Archive for Internet
What do Will Ferrell, a rapping family, and hover boards have in common? Oddly enough these examples were used to promote automobiles. These advertisements are quite different from the typical picturesque clips of cars driving over rugged terrains or depicting the performance capabilities of the vehicles on closed roadways. So why would automotive markets decide to use such unusual advertising tactics? The answer is surprisingly simple; it was culturally relevant at the time. Anchorman 2 was about to be released, young suburban families wanted to be seen by society as still being hip, and Back to the Future Part II had just opened in theaters. (Gill, 2015) The characters that these automotive companies chose to depict in their advertisements spoke volumes as to who their target audiences are and even who they would like their target audiences to be. For instance, Dodge’s decision to promote the new Dodge Durango with Will Ferrell suggests that the company is interested in targeting a younger generation, perhaps new drivers or those who have only been driving for a few years.
Toyota’s campaign “Swagger Wagon” depicts a mid-30 year old couple rapping with their two young children about how cool and trendy they still are. Families that own minivans need extra reassurance and Toyota is there to give it to their consumers in a catchy song. Lexus wanted to target those that grew up with the cult classic, Back to the Future. Associating a nostalgic moment of watching Back to the Future and wondering if hover boards would really be the ultimate form of transportation and realizing that you have something better; the Lexus. These advertisements are “combining data from important real-time and historical moments in the consumer’s journey with demographic targeting to drive consumer engagement.” (Gill, 2015) The campaigns did engage their consumers but were only effective to a point. When looking at the long run did these ads truly interact with their viewers and create loyal consumers or did they just get a few chuckles? Although David Meerman Scott was referring to automotive websites when stating, “these sites were advertising to me, not building a relationship with me.” (Meerman Scott, 2013) This quote can be used to describe what all three of these advertising campaigns lacked; they were creating a connection but not a relationship. The advertisements are culturally relevant, especially to their target audience but are the ads humor and timeliness enough to be remembered or sway someone to purchase such a costly item? These advertisements are more entertaining than informative and for what the companies are trying to sell there should be a mix. The connection that was formed was due to the fact that the companies knew what their target audience enjoyed. However, a relationship is built after that initial connection was made. For instance, if the “Toyota Swagger Wagon’s” next advertisement consisted of the same family but discussed how they felt protected in their new Toyota or relate the car’s benefits to another type of intrinsic value could enhance the viewers opinion of the brand and then start to from a relationship.
Companies should look at these types of adverts and realize that consumers need to see advertisements “upwards of 20 times” (Dietrich, Livingston, 2012) in order to digest the information. Thus, if the consumer is viewing an advertisement that is relevant or relates to their intrinsic values and ideal self, companies may have the chance to not only gain eyes on their advertisements but viewers may actually start to absorb, understand, and remember the messages. By engaging consumers with information that is culturally relevant or even just pertains to their ideal selves, could form a connection that may become a loyal relationship between consumer and brand.
Content is the king of websites. It’s a point every company should understand. Most of the time, corporate websites are full of animations and cool software plug-ins, but they forget what consumers really want to see is content.
Coca-Cola is probably the first brand to move in this direction. Last year it declared the death of its corporate website. The new website is called “Coca-Cola Journey”, and it looks more like an online news channel than a website of a company that makes soft drinks.
This “Journey” started three years ago, when the company, realizing the media landscape was changing very quickly, launched “Coca-Cola Content 2020”. The aim was to understand how to leverage the opportunities of the new landscape by exploiting the power of dynamic storytelling.
According to Ashley Brown, Group Director of Digital Communications and Social Media for Coke, this change happened because they looked at their data and realized that what they thought was good content wasn’t necessarily considered good by their customers. They looked at customer feedback to shape the creativity of the business. The needs and the will of the buyers became priority in the new scenario. Coca-Cola understood that social media and online engagement was too important a tool to be neglected.
This new approach is the new way to engage with the customer. And mentioning the brand is not the top priority. They realized the main goal is to build relationship and trust, not promote their products; what they share on this platform is usable, fun and emotional content. It’s often said that “content is social at the core, digital by design, and emotional”.
Coke’s content talks about a variety of topics, from food to sports, from jobs to innovation. The articles are not written only by the company, but also from a group of bloggers who are part of “The Opener”, an exclusive, invite-only contributor network that brings the best food, travel culture, and innovation writing to the pages of Coca-Cola Journey. Every article can be shared through various social networks.
Everything published on Journey is data driven. The website attracts an average of 1.1 million visitors each month; they drive the future content of the platform. In some cases, a topic that is highly appreciated evolves into a dedicated channel. The amount of content to be published is also determined by data; the first year they published more than 1,200 pieces of content. Surprisingly enough, even if the focus is not on the product, articles about Coke do incredibly well.
Coca-Cola is one of the most well known brands in the world. Therefore, it was obvious that their corporate website, even in this new innovative form, was going to require a focus on different countries, their issues and their will. Today, there are seven local Journey websites: Australia, Deutschland, Japan, Morocco (in France and in Arab), New Zealand, Russia and Ukraine. More countries should be introduced soon.
Despite all this good news, there are a few people who are not convinced of this new scenario for corporate websites. Mark Higginson, Social Media Manager at the University of Brighton, reviewed a sample of 87 posts on Journey to understand the real social interaction with customers. His results were not positive: “the average number of shares from a post to Facebook was 238, to LinkedIn, 103 and to Twitter, 42. Each post averaged eight comments and two-thirds of posts received no comments at all.” Of course this number of shares seems very weak since we are talking about Coca-Cola, one of the most well known companies in the world.
There is no doubt that the direction of Coca-Cola has introduced a change to the role of the corporate website. Of course, a social media approach is not suitable for every kind of business, but everyone must understand that what is important is the customer and what kind of content they want to know.
And the promotion of the product must not dominate.
Get out a box of Kleenex, Budweiser has put another cute dog in their ad. After the overwhelming success of Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” spot during the 2014 Super Bowl, it’s no surprise they’ve once again harnessed the power of the puppy. But this time, it’s to send a very powerful and important message to consumers everywhere.
The ad was released in honor of Global Be(er) Responsible Day, which Budweiser created to talk to consumers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Their new ad features a golden lab waiting faithfully for his owner to come home after a night of drinking. Except his owner doesn’t return that night, causing the viewer’s heart to sink.
But fear not, he walks through the door the following morning after deciding to spend the night at a friend’s house instead of drinking and driving. Both dog and owner rejoice when he comes home safe and sound, ending with the copy: “Make a plan to make it home. Your friends are counting on you.”
This ad isn’t just a great example of corporate social responsibility, but it’s also a great tool to start a conversation with consumers. When Budweiser shared the link on their Twitter page, they invited consumers to the discussion about drinking and driving by including the Twitter hashtag #FriendsAreWaiting at the end of the commercial.
One look at this twitter feed and not only is it evident that people adored the conscientious ad, but that Budweiser is in fact accomplishing their goal of raising awareness about drinking and driving through their ad campaign. As of September 29, one week after the tweet was posted, it racked up 1,400 retweets and 940 favorites.
“Friendship, camaraderie and enjoying great times are at the heart of Budweiser’s most popular campaigns, and this video maintains that tradition but with an unexpected twist,” Brian Perkins, VP of marketing for Budwesier at Anheuser-Busch, told AdAge. “Budweiser is known for connecting with beer drinkers in memorable ways, and our efforts to promote responsible drinking through this video are no exception.”
The spot was released online prior to it being played on what is often considered the most popular media format: television. David Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, emphasizes the importance of companies telling their stories and sharing their ideas online.
He notes that while television advertising was once the dominating way to communicate with audiences, things like Facebook, blogs, and Twitter allow companies to talk directly with consumer. He believes that “strong social networking ties lead to stronger personal relationships,” because of this one-on-one connection over something both the company and the consumer care deeply about (Scott 2013, p. 259)
Scott goes on to explain “what also fails (online) is an egocentric display of your products and services,” and Budweiser was smart enough to do the opposite by crafting a socially conscious message that aligns with their product (Scott 2013, p. 46). What’s critical to being successful online is creating information that people will want to share, and Budweiser did precisely that: To the tune of over 15 million online views of the ad..
As people continue to share the video through social media, Budweiser hopes that next time you pick up a beer at the supermarket, you’ll think of that cute puppy waiting for his friend and want to support such a responsible and insightful company.
What do you think about Budweiser’s new ad? How much of a role does the puppy play in the ad? Would it have been as effective as another pet? And is social media the most appropriate place for this type of corporate responsibility message?