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

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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)

Celebrity Marketing as a Form of Entertainment

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Creating entertainment through advertisements increases consumers ability to connect with brands.

Brands strive for consumer attention. Simultaneously, consumers want to be entertained.

Consumers are blasted with advertisements day after day. In an effort to escape from a workaholic lifestyle, consumers embrace entertainment as an enjoyable distraction. As attention spans grow shorter and ad-blocking efforts grow stronger, brands have to find a way to push through the clutter and become memorable.

In order to do so, companies have to move from simply adding brand value to adding entertainment value. Not only should companies sponsor the brand content, but these brands need to be the entertainment.

This “don’t sell, entertain” mindset has gained momentum, especially as musical artists, television stars and athletes have joined the movement. Celebrity marketing content that is entertaining erases the idea that advertisements are purely promotional.

Below are a few brands who have successfully used celebrity marketing to execute this approach:

North Face

With the help of Spotify, North Face partnered with White Denim to take advertisements to a whole new level.

In an effort to promote North Face’s Apex Flex GTX rain jacket, Spotify released the first weather-triggered song. White Denim’s song, “No Nee Ta Slode Aln” was made available by Spotify only in U.S. regions receiving rainfall. Using ClimaTune, Spotify determined which markets to release the song.

In addition, “No Nee Ta Slode Aln” can be heard throughout the marketing campaign for North Face’s new rain jacket.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut partnered with Kristin Wiig for its “Everyman” campaign with a goal to showcase how hot and fresh pizza can be loved by all.

Wiig is featured in two TV advertisements playing a variety of characters, such as an older farmer, male cheerleader, business woman, and mechanic. Chief brand and concept officer of Pizza Hut, Jeff Fox, was quoted in AdWeek saying, “Wiig was a great fit for the role because of her versatility and her ability to play so many different characters – as shown seen in her time on Saturday Night Live.”

Channeling these various personas, Wiig uses her celebrity status to entertain viewers and also promote Pizza Hut as a brand for everyone.

Chase

For its “Battle of the Paddle” digital banking campaign, Chase partnered with not just one celebrity athlete, but two. NBA player Stephen Curry and professional tennis player Serena Williams go head-to-head in an impressive battle of ping pong to promote the convenience of Chase Quickpay.

Yet, before the commercial even launched, Chase created teaser content on various social media channels to encourage viewer interaction. The company gave viewers the choice of #TeamStephen or #TeamSerena to build hype and create social buzz.

The teaser content alone amassed three million video views across Instagram and Facebook.

Altogether, these three examples illustrate the power of celebrity marketing as a form of entertainment. Interrupting consumers with branded messages no longer works. Brands have to create entertainment and decide which celebrity can best enhance their message if they are going to connect with consumers.

photo credit: Al Ibrahim via Flickr

 

Viral Celebrity Marketing Campaigns Turn Brands into Cultural Phenomena

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Great celebrity marketing partnerships coupled with creative executions can go viral, launching brands into the cultural spotlight.

Pairing a powerful celebrity with an innovative concept provides the opportunity for brands to catapult themselves into the forefront of culture. In an increasingly digital world, the climate is perfect for brands to match celebrities with clever content and go viral, reaching millions of people through shares and retweets. Campaigns go viral because of the celebrities they feature. Consumers are drawn to interesting, funny, inspiring and captivating video ads that include people that they know and can relate to. Here are three elements of viral celebrity marketing campaigns.

 Entertainment Value

Making a campaign entertaining by putting a celebrity in an interesting situation is what makes ads authentic and enjoyable. It allows the brand to integrate with the content rather than being a tack on. This is what blends the brand with the celebrity and message fluidly, without making it seem too promotional.

Nike’s series of ads with Kevin Hart achieved great popularity. The ads were able to entertain consumers and hold their interest because they told an interesting story. Being released right at the New Year when people set goals to work out, the brand had perfect timing using an adored celebrity to position their brand and product at the center of that cultural moment.

 Cost Effective

Producing video ads can be costly, but placing ads at the right time and place is often extremely expensive. When a celebrity marketing campaign is positioned in the right environment for success the ad can go viral, garnering millions of views simply from initial placement on the brand’s social channels.

Apple music’s partnership with Drake and Taylor Swift is a great example of how taking a loved celebrity, a relatable situation and combining it with a funny execution makes a brand the center of social media. These ads had millions of views within hours of their release. The virality of the ads allowed a larger reach for a much lower cost than an alternative medium.

 Leverage From Social Media

Content recommended by friends has extra pull for consumers. They are more likely to trust, buy into, and like messages shared by friends than those placed by brands. Viral videos passed along through social channels from one user to the next have more credibility. Brands benefit when their celebrity marketing campaigns are those being shared.

KitKat created the perfect circumstance to become a cultural phenomenon with their campaign featuring Chance the Rapper. By partnering with a well known celebrity across their target demographic and creating an interesting ad, they reached a vast amount of people in a meaningful way.

By making an authentically interesting ad based around a celebrity, a brand creates an opportunity for themselves to become a cultural icon.

photo credit: Joe The Goat Farmer via Flickr

The Potential Profits of March Madness: How Advertisers are Using Celebrities to Win Big

marchmadness_bg3-1024x616With the Final Four remaining the king of nationally televised basketball events, the NCAA continues to rake in the cash.

It is not the simplest task to become ingrained in popular culture, but the minds behind the NCAA Tournament have masterfully made it appear so.

Since they first aired on TV in 1969, the post-season college basketball games have grown in popularity, though it wasn’t until CBS partnered with Turner in 2011 that the tournament exploded in profitability. Between CBS and Turner’s channels, all 67 of the games air nationally. That translates directly to a huge bump in revenue.

Today, March Madness reigns only behind the Super Bowl among the biggest annual sports events. There are no prerequisites for participation – anyone can create a bracket, and as many as 60 million Americans do.

Viewership numbers are nowhere near that of the Super Bowl, but they don’t need to be. Last year’s championship game was watched by a total of 26.1 million people. This was more than the peak of the 2017 NBA Finals and barely less than the 2017 College Football Championship. In all three cases annual viewership is on the rise, but nothing compares to the revenue gains March Madness has seen.

With Turner Sports preparing to broadcast the Final Four games in virtual reality and total ad revenue expected to rise as high as $1.3 billion, the future of the tournament is incredibly bright.

As is always the case, this future does lie in the hands of the advertisers, but with growing numbers of eyeballs gluing themselves to the TV and related mobile content, the advertisers too are arriving in droves.

Perennial sponsorship partners and this year’s official NCAA corporate champions, AT&T, Capital One, and Coca-Cola, have all returned with tens of millions to spend, but it is the ads featuring athletic stars that get the most bang for their buck.

From Turner’s incorporation of U2, to NCAA’s own ad starring Jerry Rice, wise decisions were made to attract the most attention. Capital One scored big with a string of comedic spots starring Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, and Charles Barkley too. Sonic hired the duo of Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski for their March commercials, which shakes up their traditional spokespeople for the tournament.

Those who made the wise choice to highlight celebrities in their ads will reap the benefits this year, but with ample proof for the direction they should take, it’s up to next year’s advertisers to follow the trend.

The fans watch the games to see the amateurs perform their best, but it’s the trusted, beloved celebrities that remain constant throughout the tournament. The more companies tap into their potential, the more front and center the advertisements will be.

photo credit: www.brianhartz.com

Celebrity Marketing and Music’s Biggest Night: What the Oscars Can Learn from the Grammys

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A clear message and a celebrity might not be enough.

Though its ambitions may look more like the Super Bowl, the Oscars would be foolish not to learn from the successes and failures of its fellow award show titan, the Grammys. The show featured some of the most groundbreaking ad campaigns ever aired, and though some may have polarized the public, they left a lasting impression on the 25 million viewers.

After singer David Bowie passed away on January 10th, Lady Gaga teamed up with Intel to celebrate, not only the life of the legendary singer, but also the power of music as it entwines with the potential of technology. Her performance was considered a highlight of the show for many people, but having an Intel ad immediately following it drew criticism for capitalizing on a tragedy. Controversy aside, the campaign’s powerful message won it widespread attention, and with over 56 million followers on Twitter, Lady Gaga appears to have been the perfect partner.

Target took an even bigger gamble when they also sponsored a unique performance with a blonde pop star. To promote her latest single, Gwen Stefani appeared in an unprecedented four minute commercial in which she filmed her music video live. The entire campaign reportedly cost Target $12 million dollars, forcing the question of why they chose her for such a massive event. It has been ten years since she has released a hit single, and initial forecasts for her current effort do not appear very promising. With her Target-exclusive album due in March, only time will tell if the gamble pays off.

Sometimes, it is best to let the message take the foreground. In a collaborative new campaign titled “Music Makes it Home,” Apple and Sonos sought to inspire people with testimonials from the lead performers of St. Vincent, the National, and Run the Jewels. The ad did everything it needed to and nothing more, proving that simplicity often rings the loudest.

With music taking a supporting role to the stars of the big screen on February 28th, it will be fascinating to see which brands take advantage of the opportunity. Hyundai and Coca-Cola, former centerpieces of the Oscars’ commercial breaks, have both decided to sit out on the show this year, but even still the ads are sold out. With each 30-second spot costing nearly $2 million and 62% of viewers being women, the mission for those participating is clear. With a defined message and a relevant celebrity to get it across, the commercials themselves can feel like part of the show.

photo credit: www.youtube.com

Incorporating Your Brand With Music Via Celebrity Marketing

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Three ways to sponsor music events and artists for building brand awareness.

Sponsoring music related events and artists shows your audience that you care about the art of music, and it offers the opportunity to create new and engaging ways to reach your consumer, and the opportunity for massive exposure.

According to IEG LLC, North American based companies spent close to 1.34 billion on music venues, festivals, and tours in 2014. The most active sponsors of music related events are The Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo, Inc.

Sponsored music festivals. With music festivals becoming more popular every year, brands have a huge opportunity to see and be seen. The Chicago music festival, Lollapalooza, dedicates its stage names to its sponsors, such as Bud Light, Samsung Galaxy and Palladia. Brands say the biggest advantage to sponsoring music festivals compared to sporting events is that people have a lot of downtime. Besides just beverage and food companies, festivals are now attracting fashion, beauty and technology companies as well, according to Elizabeth Holmes of The Wall Street Journal. Coachella, a weekend festival in Indio, California, had many fashion and beauty brand sponsors this year including H&M and Sephora. H&M had a 360-degree mirrored “selfie station” and Sephora had a makeup station with a vending machine that dispensed free products. Coachella is also a big draw for celebrities including Kate Bosworth, Katy Perry, Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton and Rhianna.

Sponsored music videos: “Trackvertising”  is a new trend in music videos where brands and artists collaborate.  Music videos are a great way to incorporate your brand because people voluntarily watch and share them, and your brand is likely to be remembered. The most successful example of “trackvertising” is Activia and Shakira’s La La La (Brazil 2014). The music video was for World Food Programme, an organization that brings school food to children in impoverished countries. According to mark tech firm, Unruly, it is the most shared ad.  Another example is the collaboration with Fiat and Arianna for the video Sexy People (The Fiat Song) ft. Pitbull. The video predominantly shows a Fiat in almost every shot, but it is still as entertaining as any other music video and has been viewed millions of times.

Sponsored artist tours. Sponsoring artist tours can be a bigger commitment than the previous options but there are many advantages. It can be very beneficial because the typical demographic of the audience reached is known and consumers are having fun while exposed to your brand. One example is Corona Lite sponsoring Kenny Chesney’s “The Big Revival Tour”. Corona knew that it was a perfect tour to sponsor because their slogan is “Find Your Beach” and Chesney sings about drinking beer and beaches, so they were confident that they would reach their demographic.

photo credit: posted by Kenny Chesney on Monday, August 20, 2012