We Love Our Moms (And So Do Advertisers!)

With just a couple weeks until another one of the biggest card holidays, Mother’s Day, card companies are gearing up their promotions. Last week, American Greetings released their new ad, “The World’s Toughest Job” and with over 14 million views in just one week, it’s safe to say the video has gone viral. This call to action is sure to have you considering whether or not to switch from Hallmark to American Greetings this year.

Prior to this advertisement, American Greetings ads consisted of mainly cute animals – much like the ones you can find on their actual greeting cards. What these ads were missing were what this recent ad captured – emotion evoking concepts – something competitors such as Hallmark have been relying on and capturing for years. See Hallmark’s “Proud Mom” ad below:

Yet, it seems that even Hallmark couldn’t capture the raw emotions that the Mullen Agency was able to evoke from the interviewees – simply starting with a job posting and 24 interview candidates. The finished piece was a compilation of honest reactions that left viewer’s hearts melting.

The American Greetings’ spot isn’t the only ad that has played on the love and appreciation of our mothers this year. Proctor and Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” series showed the mother as much a part of the Olympics as the athletes themselves. Several other companies including British Airways and General Electric have recently produced ads centered on mothers.

So what do these “tribute to mom” ads tell us and why do our hearts warm when we watch them? Understanding how advertising works tells us the answer. Ads tell us what is virtuous and what is our ideal world. These “shout out to moms” tell us what we virtue – the compassion mothers have and the love families have for their mother. In the ideal world, that appreciation would be shown by a card everyday, but since this isn’t the ideal world we hope to make it up on Mother’s Day.

So what do you think about all these ads centered on Mothers? Is it ethical to exploit this relationship that our society holds so valuable? Will you turn to buying an American Greetings card this holiday or stick with Hallmark?

Caroline Robinson, Elizabeth Harrington

So You Want To Be A Media Planner?

Everyday a city dweller is exposed to 5,000 advertisements. With this many advertisements it is amazing that we actually remember some of them. Part of the remembrance is due to the work of media planners.

Media planning is the science of message dissemination. It specifically “refers to the process of selecting media time and space to disseminate advertising messages”. In order to find out more about this division and the work they do our blog group reached out to Zimmerman Advertising Assistant Media Planner Mariel Oweida.

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Oweida, a May 2013 graduate of the UNCW Cameron School of Business, began working for Zimmerman Advertising in December of 2013. She referred to media planning as,

“…finding appropriate media platforms for a client’s brand/product to use by determining the best combination of media to achieve the client’s marketing objective; media could include print, TV, radio, digital, OOH (out of home advertising- billboards, bus wraps, etc.)”

 Media planning begins with a Media Action Request (MAR) and ends with a media buy. Although the media planning division doesn’t actually negotiate the buying, they do work closely with buyers and account executives to make sure the plan is well executed.

Media planning is fast paced. Owieda explains she was surprised at the quick turn around. Having concentrated in marketing as an undergraduate, media planning was a new career path for her. Usually you need specific degree for advertising or experience from another ad agency but, she says, ad agencies look for candidates that are willing to learn and grow with the company.

Specifically, Zimmerman Advertising is a full-service agency that focuses on building national retail brands. Over the past 30 years it has become 14th largest advertising agency in the world and they currently bring in revenue of $100 million a year.

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Recently they moved their headquarters to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Their brand new office is beautifully constructed to promote a more casual, creative, and collaborative environment. Although this brand new building seems friendly and relaxed, it is full of hardworking individuals who go above and beyond to help clients meet their advertising objectives. In a previous interview with Elizabeth Harrington, Oweida described her typical workday as untypical. “You should never expect to go in at 8 a.m. or leave at 5 p.m. [You] almost always end up going in early and leaving later- that extra dedication is unpaid.”

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During her day Oweida works on budgeting clients money, conducting market research, and media placement. Already she has worked on accounts for Ashley Furniture, Boston Market and AC Moore. “The most challenging part of being an assistant media planner is paying attention to detail, executing the plan we provide, and dealing with clients,” Oweida says. “As a media planner it is your job to let clients know why they are spending their money the way you are telling them. It is important to keep up with research from Nielsen ratings, to demographics, income, and even how long people have owned homes. They all help you plan the media and explain the why to the clients.”

So as soon to be graduates we asked for the inside scoop on what to do if you want a career as a media planner. She said work on knowing Excel and basic Excel math, but most importantly have great communication skills. She also told us to be up to date on the newest and important trends in the field, which as of right now are social and digital media.

We would like to thank Ms. Oweida for taking the time to speak with us. If you have any questions or advice about media planning comment below!

Caroline Robinson, Elizabeth Harrington , Savannah Valade

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