The ESPN Sportscenter anchor, Scott Van Pelt, couldn’t have said it better. A few weeks back, Owen Groesser made his debut to sports stardom during the show’s ‘”Top 10 Plays”’ segment.
Owen is a middle schooler with Down syndrome. He’s also a member of his school’s basketball team and hadn’t been given a chance to play all season. However, in the final home game of the season, Owen got his chance, and he made his precious playing time worth every second.
In the final two minutes of the game, Owen drained not only one, but two, three-point shots. His accomplishments soon went viral, and the hashtag #GetOwenOnSportscenter received a groundswell of support from the Twitter community—so much support that the show took notice and granted Owen his few minutes of fame.
In this age of social media, there seems to be a never ending debate about how platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many more have dramatically changed the way we live our lives for better or for worse. Organizations have successfully powered great causes for the masses using the power of social media. We’ve seen Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, World AIDS Day, and the United Way all benefit from widespread awareness generated through social media.
So, let Owen’s few minutes of fame be a reminder to all that there’s still good in the world, and we can spread it #OneTweetAtATime.
What #hashtags have you tweeted to spread #goodvibes?
Brands of all sizes can benefit from showcasing specific employees as part of their marketing efforts.
In a previous post I talked about ‘keeping it real’ as it relates to marketing copy. This seems to be even more of a challenge when a brand lacks personality. While some brands leverage mascots, hire celebrities (more on what I call ‘Celebverage’ in an upcoming post) or feature a single executive, increasingly brands are showcasing a variety of employees as a way to humanize their message.
This trend has clearly been accelerated by technology, the widespread adoption of social media and the fact that companies can no longer hide behind an 800 number. However, savvy companies are innovating far beyond basic tactics like referencing a real employee to their Twitter handle.
One classic example is the Best Buy Twelpforce. Best Buy closely monitors customer mentions on Twitter and encourages a wide variety of employees to answer questions in real time. This creates a tangible connection with consumers, a means for collaboration between employees and the creation of a valuable archive of product information in the process.
Rather than focusing on Twitter in a reactive manor like Best Buy, Guitar Center decided to proactively invite customers to connect with their employees in a different way. Each employee ‘expert’ now has their own profile page on guitarcenter.com with a photo, a list of their favorite bands and their areas of expertise. A recent ad campaign closed with an invitation from one of these experts that said, “Email me, or any other employee in the country at guitarcenter.com for advice and expertise.” The graphic on the screen reads ‘Connect with our 5,000 experts online.’
My former employer, Disney, is notorious for promoting characters like Mickey Mouse, Captain Jack Sparrow and Lightning McQueen, to name a few. But more recently they decided to showcase a few of the real characters behind the brand; their employees (known internally as castmembers).
Instead of simply relying on the usual marketing copy and product information, in a recent email Disney included a quote from Laura, Disney’s Accessories & Dooney & Bourke Product Developer.
(Disclosure - Laura is a friend of the author)
Are you leveraging the people behind your brand to build relationships with consumers?
Know of other great examples we can all learn from?
Brady Sadler is the VP, Business Development & Marketing at GY&K. Connect with him on Twitter – @bradysadler
There are 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. But only a tiny percent ever “go viral.”
As marketers, we love the idea of creating a piece of content that people share over and over. But, can we actually manufacture a viral video?
There is no exact formula, but according to the trends manager at YouTube, there are some key traits that all viral videos possess:
- Taste Makers – someone well known endorsing the video, mentioning it on their own social platforms or it getting buzz via news channels, blogging sites or websites
– Communities of participation - the video must spark engagement in order to share it among others or encourage people to want to make their own versions
– Unexpectedness - creating something that people haven’t seen before, that evokes some sort of emotion organically from within them whether it be laughter, joy, empathy, or sadness, but something that truly speaks to them.
The evidence shows that the most viewed videos are not from brands, but instead from ordinary people with no intentions other than sharing life experiences. So where does that leave brands? Well, the unfortunate truth is branded videos that go viral are usually part of an integrated campaign, in many cases with a paid media component or complimentary promotion. Look no further than the Tetley Tea ‘Routine Experiment’ Campaign in which the company hired young men to be personal butlers for shoppers at a local market instead of providing shopping carts to the customers. It was filmed and created to show how people react when their habits are broken. The video received over 250,000 views and worked tremendously to help the company promote its new product line, Tetley Infusions. Not only was there a paid component, but the brand leveraged its owned channels such as its Facebook and YouTube accounts to help promote it.
We’re not saying it’s impossible to create a branded video that grows organically; we’re just keeping it real.
We’re going to continue tweaking our recipe and would love to hear about any success you’ve had cooking up a viral.
Jessica Moran is a Marketing Coordinator at GY&K. Connect with her on Twitter: @jessy_moran
Many of the talented folks working in the GY&K schoolhouse also pursue ‘independent studies’ to flex their creative muscles outside office. It turns out we have enough musicians here to form an Arcade Fire cover band.
One such musician is GY&K’s Director of Digital, Dustin Ruoff. In this Q&A we learn more about Dustin’s love of music and why he pumped out more than thirty-five hours of original music in the month of February!
Q: How long have you been making original music?
I’ve been attempting to create music since the early 90s, and bought lots of gear when I should have been paying rent or tuition. It wasn’t until 1997 when I teamed up with a friend to record an album as a band called “Minds of Minolta.” We did a few shows at the legendary Stone Church in Newmarket and The Elvis Room in Portsmouth, and had fun entertaining the folks who attended. He moved to NYC and I wound up going solo as “Mosfet” in 2000. It wasn’t until 2005 that I really kicked it into gear and got serious in trying to establish myself locally. I played shows and parties, and during the first RPM Challenge in 2006 I recorded my first album, which was pretty much an EP, but set the tone for my future sound. I like to call what I make ‘darkwave electrobeat ambient funcore’. It’s all those things in one.
Q: Are you professionally trained in any instruments?
Oh, I wish – I can barely play the same melody twice on a keyboard. I am more of a producer who has an ear for combining elements. I would love to learn how to really play keys or drums, but just haven’t had the compulsion to take lessons or practice. When I get the itch to work on music, it’s all about just noodling around to find melodies and riffs, creating beats and using MIDI sequencing to store that information in software. Then I can combine, mix and layer the results and really delve into tweaking digital audio and virtual synthesizers. I used to have a ton of ‘real’ synthesizers, drum machines and the like, but wound up selling everything for a much more consistent and portable laptop set-up. I am a big fan of the old-school analog electronic sound (think Emerson Lake and Palmer or Styx) and it’s really amazing how closely the software available now (specifically Ableton Live) can replicate that sound.
Q: What is the RPM Challenge?
The RPM Challenge is a creative experiment that challenges participants to create an album during the month of February. It must contain 10 songs, or 35 minutes, worth of previously unreleased material. The event was created by The Wire, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based community newspaper.
Well, I was already in New Hampshire’s Seacoast music scene, and knew all the organizers. I also was eager to record my own album. I was in the debut class of participants in 2006 and one of the 165 bands who submitted an album. I also got involved with the online RPM Jukebox back then, and worked with some co-workers at my (then) job to create a really slick Flash-based player that was fed by XML. It was really cool! Then over the years I grew to be their ‘web guy’ and ran the site with the main organizers for several years, until I just got too busy with family and work. I am now just a participant, even though my heart is still with the core of the challenge. I love the concept of taking the bleakest, shortest month of the year, and doing something really creative and unexpected. The challenge pushes me on many levels in ways I don’t push myself normally!
Q: What’s the hardest component of the Challenge?
It’s all about finding the time in my busy life. When I can focus and work, it flows quite nicely! Back when I had a lot of gear, it was all about getting things (equipment) to work properly that had likely been sitting idle for months. Now with the laptop set-up and the deep familiarity with Ableton Live, it’s really easy to get cranking when the time allows.
Q: What’s your all-time favorite original track that you created?
Wow, that’s REALLY hard. But I gotta go with the final track called “Elf” off my 2nd RPM album – Hemetite Fragments. I’d have to say that THAT album is likely my favorite album of all RPMs. It was my most authentic work – not sure how it really came out of me. That album has a lot of nostalgic aspects to it as my daughter was 2 months old and I recorded most of it holding her late at night. Also the tracks are all named after really sentimental things. My daughter is named Stella, and one of the tracks is named Stellaluna for example. Elf is named after my obsession of elves and Iceland – it goes on and on. Check out the album and let me know what you think!
Q: Stuck on a desert island, what three albums are you taking with you?
Impossible! I like everything from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, to MGMT and Interpol, to Autechre and Orbital, not to mention all the classical music and everything I listened to while DJ’ing at WUNH 91.3 for 6 yrs in the 90’s. I can’t even imagine only having 3 albums! I rely so heavily on Pandora now for music….ARRGH!
Ten GY&K team members weighed in on this year’s Super Bowl marketing.
In our office there’s more speculation about Super Bowl advertising than about who will win the actual game. That’s partially because we have a lot of confident Patriots fans, but mostly because we’re marketing geeks and there’s no better night to watch brands flex their marketing muscles.
With that in mind, we gathered Super Bowl advertising insights and predictions from a few GY&K team members:
Looking forward to the big “Ferris Bueller” tease with Matthew Broderick! Great pre-air buzz, gone viral and created tons of pressure for a sequel to one of the seminal coming-of-age comedies of all time! There’s a big secret here and lots of speculation about the advertiser. Any one else think this is a cool idea? Anyone..Bueller?
I love how a few years ago Google cleverly told a story through the eyes of someone actually using their service (“Parisian Love”). I’ll be anxious to see if more brands use this tactic, which I think is a more effective method to actually encourage product usage, as opposed to the typical off-the-wall attention grabbing spots.
There’s no doubt that social media integration within branded Super Bowl ad campaigns has been growing rapidly over the past several years. But this year, analysts are dubbing Super Bowl XLVI as ‘The Year Social Media Changed the Game.’ USA Today and Facebook are co-branding an app that features all the national ads that will appear during the game, along with a five-star rating button that let’s Facebook users judge, share, comment, and spread the ads — and their reactions — as they watch. Even the Super Bowl itself has received a social media facelift with their very own social media command center manned with a team of social media strategists analyzing, optimizing and responding to digital fan chatter across Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.
Liz Steinhardt Pollock
Public Relations Manager
I thought last year’s Doritos Crash the Super Bowl spots were hysterical and these user generated gems have ranked #1 on the USA TODAY Ad Meter for two of the last three years. Based on that, I’m excited to see what spot wins this year. I love the social media aspect of this promo requiring very few marketing dollars. The stats are awesome – almost 500,000 votes for 5 videos, 2.7MM+ likes, 200K+ conversations. Plus, this year’s winner gets to work with Andy Samberg’s Lonely Island on a future Doritos project. Mmm Cheesy!!!
Director of Media Relations
Chevy is trying to take advantage of the fact that Americans no longer simply ‘watch’ TV. Instead, they interact with it, experience it, vote on it, comment on it, tweet about it, etc. So understanding this, Chevy created its very own app helping consumers interact with the Super Bowl like never before. Users of the app receive a special license plate code, and during the Super Bowl Chevy will air commercials with the winning code. The app also allows members to login and post everything to Facebook or Twitter, encouraging them to share the app with their friends and followers. Chevy didn’t just decide to advertise to America’s largest television audience; they made a strategic decision to start a dialogue with them. I believe this is truly a winning approach.
Senior Marketing Planner
Looking forward to seeing if Bud-Light pushes their new product “Bud-Light Platinum.” It’s advertised as the same light beer but with a higher ABV at 6.0%. Bud Light is a favorite for getting some laughs during the big game, so I’ll be curious if they extend the Bud Light brand and theme to Bud-Light Platinum, or if they give it a new and distinct feel from the core BL brand. Anheuser Busch is always a player when it comes to humorous Super Bowl advertising, but I expect them to remain true to their roots and feature the more emotional Clydesdale spots in some fashion too.
This week I finally pulled the trigger on canceling my cable TV service. Fortunately, the Super Bowl will be streamed live online for just the second time this year. I’m anxious to see how advertising will be handled in the online realm and if it differs from the standard TV broadcast.
Psyched to see that some of my favorite concepts will be back, especially the “office monkeys” from careerbuilder.com. Love that one! But the biggest shift to watch is how brands will further integrate across all mediums and dive deeper into the social well. To quote a great article from Harvard Business Review, “The TV spot has become the trailer for something bigger, broader and more interactive.”
SVP Client Services and Account Planning
I will be looking for how brands embrace the “second screen” phenomenon. Will advertisers be able to convince football fans to take their eyes off the game to watch more ads on their phones? More importantly, will the additional content be worth it?
Associate Creative Director
One of the most amusing games to play at Super Bowl parties is to guess what brand/product is being advertised before it is mentioned by name or a logo is shown. Are companies trying to create memorable connections between the :30 spots and their brand, or are they trying to make the most over-the-top and most talked-about commercial? Also, I look forward to NOT logging on to GoDaddy.com afterwards to see more of Danica Patrick.
Business Development Coordinator
I’m looking forward to seeing how many commercials attempt to engage viewers by promoting a mobile app. As my colleagues have mentioned, there’s an opportunity to capitalize on the fact that many of us are watching with our mobile phone or tablet in hand. I’m particularly interested in Shazam, as referenced in an earlier blog post, because the viewer simply has to open the app and hit one button. There’s no need to remember a URL, product name or anything else. Bud Light will be offering one million free downloads for viewers who Shazam the halftime show and their teaser spot indicates a surprise halftime show guest which I think will clearly be LMFAO. Watch the spot for yourself and let us know who you think it will be.
In keeping with the theme of our recent post about the unexpected, a construction site near our office has deployed some unconventional branding tactics that are worth reviewing.
Our office, proudly located in “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire, sits across from a hotel and restaurant that have changed ownership several times. Everyone around town knows this property has been less than stable, so when the latest developer took over, they decided to embrace the existing perception and turn it into a positive.
The hotel is in a high-traffic area adjacent to The Amoskeag Fishways, better known around town as ‘the falls.’ When the new developer started working on the property they posted a large sign, and a number of smaller signs, that read ‘WhatsUpAtTheFalls.com.’ This is certainly unexpected and unique for a construction site. Yet it makes perfect sense given the history of the property and the number of cars that pass by each day.
‘WhatsUpAtTheFalls.com‘ includes a project overview, status, photos, press coverage, contact info and a live camera view of the construction site.
Congratulations to the Roedel Companies and Alta Properties for this creative approach to generating buzz for this project.
Regardless of the industry, what are the unexpected tactics you use to intrigue and educate consumers?
Brady Sadler is the VP of Business Development & Marketing at GY&K. Connect with him on Twitter @BradySadler
Facebook will soon offer content from the UK’s Channel Five TV network. Viewers based in the region will be able to watch the network’s programming through an embedded player on their Facebook page, making Five the first broadcaster to offer a wide range of on-demand TV programming through the dominant social network.
Five is a relatively new (established in 1997) and progressive network that currently funnels their video content through Demand FIVE, a Web site and online video player that offers free and paid downloads for rental or purchase. This is the same player they will use to offer content through Facebook, though it seems all programming will be free (at least to begin with). According to the site, “Demand Five is all about giving you the choice to watch telly when you want to, not according to rigid schedules.”
Just as CBS now offers the “Watch & Chat” functionality on their site, it’s easy to imagine how TV viewing could become much more social when it literally takes place on Facebook. Revenue could come from traditional video advertising through the player, social gaming tied to programming, contests and more. Imagine video downloads that users pay for with the Facebook Credits they’ve earned on FarmVille?
Will we soon be logging into Facebook to catch up on our favorite TV shows? Do you think the social network will become a viable competitor to Hulu and YouTube, or will the existing broadcast content partnerships prevent that from happening?
How many email newsletters do you receive on a daily basis? Do you have a dedicated email address that you use when signing up so that marketing messages don’t clutter your personal inbox?
If you’re like me, each day there are a handful of brands/products/services vying for limited attention via email. What can a company do to set itself apart in this cluttered mix? For me it’s all in the subject line.
Right now Urban Daddy is the clear winner of my inbox as they consistently deliver subject lines that command attention. You may not be in their target demo but you have to admit these make you curious:
- Presenting the Snuggie Destroyer
- Take a shower with Sam Adams
- Introducing the MacGyver of Jackets
- Block Parties, Questlove and Fresh Pastrami
- Scotch + Pancakes + Nachos = ?
Make no mistake about it, this approach significantly improves their open rate. It’s important to remember that in this space customer loyalty only begins when they subscribe to your content. You must then deliver engaging and relevant information if you expect the reader to continue paying attention and maybe one day even buy something from you!
Are you making the most of your email marketing program? Who do you think delivers the most creative subject lines?
“I plan to make Podcaster for the Android operating system. At least there, I will be welcomed instead of being walked all over.” -Alex Sokirynsky, developer of Podcaster
Many software developers have experienced issues with Apple because of the strict and sometimes inconsistent policies they maintain when it comes to the App Store approval process. Other operating systems such as Google’s Android and Nokia’s Symbian offer a more open alternative for App development, but they do not have a hugely popular platform (like iTunes) or the extensive content to seriously compete with Apple.
With the recent release of the iPad, predicted to be the leader in the tablet market, there are more reasons than ever for developers to deal with Apple’s policies. The iPad’s larger screen and more diverse and functional touchscreen capabilities promise to make it the best device for Apps yet, but will the iPad’s advantages in market share and functionality be enough to convert some very unhappy developers to finally give in and build for the platform?
This graph shows an increase in the percentage of new App projects that were started for Apple in January, when the iPad was first unveiled, but does not specify if the buzz over the iPad resulted in more Apps developed by current iPhone OS developers or if some have been converted from Android or other places.
While some may think that modifying an App to appease Apple is not a big deal, others, such at Tim Bray, former Sun Microsystems employee and new hire to Google’s Android team, feel differently. He has been quoted saying Apple offers a “sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers” and went on to simply and strongly say, “I hate it.”
If you were a developer and had to choose, would you rather have the freedom to create an App on your own terms and market it to a smaller audience, or conform to Apple’s rules in exchange for access to their built-in market?
Tim Allan is an intern with GY&K. He is currently a full-time student at Plymouth State University, graduating this spring with a major in Business Administration.
Foursquare is a mobile application that allows users to “check-in” at different locations and share that activity with friends. Users can also add their personal interests, preferences and track their “check-in” history. Aside from connecting with friends, Foursquare also has game-like features. For instance, a user with frequent “check-ins” at certain locations can earn badges and receive special discounts. Someone can even be named the “mayor” for “checking-in” to a location more than anybody else. The competitive elements of Foursquare are incentivizing users to stay engaged, and according to Read Write Web, “checking-in” is becoming the thing to do.
Currently, there are approximately 500,000 users, with the majority coming from major cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, and Austin. However, Foursquare is not alone in this category. Gowalla, My Town, Yelp, Where, Tudaloo and many more location based applications offer some form of the popular “check-in” feature. While this is clearly a popular trend in the social gaming and mobile technology space, many wonder if it will become a viable marketing channel.
According to The Week, there are approximately 1.4 million businesses logged in, with 1,200 offering special deals through Foursquare. Soon, with the Foursquare analytics program, businesses will be able to receive detailed information on who is “checking-in” to their locations, and will then be able to communicate directly with those visitors.
There are many types of businesses using Foursquare, but it is most popular among bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. One company who has taken advantage of this technology is Starbucks, which uses Foursquare to reward customers that frequently “check-in” to its locations. Companies in the food industry are not the only ones using Foursquare. In an attempt to merge mobile and TV, Bravo is also using Foursquare. Bravo will reward users for “checking-in” to the locations featured in the shows played on its channel. The stars of the shows will also share their advice on the best drink at a bar, the best meal, or other useful tips that users will be able to view with Foursquare.
Foursquare’s simplicity, competitive features, and growing rewards program could make this just as addicting as Facebook and Twitter. Are you currently “checking-in” on Foursquare or on similar applications? Have you received any special offers or interacted with any brands through this channel?
Jenaleigh Landers is an intern with Griffin York & Krause. She is currently a senior majoring in Business at Saint Anselm College.