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

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

5 Ways Brands Can Use Immersive Celebrity Marketing via Periscope

Live video social media outlets have great potential for celebrity marketing.

Periscope is a social media app owned by Twitter that allows users to both share and stream live videos. Not only does it air 360 degree videos in real-time, it also lets viewers send messages during the live video that appear on the screen for the host and other viewers to see. Periscope has gained plenty of buzz, and will only continue to in 2017. In one month, Periscope had about 397,000 mentions on Twitter and who is primarily using the app to share videos? Celebrities.

Louis Vuitton capitalized on Periscope 360 at Paris Fashion Week when showing off their men’s fall line, having A-list celebrities such as Kate Moss, Usher, and David Beckham in the front row. Through the help of Periscope 360, Louis Vuitton was able to get 160,000 eyes on their show in the first hour alone.

With celebrities being hot to use the app, there is great opportunity for brands to team with celebrities.

Here are five ways celebrities can use Periscope live videos to help companies promote their brands:

The use of vloggers: Right now, YouTube is the main outlet for vloggers to share their expertise. Periscope Live could become a successful way for this new-wave of celebrities to be seen. Viewers can ask questions and pose their responses in real-time and the vlogger can answer live on camera. If a brand has a deal with a vlogger where they feature or review products, these social media platforms become another window for promotion.

Behind the scene at live events: Behind the scene footage of celebrities during big programs such as the Oscars or Grammys is a popular tactic on TV. However, celebrities are not likely to go in to much more detail about their beauty or fashion choices other than “I’m wearing Calvin Klein”. By using celebrity accounts on Periscope, brands can gift celebrities products to use in a “how I got my look” video featuring the brand’s goods.

Press conferences: When a campaign begins, it is common to hold a press conference. If the campaign involves a celebrity, having them appear at the press conference to speak and live stream on their Periscope account will bring more traffic to the event and cause more buzz about the brand and product.

Contests and special offers: Just like for any social media platform, user engagement is critical for effectiveness. Creating live contests or offers exclusive to viewers is a great option when using Periscope. Celebrities can either host the video or be involved with the prizes and offers.

Celebrity takeovers of brand accounts: If a company is interested in building more awareness of their brand they may want to look in to a celebrity hosting one of their videos. Promoting how fans can see their favorite star by watching the company’s channel is likely to draw in more viewers. Imagine a big name celebrity like Ed Sheeran taking over the BMW account to host a driving jam session. The number of viewers would be immense.

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

4 Live Streaming Platforms for Celebrity Marketing

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Exponentially increase traffic and engagement using four similar, yet different platforms.

Video content is becoming one of the best ways to share information online, as video is unparalleled in engaging an audience and getting their attention. When content is shared live, it only increases the benefits of video marketing.

Statistics show live video dramatically increases both traffic and engagement to a brand’s content. With video, organic traffic increases by 157%, and consumers become 85% more likely to buy a product and 46% more likely to seek out information about your brand. Live video is a great way to make your brand more personable and engaging.

In utilizing celebrities who are already bringing in a large, engaging audience on these platforms, your brand can expand its reach and create an even more unique experience for fans and consumers. You just have to make sure you’re picking the right platform for your brand.

1. Periscope was one of the first widely-used live streaming platforms, highlighting its ability to take audiences to places not shown to the public, such as music festivals, concerts or personal events. The app offers a couple ways for audiences to engage with the platform, such as live comments and giving ‘hearts’ to show appreciation. Since the app is owned by Twitter, it makes it easy for multi-platform sharing, reaching audiences on both Periscope and Twitter. These videos can be kept on the platform forever or deleted after 24 hours, whichever you prefer.

2. Facebook Live makes it easy to connect with Facebook audiences, as Facebook controls the reach of these live videos using the same algorithm it uses for regular posts. One unique thing about Facebook Live is that users can stream for up to four hours at a time, and videos remain on the platform to be retrieved or re-purposed for later use. Facebook Live is a great platform for celebrity marketing, as celebrity pages on Facebook often outperform brand pages, and Facebook recently signed deals with multiple media companies and celebrities to grow the platform’s popularity even further.

3. YouTube Live claims to be the fastest and most reliable live streaming platform, and was notably the first to offer 360-degree streaming. Since then, brands such as GoPro, Nike and Lionsgate have experimented with it. This platform is great to use with YouTube influencers, as they can broadcast directly to their subscribers, and the stream is made available immediately after the broadcast on the influencer’s channel and in subscription boxes. It is similar to creating a regular YouTube video, but with the added bonus of live engagement from the audience through comment features.

4. Snapchat, with its 150 million daily active users, is a unique type of live streaming platform. The app has been used by brands in a variety of ways, including celebrity takeovers, product placement and revealing exclusive content. The quick, ten-second clips and 24-hour lifespan of these videos allows for urgent and exclusive interactions with an audience. Plus, many celebrities already have their own accounts and large followings on this platform.

No matter the platform, live streaming and celebrity marketing together are a great way for your brand to create exciting and engaging video content. Whether it’s special promotions, VIP access or every day moments, live streaming is great for brands to engage an audience in a new exciting way.

photo credit: Travis Estell via Flickr

Pop-Up Events Driven by Celebrity Marketing Create Unique Brand Experiences

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The fear of missing out in today’s social media age is greater than ever, and companies are capitalizing on this trend by using short-lived events.

Pop-up events are short-lived experiences that connect people together, and a celebrity can help take it to the next level.

The goal of a pop-up event is to create an experience that is unique and exclusive. This creates urgency for the audience, encouraging them to take part because if they miss it, it will be gone forever.

Hosting a pop-up event builds excitement and urgency around your brand in three important ways. Incorporating a celebrity helps increase interest and audience reach, creating a more unique and memorable experience.

1. Increase audience reach

Most pop-up shops or events gain momentum from social media, and celebrities’ big and loyal followings can help promote the event, garner social interactions and ultimately bring more awareness to the experience.

Celebrities bring their followers to everything they do, which brings the potential for your brand’s social following and interactions to increase as well. A good execution of a brand boosting their awareness and reach is when Adidas got Pharrell to live stream the launch event of his own Adidas Originals line to the brand’s Snapchat channel.

Adidas gave fans an inside look at the event through Pharrell’s perspective, along with showing off the new Adidas products. The brand’s Snapchat following boomed, and in 24 hours the story garnered 3.4 million views and 4,000 screenshots that people later went and shared on their social accounts.

2. Boost brand image

Partnering with a celebrity for a pop-up event could also create interest and boost brand image. There might be people who aren’t familiar with your brand or products, but when the partnered celebrity brings their audience, the chance of their fans checking out the brand increases.

A great example is when Samsung partnered with Kanye West and Jay-Z for a secret show at South by Southwest. In order to get tickets to the show, fans had to own a Samsung Galaxy phone. Samsung’s traffic to their tent at the festival increased, as well as the buzz around the brand, all because people were excited about the concert with Kanye and Jay-Z.

3. Create a more unique experience

Including a celebrity at your brand’s pop-up event can also make the experience and atmosphere more memorable for the audience. People want to be a part of something special and unique that they can tell their friends about and post to their social feeds.

Events could include a meet-and-greet with the celebrity for a quick chat and photo session. Also, selling a unique product or giving away a memento at the event could further increase the urgency and experience.

Angry Birds and YouTube teamed up with YouTube star Rosanna Pansino for a pop-up bake shop in New York City. Rosanna created and gave away special Angry Birds-themed cupcakes as they introduced a new character, as well as decorating the bake shop with her style intertwined with Angry Birds and YouTube. She also greeted and took pictures with fans as they left the shop, creating a special memory for those who attended.

Brands are using pop-up events to grab attention, build awareness and create buzz more than ever before. Could a pop-up event be in your brand’s future?

Photo credit: Google