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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?


Doritios for the W

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Are you ready for some football? More importantly, are you ready to win a million dollars? The Super Bowl is approaching and once again, Doritos is launching the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest for it’s 8th year.

In the “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, consumers compete to have their own ad broadcasted to an audience of millions during Super Bowl XLVIII. However, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay has threw a few curve balls this year. The winner not only receives a million dollars but also wins the opportunity to work with Marvel Studio on the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” set. Oh, and this year PepsiCo is taking the challenge global. Yes, global. So everyone needs to get ready to step up their game because the competition is out of this world.

Since 2007, more than 20,000 homemade ads have been submitted by consumers in the U.S.  Once again we find Doritos looking to the public to create and produce 30-second Super Bowl commercials, only this time they are allowing consumers from all 46 countries that Doritos are sold to compete.  Incredible content has no geographical boundaries, said Ann Mukherjee, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division.  “With Crash the Super Bowl, we’re now delivering an unprecedented opportunity for fans around the globe to share their talent and creativity on one of the world’s largest advertising stages.”

Consumer engagement is one of the key branding trends of the last several years and stems from the idea that consumers aren’t just passive recipients of messaging but active producers of brand content of all kinds.  This contest continues to work because Doritos gets it. They understand that lovers of Doritos all around the world want to engage and feel as though they play an active role with the brand. What better way to do this than by allowing their consumers the opportunity to have their own commercial aired during the Super Bowl! Plus the chance of winning a million dollars doesn’t sound bad either. Starting Oct. 8, people can submit their entries in the contest here.

This is the winner from last year. It makes me laugh out loud.

As you can see, you have some big cleats to fill.  So what are you waiting for? Go get started!  Practice makes perfect and this is the Super Bowl after all.

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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?


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.



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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Gap Makes the Season Bright

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The holiday’s are right around the corner and many advertisers are doing their part to make this holiday season extra bright. Advertisers are making strides to better showcase the uniqueness of individuals. Gap’s 2012 holiday campaign is making an effort this winter season to debunk negative stereotypes by celebrating various, positive views on family and the many forms love can take.

Gap’s campaign includes a commercial and colorful print ads that feature celebrities including Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan. The campaign uses the tagline “Love Comes in Every Shade” and showcases a variety of couples of various races and sexual orientations. The campaign also shows fathers in a positive light.

According to Gerbner’s cultivation theory, over time and repeated exposure to similar images, the media and ads cultivate the reality we come to believe. Gap’s holiday campaign uses images in their ads that reflect a wide range of ideas about our current society. The ad shows people that all families are unique and different and influences them to view this as a positive thing.

If the media does not tell you what to think, but rather what to think about then the ads in the Gap holiday campaign are ones everyone should take a moment to reflect on. By reflecting multiple ideas and perspectives this campaign has the ability to reach and affect a much larger audience.

Gap’s ads are not only something consumers should reflect on but other advertisers as well. By keeping up with the current trends in our society, Gap is not only able to maintain or move market share over the holidays, but is also potentially able to reach and maintain relationships with new consumer groups that have not made purchases because they did not previously relate to Gap.

Gap uses the ads in this campaign to go above and beyond their obligations by not only selling clothes but also showing diverse, optimistic and positive views on family and love.

Coors Light Busboy Ad

The Better Business Bureau, the organization that presides over the Beer Institute, recently ruled that the Coors Light Bus Boy ad unintentionally violated the Beer Institute’s Advertising and Marketing Code. According to the code, “Beer advertising and marketing materials should not portray or imply illegal activity of any kind.” In the ad, there is a male that is constantly picking up Coors Light beers in a bar setting. After a while, a waitress notes that the “new bus boy” is doing a great job of cleaning off beers on the tables, to which the boss responds “I didn’t hire a bus boy”. While the underlying or intended meaning of the ad is that Coors Light is so good that people will go to crazy resorts to get it, an additional meaning that Coors Light is worth stealing is the reason for the criticism towards the ad.

While I wouldn’t have really taken such a literal meaning from the ad, I believe the rationale of the Beer Institute is understandable. While Coors itself doesn’t really believe that they have done wrong, they have agreed to stop running the ad as a result of the Better Business Bureau’s ruling. Alcohol advertising is a part of the overall institute of advertising that gets a lot of criticism for unethical advertising. I commend the Beer Institute for creating a non-legal but authoritative ethical standard in an attempt to change this reputation. If we as advertisers continue to create standards for ourselves and regulate ourselves, I believe we will be able to eventually gain credibility and positively impact people’s attitudes towards advertising while performing our business related roles.

I also believe that as advertisers we must look at our ads from several perspectives before we publish the work. While Coors intended to sell their product using a humorous story, there are ways to use humor without portraying or romanticizing illegal activities. If we could really scrutinize our work from an ethical point of view, we could avoid wasting time and money airing ads that won’t be approved our self-regulating structures. By taking time at the forefront to view the ethical impact of our advertising messages, I believe we can avoid a lot of time wasted and financial loss in the future.


Miracle on 34th Street

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Walk into any major department store or any retailer for that matter, a consumer will know that the holiday season is approaching, specifically Christmas.  There might be a small section dedicated to those who are still intending on celebrating Thanksgiving, but all in all, Christmas music, trees, lights, ribbons, garlands, and snowmen abound in many stores.

Macy’s is one such retailer that has been specifically tied to the holiday season through its long-standing name in the retail business, movies (namely Miracle on 34th Street), and the classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  To reflect their years of bringing the holiday spirit, two years ago, Macy’s Department store advertised their brand through nostalgic marketing.  Footage in the commercial showed clips from the late 1800s, the parade, movies that have used their name, and reality TV shows.   The end of the commercial states, “Only one store has been part of your life for 150 years.  That’s the Magic of Macy’s.  This commercial works so well, because Macy’s has successfully branded their name by allowing people to remember a particular association with the store.  It even allows for consumers to reinterpret their own memories of when they first saw or heard  the original referenced clips. Even if a consumer was not there to walk into Macy’s in the late 1800s, they may remember a memory of watching the parade or watching a holiday classic such as Miracle on 34th street.  This ad does appeal to consumers who have high MAO, because it allows the consumer to create a persona and image of what this brand represents and has done over the past 150 years.  It allows the viewer to be part of the experience and to create a prototype of the Macy’s brand.

In terms of social responsibility, especially around the holiday seasons, in the past few years, Macy’s created a campaign called “Believe” and paired their name with Make-A-Wish.   In every Macy’s department store, there was a mail box for Santa, and for each letter that was mailed, one dollar was given to the Make-A-Wish foundation.  Essentially, the company would give up to $,1,000,000 to the foundation.  There were a couple of commercials that were produced borrowing from the story, Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus. 



The campaign was effective, because it  reached the $1 million goal of giving to Make-A-Wish.  This campaign not only captures a positive aspect of the season through giving, especially if child knows that by mailing their letter to Santa through Macy’s mailbox, they are helping other children, but it also gives a positive message to believing.  The store is also promoting the idea that it is okay to believe and to be a kid.

Macy’s department store is placed in a positive light because it looks like a store that believes in the spirit of the season, even if they (the department store) are in the business of making money.  The “Believe” campaign is currently underway and can be followed through the Macy’s Believe website.

It will be interesting to see how other companies will compete and roll out good tidings to all in this holiday season.

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