In the Office

Week In Marketing: Music Festivals, Twitter Ads, TrueView Ads, and Brand Ambassadors


1. How Marketers are Utilizing Music Festivals to Engage Millennials Bud Light is rolling out what it calls its “most immersive digital toolkit” ever. The brand will provide concertgoers exclusive deals such as fast passes, backstage tours, downloads, photos with artists and free swag. Bud Light is one of many brands stepping up their engagement with younger consumers year after year. Sephora had a beauty patio at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival and Malibu Rum brought a freestanding beach house to New York’s FarmBorough. These amenities are key to gaining millennial consumers as upping their engagement.

2. Heineken’s City Guides Give Consumers Insider Recommendations New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Miami are experiencing a new wave of brand ambassadors. Heineken partnered with in-the-know insiders in each city to develop local restaurant and bar recommendations in a printed city guide. Heineken logos will be printed throughout the guide.

3. Is Twitter Making Room for More Advertisement Opportunities?
Twitter has removed users’ backgrounds from home pages and profiles pages. Representatives from the social media platform confirmed this is no glitch. While some users are unhappy a neutral gray screen has replaced their custom-made backgrounds, others are curious if this is a step toward more room for advertising. Twitter has yet to comment on that speculation.

4. YouTube’s TrueView Ads Welcome 360-Degree Views
In an effort to better engage mobile users, YouTube rolled out 360-degree ads on its pre-roll video ads that users have the option to skip. Users will be able to tilt their mobile phones and see different angles of the 360-degree advertisement. The first company to take advantage of this for TrueView advertisements is Bud Light. Their “Up for Whatever” campaign is utilizing the new feature for better storytelling, giving users the opportunity to feel as if they are in the ad.

5. EA Introduces First Female Star for their FIFA Video Game
With the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team in the headlines recently for their World Cup domination, EA is following suit recognizing their talents. Alex Morgan will be the first female soccer star to appear on the cover of the FIFA 16 video game alongside Lionel Messi, the world’s top male soccer player. The Canadian edition of the game will also feature Christine Sinclair, captain of the Canadian women’s team. This is a huge step in recognizing female athletes in the gaming world.

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Twitter’s E-Commerce Features Continue to Grow

Instagram and Pinterest recently revealed their integration of purchasing features on their platforms. Now, Twitter has announced that, in addition to the “buy-now” button, brands will be able to develop their own e-commerce pages with pricing and other details.

twitter marketingTwitter said, “Every month, millions of people Tweet about what they love: products they buy, places they visit, books they’re reading, or vacations they’re planning … So today we’re beginning to test two ways to make it easier for you to discover rich and relevant content about products and places on Twitter.” In other words, there are already millions of product-related Tweets (which are like mini product reviews) floating out in the Twitterverse. What Twitter is proposing is the creation of individual product pages that will display a collection of tweets and retweets from anyone who uses the product-oriented hashtag. This will create one place where users can easily find lots of aggregated information about a product.

Along with the introduction of product pages, there will be product collections. These collections can be created by celebrities or brands to showcase a combination of products that they would like consumers to view as an ensemble. For example, Twitter’s Swim & Sun Ready collection page showcases tweets about bathing suits that, when clicked, lead directly back to the individual product page for that swimsuit.

AdWeek says that this will give brands even more of an incentive to purchase promoted tweets. One drawback, though, is that it often takes multiple clicks to reach the actual point of purchase. Even though these new pages seem like they will help drive sales, they might not if customers don’t make it to the buy button. And if people use these pages to simply educate themselves on a product, the effects on sales might be too difficult to measure for advertisers.

With these changes come some questions. AdWeek asks, will these “collection-style” pages even be worth visiting? This largely depends on each individual brand’s dedication to developing these pages and populating them with content that is relevant to shoppers and Twitter users.

Another question inevitably arises: what’s next? As we have seen, social media is not stopping with buttons. Twitter is further blurring the distinction between e-commerce sites and social media platforms. Who is going to make the next move, and what new features will they come up with? Share your predictions in the comments below.

Tweets to be Featured in Google Search

google search marketingGoogle announced that they are partnering with Twitter to feature tweets in Google’s search results. The Search Engine Results Page will feature real-time content from Twitter that is relevant to a user’s Google search. For example, if you are looking for more information about the NBA Playoffs, the Google SERP will show you what the Twitter community is sharing in real-time. When tapping on the Tweet in Google, it will take you directly to Twitter to explore more #NBAPlayoffs content. And Tweet relevancy and recency seem to be the priority so far. In tests, tweets were seen on the SERP page from users with small followings and/or low activity on Twitter.

So what’s significant about this new feature?

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The Latest Endorsement Guides

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Are you leveraging social media for professional use?

If you answered yes, then you may want to familiarize yourself with the Federal Trade Commission’s newly updated Endorsement Guides.

The document answers questions people (advertisers, advertising/PR agencies, bloggers, etc.) are asking about the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, including information about disclosing material connections between advertisers and endorsers.

The guidance is now available in the form of the FTC’s recently updated FAQ entitled, “What People Are Asking”. The FAQ covers: Product Placements, Social Media Contests, Online Review Program, Intermediaries, Affiliate or Network Marketing, Expert Endorsements, Endorsements by Individuals, Testimonials and Soliciting Endorsements.

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Week In Marketing: Social Media Complaints, Presidential Race, Advertising and Technology, Iconic Magazine Covers

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1. True: US Brand managers are ignoring the majority of complaints on Twitter and Facebook
Twitter and Facebook can be effective tools for addressing questions about a brand’s product or services. According to a new study by Socialbreakers, US brand managers are not take advantage of these opportunities. The study revealed that 80 percent of questions posed to United States companies on Twitter are ignored. That’s a 20 percent higher rate than on Facebook, where brand managers are more likely to answer customers’ questions. Socialbreakers arrived at the number after studying 6.5 million tweets and 1.4 million Facebook posts across 50,000 brands.

2. Caitlyn Jenner Cover becomes instantly Iconic
Vanity Fair made headlines this month with the release of its July 2015 cover, featuring a photograph of Caitlyn Jenner shot. Its image became a viral sensation. How does it compare with other “iconic” magazine covers like the Esquire cover showing Muhammad Ali as Saint Sebastian, or Rolling Stone’s Boston Bomber cover? The explosion of social media, magazine covers have a wider impact than ever before. Yet, in an age where print is being constantly subsumed by digital, the impact of a cover like “Call me Caitlyn” proves that the magazine still holds an important place in the media landscape, regardless of whether it’s being consumed on a newsstand or in an Instagram feed.

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Week in Marketing: #SaveOurSwirled, Tweet Ordering, Lifestyle Branding


1. Ben & Jerry’s Uses a New Ice Cream Flavor to Promote Climate Activism
Ben & Jerry’s created a new flavor called “Save Our Swirled” – the acronym spelling “SOS” – to raise awareness of the upcoming global climate talks in Paris in December. Ben & Jerry’s has partnered with the activist group Avaaz, as well as made changes internally to increase energy efficiency and shrink their carbon footprint.

2. Twitter Ordering is Made Possible by Domino’s
By tweeting a pizza emoji to the Domino’s twitter account, you can have a pizza sent to your house. The Twitter ordering system works by accessing customer profiles found in Domino’s Easy Order system. Domino’s said this will be a permanent ordering feature.

3. Hillary Clinton Creates “Pansuit Tee” to be “More Relatable”
Hillary Clinton has shown that she is comfortable poking fun at herself. Her campaign store is now selling an “Everyday Pantsuit Tee,” inspired by her reputation of frequently wearing pantsuits. It seems that this is an effort to soften her brand image. But because the proceeds of the t-shirt sales are benefiting her campaign, many wonder if it will have any effect on voting.

4. Scion’s Music Label = Lifestyle Branding?
Scion’s music label, Scion AV, works with more than 1,500 artists in an effort to give a consistent voice and style to the Scion brand. Even though it is part of Scion’s marketing efforts, Scion AV functions as a normal record label, with all rights belonging to artists. They support up-and-coming talent through the creation of albums, music videos, films, live events, and more.

5. Liam Neeson Named Most-Likeable Celebrity Endorser
A Neilson study named the ten most-liked celebrity endorsers and overall ten most marketable celebrity endorsers for the first quarter of 2015. Liam Neeson made it on the top of both of those lists. Awareness, likability, and influence were some of the characteristics used to determine this list.

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Week In Marketing: #SongForMoms, Ad Injection, #NotBroken, The Pool and Googling


1. Sing A Song about Milk for Mother’s Day #SongsForMoms
Through Sunday, the California Milk Processor Board is creating custom short songs for people who post about why they love their mom using the #SongsForMoms hashtag. The Board is on the hunt for funny and emotional posts about moms to respond to with 45- to 90-second songs. The clips are first uploaded to SoundCloud and then pushed to social media. The goal is to churn out a total of 200 songs through Mother’s Day Sunday, and a few lucky snippets will be played live on California radio stations.

2. Googling for Pizza?
Google’s search results are slowly but surely becoming more than mere pointers to a destination. Google recently added the ability to order food directly from its search results. The feature, which currently works only in the U.S., gives users who search for restaurants an option to instantly place an order for delivery.

3. Honeymaid’s new campaign – Powerful and Polarizing
Honeymaid’s ad campaign portraying interracial, blended and same-sex families illicited a wealth of passionate responses – both positive and negative. When the company created the #NotBroken component of its “This Is Wholesome” campaign, it wasn’t looking to push an agenda, the company was looking for a fresh way for the 90-year-old brand to reach parents.

4. Have you Fallen Prey to Ad Injection?
Google recently released a disturbing report detailing the vast reach of software programs that insert unwanted ads into internet users’ browsing experiences. The practice, called ad injection, is often carried out by malicious browser extensions or misleading software download packages. The software places ads into websites across the web without permission, and its operators sell those ads for a profit, sometimes to leading brands. The Google report found that more than 50,000 browser extensions inject ads, an astonishing number.

5. The Pool invites users to escape from online clutter
The UK digital platform launched last month, The Pool is “For women who are too busy to browse”. The platform is already achieving 60% click-through rates on its daily email, and has named Clinique, Microsoft and Marks & Spencer as its launch partners. The Pool has adapted the broadcast model for online, creating a programming schedule by posting a set number of articles at fixed times in the day so as not to overwhelm its audience with content. Eight articles are published in a 24-hour time period, and each post is labeled with the amount of time it takes to read.

Week In Marketing: Millennial Parents, Bud Light Apology, #GirlYouDon’tNeedMakeUp


1. Reaching the Millennial Parent
It’s estimated that 40 percent of older millennials are already parents and they account for 80 percent of the 4 million annual U.S. births. This generation of parents born after 1980 is different from its predecessors in many fundamental ways. According to AdWeek, savvy marketers see this as a unique opportunity to capture an enormous segment of the population — if they can help older millennials be practical and solve problems.

2. A Minor Twitter Revolution?
Comedian Amy Schumer did a parody on One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” on her show earlier this week. Afterwards, Schumer encouraged fans to share their make-up free photos with the hashtag #GirlYouDon’tNeedMakeUp — and women are uploading them by the thousands.

3. “Her Shorts” A New Video Series
Refinery29 is partnering with Planned Parenthood on a new digital-video series called “Her Shorts” that focuses on men’s and women’s reproductive and sexual health issues, including videos from Lena Dunham and Emily Ratajkowski. The American-based fashion, style and beauty website announced that two other celebrities taking part in “Her Shorts,” actresses Mae Whitman and Mamie Gummer.

4. Viewers Engage More With TV Ads Than Video Ads
A new biometric survey shows that traditional TV commercials are four times more engaging than video advertising on Facebook. Study participants were exposed to the same video advertisements across Facebook, TV and digital pre-roll on PC, tablet and smartphone.

5. An Apology from Bud Light
Bud Light supported its “Up for Whatever” campaign with a bottle that included the tagline “perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” There was public outcry over the seemingly overt date-rape, or at the very least sexual, implications of the tagline. Bud Light parent company Anheuser-Busch pulled the bottle and issued this statement:

The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.

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Week In Marketing: Cyber-bullying, Mother’s Day Ad, YouTube’s Birthday, Facebook’s Growth


1. Twitter Looks to Stop Cyber-Bullying
Last week, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel, wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post describing the company’s plan to restructure its safety policies and cut response times to abuse reports. The company is launching a program that will detect abuse, using signals and context that correlates with abuse. Cyber-bullying cannot be stopped all together, but Twitter is trying to take a step in the right direction it.

2. Pandora Jewelry Releases Heartwarming Mother’s Day Ad
Pandora Jewelry has released a Mother’s Day ad, in which blindfolded children are asked to identify their mothers by touch alone. The two-minute video already has more than 14 million views on Facebook and 7 million on YouTube. The video celebrates all women, whether they are mothers or not. Pandora tells them to appreciate the women they are at heart.

3. Facebook Unveils Video Program on YouTube’s 10th Birthday
Facebook unveiled Anthology, a new video program that will allows publishers and digital video producers to create videos for advertisers on Thursday, YouTube’s 10th anniversary of the first published video. Among the publishers and producers are Vice, Vox Media, Tastemade and Funny or Die. According to Facebook spokesman, advertisers will be required to run videos created through Anthology as ads on Facebook. This could help Facebook as it attempts to take YouTube’s spot as the top digital-video advertiser.

4. Hydrogen Fuel Video Campaign
There are a number of misconceptions about hydrogen fuel and for many it is even viewed as scary. As Toyota plans to introduce its new hydrogen fuel vehicle in October, the brand will be releasing videos depicting everyday hydrogen sources. Toyota hopes this video campaign will change consumers’ perspective on hydrogen fuel.

5. Facebook Users Grow
Facebook reported that it now has a user base of 1.44 billion per month. Also the number of exclusively-mobile Facebook users has increased to 581 million.

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What Brands Can Learn From Target’s Latest Designer Collaboration

brand partnershipsNearly three months ago, one of the biggest announcements to come out of Target hit the Internet. The popular retailer was partnering with Lilly Pulitzer for their next designer collaboration. That’s right, THE Lilly Pultizer. Queen of American resort wear and floral prints that leave you daydreaming of sunny beach vacays and drinks in coconuts. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest exploded with the news! Devoted Lilly fans get a new wardrobe of springy floral prints to add to their closets while admirers, like myself, who’ve been priced out of the brand, can now live the Lilly life. Life was good. Everyone was happy. Well, almost everyone.

Turns out, some Lilly loyalists were very upset, even insulted that their beloved brand would consider partnering with a mega store. And following millennial fashion, they took to Twitter to voice their frustration. #LillyForTarget

Their comments were even echoed in some of my social groups. Which led me to think. Are designer collaborations a good brand strategy? Do they help or hinder brands in the long run? Is the payoff of penetrating into a new market worth the risk of offending your brand loyalists?

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