Red Bull’s Winging!

During a recent class discussion we covered the topic of digital storytelling. One brand which immediately comes to mind is Red Bull. Red Bull has been able to resonate the brand’s adventurous spirit through digital storytelling. Red Bull’s Jump from Space was the embodiment of the brand’s “Gives you wings” tagline. The jump from space was seen live by various news outlets and has amassed over 37.6 million views on YouTube.

In the Space Jump cameras follow Felix Baumgartner, as he attempts to set the world record in skydiving by skydiving from the edge of space (Approximately 24 miles above Earth).  (Spoiler Alert! He sets the world record!) Baumgartner’s ascent into space is filmed as he is hoisted to the edge of space in a capsule attached to a giant helium balloon. When Baumgartner reaches the needed altitude; he emerges from his capsule in a space suit emblazoned with the Red Bull logo and takes what is arguably the most terrifying leap of faith ever. The images captured as Baumgartner stands twenty four miles above earth are awe inspiring. Perhaps the most emotive moment in the videos for The Space Jump, is the moment Baumgartner lands safely back on earth, and falls to his knees as he comes to the realization that he has just completed a task that no other person has before.

Through digital storytelling Red Bull has been able to communicate the brand spirit without explicitly showing and promoting its product. The Space Jump is one of the many stories Red Bull shares across all platforms. Have you seen the Space Jump? Do you think the story captures the essence of the Red Bull brand?


Is the Amazon Fire Extinguishing?

amazons on fire

While researching unofficial blogs for a recent class discussion, I came across the unofficial blog for Amazon, Amazopia. This past summer Amazopia was buzzing in anticipation of the release of the Amazon Fire. The Amazon Fire Phone was released in July 2014. The phone has gotten mixed reviews; however, some of its features could have a significant effect in the world of marketing if the Amazon Fire Phone gains widespread usage.

One of the features available on the Amazon Fire Phone is its Firefly software. The Firefly software is able to identify QR codes, UPCs, phone numbers, songs, and books via the use of its Firefly button on the phone. This means that a shopper could enter a brick and mortar store, find a product, and price check and purchase an item on Amazon as easily as pressing a button. This could have a significant impact on brick and mortar retailers that have yet to take steps into in-store mobile marketing through the use of their Wi-Fi networks and use of Near-Field Communications to deliver time sensitive relevant promotions and incentives to the consumer. Amazon has had trouble selling its flagship phone with the company reporting over 180,000 in unsold devices for November 2014. Amazon is hoping to revitalize interest in the device with new updates expected in Decemeber 2014. The full effect of the Amazon Fire Phone remains to be seen, but one thing is certain, the consumer shopping experience is increasingly moving towards mobile and retailers need to be prepared for the changing landscape. Do you think the upcoming changes will help increase sales for the Amazon Fire?

Chipotle’s “Farmed and Dangerous”

Chipotle is a brand best known for its delicious burritos; however, in last few years Chipotle’s brand values and dedication to ethical farming practices have taken center stage with the success of their animated short-film’s “The Scarecrow” and “Back to the Start”. In the spirit of “The Scarecrow” and “Back to the Start”, Chipotle has launched a live-action four-part web series, “Farmed and Dangerous”, began streaming on Hulu in February 2014. The Chipotle original series is a satirical take on the big-agro and the industrial farming industry. The web-series pushes the envelope of branded-content while the series does not feature the Chipotle brand as traditional branded content does- it does promote the brand’s values. Chipotle has stated that the series is not about “product integration” but rather “values integration”.

“Farmed and Dangerous” tells the story of Buck Marshall, a PR agent for the fictional Animoil firm. Animoil creates a petroleum based animal feed which significantly lowers feed costs; unfortunately for the animals the product’s side effect causes the animals to explode. When a video of cow exploding after consuming the petro-pellets goes viral, Buck Marshall is tasked with containing the PR crisis. “Farmed and Dangerous” is said to blur the lines between advertising and entertainment- with Hulu placing the series amongst its comedy series category. Chipotle’s values branding has proven a successful strategy in the past. Do you think values branding is a strategy we will see more of in the coming years?

Nike’s Scores a Goooaaalll!!!

One of the more interesting assignments I researched for class was to find, analyze, and discuss a branded content short/ mini film. This past summer, Nike released an animated short film to promote Nike Football, in time for the World Cup. The film, titled The Last Game, has over 74 million views on YouTube with with over 50 million of the views having been acquired within the first ten days of the film’s release.. The film was created by Nike, Wieden+Kennedy, and Passion films and features animated versions of famous soccer players including, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Neymar and Slatan Ibrahimovich. The 5 minute 24 second short film highlights the “dangers of playing it safe”, and is the third part of Nike’s #riskeverything campaign.

The Last Game features a villainous scientist who has been analyzing the game for years and has developed theories about some of the world’s greatest soccer players. He is unimpressed with some of the riskier moves, players such as, Ibrahimovich, and creates animatronic clones to replace them at a game. The Clones are programmed to focus solely on efficiency and eliminate “any risky behavior” and replace the players. Overtime, the film shows the decline of the game and its loss of popularity with players themselves living out their lives away from the field. Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo, (O Fenomeno), becomes the hero by rallying the players and encouraging they reenter the game in challenge match against The Clones, and decide the future of soccer. Just like any great drama film, this animated short follows a hero with a dream, conflict, and resolution. This film was a clever addition to their #riskeverything campaign. What do you think? Did you enjoy the film?

Bravo! Bravo!

bravo logo

Recently a class discussion focused on the online marketing presence of a brand and it occurred to me that there is one brand which has done an extraordinary job of embracing new and emerging media, Bravo! If you are unfamiliar with the brand, Bravo television is a cable TV network owned by NBC Universal a subsidiary of Comcast, currently Comcast # 44 on Forbes Fortune 50 list. Originally launched in 1980, the channel was transformed into the channel we know today in 2003- with a new line up and the landmark series “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. Bravo has come a long way from its earlier roots as an art and indie film commercial free premium channel. Today, Bravo is a channel focused on pop culture, owning the rights to some of the most successful reality TV series, Top Chef and the Real Housewives franchise. Bravo TV has embraced social media to such a degree, that it has revolutionized the way reality television is produced.

While most marketers when integrating social media into their marketing plan, use Facebook as the foundation of their social marketing campaign; Bravo TV is known for its very limited use of Facebook. Twitter is the primary forum utilized by Bravo to connect to its many audiences. The channel, television program, and reality television stars all have their individual Twitter handles. Bravo’s homepage features a Tweet tracker app, where fans can follow trending tweets and possibly be featured on the site’s homepage. Bravo TV also features a Tweet Battle app on their site, where twitter fans submit a tweet in regards to their favorite show, another fan tweets an opposing tweet, and the tweet battle begins. The winner of the tweet battle is chosen by other users who choose the winner. The use of Twitter in this manner is unique and drives traffic to its various pages (Friedman, 2011).  Bravo TV also uses blogs, where their reality TV stars post about their ongoing dramas, thoughts, or just expand on the weeks’ episode. Through their use of social media Bravo TV’s audience personally connects with the network and its stars further increasing the Bravo’s brand equity. Bravo previously partnered with Foursquare, giving away badges and promotions to its Foursquare followers.

Most notably, Bravo TV utilizes social media not just to market its programming but to drive content on its reality TV series. Andy Cohen, the former Executive Vice President of Development and Talent for Bravo TV, hosts a live nightly late night show, Watch What Happens Live. The show is live and its content is predominantly viewer generated via social media postings. Live tweets are read on the show and currently trending tweet questions are answered in real time. The show completely integrates social media in its formatting.

The network also relies heavily on social media research to develop programming, to determine which of their reality TV cast members have star potential, and even to determine the production of on air promos. Bravo research executive Tony Cardinale told the New York Times in an interview, “We do a lot of passive listening, lurking on the Web, interpreting the themes we see on our message boards, etcetera. There’s more information we have now than we’ve ever had before.” And Amy Troiano, Bravo executive in charge of on-air promotions says, “We definitely look at the research to see what parts of those characters people are responding to. If viewers like when they’re yelling at someone, we’ll use them yelling.” Bravo TV has revolutionized reality television and the development of programming in that it is primarily user generated.

To further increase their reach and build stronger brand-audience relationships Bravo has recently unveiled social and digital initiatives for 2014 which embrace many of the recent emerging trends. In April, bravo began to test its Select a Scene option on its Play Live online feature. Select a Scene allows viewers to decide which scene or point of view they would like to see, directly influencing on-air programing. The unscripted format further creates a user generated programming format. Bravo also plans to continue to expand into mobile with its Mobile Pass. A first in the industry, Mobile Pass delivers content that allows sponsors to connect directly with Bravo fans using geo targeted alerts for coupons and special offers when they are close by. The exclusive content will include real-time message alerts about events happening on-air, fan and cast member Q&A’s, social media recaps from talent, and advance access to show content. To further add value and incentives for audience engagement, Bravo plans to continue to use Social Commercial. Social Commercials focus on fan recognition through on air vignettes. Bravo’s integration of new and emerging media set an example of how to do it right. What do you think, is Bravo getting right?

Bi-Lingual Advertising? #BecausePorqueNO

because futboll

Over the last few years I have witnessed the emergence of Bi-lingual advertising on prime time. More recently there has been a greater increase and interest in bi-lingual advertising. As a tie-in with the World Cup 2014, Dish Network, ESPN, Hyundai, and Corona ran general market ads in both Spanish and English. It should come as no surprise, given that the Hispanic population now comprises 17 percent of the U.S. population and has an estimated spending power of over $1.3 trillion.

Some of the brnds such as Corona, ESPN, and Tide have chosen combine copy in both Spanish and English in one ad; essentially, creating an ad in Spanglish which communicates a message to both the bi-lingual audience and the monolingual English only or Spanish only audience. Hyundai used the “Spanglish” hashtag #BecauseFutbol at the end of the spots. Senior Vice President of Advertising for ESPN, Aaron Taylor says, “We know that Hispanic Americans like to see themselves represented in general markets as well as in the creative that is targeted to them on our Spanish speaking outlets. In order for brands to resonate with a younger, millennial, 18- to 34-year-old [and even younger audience], it’s important for us to appeal to them in a way that reflects the world that they live in.”

The first bi-lingual advertisement I saw was for Tide, and it featured a grandmother and granddaughter discussing the best laundry methods and products. The ad also featured “Spanglish” copy. According to Sundar Raman, marketing director of P&G fabric care, “Being able to talk to the Hispanic consumer in the way that better suits them allows us to be closer to them and learn more about their likes and preferences.” What do you think of bi-lingual general market ads? Do you think they do a better job of reaching the Hispanic market?

Emerging Media Trends for 2014

As technology grows in leaps and bounds the future of marketing seems to be headed in the direction of creating a personalized and interactive experience for consumers. Current and emerging trends are pointing in the direction of increased personalization and interaction through location based technology, a focus on mobile and image based content, a focus on social media, bridging the second screen experience and an integration of new technologies which revolutionize personalization. Two of the most interesting trends predicted for 2014 and beyond are the increase use of location based marketing for more targeted and relevant advertising and the use of facial-recognition technology.


Location Based Marketing

Over the last few years, many of us have learned about and witnessed an increase in the use of location-based marketing. An increase in the use of and diversification of the use of location-based marketing will be inevitable and a continuing trend. As smartphone ownership continues to increase (currently 56% of Americans own a smartphone), so will the possibilities of location based marketing. With an increase in smartphone ownership and the integration of wearables so will an increase in the use of geo-fencing to send targeted, timely, and hyper-local messages to consumers that are near a specific location. “Geo-fencing is already moving past traditional location-based applications and check-ins to embracing a full range of smartphone capabilities. Retail, push marketing/notification, local search, social networking, and more will all come together to connect consumers with brands and offers, almost anywhere, at anytime-well, anywhere that digital fence is drawn.” 


David Petersen, CEO of Sense technology, says, “Mobile location data and the behavioral insights it reveals can deliver mobile audiences based on actual consumer activity. Facebook can infer Fans have interest and positive attitude about a brand, but location-based advertising can deliver actual shoppers using both real-time and historical data, and for example, show us where this user actually shops and eats. This translates into real customer results.” Marketers should plan to continue to invest in mobile in 2014.


Of all the interesting trends and predictions none has caught my attention and fascination as much as the possibilities and usage of facial-recognition technology for more targeted, personalized, and interactive marketing tactics. Marketers have already begun to employ the technology to better serve consumers, increase reach, and collect more specific consumer data. Plan UK, used facial recognition on an interactive billboard which allowed a campaign video to be seen only women walking by.

The campaign was highly targeted and was promoting Plan UK’s “I am a girl” campaign; however, the technology goes far beyond gender recognition. Virgin Mobile created an interactive video featured on their YouTube channel whose scene you could change by simply blinking. And Almax, an Italian company invented mannequins which utilize facial recognition technology. The mannequins have built in cameras which help marketers gather key demographic information, like age, gender and race, about those eyeing their products,”. Facial recognition adds a whole new dimension to interactive and personalized campaigns and should be looked at in the coming years. I am personally excited to see where the possibilities of these two technologies if combined would take us; however, I have to wonder are we taking things to far in the name of personalization where we are eroding the concept of privacy?