June 13, 2014No Comments

How big brands are targeting Pride month 2014

In case you missed it, President Obama officially declared June as Pride month for the LGBT community. Although many states have celebrated LGBT Pride in June since the 1969 Stonewall riots, it's a bold step for the President to make an official proclamation. And it's not only the President who is bringing attention to Pride month. Big brands are making a statement by launching marketing campaigns targeting the LGBT audience during June.

Lucky Charms - #LuckyToBe

When you think of LGBT Pride, you may not immediately think of breakfast cereal. General Mills is changing that with their #LuckyToBe campaign. Using their iconic Lucky Charms as the face of the campaign, General Mills encourages people to tweet or post online reasons why they are proud using the hash-tag #LuckyToBe. The great thing about this campaign is that although it targets the LGBT community, it appeals to a broad audience. This helps increase awareness of the brand across multiple demographics.

Facebook - #PrideConnectsUs

Facebook feeling pride emoticon
Recently, Facebook added new emoticons for users to use when posting a status update. Just in time for Pride month, users now have the"feeling pride" emoticon to express how they feel. Facebook is also encouraging users to use the hashtag #PrideConnectsUs to help show their pride. While it may prove controversial, Facebook again has people engaging in a dialogue that other brands may shy away from. As they say, no press is bad press.

Macy's - Pride + Joy

Macy's Pride + Joy Pride Month campaign

For Pride month, Macy's teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to create their "Pride + Joy" campaign. It encourages customers to get involved with Pride month by either taking part in one of their in-store events or by taking action with HRC. As a tertiary message, customers are also reminded that Macy's can take care of all of their wedding registry needs. By teaming up with HRC, Macy's is able to add credibility to their involvement with the LGBT community.

YouTube and Google - #ProudToPlay

YouTube, along with parent company Google, launched their #ProudToPlay campaign targeted at reaching LGBT and ally athletes. The purpose of this campaign is to bring awareness of LGBT athletes in sports and to help end anti-LGBT bias. They also encourage users to upload their own videos about LGBT sports issues that YouTube will highlight over Pride month. Coming from two of the most trafficked websites in the world, this is a huge statement and it will be interesting to see the impact of the campaign.

Nike - #BeTrue Collection

Nike #BeTrue Collection
This year Nike produced a #BeTrue collection of apparel in support of Pride month. “We are a company committed to diversity, inclusion and unleashing human potential,” said Tim Hershey, Nike Vice President of Global Merchandising and Executive Chair of Nike’s LGBT & Friends Employee Network. Nike is also donating part of the proceeds from this collection to the LGBT Sports Coalition. A little charity goes a long way with consumers.

These are just a few of the brands who are taking notice of the LGBT market and deciding to target it directly. With Pride month getting such national recognition in 2014, what better time to establish or reinforce your brand with a niche audience. Which marketing campaigns do you think will shine this Pride month?

March 4, 2014No Comments

Ellen’s Oscar selfie direct marketing to Millenials

If you were one of the 43 million people watching the Oscar's this Sunday, you no doubt witnessed the celebrity selfie tweeted round the world. During the 86th Academy Awards, host Ellen DeGeneres snapped a group photo of several celebrities, and then posted the photo to Twitter. She then challenged the audience and viewers to see if they could get the most retweets ever on Twitter. And what do you know, her efforts paid off. Twitter received so much traffic that it's service was temporarily suspended. The tweet itself surpassed the current retweet title holder, which was President Obama’s 2012 election victory tweet.

While some might consider this just a publicity stunt for Samsung or mere Twitter fun among fans, I view this as a smart, unconventional direct marketing campaign from host DeGeneres. After all, direct marketing is about delivering relevant content to a targeted audience with a call-to-action that drives measurable response. And here's how Ellen did just that.

1.) Create the offer.
The offer, in this case, was pretty straightforward: Let's create the most retweeted tweet ever. Ellen stated a very specific message and repeated it multiple times for clarity to the audience. The offer here is allowing the audience to feel like they are taking part in an endeavor with celebrities. That's a pretty enticing offer. Direct marketers know that having a carefully crafted offer impacts the response rate with your audience.

2.) Know the target audience.
For over a decade, the Academy Committee has been trying to draw in a younger viewer demographic. By issuing a challenge through Twitter, they targeted the ever coveted 18-29 year old (Millenial) demographic. Part of what makes direct marketing so successful is knowing who your target audience is.

3.) Have a clear call-to-action.
The call-to-action in this case was simple: login to Twitter and retweet the post. Twitter is easily accessible from any smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Once online, all one has to do is hit the retweet icon. In direct marketing, having a clear call-to-action with multiple ways to respond is paramount to a successful campaign.

4.) Increase response with incentive.
To create the most retweeted tweet ever is no small endeavor. In direct marketing, incentives are used to create a sense of urgency, in order to increase response. Posing this challenge in the middle of a live broadcast creates an incentive for the audience to act immediately, in order to see the results before the end of the show. It's like creating a built in "offer ends soon."

5.) Measure the results.
Measuring results is key in direct marketing. After all if you don't have results, how can you rank your success? In this situation, it was easy to see the results of the campaign. Twitter actually shut down, due to the volume of response from the audience. Once the smoke cleared, the numbers showed that over 1.3 million people retweeted the now infamous selfie. That's almost double the amount of retweets that President Obama's 2012 election victory tweet received. I think it's safe to say that Ellen's campaign was a success.

What I'm trying to highlight in this little case study, is that direct marketing can be implemented through different media for the millenial generation. There is still a mindset that direct marketing is equivalent to direct mail. This is simply not true. Direct marketing works through a variety of channels. Ellen just may be ahead of the direct marketing curve. Well played Ellen. Well played.

February 13, 2014No Comments

Twitter? I don’t even know her.

I came to Twitter late in life. While I've had an account since 2009, I rarely engaged in the Twitter community. I didn't fully understand how it worked or what the benefits even were for having a Twitter handle. After all, I was already on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Wasn't I being social enough?

Today, there are hundreds of online social communities to engage with. There's Tumblr, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter to name a few. New social networks continue to pop up and show no sign of slowing down. With so many options, how do you find the right ones for you?

I asked myself this question last year as I was redesigning my professional website. During the redesign, I was thinking about which social networks to feature on my site. I wanted to engage with professionals within the design community, as well as strengthen my network. I also wanted to begin a blog, and was thinking about the best way to grow my audience through social media. As I begin reviewing my options, I first settled on LinkedIn as an obvious choice. I had been a member of it for a while, but like my Twitter account I hadn't fully used it. I then thought about Facebook. While I do interact socially through Facebook, it's more for personal engagement. I could post to it, but I didn't believe that audience would generate the effect I was going for. This brought me back to my dusty old Twitter account.

I decided to do a little homework and try to understand how to fully utilize Twitter. I had always thought of it as an outlet for people to vent their frustrations and tell you what coffee shop they were at. As I delved into it further, I found that Twitter is actually a very useful tool for delivering and receiving timely news, as well as branching out of my social audience safety net. With Facebook, I had always interacted with people I had already met in person, rarely trying to meet new people. When I started tweeting, I was initially timid about following people I didn't know or seeing other unknown people following me. Would this be considered rude or stalker like behavior? I eventually realized the different etiquette for connecting through Twitter. Twitter is about engagement beyond your initial set of contacts. Twitter allowed me to share my updates with a broader audience that I hadn't attempted to reach before.

Once I got into it, I found that Twitter is a great way to find news on topics I'm interested in, that I can also share with others. This helped me build a larger following, as well as providing me with relevant information in my field.

Don't get me wrong, Twitter is still that social place where people tweet about the most mundane daily activities and outrage. But it can also be a tool for finding relevant content, broadening your network and increasing your SEO. The moral of the story, for me, is that you can't jump on every social media bandwagon that springs up. However, don't dismiss something out of hand just because you're unfamiliar with it. Research it's intent and potential use and make a decision on what your goals are. You may end up as surprised as I was to realize you had a great tool in front of you that was wasting its potential.

December 17, 2013No Comments

A few of my favorite campaigns

As 2013 comes to a close, it's time to look back at some of the most entertaining, creative, innovative and engaging marketing and advertising campaigns. In keeping with the seasonal spirit, I've pulled together a few of my favorite campaigns from 2013. These campaigns run the gamut from social media to print. Take a moment and see if they catch your attention as much as they did mine.

Show your Joe
One person's tacky is another person's entertainment. However you felt about this Kmart ad, you can't deny the buzz it created this holiday season.

Fresh Gigs
Does new underwear help you feel more productive? Well the minds at Fruit of the Loom seem to think so. In fact, if you're on LinkedIn and have started a new job, Fruit of the Loom wants to offer you free underwear. Why? "Because great-fitting underwear is the perfect way to start a fresh gig."

Fresh gig campaign

Water is life: Hashtag Killer
You've heard of groups trying to take the power of a word back, right? Well Water is Life decided to give new meaning to the infamous hash tag #firstworldproblems. Their campaign set out to give new meaning to the hash tag and draw attention to a real world problem: clean water shortage. Check out the case study below, and see how effective their campaign was.

Lowe's home tips
If you haven't heard of Vine yet, you may want to look it up. Lowe's has jumped on the Vine train and added several short how to, home improvement videos. I'll admit, I didn't think a hardware store would be keen to use this particular channel. However, I think this is a great way to reach the millennial audience.

GoGurt Smokey Eye
Ok, I'm not a GoGurt fan. I don't even have children to buy GoGurt for. But after seeing this commercial, I almost ran out and bout a case.

Pantone: Rain Edition
With minimal copy and striking photography, this ad brings focus to what the company is all about: color. Courtesy of Giuliano Lo Re and Matteo Gallinelli.

Pantone Rain Edition campaign

And this isn't even touching the Super Bowl ads. What campaigns impacted or caused you to take notice in 2013?

Let's connect.

© Justin Herren 2022 | Creative strategist + design lead