A Very Perry Spring

We are now in the transitional time of year when all the bitterness of the cold winter is transferring into the sunny, light-hearted feel that spring brings. One particular brand that has always been known for its spring-like characteristics is easily that of Perry Ellis and they are bringing forth their positively electric style to match the approaching season. For the upcoming spring/summer 2014 campaign, Perry Ellis is delivering a new, creative way to show men that style can be a fun experience. The campaign was released back in the month of January which was titled, “A Very Perry Spring: We’ll Put a Spring in your Step”. The foundational idea for this campaign is to assist men on the breakdown of fashion (patterns, prints, how to dress in suits and even undress) and to extend the message that men’s fashion does not have to be too serious and that style can be unpretentious and fun.

Perry Ellis launched his first line back in the year 1976 with the philosophy of levity being his legacy. The company is a distributor of a broad line of high quality men’s and women’s apparel, accessories, and children’s apparel. He believed that clothing should not be taken too seriously and should be fun. Perry Ellis redefined the fashion industry. Perry Ellis has coined the term that one could be labeled as, “very Perry Ellis”. This means customers of this brand are innovating their own unique style, instead of going with the fashion flow, and still looking chic.

For the Very Perry Spring 2014 campaign, Perry Ellis reunited with photographer Daniel Jackson and the label top models, Jason Cameron and Albert Reed. The advertisements incorporated the foundation of levity in the brand by fashioning vibrantly colored imagery showing the models in various confident and playful poses. Showing that style can be a fun experience, the images seem to leap out of the frame. Whether it is a hand or a hat, the meaning of this photographic placement is meant to contrast with the brand’s iconic “time to defy convention” attitude.

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Not only has the campaign mastered the traditional advertisements representing the brand’s legacy, but has also incorporated a new media strategy to reach consumers in the digital world. Matt Cronin, Vice President of marketing at Perry Ellis discusses the new media tactics will include “a series of engaging and witty videos which will bring the Very Perry attitude to life”. These videos consist of style tutorials for men and how to dress modernly. The style tutorials are entertaining, easy-going, and show men that dressing up is a lesson in laid-back attitude and breaking the rules.

Perry Ellis utilizes these media channels to promote its brand and for users to stay connected:

Facebook

Perry Ellis’ spring campaign is also holding a “March to a Million Facebook Fans” with incentives for contenders to win prizes by helping the company reach 1,000,000 fans.

Instagram

Pinterest

Twitter

And the brands new style blog

Brand tagline: “Very Perry”

The Very Perry Spring 2014 platform delivers a fundamental point of view from which the brand operates and incorporates everything the company is built off of into this new direction of marketing.The campaign will include digital campaigns featuring both still and video assets advertising the versatility of outlets the line is offering.

-Briana McWhirter

Banking on Bracketology

Even if you’re not a fan of college basketball, you’ve likely heard friends and colleagues exclaim about their “busted brackets” as of late. The NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, billed as “March Madness” runs throughout the month of March and is one of the most popular spring sporting events. The tournament begins with 64 teams and ends with the championship game in April. Part of the fun of March Madness, is Bracketology, the science of pitting teams against each other to predict the outcome of the tournament. It gets pretty serious–billionaire Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway even offered $1 billion to whoever fills out the perfect bracket.

Where does Bracketology intersect with IMC? The answer lies in the “good hands” of Allstate. 2014 is the insurance company’s third year as official sponsor of the NCAA tournament. This year, Allstate’s antagonistic character, Mayhem, is breaking brackets in a series of Tweets, Facebook updates, and Vines. While Mayhem is infamously known for causing car wrecks and burglaries, the Leo Burnett-created “March Mayhem” campaign makes light of Bracketology. Watch as Mayhem breaks, bends, and even blends busted brackets.

March is Mayhem

“March Mayhem” is Allstate’s social media component of its NCAA tournament campaign. During TV coverage of the tournament, the company sponsors the “Good Hands Play of the Game” and is rolling out increased advertising for its homeowners insurance. Pam Hollander, Allstate’s senior IMC director, points out that the campaign goes on as the tournament progresses, taking into account how different teams perform in the tournament. She says the campaign features direct engagement with fans. Mayhem acts as a direct engagement tool to connect and learn more about Allstate’s social media-savvy audience. With Mayhem, interpersonal communication takes place in an ad campaign, personifying the brand’s relationship with the consumer.

Mayhem isn’t the only insurance character with social media presence. Representing insurance companies big and small: the Gecko, Flo, Jake, and J.J. Hightail each interact with their Twitter followers. One of the strong points of the March Mayhem campaign is how it takes advantage of the Bracketology phenomenon to establish a connection with the consumer. Using a popular social trend in a social media campaign exemplifies the personification of brands.

Do you believe using Bracketology in advertising is effective? How have you seen other brands use social phenomena in their advertising?

-Nathan Evers

The “Instructional” Campaign

According to the calendar, Spring has officially sprung. And while we are still experiencing some chilly days, it’s undeniable most of us are ready to shed our winter gear for shorts and sandals. As with all season changes, clothing companies are eager to help you exchange your wardrobe.

Recently, clothing company Lands’ End launched their new “How to Spring” advertising campaign, showcasing, “How fun and fashionable it is to add bright colors, graphic prints and floral patterns with a few perfect pieces from the women’s spring collection”. It could be argued that every spring campaign that will launch this season will have a similar goal; however, Lands’ End decided to do something a little different this season by adding a sweepstake to its promotional and marketing strategy.

The sweepstakes works by first connecting with Facebook or entering your email. Once you’ve connected, you are asked to fill out your name, email, and zip code. Filling out this information unlocks the game. The rules are simple, select an outfit and click “spin”. If the outfit that the player selected matches the three tumblers, the player automatically wins a gift card with a balance of $25, $50, or $1,000. That’s it! Simple right? Not to mention, everyone is eligible to enter every day for the grand prize of $1,000 shopping spree. You can view the official rules of the sweepstakes here.

While we like to think that games, contests, and sweepstakes’ only motives are for fun and entertainment, they are actually a smart marketing move – encouraging consumption of the product by creating consumer involvement. This involvement builds fan base, engages the audience, and enables consumers to do your marketing for you. Not to mention, user generated content often provides quality, innovative, and creative ads for free.

In addition to promoting brand visibility, contest and sweepstakes are strategies that provide valuable quantifiable benefits for companies as well. They are cost effective, they help build search engine optimization (SEO), and increasingly important, they provide a rich source of consumer data for the company about existing and potential customers – emails, product preferences, location, etc.

With every click essentially producing some sort of user information, online contests are growing in use on websites and especially on social media. The most popular initiatives include: photo and video contests, tagging contest, hashtag giveaways, and website raffles.

Top Rank, an online marketing blog, named some of their picks of the best contest use on social media.
Facebook: When Frito-Lay began their campaign for searching for new potato chips flavors, the company bypassed focus groups and turned to Facebook to connect directly with the customers who would be eating them.
Pinterest: AMC Theaters have an entire Pinterest board, AMC Giveaways, where all users have to do is follow the board to stay up to date on the latest AMC contests. The basics are simple, when users see a prize they want, clicking on the image takes them to a landing page that collects their information.
Twitter: In a “retweet to win” twitter contest, Doritos tweeted a message that simply asked followers to retweet for a chance to win. The tweet was retweeted over 500 times in a day with winners snagging products that ranged from Doritos to widescreen tvs.
Instagram: As many clothing company are starting to do, Vera Bradely’s instagram contest asked users to post pictures of them and their favorite Vera Bradley bag using the hashtag #VBStyleShare. At the end of the contest, winners received a wrislet, followers of the hashtag could receive fashion inspiration, and staff could see how consumers were pairing their products.

The benefits contests can provide seem like an almost no-brainer for companies to increase brand awareness while also gaining consumer data, but as they start to trend they are also subject to overuse. To combat becoming another form of clutter, companies will have to make sure their contest are increasingly interactive, engaging, creative, or lucrative.

Have you ever participated in an online contest? Did you win? Did it make you feel more favorable towards the brand? Scrolling through your social media feeds have you seen brands using contests similar to the ones above? What are some of the best/most creative ones you have seen?

- Elizabeth Harrington, Caroline Robinson, Savannah Valade

LinkedIn: Your Future Just Got Easier

Are you are a job-seeking college student, getting closer to the day you receive your diploma, and need help finding a professional career? For you social media consumers (which is everyone, right?) the next app you download should be LinkedIn, and it’s free! LinkedIn is a resourceful social media website that assists you in creating and shaping your professional identity. There really is no other website that makes all the hard work you’ve already done in college, more organized, and it’s free to join! Just like other social media websites, you create a log-in, password and your own profile. It’s basically a professional, public resume which includes your education, skills and areas of expertise. LinkedIn allows you to search for people, jobs, and companies and all the while networking in the world’s largest professional internet site. You can also stay connected with colleagues and classmates. The site is especially beneficial for discovering professional opportunities, business deals, and new ventures. You can also get the latest news, inspiration, and useful insights. With more than 250 million people “linked in” to LinkedIn, the site is obviously a professional networking success!

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LinkedIn is not just used for networking yourself but also for other businesses to reach their direct audiences. Whether you are a large brand or a direct response marketer, you can gain new customers or professionals for your business for a minimum of $10 a day. LinkedIn has limb site just for these groups called, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. LMS is an all-encompassing tool that gives professionals the ability to build relationships and increase brand awareness of their business by targeting, publishing and extending engagement. Targeting specific content on LinkedIn allows businesses to reach a specific audience of educated individuals on social media. LinkedIn promises companies a premium display of their advertisements in an uncluttered environment, increasing the chances it will be noticed by a direct target audience. LinkedIn also offers companies the opportunity to utilize a feature called Sponsored InMail to deliver content through targeted email marketing.

By publishing quality content, businesses effectively increase their marketing solutions to ensure their target audience receives imperative information. In order to publish content, sponsored updates can be used to increase your company’s brand awareness, generate leads through content sharing and building strong relationships with the target audience. In addition to sponsored updates on the website, companies can also use company pages for marketing purposes. Important content about the company can be updated here, as well as information regarding the company’s product or service for others to view.

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Extending engagement is the last feature of LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions. By sharing information on LinkedIn, this information can then be shared on various other social media platforms, thus extending the reach of the message. It also increases traffic to your company’s main website. When the messages reach the target audience through LinkedIn, they are inclined to follow the message back to your main company website which increases exposure.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has generated quite the success story for the world’s leading PC company, Lenovo. The company began using the social media platform with the goal of forming better relationships with their target audiences via engagement marketing. Lenovo used sponsored updates to fuel their new content strategy on LinkedIn that ended up increasing their brand favorability by 17%. Ron Strother, the Director of Digital and Social Center of Excellence, says that while content has always been tied between the company and their audience, it seems like they can never create enough.

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Sponsored updates on LinkedIn allow them to give the desired content to a variety of audiences and then use their feedback to improve their strategy in moving forward with the campaign. These sponsored updates contain targeted content revolving around four key themes: brand, products, thought leadership and trends. Seeing updates about Lenovo’s business and products gives audience members the opportunity to truly engage and express their thoughts, while Lenovo is able to use this feedback to continue improving and moving forward. Lenovo has shown that they care about customer engagement, which is likely to have been a major component in the percentage increase of their brand favorability.

Lenovo and other large companies have used LinkedIn to network and reach their target audiences with success. LinkedIn has allowed professional achievement for brand awareness and individual branding for millions of people all throughout the world. It really is the most beneficial social media site out there today. Do you think that while the economy improves, will LinkedIn prevail? Will businesses and individuals continue to flock to LinkedIn in the same numbers and exhibit the same behaviors?

-Bri McWhirter, Emily Foulke, Hannah Turner

There’s a New Animal in the Jungle of Advertising

How do you break through the clutter? That’s the question marketers and advertisers have to figure out with every campaign they produce.

So how do they do that? By doing something unusual, unexpected, and memorable – guerrilla marketing. First coined by Jay Conrad Levison, guerrilla marketing relies on unique or unorthodox methods of advertising or promotion to gain consumers’ attention. Below is a video by Mango Moose Media displaying a couple of guerrilla marketing techniques.

Guerrilla marketing is in your face, but there are a couple of core concepts (besides ultimate creativity) that make guerrilla marketing significantly effective. According to Elena English, “the idea is to play on human responses and emotions rather than present a sale, product release, or pitch”. The difference is the highlight on customer interaction with the goal of grabbing their attention, not selling them the product. English also explains guerilla marketing involves “extensive use of humor, lots of visuals, plays on “humanisms” and pop culture references”. So in honor of this, we found two completely different guerilla-marketing stunts that represent these core concepts.

The “Storm Drains are the MOUTH of the River” campaign was done by the City of Reno to battle the city’s river pollution problem. In 2013, local artist were commissioned to paint storm drains as the mouths of frogs, fish, and octopus. To learn about the campaign and how its effectiveness was measured watch the case study, Art Vs. Pollution, below.

As the video describes, the campaign worked to “humanize” the storm drains with a pop art style. The utilization of pop art to grab attention is not unknown to the marketing world. James Twitchell says in his book Lead Us Into Temptation that pop art on commercial packaging has been and is still grabbing the attention of consumers. It especially worked well in this campaign in which the cartoon aquatic species brought to life the message.

All guerrilla marketing doesn’t have to be inanimate objects. Chobani used it to continue marketing efforts for the “How Matters” campaign, which works to position its yogurt as real and natural. Relying on the audience’s knowledge of its Superbowl commercial, Chobani broke through the clutter with a 1400-pound human bear costume.

This realistic and naturally misplaced bear has gained over 4 million views in less than a month. The stunts effectiveness is due to the memorable bear’s search for food that is natural, which reinforces the brand message.

Guerrilla marketing is limitless; it can be used for many purposes, such as reinforcing brands or gaining exposure for issues, and in many inanimate or animate ways. Yet, they all have one goal and this is to capture people’s attention. What do you think of these guerrilla marketing strategies? Do you think these companies used them effectively?

-Caroline Robinson, Elizabeth Harrington, Savannah Valade

Out With The Old, In With The New: Technology Decides It All

Everyday you as a consumer are exposed to hundreds of thousands of brands. Over the decades the shopping industry has exploded with most brands disappearing at the same rate new ones appear, yet some brands have stood the cluttered test of time – one of those is Macy’s.

Created in 1858 by Rowland Hussy Macy the Macy’s store was originally a dry goods store. Macy’s started to gain notable recognition in the 1900s with its holiday window displays and the hiring of Santa Claus for the stores. In 1924 the store moved to its current NYC location, on the corner of Broadway and 34th Street. This year was also the first Macy’s Day Parade, which was organized to celebrate immigrant employees new American Heritage.

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In 1944, Macy’s became apart of the Federated Department Stores, Inc., renamed Macy’s Inc. creating the world’s largest department store. Today, Macy’s has 800 stores in the United States and sells merchandise online.

Macy’s isn’t the only iconic retailer – Sears Roebuck ring a bell? Starting in 1886, the mail order company prospered as it was able to provide low cost alternative to farmers. As mail order plants transitioned into stores, Sears found their place in city life and the retailer soon became a retailer giant. Today the store owns 863 mall-based operations and 1200 other locations including hardware, outlet, tire, and battery stores.

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Nowadays Macy’s and Sears are direct competitors, but it seems Sears, the company who invented mail order, can’t quite figure out online order.

Holiday sales account for a large indicator of profit margins and often depict the health of a company. Sears seems to be in critical condition – US stores suffered a 9.2 percent drop. In decline for some time now, and with little to no improvement, some speculate the store could be gone by 2017.

The history of an iconic brand is something that should be cultivated in your identity – it induces credibility, shows longevity, and prompts nostalgia. Yet being historic isn’t merely enough to remain vibrant. Iconic companies remain iconic because they are able to cultivate lasting relationships with consumers – at all time periods – and that means evolving.

Looking at each retailers attempt to reach customers during the holiday seasons could explain Sears 9.2 percent drop in sales. Both have social media accounts, yet social media presence is widely disproportionate. Macy’s Instagram account has 150,00 followers while Sears has two Instagram accounts – “Sears” and “Sears Style” – yet both of the followers combined don’t even reach 8,000. A huge missed opportunity for Sears – Instagram is leading the way in social media, growing faster than Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest combined.

According to Gary Vaynerchuk’s article “The Road to Black Friday: Macy’s vs. Sears”, the use of social media by Sears is lazy. Choosing to ignore the social media culture they have posted irrelevant and uninteresting content such as a link to one of their commercials and an original YouTube video. While Macy’s post content that is culturally relevant, trendy, and formed around pop culture.

Our culture today has switched, as James Twitchell describes it, “In the last generation we have almost completely reversed the poles of shame so that where we were once ashamed of consuming too much (religious shame), we are now often ashamed of consuming the wrong brands (shoppers’ shame)”. In this day in age a brand establishes and remains relevance by relationship cultivation, reinforcement, and engagement forged through technology – the Internet and social media. It seems Sear’s inability to adapt to technology has prevented them being able to participate in the younger crowds culture leading in profit and brand influence. As an American brand we hope Sears can get back into the groove but as they stand now they are the weakest link.

In what other ways do old brands stay new? Can you think of any others that have had a hard time capturing new generations of shoppers? Or others that have done well?

- Caroline Robinson, Savannah Valade, Elizabeth Harrington

“Dumb Ways to Die” Campaign—Dumb Enough to Work?

What do you think of when you hear “Australia”? Accents? Kangaroos? The Great Barrier Reef? Wouldn’t it be nice to be there in lieu of the recent frigid weather? I bet two things no one would ever put together is Australia and train safety, but you probably will after seeing the two awareness commercials Australia has recently released for the Melbourne Metro.

In 2012 “Dumb Ways to Die” was launched as a train safety PSA. The three-minute animated spot features personified blobs making outrageously stupid decisions –  setting your hair on fire, eating out of date medicine, using the clothes dryer as a hiding place, selling both kidneys on the Internet. With these demonstrations, comes a catchy song that illustrates each scene as it unfolds. At the 2:24 mark, the audience is introduced to train safety in which the dumbest ways to die are: standing on the edge of a train station platform, driving around the barrier at a railroad crossing, and running across the tracks.

This year, another PSA spot appeared just in time for Valentine’s Day. Titled “Dumb Ways”, the second video – this only ones 30 seconds – features the blob from the original spot who died from selling both his kidneys on the Internet and replicates the format of the first spot with the simplistic design elements, characters, and tune. Even though the new spot has absolutely no correlation with train safety, the advertisement’s copy reads “Be safe around Valentine’s Day*” and in smaller font, “*and trains”.

With the release of the newest Valentine spot, it is obvious that McCann Melbourne realized the success first 3 minute spot reached with over 71 million YouTube views. However, the Valentine Day advertisement is relying on the presumption that the viewer has already seen previous campaign efforts, which include radio, print and outdoor advertising. The campaign even has some interactive media such as a fully functioning website and a mobile phone game app that offers short mini games where you can save the characters from their “dumb” deaths.

There is no denying that the whole campaign is undeniably cute and captures attention, but the question is, is this direction effective?

When asked about the creation and initial vision of the campaign, John Mescall, McCann’s executive director, said this, “The idea for a song started from a very simple premise: What if we disguised a worthy safety message inside something that didn’t feel at all like a safety message? So we thought about what the complete opposite of a serious safety message would be and came to the conclusion it was an insanely happy and cute song.”

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What Mescall is describing is the use of logical fallacy or in our case irrelevant points. Usually the use of fallacies in an argument or message weakens it, but Mescall used it to his advantage, strengthening the impact.

One logical fallacy, argumentum ad baculum, is an argument that uses threats or forces to cause the acceptance of the conclusion. Example: “Do this! Or ____ will happen!” “If you don’t this, ____ will happen!” The Dumb Ways campaign uses this fallacy’s appeal to fear in the explicit form of death – if you do these activities in the ad you will die – to remind people of the need for train safety.

In addition, another logical fallacy is also used – red herring. In this type, a fallacy of diversion is created where irrelevant arguments or information is introduced into a discussion in order to divert people’s attention away from the issue under discussion and towards a different conclusion. No one needs to know all the dumb ways to die; almost all of the scenarios are things that are common sense. Except for the last 30 seconds, none of the scenarios are relevant to educating people on train safety.

Over a year after the original launch of the “Dumb Ways to Die” commercial, the campaign has grabbed the attention of the world, educating all of us on train safety. What do you think of this PSA? Do you think the campaign could have been stronger if the agency had gone in a different direction?

-Savannah Valade, Elizabeth Harrington, Caroline Robinson