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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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)

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

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

 

Celebrity Marketing and Esports Join Forces

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To promote brands and foster strong relationships with millennials, esports is the go-to industry to reach millennials.

To keep brands relevant in an age of overstimulated millennials glued to their screens, think gaming. While marketers use celebrities and digital influencers to reach consumers, they have overlooked one very important group of influencers: gamers.

The breakout industry, esports, has accumulated a large following thanks to these gamers. In fact, it was reported that gamers are the most followed influencers on YouTube, where three of the top five YouTubers are gamers.

With such a strong following, brands should utilize the reach of these gaming influencers as a way to attract more millennials.

Although esports originated in social media, it has pushed past its initial YouTube platform and jumped into major venues like Madison Square Garden and Key Arena, drawing in thousands of viewers and attendees.

As the gaming industry continues to grow in popularity, brands need to recognize the endless opportunities of partnering with gamers.

In pursuit of this fast-rising sport, a few brands have caught on to the gaming phenomenon.

For example, Snickers used the esports social platform creatively to reach their audience. Snickers partnered with three gamers with large social followings to transform its “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign into a live broadcast prank. Gamers began to play horribly because they were hungry, and the hungrier they became, the worse they played. It was not until they ate a Snickers bar that each gamer reverted back to their legendary gaming selves. The prank proved noteworthy as viewers went crazy with live-commenting throughout the prank.

Similarly, Coke was able to tap into the trend and feed fan excitement. Coke encouraged fans to get involved by handing out “cheer boards” for fans to write on during the gaming event. And if fans could not make the big event, Coke had a solution: host viewing parties. For instance, Coke created a nationwide viewing party of the League of Legends World Championship at L.A.’s Staples Center to over 200 movie screens across the United States.

Because esports is a developing platform, marketers must step outside their comfort zone. Risks are necessary, so take that risk by tapping into the powers of gaming influencers. In turn, brands will find success in reaching the much desired millennial consumer.

photo credit: Tobechi Ugwumba 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