Posts Tagged ‘Brands’

In this Age of Infinite Market Research – That Results From The Limitless Demographics, Data, & Consumer Behavior Pulled from Facebook, That of Instantaneous Customer Service & Corporate Feedback Demanded On Twitter – Many, Myself Included, Have Come to Advocate the Growing Need to Custom Tailor Marketing Tactics, Advertising Strategies, and the Like, to Increasingly Niche Audiences & Interest Groups – Microtargeting to the Highest Possible Degree – As the Way to Best Utilize the Insane Amount of Emerging Media at our Disposal.

One Brand Can Build A Bland, Uniform, Ad Template – Yet – When That Ad Reaches My Eyes – It Will Be Significantly Different Than The Ad Served To My Neighbors, Coworkers, Family & Friends. The Message Suits My Desires, My Behaviors, My Media of Choice – That’s Where we are.

Yet, there are times when big brands should NOT follow this paradigm – times when they should blatantly disregard a consumer advocacy group’s pleas. Case in point:

Today, BrandWeek Reported “AFA Calls for Gap Boycott

The story reads as follows:

The American Family Association is calling on consumers to boycott Gap Inc. and its brands, which include Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, this holiday season. The Christian organization alleges that the retailer’s ads censor the word “Christmas.”

The boycott, according to the AFA, is in response to Gap’s holiday advertising and in-store promotions over the years, which have stayed away from recognizing any specific religion. The AFA—which had boycotted other retailers like Sears and Target in the past for their holiday ads—claims the San Francisco-based Gap has “received thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas.” But Gap has continued with its neutral standpoint.

“The Gap is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores? Until Gap proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio, television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted,” the AFA said in a statement.

The boycott is running from Nov. 1 through Christmas Day, and the AFA is urging consumers to sign a Gap pledge on its site. Gap was not available for comment at press time.

The ads in question this year are part of Gap’s “Cheer Factory” campaign, via Crispin Porter + Bogusky. TV ads feature a group of male and female cheerleaders donning Gap apparel and calling out the different holidays that are celebrated this season (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza). There is also a viral piece, which allows consumers to create personalized holiday cards at Cheerfactory.com. The site, like the TV ad, takes a religion-neutral approach and offers cheers such as “Happy Whateveryouwannakah” and “Mo’ Mistletoe.”

This is a developing story and will be updated soon.

This is just ridiculous. I’m not a huge fan of the brand(s) in question, but they can’t cater their messaging to accommodate everyone specific tastes. If they mention Christmas, then they also have to include Hanukkah and Kwanzaa right? And what about those Pagans celebrating the Winter Solstice? Don’t the deserve recognition too? And the Atheists and Agnostics who are participating in the Seasonal Gift Giving Spirit but without any religious motivation to do so – should the ads celebrate their beliefs too?

And if Gap did do all this – they’d just end up with some other self-righteous organization breathing down their necks for recognizing the concept of religion at all. Sorry but the AFA are a bunch of idiots and while I don’t care for Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic – I REALLY Hope they don’t cave. Doing so would set such a bad precedent – every brand will be flooded by complaints (as if they aren’t already) to the point that next year’s thanksgiving ads will end up being directed to the Australian-American Jedi Knight Association or the AAJKA. Ri.di.cu.lous. Ridiculous.

What do you think? How Should They React, If They Respond At All? Can Brands Really Be Expected To Simultaneously Cater To Multiple, Potentially Conflicting, Ideologies? Should They Continue Their TV Spots as Planned & But Tailor Facebook Ads To Reflect The Religious Views Noted In The Consumer’s Profile?

Facebook Stunts: Only Half The Battle. The Superficial Half.

Facebook is free media, great. Brands want to be there, they want fans and followers. Good, especially considering that Half of Social Media Users Connect With Brands.

But “how” to do this is the question Publicists, Digital Strategists, Marketers, and Advertisers have been asking themselves. And while no one tactic has been perfected, there is one guideline to follow when engaging (yes, I hate that word too, but unfortunately there are times when it’s appropriate and its use, unavoidable).

Longevity. Dedication. Commitment. Whatever you want to call it. Don’t just start a conversation, don’t just jump in when you feel like it. Don’t assume that your presence on a platform will automatically attract consumers. Initiating a relationship is only the first step. Rewarding the consumers who participate in that relationship; acknowledging those ‘loyals’ – fostering and growing that relationship, turning fans and followers into brand advocates – that’s where the greatest potential lies.

Having fans or followers is a great ego boost for a brand but it only OPENS the line of communication. What you do next, how you capitalize on that following, is what will make or break your social media initiative.

Take TGI Friday’s new “Fan Woody” Campaign. They want followers, for obvious reasons. So what do they do? They give something away. I mean, who doesn’t like free shit? I know I do, to the point where I’d friend Woody even though I’m not a particularly big fan of the brand (no pun intended there).

So yes, they’ll probably reach their goal of 500,000 fans by the end of September (not such a lofty goal for a nationally recognized brand, but I guess it pays to set the bar low).

But swag is easy. It’s the cheap way of getting followers. Effective? Duh. Would I advocate it, of course, it gets the job done. But it does nothing for the brand in the long term. The big question is, how will TGI Friday’s capitalize on this new audience? I don’t know about you, but I’m quite curious to see what their next move will be.

Stunts are great, but what comes next?

IMHO, effectiveness and distinctiveness in the social realm means catering, not just to our fondness of swag, but to our desire to create and produce. What do I mean?

Step one: Build a base – as exemplified by countless brands (chick-fil-a & others) give something away – get their attention.

Step two: Give this new audience the opportunity to contribute by offering them a vehicle or outlet for user-generated content. Whereas promotions say “we appreciate you because you give us money,” soliciting user-generated content – something like “Design an appetizer to be featured on our menu & we’ll have our fans vote for the favorite submission” – would say, “We value your input and creativity and we want you to help make our brand better.”

Ultimately, this is what consumers want. A free burger every now and then is cool but that won’t do shit for establishing a relationship with your existing or potential patrons. Consumers, especially young consumers, want input and control over your brand. A scary notion, but one that brands must accommodate if they want to appeal to the newest generation of consumers.
What do you think? What comes after “The Stunt?

(Thanks to Aaron Levy for helping inspire this post)

While You’re Here, Check Out These Other Interesting Posts/Articles:

Clear and Present Danger of Social Media for Ad Agencies

How Social Media Does Hostile Takeovers: Facebook vs. Twitter

Social Media / 10 Brands Doing it Right

Twitter expands rules to allow advertising

Twitter Gives Spam Apps a Thumbs Down, Ads a “Maybe”

Top 5 Web Trends of 2009: Internet of Things

Have a Great Weekend!

In Keeping With Tradition – Here Are My Recommended Posts & Articles for This Week (So Far). Enjoy! And Feel Free To Suggest Others in the Comments!

The Most Interesting Man in the World: How to Blend Traditional, Online and Social Media Tactics Into One Cohesive Campaign (Identity PR)

Avoid Twitter Disasters (PC Mag)

The Day Facebook Changed Forever: Messages to Become Public By Default (Read Write Web)

Dear People Who Game Twitter For Followers: It’s Over (Tremendous News)

Did Habitat Use Iran Conflict to Attract Twitterers? (AdAge)

Tim Burton’s Beautiful Reboot of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (Fast Company)

Blogging: the long and short of it (Guardian)

10 Twitter Best Practices for Brands (Mashable)

Chris Anderson, Elizabeth Hasselbeck Both Accused of Plagiarism (BNET)

Retweeting: ‘Followers’ look to ‘leaders’ as social networks grow (CNN)

5 tips for brand marketing on Twitter (Freshbooks)

A Shameless Defense of Journalism (New York Times)

When Does a Social Media Policy Go Too Far? Ask the Associated Press (Mashable)

The Best Kept Secret of Facebook Fan Pages (Social Media Today)

Social Media Advertising: Does It Work… or Doesn’t It? (Marketing Profs)

Is augmented reality a mobile killer app? (eConsultancy)

When Consumers Help, Ads Are Free (New York Times)

Web TV You’ll Need to Pay to See: Time Warner, Comcast Roll Out “Authentication.” Who Else Is In? (All Things Digital)

Facebook movie pinning down director, cast (CNET)

Arrested Development Movie – Examiner.com

What Bing, Twitter, and Facebook Mean for SEO (WebProNews)

Wired editor mired in controversy over parallels between book and Wikipedia (Guardian)

Dear Fast Feeders, Please Keep Your Meat Away From the Ladies (AdAge) [2 Girls 1 Sub All Over Again!]

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Yesterday I Wrote About The Shelf Life of Commericals & Ads…Today, It’s Celebrities.

Spencer Pratt, The Guy With The Creepy Flesh Colored Beard (Per Joel McHale & The Soup) – Is a Tool…Anyone Who’s Ever Watched More Than 3 Seconds Of His Pseudo-Acting Can Attest To His Unwarrented Arrogant, Self-Centered, Egotistical, Ignorant, Douchebagginess Behavior.

But the fact remains, we all know his name. Now he’s taken leave from The Hills to participate on “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here”  - which he’s already left & rejoined in the show’s brief  existance.

He’s the guy we love to hate…and he claims that acting like a tool is intentional, it’s for his ‘Bad Boy Brand’ because, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Good Guys Don’t Win Oscars, Villains Do.”

So What do you think?

Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations, Posted This Short Video Explaining Why It Won’t Work Out For The Pratt & His Beard

I Encourage You To Follow Ronn & The 5W Team on Twitter

[Disclosure/Transparency/Disclaimer: I Work At 5W]

On The Other Side – Sasha Halima Posted The 9 Reasons You Don’t Really Hate Speidi and Spencer is an Evil Genius

So What Do you Think? Remember – My Blog is Your Blog – I Value Your Comments More Than My Own Content – Blogs Are Only Social Media If That Engagement Exists…So Please…Share Your Thought(s).