Catvertising

Cats have been used for advertising since the Ancient Egyptian times. But now more than ever, cats have become the cop-out for millennial attracting advertisements. When you can’t think of what your campaign is lacking, just add a nice calico, maybe even a meme.

 

Here’s a comprehensive video on the expansive world of catvertising by Canadian agency John St.

There’s even an agency solely dedicated to this cult form of advertising. BBDO Beijing dedicated part of it’s business to catvertising, appropriately naming it’s side-project “Miao, Meow, Mew & Mao.” With clients like M&M’s, Snickers, Bayer and Gillette, Miao, Meow, Mew & Mao have a social mission as well. Once one of their advertisements reaches over 100,000 views the agency makes a donation to Together For Animals in China. Cats are helping brands reach audiences while helping their fellow feline friends in the process. What am I doing with my life?

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Frisky Food

As if eating wasn’t already America’s favorite pass-time, now food advertisements are getting even sexier. Something about drizzling cheese over a bed of macaroni shells just gets me going, that’s just American.

Exhibit A:

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Devour took this to the next level with their campaign “Food You Want to Fork.” Playing on the ecstasy one gets from that first bite into their lunchtime, work-place escape.

Check out one of the commercials here:

I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes, I close my eyes when I dig into some dank mac and cheese and pretend I’m kissing a beautiful woman, but these commercials are gearing us dangerously close to an American Pie reality.

 

Daring the Danes

denmarkbirthrateIn 2013, when Denmark faced a 30 year low in their population growth rate, the country enlisted a daring marketing campaign to set it back on course. Denmark needed to increase its birth rate to have a larger younger generation to take care of the immense aging population.

Spies Rejser, a travel agency, started ‘Do It For Denmark!‘ to encourage Danes to travel to romantic destinations. In a clip from one of their ads below you can see that Danes have a lot more sex on holiday. Spies took advantage of this data to leverage their company for the greater good of Denmark’s future.

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Spies even further encouraged couples to procreate by offering a legitimate prize of three years worth of Libera brand diapers for couples that successfully conceive on a vacation booked through them. All you have to do is mail in your positive pregnancy test! Not weird at all, right?

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What’s the strangest part about all this?… It’s working! Denmark posted a 1,200 increase in the number of babies born from 2014 to 2015. Just goes to show you, marketing can affect the welfare of an entire population and its growth. People just need a little motivation and a sweet vacation.

New Trends in Digital Marketing

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With more wearable devices like Apple Watch, Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles, more sophisticated apps and smartphones are being built every day, and digital marketing is finding new ways to keep up. Local marketing, email marketing, content marketing, SEO and social media are all maturing. The digital marketing field is exponentially expanding as our world becomes increasingly more digital, day after day. Let’s take a look at some of the trends 2017 has shown so far.

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Email Marketing

Less text and more conversational.

Email campaigns are becoming more personal with shorter messages and an informal style. They are more likely to have chat features at the bottom to invite customer feedback and questions. Heat mapping is being used more to determine which parts of the message or headlines users are looking at more. Email marketing is becoming more automated and compatible with mobile phones, as that becomes the most used way of viewing emails. Studies show that in 2017, 68% of internet traffic will be generated by mobile devices.

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SEO

Search Engine Optimization is becoming increasingly important as businesses narrow down ways to be more visible and accessible online. Schema is making it easier to find websites with any query. Google uses schema with its Quick Answers algorithm, which has grown in usage by the firm by 18% in the last 2 years. Schema makes content easier for Google to understand and therefore, easier to relate to user queries.

Google has introduced a new AI in the SEO realm called RankBrain. RankBrain analyzes the context around each word being searched which affects the rank in which results appear. Bing and Facebook are also trying to update their ranking algorithms as well, as everyone wants to be the best search engine for the user. Pay Per Click or PPC marketing seems to have plateaued as SEO driven, optimized advertisements begin to take over.

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Social Media Marketing

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are seeing a huge increase in brand ambassadors. Athletes are becoming more prevalent on social media and in turn becoming powerful marketers for their team brand and ticket sales. Employees for companies are upping their social media presence too. There’s been a 191% growth in employee advocacy in the past 3 years on major social channels.

Client support programs are becoming a necessity as well. Social teams are being put together by companies to answer questions and respond to customer complaints on social channels. The digital marketing world is calling this ‘social listening.’Companies are also creating more user friendly communities based  around the industry not just the brand. These communities build an audience with factual, non-biased content, the brand is there in the background to influence, but not necessarily to directly persuade the audience to use their product or service over the other guy.

Marketing Facepalms

Today we will take a look at some of the most disastrous, un-thought-out marketing campaigns we’ve ever seen.

Lets start with IHOP

A traditional, American breakfast diner got some unwanted attention on social media when an incompetent employee tweeted this:

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I get it. Some males look at their breakfast food and can’t help but to think of women’s anatomy. Nevertheless, should IHOP be branding themselves as the restaurant for immature fraternity boys to eat at after a long night of shaming women for self-esteem? Probably not.

At least someone in charge had the sensibility to tweet this shortly after an uproar:

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Can IHOP recover from this? What were they even trying to gain from the misguided misogyny? Is this apology enough for their customer?

Bud Light forgets inherent problems with alcohol consumption

Bud Light’s “Up For Whatever” campaign truly highlighted the brands ability to be callous to the effects its product has on social interactions. While it seems they had good intentions in mind to promote care-free fun, their consumer could take some of their slogans the wrong way.

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Taking away the ability to say “No” hardly seems care-free, especially if the consumer is intoxicated and cannot think rationally already. Another classic example of not thinking through who the consumer is and what state they are in when consuming. The few females that drank Bud Light before this campaign, surely steer clear of it now. #UpForVerbalConsent

 

Mike’s Hard Lemonade

What is there to even say about this. If you’re going to be cheeky and spin-off a cliche, make sure you don’t do it in a way that can lead to property damage. Mike’s Hard was literally asking for this one. What genius had the idea to put this ad at a bus stop? Maybe a billboard would be understandable, where it would be harder to break, but instead Mike’s Hard is now promoting vandalism along with alcohol consumption. A great combination.

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Note: Always keep in mind the location of your advertisements before you decide what to say.

 

Bloomingdale’s becomes the next victim of marketing date rape

Why this is a trend in marketing failures, I do not know. But we all do know, that while sex sells, unwanted sex does not. So what was Bloomingdale’s trying to convey in this clothing ad? What does it even have to do with the brand and the clothing pictured? Can I only wear Bloomingdale’s if I’m a class A creep?

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Note: They probably won’t be your best friend anymore, no matter how stylish your suit is.

 

Honorable Mentions

1. New Coke

http://www.business2community.com/consumer-marketing/market-research-fail-new-coke-became-worst-flub-time-01256904#oAs5gvEwSXUtIGD0.97

2. Jagermeister’s ‘Killer’ Pool Party

http://www.businessinsider.com/jgermeister-pool-party-in-mexico-turns-poisonous-2013-6

3. Pepsi brings back your dead ancestors

Fun Friday Post – Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Dead!

4. Heinz’s XXX QR codes

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33200142

 

IKEA’s Savage V-Day Ads

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Lets start with this marketing masterpiece. It seems like IKEA is going to have to give away hundreds of these things, as if procreation wasn’t already encouraged enough on February 14th, now young couples can view it as an easy $99. However, the date is very specific. Note that the child must be born EXACTLY 9 months from today for the offer to be valid. The number of cribs they would have to give away would be astronomically larger had the only stipulation been the date of conception.

Even though the promotion is free, IKEA is getting young families to use their furniture as the first piece they introduce to the new addition in their lives. The baby will grow up physically surrounded by IKEA and the couple is more likely to buy other IKEA products for their blooming family when they come in to claim their crib.  The more people IKEA can encourage other people to make, the more furniture will be needed in the world.

Creative Bedding

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Not quite sure how the bookshelf would work… but this hilarious, creative ad certainly speaks to the durability and confidence IKEA has in their small, lightweight products.  Why even buy a regular mattress when you can spend all day translating Swedish and putting together a coffee table with your significant other, and then promptly snap a leg off getting carried away? IKEA certainly is known for a being innovative and creative and on this special occasion they are encouraging their customers to be the same.

Chairs in a Compromising Position

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Someone’s gonna get a splinter with this one. I’m not sure what IKEA’s suggesting here…but man those chairs look sleek and sturdy. Gotta give it to the Swedish again for leaving very little room for interpretation. Beyond their peculiar stacking ability, these chairs appear both cheap and functional. If you didn’t want a normal, living-room chair before, now you’re thinking of different ways you could use them. Which of these ads is your favorite?

Marriott Teleports to the Future of Travel

Virtual reality has presented marketers with a novel solution to age-old roadblocks of trying to reach the consumer and hold their attention. The ability to fully immerse the consumer in content leaves ‘virtually’ no room for distractions. Sensory experiences in context of a location makes marketing campaigns more memorable and more likely to impact consumer behavior. Many leading companies have had their foot in the door in this new medium for marketing for a few years now. McDonald’s created a Happy Meal box in Sweden that folds into your very own Google Cardboard VR set, called Happy Goggles. Now the toy you get with your Happy Meal is the box itself.

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Other companies like Coca-Cola and Volvo are also in the game with immersive video experiences, like riding on Santa’s sleigh as the big man himself, or test driving your next car. However, one company is taking VR to new heights, and it’s not who you’d expect to be an innovator in this field, Marriott. Marriott partnered with Framestore VR Studio (the CGI masters behind Gravity) to create a futuristic marketing experience unlike any other. The Teleporter combines VR with a 4D experience to transport the consumer to Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach in Maui and to the top of Tower 42 in London.

Check it out for yourself:

Marriott took their set-up around to 8 cities in the U.S. and gave thousands of people the opportunity to travel to their fantasy destination with no suitcase, no travel agent, and no planning. All you need is 100 seconds during your lunch break and you can mark these places off your travel bucket list.

But is this expensive campaign encouraging consumers to travel to these places once they’ve seen them, smelled them, and even felt them? The metrics aren’t out yet to determine it’s effectiveness in that aspect, but perhaps Marriott has another end game in mind. Maybe this immersive VR experience is the beginning of a new form of travel: a safer, hyper-realistic, virtual teleportation to a destination of your choice. Will this marketing campaign develop into a new, technologically advanced market for travel? Or have the executives behind this campaign just been watching too much Total Recall?

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Wearable Technology

Have you hit reached your steps, today?

With Fitbit, Apple Watch, and now TomTom and Samsung getting in the game, wearable technology is the new craze with an exponentially growing market size. Now there are even pet trackers you can attach to your dog’s collar. Nuzzle keeps track of your furry friend with GPS monitoring and uses a companion app, Fetch, to store your dogs data.

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Companies like Adidas and Under Armour are invested heavily in developing wearables for athletes to measure performance metrics and bio-mechanics. Adidas and Under Armour also plan on gathering customer data through the integration of wearable technology in athletic gear and clothing, leading retailers to believe it is a promising new market development. Soon, athletic wearables will be in every major sporting goods store.

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How can Fitbit compete against all these variations of their product?

Although there are cheaper alternatives to Fitbit, like Xiaomi, as well as one’s more tailored to personal training, like Moov, Fitbit is working to stay ahead of it’s own wave. CEO, James Park, claims the company is developing more advance sensors for stress detection and blood pressure, as well as data mining their vast ocean of user generated data to look for better, more individualized fitness advice. The main thing that’s keeping them ahead of the pack is strategic partnerships with fashion brands; keeping Fitbit not only in the consumers mind as an exercise tool, but as a fashion accessory as well. Here’s a Fitbit line by Tory Burch.

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What’s the next step for the market?

Maybe it looks something like this “tech tattoo.” A concept being developed by Chaotic Moon and New Deal Design. These “invisibles” are powered only by your movement and the electric current running across your skin.

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Branded Content

What Is Branded Content?

Branded content is now a huge form of marketing and continues to grow, as ad agencies and marketers alike try to find new ways to entertain their audience and disguise product or brand promotion.

Branded content is entertaining content that subtly blends into videos, publications, or other media channels. It adds to the company’s credibility and entertainment value.

The increasing need for branded content over straightforward advertising is explained by Mike Clear of Digitas, who says,

“People don’t like being sold to. It’s a discomforting experience, so the challenge for content marketers is to make sure the entertainment value of the content outweighs the discomfort.”

Great Examples of Branded Content

1. Chipotle’s Scarecrow Commercial and Mobile App

Chipotle created an awesome animated video, showing the horror behind big animal agriculture businesses and the happiness that comes from farm fresh, local ingredients. Other than the signature red pepper, the companies logo, and Tex-Mex style dish being served at the end of the video, Chipotle as a brand is never apparent in the advertisement. Begging the question: Is this even an advertisement? Check it out.

 

2. The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie is quite possibly one of the longest commercials that people actually sat and watched end to end, and if you saw it in theaters, you paid money to Lego to watch a 90 minute commercial full of Legos, and then probably went out and bought the new Lego sets derived from the film for your child or your “friend”

 

The Lego movie was so successful (over 470 Million box office) that they are making a sequel, Lego Batman, and more product lines based on the movies. Lego interwove their products, hidden in plain sight, throughout the film so that audience members would associate them with the life lessons and emotional appeals developed during the movie.

 

3. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

In this viral video, a sketch artist draws two pictures of someone. The first, as they described themselves to the artist, and the second, as a stranger described them. The results draw some interesting insights on self-image and appreciation. Check it out.

Dove focuses on emotional appeals in this video and the brand is never mentioned until the very end. “You are more beautiful than you think” is an interesting slogan for a beauty product company, but in making their audience feel more comfortable and naturally beautiful without products increases their social value as a less predatory beauty brand. In a market saturated with businesses telling you how badly you need their products to look good, Dove employs a little reverse psychology by telling you that you don’t.

 

University Programs up Social Media Presence

The University of Georgia has been expanding its presence on every social media platform. You can connect and interact with networks within UGA for athletics, colleges, alumni and more. Originally it was just Facebook, but now almost every college has their own twitter profile, LinkedIn, YouTube channel and (the fastest growing platform) Instagram.

In the past year, UGA made so many social networks for different communities on campus that they made a website listing all the colleges, programs, clubs, etc. and their various forms of social accounts you can follow. Click here to check them out and join a community that interests you or maybe you’re already a part of:

https://www.uga.edu/a-z/social/

Take for example the Terry College of Business’s Instagram campaign this past summer to showcase students’ summer internships.

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A newer addition to UGA’s social media presence is the Entrepreneurship Program’s Instagram. The Entrepreneurship program just started a promotional giveaway campaign called Dawg Tag Tuesday. Following the trend of local and big businesses of offering free giveaways in return for commenting the username of a few of your friends. The program then takes all these new names and reaches out to them to follow them and have them follow back on more than one platform, ultimately increasing the reach and influence of the programs’ social media presence.

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Local student living business, The Mark, recently employed a similar campaign to giveaway concert tickets. The business uses the same technique to acquire more usernames of people in the area that they can now reach out to and connect with on various social platforms. The increase of their social media influence and network size justifies the cost of the giveaway.