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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.”

Budweiser Tweet

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.

Fan Tweets

“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?

Sep
15

There’s something in your Tweet!

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Do you think this new campaign is the perfect way to leverage social media and engagement too?

http://adage.com/article/creativity-pick-of-the-day/colgate-alerts-warn-friends-food-teeth-mishaps/244102/

 

Earlier this week, news of Union Agency’s new Colgate Campaign “There’s Something in your Tweet” hit the internet as buzz circling this highly creative campaign reached many online ad publications. The campaign is simple, ever had anyone you know walk around in front of you with an embarrassing piece of food stuck in their teeth? Of course you have. And what’s the only thing worse than having food in your teeth? Having to tell someone else they have food in their teeth. By collecting a true reflection of what troubles regular Colgate consumers, Union was able to uncover this universal human truth which they could then leverage for a unique and relevant campaign.

The real challenge here however, was not to create a highly creative one-of print ad, but a campaign that would really engage their consumers, be highly “shareable” and keep Colgate in the consumer’s immediate recall set. This is when the creative department had a stroke of genius. They found a way to warn people and avoid the chore of having to tell people about their dirty chompers by using twitter or email to ANONYMOUSLY warn the victim. Not only that, the anonymous warning also comes with a handy coupon that will further drive the sales of Colgate. After all, even the most brilliant campaign is for naught if it does not produce revenue.

It seldom happens in advertising that an agency can hit all problems such as sales, engagement, and decent creative all in stroke. Union has managed to turn such a low involvement product and brand into one that solves a multitude of problems for consumers, is likeable/shareable and does so whilst remaining relevant and useful even outside their own product lines.

In the end, this campaign is truly a model and a benchmark for what all agencies should strive for when creating engaging, fun, and creative campaigns.

 

Sep
09

Warning: Serious Tearjerker

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Go find a box of tissues. You’re going to need a few to mop up some happy, nostalgic tears.

Last month, British Airways launched their “Visit Mum” campaign, which is an attempt to make traveling home a little easier for Indian ex-pats. From this campaign, BA highlights the increased number of daily flights from more North American cities to more Indian cities.

This 5 minute ad, crafted by O&M NY, builds on beautiful images of Mumbai, and moves into telling the story of a son who hasn’t been home in fifteen years.

Aside from the fact that the ad is beautifully shot, the core of the message is completely universal, yet genuine and thoughtful. The ad doesn’t have to mention anything about the services or promotions offered by the airline. It centers in on the value of the mother-child relationship, and the pure joy found when families reunite. As a whole, the ad plays on the deep emotional connection between a mother and son, which in turn, engages the viewer with its core message.

This ad is a perfect example of how good advertising works. David Meerman Scott explains compelling stories educate, engage, and entertain consumers. Good (and effective) advertising is the strategic fusion of communication, culture, and creativity. This amalgam of innovative messaging is what inspires action.

Kudos to British Airways and O&M NY for telling such a sweet story.

Oh, and the #visitmum website even includes Ratesh’s mother’s Bhindi recipe. Nailed it.

With social media becoming more and more important in effectively reaching out to consumers it becomes even more important to understand how to use it. Many companies still use social media as a tool to tell consumer about them, rather than ask consumers opinions or address problems.

When researching companies that use social media affectively I came across a handful of names, but then I thought about which companies use social media to enhance their customer service experience. My search lead me to an article written by Rachel Sprung titled 4 Examples of Excellent Twitter Customer Service. This article demonstrates how companies such as Jetblue, Nike, Seamless and Comcast affectively use Twitter to address any issue their customer are having.

Srpung sites an article called How Are Top Brands Doing With Twitter Customer Service? written by Allison Stadd, which covers an analysis by Simply Measured that conducted research over Interbrand’s Top 100 Brands and how they were preforming customer service on Twitter. The study concluded, “99% of brands are on Twitter, and 30% have a dedicated customer service handles (as of March 2013).”

Nike sets themselves apart from the other companies in Sprung’s article, because they have completely dedicated a twitter handle just for their customer to seek support with any Nike product. @NikeSupport as of 9/8/2013 has tweeted over 183,840 times to their followers and cover topics that range from website troubleshooting to product exchange.

In an article written by Nate Smitha from Simply Measured, he takes a closer look into @NikeSupprt’s Twitter account, which reveals that Nike has over 1,600 customer service tweets a day and manages more than 265 incoming customer service tweets with a 74% response rate.

David Meerman Scott author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR says that “the best way to think about social media is not in terms of the different technologies and tools, but, rather, how those technologies and tools allow you to communicate directly with your buyers…”

Nike is accomplishing this direct communication with consumers by being present when their consumers need them. In Smitha’s article Nike was only one of 23 Interbrand Top 100 Brands with a special handle just for customer service and had an average response time of 2.8 hour.

By having a separate handle completely dedicated to customer service Nike is able to maintain a quick response rate, provide support specialists when needed and do the best they can in keeping their consumers happy.

Which begs the question: If a company like Nike can affectively reach out to their consumers using social media and give help to dissatisfied customers, then why do so many large companies opt out of utilizing Twitter as a customer service tool?

Cause-related marketing is a popular term to throw around board meetings and stakeholder newsletters, but few companies can truly execute the concept well. Campbell’s has succeeded in creating a relevant, socially responsible, and forward-thinking campaign for the holiday season in their partnership with Feeding America. This is a great opportunity for a corporate and non-profit business to interact in a mutually beneficial relationship, while also creating awareness for a serious social issue. Feeding America states that an average of one in six Americans faces hunger and consistently goes without meals for several days.

Campbell’s follows the rules of creating a great cause-related campaign by  1) collaborating with an appropriate cause, 2) being very transparent about their donation intentions, and 3) gaining positive exposure by taking their campaign to the innovative digital scrapbooking site, Pinterest. Campbell’s has created a massive online version of their classic green bean casserole, where users can take part in adding to the visual impact of how many people could be fed simply by pinning and participating.

Other marketers could learn from Campbell’s positive example and create a relationship between their brand and consumers that is based on trust, respect, and a shared vision. Being honest with consumers is always in the best interest of the company because it leads to brand loyalty, which ensures a longer life of the brand and better business.

The Campbell Soup Foundation was initiated in 1953 and has a long history with philanthropy and donating part of their profits to worthy causes, as opposed to companies who have recently jumped on the bandwagon by treating a partnership like the cool or socially expected thing to do. Campbell’s is a leader in creating positive, wholesome messages that set an excellent example for other marketers in both their advertising content and partnership message by striving to create a positive difference in the community. They are a corporation with values that projects an image of warmth and heartiness which reflect not only their casseroles, but their goal of helping families in the holiday season through their donations to Feeding America.

Chevy's Holiday Contest using Dailybreak as a platform

Every year like clock work companies start to advertise for the holiday season even before Thanksgiving Day. More and more American’s every year take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However this holiday season Chevy is taking a new approach by using the Dailybreak platform to target young adults through social media.

Chevy is asking consumers to register thought the Dailybreak platform, answer a handful of questions about driving conditions in the winter, specifics of economy-sized models and then create a virtual postcard. This virtual postcard contains a short message about why each consumer is excited for the holidays and are shared on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Then consumers ask their friends/followers to go vote for them.

In William M. O’Barr’s article What is Advertising?  He states that advertising is a “device for asserting attention inducing one to accept a mutual adventageous exchange,” and that advertising is “a part of the social fabric of society.” So by using the a platform that connects to the largest social media platforms, Chevy is trying to get participants to connections that may start a chain reaction by encouraging friend and friends of friends to participate in the Holiday Contest.

Other brands such as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Microsoft have used the Dailybreak platform for contests similar to this, but Chevy has already tried to utilizing social media outlets before. In August of 2012, Chevy tired to push awareness about their Chevy Malibu through LivingSocial.

By using the Dailybreak platform Chevy is trying to reach out to consumers who may not have considers Chevy for their automotive needs and take a more interactive form of advertising. Social media plays a large role in many young adult lives these days and Chevy’ recognizes that to gain brand loyalty they must start with a younger demographic and through the means in which they communicate.

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In a day and age where fast food is made up of ingredients many of us are oblivious to, it is refreshing to see a company stand out from the rest and base their entire marketing mantra on a concept unfamiliar to many people in this fast paced, “I want it now” society we live in. The idea of “Going Back to the Start” is the face of Chipotle’s new viral marketing campaign aimed at informing consumers that there is such a thing as “food with integrity,” which is simply natural, family-grown or raised, and ultimately socially responsible.

An article by the Chicago Tribune discusses Chipotle’s recently released video featuring Willie Nelson’s rendition of Coldplay’s popular song, “The Scientist,” which depicts a small town farmer shifting away from his traditional farming roots and adopting an industrialized and unnatural method of cultivating his livestock. Eventually, the farmer realizes his original way of farming was far superior and decides to do the environmentally responsibly thing and “go back to the start.” Chipotle does an excellent job in getting people to think about the serious issue, while promoting its brand in the meantime.

The advertisement, which is intended to create somewhat of an emotional reaction to people viewing the harmful effects that industrialized farming brings with it, creates a sense of sadness and empathy for the farmer. It really gets people thinking about the differences between Chipotle as a fast food chain, as opposed to say, your typical McDonalds ad.

Sustainable farming, which Chipotle bases their entire positioning off of, “uses techniques such as crop rotation, soil conservation, natural fertilization and polyculture planting. In livestock production, they use pasture-based systems, feed animals what their bodies are designed to digest, and treat their animals humanely. Sustainable farms produce foods that are tastier and more nutritious than foods produced on factory farms, while also preserving the long-term health of our environment.”

Simply said, this is responsibility at its finest, despite the negative stereotypes that many fast food restaurants must battle. Chipotle seizes that opportunity in the marketplace to finally provide a fast food experience that defies the typical processed and unnatural methods of creating food and opts for an experience that provides healthy, fresh, locally grown, and socially responsible options. By raising awareness about what responsible farming is, they are fostering a need for healthy and naturally raised food that many people were unaware they had.

As many people are trying to do their part in going green and helping the environment in any little way, Chipotle has made the responsible choice. The powerful “Going Back to the Start” video sets the agenda that people should be concerned about where their food comes from originally. But, while many people may view this as just a healthy food option, when going to the roots of what Chipotle is really doing, they are keeping small family farmers in business and helping the economy along the way.

Many people may think, however, why haven’t I seen these advertisements? Chipotle is again set apart from the rest, they choose not to engage in heavy television or radio advertising, but instead to stick to simple movie-theater ad placements, word of mouth, and public event sponsoring to raise awareness of their brand’s positioning as an environmentally responsible company. These ads create a positive impact on those who view them, while informing and motivating consumers to learn more. Chipotle also discusses their farming methods and responsibility in using sustainable farming techniques all over their website in order to raise awareness about the importance of such a trend.

This popular concept of going-green, being environmentally responsible, and incorporating organically grown food helps Chipotle to solidify their standing as a company that truly cares about the implications of their actions. Their growing popularity and extreme success in the business world teaches other companies in the fast food industry that caring about the long-term effects of your business’ actions will carry with it many positive benefits.

In the case of Chipotle, this is truly marketing with integrity.

Chicago Tribune Original Article

Chipotle’s Webpage: Food With Integrity

Sustainable Table: The Daunting Techniques of Factory Farming

Sep
23

Imagination…Ecomagination at Work

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Did you know that by submitting one photo that had water in it to GE’s ecoimagination website last year provided 480 gallons of clean drinking water to developing countries?  By posting a wind photo, 4.5 KW hours of wind powered health clinics in rural Peru and by uploading a photo of light, 175 hours of solar power were given to families in East Timor.  Through GE’s ecomagination website, GE encouraged a joint collaboration with Flickr members to take photos of these elements and “Tag Your Green” allowing for that one simple uploading of a photo affect lives across the globe.  The campaign was very successful and GE achieved their goal of 10,000 photos for each nature element thus changing countless lives.

 

Since global warming and energy crisis have become buzzwords in the media, companies such as General Electric have decided to turn the negative connotations of the words to a call of action utilizing social media.  Within doing this, they have created a branding moment that demonstrates their understanding for environmental concerns and how their brand in turn can contribute to a “greener” Earth by involving consumers.  On the photoproject website, GE gives tribute to Social Vibe http://www.socialvibe.com/an engagement-marketing website whose belief is the brand should be in the hands of consumers.  On SocialVibe’s website, the company portrays a large global cause platform that is meant to be indispensible to consumers.  By pairing social media to contributing to the greater good, SocialVibe and General Electric have positioned the role of social media to become an agent of change.
Consumers are not only becoming the agents of change, but theopportunity to affect change is in their (the consumers) hands.

GE’s tagline is “Imagination at Work” and it is evident that their imagination is cognizant of the need to be relevant to the younger generation and the countless number of people who interact with social media daily.    As evident of the 2010 campaign, they successfully completed their goal.  By being aware of the use of social media in promoting a cause, the company is not only enacting change, but also linking their name to good works.  General Electric does have quite an advantage for promoting a greener earth, but other companies could also join the cause of utilizing social media and sites such as Social Vibe to jumpstart change in the world.  If by taking a picture of water, posting it on Flickr, and then GE’s website and that one photo changed the life of someone else in the world, think about what would happen if more companies joined in to this concept of taking social media to a whole other level.  Imagination at Work.

Imagination at Work commercial:  http://www.youtube.com/embed/CsW1JE4Hg14?rel=0

 

Dec
08

BEEr-ing Responsible

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We all see those friendly reminders at the end of alcohol commercial that remind consumers to “Drink Responsibly.” It is easy to tag that line at the end of your brands message, but Anheuser-Busch has gone above and beyond to inform and voice to consumers the importance of responsible drinking.

Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewing company in the United States, has launched a website defining their corporate social responsibility the website focuses on Underage Drinking, Drunk Driving, College Drinking,and Responsible Drinking.

www.beeresponsible.com

Each section of the website details Anheuser-Busch’s stance on the respective issues. The website also has alcohol related statistics and studies that have been previously conducted that can be used as an education tool for consumers.

Additionally, there is a tab on the website entitled Advertising that includes all of Anheuser-Busch’s advertisements that promote responsibility while consuming alcohol. Besides the advertisements the advertising section also includes the companies advertising policy. Anheuser- Busch makes a very firm statement on their website regarding their intentions through their advertisements.

“Our commitment to responsible advertising shows in the marketing messages and vehicles we create, the thorough review process in the development of brand advertising and the careful attention we pay to selecting appropriate programming for our commercials.  In each case, we are committed to focusing on our consumers – adults of legal drinking age who choose to drink.”

This statement is followed by a code of standards that discusses the companies stance on advertising through each medium including college campuses, advertising and marketing,  and television.

It is very impressive  that a alcoholic beverage giant like Anheuser- Busch makes such a large effort to make their responsible consumptions desire visible to the public.

Should this type of information be required by all alcohol companies? If so do you think that Anheuser- Busch should make a greater effort in promoting this website.



Dec
03

Intel commercial- Ajay Bhatt

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Intel has recently started running a new campaign in which it remakes the company’s top researchers into ‘rock stars.’ The man they show in the spot as Ajay Bhatt is really just an actor, however there IS a real Ajay Bhatt who, while working for IBM in the early 1990’s, played a key role in inventing USB (Universal Serial Bus). Intel had originally approached Ajay to ask for permission to feature him in their latest campaign, but according to Mr. Bhatt, he never really paid attention to what they were doing until he finally saw the completed promo on TV.

I like this Intel commercial which shows Ajay Bhatt – the co-inventor of USB – with a rock-star like following.

At first glance the advertisement appears to be a humorous spot that attempts to redefines the American definition of a male hero as an Indian American computer engineer. In this 30 second ad, on one hand, the ad suggests that we should be rethinking who we see as the heroes of our generation. In slow-motion frames, people scream, men point to his image on their t-shirt, women swoon, and others take his picture with their phones and cameras as the fake Ajay Bhatt nods, winks, signs autographs. But on the other hand, this exaggerated behavior creates a comic moment because the visual of the actor playing Ajay Bhatt defies American audience expectations of who represents a rock star. I wonder has an Indian American man who looks like the stereotype of a smart computer geek really replaced Michael Jackson, and Adam Lambert in the American imagination?

Moreover, I think the ad actually doesn’t redefine the American hero but in fact reinforce the idea of Asian American men as a minority who are rarely seen as rock stars in “our world.” The message behind the humor separates Indian Americans from everyday American popular culture icons and instead confines Ajay Bhatt and anyone like him to a single image.

In the end, I feel while the advertisement promotes a different world where the professionals are Indian Americans or Asian Americans who are boxed in by the continual replaying of stereotypical definitions, the Campaign of the Sponsors of Tomorrow still attempts to turn the traditionally negative stereotypes of Asian males as smart, studious and hardworking into positives.

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