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

Big Brother is Watching You FaceTime: 30 Years After “1984”

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On January 24thApple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.”

On January 22, 1984, what is widely regarded as one of the greatest television advertisements of all time aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII. The one-minute spot is a postmodern representation of George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel, 1984, which depicts a futuristic totalitarian society stripped of all freedom and individualism.

In 1983, Apple and IBM battled for market share as the two giants in the computer industry selling over one billion dollars of PCs that year. In 1983, at his company’s keynote address, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs made clear that IBM is a fierce competitor gunning to dominate the industry.

“Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future…they are increasingly and desperately turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom.”–Steve Jobs, 1983

During his address, Jobs unveiled the ad to an exclusive audience for the first time, to thundering applause. The ad, created by Chiat/Day, ultimately positions Apple and Mac as empowering, liberating, and individualistic, unlike the IBM view that computers are nothing more than tools. IBM is gray, cold, mechanical. Apple is colorful, creative, independent. This ad separated Mac to start the “Mac versus PC debate” that is still relevant today.

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Which of these guys do you picture in an office at IBM?

In 2009, Hunch did a survey to analyze personality traits between Mac and PC users. They found that Mac users are more likely to see the existing world as the same all the time and want to be seen as different and unique. They are more apt to call themselves “verbal”, “conceptual”, and “risk-takers”.  The Mac brand is still as relevant today as it was 30 years ago at its introduction, and its consumer base reflects it.

The “1984” ad has also found itself injected into American culture. In 2007, Phil de Vellis used the visuals from the Macintosh ad and made it into “Vote Different”. It uses sound bites and images of 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to put her in the role of “Big Brother”—the role IBM took in the original ad. The woman with the sledgehammer that represented Mac became equated to Barack Obama. The video went viral and is a great example of using appropriation to communicate a message.

From “1984” to “Think different.” to “Get a Mac”, Apple’s advertising for Macintosh has continued to embody the individualism Steve Jobs envisioned for the brand. Now, 30 years after it was introduced, what does the Mac brand mean to you?

-Nathan Evers