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)

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The Monthly Report Card: May

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

 

(1). Victoria’s Secret – The Angels

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Grade: D

The Cotton Collection commercial by Victoria’s Secret (VS) was like any other VS commercial. With the setting on a sunny day, a beach background and the word ‘cool’ popping up on the screen creates a light and airy feeling for viewers. However, the VS Angels are not like the majority of females and with their reported 10-14% monthly sales decline since 2017 their marketing strategy could use a new direction to match the realism of their consumers.

(2). Atom Tickets – Anna Faris

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Grade: A

With their first-ever national brand campaign, Atom Tickets nailed this one. Using Anna Faris to show the features of this new app, Director Peter Berg made this national campaign simple yet memorable. Faris uses some of the most iconic movie quotes throughout the commercial while showing what the app does to make the movie experience that much better. Faris is a good representation for the consumer because of her relatable and loveable persona that can reach a large demographic of movie goers.

(3). T-Mobile – Bryce Harper

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Grade: C+

T-Mobile partnered with Bryce Harper during their Hats Off campaign. This campaign donated one dollar to Team Rubicon every time someone posts #HatsOff4Heroes. The commercial with Bryce Harper targeted baseball loving veterans and families. T-Mobile’s campaign was centered around Memorial Day and touched many Americans, however, the commercial stated that T-Mobile was giving 50% off to Military Families. There was nothing about the hashtag to help veterans, making it more about their company than the campaign.

(4). Pepsi – Dierks Bentley

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Grade: B-

Who doesn’t love free things? ‘This is the Pepsi that Gets You Stuff’ is part of the Pepsi Generations Campaign. When drinking Pepsi, there is a chance to win Pepsi Retro Gear. This commercial was full of summer. Then, obnoxious screaming girls finding out they could win Dierks Bentley tickets ruins the commercial. Bentley’s calm demeanor attempts to balance out the girls, but viewers are left remembering the horrific screaming.

(5). McDonald’s – Gabrielle Union/Charles Barkley/John Goodman

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Grade: A-

McDonald’s changed up how food commercials are looked at now. In a series of commercials, Gabrielle Union, Charles Barkley and John Goodman all took action in the ‘Speechless’ campaign. For this campaign, McDonald’s produced two types of commercials. One is the celebrity silently eating while subconsciously talking to themselves about the deliciousness of the Quarter Pounder. The second produced commercial has them commentating for the customer eating the Quarter Pounder because they are ‘Speechless’. The ‘Speechless’ campaign proves that nothing can describe the feeling and taste of the burger.

(6). Gatorade – Bryce Harper & Michael Lorenzen

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Grade: A

Gatorade has always shown what hard work and dedication looks like with the world’s best athletes. This is no different with their current campaign featuring a ‘friendly’ competition between rivals Bryce Harper and Michael Lorenzen. In the commercial, it states that Gatorade has been “studied, tested, proven for the world’s best athletes,” while showing how well Gatorade works for Lorenzen and Harper. Gatorade proved its success for the world’s best athletes and made a successful attempt to persuade customers.

(7). Corona Extra – Ryan Johnson

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Grade: A

Corona did it right in their summer can campaign. It leaves viewers wanting to go to the beach on a hot day and enjoy a Corona Extra. Having a beach guy yell “Summer is here” puts you in a mood to go out and enjoy the Summer. Jimmy Cliff’s song, You Can Get it if You Really Want brings together the visuals and the feeling of summer with a Corona in hand.

(8). The Jordan Brand – Maya Moore

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Grade: A

The Maya Moore commercial begins with Moore putting on her line of basketball shoes. Then cuts to footage of when she was a child, in college and finally in the WNBA winning a championship. Moore signed an endorsement deal in 2011 with the Jordan Brand and recently released her own line of shoes. What makes this campaign so iconic is that her number in the WNBA, like Michael Jordan, is 23. Jordan’s symbolic picture of his wingspan with the infamous William Blake’s quote “No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings” is replicated at the end of the commercial by Moore doing the same pose while a female, re-purposed version of William Blake’s quote “No bird soars too high, if she soars with her own wings” is being sung in the background making the new Jordan commercial “WINGS” that much more iconic.

(9). Visa – Zlatan Ibrahimović

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Grade: B+

As the Official Sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Visa partnered with professional soccer player, Zlatan Ibrahimović. Visa’s campaign was about FOMO (fear of missing out). Zlatan was a seamless fit for this because he said, “A World Cup without me is not worth watching.” While the commercial showcased his arrogance on how he could have played if he wanted; the underlying message was the simplicity Visa brings to fans so they do not miss out on the action. Visa will roll out multiple other commercials during the course of the World Cup to show the ease of contactless payment through Zlatan’s adventure in Russia. Zlatan will also have exclusive behind-the-scenes access during the tournament that fans can join-in on from home. With Zlatan’s soccer background and VISA’s quick payment methods, this campaign simply showcases how effortless using Visa is at sporting events.

(10). Mountain Dew Kickstart – Kevin Hart

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Grade: A-

Mountain Dew partnered with comedian Kevin Hart for a yearlong campaign. Mountain Dew Kickstart’s three different commercials capture what goes on in the mind of comedian Hart before a performance. His electrifying energy embodies what the customers would get from the refreshing boost of Mountain Dew Kickstart. Mountain Dew selected an excellent celebrity for this campaign because of his comedic side and energy. His commercials will leave a memorable mark for customers.

photo credits: YouTube

Celebrity Marketing Royal Wedding Edition

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With a monumental event that may only happen once in a life-time, how does a brand tap into the media frenzy to win big on the big day?

Brands can hope they become part of the Meghan Markle Effect. With influential style and millions of women looking up to Meghan, her net value to brands is $212.1 million.

Oroton, a luxury leather accessories and goods brand was saved by the ‘Princess Effect’. Orton was seeing a decline of sales until Markle was photographed wearing their purse. Oroton’s Avalon bag is now on backorder, likely saving the struggling company.

If a brand wants to be proactive instead of reactive, here are examples of brands from different industries who brought awareness surrounding the Royal Wedding.

47.2 million viewers watched the Royal Wedding. With 6.9 million interactions on Twitter and Facebook, numerous brands took part in posting about the wedding via social media.

HBO’s The Royal Wedding Live with Cord and Tish!

When the partnership with Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon was announced, their Funny or Die characters, Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan made guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. After the show, social buzz circulated as to what they would do for their London broadcast. Having the celebrities continue posting on their social media about the event increased anticipation.

On the day of the wedding, with their sense of humor and electrifying personalities, Ferrell and Shannon’s characters were excellent choices to endorse HBO.

On HBO’s YouTube channel, Cord and Tish received 378,000 views in three days. The video announcing The Royal Wedding Live with Cord & Tish received 296,000 views, having the most consecutive views for HBO’s channel. A majority of HBO’s prior videos range from 2,000 to 40,000 views.

Shannon even announced on her Instagram that Tish and Cord would host the Royal Wedding on HBO. Leading up to the event, Shannon received over 75,000 likes/172,000 views from various sneak peek videos and pictures on Instagram.

The RITAS’ Queen NeNe, The Royal Rita

Another successful endorsement was Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita partnership with The Real Housewives of Atlanta, NeNe Leaks. NeNe announced via Twitter May 18th that she would be their ‘Royal Rita’, taking over the RITAS twitter. NeNe sent out a poll on the RITAS twitter receiving over 15,000 votes about why people were watching the Royal Wedding.

During the wedding and events following, NeNe tweeted about the wedding, responded to followers and endorsed RITAS, like posting royal guests’ wardrobes that matched different Rita flavors.

Nene, a sassy celebrity, was a perfect endorser because of her bold and unfiltered personality and large social media followership.

Numerous brands took part in promoting the royal wedding but opted out of using a celebrity endorsement. Kellogg’s Café, New York, had a decadent breakfast and viewing party, with their Instagram only receiving a combined 3,000 likes for their promotion.

Velveeta Shells & Cheese had a campaign, “Royally Treat Yourself”. The first 800 people who registered online won a gold box of Crown & Cheese. And KFC created a Gold Chicken Royal Wedding Edition Bucket for a select handful to win.

Since these campaigns were limited in their promotion, would they have sold out faster if a celebrity was promoting the product?

photo credit: AM> via (flickr)

Selling Authenticity with Celebrity Marketing

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Brands prove successful when trustworthy celebrities endorse their products.

Brands work tirelessly to create strong emotional and truthful connections with their audience. Because consumers connect well with celebrities on an emotional level, brands should select celebrities who carry a recognizable, authentic and credible demeanor.

As social media continues to become a window into the lives of celebrities, brands must work diligently to ensure that their celebrity partner promotes the same authenticity as the brand. Consumers frequently hold the expectation that brands will do more than simply sell a product, but rather work hard to create a trusting atmosphere.

To establish that trusting atmosphere, brands should partner with the right celebrities who can help promote products in the most natural and truthful way.

For instance, blatant and obvious brand advertisements posted on celebrities’ social media accounts do not create strong emotional ties. Consumers see right through these branded endorsements and keep scrolling. However, celebrity postings that integrate a brand’s product organically and convincingly will catch consumers’ attention.

For example, professional basketball player, Kevin Durant, built his relationship with Sparkling Ice on authenticity. Durant, a real life consumer of the zero-calorie carbonated water, was interested in a partnership with the company. As soon as Sparkling Ice caught wind of the Durant’s inquiry, they knew their sponsorship relationship would be a success because their bond was built on genuine, demonstrated interest.

Celebrity and influencer marketing has been rated as the fastest-growing way to grab online customers. Despite this success, marketers need to continually ask questions as the consumer landscape evolves.

What does our consumer base care about? How should we align the brand with those causes? What channels will have the strongest influence?

Although the answers to these three questions are not the same, all three answers address the same topic of authenticity. As brands have the opportunity to connect with consumers, they need to invest in the celebrity who best matches their beliefs as well as their audience.

In adopting the use of celebrity marketing, authenticity and transparency are critical. As information is more readily available in today’s social media landscape, consumers are not afraid to look beneath the surface and confirm that brands are using celebrities with credibility.

photo credit: geralt via Pixabay.com

Classic Brands Make a Comeback with Celebrity Marketing

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Nothing sells like a celebrity, especially when trying to bring older brands back to the forefront.

Brands leave long lasting impressions and establish strong bonds with consumers. In an ever-changing world, brands come and go, leaving consumers without their favorite go-to items. In order to bring a brand back to life, celebrity marketing builds awareness quickly, helps take market share from competitors and creates a strong emotional connection to buy.

Celebrities have long served as the public face of brands, but now they are being tapped to help brands return to the limelight. In addition to serving as a trusted trendsetter, celebrities serve as human billboards.

The popularity of classic brands can be traced back to various celebrities. Whether celebrities are endorsing a product, sporting the merchandise or even creating alliances, classic brands can meet or exceed previous success using celebrities to communicate their message.

For example, Reebok partnered with top fashion model, Gigi Hadid, in an effort to gain more popularity. Although the brand has been in existence for years, using celebrity marketing is the best method to invest in the brand’s existence for the years to come.

Similarly, Coach made a comeback using celebrity marketing. Despite being a top-seller in the 1990s, the logo-heavy leather goods fell out of the mainstream. In order to reemerge in the accessories industry, they used singing sensation, Selena Gomez. As the new face of Coach, Gomez has helped to create playful and eclectic designs that are a must-have for all young millennial girls, breathing new life into the brand.

While celebrity marketing is one of the most effective and successful ways to reintroduce a brand, it is not the only way.

Brands can make a comeback appealing to both old and new customers by tapping into nostalgia, completely overhauling and rebooting the brand, and utilizing social media as well as other digital channels.

As brand marketing continues to adapt and evolve, classic brands have managed to stay popular by using celebrity marketing. These classic brands remain successful because they have picked up on the one thing many disregard. That is, consumers strive for things they cannot have, and thus as an alternative, they choose to live vicariously through the products in connection with celebrities.

So, if you are the next brand thinking about making a bold comeback, who better to help market your product than a trusted, popular and admired celebrity. With their large following and strong influence, there is no denying that their help can restore your brand to what it once was.

photo credit: Matteo Mignani via Flickr.com

Embracing Culture with Celebrity Marketing

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Brands can stand out with cultural intelligence and promise.

What exactly is cultural intelligence and how does it relate to brands?

Cultural intelligence is the power that brings brands to the forefront of current events. It has the ability to drive brand growth and create iconic brands.

Cultural intelligence is the ability to relate to and work effectively across cultures. When brands consistently communicate with their audience and constantly deliver on the promise they make, brands demonstrate cultural intelligence.

Brands that strive for success must be relevant in the rapidly evolving culture of consumers. Brands that ignore the now and the cultures that ensue go unnoticed and appear out of touch. As a result, brands must work alongside current events, co-creating culture through music, sport, fashion, etc.

One way brands can work alongside, while also creating culture is through celebrities. The popularity of celebrities spans all cultures and directly influences consumers. Celebrities help brands establish the iconic image they desire and further stress the brands’ promise to consumers.

A celebrity marketing campaign is an extension of a brand’s cultural intelligence. It proves the brand understands consumers’ wants and needs in the current culture climate in order to establish a connection.

Embedding brands into culture is a long-term strategic venture. However, by understanding and embracing culture, brands are able to project their image beyond simple advertising and spark interest amongst consumers.

Along with cultural intelligence comes cultural promise.

It is the brand’s commitment to stay true to its core beliefs and promises. The more consistently and emphatically brands dedicate themselves to their promise and to culture, the greater its significance factor. With strong significance and a boost from celebrity endorsements, brands not only look successful, but become symbolic.

Although it may seem that consumers dominate in this ever-changing world, it is important to remember brands have a unique advantage. Using their cultural intelligence and promise, brands can engage with and influence culture. It is culture that persuades consumers and keeps brands in the limelight.

photo credit: vonderauvisuals via Flickr.com

Celebrity Marketing at Sporting Events

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When it comes to sporting events, celebrities and social media are the major players driving social engagement before, during, and after the game.

The impact of celebrities on audience engagement at sporting events is real. The impact of social media on audience engagement is just as real. Combined, these two influential forces and sporting events become one dynamite hotspot for brands to connect with fans.

Linking popular marketing campaigns to high-profile sporting events is not a new idea. However, the rise of social media adds a valuable, new element to the marketing mix. When social platforms work hand-in-hand with celebrity marketing campaigns featured at major sporting events, audience engagement will increase.

Brands that are able to generate creative and compelling videos can drive social engagement surrounding sporting events. Using the power of social media, these videos may become viral and generate buzz around the event. Similarly, brands featuring celebrities within their marketing campaigns at sporting events can achieve higher levels of engagement.

Beyond simply creating buzz, well-known sports teams and their social channels have found a way to engage with sports fans during the actual event.

A few professional sports teams have figured out how to draw attention away from personal phone screens and attract fans to the only screen that matters, the jumbotron. The Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Sounders and San Francisco Giants use technology powered by Tagboard that shows their Instagram stories on massive displays inside the stadium. These teams have found the way to grow their social media followings and also keep the focus on the field.

Combining celebrity title with social media, these sports teams engage fans, while still promoting their brand. As teams recognize this potential for branding, they discover ways to monetize content.

In addition, these massive displays take fan engagement another step further by featuring user-generated content. This keeps fans involved in the action on the field, while simultaneously becoming the focus of the screen. Furthermore, Tagboard created a tool that makes it easier to search content across keyboards, phrases, accounts and hashtags.

Tagboard has put a new spin on advertising during sporting events. Brands that want to get a leg up and connect with sports fans must recognize the influence of celebrity marketing and in turn, create captivating video content for social media platforms that will get fans involved.

photo credit: Pexels via Pixabay.com