It’s Not Just Tweeting, It’s Brilliant

As social media marketing continues to grow in importance, many companies struggle with finding a unique and appropriate way to utilize the platforms. DiGiorno Pizza is one of those brands.

The frozen-pizza brand was perplexed with how to utilize Twitter in a beneficial way for over a year. The company’s public relations agency, Resource, pushed the brand to keep working towards finding their Twitter voice. Through many trials, the brand settled in on what their voice would be — a wise-cracking couch potato: a sort of Internet “troll” who makes sarcastic jokes while sitting on the couch watching sports. The tweets also use Internet language and do not necessarily use proper grammar, which is very relevant to how many people tweet.

Some recent tweets can be seen below:

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The company has gone farther, though, than just finding their voice. The Twitter profile (@DiGiornoPizza) has chimed in on many culturally relevant moments, including NBC’s live broadcast of “The Sound of Music”, by live-tweeting along with the broadcast. While this was not quite in their target audience’s reach, Resource noticed that the chatter around the show was going well.

The company jumped in with their usual snarky comments and utilized the show’s hashtag, #TheSoundOfMusicLive. Some of their updates had absolutely nothing to do with the musical. Their feed looked something like this:

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Since their Sound of Music tweets went over so well, DiGiorno’s has also live-tweeted other events, such as the Superbowl and the Oscars. When Ellen DeGeneres mentioned ordering a pizza for the stars in the audience, you better believe DiGiorno’s jumped right into the conversation.

pizza7The company continued to tweet throughout the awards show, never failing to bring the subject back to pizza.

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Though their Twitter feed looks crazy at times, DiGiorno Pizza can already tell that this utilization of social media marketing is paying off. Lora Schaeffer, VP of Social at Resource, stated that the company is “seeing purchase intent go up.”

Aside from more sales, the brand has also received notable coverage from social media experts.

Basically, DiGiorno is “#winning” the Twitter-game. They company knows that their target audience, 19-28 year old men, are on Twitter and enjoy the sort of “smack-talk” the company uses. DiGiorno’s uses the social media platform exactly as it needs to be used: by saturating the Twitter-talk and by exploring the brand’s identity, without explanation.

Banana Republic’s Same Sex Ads

Late in February, Banana Republic released a new series of advertisements featuring a real-life same sex couple. The couple featured is interior designer, Nate Berkus, and his fiance Jeremiah Brent. The advertisements show Berkus and Brent spending time together in their extremely fashionable Banana Republic clothing.

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Banana Republic is smart to feature Brent and Berkus in their advertisements, as they are unlikely to recieve any backlash. The company’s consumer base is largely a young, liberal demographic who supports same-sex equality.

They are not the first retailer to show support in their advertisements, however. Same-sex couples can be seen in J.Crew’s 2011 ad, “Happy Together”, featuring their designer, Somsack Sikhounmuong, and his boyfriend Micah.

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Gap followed suit in 2012 with their “Be One” billboard.

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Target has also begun to advertise their wedding registry program towards same-sex marriages.

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Many other companies have also featured same-sex couples in their advertisements in the past couple of years.

It is important to remember that while these advertisements are extremely heartstring-tugging, they (obviously) still stand the purpose of selling something to consumers. Regardless, it is a testament to each company that chooses to feature same-sex couples to make such a public statement of support for the ever-growing LGBTQ community and the fight for marriage equality.

Superbowl Commercials 2014

(Forgive me as I know this post is long overdue.)

I’m not sure how everyone else felt, but I for one, was not super impressed with this year’s Superbowl Commercials. Not only was the game uneventful, I felt the same about the ads. Regardless, I suppose a few are worth discussing.

One of the few commercials I did enjoy was Microsoft’s “Empowering”.

This commercial is simple but powerful. It showcased the amazing things that technology can do. It focuses on a more human side, however, that we don’t typically think of when we think of technology. I think that this commercial does a great job of promoting Microsoft.

 

The next advertisement I enjoyed was Budweiser’s “A Hero’s Welcome”.

This is another very powerful commercial. The beer company partnered with a small town to throw a welcome reception for a soldier returning home from a tour of duty. Every soldier deserves this sort of reception when they return home. I would definitely say this commercial was a success for Budweiser.

 

Coca-Cola’s “Big Game” is one commercial that got tons of coverage, but maybe not for the best reasons.

This advertisement quickly became one of the most controversial Superbowl commercials, as it features the song “America the Beautiful” sung in many different languages. The company thought this piece would be well-received, as it showcased the diversity of our country. TV viewers, however, thought differently, as they were appalled the company even thought about singing “America the Beautiful” in anything other than English. Personally, I think the uproar was overdramatic, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

 

The last advertisement I want to touch on is one that I absolutely did not like: Volkswagen’s “Wings”.

Personally, I did not find this commercial fun at all. To make it even worse, I also hate that I can tell how hard they tried. The special effects do nothing for the commercial, except maybe make it more ridiculous than the story line already was (if that’s even possible). Again, I know other people enjoyed this commercial, but I definitely did not.

 

Again, I was overall unimpressed with the Superbowl commercials this year. Obviously there were many others I could have touched on but did not.

Let me know which commercials you did or did not like in the comments!

GE’s Childlike Imagination

 

GE’s newest commercial, found below, aired on Feb. 6 during NBC’s Winter Olympic Coverage. The company teamed up with BBDO New York, a worldwide advertising agency network, to create this beautiful advertisement.

The advertisement highlights the company’s integral role in building underwater power sources fueled by moonlight, connecting healthcare institutions through mobile devices and helping create environmentally friendly trains. The ad is part of a larger effort to show off GE’s operations and products, which can often be confusing the the typical consumer. The advertisement also illustrates how GE is stretching human imagination to create such brilliant machines that will have a large impact on the world.

While the advertisement is very informative about GE’s operations, it is critical to note the use of the child’s voice. The company uses a child’s voice to explain what the $140 billion corporation actually does and makes it appear as though GE’s came from a child’s imagination, when in reality, these inventions will impact everyone on the planet.

Linda Boff, GE’s executive director of global brand marketing, noted that using a child was more captivating to audiences. “It signals a way for us to tell our whole story in an innocent way as the company increasingly focused on big things.”

The young girl also adds an emotional element as she explains how her mother works at the company and is involved in every one of these efforts.

Frontline’s “Generation Like”

PBS Frontline aired a special, titled “Generation Like“, on Tuesday, Feb. 18. This special, a sort of follow up to their special, titled “Merchants of Cool”, which aired in 2001, discussed the relationship young teens have with technology and social media.

Frontline correspondent, Douglas Rushkoff, speaks with many teens about their online activity. One young woman he interviewed spent roughly 4-5 hours per day liking, retweeting and posting various social media for the Hunger Games. All the activity she created during these hours were transferred into “sparks”, a sort of currency on a Hunger Games fan-site. But what do these sparks get her? Recognition by other fans and perhaps a star or two.

So is this young woman aware that her online activity is not just getting recognition for herself, but rather for the Hunger Games industry as well? It appeared as though she knew, but it did not seem to matter much.

Rushkoff also spoke with Tyler Oakley, a YouTuber with over 3 million subscribers and 250 videos. Oakley began recording YouTube videos when he went away to college as a way to keep in touch with his friends. He quickly realized his videos were reaching many more people than what he originally though and began to post videos more frequently. Oakley gained a record amount of YouTube subscribers just by talking about things he liked, that companies became involved in his channel. He has received sponsors for his videos, and has been asked to attend large events, such as MTV’s Music Awards. While these deals bring Oakley more attention from fans, they are also bring attention to the sponsors.

“You are what you like,” Rushkoff stated. When an individual begins “liking” companies or celebrities on social media, data is being recorded. Those companies have information about the individuals likes and dislikes, making it easier and more effective to market to them. This increase in technology has also turned marketing in a different direction.

Frontline’s “Merchants of Cool”, focused mainly on advertisers attempts to get individuals involved in their marketing strategies. In 2001, marketers were spending most of their time trying to persuade and cajole individuals into buying their products or getting involved in their company. Corporations were chasing young adults down, trying to influence their purchases by making their products seem “cool”.

Now, however, it seems that these teens and young adults are running towards the companies. With so many individuals interacting with companies and products through social media platforms, “the consumer has become the marketer” which has made the marketers job much simpler.

While I definitely think my peers and I fall into this realm of “like” obsessed individuals, I cannot imagine begin a teenager and dealing with this. One of my favorite statements from the special is the following:

“This generation has grown up in this arena of likes, so it is no wonder they’re becoming masters of manipulation themselves.”

I feel as though this statement does an excellent job of wrapping up just what “Generation Like” was trying to say. I truly think it is great that consumers are more involved in marketing than they have ever been, however, should “likes” and online approval be so important to the youngsters of our world? Should it be okay for companies to use teenagers and young adults to get their message across?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Coca-Cola Pulls All Advertisements

Many companies have used advertisements to create public awareness in the past, but for the first time, a company is redirecting all advertising space to a good cause. Coca-Cola, however, has recently gone above and beyond.

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Originally, Coca-Cola planned to donate about $2.5 million to relief funds in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, but later expanded their plan. They company announced on November 15, that beginning November 18, any money that would normally be spent on advertisements would be redirected towards relief efforts, with no set end-date.

The company’s statement stated that “any committed advertising space will be redirected to the relief and rebuilding efforts for the people of Visayas.”

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Coca-Cola employees pack relief goods for victims in the Philippines.

(taken from the Coca-Cola website)

 

Coca-Cola began donating bottled water to the Philippine Red Cross immediately after the storm and had donated about 129,000 cases of water to affected communities by the end of one week. Since then, the company has  donated over $25 million to the relief fund. Coca-Cola Philippines is also providing $1 million for “additional relief initiatives, community rehabilitation, and to assist small, independent customers with reconstruction.”

The Coca-Cola company has worked with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies regularly since 1917.

While Coca-Cola may not be advertising their products for the next couple weeks, they are still receiving excellent praise and coverage. Coca-Cola did not have to send so much help to the town of Visayas, but chose to simply because they were able to. The fact that the company chose to start this project because it can says more about the company than any advertisement ever could. I’m not saying the company didn’t consider the great public relations that would come from this project, since I’m sure they did. But choosing to donate so much time, money and resources shows the company going above and beyond just looking for easy PR.

Personally, I think that Coca-Cola’s initiative is quite amazing. The company is showing just how globally aware they really are, which is important since they are the world’s largest beverage company. 

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The communities of the Philippines still need help. You can donate to this great cause at The American Red Cross’ website.

Black Friday Apps

The other day I was searching through the App Store for a new game, but came across something I wasn’t expecting at all. I think I should preface this with the fact that I have never been shopping on Black Friday, so I don’t really understand all the hype. That being said, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that quite a few of the “top apps” were for Black Friday. Even though I don’t fully understand the excitement over this “holiday”, I thought this was interesting and decided to look more into it.

The first thing I did was search “black friday” in the App Store, which returned a whopping 98 results! Granted, I didn’t look through all of the apps that came up, so they might not all be actually about it, but, still. Ninety-eight!

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 3.32.50 PM Since I was so shocked to see that number, I looked online to see if there was something I was missing. The first thing I found was an article on Forbes, titled “Essential Apps for Black Friday And Cyber Monday Shopping Deals”. Again, I was surprised to see this on Forbes.

But I guess I shouldn’t have been.

After reading the article, I realized that these apps are actually very logical and definitely a smart move on the stores’ part. The article mentions Asurion, a company that conducted a survey, asking 1000 participants about their Black Friday plans. The survey found that nearly half (49%) “of shoppers will make [Black Friday] purchases from their smart phones.” These shoppers are looking to make their experience smoother and avoid crowds all-together, by shopping from home.

Cisco studies, indicate that shoppers are planning to purchase at stores whose applications provide them with the most information, including digital coupons, location of items and the ability to order out-of-stock items while in the store. The Forbes article continues on to list three apps which have been ranked high on Applause, an app analytics tool. The apps included are “Shopular”, “Zoomingo” and “PoachIt”. Each of these offer coupon/sale alerts when you enter different stores, as well as comment sections so consumers can help consumers.

The app I looked into most is called “Black Friday 2013 Ads App” by Sazze, Inc.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 4.51.49 PMThe app has 850 reviews, most of which include phrases like “Best source for info on Black Friday” or “very useful” or “love this app”. The app’s description is pictured below:

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The features of the app are interesting to me. The fact that “breaking news” and “leaked ads” are now a part of Black Friday seems crazy. (But again, I don’t get the hype.) If I were to go shopping on Black Friday, though, I think this app would be very helpful, especially being able to sort deals by store or category and having the capability to compare different stores’ prices.

I guess after my initial shock of seeing apps specifically for Black Friday, I can definitely understand how smart of a move they actually are. With the majority of society using smartphones and tablets, these apps will help make Black Friday a bigger success for those crazy midnight shoppers. Not to mention, if so many people are now shopping straight from their devices, Black Friday won’t be so dangerous this year.