Tag Archives: Eliza Borish

Branding During the World Cup

By: Eliza Borish

For the first time in my life, I am actually interested in watching the World Cup. Maybe it’s because I am older, more passionate about sports or it’s just the idea of patriotism and supporting my country for the red, white and blue. Whatever it is, the World Cup has me hooked. I am not alone in this either; it seems that World Cup fever is hitting America. More than ever before, people in the USA are gathering together in parks, bars and in offices to watch soccer and support our Men’s National Team. Soccer, a sport that is popular in every other region and country of the world is finally reaching America. This doesn’t mean that soccer is now America’s pastime and people in every nook and cranny are joining in to watch. However, what it does mean is that slowly, yet surely, soccer is obtaining a presence here. When we think of top athletes in this country, we are consistently going to think of LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady and Jonathan Quick, which is not going to change anytime soon. But maybe, just maybe, after qualifying for the round of 16, people will start recognizing Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard a little more.

Tangent aside, the World Cup is an excellent time for companies to demonstrate their branding skills and not just with predesigned commercials and stories, but also with quick, witty and real-time marketing. A perfect example of this was when multiple brands such as McDonalds, Snickers, Trident Gum and JCPenny to name a few, speedily reacted to the news that Luis Suarez of Uruguay had bitten his Italian opponent, Giorgio Chiellini. Within no time, these companies took advantage of such news and used Suarez as the butt of their jokes, allowing the brands to stay relevant even in the influx of tweets that occur throughout the World Cup.

For example, McDonalds Uruguay chimed in tweeting “Hola ‪@luis16suarez, si te quedaste con hambre vení a darle un mordisco a una BigMac ;)” (Translation: Hi, Luis Suarez, if you are still hungry, come take a bite out of a Big Mac). Following suit were Trident Gum with “Chew Trident. Not soccer players #ITAvsURU” and JCPenny, “Fangs for the memories, Uruguay #URU” with a picture of a little boy dressed in a vampire costume. The brands allowed the World Cup to help promote their products with a simple tweet. My personal favorite, though, had to be Snicker’s take on the biting scandal. Snickers tweeted, “Hey ‪@luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers. ‪#worldcup ‪#luissuarez ‪#EatASNICKERS” with a photo that read ‘More satisfying than Italian’ #Luissuarez”. Why is this my favorite, you may ask? This is because the Snickers slogan has consistently been “Hungry? Grab A Snickers” and utilizing that traditional slogan to embrace the Suarez controversy is brilliant. While other companies cracked jokes and promoted their brand just using Suarez, Snickers was able to crack a joke, promote its brand and do it in a way that was uniquely “Snickers”. While Suarez did set snickers up by actually biting his opponent, Snickers took advantage of that and incorporated it into their already recognizable slogan propelling their brand (and tweet) further than other brands.

Kudos to the Snickers marketing and branding people who thought on their feet and allowed the tension on the field and in the game to successfully roll over to the Internet and to your brand. While Luis Suarez now has a 4-month ban from FIFA, you, on the other hand, Snickers, have stayed relevant. People aren’t just talking about Luis anymore; people are now talking your delicious chocolaty peanut candy bars and how your tweet was both funny and current.

So while soccer hastily catches on in America, real-time marketing during sporting events, beauty pageants, TV shows and even global news is spreading like wildfire. To stay on top in business, you need to stay relevant and that requires knowing what is trending, like the Game of Thrones finale or the NBA draft. Once you know these things, you can post tweets that are in accordance with live programs and events and capture the large audience that is also watching along with you. Viewers and clients don’t have to be the only ones with opinions tweeting during and after shows. Brands have the same opportunity! And if they market that opportunity correctly by posting a witty or clever tweet in real-time, they can garner attention for their brands and ultimately, revenue.

Don’t let talk be cheap. Take advantage of real time marketing and live interactions. Gain traction for your brand now, just as Snickers did. Hey, while you’re at it, turn on the World Cup to start. If you don’t find anything usable or relevant, watch it for fun and spread it to America. What’s that cheer? I believe that we will win…and now, I believe that we will tweet!

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




Volkswagen: Eyes on the Road

By: Eliza Borish

Recently, the car company, Volkswagen, released an interactive PSA called “Eyes on the Road” in a Hong Kong movie theatre to show moviegoers the consequences of texting and driving. Using a first-person perspective of driving a car with only the arms of the driver being visible, the Volkswagen ad uses a location-based service to send a text message to each of the unsuspecting audience members while the video (and the car) continues forward. While the audience digs into their pockets to check the text message they just received, the vehicle on screen crashes, shattering the windows to the car and jolting everyone out of their seats. When the audience finally realizes that the person behind the wheel on screen is representative of them, it becomes clear that their wrongdoing—of texting while driving—causes the car crash. Immediately, in black writing the words “mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel” appears on a white background bringing forth the significance of the interactive ad that just occurred and the need for changing standards when it comes to mobile use within vehicles.

I’ve watched the video a few times now and every time the audience reaches to see their phone, I brace myself for what’s coming: I know there is about to be a car crash, yet I feel equally as unprepared and shaken when the car crash does in fact occur. So what does this mean for Volkswagen, the company behind the commercial?

Personally, it seems like a brilliant move if you ask me. With this commercial, Volkswagen is essentially killing two birds with one stone. From a marketing standpoint, the ad is an effective and strategic tool. Because of its original view point and its interactive ability, the commercial shows the importance of and highlights Volkswagen’s strong commitment to safe driving while also generating traffic and buzz to the Volkswagen brand itself. From a safety standpoint and using a clever PSA for the specific audience in the video and essentially all viewers of this video, it hones in on the point that texting and driving is plain stupid. Often people believe that bad things won’t happen to them and that they are indestructible and while I pray that no one gets into an accident due to a mobile distraction, the reality is, is that these things do happen. So to put the audience in the scene of the accident (and crime) sends a successful, yet chilling message: if you text and use mobile devices while driving, the person in that car on the screen next time could be you.

Down to the core of it, this commercial is relaying the visual that it is better to be jolted out of your seat in a movie theatre from an unsuspecting car ad than jolted out of the drivers seat from an incoming car or tree or anything that could become a target when your eyes (and mind) wander to a screen instead of focusing on the road. When you are on the road, a simple text message can wait and that’s what Volkswagen is emphasizing in this new commercial.

At the end of the day, this PSA is just an ad and the line between PSA and ad merges. For Volkswagen, however; it is a smart marketing tactic that accomplishes multiple things. Between the audience and the brand, there is a sense of trust and reliability created; it feels as if Volkswagen has the audience and future drivers’ backs by wanting to promote safe driving. Additionally, Volkswagen is evoking brand awareness and promotion by creating a viral, effective and highly regarded ad. Lastly, Volkswagen uses a new feature interaction to accentuate the overall ad experience for both themselves as a brand and their target, the audience. Overall, whether you think this commercial is for the audience or for the brand or you think it’s a PSA alone or an ad alone, there is one thing you can’t deny: it is very effective in all senses and to me, that is a win-win.

What do you think about Volkswagen’s “Eyes on the Road” PSA? Do you think its effective as a marketing ad? What about as a PSA? As always, I welcome your comments and spread the word.

#BringBackOurGirls – Hashtag Campaign

By: Eliza Borish

A little over a month ago, an Islamic militant, Boko Haram, kidnapped approximately 300 female students from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. The young students are being forced into Islam and into marriage with members of the terrorist organization. Initially, government action was deemed slow and inadequate, prompting protests, which demanded further government involvement. As the story grew larger, the hash tag #BringBackOurGirls began trending on twitter allowing the news of this gruesome act to spread globally faster.

Now, #BringBackOurGirls has been shared and retweeted thousands of times. Celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Justin Timberlake, Amy Poehler, and the FLOTUS Michelle Obama have all hopped in on the action and shared photos of themselves holding a sign that reads #BringBackOurGirls. Michelle Obama’s photo alone has had over 58,000,000 retweets.

In this social media driven world, can a campaign like #BringBackOurGirls actually be effective? Yes, it may share and promote global awareness, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty, is it really going to “Bring Back Our Girls?”

This type of campaign, called hash tag activism, is a simplistic approach to fighting often-complicated issues. It’s free, attention grabbing, thought provoking, and when spread globally, it’s a phenomenon. A simple hash tag can garner awareness. While people like me just use the hash tag to spread that awareness, if we all join in, the hash tag trends and gets noticed by the world. People in power who can take direct action like Michelle Obama start using the same hash tag and this is where the results start.

We want the government to be held accountable. We want the government to take action, fast. There should not be a delayed response when 300 females ages 15-18 are kidnapped from their school. Regardless of the city, the country, the continent, we need to bring back our girls. In this day of age, that responsibility no longer applies to those only in power. In belongs to all of us. Politicians and governments have the ability to take action, but we–twitter users, Facebook users, and social media fanatics–have the ability to promote the action we want to be taken. We are not powerless and all it takes is one “retweet”, one “favorite”, and one “like” to become an activist.

It is easy to argue that a campaign like this looses sight of the real goal by bringing attention to the means (let’s just tweet to be trendy!) and not the ends. Ann Coulter, an ultra-conservative republican selfishly turned the twitter campaign to free the kidnapped Nigerian to herself posting a photo with the hash tag #BringBackOurCountry. It seems like Ann Coulter is mocking Michelle Obama, but whatever her reasoning, its obnoxious and attention grabbing, in a bad way. The twitter community has fired back expressing their outrage at Ann Coulter’s insensitivity. Hash tags can often be jokes, but in this case, twitter users mean business. It’s not about you, Ann; it’s about those young girls.

Whatever your thoughts are about twitter and hash tag activism, there is no denying that the world is finally taking action against Boko Haram. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: we want those young, Nigerian schoolgirls to return home safely.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this campaign has provoked the much needed awareness about Boko Haram.  

As always, I welcome your feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.