In the Office

Week In Marketing: NFL Emojis, Read Receipts, Email Marketing, Good and Bad Campaigns

Unique NFL Emojis Offered to Twitter Users
The NFL has teamed up with Twitter to keep the emoji trend going. Twitter users are now able to use unique emojis in their tweets for every one of the 32 teams. This announcement came after the statement that Twitter would be streaming certain Thursday night games during this upcoming NFL season. Every team has an exclusive hashtag and emoji. The NFL announced the news with a video.

Twitter Adds ‘Read Receipts’ to Messenger
Twitter has decided to add ‘read receipts’ to its mobile messaging service. There will now be a little blue check mark that indicates when the recipient has read the message. This feature differs from Facebook Messenger because users will be allowed to opt out of this option. Twitter also announced to users to expect ‘typing indicators’ that will tell the person on the other side of the social platform when someone is typing.

Advice on Email Marketing
Apple Watches are slowly penetrating mobile technology, especially with the second iteration of the Apple Watch expected to start shipments starting soon. It is becoming a reality that many consumers will first read their emails on their wrists. This leads to some concerns for email marketers. Here are some tips to ensure that those emails are readable on ones wrist screen.

Subway’s Campaign for a Clean Slate
Subway decided it is time wipe away its past and start again with new ingredients and a new logo. Subway plans to use fresh locally grown produce that is free of artificial preservatives. Along with that, the Subway logo was redesigned to portray the brand in a “fresh, contemporary look.” Subway filmed a commercial and created a trending hashtag #SearchForBetter. This new effort is gearing towards the consumer’s goal towards a healthier appetite.

Mattress Company Criticized for 9/11 Sale
Miracle Mattress received backlash from its 9/11 promotion sale. The store created a controversial commercial regarding their “Twin Tower Sale.” This made the public furious leading to many negative comments on the store’s Facebook page and Twitter. The ad was quickly removed and the CEO sent out a letter on its Facebook page stating that the store will be closed ‘indefinitely.’ A good example on how marketing can go totally wrong if not done correctly.

Week In Marketing: Conversion Tracking, iPhone Backlash, Airbnb Discrimination, Video Marketing, NFL Cans, Most Interesting Man

LinkedIn Introduces Conversion Tracking for Sponsored Content and Ads
LinkedIn announced a conversion tracking method for marketing users to measure their ads and sponsored content. This feature was a “most-requested” tool by brand managers in order to have the convenience of measuring content downloads, number of signups, and purchases from their campaigns. The conversion tracking will allow brand managers the convenience of assessing their target audiences. PR and marketing executives also benefit from this feature by yielding specific ad campaign results.

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Apple Receives Twitter Backlash Over New iPhone
Immediately following Apple’s big iPhone 7 introduction, Twitter users expressed their dislike and disappointment over the new wireless ear pieces. The new iPhone 7 does not include a headphone jack; instead, Apple wants users to buy wireless ear pieces, called “AirPods,” for $159 a pair. Concerning the headphone jack controversy over Twitter, Amobee Brand Intelligence stated that 29 percent showed negative responses, 60 percent stayed neutral, and only 10 percent showed positive approval. Although the initial reviews may be negative, Apple has provided an impressive history of making radical changes on their devices which, in the long run, always produces an increased positive product performance.

Airbnb Addresses Discrimination Problem
Airbnb has been hit with many discrimination cases, and as a result, they released a 32-page outlined report stating a new policy on how they plan to address the discrimination problem. Airbnb has had multiple incidents in which users say hosts have canceled or rejected their reservations due to race or characteristics. Airbnb expressed their extreme disapproval of discrimination and bias and is working on eliminating this problem as well as “setting an example that other companies can follow.” Airbnb has taken steps to change this situation by hiring a whole product team to fight against bias and discrimination.

Starbucks Dives Into Video Marketing and Announces New Menu Items
Starbucks decided it was time to jump into the video marketing platform in the “purest form” with their new series called “Upstanders.” Upstanders follows inspiring stories of ordinary people producing positive changes in their communities. This new video series has already gained 20 million downloads on mobile devices, and Chief of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, stated that their goal with this platform was to, “be authentic and the stories needed to be about the people and not about our company and marketing Starbucks.” On the other hand, Starbucks recently released a new brunch menu that should appear in at all Starbucks locations in the near future.

Bud Light Provides Football Fans With NFL Team Cans
Bud Light has taken their NFL can ad, “This Is Your Can’s Year” to the next level. Bud light released their 75 second ad displaying their limited time cans celebrating each individual NFL fan by providing beer cans with their team on it. Senior marketing director Mark Goldman expressed his excitement stating, “Just like wearing your favorite player’s jersey or team colors is a badge of honor, so is drinking from your Bud Light team can.”

Dos Equis Announces New ‘Most Interesting Man’
Dos Equis shifts to a more modern approach with their famous ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ ad campaign as former Most Interesting Man, Jonathan Goldsmith, retired. Dos Equis decided a contemporary change would be refreshing by hiring the new face of the campaign, Augustin Legrand. Dos Equis incorporated new twists on the old classic ad, by making the new Most Interesting Man more adventure and action driven instead of reminiscing on the past as the previous MIM did, while keeping the same voiceover beginning. Dos Equis is looking forward to the new spin on their ad, hoping fans will enjoy this new character as the ad debu’s.

Week In Marketing: Facebook Offers, Microsoft Sings of Macbook Inferiority, Video Preroll Ads on Twitter, Chipotle’s September Deals & iHeart Media Expansion

howard merrell week in marketingFacebook introduces a ‘Digital Coupon Drawer’

Facebook has conjured up a new way to help its users save big online. The social media giant’s updated Offers section makes it easier for users to find, purchase and organize digital discount codes for webpages all over the internet. Simply by purchasing ad space on the networking site, companies can reach Facebook’s massive quantity of consumer users who can save the offer to their ‘coupon drawer’ and be driven to the company’s webpage. While details of the Offers update are still emerging, looks like these discount ads can contain bar codes and QR codes for extremely easy use.

Microsoft Ad explains why Macbooks are as useless as “a hat for your cat”

Microsoft is making a name for its new Surface Pro 4 by literally singing its praises and singing the blues about Apple’s MacBook. Microsoft has been known to take the occasional shot at its high-powered rival, but this time the corporation is doing it in musical style. The spokesperson sings a catchy, simple tune about how the Surface Pro 4 is far superior with its “detachable keys,” “a pen so you can write as you please,” and “Surface has touch and a beautiful screen.” The ad additionally criticizes the Mac by saying it’s “useless,” and “slower, heavier and a bit square,” clearly trying to take Apple down a few pegs in areas where it is considered to be the champion in the tech industry.

Twitter’s Amplify Push Program’ now allows influencers to run preroll ads in front of content & receive a share of the ad revenue

Twitter plans to help social media stars make a little extra cash when they upload their videos. As a part of its growing creator revenue program, the micro-blogging site will now allow content creators to attach a video advertisement to the beginning of their post (much like YouTube does) if they want to to receive a portion of the ad revenue. Social media influencers will likely be glad to hear this news and if everything works out the way Twitter hopes it will, then these heavily-followed profiles may begin to post even more, thus driving even more traffic to the site.

Chipotle to utilize new promo deals to recover after food safety crisis

September will be a great month for Chipotle-loving students and families. The popular Mexican grill chain announced two new promotional deals for this month, likely as an attempt to combat recent low revenue reports. Every Sunday in September, Chipotle will give a free kid’s meal with every purchase of an entrée, hoping to bring in the family demographic that started slipping away after their E Coli outbreak last year. And on Mondays, students who present a valid high school or college ID will receive a free fountain drink when they purchase an entrée. These two promotional offers join Chipotle’s ‘Chitopia’ rewards program as the company seems to be ramping up its discount deals.

iHeartMedia is growing, growing, gone from simply being a radio service 

“You can’t possibly correctly predict what’s going to be the next big thing two years from now,” Darren Davis, president of iHeartMedia Networks and iHeartRadio, told Adweek. “So our strategy has been, don’t guess, just go everywhere.” iHeartRadio has done just that and it seems to be an excellent strategy so far. The media group’s software app is compatible with over 90 different devices ranging from smartphones and tablets, to cars and wearables. iHeartRadio has also struck gold on video-sharing platforms with a widely popular Snapchat that has one of the largest read-rates among the promoted Discover stories, as well as becoming the most-followed publisher on the livestream network YouNow.

Week in Marketing: Marketing with Technology, Millennials, KFC Sunscreen, Google Storage

Marketing with Technology
Technology is always evolving and changing the way rules of which things were done previous. See how these two marketers are hoping technology will improve their marketing:

Dominos is a complete believer of out with the old and in with the new, as they continue to push the envelope. The pizza provider has been stirring things up as they attempt to incorporate more technology into their marketing strategies. Is Dominos the next tech giant? Check out what they are up to…with videos

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Virtual reality has become a major craze for consumers and Best Buy is ready to cash in. Their Chief Executive Officer loves the concept of virtual reality and is ready for Best Buy to be the hub for the first mainstream testing sites for virtual reality products. If things go well and these products start to fly off the shelves, this could stand as a great indicator of their lifespan.

Marketing to Millennials
Millennials are beginning to make much more of America’s population and marketers we need to adjust their strategies if they want to catch up. The older model of doing things are fading out and new marketing approach must proceed to follow if companies want to reach this younger market. The best way for them to grab their attention is to learn how to adapt and relate to this newer audience.

KFC Sunscreen?
Kentucky Fried Chicken has recently attempted to leave a mark on this warm weather, by offering its very own KFC sunscreen. Their new marketing campaign allows their customers to truly live the lifestyle of the Colonel and enjoy tan skin that’s associated to the chicken that’s consumed. Besides mirroring the look of their signature fried chicken, the sunscreen will also offer the same aroma as well. For now, this product is offered on a limited basis and can only be purchased online.

Google’s New Storage
As people we all want to feel that we are being relatable and that others can relate to us. Google’s new storage struggle ad has captured the attention of many iPhone users, and they can relate. The ad displays a video of users living their lives and attempting to capture a moment until they are interrupted by the unforgivable notification about the lack of storage space.

Week In Marketing: McDonald’s Health Campaign, Twitter vs Snapchat, Video Platforms, Millennials

McDonald’s Attempts to Have a Healthy Campaign
With the Olympics dominating the news and the new Pokémon Go game, there is a clear burst for healthy living in America. McDonald’s is trying to hop on top of this trending topic by including fitness trackers as kids toys in their happy meals. mcdonald-friedlogicHowever, recently the “Step It” toys were pulled due to wearers receiving skin irritation. It will be interesting to see how McDonald’s responds to this negative publicity.

Twitter is Trying to Keep Up with Snapchat
Twitter has added a new feature, which is allowing individuals to express themselves by adding stickers with embedded hashtags to their photos. As of right now Pepsi is the exclusive partner for this new feature, but there will be an opportunity for select marketers with managed accounts to be sponsors as well. Twitter is clearly following in Snapchats footsteps with this idea and similar to Instagram’s new story feature, it will be interesting to see how consumers respond to these new features.

Social Media Platforms Are Trumping Video Platform
According to a study created by Trusted Media Brands, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are seen as more important for marketing outlets than YouTube. It is very possible that this decrease in marketing appeal for YouTube is related to Facebook’s newest feature, Facebook Live, being recently released. This new channel that will be able to combine social media and video platforms is bound to be the new marketing focus, as 72 percent of marketers in this study are willing to invest in it.

Millennials Receive News Via Social Media
Millennials are more likely to use social media as their news source, rather than traditional news programs. Advertisers are catching onto this trend and are finding ways to market millennials with this knowledge. According to the study, reviews from people in their social media circles is the number one factor when determining to buy a product. Before it had always been TV advertising and then word of mouth, but with this trending outlet there is a change. It will be interesting to continue to see how advertisers will use this channel to reach millennials.

Week In Marketing: Location Data Sharing, Reddit Ads, Mid-Roll Ads, Instagram Stories, and Comment Moderating

Sorry to Interrupt…
Facebook Live streams may soon have commercial breaks. The increasingly popular Facebook feature allows users to share their live videos with the world, and now Facebook is ready to introduce advertising to the new platform. The company is testing inserting mid-roll ads directly into the live broadcasts for a small group of publishers. For the test, 15 second ads will begin after five minutes of users’ live broadcasts.

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Growth of Location Data Sharing
With the introduction of the viral sensation, Pokémon Go, many consumers are concerned with the app sharing their mobile location in their quest to “catch them all.” However, there has already been a plethora of companies who collect and distribute mobile location data to advertising companies. Marketers are increasingly interested in location data, as it helps specifically target consumers and measure the impact of campaigns, like comparing ad exposure and actual in-store visits, for example.

Reddit Launches New Advertising Program
The popular social news website, Reddit, is launching a new advertising program for its 240 million users called Promoted Users Posts. Brands will be able to sponsor a user’s post with the user’s permission, and the creator will then receive a lifetime subscription of Reddit Gold. While Reddit’s user base has historically been cynical and resistant to marketing and commercial advertising, the cofounders of the website say the promoted posts could have a high reward for brands, if they put in creative effort.

Hi…Snapcha — I mean, Instagram Stories
This week, Instagram rolled out a new feature called Stories, which is eerily similar to Snapchat stories. Just like their competitor, the Instagram story is a series of videos or photos that last for 24 hours before disappearing. For advertisers, this seems to be a promising opportunity to have their stories and posts on one platform to increase brand awareness.

Instagram Tests Comment Moderating Feature
Instagram is developing a new feature that will monitor comments on posts for bullying and harassment. Users will be able to filter out negative comments or prevent comments completely on their posts. High profile accounts now have the opportunity to moderate comments on their posts, and after testing, the feature will expand to the general public.

Week In Marketing: Presidential Race, Tumblr Ads, Measurement Tools, Verizon-Yahoo

Presidential Race
How are Trump and Clinton Stacking Up on Social
A recent analysis found that there were three times as many tweets and Facebook posts related to Trump as there were referencing Clinton. Trump, was mentioned 129.7 million times between Jan. 1 and July 21. During the same time period, Clinton was mentioned just 37.3 million times.

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Hillary receives celebrity endorsement at DNC
The second night of the DNC was a star studded event. Along with some big ticket appearances on stage, Elizabeth Banks drummed up a lot of celebrity support for Hillary Clinton with a video of number of celebrities singing “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.

Trumps New Online Ads
Donald Trump has passed another milestone of campaigning by introducing a collection of online ads into his still-sparse ad mix. Trump’s long-overdue entrance into digital advertising reflects the recent acceptance of its dire need to build a supporter list and generate donations.

Tumblr users to be paid for ads
Tumblr has released ads across its users’ blogs, but they didn’t forget who their audience was. The artistic personalities of many Tumbler users don’t exactly match the corporate ad scene, so users can opt out of the ads. However, Tumblr is working out a payment plan for those users who do allow ads to come across their blogs.

New Performance Measurement Tools
Now there is improved data visualization on to help marketers show their contribution to the bottom line. The improved Beckon program allows videos and graphics examples to be embedded in the dashboard to give more meaning to the data, and show a more complete review of a communications campaign.

Could Verizon-Yahoo Reshape The Advertising Industry?
Earlier this week, Verizon purchased Yahoo for $4.8 billion. Verizon’s plan is to merge the assets it acquired with its purchase of AOL last year with its newfound assets form Yahoo. Verizon has said it plans to become a rival for Google and Facebook with this move. The combined companies now have as much reach as the other internet giants.

Week In Marketing: Ad Blocking, Served Ads, Mobile Ads, Blue Check, Back-to-School

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Ad blocking is Getting Creative
Ad blocking is a growing issue for websites who rely on income from selling ads. So, many sites have begun to test ways to get around the ad-blockers, and still get publisher’s content out to their consumers. The Financial Times has come up with yet another tactic. For readers who block ads, the paper will block the words that those ads paid for.

Snapchat Working to Serve Ads Based on Objects Snaps
Snapchat has filed a patent for an advertising system that will identify objects in users’ photos to target them for ads. The ads would be image overlays from brands related to the object. Which brands get to put their images over which object? Snapchat has created an auction system for businesses to compete to buy the rights to the various objects identified in users’ photos.

Google Looks to Amp Up Mobile Ads
Google thinks its mobile advertising system runs too slow. So, it is initiating the AMP for Ads – Accelerated Mobile Pages project. Google is releasing tips that agencies can use to create faster ads to help urge publishers to use the new system. However, the it is not currently set up for video, but it is an upgrade they are working towards.

Users can Apply for a Blue Check on Twitter
Recently, Twitter has opened up applications for verification. Want that little blue check next to your handle? Put in an application. As long as your account has a phone number, an email address, and a bio, along with a profile photo or a website, it is up for consideration. This is Twitter’s attempt to provide users with more public influencers and creators. So, maybe it’s time for your company to step up their Twitter game, and get verified.

Kid’s Created the New Target Back-To-School Campaign
How better to reach your target market than going straight to the source? At least, that’s Target’s new approach. Target let a group of kids to design their new back-to-school ad. It’s their way of getting involved with the community, and getting the community involved with them. The campaign, named “To School & Beyond,” just launched.

Week In Marketing: Native Ads, Pokemon, eMail Newsletters, Optimal GeoSpace

The FTC Says Keeping Quiet Counts as
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on Warner Brothers for using social influencers to promote games without disclosing it. Native advertising is becoming increasingly common and very successful, but the FTC has ruled that not disclosing to the public that the content produced by the social influencers is sponsored, is illegal. The FTC says that what you don’t know, does in fact hurt you, and lying to consumers will end up costing more than it is worth. Warner Brothers is the third company to be punished for this crime this in 2016.

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Retailers look to buy Pokémon Characters
The developer of Pokemon Go, Niantic, has announced that the game will feature sponsored locations. Businesses who are locations of Pokemon in the game are already using signs to try to capitalize on the increased foot traffic. Soon brands and retailers will be able to purchase their spot in the game, so that they too can generate more foot traffic from gamers.

Is your Newsletter Open Rate Accurate?
As visits to homepages become harder and harder to cultivate, the growing practice has been email newsletters. However, many companies may not be aware of the inaccuracies of their newsletter software’s data reports. Many providers, such as MailChimp, can only accurately track how many emails were opened if files are under certain size, which means as soon as companies add Gifs or Instagram pictures their Open Rate becomes inaccurate. Beware, other things that can affect the open rate calculations include, offline reading, getting blocked and getting moved to spam.

UberMedia finds the “Optimal GeoSpace”
UberMedia is introducing “Optimal GeoSpace,” a program aiming to determine the best areas for businesses. The Optimal GeoSpaces are determined by shopping foot-traffic at various locations and different times throughout the day. The program will also factor in where the shoppers likely were in the hours before visiting a specific location. The data points will be continually analyzed and adjusted to define the Optimal GeoSpace.

Week In Marketing: Olympic Ads, Fundraising Tool, Search and Shopping, Snapchat Audience, Chipotle Recovery

An Olympic Shift in Advertising Regulations
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed the rules about official advertising for the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, allowing more brands to take advantage of the games. howardmerrell blog olympicsPreviously, only official sponsors like McDonalds and Visa could feature Olympic athletes in ads, and athletes couldn’t tweet about non-official sponsors. With the recent rule change, athletes can be in basic advertisements that don’t use Olympic intellectual property, like the terms “Olympics,” “Rio,” “2016,” and “gold.”

Facebook Launches Fundraising Tool for Users
In the coming weeks, Facebook users will be able to create fundraising pages for verified nonprofits in order to start campaigns or donate directly to the charity. The feature was created several months ago for the organization pages, but it is now available for individual users to raise money for their favorite organizations. Fundraiser posts will allow users to donate directly through their newsfeed and to share amongst their friends.

Pinterest Focuses on Search and Shopping
In preparation for an upcoming IPO, Pinterest is updating its advertising strategy for keyword searches and audience-based offerings. The update will allow advertisers to target more specific audiences and take advantage of a search product with more than two billion monthly searches. Pinterest will offer keyword-tailored searches to advertisers, similar to Google, and the company will allow marketers to buy specific audiences, similar to Facebook. Advertisers can capitalize on unbranded consumers looking simply for new ideas.

Parents and Marketers are Using Snapchat
According to comScore, 38 percent of US smartphone users ages 25-34 and 14 percent of those 35 and older, are using Snapchat. About 68 percent of users 18-24 use Snapchat. While teens can find this trend bizarre, the older generation is bringing the app into the mainstream. Whether it is parents checking in on their kids, or professionals trying a new marketing tool, Snapchat is surging in popularity.

It’s a Love Story for Chipotle
Chipotle released their latest animated film to promote their new loyalty program, Chiptopia. “A Love Story,” the company’s third short original animation focuses on two competing children and their rival lemonade and juice stands. The film is being released months after two separate E.coli outbreaks and 60 reported cases from some of the restaurant’s locations. Chiptopia is part of a marketing campaign to recover consumer trust after the safety scare, and the film follows that message, promoting love and healthy food.