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

Celebrity Marketing: How Authentic Brand Engagement Can Turn Baseball Icons into Baseball Buddies

Following record shattering ratings in the 2016 World Series and 2017 World Baseball Classic, baseball is proving why it is “America’s Pastime”.

Despite the heroics of those two events, Major League Baseball faces the issue of skewing to an older demographic. According to Nielsen ratings, 50% of baseball fans are 55 or older. Additionally, those ages 18-34 are 14 percent less likely to report a strong interest in baseball.

However, MLB Opening Week attendance revealed a modest increase from 2016, and that is largely thanks to baseball’s latest initiative to appeal to a younger demographic.

The new 60-second spot “This Season on Baseball” positions the 2017 MLB season as an ongoing reality TV show, diving into the personas of baseball’s hottest young talent. Whether it’s Bryce Harper taking an ice bath or the Mets’ fireballers at dinner, the message is that these icons are real people. The creative is fresh, showing viewers that baseball and its stud stars are spontaneous: which is exactly what young fans demand.

Avid sports fans crave any interaction with their favorite superstars, whether it be as big as an autograph or simply favoriting their tweets.

Along with exotic ballpark menu items, teams have even incorporated VR elements to their stadiums this season, paving the way for unparalleled fan engagement, ultimately bringing a younger crowd into the seats. Fenway Park has added a VR batting cage in their Kids Concourse, where young fans can take a crack at facing their favorite Major Leaguers.

Not only is the MLB virtually connecting to their fan base, but now they are interacting in real-time in a whole new way via social media.

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has just released their own social media app called Infield Chatter, designed to provide baseball fans with ultimate player interaction. Unlike other social media platforms, Infield Chatter is designed strictly for players and fans to share pictures, video, and text to their in-app feeds.

While this innovative approach to fan connection doesn’t exactly stretch MLB’s brand appeal to new audiences, it certainly enhances the experience of the most avid followers. The app is still very much in its primitive stages, but has all the makings to generate enough buzz to raise some eyebrows across the entire sports world.

Nearly 1,000 major and minor league players are on the app, including superstars Evan Longoria, Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes and NL MVP Kris Bryant. While MLB itself has yet to partner with the app, the MLBPA believes that the only way to truly bring viewers to the MLB brand is to have a conversation with them.

What’s key is that these MLB players aren’t talking at the fans. They’re talking with the fans.

This level of intimacy provides a whole new level of brand appreciation and attachment, which should ultimately translate to cross-generation appeal.

photo credit: www.staticflickr.com

How Celebrity Marketing can Transform Intimidation into Motivation for Non-Techies

In the exponentially growing world of technology, products must be easy to grasp before they can be fully trusted, that is where celebrity marketing comes in.

Many companies have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive cloud technology, allowing them to implement software API’s and frameworks to increase internal efficiency. Unlike the technology used for the consumer products Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa, cognitive computing technology uses data mining, pattern recognition, and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works.

Despite negative stigma of these technologies, powerhouse tech brands Dell and IBM are paving the way for a tech friendly mindset for all, and not just business insiders.

How are they doing so? By partnering with celebrities that exude a suave sense of authority.

Other than tech insiders, no one truly understands how applicable these technologies can be. In fact, those who are aware of AI are fearful of what the technology can do. According to a global Pegasystems study, 72% of respondents indicated some level of fear of AI and 25% feared that the technology could eventually take over the planet.

Dell Technologies no longer stands for a desktop computer. The company has expanded to information security, business analytics, virtualization and cloud computing. To help make the brand more palatable for the average consumer, Dell debuted “Let’s Make It Real” starring actor Jeffrey Wright. Following his role on the critically acclaimed sci-fi hit West World, Wright was a great fit to unveil the true magic behind Dell Technologies. Wright’s soothing voice and calm demeanor helped emphasize the message that reality is not all that far from our wildest fantasies.

Ultimately, this technology is being utilized in ways that can really help the day-to-day life. Uber is now pre-packaging machine learning algorithms to service their app developers, making the app as route efficient as possible. Software companies SAP, Deloitte, and IBM have all extended their cognitive clouds to partner with companies to aid in areas such as personal tax services and sales efficiency.

IBM strives to achieve brand appeal among the average consumer with the help of their cognitive pal Watson. When Watson isn’t utilizing its cognitive capabilities to predict weather patterns or compile cancer research, it is helping consumers file their taxes. Prior to the Super Bowl, H&R Block partnered with Jon Hamm, the debonair actor of Mad Men fame, to help show how Watson can make filing taxes personal and simple.

The first set of ads featuring Hamm were intentionally humorous to get consumers to engage quickly with the product and “get their taxes won”. Hamm eventually lent a more serious tone in later spots to shed light on the importance of Watson’s expertise. Kathy Collins, H&R Block’s CMO said that Hamm’s range is what really made him the perfect tax-season spokesperson.

In order for tech brands to be digestible to the “non-techie”, they must relay their complex messages through trustworthy celebrity figures.  

photo credit: www.staticflickr.com

Celebrity Marketing Nostalgia Hits Home for Gen X and Millennials Alike

 

smartphone-1790833_640

In such an accelerated age, filled with anxiety and uncertainty, nothing stores more comfort than fond memories of the past.

According to a Harvard Business Review consumer study, nostalgia has proven to make consumers more willing to spend their money on consumer goods and services. Traditionally, the individuals who have the means to act on those feelings are parents falling in Generation X. However, with 16 million millennials now being parents, the appeal of connecting to a simpler time is expanding to a much wider audience.

In the advertising world, no fictional character resonates quite like Jon Hamm’s portrayal of Don Draper, the elusive star of Mad Men. In the show, Draper pitched a bold tagline to Heinz executives: “Pass the Heinz”. Rather than show ketchup, the creative would show food missing ketchup. Heinz’s current agency David Miami recognized this incredibly simple, yet genius concept and now have three ads running via the New York Post and Variety.

The conviction of Hamm’s Draper influenced Heinz’s creative approach, allowing them to connect to those who love the old Madison Ave style of advertising as well as the wide range of ages who fell in love with the show.

Revisiting a definitive era marked by beloved figures of the past enables consumers to relive the reason they first fell in love with the brand, creating positive brand association.

Domino’s has caught the nostalgic bug as well, having casted Stranger Things’ Joe Keery as Ferris Bueller, and Alan Ruck (aka Cameron Frye) in a cameo appearance, to promote the new Domino’s Tracker. By casting Keery in the Broderick role, the brand expanded to both Stranger Things and Ferris Buehler’s Day Off fandoms, cohesively meshing stories that multiple generations have fallen in love with. While nostalgic, the spot effectively targets a young tech savvy audience, showing that Domino’s can be delivered digitally via Amazon Echo or even with a waterproof watch.

AT&T’s latest campaign “Everywhere” focuses on how the magic of cinema is an experience, especially it is live-streamed. Beginning with an homage to Rocky, the creative further pays tribute to a laundry list of memorable titles including Cheers, Seinfeld, and Back to the Future.

Featuring David Hasselhoff and Big Bird, this campaign successfully unifies dated material to a product that is transcending the way consumers watch their shows. Bringing millennials and Gen X together isn’t simple, but having a unifying message with nostalgic A-list figures is certainly a good place to start.

To understand the correct way to implement brand nostalgia, it’s important to recognize potential pitfalls the tactic has with millennials. It’s crucial that nostalgia creatively ties back to topics that currently resonate with them, usually through an experience or activity. If the message doesn’t have a modern twist, nostalgic advertising’s success is brief and can be viewed as pandering by young viewers.

However, when a blast from the past is combined with a story or star that resonates with multiple generations, the old message becomes new again, revitalizing the brand in a simple yet effective way.

photo credit: www.pixabay.com

“Celebrity, Meet Influencer”: Now is the Time to Diversify Your Celebrity Endorsement Approach

There is an intangible quality to on-screen chemistry, plain and simple. For brands that aren’t niche, it is “go time” to find that dynamic celebrity-influencer duo.

It is certain that digital influencers are the future for brands striving to appeal to a younger demographic. However, for brands that are not exactly niche to today’s youthful consumer, it is important to recognize the available talent pool at both ends of the spectrum.

In the digital age, audiences are expanding for these broad-appeal brands, meaning the influencer-celebrity relationship may be the brand’s newest best friend.

Brita, dominating 70% of the filter pitcher market in the U.S, traditionally promotes a family centric theme. While the filter company may be tops in its own category, they have done an incredible job leveraging their appeal via celebrity endorsement. After signing basketball star Stephen Curry in 2015, their appeal expanded to the inner athlete in everyone.

Flash forward to 2017, and Brita has paired Steph Curry with digital comedy sensation, King Bach. The new creative produced by Brita posed a traditional dilemma: an empty pitcher in the fridge. With the power couple of Curry and Bach, the creative shifted focus onto the perfect roommate relationship, translating their comedic pairing into nearly one million YouTube views in less than a week. With Bach’s digital clout and Curry’s universal appeal, the audience for Brita stretched to incredible new heights.

Another industry finding success with celebrity-influencer teams is right in the talent’s wheelhouse; the film industry. The pairing of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and influencer Logan Paul for the promotion of the film Baywatch expanded the film’s brand immensely through reliance on user generated content (UGC).

In order to maintain the momentum of a successful campaign mantra, powerhouse brands lean their focus towards the viewer’s voice. UGC is any web content created by fans, functioning as free promotion for the brand. This online word-of-mouth is the best type of referral, as 86% of millennials say UGC is a good indicator of brand quality.

Johnson recently created his own production company Seven Bucks Studios, the mission being to create innovative and authentic content for its audience. As media consumers become increasingly skeptical of brand messaging, it is key that Johnson recognized authenticity as the arch of a successful message.

Fortunately for Paramount Pictures, Johnson and Logan Paul combined to drive unprecedented traffic to their brand by calling users to #BeBaywatch. Their three million plus views on YouTube caused the hashtag to instantly flood Twitter and Instagram, showing that users have power to spread a brand’s message like no other. Ultimately, the comedic, tension-filled relationship between the two made the film that much more relatable and appealing to multiple audiences.

It is certain that brands cannot appeal to everyone. However, when a brand can incorporate an array of talent that falls on both ends of the celebrity-influencer spectrum, the opportunity for brand growth is evident.

photo credit: www.premiermeetings.com

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