The Monthly Report Card: June

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

(1). Major League Soccer – Miguel

1 MLS

Grade: A

Miguel, a Grammy winning singer/songwriter and fan of the Los Angeles Galaxy, partnered with MLS for their ‘Our Soccer’ campaign. Miguel not fitting into the normal soccer fan was exactly what MLS wanted. He represented the spirit and diversity of the MLS. What makes this commercial a step above other professional league commercials is the ability to show where soccer began for many and who represents the sport. Miguel’s voiceover that described ‘Our Soccer’ was intense and painted an impactful image for viewers on how soccer effects people’s lives.

(2). Wells Fargo – Landon Donovan

2 wells fargo

Grade: A-

Landon Donovan, player for the US National Soccer Team, partnered with Wells Fargo for a 360-marketing campaign. In the Wells Fargo commercial, Donovan was supporting the Mexico National Team for the World Cup. Wells Fargo selected the correct celebrity for this campaign because they tied Donovan to his roots. Donovan grew up and played in the MLS with Mexican players. He has supported them even though he did not make the World Cup. Donovan on social media used #MyOtherTeamIsMexico to tie the World Cup and the Wells Fargo campaign full circle.

(3). Sonic – Ellie Kemper & Jane Krakowski

3 sonic

Grade: B-

Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski are back sitting in a car trying to be hysterical for the Sonic commercial, this one was a better attempt than past commercials. Even though it was predictable, they embraced their roles from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and bantered like they do in the show. Their improv may have made a new word to describe food. “Flispy” is how Krakowski called Sonic Chicken Tenders, flavorful and crispy. If American’s catch on, this Sonic commercial could become a major success…by creating a new word to explain fast food.

(4). Adidas – Various

4 adidas

Grade: A

Adidas “re-engineered” how to advertise with this campaign. They released “Create the Answers” campaign during the World Cup. Adidas used 56 different celebrities from around the world, including Leo Messi, David Beckham, Von Miller and Pharrell Williams. Adidas’s message was to ‘ignore the script’ and create your own reality. Adidas did that themselves in this commercial. While their campaign was not favorably viewed, Adidas has launched themselves ahead in the celebrity marketing and advertising categories.

(5). Adidas – James Harden

5 adidas

Grade: A

James Harden was featured in the new Adidas commercialDreams Become Reality” days after winning the NBA’s MVP award. Harden’s mother, Monja Willis, was also featured in the commercial by having a voiceover about how hard Harden worked to be the best he could. The commercial was centered around a note he wrote his mother about being a star when he grew up. Adidas’ campaign showed viewers that stars started somewhere and that their hard work and dedication got them to where they are today. There could not have been a better time to release this commercial.

(6). Perfect Night – Corona Premier

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Grade: A

Everyone has those summer nights outside with their friends that they never want to end. Corona Premier uses a creative way to make the night keep going in their ‘Perfect Night’ commercial. Once the candle burns out, they use a phone flashlight and a full Corona Premier bottle to create light for the table. ‘I Turn You On’ by The Isley Brothers sets the background for the perfect night lakeside with friends.

(7). Coca-Cola – Hannes Þór Halldórsson & Iceland National Team

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Grade: A

This Icelandic Coca-Cola commercial was intended for only Iceland, yet it got international success. This commercial was directed by Hannes Þór Halldórsson, Goalkeeper for the Iceland National Team. The commercial takes you through the lives of Icelandic citizens and how the World Cup, like Coca-Cola, brings the country together. Hannes builds everyone up to this moment where his teammate, Birkir Bjarnason scores a winning goal and the whole country is celebrating…with a Coca-Cola in hand of course. While there are few words the viewer can feel the emotions surrounding the World Cup.

(8). Gatorade – Lionel Messi & Luis Suárez

8 gatorade

Grade: B

Gatorade is pushing into the soccer world by creating a sport specific drink, Gatorade Football Energy. What better two people to promote this than friends on and off the field, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. When it comes to playing for their national teams, the players compete harder than they have before. In the ‘Everything Changes’ campaign, Gatorade uses this rivalry to their advantage and amplifies it in this commercial. Both players prepare for the game by drinking Gatorade Football Energy. While the full version drags on, the 60 second time slot makes a statement for Gatorade’s new target market.

(9). Heineken – ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli’s

9 Heineken

Grade: B

Released at the end of June, Heineken had a World Cup themed commercial. It was about two people that looked as if they were in love and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Frankie Valli made you think they were in love. Then, the camera changed views and showed them actually mesmerized by the soccer team on the television. After the team won, the two ran into each other while celebrating over a Heineken. After becoming the Official Beer of the MLS, it was strategic for Heineken to release a commercial for the World Cup. Their attempt at this, however, was another predictable beer celebration commercial that after seeing it a few times, gets old.

(10). Pepsi/Uncle Drew – Kyrie Irving

10 pepsi

Grade: A+

What started as a YouTube video campaign in 2012 has turned into a big screen movie collaboration. Celebrity Kyrie Irving, promoted Pepsi back in 2012 by creating the character Uncle Drew releasing five-minute videos. Irving has now brought that character to life in a movie titled Uncle Drew. During the time of the movie release, Pepsi created commercials with Irving to promote both Pepsi and Uncle Drew. ‘Timeless’ transitions through history with Uncle Drew (Irving) and Pepsi. The campaign shows that no matter what, Pepsi has always been there throughout the years.

photo credits: YouTube

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NBA Playoffs vs. Primetime Television Celebrity Marketing

nike

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)

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

1 Victoria Secret

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

2 anna faris

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

4 pepsi

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

5 mcdonalds

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

10 mountain dew

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

Embracing Change: Why Celebrity Marketing Looks Beyond Facebook to be Effective

reddit (giphy)

The growing trends of consumer dissatisfaction with social media privacy is a roadblock that marketers can avoid with the right strategies in place.

For good reason, headlines around the world have been dominated by ongoing problems for the world’s first social media giant. Privacy has always been a concern for consumers but the issue has flared up again with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

It is important to understand the nuance behind the issue. Social media companies and corporation have been utilizing data legally obtained from users who sign terms of service for years and it has let to features like micro and geo-targeting.

The current controversy deals with the illegal collection of data through a third-party research firm who violated Facebook’s terms of service and multiple requests for deletion of data. As usual, the optics are terrible despite Facebook’s good intentions, while consumers are growing impatient with the lack of progress in privacy standards.

Not too long ago, people were calling on Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to run for President, now he is being called to testify in front of Congress for his company’s shortcomings.

The advent of social media has been a boon for marketers and advertisers, providing endless opportunities to interact with consumers and tailor brand identities, but anticipating change is a much more universal and time-tested marketing tool.

With this in mind, marketers should be very wary not to have a reliance on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by diversifying their ad spend in other mediums.

Television is a tried and true marketing method and will remain so, but more surprising is the relevancy of audio advertising (radio and streaming) in the age of social media. Studies continue to show that radio is still healthy in the ROI department and streaming will become a global standard with the rise of AI home assistants/speakers.

This does not negate the effectiveness of social media marketing however, but there are plenty other up and coming platforms that marketers should be aware of.

Of course there is Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram (I include Instagram even though they are owned by Facebook due to the lack of personal information needed on the platform). There are many other niche sites that can be used to target consumers; check out this great list from Hootsuite.

Other platforms like YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr, and LinkedIn are sites striving to protect their marketing integrity and are free of the issues plaguing Facebook. Diversifying your brand’s digital/traditional footprint by moving away from a Facebook monopoly is a great way to insulate your brand from future scandals involving the privacy of consumers.

photo credit: reddit via (giphy)

What Apple’s Viral HomePod Ad with FKA Twigs Tells Us About Celebrity Marketing

VladJanuary (flickr)

With the viral success of Apple’s ad for its newest product line, what can brands learn to boost the effectiveness of their celebrity marketing campaigns?

In June of 2017, Apple announced their intention to enter the wireless speaker/AI assistant market with their new HomePod line. It marked a significant new step away from the brand’s identity of traditional hardware, but an acknowledgment of the changing pace of the device marketplace.

However, consumers were already well aware that Apple was lagging behind Amazon and Google in this tech sector, so how did Apple’s marketing strategy combat this?

For nearly two decades, Apple’s brand identity has been centered on music. After all, they invented iTunes which dominated the early digital music market and made the iPod a global phenomenon.

They have stressed that the HomePod will be a “music-first” device and followed up that brand message with an ad/short film directed by Spike Jonze and featuring FKA Twigs that quickly gained viral status.

Here’s what this viral spot tells us about celebrity marketing:

1). Incorporating Celebrities’ Talents Can Elevate a Brand’s Message

Any consumer who watched this short film will immediately remember the old iPod campaigns with silhouette dancers and vibrant color pallets, which we must assume was the intention.

Clearly Apple wanted to continue but modernize their core message. For this they used an Oscar winning director, Spike Jonze and a world-renowned dancer/musician, FKA Twigs.

Many outlets praised the ad simply for the credentials of those involved, which gave consumers an early perception of quality of the spot and the brand.

Celebrities in their natural environments not only produce better quality marketing tools, but it streamlines the planning process by encouraging innovation from the artists.

2). Implementing Cause and Artistic License is a Sure-Fire Way to Success

While maintaining the brand message, creative license was taken to incorporate concepts of dealing with depression. During the film, Twigs uses the music that Apple can provide to overcome her feelings of repetition and despare from her career.

It is important for marketers not to take this element to far however. There is often a fine line between partnering or discussing a cause and taking advantage of it to sell products. Consumers are attentive and do not enjoy faux-cause marketing strategies.

Regardless, there is little doubt that the creative element of the ad has led to its viral success. The colorful set has also driven extra content about the ad on social media. The best ads rarely need pinpoint cooperation to show their value. Seeing the passion of everyone involved to discuss their product proves that the correct creative priorities can reinforce a brand’s message.

3). The Ad Directing Trend is Here to Stay

Add this spot to the growing list of short films that have been produced by Hollywood regulars for various brands. Walmart enlisted the talents of Dee Rees (Mudbound), Melissa McCarthy and Nancy Meyers for an Oscars campaign. Apple is no stranger to using this method having first done a similar project with Ridley Scott in 1984 when launching the Macintosh computer.

This method will only continue to prove its power of innovation in the advertising industry. Brands with short films have received very positive responses and it is a great way to partner with celebrity influencers to make use of their talents.

photo credit: VladJanuary via (flickr)

How to Properly Track the Results of Your Celebrity Marketing Campaign

Tony Babel (giphy)

To maximize ROI, the statistics of a celebrity influencer campaign analyze the impact and aid future learning.

Celebrity influencer campaigns are fast becoming one of the pillars of marketing in many industries and almost all of these happen in the digital sphere. Whether social media activations, streaming events or website ads, the potential for making unique impressions is massive.

Traditional media relied on sources like Nielsen ratings or simply sales figures to tell them how impactful their ad campaign was, but times have changed.

Marketers today need to understand the importance of measuring your campaign’s success, not just through the use of social media analytics. A combination of data streams will provide a much better proof of your methods and can help refine or reinforce a brand’s message.

Here are three ways marketers can properly track results of their campaigns.

1). Treat Social Media Platforms as your Friend, but not your Spouse

At present, many brands receive data for their campaigns from sources that focus on the Big 3 platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These form the backbone of analysis for marketers, but it should not be the only source you rely on.

Diversity of data sources is never a bad thing.

2). Track Real Time Data of Competitors 

Now I’m not advocating you create a corporate espionage division, but public data that details your competitor’s activities can be invaluable to strategizing your brand’s approach to a campaign.

Programs like Rival IQ and quintly are great sources for data.

Say for example your beverage brand wants to break into a community of consumers who love a certain activity. If a competitor already attempted reaching consumers with an influencer and met severe resistance to corporate influence, you can tailor your message or perhaps avoid the space and learn from others.

3). Search Engines are a Treasure Trove

I’m not sure where search engines rank on the all-time best inventions list, but their impact is pervasive. According to SmartInsights.com, a total of 1.2 trillion searches are made each year. To put that into perspective, that’s 164 searches for every person on Earth.

With this much activity, marketers can take advantage of data available from search engines to show how campaigns increased online traffic relating to their products.

Programs like Clicky, Moz, and Google Analytics are the premier sources for this data.

You don’t need a complex analytics degree to properly track the success of your celebrity influencer campaign, you just need to know where to start. If you want to take the gut feeling out of your marketing decisions, quantify choices and increase confidence, look to these programs to increase your ROI.

gif credit: Tony Babel via (giphy)

Why Voice-Over Partnerships are Still Important to Celebrity Marketing

Tommy Lopez (pexels)How consumer trends are shaping voice-overs and how your brand can benefit.

Partnerships don’t need an appearance on camera to be effective. Voice work existed long before television marketing in the form of the radio, which may make the practice seem dated. However, current consumer data continues to prove voice-overs are an effective marketing tool.

Previously I outlined “Five Reasons to Add Celebrity Voice-Overs,” but here I want to revisit voice-overs in celebrity marketing and its relevance in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Here are three reasons voice-overs are still valuable to celebrity marketers.

1). The Emotional Connection

If you are a regular reader you understand my fondness for personalization in digital marketing. This concept should extend to the traditional voice-over medium as well.

A recently released survey of marketing professionals compiled by Voices.com found the most desired element in a voice-over partnership was maximizing the emotional connection to consumers.

Now that sounds quite vague and it’s supposed to be. The magic of celebrity marketing firms like Burns is an ability to identify the best candidate to achieve emotional connection.

Even if the celebrity isn’t a recognizable A-lister, the right voice can elevate a brand’s connection to consumers.

2). The Potential for Broader Demographic Reach

Voice-over marketing does not have to be restricted to a commercial setting. With the evolving world of advertising moving towards digital monopoly, marketers can preempt the trend by incorporating voice-overs into their digital marketing.

As voice actress Joan Baker puts it, “It seems more and more [that] technology leads to the need for more voices to humanize the tech experience. It’s the nature of communication to want to spread information to a wider and wider range of people, and people overwhelmingly prefer to be spoken to by other people.”

Another finding by the Voices.com study backs up Baker’s point. At 93%, a large majority of consumers would rather hear a natural voice over an artificial one.

This gives marketers a great opportunity to apply voice-overs to their digital marketing strategies to personalize customer experiences and better shape an online identity.

3). The Ability to Re-brand

Voice-overs are also a great way to kick off a re-branding process. Many brands including Allstate, Progressive, Coors and Weight-Watchers had massive success establishing their voice.

Carl’s Jr. and Hardees’ is a great example. They have taken a lot of flack over the years for their controversial advertising campaigns that objectify women, but recently shifted strategy with a new partnership. Using Matthew McConaughey in a voice-over, they re-established their brand with a recognizable voice who immediately associated the brand with southern comforts.

They may not be the best quality or most viral ads on the planet, but sometimes they don’t need to be. Using voice-overs in celebrity marketing is still a highly effective means of emotionally connecting with customers and building the brand. The data proves it.

photo credit: Tommy Lopez via (pexels)