The Monthly Report Card: November

(1.) Amazon – Jackson Five

Grade B+

Amazon set the bar high with their new holiday ad featuring the infamous singing boxes and a remake of Jackson Five’s ‘Can You Feel It?’. This year the singing boxes dance too!  As the boxes venture out of the warehouse, their journey to your home begins and it sure is an exciting one. You’ll catch yourself jamming out and maybe even dancing along with them because the joy in this ad is absolutely contagious. The spot closes with a little girl shhhhing the Amazon box on her dresser. She rolls on her side and gazes into the snow globe that’s resting beside her.

(2.) JBL – ‘Booth’ by Shakira

Grade A+ 

JBL boasts about their wireless headphones in their new ad series which show ordinary people truly getting lost in the music. In this spot, which is part of the series, a woman is grocery shopping with her wireless headphones and listening to Shakira’s ‘Booth’. She is dancing and singing as if she were the real Shakira all while weighing an apple in the produce aisle. Each spot in the series is very funny. Thanks to JBL’s unparalleled pro sound quality the individuals sing and dance as if they’re the actual artist recording in the studio. JBL hit a home run with these ads. They are hilarious and market the product well too.

(3.) SKYY Vodka – John Cena

Grade C+

WWE star John Cena is proudly American. He “pledges allegiance to the American dream,” in the new SKYY ad which touches on all the freedoms that make living in America great. Like debating whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza or running in a city-run charity race. The spot falls short in several ways but mainly in its use of patriotism, since SKYY is not even made in America. Something original and more on-brand would probably sell better. Better luck next time.

(4.) Carl’s Jr. – Celeste Barber

Grade B+

Carl’s Jr. spoofs their own ad in their new spot with comic Celeste Barber. In 2005, Paris Hilton starred in a Carl’s Jr. ad. In it she wore a skimpy bikini while washing a shiny black Bentley and posing with a Carl’s Jr. burger. Not surprisingly, the spot garnered heavy critique. The 2018 version features Barber in a wet suit washing a station wagon and its hilarious (as if the fact that Carl’s Jr. is poking fun at themselves wasn’t funny enough).

(5.) Brita – Stephen Curry, Anwar Jibawi

Grade A+

Steph Curry joins Anwar Jibwai and his family for Thanksgiving dinner in Brita’s ‘Home for the Holidays’ ad. But there’s a plot twist – Jibwai plays the role of each family member – mom, dad and grandpa. Jibwai’s mom keeps adding plastic water bottles to the table and the family barks at her for it (and rightfully so). Its ironic really, drinking from a plastic bottle while giving thanks. Brita highlights the gravity of plastic waste. “I got you fam,” Curry chimes in as he pulls out his Brita. Jibwai’s father dabs in response. All in all the ad highlights the gravity of plastic waste and the delivery is entertaining too.

(6.) Ancestry – Kelly Ripa

Grade B+

Kelly Ripa is eager to share her AncestryDNA results with everyone. The spot opens with Ripa ordering from a bakery in what appears to be a cross between English an Italian. “74% Italian,” Ripa exclaims as she opens the Ancestry app on her phone to show everyone the details. Most notably, Ripa is able to see her ancestors’ migration path from. “South Italia to exotico New Jersey,” she jokes. The ad is quirky and Ripa nails the linguistic sarcasm.

(7.) Cadillac – ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj

Grade B

This new ad is Cadillac’s second since the brand promised they’d shift to a more positive tone. In this spot a group of women piles into the 2019 XT4 and drive through the city. The new vehicle is said to “make driving joyful once again,” and the spot sure does deliver in terms of joyfulness. For starters the ad opens with Ariana Grande singing, “she got a booty like a Cadillac,” from her hit ‘Bang Bang’. The song is an excellent choice and emphasizes the automakers new tone shift – especially in comparison to the orchestral tunes of Cadillac’s past ads. The XT4 is their first new vehicle in years and this ad brings every ounce of energy to the table.

(8.) VISA – Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Marcus Brandon

Grade A+

Saquon Barkley boasts about how easy it is to tap and pay with VISA. He shows Eli Manning how to use VISA’s new feature when Manning is checking out at the pharmacy. Eli grins and his schema begins. Next at the grocery store checkout, Eli asks Barkley to remind him “how do you do that card thingy again?” when its time to pay. Barkley taps to pay for Eli and then the two meet again at a vending machine. Barkley has finally caught on, “I’m not falling for that again,” (or so he thinks). “Falling for what?” asks Marcus Brandon as he joins the two at the vending machine. “How I tap to pay with my visa,” Barkley explains. Brandon grabs the Gatorade and winks, “thanks bro.” By this point, you too are laughing at Barkley.


Email Marketing & The Power of The Celebrity

email marketingTrends come and go, but one thing is for sure—email is never going away.

By the end of 2020, there will be an estimated 255 million e-mail users in the U.S. alone. So, it’s time for mailers to incorporate celebrity endorsement marketing into emails. Doing so will make your email standout, because a recognizable face is sure to turn heads.

Email marketing can go one of two ways –1.) The content is irrelevant to customer’s life, they become annoyed and will likely unsubscribe or 2.) The content interests the customer enough that they are now reaching for their wallet or maybe forwarding the email to others. If the latter holds true, then cha ching we’re in business.

By implementing celebrity direct marketing into your email strategy, the open and click rate as well as number of purchases will likely soar. The celebrity makes otherwise “irrelevant content” relevant to consumers. A celebrity endorsement allows consumers to identify with the product or brand since it is now linked to a familiar face.

Persistence is crucial with email marketing. Since you are trying to create brand-recognition it is important that your brand is in as many inboxes as possible on a very regular basis. This way, a customer knows that every time they peak into their inbox, there will be something new from your company—wanted or unwanted.

Whether the customer chooses to ignore or act on that email is not the important takeaway here. It’s that your brand is in the forefront of their mind every time that customer thinks, “time to check my email”.

When a celebrity offers his or her name to a marketing campaign it is mutually beneficial. Lending one’s name to a nonprofit or other organization shows that the celebrity serves a higher purpose. Brand purpose is also well-received when aligned with a celebrity name or face.

It is your responsibility as the brand to bring immense value to the consumer through relevant content and of course, persistence. The smartest way to deliver value in such large quantities is through automated emails. If you aren’t already on board with automated emails, you need to get there—FAST! Email programs generate at least half of a company’s email marketing revenue. Tread lightly, the content should be organic and non-repetitive.

With increased value, comes increased trust. Implementing more personalized information into your email program makes the consumer feel wanted. It can be as simple as addressing the consumer by name, adding a signature line at the end or best of all a celebrity endorsement.

Photo credit: pixabay




The Monthly Report Card: October

Showcasing the best marketing use of celebrities & influencers

(1.) State Farm – Chris Paul and James Harden

Grade B+

State Farm proves that face-to-face customer service is irreplaceable in their new spot featuring Oscar Nuñez and Rockets teammates, Chris Paul and James Harden. The teammates appear defeated as they stand beside a totaled vehicle and Nuñez tries comforting them, insisting that it happens all the time. A RoboAgent struggles to make his way up the driveway in what appears to be a low-budget replica of State Farm’s Cole Perez (Nuñez). As the RoboAgents wandering eye beings to glitch, Nuñez asserts “these bots don’t have the compassion of a real State Farm agent.” The bot’s “I have compassion,” rebuttal causes a serious malfunction, water beings to spray out of his eyeballs and he loses control of his limbs. As the RoboAgent collapses on the car, CP3 and Harden realize State Farm’s customer service is unparalleled. The budget-friendly companies may save you money but in exchange you are left with a freaky and defunct customer service RoboAgent. CP3 and Harden’s furrowed brows speak for themselves, this spot is in-fact bizarre but it does get the point across.

(2.) Nespresso – George Clooney and Natalie Dormer

Grade B+

After slain the dragon to protect Dormer’s kingdom, Clooney declares, “the deed is done”. With that, the ad takes flight and Clooney’s quest for his reward begins. He walks through the screen as the short film is playing in a movie theater and heads out to the city streets. He claims his prize – a cup of Nespresso coffee and steps back through the screen and into the kingdom to show the queen his winnings. The queen asks if he brought enough Nespresso for the entire kingdom, Clooney shrugs and the scene cuts to the kingdom riding a double-decker bus to get themselves coffee. The ad features Peter Gabriel’s song, “Solsbury Hill”. Nespresso managed to escape the monotony of fairy-tale ads as the adventure poured into the city streets. Usually the theatrical spots are less than great but this one broke away from the norm and that made all the difference.

(3.) Ford – Bryan Cranston

Grade A

At the helm of Ford’s new “Built Ford Proud” campaign is Bryan Cranston. The spot opens with Cranston as the keynote speaker for this “future talk” forum. Ford is chock full of history, 115 years to be exact and the ad touches on that with clips of an old Ford factory. ‘The Future Is Built’ theme shines through as we catch a brief glimpse into the future of Ford automobiles.”Paint It Black,” by the Rolling Stones strings the clips of past, present and future together. In closing, Ford emphasizes that words mean nothing if there is no action to go with them,”Let the other guys keep dreaming about the future. We’ll be the ones building it.” Ford entrusted Cranston to revamp the brand and foreshadow what’s yet to come.

(4.) McDonald’s – Stevie Wonder


Grade B

McDonald’s played off of Stevie Wonder’s, “Superstition” song to create a timely, Halloween-themed ad. The spot follows a man as he leaves McDonald’s and is not phased by all of the stereo-typically superstitious things he encounters. He walks under a ladder and locks eyes with both a black crow and black cat. His focus is on the McDonalds Trick. Treat. Win! promotion. When he gets home he immediately peels the tab off of his Big Mac box to reveal whether or not he won a prize. In doing so, he knocks over the salt shaker but doesn’t even notice. With over 100 million prizes, McDonald’s suggests you don’t need luck to win which is why the ad debunks all commonplace superstitions.

(5.) Crate and Barrel – Reese Witherspoon

Grade B-

Viewers are addressed by Reese Witherspoon as her “soon-to-be bestie(s)” in Crate & Barrel’s new holiday campaign. Witherspoon is beaming with excitement about the gifts she bought for the holidays. She even bought two glass wine decanters – one for her new ‘bestie’ and one for herself.  Witherspoon’s holiday cheer is contagious as she graces the screen in her festive red blouse and lipstick. But debuting this ad before Halloween is outright premature.

(6.) Nike – Lebron James

Grade  A+ 

This ad debuted just days before Lebron James’s first game as an L.A. Laker. The G.O.A.T’s awe-inspiring narrative unfolds as Nike flashes back to Lebron’s days at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. To the tune of Aretha Franklin’s “People Get Ready,” the spot opens with a clip from 2003 featuring young Lebron in his post-draft interview. In it, naive Lebron tells the reporter he isn’t going to guarantee a championship. The scene quickly changes to wide-eyed Lebron claiming his first championship trophy in 2012. Nike also captures Lebron as a father and philanthropist. This ad is a truly remarkable representation of Nike’s, “It’s only crazy until you do it,” campaign.

(7.) Google Pixel – Frank Sinatra

Grade A

Struggling to capture all of the picture perfect moments in life is something everyone can relate to. In the new Google Pixel 3 ad, a montage of poorly-timed snapshots plays to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “Let Me Try Again.” Whether you’re mid-blink, the wind blows your hair into your face or maybe the action shot just barely makes it into the frame – these are all elements we as humans can’t control. Luckily, Google’s Pixel 3 TopShot combines frames from before and after the shutter was pressed, offering you the highest quality image and lifting the burden of ‘perfect timing’ off your shoulders. The series of imperfectly timed photos is funny, relatable and makes for a great selling point too.

(8.) Mac – Paul McCartney, Serena Williams, Oprah and Kermit Toil

Grade B

Apple revealed several new versions of their popular products this month alongside a new ad for the “Behind the Mac,” campaign. In it, we see Paul McCartney, Serena Williams, Oprah and Kermit the Frog among many others, working hard behind their Mac. Also shown are several common folk creating, studying and perusing behind their Mac. The collection of images entitled – “Make Something Wonderful,” is accompanied by Hauschka’s “Shy.” The black-and-white imagery is iconic for the brand, but perhaps Apple should consider changing things up a bit in the new year.

(9.) Wealthsimple – Skylar Diggins-Smith

Grade A

Investment adviser Wealthsimple sheds light on unequal pay within U.S. men’s and women’s professional sports, in their newest ad. The spot reveals the staggering difference between men’s and women’s rookie contracts and the amount they are paid. Wealthsimple cast two young, aspiring professional basketball players as the storytellers for this ad. Although the young girl in the video is a much more accomplished athlete, her rookie contract of $40,000 pales in comparison to the young boys – $4 million. For WNBA all-star Skylar Diggins-Smith these jarring statistics are a reality. Diggins-Smith and Wealthsimple are not arguing that NBA and WNBA players should be paid the same amount. Rather, they’re contending that WNBA players are entitled to a larger cut of the league’s revenue. By delivering this message straight from the mouths of the American youth and a WNBA all-star who has experienced this narrative first-hand, Wealthsimple sends the message loud and clear.

(10.) Beats – Halsey and Zane Lowe

Grade B+

The spot opens with an interview between radio host Zane Lowe and Halsey who sheds light on the challenges she faced recording her single “Without Me”. The ad cuts to Halsey laying in bed restless. With her Beats draped around her neck, she struggles to pin down the lyrics and melody. When she finally enters the recording studio, and puts on her Beats Audio Studio 3 Wireless headphones, Halsey absolute nails the recording. Its not often that we see an artists’ creative struggle within the comfort of her own home. This spot gives the audience a chance to do just that and more – follow along as Halsey overcomes artistic obstacles.

Consider Infusing Humor & Celebrity Marketing Into Your Brand’s Holiday Campaign


Brands are often reluctant to use humor despite its ability to convey a message both tastefully and effectively.

Humorous ads tend to stick with consumers much better than traditional, non-humorous advertising. And although there is no guarantee it is definitely worth a shot this holiday season.

The logic is pretty simple if you think about it. The holidays revolve around laughter and cheer. When an advertisement makes you laugh, you’re prompted to share it with family and friends so that they too can get a kick out of it. This concept of “share-ability” helps a brand spread their message and extend campaign’s overall reach. Humor elevates both the humanness and authenticity of an ad. In turn, audience members identify more easily with the brand.

Brands usually grow their ad spend budget during the holiday season due to the influx of shoppers perusing the web. So the holidays are a perfect time to dabble with humor, even if it is for the first time.

Pou-Pourri aired their,“You’ve Been Doing the Holidays All Wrong,” campaign during last year’s holiday season. Comic JP Sears and Pou-Pourri regular, Bethany Woodruff were the perfect, red-haired duo for the ad. In it, they touch on common woes of gift-giving like spending money on a gift someone may end up hating. The ad suggests you stop stressing over what holiday shopping and give Pou-Pourri as a gift. It’s the perfect gift for everyone on your list or at least,  “if they are human and they poop,” Woodruff exclaims.

Humor is beneficial on all platforms, not just television – Chick-fil-A’s billboards are an iconic signage example. Although some find the humor to be a bit cheesy, it is a marketing tactic that has withstood the test of time.

It’s important to keep in mind that humor can be damaging to your brand if you do not use it with caution. Steer clear of anything that has the potential to be offensive. This sort of humor can be detrimental to your brand. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the insulting and racy remarks entirely. Politically driven humor will also likely fall flat during the holidays.

Sometimes, CMO’s hesitate to use humor out of fear that their brand will be taken less seriously. This simply is not true, as long as it is properly executed. Humor will provide a refreshing brand detour from the monotony of non-humorous campaigns. And now that your brand is a lot less dull, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the heightened appeal and even better, more business!

Photo credit: Shawn Latta (flickr)

The Monthly Report Card: September

Showcasing industry best practices and providing insight into best use of celebrities and influencers. 

(1.) Nike—Colin Kaepernick


Grade A

Nike commemorated the 30th anniversary of their, “Just Do It,” campaign this month. During the 2016 NFL season, Colin Kaepernick brought attention to racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Great controversy arose once the kneeling escalated into a social movement and in 2017 Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers. Nike debuted their new Dream Crazy campaign, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing Everything,” with Kaepernick as the face of inspiration. Although the campaign had immediate backlash, such as the burning of Nike sneakers it had a favorable impact on sales—as Nike saw a 31% increase. Lebron James, Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquem Griffin, Lacey Baker, and Serena Williams are among others taking part in the campaign which encourages you to follow even the wildest of dreams. “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.” #justdoit

(2.) Hulu—James Harden


Grade B+

Hulu’s ‘Never Get Hulu’ commercial made its debut during the 2018 Emmys awards show on NBC. The spot opens with Houston Rocket’s James Harden suggesting that the audience listen carefully. The reverse-psychology ad relies on celebrity joke-telling in what feels like a very desperate attempt to mock their competitor’s “Netflix Is A Joke” 2017 campaign (which made its debut during last year’s Emmys). Miles Brown, Samira Wiley, Sofia Vergara, Joe Manganiello, Sarah Silverman and Jared Goff also appear in the ad. The overwhelming celebrity variety was a deliberate effort to better represent all of the content that Hulu offers—and it did. Although the cast was superb, the reverse-psychology felt passé and was quite literally unoriginal.

(3.) Levi’s—Aretha Franklin


Grade A+

Levi’s ‘Use Your Vote’ commercial is a call to action—specifically encouraging millennials to get to the polls and vote. The spot is also commemorative of Aretha Franklin as it features her song, “Think”. The commercial follows diverse individuals as they head to the polls. Each person is linked to the next not only in their choice to wear Levi clothing but also in their choice to exercise their right to vote. Levi’s also set up voter registration booths in select stores on National Voter Registration Day.  This ad is an excellent display of branding, Levi’s drove home their brand purpose all while catering to the millennial consumer.

(4.) Macys—Becky Hammon


Grade A+

Macy’s and BBDO continue the ‘Remarkable You’ campaign with six female professionals, each of whom is a star in their career. San Antonio Spurs assistant coach, Becky Hammon is perhaps the best known of the bunch. But Hammon is in great company—Mishaal Ashemimry (aerospace engineer), JoAnn Falletta (conductor and music director), Vanessa Beckman (teacher), Patricia Valoy (civil engineer) and Tiffiny Blacknell (public defender). The ad highlights each woman at the helm of their unique professional elements to the tune of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl”—a true image of female empowerment.

(5.) Verizon Fios—Gaten Matarazzo


Grade A

“Stranger Things” star Gaten Matarazzo, who made his debut as a FIOS spokesperson last year, resurfaces in Verizon’s ‘Good Neighbor’ ad. He sees his neighbor unloading a sweet new 4K TV but is shocked to find out he didn’t get FIOS to go along with it. Matarazzo explains how a fiber optic connection would help all of their devices work a lot better. The spot is simple, to the point and quirky with Matarazzo as the spokesperson.

(6.) Nissan—Naomi Osaka


Grade A

Naomi Osaka captured her first Grand Slam title and made her appearance as Nissan’s new global brand ambassador within days of one another. Nissan’s Japanese roots were highly attractive to Osaka, the first Japanese tennis player to win a women’s singles Grand Slam event. The partnership feels natural and Osaka embodies all that Nissan strives for. After all, Nissan’s slogan is, “Innovation that excites,” and Osaka’s victory exudes excitement.

(7.) Dior—Jennifer Lawrence


Grade B

Dior introduced their new JOY fragrance with Jennifer Lawrence as the face of the scent. JOY is Dior’s first new fragrance in 20 years. Lawrence’s face has become somewhat of an icon for Dior as she has worked with the brand for over six years. In the ad, Lawrence is wearing a stunning white gown as she lounges poolside. Each moment leaves her smiling—diving into the pool, basking in the sun, she even smiles as she reaches for a jellyfish and emerges from the pool in a sopping wet gown. Although the aesthetics of the ad are eye-grabbing, the smell that accompanies swimming in a pool is not one that people would be eager to douse themselves in.

(8.) Geico—Stefon Diggs


Grade A

In Geicos new spot, Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings grabs mail from his mailbox when the mail sticks to his hand. The mailbox, garbage bin and even a neighbor high-fiving Diggs as he jogs past his house, also stick to his hands, because “everything sticks to Stefon Diggs’ hands.” Across the street his neighbors are watching in awe, but for a different reason—it was so easy for them to save money on car insurance by switching to Geico. The Diggs’ spectacle is humorous and timely as it made its debut during Thursday Night Football.

photo credits: YouTube 

Catering to The Millennial Consumer


As more and more millennials shift from active to passive content consumption, it is important for brands to learn how to extend their reach to better serve this generation.

Millennials frequently consume news and other media via passive channels such as live stream video or podcasts. This means that more often than not, the millennial consumer chooses not to engage with or further question what they see and hear. In fact, Nielsen’s Millennials on Millennials Report found the generation to be a highly distracted audience in regards to their viewing habits. But since this generation’s actions hold authority, especially with spending, it is extremely important to cater to them. Fortunately, there are simple strategies for brands to use to rethink their ties to the millennial consumer.

Millennials are multitasking and they are quite good at it. It’s time to stop trying to convince them to do otherwise and start embracing their ability to do so. Scrolling on one’s smart phone or tablet during TV commercials is the most common form of millennial multitasking. Older generations who are more engaged audience members will likely change the channel during a commercial break rather than turning to their smartphone for entertainment.

Since millennials are plugged-in to multiple devices at once, reconsider your brand’s ad investment strategy. Rather than funneling the overwhelming majority into TV broadcast, split the investment more evenly among different platforms. Better yet, if your ad relates to a TV broadcast favored by millennials, promote a post right at the commercial break.

Make sure your brand has all bases covered. Since millennials are turning to up-and-coming media channels, sometimes instead of TV, your brand should be present across multiple platforms – especially live stream video and podcasts. Live stream video, specifically on Facebook and Instagram, are highly favored by millennials. The live aspect is much more appealing to viewers than a simple post on social media. A whopping 82% prefer a brand’s live stream video rather than a traditional social post.

Another popular channel among millennials is podcasts. They cover specific categories and although this narrows the scope of their topics it is also why podcasts are so relatable for listeners. 42% of millennial podcast followers tune in at least once a week. Podcasts delve right into trending subject matter and immediately the audience is hooked.

Your brand can easily get involved by sponsoring a podcast. Be sure to do some research so that you can choose a podcast wisely. Your brand’s purpose or product should fall naturally into the discussion and appeal to the targeted audience. By linking your brand to both the podcast’s hosts and their audience, the advertisement is mutually beneficial.

photo credit: Elizabeth Hahn (flickr)

Purposeful Branding

How Brands Can Distinguish Themselves and Serve A Purpose

Sometimes brand purpose gets lost in the shuffle. A strong brand purpose will tune consumers in to meaningful cultural conversation. Using social impact makes it easy to unleash your brands full potential. First remember to take analytics into account. Your brand can use consumer data to unveil relevant social issues – specifically ones that people truly care about. Quite often the data unfolds into a meaningful narrative.

Using big data, Amazon broke new ground to make organic food even more accessible. Their partnership with Whole Foods enabled customers to pre-order groceries and pick them up in store. But with newfound convenience there’s always a craving for even more convenience. Cue the Prime now app, which allowed pre-ordered groceries to be picked up curbside. And finally, delivered directly to your household. Amazon is innovative and always looking to fine-tune their product development, which is why they are extra attentive to consumer data.


After taking the analytics into consideration, nudge the consumer. Content overload makes them an easy target. Take full advantage of technology to help push consumers in the right direction. In order to make things as simple as possible, always provide users with the necessary tools to self-navigate. This way they still feel empowered even though the behavioral shift was induced.  Snapchat partnered with TurboVote to prompt users to register to vote. On voter registration day, a “Tap to complete registration” link appeared on voting-eligible user’s Snapchat profile. The app even offered new snap filters so that users could remind their friends to register as well.


snap 1         snap 2

Humans like tangibility and there is no better way to convey your brand’s purpose than with concrete change. Carlsberg’s new “Snap Packs” are an excellent example of one brand’s mission to go-green.










Plastic six-pack rings have long been a threat to marine wildlife. Carlsberg announced that their beers will now be held together with recyclable glue rather than plastic ring holders. The glue will save a whopping 1,200 tones of plastic annually. Carlsberg doesn’t own the rights to the glue and they did so intentionally. It’s not about competition, in fact Carlsberg CEO is hopeful that other breweries and beverage companies follow suit and swap in glue too!

In the 2018 Earned Brand study conducted by Edelman, sixty-four percent of participants said they are buying or not buying from brands based solely on the company’s stance on prevalent issues in society. By honing in on what your brand does rather than what it says, a narrative of brand purpose unfolds. Connecting brand purpose to a timely issue will leave a lasting impression on the consumer by evoking emotion.

photo credit: Atomic Taco (Flickr), Carlsberg

The Monthly Report Card: August

Showcasing industry best practices and providing insight into best use of celebrities and influencers.

(1). Nike – Serena Williams

Grade A+

Nike’s new Just Do It “Voice of Belief” ad features footage of Serena Williams as a young girl and it is awe-inspiring. The video cuts back and forth between clips and young Serena practicing her serve under her father’s instruction and present-day Serena, the world renown tennis superstar. The video tugs at the heart strings a bit as you see just how far Williams has come. Williams shared the video on twitter and some words of wisdom to all of the dreamers of the world, “If you don’t dare to try and chase your dreams, you’ll rob yourself the joy of doing it. Don’t just dream it.#JustDoIt.”

(2). Land O’ Lakes – Maggie Rose and Liz Rose


Grade A

Land O’ Lakes’s feminist spin-off of “Old Macdonald” aired on Women’s Equality Day—which celebrated its 98th anniversary of women’s suffrage this year. “She-I-O” celebrates the whopping number of female farmers in America—a group of women often overlooked. The term farmer has long been deemed as a man’s job. Liz Rose wrote the melody for female farmers who are ‘rewriting farming’ – after all women make up 30% of all U.S. farmers . The classic nursery rhyme spin-off launched Land O’ Lakes’s “All Together Better,” campaign, re-positioning the company as an agricultural cooperative that embraces female farmers.

(3). Samsung Galaxy Watch – Rita Ora


Grade B

Samsung’s new Galaxy watch boasts its enduring battery and standalone LTE. The commercial captures a woman leaving her house in the morning and follows her through her overnight in the woods and into the next day. There was no need for her to bring a charger but not just because there are no outlets in the woods. The new watch has an unparalleled battery life. The ad also hones in on the smartwatch’s music and health monitoring features all to the tune of British singer Rita Ora’s song “Stay Connected Longer”. Despite the songs popularity it didn’t work well with the vibe or message of the ad’s video content.

(4). Chef Boyardee – Lil Yachty and Donny Osmand


Grade B

Lil Yachty and Donny Osmond collaborated on a long overdue remix of Chef Boyardee’s 80s jingle, “Thank Goodness for Chef Boyardee,” and we are thankful they did. “Start the Par-dee” has a much-needed modern spin. Osmand’s role narrows the consumer age gap between older generations and young adults, mind you, who are much less familiar with the 90-year-old canned pasta. Despite the odd music video that accompanied it, the jingle is actually quite catchy. The brand chose this unlikely duo in hopes of reclaiming their role as a relevant player in the eyes of younger generations so the effort was certainly there.

(5). NBA 2K – Lebron James

Grade A+

Lebron James is featured as NBA 2K19’s cover athlete. This is James’s second appearance as 2K’s cover athlete but this year it’s the 20th anniversary special edition. The gold graphics feature phrases like, “KING” and “G.O.A.T.,” which resonates with 2K19’s theme – “to be the best, you have to take down the king.” The video really hit a home run with the music choice – hip-hop artist Jay Rock’s song “Win”. And Lebron was a timely choice for the special edition as he gains momentum for his first season in L.A.

(6). Budweiser x Jim Beam – Kassi Ashton


Grade B+

Legacy brand’s Budweiser and Jim Beam teamed up on the new Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager. In the introductory ad Bud’s Clydesdales are accompanied by the vocals of country music star Kassi Ashton. The new Copper Lager’s well-timed debut encourages beer and bourbon connoisseurs to clink glasses and celebrate the Repeal of Prohibition’s upcoming 85th anniversary. The collaboration is something truly remarkable in its appeal, uniqueness and history. The ad launches an innovative and exciting new brew – one that revamps traditional American beverage brands.

(7). Snickers – Elton John


Grade A-

Elton John and Boogie face off in an epic rap battle in the new Snickers candy bar ad. Snickers has long coined the phrase “You always lose your edge when you’re hungry.”  John belts out “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” but because he’s hungry his voice is off-key. Nothing a Snickers can’t fix and with that John transforms into Boogie and steals the show with his epic rap. Snickers makes its big debut in the hip-hop territory and Boogie dabbles with acting for the first time. As the legendary Elton John embarks on his farewell tour, Snickers put forth tremendous effort to appeal to audience members of all ages.

(8.) NFL – Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Jay Ajayi and DeAndre Hopkins


Grade A

The NFL kicked off the new season with their “Get Ready to Celebrate” multi-platform ad campaign. The ad focuses on the art of touchdown celebrations. We see Gurley, McCaffrey, Ajayi and Hopkins crafting their end zone dance moves in their free time. The ad is very genuine in its exposure of big-name NFL players as real people captured in very silly but human moments. This ad certainly worked in favor of the NFL rebranding themselves away from the “No Fun League” category, hopefully that will parley onto the field as well.

Partnering With Micro-Influencers Over Macro-Influencers

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When it comes to choosing an influencer for your brand it is not a numbers game.

Micro-influencers have a niche audience of dedicated followers wherein quality trumps quantity.

Recently deemed the marketing force of the future, micro-influencers usually have between 10K and 500K followers on each of their social platforms.

A common misconception is that an influencer must have a following 10 times the actual amount needed to bring value to a brand, but this is far from the truth! In fact, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) found that 96% of brands placed “quality of followers” at the top of their influencer checklist. “Credibility and reputation,” was a close second.

Lifestyle blogger Jordan Santos @jordanrisa partners with brands like Michael Kors and Dolce Vita. OPI recently named her their “it girl.”  She also has a knack for social advocacy and is on a mission to help end drunk driving by any means possible.

In her Instagram post above, Santos sports Michael Kors sneakers and a D.A.R.E t shirt—seamless execution of combining style and social advocacy.

Fitness and wellness guru Michelle Carigma @_modernfit has partnered with nearly all of the big names in sports—Addidas, Nike, and Under Armor—to name a few. She has also worked with Victoria Sport, Wanu water, Beats By Dre and Panera Bread. Like @jordanrisa, Carigma also works to intertwine style and social advocacy. Carigma pioneered the #WCWoman social movement which strives, “to break conformity and introduce the influential power of the modern woman.”

Engagement plays a huge role when looking at the quality of an influencer’s followers. A smaller following means higher engagement rates which parlays into more influence by said micro-influencer. Conversely, a macro-influencer with a larger following likely has lower engagement rates.

Not only is engagement measured in likes and comments but also by the ultimate trust an influencer must gain from their followers. Micro influencer, Nicholas Pakradooni has an average engagement rate of 6.57%. To put that in perspective, Kylie Jenner who is also in her early 20s averages at 3.84%.

Fashion influencer Nicholas Pakradooni @cholpak collaborates with brands such as H&M Man, ASOS, Swatch and Topman.

When it comes to authenticity, celebrities pale in comparison to micro-influencers. Partnering with micro influencers who are genuine in their shared interests and likeness for your brand can be more mutually beneficial than partnering with celebrity macro influencers.

photo credit: Automated Social (Flickr)

Changes in Betting: How it Will Impact Esports and Celebrities

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In America, the two largest activities surrounding major sporting events are fantasy football and betting.

With a law change in the US Supreme Court, states are now allowed to decide if they want to make sports betting legal. CEO of DraftKings, Jason Robins, said that he estimated an increase of over $15 billion in revenue in the fantasy sports industry alone if a majority of the states legalize sports betting.

In 2015, 25 percent of NFL’s television audience were bettors according to a Nielsen Sports study. When it came to sports coverage, bettors watched twice as much compared to non-bettors. With the legalization of sports betting, these numbers can only rise.

This law change could bring both a positive and negative impact on all major leagues and players with one obvious concern being that professional athletes could fix a game for celebrities and family.

Referees are probably more of a concern when it comes to fixing a game since their pay grade is significantly less than a professional athlete and could be easily manipulated by a monetary payout to throw a game affecting both the athletes and bettors. And imagine the effects it could bring on collegiate sports, athletes will no longer be playing for their school pride anymore but rather an easy way to make a quick buck since they are unpaid players.

Athletes and the leagues must try and keep the integrity of the sport in check and not succumb to outside influences to throw or fix a game. Once leagues figure out a way to get part of the profit and keep the game fair, they will be all in for sports betting.

Teams are even discussing whether to bet on games within their stadiums at booths, on team apps and/or attached to game streaming. These additions though risky, because they could receive backlash of creating a culture of gambling addicts, could make them tens to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Esports has grown to where fantasy leagues and betting are infiltrating the video game sector. The livestreaming platform Twitch, in 2017 had 2.2 million unique streamers with over 292 billion minutes watched.

Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Shaquille O’Neal have invested in esports. In 2015, Kutcher invested in Unikrn, a real time betting platform for gaming. With the legalization of sports betting, Unikrn will become more popular among bettors throughout the United States, in turn helping celebrity investors like Kutcher.

Esports is a sporting segment that only continues to grow and gain popularity among millennials. By the 2022 Asian Games, esports will become a medal event raising more awareness and creating new influencers and celebrities among the younger generations.

Even with all the views esports receives, this segment of marketing is only now being tapped into. Since esports is still progressing in popularity, marketers should take the risk and market on this gaming platform.

photo credit: Matthew King (Flickr)