market.

(9). Heineken – ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli’s

9 Heineken

Grade: B

Released at the end of June, Heineken had a World Cup themed commercial. It was about two people that looked as if they were in love and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli made you think they were in love. Then, the camera changed views and showed them actually mesmerized by the soccer team on the television. After the team won, the two ran into each other while celebrating over a Heineken. After becoming the Official Beer of the MLS, it was strategic for Heineken to release a commercial for the World Cup. Their attempt at this, however, was another predictable beer celebration commercial that after seeing it a few times, gets old.

(10). Pepsi/Uncle Drew – Kyrie Irving

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Grade: A+

What started as a YouTube video campaign in 2012 has turned into a big screen movie collaboration. Celebrity Kyrie Irving, promoted Pepsi back in 2012 by creating the character Uncle Drew releasing five-minute videos. Irving has now brought that character to life in a movie titled Uncle Drew. During the time of the movie release, Pepsi created commercials with Irving to promote both Pepsi and Uncle Drew. ‘Timeless’ transitions through history with Uncle Drew (Irving) and Pepsi. The campaign shows that no matter what, Pepsi has always been there throughout the years.

photo credits: YouTube

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)

What Apple’s Viral HomePod Ad with FKA Twigs Tells Us About Celebrity Marketing

VladJanuary (flickr)

With the viral success of Apple’s ad for its newest product line, what can brands learn to boost the effectiveness of their celebrity marketing campaigns?

In June of 2017, Apple announced their intention to enter the wireless speaker/AI assistant market with their new HomePod line. It marked a significant new step away from the brand’s identity of traditional hardware, but an acknowledgment of the changing pace of the device marketplace.

However, consumers were already well aware that Apple was lagging behind Amazon and Google in this tech sector, so how did Apple’s marketing strategy combat this?

For nearly two decades, Apple’s brand identity has been centered on music. After all, they invented iTunes which dominated the early digital music market and made the iPod a global phenomenon.

They have stressed that the HomePod will be a “music-first” device and followed up that brand message with an ad/short film directed by Spike Jonze and featuring FKA Twigs that quickly gained viral status.

Here’s what this viral spot tells us about celebrity marketing:

1). Incorporating Celebrities’ Talents Can Elevate a Brand’s Message

Any consumer who watched this short film will immediately remember the old iPod campaigns with silhouette dancers and vibrant color pallets, which we must assume was the intention.

Clearly Apple wanted to continue but modernize their core message. For this they used an Oscar winning director, Spike Jonze and a world-renowned dancer/musician, FKA Twigs.

Many outlets praised the ad simply for the credentials of those involved, which gave consumers an early perception of quality of the spot and the brand.

Celebrities in their natural environments not only produce better quality marketing tools, but it streamlines the planning process by encouraging innovation from the artists.

2). Implementing Cause and Artistic License is a Sure-Fire Way to Success

While maintaining the brand message, creative license was taken to incorporate concepts of dealing with depression. During the film, Twigs uses the music that Apple can provide to overcome her feelings of repetition and despare from her career.

It is important for marketers not to take this element to far however. There is often a fine line between partnering or discussing a cause and taking advantage of it to sell products. Consumers are attentive and do not enjoy faux-cause marketing strategies.

Regardless, there is little doubt that the creative element of the ad has led to its viral success. The colorful set has also driven extra content about the ad on social media. The best ads rarely need pinpoint cooperation to show their value. Seeing the passion of everyone involved to discuss their product proves that the correct creative priorities can reinforce a brand’s message.

3). The Ad Directing Trend is Here to Stay

Add this spot to the growing list of short films that have been produced by Hollywood regulars for various brands. Walmart enlisted the talents of Dee Rees (Mudbound), Melissa McCarthy and Nancy Meyers for an Oscars campaign. Apple is no stranger to using this method having first done a similar project with Ridley Scott in 1984 when launching the Macintosh computer.

This method will only continue to prove its power of innovation in the advertising industry. Brands with short films have received very positive responses and it is a great way to partner with celebrity influencers to make use of their talents.

photo credit: VladJanuary via (flickr)

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

 

Celebrity Marketing in Six-Seconds

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When looking to strike a chord with millennials and Generation Z, six-second advertisements lead the way.

A new form of video storytelling has hit the market. With lower attention spans and increased usage of mobile devices across multiple generations, six-seconds advertisements are the solution.

As brands and agencies prepare for this new era, these six-second video advertisements convey simple messages making immediate connections with viewers. There is a niche gap in the market for six-second media engagements and brands have begun to fill that void.

Although these advertisements were first introduced by YouTube as, “bumper ads,” several corporations have joined the movement utilizing the format. Fox began pushing out six-second advertisements during live sporting events, announcing that they will air nine of these short spots during its Thanksgiving Day NFL game. Prior to this announcement, Fox had been running six-second commercials in NFL games and the World Series. Similarly, AMC has decided to run six-second commercials during this season of the series, The Walking Dead. Facebook has also followed suit, announcing intentions to revamp six-second advertisements on its platform.

Even Twitter wants to join the six-second ad craze. In an effort to produce these short spots, they created, #Fuel. This new service is designed to help advertisers create content specifically for the platform as well as edit videos to conform to the six-second trend.

While six-second advertisements are a fairly new format, they have certainly left an impression already. According to a Google-led study, nine out of 10 six-second advertisements drove recall and 61 percent increased brand awareness.

Viewers want entertainment, innovation and disruption, and six-second spots seamlessly fit the mold. While advertisers continuously look to improve the viewing experience, adding celebrity features as another layer to the mix could be just what they need.

While six-second spots are defining digital presence, celebrities and influencers have already marked their territory in the digital sphere. Because celebrity marketing dominates digital, this “snackable content” elicits a new opportunity for brands to enhance this innovative format. Shorter advertisements certainly engage viewers, but celebrities have the potential to make these spots unforgettable. The combination of powerful celebrity marketing and the allure of six-second advertisements can lead to competitive advantages.

Getting right to the point, six-second advertisements keep viewers tuned in, especially millennials and Generation Z consumers with shorter attention spans. These short spots have the potential to command the digital sphere and further evolve with the inclusion of celebrities and influencers.

photo credit: Raphael Silva via Pixabay.com