The Monthly Report Card: July

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

(1). StubHub – Future, Todd Gurley & Albert Pujols

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Grade A

StubHub released a new marketing campaign centered around regret. Future proves that concert tickets to his show is better than a fancy dinner and boring birthday present. Todd Gurley is in a pottery class with a bachelorette party where the bride would rather be at a NFL game. Albert Pujols proves you should call your dad and invite him to a MLB game. Tying these commercials together with the slogan ‘Be There’ plays on the viewers heartstrings that they will probably regret the fancy dinner, pottery class and not calling your dad, but they won’t regret buying one of these live experiences with StubHub being the only way to get you there. StubHub is trying to change the way a consumer views them, from just selling tickets, to selling experiences.

 

(2). Ruby Tuesday – Rachel Dratch

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Grade D

At the beginning of 2018, Ruby Tuesday hired a new CEO who wanted to find a way to set the brand apart from the competitors. His first mistake was choosing a partnership with Rachel Dratch. Yes, Rachel Dratch certainly made the commercial different than competitors but not in a positive way. Even though the goal of the commercial was to target the younger crowd, it missed the mark mainly because the younger crowd most likely does not know who she is unless they watch old reruns of SNL. Her voices along with the annoying sub-par jokes would make any viewer change the channel quickly.

 

(3). Walmart – “Let’s Get it Started” by Black Eyed Peas

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Grade A

While Walmart is a household name, their back-to-school ‘Go Back Big’ campaign with “Let’s Get it Started” by the Black Eyed Peas brought more awareness to their brand with the 2003 song. The week of July 23, 2018 the commercial was the number three most Shazam’d commercial, yet again placing Walmart on another Shazam list with a successful music licensing partnership. With the help of the Black Eyed Peas, Walmart was able to stand apart from other back to school commercials because it showed the ease and excitement of back-to-school shopping using the Walmart app. With an overwhelmingly upbeat song, parents lining up-cheering and high-fiving their children as they run up excitedly to school for the first day, makes any parent dream that this is their child’s first day experience. A commercial like this, where the brand and song are benefiting, is definitely a successful music licensing campaign.

 

(4). Dick’s Sporting Goods – song by Nacey

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Grade A

The ‘Play Like You Own It’ campaign by Dick’s Sporting Goods was a refreshing summer sports commercial. It showed the dedication and hard work athletes put into off-season training. “I Own It” by Nacey caps off the campaign by giving it an upbeat feel without overpowering the underlying message of all the apparel and equipment offered at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

 

(5). Coca-Cola & FIFA – Jason Derulo

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Grade A

With the help of Burns Entertainment, Coca-Cola released their #Ready commercial after the beginning of the FIFA World Cup. “You Had Four Years” and “Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute” appeared on the screen to remind spectators not to be like the Jason Derulo or the other fans, missing any of the World Cup because they were not prepared with a Coca-Cola in hand for the game. Coca-Cola has one of the longest corporate partnerships with FIFA, having advertised in stadiums at every FIFA World Cup since 1950. Partnering with Jason Derulo this year, Coca-Cola commercials hit 185 countries before the beginning of the 2018 World Cup. Derulo and Coca-Cola also collaborated on the 2018 World Cup song, “Colors”, continuing that nostalgic relationship between FIFA and Coca-Cola.

 

(6). Gatorade – Serena Williams

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Grade B

Serena Williams, a mother of one, was featured in the Gatorade ‘Like a Mother’ commercial. The campaign shows that Serena did not return to greatness despite becoming a mother, but rather she has always been great because she plays #LikeAMother. She commentates, “you sacrifice, push through the pain, got back to work, gave 100% without any sleep, grew stronger, found an extra gear, never lost you, you created greatness, like a mother.” Gatorade exemplifies the drive that mothers have, much like athletes, and that being a mother is not a hurdle. Gatorade’s commercial is compelling and empowering to all women. The only hope is that viewers do not take the “like a mother”a derogatory way.

 

(7). Specialized – Peter Sagan (3x Cycling World Champion)

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Grade B+

Specialized used the Tour de France to promote the Turbo Electric Bike with the help of three-time Cycling World Champion Peter Sagan and Grandma Joan, creating a lighthearted, “friendly” competition commercial.  Grandma Joan, with two knee replacements and a pacemaker, ultimately wins the race against a world champion cyclist because of the Turbo e-bike. The brand Specialized is proving that “electric bikes are leveling the playing field for the future of cycling” and could be enough for the brand to see a large revenue boost in their turbo e-bikes sales.

 

(8). Rolex – Rickie Fowler

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Grade B

Rolex has been the Official Timekeeper of the U.S. Open since 1980. Their campaign with various golfers tells the story of how they became the golfer they are today. Rickie Fowler was a natural choice for Rolex because he regularly shows off his collection of Rolex watches on social media. Being sponsored by Rolex for a few years, Fowler’s commercial was inspirational and tells a story like every Rolex tells a story. He said, “If you keep being who you are, everything else falls into place.” Rolex makes it clear that the brand holds the same beliefs as Ricky Fowler and other golfers and share in the ambition for excellence and superior performance while making a name for themselves in their collective industry.

 

(9). Speedo – Olympic Swimmers

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Grade B

Celebrating swimming’s most decorated brand, Dripping In Gold features #TeamSpeedo Olympic Medalists Nathan Adrian, Missy Franklin, Conor Dwyer, Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel, Ryan Murphy, Kevin Cordes, Katie Meili, Hali Flickinger and Becca Meyers. Speedo is already jumping on the 2020 Summer Olympics marketing bandwagon with this commercial proving how trusted the brand is among athletes by showing them practicing in the apparel. Being the most trusted brand for over fifty years, Speedo took a subtle approach to show their achievements. Dripping in Gold is a creative way the brand ties the Olympics, athletes and the success of the brand together.

 

(10). Priceline – Kaley Cuoco

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Grade C-

Priceline has done nothing new in their latest commercial featuring Kaley Cuoco. The past two years she has stood in a hotel and talked about the features Priceline has over competitors. This commercial is no different. With her large social presence and fan base, Priceline could have used Cuoco to their advantage. They have not done that in their latest commercial. In 2013 when the partnership began, she sat alongside William Shatner with much better creative concepts. But since Shatner’s exit, Cuoco’s commercials resemble all the other travel website commercials and needs new creative or a new face.

photo credits: YouTube

Collaboration Branding with Celebrity Marketing

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With brands trying to outdo themselves, collaborations are becoming the new trend in celebrity marketing.

Brands are constantly finding creative ways to market themselves, like collaborating with other brands to develop unique products for the consumer. A majority of the time, these companies are related in a way that their products work well together, such as MasterCard and Apple Pay.

There are outcast brands that decide to partner with non-related companies to produce a new item for consumers. Here are examples of different brands coming together with celebrity support to help promote the product.

Coach/Disney

Coach teamed up with Disney to create purse lines. Because of this collaboration, coach took a youthful stand in the luxury goods category. With celebrities like Chloe Grace Moretz sporting a Felix the Cat purse or Chrissy Teigen with the Mickey kisslock bag, Disney was able to target an ‘adult’ demographic that most Disney goods do not. Coach and Disney also created “A Dark Fairy Tale” line that targeted the not-so-sweet side of princesses.

Clarisonic/Keith Haring Foundation

Artist Keith Haring’s artwork was featured on the skin care tool Clarisonic. This collaboration Clarisonic x Keith Haring raised awareness about AIDS by donating part of the proceeds. Haring passed away from AIDS and the co-founder of Clarisonic studied AIDS before he started Clarisonic. At the launch party for this collaboration, model Coco Rocha attended to promote the product.

Collaborations are becoming a hot marketing tool for brands. With the right celebrities, collaborations are huge successes. Here are brands that have recently announced upcoming collaborations:

Johnnie Walker/HBO’s Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones has partnered with Johnnie Walker to create ‘White Walker’ Whiskey. The whiskey’s slogan, set to release Fall of 2018, is “Scotch is Coming” mimicking GOT’s infamous saying, “Winter is Coming”. Johnnie Walker’s target market is urban men from 25-35. Over 83% of GOT viewers are men, with 72% of those viewers in the age range of 18 to 29.

Johnnie Walker is hitting the right target market with this collaboration. Their celebrity should fit this demographic as well. The best option would be to find a Game of Thrones cast member to endorse the whiskey, or they should find a male celebrity, age 25-30 that is a GOT enthusiast to make this campaign an unparalleled success.

Adidas/IKEA

IKEA announced they will be collaborating with Adidas to create at-home fitness for busy women by naturally integrating sport and wellness into life at home. This is a new venture for both companies and could be a success. When it comes to marketing this collaboration, they need an athletic female, preferably a mother, to resonate with their target market.

When creating new products there are bound to be bumps along the way. Unexpected partnerships can cause friction among brands, however, this friction could work to their advantage because the product is not a ‘normal’ item consumers have seen before. Celebrities are willing to jump on board with these collaborations because they want to be the face of something new and unexpected.

photo credit: unconsciousentimentality via (Flickr)

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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)

The Monthly Report Card: May

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

 

(1). Victoria’s Secret – The Angels

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Grade: D

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

(2). Atom Tickets – Anna Faris

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Grade: A

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

(3). T-Mobile – Bryce Harper

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Grade: C+

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

(4). Pepsi – Dierks Bentley

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Grade: B-

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

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

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Grade: A-

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

(6). Gatorade – Bryce Harper & Michael Lorenzen

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Grade: A

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

(7). Corona Extra – Ryan Johnson

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Grade: A

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

(8). The Jordan Brand – Maya Moore

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Grade: A

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

(9). Visa – Zlatan Ibrahimović

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Grade: B+

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

(10). Mountain Dew Kickstart – Kevin Hart

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Grade: A-

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

photo credits: YouTube

Celebrity Marketing Royal Wedding Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The RITAS’ Queen NeNe, The Royal Rita

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo credit: AM> via (flickr)

How Blockchain Integration will Affect Celebrity Marketing

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Understanding this new technological tool is key to modernizing business practices and streamlining future celebrity marketing campaigns.

At this point, it is a matter of when not if blockchain fully integrates into the business world. Several companies are utilizing specialized blockchain software across several sectors, with many more to follow.

Blockchain is a repurposed function of Bitcoin algorithms that create an incorruptible network of transaction ledgers. Unlike databases in the past, blockchain does not have a central server that stores the information, allowing for increased security and broader access to the network of users. It was originally used as an approval measure for the sale of Bitcoins but can be extended to work for any transaction between two or more parties.

What effects will this have for celebrity marketers?

Marketers will have even More Control – Similar to the advent of social media, the integration of blockchain gives marketers almost full awareness of how their message is released. Because blockchain is an updating algorithm distributed to every participant, there is much less possibility outside factors can hijack the content. As Jared Dicker of Adweek puts it, “Blockchain-registered publications provide uncontestable records about a publication’s attribution and origins. It’s immutable. It’s the single source of truth.” The problem of accidental association like the YouTube “Ad-pocalypse” will be a thing of the past.

Single Service Agencies will become Extinct – Adapt or die is a rather cliché phrase, but it rings true with blockchain integration. One of its features is that it cuts out the need for a middle man as communication becomes instant and traceable. Without the diversification of services in an agency it will soon become unprofitable to be a single service. Not only will these firms need to compete with one-stop shop agencies but they will also have to deal with circumvention of their services by marketers who can accomplish the same task by analyzing blockchain data and incorporating it into their brand strategies. Consulting will not cease to exist, but it will be much more difficult for firms to sustain themselves unless they diversify their revenue streams.

Full Transparency will be the Cost of Business – It is no secret that transparency has become a major issue in the world of marketing and advertising. Some experts believe that blockchain integration will solve these problems by giving brands a publicly accessible ledger of business transactions that can prove any brand’s legitimacy. To be fair, the software can service private accounts, but its inability to be forged will ensure it cannot be used for corrupt purposes. With blockchain, consumers will demand that brands be authentic in their interactions and will have the tools to guarantee those demands.

Campaign Tracking will become Seamless – The ability for marketers to access a ledger of transactions and activations on a network will provide endless opportunities to track the success of their campaigns. The difficulty in corrupting blockchain data will provide marketers with a large and authentic collection of data to be used for future campaigns. Rather than relying on social media brands to collect relevant data, firms large and small can trust their own data streams for accurate consumer measurement.

photo credit: Ormeus Coin via (flickr)

Influencer Marketing: Countering the Consistent Threat of Fake Followers

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Four easy steps you can utilize to choose the right influencer for your brand and maximize ROI.

It is hard to argue with the fact that marketing and advertising are going through hard times. Headlines with crises like the YouTube “Ad-pocalypse,” crackdowns from the FTC and the foolish actions of several online celebrities.

Several studies by different organizations found that several micro-level influencers could easily buy fake followers to boost their accounts and become noticed by brands. Social media brands are changing guidelines to combat this phenomenon, but it never hurts to be cautious.

So how do marketers beat this trend to insulate their brand integrity? Here are four steps your organization should take into consideration before partnering with an influencer:

  1. Evaluate Popularity/Cultural Relevance

Influencers don’t always have to be measured by the followers on their social media accounts. Taking a deep dive into other media appearances is always beneficial. If they are known for their fashion choices, did a local blog or publication feature them in an article or photo shoot?

Most influencers do not limit themselves to one social media account. If they truly wish to build a following they will expand into other mediums like blogs, vlogging, or merchandise lines. Any other sources of contact information are also great indicators that an influencer is legitimate.

Unless a marketer is targeting a micro-demographic, they will not usually need to employ influencers with under ten-thousand followers, but still makes an exhaustive research step important in the process.

  1. Invest in Analytical Tools

In response to the “Fake Follower Scandal,” several Search Engine Optimization programs emerged to help brand combat this threat. These programs use several criteria to verify the legitimacy of an influencer’s audience.

Programs like these can save a company a lot of time and money as well as the bad press that can come from a fraudulent partnership gone awry. More importantly though is the ROI implication. Marketers should always find the best methods available to protect their investments and quantify their choices.

Examples of these Analytical Tools are FollowerCheck, Upfluence, SocialDraft, Manage Flitter and Social Audit Pro.

  1. Measure the Growth Rate

How long has the influencer had their account? How often/how much do they post? How many engagements do they receive per post? Are they ever featured on the respective sites front pages? These are all good questions for marketers to ask when vetting an influencer.

An influencer who has posted less than one-hundred posts but has tens of thousands of followers is either a social media phobic celebrity or a fake influencer. Real followings take months if not years to develop.

Tools listed above have the capability to measure the growth rate of accounts to better assist marketers in their search. And to that end, large spikes are not a good thing. Growth graphs with straight lines are an indicator of shady activity.

  1. Tally the Engagement Rates

Do comments from the influencer’s community seem cookie cutter or uninspiring? If so, then you are probably dealing with bots. Follower buying sites are not exactly known for their creative writing skills and have a big problem with copy/paste.

If on the other hand, the community responds frequently with questions, inspiring comments, or even gets into arguments it is a good indicator of a healthy follower community.

photo credit: it’s me neosiam via (pexels)

The Monthly Report Card: April

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

(1). BodyArmor – James Harden/Kristaps Porzingis/Mike Trout/Skylar Diggins

harden

Grade A+

One of the most talked about advertisements of the year so far was this pot-shot of a commercial directed by Kobe Bryant. Not only do they include world class athletes in their pitch, but they made their intentions clear by claiming that their competitor Gatorade should step aside. Consumers in the age of social media love to see intense competition between brands and this helps establish one. They also established credibility by having Bryant direct, which will help BodyArmor disrupt the energy drink market. This is a great example of matching the right celebrities to brand values and executing a relevant strategy.

 

(2). Under Armour – Will Finds a Way

photo

Grade: B+

This Under Armour ad features athletes like Zoe Zhang, Dennis Smith Jr, Natasha Hastings, and Teddy Riner. What makes it so special though is the underdog mentality established by the creative direction. CEO Kevin Plank has always held the opinion that Under Armour is the underdog of the sporting goods space, and a consistent brand message is always a good thing. Dwayne Johnson’s father figure persona is a great fit for this type of campaign, and he will continue to inspire the next generation of athletes and consumers.

 

(3). Solo – Denny’s

2

Grade: B+

For a Denny’s ad, this was pleasantly surprising. There is a fine line between incorporating a movie-tie in well and not well at all (as will be discussed later), but the care that went into this spot is admirable. Rather than flaunt a new pancake with Chewbacca’s face on it, Denny’s decided to market directly to kids and feature an old-fashioned trading card promotion that matched the spots story. The sketch itself was filmed on the actual set of the movie and featured help from the movie’s production crew. Overall this was a well purposed and executed tie-in that drew clear line between the product and movie, maintained those roles, and leveraged the wonders of childhood.

 

(4). Foot Locker – LGP Qua

3

Grade: A-

Foot Locker has to be commended for their ingenuity in this spot. Rather than partner with a well-known rapper like Kanye with Adidas or Big Sean with Puma, they sponsored and produced the first music video for the up and coming Philadelphia rapper LGP Qua. It is much different from most commercials in that is an actual music video, and the song was made completely independent from the brand, but the shoes and other features are planned tie-ins. The beneficial relationship between the two here is telling of how celebrity marketing should work. It is not predatory, not out of left field, but a well thought out collaboration and an artistic endeavor more than an effort to sell shoes. Maintaining authenticity to the customer is imperative, and now many will think of Foot Locker when buying shoes because they support the rap community.

 

(5). Hostelworld – Mariah Carey

4

Grade: B-

A rather confusing choice for most people when first viewing, but the randomness of the sketch and the pairing was the point. Comedy always makes for the best advertisements and it reinforces the brand message wonderfully. However well the first half of the ad worked, he second half fell on its face. The joke was rather flimsy to begin with but dragging out the sketch into the dance party scene is guaranteed to lose interest from consumers. While this was a good example of how creative strategy can boost the advantage of a celebrity partnership, it is also an example of perhaps poor negotiating that locked them into producing a longer commercial.

 

(6). Nike – Welcome Back Tiger

5

Grade: A

After a long hiatus from golf’s most beloved tournament, Tiger Woods made his return to the Masters in 2018. Nike took the opportunity to revisit the glory days of one of the greatest golfers of all time and its own personal journey with him. They took some flak for sticking with him after his misdeeds came to light, but now they can congratulate him on his recovery and redemption. The ad itself is a great nostalgia trip for any golf fan and a touching gesture between two parties. Feel-good advertisements always score well with consumers and this spot is no exception.

 

(7). Wix.com – Rhett & Link

6

Grade: B+

While this partnership has been going on for a while, this is taking advantage of the newly released spot from April to discuss the partnership as a whole. Wix has been known for disrupting the GoDaddys and Squarespaces of the tech industry with their inexpensive services and user-friendly features. Now they are pushing hard for grassroots consumer loyalty with a massive campaign featuring several prominent YouTubers and internet personalities like Rhett & Link, iJustine, comedian James Veitch, Cord Hosenbeck (a bald Will Ferrell) and Karlie Kloss. The first pair is particularly genius for their relevance to the space. Their show, Good Mythical Morning is one of the top series on YouTube, lending to the spots credibility and reach. At times the sketches can get a bit ridiculous which takes off points, bu this is a match made in heaven.

 

(8). SodaStream – Hafthor Bjornsson

7

Grade: C

A holdover from the influx of April Fool’s Pranks that brands attempted earlier in the month. This one catches attention for the comedic value of the partnership. While the prank itself was quite weak and did not make much sense, it was sure to make consumers laugh when seeing the “Strongest Man on Earth” in a tiny tub. This was a good choice by SodaStream, but the creative side of the spot was lacking. There were also many consumers that would recognize Hafthor from his role on Game of Thrones.

 

(9). Nike – Shoe Therapy/Lena Waithe

9

Grade: B+

In contrast to the Tiger Woods spot above, Nike went for a more comedic angle to this campaign that features Lena Waithe from Masters of None and The Chi. The premise relaunches a concept from the 90’s that revolves around various celebrity/athlete’s “addiction” to their shoes that is discouraged by the “therapist” Waithe. Overall it is a lighthearted way to promote your brand and poke fun at the subculture of sneaker heads to encourage bonding. Partnering with Lena Waithe, who is a rising star in the entertainment world, was a solid choice and she plays the character convincingly.

 

(10). Avengers: Infinity War / GEICO, Quicken Loans, Infiniti

10

Grade: D

While licensed character tie-ins can certainly be beneficial to celebrity marketing, these spots were poorly matched and executed. As explained in the Denny’s entry above, there has to be clear lines between the product and license as well as a proper explanation to the consumer why the partnership is taking place. When consumers need car insurance, will they be persuaded to go with GEICO because the gecko wants to be an Avenger? Of course not. They will be persuaded by lower prices and better service features that Progressive and Allstate commercials provide. Same goes for Quicken Loans. A woman walking through an Avengers battle scene being saved by Iron Man has absolutely nothing to do with a home mortgage. Infiniti’s spot can be forgiven in that it didn’t go over the top, and to be honest they couldn’t pass up on a movie called “Infinity War.” Regardless, brands should not license movie characters for the sake of looking cool, there needs to be a proper connection in place or consumers will just tune out.

Why Celebrity Marketing Should Embrace the Streaming Revolution

FirmBee (pixabay)

For a more effective digital marketing campaign, place ads on streaming platforms to get Millennial and Gen Z appeal.

In an evolving marketing industry, the effectiveness of certain advertising platforms is a a fiercely debated topic. The jury is still out on radio and TV, but digital marketing is taking over. However, video and music streaming services have quickly risen to dominate entertainment consumption by younger demographics, with platforms like Spotify, Twitch, Hulu, and Netflix seeing the most success.

For example, Spotify’s Initial Public Offering became one of the most anticipated and successful financial events of the decade. “Spotify’s current [market] cap of $26.4 billion makes it more valuable than CBS, Twitter, Snap, Sprint, Dish Network and Viacom. Spotify is the No. 1 global music streaming provider with an estimated 42% worldwide market share in 2016.” 

That 42% market share has given Spotify a total of 157 million active users from 65 countries. Research shoes that of those 157 million, 72% are Millennials or younger.

Twitch is a similarly successful case study and while not publicly traded is owned by Amazon. As mentioned in a previous blog on the topic, Twitch services 15 million daily users with millions of hours watched per year. Their audience is almost entirely millennials (over 70%) with younger generations catching up.

It almost seems cliche to imply that Netflix is a tech giant, so let us focus on the numbers. The platform now services almost 120 million people worldwide and reached new peaks by adding 8 million subscribers in the last fiscal quarter of 2017. Netflix currently does not host ads on their platform, but industry experts predict that it will eventually be integrated to support ads. Major advertisers are putting on pressure to make this happen and there is little doubt that Netflix can continue to pass on the large sum of estimated profits by doing so.

What makes these platforms so valuable for celebrity marketing is the potential for authenticity and fluidity in marketing execution. Many musicians, gamers and celebrities are already features on the platforms, so it makes sense to utilize them where their fan base is strongest.

A small but passionate audience can be more effective than a larger one. Streaming platforms give direct access to audiences with impressions nearly every second. It does not make sense to gamble all your budget on digital marketing with streaming platforms, but there is not better way to reach coveted younger demographics and take advantage of future trends in entertainment.

photo credit: FirmBee via (pixabay)