Can you believe it's been 9 years since Paris Hilton washed that Bentley while eating a Carl's Jr. BBQ Burger? Well, she's back.
Hilton, 33, makes a cameo appearance in an ad featuring Sports Illustrated model Hannah Ferguson. As the black bikini-clad Ferguson washes a pickup truck -- seductively slathering soap all over herself just like Hilton did in the original -- Paris appears and says, "You missed a spot." So awesome.
It's all to promote the chain's new Texas BBQ Thickburger. But who cares about that. Not only do we have one hot chick selling us a hamburger; we have two!
OK, now we've gone too far. Are we really to believe that a washing machine needs a cleaning product to clean it when, um, let's be honest, it cleans itself every time it runs because, oh, WE PUT DETERGENT IN EVERY TIME!
Anyway, that little bit of logic hasn't prevented Tide from introducing its Washing Machine Cleaner product. Nor has it prevented Saatchi & Saatchi New York from exponentially overdoing a "dirty little habit" joke.
Because if we only advertised what people actually needed, there wouldn't be enough business to keep all those agencies and holding companies in business.
Welcome to the social era where your brand has officially been Occupied. The relationship between your image and your values is increasingly determined by your brand advocates. The future of your brand is subject to your community and its perceived values.
You once controlled who appears in advertisements, but the rise of social media and user-generated content means that followers and fans often determine your brand¹s image without your consent. When people go onto your social media pages, they see followers that chose you, not the models and celebrities you selected. People also imagine that your social followers reflect the values of your brand.
So who belongs to your brand tribe? How do you guide the values of this community?
The future of marketing must recognize the importance of in-group connections and what I call "all-group" values. When we finally blend the two, marketing will transcend from the hard sell of the past into an organic conversation that makes brands meaningful their communities. In this article, I will show you how Occupied Brands are changing the future of marketing.
We Like People Like Ourselves
When people visit a brand¹s social page, they see pictures and posts from members of an imagined fan community. This experience inspired an academic study called ³Beyond the "Like" Button: The Impact of Mere Virtual Presence on Brand Evaluations and Purchase Intentions in Social Media Settings, led by marketing professor Rebecca Walker Reczek of The Ohio State University. She showed that we judge a brand by the age, gender and other characteristics of its fans.
Reczek's team wanted to examine how passive exposure to a brand's social supporters affects attitudes towards brands. Her team showed test subjects a Facebook fan page for the Canadian clothing company Roots, but they manipulated the pictures that appeared on the page.
In the first study, participants saw pictures of six fans of their same gender. However, one group saw six people all similar in age, one group saw a mix of similar and dissimilar ages, and a third group saw six people who were all distant in age (older). Based on the info presented on the Facebook page, subjects were asked to rate how much they liked Roots. People who saw the similar group and mixed group liked Roots equally well, but those who saw only older people than themselves liked the brand much less.
When Reczek's team tested for gender rather than age, the result was the same subjects who saw only the opposite gender liked the brand less. However, when the researchers tweaked the experiment to have subjects judge three restaurants side-by-side, people preferred the restaurant with a fan page that only had similar people the mixed and dissimilar demographic groups were rated poorly. Apparently on social media, the ultimate social community is occupied by people who look just like us.
The Marketer as Casting Director
As marketers, we know if people identify with our values, they will spread our message by choice. Yet, the research suggests that people will judge our brand's values by appearance first.
For years, we as marketers selected celebrities and celebrated followers who embody the brand's image and ideals. Now, we're under pressure to play casting director. Some social fans might not fit the ideal at all, so should we prevent such people from appearing social pages?
The results of Reczek's study suggest that the most effective targeted marketing would segregate consumers by age, gender or socioeconomic status. Taken to its logical extreme, targeted marketing would eliminate the experience of seeing diversity.
When Values Trump In-Group Bias
In homogenizing brand pages, marketers would overlook evidence that all-group values can often trump in-group belonging. To elevate marketing to its highest level, we have to recognize that no matter what demographic occupies the brand page, our fans still share some universal values.
Look at the social reaction to the Boko Haram terrorist group, which kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria. #BringBackOurGirls went truly viral. Over 200,000 people liked the cause's Facebook page, and just a few weeks ago, the most popular city among supporters was London, England (today, it's Lagos, Nigeria). Look at the posts by fans, and you'll see people from every continent, country and culture posting in solidarity. The hashtag has been used at least 3.3 million times on Twitter.
Where some marketing campaigns may enforce in-group biases, other campaigns could stretch the boundaries of our in-group, and form the largest communities in history. This insight is the key to shaping the communities that occupy your brand pages.
Do Marketers Still Have to Discriminate?
Our impressions of brands are influenced by the people we see on social pages, but that doesn't mean marketers have to shield people from diversity. Indeed, by marketing values that supersede group identity, we can actually make our communities inclusive. And to welcome groups that wouldn't normally associate with our brand, we can use the levers of in-group, targeted marketing.
For example, men don't look at women in Lululemon yoga pants, and think gosh, I should really invest in some Lulu gear. Lululemon doesn't pretend otherwise. They are actively trying to put their clothing on men who will inspire other men to buy. At the same time, they are building social pages that celebrate athleticism, fitness and health, educate people, inspire fans and fit the company's core proposition: "Elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness." They target people, but they also honor values that supersede gender.
To sustain a community and create advocates who share our brand, we have to champion higher values. We must stand for something greater than a sale and ask people to be thoughtful, compassionate and empowered. "Buy my stuff" is not an inspirational statement. Promoting a healthy society, supporting environmental stewardship or advocating peaceful international relations are all within the scope of courageous marketers.
Our work reflects how people see the world, and the world reflects the universe of messages and images to which we contribute. So let's help people imagine bigger, more inclusive communities. Advocates have occupied our brand pages, and we have the power to shape the values of this community. Using targeted marketing, we also have the power to invite members who might otherwise not join in. Let¹s create business value by upholding human values.
This guest article was written by Dave Hawley, VP of Marketing for SocialChorus.
Native advertising pioneer MGID identified the top-ten Internet content trends for the first half of 2014 today, having aggregated engagement and virility from millions of visitors to more than 3,000 entertainment, lifestyle and sports websites. Flash games topped the list as the type of content that had the best "click factor" among the visitors of the MGID network thus far in 2014
The top 10 most clickable content trends for the first half of 2014 are:
1. Flash Games
2. Childhood Crushes (Then and Now)
3. Facebook Picture Fails
4. Couple Physical Training
5. Luxurious Lifestyle
6. Bollywood Stars
7. Movie Mistakes
8. Kaley Cuoco
9. Elsa Transformation (from Frozen)
10. Hayden Panettiere Bikini Style
Hahaha on number 10!
MGID measures the "click factor" of Internet content by calculating specific traffic criteria, such as the number of articles published about the topic and the amount "click-throughs" generated as a result of publishing the content.
The analyzed traffic came from nearly 9 million individual website visitors, clicking on content from more than 3,000 websites, worldwide. MGID tracked the data from user clicks on native advertising widgets that thousands of online publishers use to engage and monetize their audience.
In what may or may not be a first, UK-based PR agency Houston launched what it's calling the World Highest Press Release. The agency, which is announcing a mundane office relocation, launched a very un-mundane campaign whereby a laminated press release was affixed to a hot air balloon which was sent 27 miles into the sky.
This might be the only time an office move is worthy of news coverage.
To prove that Montana's Best of BBQ Sampler event is irresistible, the Montana's team tried to shoot an entire ad campaign by bartering with BBQ ribs, sausages, chicken, brisket, and shrimp. And it worked.
Created by Vancouver-based ad agency One Twenty Three West, Montana's surprised real businesses in Toronto by simply walking in and offering a plate of BBQ meat in exchange for goods and services.
"We thought the best way to create awareness of the new Best of BBQ Sampler Event at Montana's would be to literally bring the BBQ food to people in a creative way," says Scot Keith, Founder and Managing Director, One Twenty Three West. "It allowed us to create a number of great content opportunities and was a lot of fun to do."
Over two days of bartering and shooting, they received a psychic reading, an MMA lesson, a manicure, a yoga lesson, men's skin care products, some new shoes, a haircut, a bouquet of flowers, an area rug, a massage and even a real tattoo.
But the bartering didn't end there. The entire production crew and the advertising agency agreed to take part of their payment in BBQ.
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" may no longer be true when it comes to traditional paid media investments. Effectiveness of traditional advertising and paid media - TV, newspaper, print - is on the decline, so marketers are choosing to push their dollars to social advertisements. In fact, 62% of marketers expect to increase their spending on Facebook marketing, along with other social media sites, over the next year.
Smart marketers now focus their attention on getting more from their advertising efforts by making sure that their media strategies work together. This means their paid media must work with their owned media to get more consumers to engage and participate - thus driving more earned media and amplification for their brand.
Download this white paper now to see how Ben & Jerry's, Hollister and KPMG made perfect use of Paid, Owned and Earned media.
As thousands of Comic-Con fans deplane, the first thing that they'll see won't be a promo for the next Avengers film or The Walking Dead but a huge graphic cartoon of a captive orca with SeaWorld's CEO in his mouth. The display, which urges convention goers to steer clear of SeaWorld because of marine-mammal cruelty and confinement, is a joint project between Bluewater Productions and PETA.
The installation greets passengers on their way to baggage claim at the center of Terminal 2. The creative reads, "He will let you go if you let him go."
Of the work, Bluewater Founder Darren Davis said, "Comic-Con fans love blood and guts when they're fake, but at SeaWorld, it's all too real for comfort. The orcas are desperate to be free. That's why trainers have been killed, and that's what we're depicting in this campaign with PETA."
PETA Senior VP Dan Mathers adds, "SeaWorld has been in a free fall since Blackfish premiered -- attendance is down 13 percent, investors are dumping millions of dollars in stock, and bands are canceling concerts at the parks."
I'll be honest, I've been to SeaWorld and have seen the Shamu show. It is awesome. And as much as I loved seeing the show -- and elephants at Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey -- it's not the kind of entertainment I'll be frequenting in the future.