Monthly Archives: December 2013

Marketing Without Marketing

By: Ben Okun

“Surprise!”

That’s the message that Beyonce sent out to her fans on December 13th. She posted that on Instagram, accompanied by a short music video telling all her followers that her new visual album, “Beyonce,” was available on iTunes. The immediate aftermath of Beyonce’s Instagram post was remarkable. Out of Beyonce’s 8.3 million Instagram followers, 569,090 liked her post (and counting). On Twitter, Beyonce’s new album generated approximately 1.2 million tweets during the initial 12 hours. On the first day alone, her album sold 365,000 copies in the United States. Apple noted that “Beyonce” was the fasted selling album ever, reaching 828,773 copies sold after the first three days and over 1 million after the first week!

The surprise release of Beyonce’s album on iTunes was a smashing success and shows no signs of slowing down. Music traditionalists would say that Beyonce took a big leap of faith by releasing her album with no marketing or publicity campaign. However, social media is so popular nowadays that Beyonce may not have really taken a risk at all. With her surprise release, Beyonce flipped the music industry upside down and revealed a new marketing strategy that could be the beginning of a new trend: the value of marketing without marketing.

Normally when artists are promoting albums, they appear on talk shows, leak singles online or on radio stations and build up anticipation on social media. Beyonce and her team did not allow any songs to leak, did not mention anything on social media prior to the “Surprise!” post and ultimately did a tremendous job of keeping everything under wraps. Her fan base was caught off guard, but this was a good thing! By informing her fans via social media, the news of the album was amplified and allowed Beyonce to have a direction connection with her audience. Instead of being bombarded with commercials, ads and other traditional marketing strategies, Beyonce was able to speak directly to her fans. You didn’t have to be in front of a TV, listening to the radio, or hunched over in front of your computer to learn of the release. Since social media is available on mobile devices, a fan literally could have been anywhere and received the awesome news by their favorite artist.

 

However, I don’t think any artist could have pulled this off the way Beyonce did. You have to have a large enough following to know that a mass audience is seeing your message. 8.3 million is definitely a mass audience and anyone can tell you that Beyonce fans are extremely dedicated and loyal. To go along with the 14 songs that are largely electronic R&B, there are 17 additional music videos on the album. In an age where consumption is content driven, Beyonce gave her fans more than enough material to consume. The videos have been described as seductive and racy, something that we’re all too familiar with from Beyonce, but something that we can’t get enough of! Simply put, Beyonce gave her fans everything they could’ve asked for on this video album. Best of all, Beyonce released it just in time for Christmas!

With so many potential means of exposure through digital and social media, artists marketing campaigns are sometimes overblown and overwhelming. By the time the album is finally released, everyone knows everything about the album, which can severely limit the excitement. Beyonce overwhelmed her audience in a completely different way, with no promotion or official announcement. An Instagram video was all that was necessary to create a fan frenzy and media firestorm. The rest was history. Could this be the dawn of a new age of marketing? Only time will tell. What we can conclude is that if done correctly, marketing without marketing can be extraordinarily successful.  

As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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Ron Burgundy Changing Movie Marketing

By: Gina Mason

If you haven’t seen Ron Burgundy, you have been living under a rock. The infamous fictional anchorman known for his pompous attitude, chauvinistic tendencies, ridiculous rhetoric and mostly importantly, his signature mustache and suit has been taking over the world (or so it seems). Played by comedian Will Ferrell, Ron Burgundy is no longer just a character on the silver screen. The man, the myth, the legend is now a brand that has completely changed the way movies are marketed. Prior to the release of  the sequel, “Anchorman: The Legend ContinuesWill Ferrell promoted the movie in a number of unconventional ways, all while staying in character as Ron Burgundy (an impressive feat in itself).  

Here are some of the publicity stunts that Ron Burgundy has been involved with over the last three months.

Driving Advertising Campaigns

In October, Chrysler allowed Ron Burgundy to get behind the driver’s seat of a Dodge Durango and steer its advertising campaign. The witty commercials, most of which were released on YouTube, incorporated Burgundy’s odd humor and time-warped misunderstanding of the Durango’s new technology. One commercial includes Burgundy driving around in a Durango, mystified by the car’s advanced UConnect system. When the UConnect system asked him a question he exclaimed, “there’ s a woman stuck in there! Don’t worry, I’ll free you!”

Although all 70 commercials seem to focus more on Burgundy rather than the car, according to a recent report Chrysler sales have been up nearly 40% since the ads were aired. Traffic to the website has been up 80% and the videos on YouTube have generated over 21 million views. However, these commercials were just the beginning of his shenanigans.

The Real Anchorman Comes to Life

What does Ron Burgundy do best? His job, of course! Recently, Burgundy surprised viewers from Bismarck, ND when he  co-anchored  Bismarck’s KXMB-TV evening news. During the live, 30 minute newscast he remained true to character and kept co-anchor, Amber Schatz on her toes. At one point during the broadcast he asked, “Amber, you look lovely tonight, are you married?…Well, I am, so don’t get any ideas.”

Burgundy was also schedule to be a co-host of SportsCenter, but due to more pressing news his broadcast was cancelled. However, ESPN did leak his prerecorded interview with Denver Broncos’ quarterback, Peyton Manning shortly after his appearance was cancelled. The hilarious exchange included Burgundy telling arguably the best player in the game that he looks like a baby lamb because he doesn’t have facial hair. “You’re running around out there, and I’m gonna be honest with you: You look like a succulent baby lamb. Let’s face it, all the great NFL quarterbacks had mustaches.”

Also, Burgundy made appearances on the European Music Awards (where he defended Miley Cyrus), the Canadian Curling Olympic trials, Conan (where he defended Rob Ford) and the Dan Patrick Show to name a few. Talk about a great way to promote the movie to different demographics!

More Than Your Average T-Shirt

Thanks to Ron Burgundy, no more are the days where movie merchandise consists of simple posters, t-shirts and action figures. This marketing plan included an usual array of products that added to the awareness and value of the Burgundy brand.

For those of you who don’t know, Ron Burgundy loves scotch. To incorporate this love for scotch, Rivera Imports created  a scotch line titled Ron Burgundy’s “Great Odin’s Raven Special Reserve.”  In addition, Ben & Jerry’s joined in on the marketing madness and created a new flavor of ice cream for America’s favorite anchor titled “Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch” (from his ode to scotch in the first film).

Playing off the previous movie, Jockey took the opportunity to incorporate Burgundy’s self-proclaimed sex appeal into its men’s briefs by creating an Anchorman line. The packaging of the briefs included a photo Burgundy in a suggestive pose and his arrogant quote “don’t act like you’re not impressed.”

Lastly, Burgundy released a fictional memoir and did a book tour for his book “Let Me Off at the Top!: My Classy Life and Other Musings.”

Where do we go from here?

This marketing campaign for “Anchorman: The Legend Continues” has been extremely unique and definitely sets the bar for movies to come. Although all of the Burgundy’s antics may seem ridiculous, director Adam McKay estimated that Burgundy has garnered at least $20 million dollars in free publicity for the film prior to the film’s release. Not to mention, all of the licensing revenue from all of the products that are now associated with the infamous anchor. Do you think this is the future for movie marketing?

 

Some marketing experts have argued that all of these appearances and products are going to overexpose fans and turn them off before they see the film. At this point, only time will tell and the weekend’s box office numbers will decide if the marketing campaign was a bust or a huge success. I will say that it is been impressive seeing Will Ferrell stay in character over the last three months. Kudos to him for his dedication to the movie!

What do you think of the Anchorman marketing campaign? Are you sick of Ron Burgundy or excited for his return?

I leave you with Ron Burgundy’s closing line, “you stay classy, San Diego.”

As always, if you like what you read be social and share. 

How Apps Provide Immediate News Coverage to Sports Fans

By: Kelsey Clark

Sports fans living in today’s world of advanced technology are significantly benefiting from the ease of getting information regarding their favorite teams. With the amount of people who use smart phones increasing daily, consumers have more opportunity to increase their knowledge of everyday occurrences both nationally and internationally, especially with regard to sports. The iPhone, Android and other smart phones allow consumers to download applications (apps) from various app stores. These apps range from sports news and information to games and weather updates. Below are two popular apps sports fans can use to stay up-to-date on the latest news in sports.

Team Stream Bleacher Report

This particular app provides sports fans with optimal coverage of a wide variety of sporting events, while allowing them to pick their favorite teams. Not only can fans choose their favorite teams, but they also can choose to get notifications for the various teams and favorite options they set.

As an avid sports fan, this is my favorite app because I can customize it with my favorite teams, as well as with additional categories offered. One of the additional categories offered is Swagger. This section provides fans with humorous information and updates regarding games, players and coaches, among others. I get notifications for each of my favorite teams, Swagger and Fantasy Football news. The notifications include everything from score updates, to videos of injuries during games and live coverage of the games. This allows fans to know exactly what is going on with their teams right as it happens and without having to turn on the TV or computer.

In addition to notifications, fans can also simply open the app and click on any of their categories to find out more information about their teams. Each category is filled with articles written by sports professionals, tweets from sports media professionals and videos of highlights and stories. This makes it possible for fans to get their news anywhere and anytime.

Sportscenter ESPN

Similar to Team Stream Bleacher Report, the newly launched Sportscenter app provides sports fans with instant information and access to everything sports. The three main categories this app offers are Scores, News and ESPN Now. The ESPN Now section provides links to tweets posted by ESPN media professionals. At the bottom of the home page the categories include Sportscenter, Favorites, Sports, Search and Inbox. Sportscenter allows fans to choose their favorite teams, so that they can get updates and notifications of just the teams they follow. Additionally, the app provides information regarding all sports from professional football to boxing and golf. The Inbox section is a news feed with information from each team that is included in a fan’s favorite section.

Although Team Stream Bleacher Report and Sportscenter ESPN apps are both very similar, they each provide a unique perspective for sports fans regarding how they receive their information. They offer a new look at the world of news in terms of ease and efficiency. Additionally, they make is so sports fans never have to miss a minute of the action.

As always, I welcome all comments and thoughts. If you like what you read, be social and share.

 

Geico’s Viral Sensation

By: Ben Okun

As the year slowly comes to a close, many “Best/Worst of 2013” lists will surface. Unruly Media, a video technology company, recently released a list of the most viral ads of 2013. The list was not measured by how many views each ad received, but was measured by how many times it was shared online via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Dove’s, “Real Beauty Sketches” got the top honor with 4.24 million shares, but it was Geico’s, “Hump Day,” which came in second and finished with 4.03 million shares, that employed interesting and effective branding techniques in their ad. Just to remind everyone, the ad we’re talking about features an excited camel strolling through an office, asking all the depressed employees what day it is.  The commercial ends by one guy asking, “How happy would someone be by saving hundreds of dollars on their car insurance by switching to Geico?” The other responds, “Happier than a camel on Wednesday.”

Geico’s brand has largely been built around marketing campaigns both on TV and online. This “Hump Day” ad is no different and is Geico’s most viral commercial to date. Here are three reasons why this commercial is so successful and has reached immense popularity among the social media community.  

1. Emotional Appeal

Humor is a great way to grab someone’s attention and Geico uses humor flawlessly in this ad. During a rough workweek, everyone has a similar feeling on Wednesday; we’re half way there! This ad is very relevant to the lives of those in corporate America and appeals directly to their emotions, enabling them to identify with either of the characters. If you’re having a miserable day, you relate to the grumpy employees and if you’re having a terrific day, you relate to the jolly camel. At the very least, the ad makes light of an otherwise stressful situation. Just imagine a talking camel taking a stroll through your office. Although it’s a ridiculous concept, it’s something that when put in context, is both funny and relevant to the lives of many people, regardless of which character appeals to you on that specific day. Humor is a positive emotion that people generally seek out, which is why many brands integrate this emotion into their advertisements.

2. Familiarity 

Successful brands are immediately recognizable. You shouldn’t have to think twice about a brand and should instantly know what it stands for. There is a sense of familiarity in which the viewer has certain expectations that they believe will be met by the brand. Geico has a history of using comedy, particularly talking animals and creatures, which has distinguished it from many other brands. Look no further than the series of caveman commercials, “Geico, so easy a caveman can do it,” and the talking Gecko that appears in many of their ads. While other brands have used talking animals, these are both staples of Geico’s brand. Enter the talking camel. While viewers may not have known instantly what the camel stood for, by the end of the commercial, the camel fit right in with the rest of Geico’s brand. This familiarity is comforting to viewers and only builds upon Geico’s popular brand.

3. Daily Trigger

The last, perhaps overlooked, reason why the Hump Day commercial has been so successful is because of its day related trigger. It is important to remain relevant when building a brand and what better way than to make a commercial focused on a day of the week? Every Wednesday triggers an image of a talking camel walking around an office. Since this is a weekly occurrence, there’s really no getting rid of this commercial, as the daily trigger will always keep it relevant. A report from Business Insider notes that 67% of the ad’s shares fell on Wednesday and that every seven days saw a major spike in the shares. This is not surprising and is part of a very effective ad campaign that keeps Geico’s brand on the forefront of peoples’ minds. People are always looking for ways to share how they are feeling and Geico strategically integrated a daily trigger to remind people to be social.

Geico’s “Hump Day” commercial was an internet sensation this year and for good reason. It was funny, familiar and naturally fostered sharing, through a built-in trigger.

What are your thoughts on this commercial? Are there any other factors that contributed to its success?

As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like something, be social and share!

 

The Importance of Twitter During Crises

By: Kelsey Clark

Unfortunately, the United States is becoming increasingly familiar with handling crises. Within the past year there have been multiple instances where Twitter took on a leading role in relaying breaking news to the public. Whether it be from an eye witness, a news reporter or a civilian, tweets regarding an occurring event provide detailed, insider information. Establishing a hash tag that will be posted in every tweet is important when covering an event because it allows for all of the information regarding the occurrence to be found in one place when searched. Below are two recent instances where Twitter was used to get information out to the public, while allowing for continual coverage of a serious event.

#LAXShooting

The recent shooting at Los Angeles International Airport showed how effective Twitter can be with regard to a tragic event. Several tweets from witnesses let the Twitter world know what happened right as it was happening, as well as if individuals were ok. As the main airport hub for thousands of celebrities, some were at the scene and took the time to tweet their whereabouts and personal status. One of these celebrities was Tory Belleci, host of “Mythbusters.” During the incident he tweeted, “Heard gun shots then everyone starting running for the door. Not sure if anyone was hurt. #LAX” and “Almost 4 hrs since the shooting. Still here. 2000+ people. They’re handing out water & snacks. #LAXShooting.” Belleci provided his followers with insider information, while using #LAXShooting, an established hash tag.

#BostonMarathon

The devastating bombing that occurred at the Boston Marathon became popularized by the #BostonMarathon hash tag, allowing it to become an outlet for immediate updates. Information about runners and bystanders regarding the occurrence, as well as personal health updates were posted and seen on Twitter prior to being broadcasted on television news outlets. This particular hash tag started trending rather quickly, as it provided facts early and often. Other hash tags also provided marathon runners, supporters and civilians with knowledge of safety precautions in the area while the suspects were being searched.

In addition to trending hash tags used while the occurrence took place, the Boston Marathon bombing incident initiated several hash tags to emerge following the bombing. Some of the most popular hash tags that were established in the wake of the bombing were: #BostonStrong, #PrayForBoston and #BostonHelp. These three particular hash tags provided a sense of community within the city of Boston and some of them are still used today, months after the tragic incident.  

Twitter has turned into quite a remarkable social media outlet following the occurrence of recent, devastating events. It has allowed significant progress to be made regarding the ease of communication in relaying the status of safety during incidents in the United States. Additionally, the hash tags used on Twitter have been and still are used to connect people, event updates and news reports. They provide a constant stream of information that can be viewed by millions of people, which in recent cases has provided to be invaluable.

If you need assistance with a crisis, our team at Indra Public Relations can help as we have an experienced team who handles many controversial needs of our clients.  http://indrapr.com/?page_id=3748

As always, we welcome all comments and are interested in hearing what you have to say and if you like what you read, be social and share. 

The Bystander Effect Online

By: Ben Okun

We’re all familiar with the psychological phenomenon, the bystander effect, in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when there are other people present. As the number of bystanders to a given incident increases, the likelihood of one of those bystanders offering help decreases, because everyone assumes that someone else will take charge and do something.

Normally when we think of the bystander effect, we think of incidents such as someone getting bullied in front of a group of people or a crime occurring in a public setting, with no one stepping up to defend the victim or help. However, social media potentially brings about a new kind of bystander effect, one in which people are not at the incident physically, but are there virtually.

Imagine for a second, that Facebook and Twitter are gigantic rooms that hold millions of people. When one of your friends posts about a specific incident or cause, that message is broadcast to hundreds of people, some of which will like or retweet the message. Out of all the likes, shares and retweets that the original message received, how many of those people actually donated if it was for a cause, or were proactive if it was for a specific incident? People will see that a page has a few thousand likes on it and will assume that others in the group are the ones physically offering aid. People might think that liking something shows they are a supporter of a cause and that that is enough on their part. This is a prevailing problem that is created by the convenience of social media.

Take for example Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines earlier this month. The devastating typhoon has killed more than 5,000 people and has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The official Facebook page for Typhoon Haiyan relief has 2,053 likes and the Twitter account has 1,801 followers. While it’s great that thousands of people are spreading awareness, there is really no telling how many of those people have actually donated to the relief efforts. I’m sure thousands of people have in fact donated and provided aid, but liking a page provides no clear indication one way or the other.

Social media is a great tool for sharing stories, spreading awareness and starting conversations. All of these things are fantastic, but in the case of a major tragedy like Typhoon Haiyan or even a minor incident like a bullying story, providing virtual aid is not the same as physical aid. While digital influence can be quite powerful in this day and age, awareness of a situation can only do so much. What is worth more? A $10 donation or sharing a cause on Facebook? This is an impossible question to answer, as it all depends on how many people donate after they have shared the cause to their friends.

No one likes to be accused of being a bystander, but I’m sure we have all been there in one way or another. The convenience and accessibility of supporting a cause on social media has produced a new form of the bystander effect. I’m not saying that everyone who shows virtual support on social media is a bystander, but liking or sharing a story should not be confused with physical donations. Do not let social media turn you into a couch-potato who simply likes every single cause that they come across online. Do not just assume that out of the thousands of other followers, someone else will donate. In addition to the support you show on social media, be proactive and be the one to step up and provide actual aid.

If you truly support something, prove it!

Have you witnessed the bystander effect in virtual spaces such as social media? Is there a solution to get people to be more active?

As always, I welcome any and all comments. If you like what you read, be social and share. 

 

Reaching Your Audience – Tips for E-Newsletters

By: Gina Mason

Keeping your target audience informed in this day and age is a challenge for all businesses. With the advent of the 24-hour news cycle and real-time social media sites, it is difficult to get your message to your audience without it getting lost in the shuffle. When it comes to communicating with your audience, I am a firm believer of the K.I.S.S. method, which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” With so many different platforms and multiple channels of accessing information, sometimes “keeping it simple” is the best way to reach your target audience. 

One way to keep it simple and keep your audience informed is through a monthly or bi-monthly email or electronic newsletter. An e-newsletter is extremely simple to create (thanks to MailChimp and Constant Contact), is cost effective and can be a direct approach t0 streamlining important information to your target audience. A newsletter enables you to condense all of your information into one, easy-to-follow template and allows you to highlight different aspects of your brand or business. Through the use of newsletters, you can not only give your brand or business a voice, but also establish credibility and expertise with your audience. Newsletters also allow you to speak directly to your target audience in a more casual tone therefore, establishing a relationship and building brand loyalty.

However, the most important thing to remember when creating a newsletter is that you must be able to grab the attention of your audience and create content that won’t cause them to hit the delete button. So now the question is, how do you keep your audience engaged? Here are a few tips on how to create a newsletter that won’t end up in the trash bin.  

Keep it Consistent

The most important thing to remember when creating a newsletter is that it should reiterate your brand’s message and reflect your brand’s image. Creating consistent content that aligns with your brand or company’s ideals is key when communicating with your target audience.

It’s All in the Subject

When crafting a newsletter, try to create an engaging subject line to pull your audience in. Think of it like you are knocking at someone’s door. Tell them who you are, what you want and why they should take the time to hear what you have to say. Getting them to open the door, so to speak, is the hardest part so make sure your subject is catchy.

Make it Interactive

Don’t use your newsletter to sell, sell, sell. That is a major turnoff and will most likely result in your newsletter floating in the dark abyss of cyberspace. Use your newsletter to build a relationship with your audience and create an open dialog. Entertain your audience while informing them on some of the great work that your brand or company is doing. Include photos, videos, tips, upcoming industry events, links to relevant articles and other interactive features to keep your audience engaged. Be sure to remember the ratio of keeping your content 90% educational and 10% promotional.

Keep it Brief

Whether you are posting news, events or tips, make sure that you are not writing a book. Your audience doesn’t have time to read a 4,000-word dissertation on what your company is doing during the month of December. To truly get the most out of your newsletter, keep your content in short, easy-to-read paragraphs.

Include Contact Information

This may seem like a silly tip, but make sure that your contact information is properly displayed at the top and the bottom of your newsletter. Also, be sure to include links to your website, social media sites and blog so that your company or brand is easily accessible to your audience at all times.

Mobile Device Compatibility

In today’s world with iPhones, iPads, and BlackBerrys there is a good chance that a majority of your audience will view your newsletter from a mobile device, so make sure that it is compatible. Nothing is worse than trying to view something on your phone and finding that the text is skewed. Many of the email-marketing programs offer this feature and will allow you to see exactly how your newsletter will appear on a mobile device. Send yourself a test email of your newsletter before sending it out to your contacts, just to be sure everything is formatted correctly.  

Utilize Analytics

Many email-marketing programs, such as MailChimp, will provide you with a ton of analytics after you send out your newsletter (i.e. how many people opened your newsletter, which links were opened, etc.). Take that information and change your newsletter according to your audience’s preferences. Tailoring your newsletter to fit your audience will only make your newsletter more successful and extend your reach to your audience.

As stated above, newsletters are a fantastic tool to reach your audience and can be extremely beneficial if created with your audience in mind. 

I welcome any and all comments and as always, if you like what you read be social and share. Also, if you are interested in subscribing to the indra public relations newsletter, visit our website at www.indrapr.com and enter your email into our “sign up for our newsletter” banner.