Emoji in Movie Marketing: One in a “Minion!”

minion blogStarwars

Instant messaging (IM) platforms are, undeniably, the most essential and frequently used communication platforms among the contemporary society. Despite mistaken for mobile forms of entertainment by many, IM apps today have become much more than being just “alternative” ways of communication whose utilization is limited to a niche group of teens or young adults. In fact, IM apps have become popular among not only the fun-seeking Generation Z (born in the year 2000 and above), but also among Millennials and even Generation X members who strive to keep in touch with their Millennial children.

Yet, consumers are not the only parties relying on eye-pleasing communication. Being visual-dependent by its very nature, the movie industry is increasingly leveraging mobile platforms, especially mobile IM apps, to reach Millennials. Especially animation studios such as DreamWorks SKG, Pixar, Universal Pictures, and Disney are increasingly getting their characters designed in emoji formats. The companies seem to have three main goals in following such a strategy as explicated below.

First of all, animation studios seek to create awareness for movie sequels and to increase initial awareness to their side characters in these sequels: When the audience has some degree of former acquaintance with the characters through the former movie in the sequel, movie companies have ease in bringing emphasis to side characters and even form a high enough level of likability for their side characters to make new movies based solely on the peripheral characters in question. Universal Pictures’s strategy regarding Despicable Me 2 perfectly exemplifies this situation: The company launched Minion 2 themed free stickers on Facebook Messenger after Despicable Me 1 to generate initial awareness for the upcoming sequel.[1] Moreover, probably also through the contributions of such strategies, Minions (initially side characters in the movie) became more “in sight” and likeable than the actual character of the movie- Gru the man. Thereby, Universal has become able to release a Minions movie (to be released on July 10, 2015) based on Minions (without Gru) only.

Secondly, through such a strategy, animation studios aim to reach their consumers where they actually are by establishing relevance. As today’s Generation Z and Millennials use IM rather than SMS, movie companies seem to have come to realize that place to find their target customers are IM apps. For instance, noticing that most of its fans use Twitter app, the Star Wars brand (now owned by Disney) has developed 3CPO and Stormtroopers (one of the symbolic characters in the movie) emoticons useable on Twitter.[2] Today, if users post to the hashtags #3CPO or #Stormtrooper on Twitter, animated Star Wars emoticons appear on their newsfeeds.[3]  The reason why the brand did not target Facebook, contrary to Minions, is probably that Star Wars fan base must have been identified to be more of a Twitter user than a Facebook poster. The point makes sense because Star Wars fan base is, to my humble opinion at least, more of a serious, old-fashioned, and news-reader/blog-poster type than a commenter and laugher on Facebook. On the other hand, Minions are just too informal and fun to be on a microblog/instant news generator such as Twitter. Thereby, the brands’ media choices seem to be correctly aligned with their audiences.

Thirdly, and finally, regardless of the social/IM platform they put their animated characters, animation studios ultimately aim to engage their targets through developing branded emoji. When consumers use a giggling Minion figure instead of themselves, not only do they form emotional experiences with the movie Minions and its brand, but they also reflect themselves through the brand. Thus, the value proposition of a simple emoji is not that “simple:” It offers both emotional and spiritual (i.e., self-reflecting) benefits, both of which are the hardest to offer in the service industry. The emoji thus becomes a brand asset that is no different from branded toys or other forms of merchandise. Moreover, the emoji strategy that is wrongly labelled as “simple” by many, does undeniably increase targets’ exposure to the brand/product. Whenever the emoji segment on the mobile device opens, the branded emoji pops up, reminding itself. As this point is the ultimate goal of many online digital strategies, a “simple” emoji seems to do the job that many digital strategists fail to accomplish.

All in all, the use of branded emoji by an increasing number of animation studios and movie brands illustrate that the “simple” emoji strategies are proving successful and now becoming a trend in movie marketing. Apparently, strategists need to keep in mind that simplicity does not mean ineffectiveness. It has never been the structure but the details and touch points that make the difference. It is high-time strategists stopped overcomplicating the way to reach their audience and started to enjoy the beauty of relevant simplicity.

[1] The information regarding minion stickers is with reference to a brief reading of the following source: http://socialmediaph.net/2013/07/03/how-to-add-chat-stickers-on-facebook/.

[2] Please notice that the information provided has been derived from the following resource:  https://blog.twitter.com/2015/introducing-starwarsemojis.

[3] The information in question is with reference to http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2015/04/16/star-wars-emoticons/.

STORY GONE BAD: RE-BRANDING A COUNTRY

turkey logo

Reference for the the new logo’s picture: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/new_logo_and_ identity_for_turkey_exporting_by_saffron.php

Undeniably, logo and slogan design is a crucial part of branding. Despite bringing consumer goods and services to mind, it generally applies to a variety of offers including celebrities, personas, belief systems, and even cities when considered thoroughly. This brief analysis attempts to discuss the case of the country Turkey’s latest socio-economic logo and slogan development.

Two days ago, the Turkish government officially adopted  an “updated” socio-economic logo in an attempt to render the country’s tourism, economy, and cultural symbol more “relevant.”[1] However, a marketing-focused glimpse proves that the new word-art in question proves to be far from “representative” when approached from the three aspects explicated below:

  1. Uniqueness: Looking at the logo in question above, one can not help realizing the “new” logo’s resemblance to the consumer goods giant Unilever’s famous logo. Both contain tiny symbols within the letters representing the brands (i.e., countries are also brands). Indeed, the new logo seems to be not more than a Word-Art designed on Microsoft Words and filled with intricate geometric patterns. Thereby, authorities seem to have fallen short of developing a one-of-kind symbol whose appearance would bring Turkey to mind and prove to be creatively outspoken although they have spent more than three fiscal years to develop a new logo as part of their “re-branding” efforts.
  2. Representativeness and Depth: Another disappointment the “logo” brings along seems to be its lack of relevance to the cultural values of the country. The most striking example illustrating this point are the colors of the logo: The country’s national colors are red and white; definitely not blue. Indeed, Unilever’s logo seems to reflect more about Turkey than the country’s new socio-economic logo by being the same navy blue as the country’s cultural amulet (i.e., a talisman worn to avoid the evil eye). Similarly, there is no crescent (the national symbol on the country’s flag), cat (national animal), or weaving (distinct local industry), nuts (national yield) or oil-wrestling (national sports)-related symbol on the new format. Considering this fact, one can not help wondering the reason underlying the choice of color and the patterns engraved in the new logo. Thereby, it would not be completely wrong to suggest that the new logo lacks in meaning and depth. Contrarily, logos should serve to    distinguish brands and entities by bringing forth the most representative and unique aspects. Sadly, three years of research and development should have born something more meaningful and identifiable.
  3. Intelligibility and Clarity: Despite bearing some symbols relating to ancient Anatolian civilizations and myths (e.g., the mythological Anatolian wolf, the Sun, and the Hittite mill), most of the symbols in the new logo is not easy to comprehend by “anyone.” Even Turkish citizens themselves need a load of explanation to make sense of the logo in question. In the case of Unilever’s brand logo, for instance, each symbol in the letter U signifies a unique aspect, raw material, product category, or brand symbol of Unilever’s family of brands (i.e., umbrella brands). Yet, most of the “symbols” in the Turkey’s new logo seem to make no sense other than resembling geometric shapes and arbitrary patterns. Fails to be intelligible even to the locals, the new logo seems to have the potential to confuse and be blurry to international organizations and foreign governments.

All in all, one can suggests that Turkey’s new socio-economic logo design seems to grant no additional brand consistency or identity to the country. Being part of the country’s re-branding efforts, the logo still needs to be improved in a creative and culturally-relevant way to justify the years-long academic and applied studies underlying. This recommendation should be taken into serious consideration especially if the authorities sincerely aim at  improved “relevance” and “representativeness” as they claim.

[1] Please acknowledge that the information in question is with reference to http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-launches-its-own-brand logo.aspx?pageID=238&nID=72282&NewsCatID=345.

UNLOCKING THE AWE: EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING

carrrrrr

As inherent in the very nature of being human, people talk. People make promises that they can not keep, make commitments that they can not keep loyal to, and most important of all, people portray themselves as capable of doing things which they are insufficiently courageous. Inferably, being human is deceptive by nature. Yet, what remains at the end from that deceptiveness is the disappointment on the faces of the people witnessing the words, promises, and commitments.  Experiential marketing intends to avoid strategies from developing such hollow scenarios.

Proving the philosophy that “not words but actions speak”, experiential marketing intends to make potential customers experience the brand/product in a memorable way rather than expose them to externally imposed push messages. As their distinguishing point from other marketing strategies, experiential strategies intend to pull the customer towards the offering by planting seeds of curiosity, interest, doubt, and excitement in consumers’ hearts and minds when they are expecting nothing (i.e., at vulnerable, oblivious, absent-minded, or simply “regular” moments). Indeed, the unexpectedness is what breaks mundanity, forces the customer to take action even if s/he has no time, and renders the experiential moment extraordinarily memorable. Such reliance on “fait-accompli” causes the consumer to end up seeking information about and interaction with the brand voluntarily. At this point, the strategy may resemble online buzz or any mindset underlying user-generated content. Yet, the fact that the strategy requires consumers’ all five senses’ (taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight) simultaneous inclusion makes experiential marketing unique.[1]

Sometimes referred to as part of guerilla marketing and sometimes as a subset of CRM efforts, experiential strategies ultimately aim at creating awareness, engaging consumers in the brand, enabling unforgettable brand-consumer interactions, creating branded memories, and earning the loyalty of customers by winning hearts and minds.[2] The strategy’s relevance to CRM seems to be apparent; yet, one may easily wonder how such a relationship-oriented strategy could possibly be a tool of guerilla campaigns. Well, the answer is quite simple: Through boosting branded relationships, experiential tactics leave competitors’ efforts literally “ab agendo.” No matter how hard the competitor tries, s/he can not end up creating the initial effect the experiential brand created in the first place, a fact which summarizes the difficulty in coming up with memorable strategies: Experiential endows the applier with a first-to-market advantage; whereas, it leaves absolutely no room for copycats, making every single experiential experience truly unique.

The top two brands that are known for experiential efforts are Coke and Adidas.[3] Coke’s putting vending machines that distribute “happiness” (e.g., free Coke, pizzas, sandwiches, CDs, or whatever the consumer happens to wish) in key cities, campuses, and bus stops illustrates the brand’s relevant efforts. Indeed, experiential tactics such as the brand’s distributing free coke and toys to relieve stressed drivers in rush hour on crowded bridges such as Fatih Bridge and Bogazici Bridge in Istanbul (Turkey) shows how Coke becomes an emotional brand not only through its slogan or value proposition but also through experiential campaigns.

Another brand to notice the additional customer-perceived value experiential tactics grant seems to be Adidas. The brand’s interactive pop-up stores[4] (e.g., stores that give a free pair of Adidas’s newest shoes on condition consumers win specific contests within the store) and unexpected fitting room experiences that feature random visits by David Beckham exemplify the way Adidas improves customer relationships, enhances loyalty in stores, and makes emotional connections with purchasers.

Yet, when it comes to my opinion regarding the strategy, an offering does not need to be perfectly branded, contrary to the cases of Coke and Adidas. An acknowledged brand identity and the perceptual consistency it brings along would undeniably facilitate consumers’ relating to the brand. In other words, consumers would easily decide whether to react and know better how to react to the brand because they would be exposed to something relatively familiar if a consistent brand identity existed. Yet, smaller or niche brands such as those of movie or car companies could leverage such strategies much more effectively if only they tried.

For instance, just last Thursday, I saw a car filled with multiple TV screens outside a park (i.e. illustrated in the picture at the beginning of the post). At first, I thought it part of a campaign to generate buzz for Mercedes’s 2015 gull-winged models 2015 (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT 2015) because the cars’ doors were exactly the same as those of the model in question. Neurotically seeking for a logo on the tires and hood, I was disappointed to remain empty-handed. Then, remembering the upcoming (now at the theatres) Fast and Furious movie, I desperately wondered whether the car was part of the movie’s promotional efforts. The car’s unusual design, vivid colors, the loud voice coming from the Michael Jackson movie featured on its TV screens all gave the impression that the car was there to create awareness and buzz as part of some campaign trying to scream out its presence.

Approaching to the man standing beside it, I was amazed to learn that he had just re-designed his car and brought it downtown to make money. Apparently, he was collecting money from the crowd and using the car as a means to gather people around himself. As he complained to me about not being able to collect much money, I advised him that he should print personal business cards to give out to the crowd, promoting his mechanic/designing skills. At the end of the day, he was obviously talented and could make more money as a “designer-mechanic” if he redesigned even a single car owned by one of the “potential customers” in the crowd. I, however, was upset to find out that neither Mercedes Benz nor Universal Pictures had been as strategically creative as the talented man I had just met.

Considering the brief analysis above, one can suggest that experiential is the way to capture consumers through playing on the most sensitive and “human” aspect of their existence: emotions. Although labelled as opportunistic by some, such strategies are far less intrusive and privacy-invading than mainstream CRM activities that record every single consumption habit and preference for the sake of creating additional customer value by offering relevant products and marketing talk. Nevertheless, experiential seems to be THE way for a brand to keep to the ultimate promise: “I don’t do idle talk; I perform.”

[1]Please notice that the information regarding the importance of senses in experiential marketing is with reference to http://www.creativeguerrillamarketing.com/guerrilla-marketing/experiential-101-experiential-marketing/.

[2]The functions of experiential marketing have been derived from a brief reading of the following source: http://www.creativeguerrillamarketing.com/guerrilla-marketing/experiential-101-experiential-marketing/.

[3]The examples of Coke and Adidas have been learnt from http://www.creativeguerrillamarketing.com/guerrilla-marketing/experiential-101-experiential-marketing/.

[4]This example is with reference to http://www.creativeguerrillamarketing.com/guerrilla-marketing/experiential-101-experiential-marketing/.

2015: Possessed by Digital Storms

IMAGE MULTI

Resource: www.iphonehacks.com/2014/02/amazon.html (Tide, Up)

www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2114156/Try-buy-21stCentury-style- Now-theres- mirror-tries-clothes-you.html(Image Recognition, Down)

www.firebox.com/product/2312/iREMember-Dream-Recorder (Dream Recorder, Middle)

With spring’s arrival as of today, a quarter of the year has passed. What has awed consumers in the last three months are undeniably the varied payment options brought about by Apple Pay, the increase in the tendency to open digital racks in retail spaces instead of brick-and-mortar pop-ups, and the rise of mass customization. What remains to be expected from the rest of the year may still remain a mystery for many, but such a mystery may be nerve-wrecking for those too curious to wait for something to happen. The brief research conducted out of curiosity below may provide the impatient with a glimpse of the top three marketing surprises winking at the horizon.

1) Memory Mirrors

The idea may sound utopic, but utopic does not necessarily mean impossible. Many luxury apparel brands are paving the way to create additional customer perceived value by offering Memory Mirrors.[1] Such a strategy is apparently intended at improving the in-store shopping experience at branded stores by facilitating the purchase decision of indecisive customers.

To specify, according to www.psfk.com/, consumers will be able to take their full-length pictures through standing in front of the Memory Mirror (a mirror with a high resolution camera) placed in the fitting rooms of luxurious brands.[2] Then, the consumers will be able to post their photos in question on their social media accounts to collect the opinions of key influencers such as friends and family members in real-time.[3] Yet, the pictures will also bear the store’s name and location, promoting the branded store.

Apparently, the digital mirror will not only create additional value for customers, but it will also help brands generate buzz and increase their exposure levels on social and digital marketing platforms. Thus, the magic mirror on the wall will literally be the fairest of them all!

2) Image Recognition

Any consumer must have had, at some point in his/her life, wished that he/she could drag a picture to the Google search bar to find the product/information he/she is searching online. Such wishes are probably more common when the consumer knows neither the brand name nor the price of the product he/she likes. To absolve consumers of the after-guilt such situations bring up, some (especially online) retailers have announced that they will shift to image recognition technology in their stores and branded apps towards the end of the year.[4]

In other words, consumers will be able to take and upload pictures of the products or barcodes of the products that they see (in stores, at friends’ houses, in outdoor spaces, or online) on online retailers’ search tabs, search engines, and branded apps (assuming that they know the brand name).[5] Thereby, the consumer will be able to locate the product he seeks, learn its availability, investigate its price, and compare prices in multiple retailers through just a photo or barcode.

Such a change will undeniably increase mobile’s role and importance in shopping. Yet, the scary point for marketers is that image recognition will make consumers more knowledgeable and demanding than ever by giving them additional power to evaluate alternatives. Undeniably, the change in question will increase the unbearable competition in retail industry and donate online retailers with an additional competitive advantage besides their low fixed costs.

3) The Big Data Pillow

When it comes to collecting insightful data, marketers truly do not know any boundaries. As their latest attempt to decipher the unfathomable black box of consumers, market analysts and consumer behaviour specialists seem to have resorted to dreams. Although imagining dreams’ utilization for marketing purposes could be a little hard, the strategy makes perfect sense given that dreams are one of the most vulnerable paths to the subconscious mind and unexplainable preferences.

Rumour has it that consumer goods manufacturers intend to follow a differentiation product strategy by donating their products with the ability to record Big Data.[6] For instance, through its rumoured Dream Pillow, Ikea plans to offer interested consumers the ability to track their sleeping patterns, record brainwaves during sleep, and even control dreams (with some help from sleep specialists) through downloading an app on pillows and sleeping masks that contain a small computer recording dream/sleep data.[7]

Obviously, the value proposition the augmented pillow/sleeping mask will appeal not only dreamers, but also sleep specialists, astrologists, and marketers. Just imagining how a marketer could exploit the psychological insights provided through such Big Data to segment, target, and profile customers can by itself leave one sleep-deprived because of excitement.

All in all, the three examples above illustrate that digital will serve to create additional consumer perceived value, augment products, and collect insightful data it the rest of 2015. Digital marketing will, without a doubt, keep making the dynamics in the industry evolve throughout the rest of the year. Witnessing how much how much of these highly ambitious steps do take place in the upcoming six months will be beyond exciting.

[1]Please notice that the information provided is with reference to http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/neiman-marcus-memory-mirror-online-shopping.html.

[2]Please notice that the information provided has been derived from http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/neiman-marcus-memory-mirror-online-shopping.html.

[3]Please notice that the information provided is with reference to a brief reading of the following source: http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/neiman-marcus-memory-mirror-online-shopping.html.

[4]This future strategy has been derived from http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/braintree-mobile-commerce-target-in-a-snap.html.

[5]How image recognition technology will be utilized in marketing has been learnt through briefly reading the web-page on the following link: This future strategy has been derived from http://www.psfk.com/2015/02/braintree-mobile-commerce-target-in-a-snap.html.

[6]Please notice that the information provided is with reference to http://www.psfk.com/2015/03/ikea-announcements-2020-retail-hololens-google-cardboard-jawbone-withings-aura.html.

[7]Please notice that information about the Dream Pillow has been derived from the following resource: http://www.psfk.com/2015/03/ikea-announcements-2020-retail-hololens-google-cardboard-jawbone-withings-aura.html.

YOGI TEA: CREATING ADDITIONAL CONSUMER VALUE

tea

Quote on the Yogi Tea tag: “Love has no fear and no vengeance.”

“Once upon a time, there were people who would call themselves as ‘the smartest’ on Earth. They could market anything to anyone without exerting much effort. Believe me, it was magical. Nobody knew how they could do it or how their ‘campaigns’ worked. These guys would just throw a fabulous ad or a fascinating TV commercial, and they would attract people regardless of age, gender, and psychographic distinctions.”

The statement above would be the perfect introduction of a based-on-a-true-story type of movie plotted in the 70’s and 80’s. Yet, dictating the scenario in question in a marketing-related movie that is set in the contemporary 2000’s would be impossible unless the scenarist intended to compose a science-fiction drama whose tragic end features the suicide of a time-travelling perfectionist marketer who, despite trying everything, can not satisfy today’s consumers. Having evolved in line with the opportunities technological developments have generated, the contemporary consumer can not be satisfied with the mainstream mass marketing efforts romanced in the quotation above.

Undeniably, consumers of the past did not have the right to expect additional value or effort from brands because not many brands, and consequently, not as much competition as today, existed (Rust, Moorman & Bhalla, 2013). Yet, the consumer today is aware of the competitiveness in markets, and he/she knows that brands competing in the same product category have to satisfy his/her need for the basic functional benefit offered by the product category in question. Indeed, the consumer knows that these competing brands will eventually need to offer a complimentary unique and unexpected benefit to make him/her opt for their products over contemporaries’. As a result, taking advantage of the ferocious competition among brands, today’s consumer wisely waits until brands compete and show their best. Then, he/she chooses the brand which exceeds (not only satisfies) his/her expectations. The demand for brands to offer additional consumer value seems to have forced marketers to give emphasis to creativity in developing strategies.

However, many can suggest that not every market offering is augmentable, and they would not be completely wrong at first sight. Some brands that are concerned with generic consumer goods such as tea can not be expected to offer additional benefits or to achieve more than line extensions (white tea, black tea, digestive tea, blueberry tea, and so forth) to win the preferences and hearts of consumers. However, despite the limitations posed by their products’ nature, truly consumer-centric brands seem to have somehow found a way to create additional customer perceived value by identifying what their consumers appreciate beyond the core benefits of their products. Below is Yogi Tea’s outstanding example of how marketers can justify ‘if there is a will, there is a way’ when creating additional consumer value.

Yogi Tea, an Oregon-based tea company, seems to have found one of the most cost-efficient methods to create additional consumer value: creating and altering product messaging. After analyzing the research on the behavior of the tea person, the brand simply prints brief messages that relate to its target profile’s psychographics on the tags of its branded tea bags. As highlighted in the research by Tetley Tea Academy (2014)[1], tea people are actually not attracted to the boiled tea product itself but to the soothing effect, comfort, and mental relaxation experienced upon holding a cup of hot tea.[2] Likewise, ‘tea people’ are more likely to blog, tweet, or keep diaries, a point which implies that they are highly emotional.[3] Probably considering these points, Yogi Tea has leveraged the importance consumers give to the psychological benefits of tea by adding emotional and relaxing messages on its tea bags. Through this augmentation, the brand offers consumers two additional psychological benefits: First, it helps consumers find more meaning and emotional satisfaction in tea cups. Second, it reinforces consumers’ mental relaxation through visual messaging. As a result, the brand qualifies in creating three things at the same time: relevant additional consumer value, improved consumer relationships, and a highly distinguished positioning at a pretty low cost.

As the Yogi Tea example above illustrates, even brands concerned with generic product categories can create additional consumer value and, thus, distinguish their supposedly generic products. Inferably, there seems to be no reason for brands to not be able to trigger a creative approach to strategy unless they forget that they themselves need to have a heart first if they seek to win the hearts of others.[4]

[1] Please notice that this information is with reference to http://www.tetleyteaacademy.co.uk/index.php/serving/teapersonalities

[2] Please notice that the information is with reference to the following resource: http://www.tetleyteaacademy.co.uk/index.php/serving/teapersonalities

[3] Please notice that the information provided has been derived from http://thoughtcatalog.com/chelsea-fagan/2013/02/tea-people-vs-coffee-people/

[4] Please notice that this statement is with reference to the quote “You can not win the heart of customers unless you have a heart yourself” by Charlotte Beers, J. Walter Thompson on page 54 of Aaker on Branding: 20 Principles That Drive Success by David Aaker (2014).

WHERE SHOULD THE BRAND GO: TO THE RED CARPET OR TO THE FOOTBALL PITCH?

oscarfutbol

Many may assume that advertising on huge broadcast events solely depends on brands’ economic wealth and marketing budgets. Yet, while some brands can not wait until they step on the Red Carpet, some others (especially those dominating Super Bowl) do not even bother to be in the periphery of the glamorous gates of L.A.’s Kodak Theatre. Does the sweet friction among nominees make Super Bowl and the Oscar ceremony hostile rivals, becoming contagious at this point? A brief analysis of the structure of the commercials found in the two giant events reveal that brands’ positioning and target-market related concerns underlie the situation in question.

At the end of the day, from a marketing perspective, the Oscar ceremony is nothing but simply a major ‘event.’ Yet, this ‘event’s only unique point is that it enables brands to create an immodest amount of awareness and interaction with consumers worldwide in an appallingly short time (as Ellen De Generes’s record-breaking selfie illustrated last year by generating 200,000 retweets in 160 minutes and 2 million retweets in less than 5 hours as well)[1]. As the very nature of ‘event’-based campaigns requires, brands decide to or not to partake in Oscars and/or Super Bowl by taking into consideration their own marketing mix elements’ (especially their positioning’s and target profile’s) suitability with those of the event. To enable readers a broader perspective, a brief comparison between the two events’ is provided below:

Price: Super Bowl ad spots seem to be more expensive than spots in the Oscar ceremony. To specify, in last month’s Super Bowl, 30 second long spots cost an average of $3.8 million[2]; whereas, ABC Network demanded an average of $1.8 million[3] for spots of the same length in the Oscar ceremony. Yet, this situation does not seem to be unfair when viewership is taken into account: As almost 2.8 times[4] more people watch Super Bowl (117 million[5] spectators versus the Oscar ceremony’s audience of 43 million[6] on average), advertising on this sports event seems to promise a wider reach. Offering clients (brands) increased amounts of benefits as such, NBC seems to be righteous in its make-me-a-multimillionnaire-in-30-seconds type of price demands.

Target Audience: Looking at the genre of the two giant events, one is bound to notice that Super Bowl’s and The Oscar ceremony’s target audiences are highlight different. Being in the sports industry and attended by muscular men, Super Bowl attracts more male spectators than females; whereas, Oscars target the entertainment and ‘gossip from the Red Carpet’ enthusiasts-mostly females.[7] This difference is undeniably reflected in the choice of products/brands being advertised as explicated below.

Brands: A brief look at the brands that advertised throughout last Super Bowl reveals that Super Bowl commercials are mostly by brands whose primary purchasers, influencers, or end users are men. For instance, Super Bowl hosted Budweiser instead of the female-associated Light Miller; Toyota, BMW, Chrysler, Kia, Nexus, and Mercedes Benz instead of Mini Cooper; and action movies such as the upcoming Terminator Genisys and Jurassic World rather than pinkish movies such as the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s novel The Longest Ride. Indeed, making its intentions visible, Toyota even made its Super Bowl commercial’s content male-focused by choosing the theme ‘bold fathers’ and handling father-kid relationships. In contrast, advertisers in last night’s Oscar ceremony were those with either emotional brand identity (i.e., Coca-Cola and McDonald’s) or female users or purchasers such as JC Penny, Dove, and various dog food brands (probably based on some assumption or research that it is the wife who chooses and buys pet food for the family dog).

Products: As the contrasts and comparisons above reveal, Super Bowl tends to host product categories to which men are attracted (i.e., yeasty alcoholic beverages, sports cars, SUVs, action movies, and so forth); whereas, the Oscar ceremony facilitates the promotion of products that target either women or children (i.e., women’s indispensables such as credits cards, hygiene materials, clothing, children’s favourites such as Happy Meals, and so forth). Especially in the case of Happy Meals and other categories whose end users are children, the Oscar watching wife is targeted because she is the actual decision maker and purchaser of the product. Thus, she is tried to be influenced because the product can not be sold unless her resistance is eliminated.

All in all, the brief analysis above reveals that brands choose between showing off on the Red Carpet or kick in a last minute field-goal on the pitch by considering their brand positioning and intended target profile. Apparently, having a spot in the Oscar ceremony’s commercial breaks requires a higher level of strategic literacy than even the most hideous amount of money can possibly buy in thirty seconds.

[1] Please notice that the information provided is with reference to http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/ellen-degeneres-just-took-a-selfie-at-the-oscars-so-epic-tha#.adppd69b

[2] The information provided has been gathered through a brief reading of the following resource: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/business/media/oscars-broadcast-to-rival-super-bowl-as-ad-showcase.html?_r=0

[3] Please notice that the number provided is with reference to the following resource: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/business/media/oscars-broadcast-to-rival-super-bowl-as-ad-showcase.html?_r=0

[4] The number in question is derived through a brief reading of the data on http://deadline.com/2015/02/super-bowl-ratings-patriots-seahawks-2015-superbowl-xlix-1201364688/

[5] The number provided is with reference to http://deadline.com/2015/02/super-bowl-ratings-patriots-seahawks-2015-superbowl-xlix-1201364688/

[6] Please notice that the number provided is with reference to www.ew.com/article/2014/03/03/oscarratings-2014

[7] Please notice that the conclusion in question has been derived by the reading the following resource and the brief article it contains: www.forbes.com/sites/bradadgate/2015/02/19/fun-facts-about-the-oscars/

THE MILLENNIAL TROUBLE

who-are-the-millennials

Source of the Picture: http://www.emilybinder.com/podcast-2/millennials-cant-play-dodgeball-episode-20/

“As the father of two sons, I went into my seventeen year-old son’s room yesterday. I knew it was Valentine’s, and he was getting ready to take his first girlfriend out for dinner for the first time in his life. Knocking on the door, I whispered, asking him whether he needed any help suiting up. The only answer I got was ‘No, thanks. Got it!’ Got it?! I could not believe him: Knowing at least that he had never tied a tie before, I ducked in to get one of the most striking shocks in my entire life. Upon opening the door, I saw a gentleman standing in front of his mobile phone that sat on his desk, watching something and trying to deal with his tie. I stood there agape and watched until he was done in less than a minute. I could not believe my eyes! My son -my eldest son, the apple of my eye- had chosen that YouTube video over me-his father-to teach him how to tie his first tie! I was heartbroken. As the father, I would love to have been asked to help prepare my son for his tie experience and Valentine’s Night out. I could have tied his tie for him without having him bear all the pain… I know this can be nerve wrecking sometimes. Yet, only then it clicked to me: the new generation… They are nothing like us!”[1] Daniel Ahlin (Neighbor)

Although it may seem like an excerpt from some book, the rebuke above is nothing but a very sincere summary of what my next-door neighbor opened up to me early this morning as I took the garbage out. His genuine and fatherly approach aside, the content urged me to ponder on digitalization, the new generation-Millennials, and these two variables’ influence of contemporary marketing.

As an undeniable fact of our decade, everything has been digitalized. From choosing the most memorable place to take out a date (on Yelp) and reserving flight tickets for a meeting (airline apps) to buying groceries (on www.freshdirect.com) and movies (on Netflix) for a regular sit-at-home night, even the most humdrum exigencies have been either applified[2] or made resolvable online. As an industry that highly relies on the people factor, marketing could not have remained unresponsive to the change in question. Consequently, marketers today need to and do prioritize digital channels such as e-mails, digital coupons, social media, video posting, podcasting, and so forth over traditional means to ensure that they do reach consumers via the platforms consumers use most and the way consumers prefer to be reached[3]. Yet, associating the shift in the weight of marketing channels purely with the change in lifestyle or technology would be taking a pretty superficial glance at the situation.

Digging the topic deeper, one is bound to find the roots of the shift from traditional to digital marketing communication channels in generations. In other words, the shift from Generation X to Millennials (Generation Y) seems to have enforced marketers to take a more digitalized approach in campaign development and execution. Finding comfort in the belief that denies change, some may have a hard time believing this reasoning, but Generation Y is almost what Generation X is not. Briefly reading US Chamber Foundation’s “Research Review on the Millennial Generation,”[4] one may draw the following profile[5] for this rather eccentric target market:

The idea may sound scary, but this generation has been born into technology, a fact which means they do not have the slightest idea about the telegrammed times or going to the post office to buy stamps. Most Millennials’ primary source of information has never been Encyclopedias, textbooks, or paperback dictionaries. On the contrary, these people resort to Google for information, e-books to study for finals, and apps to look up words. They do not meet that special person at a birthday party or a bookstore as a romantic coincidence, but on some Tinder dating app or social media. They have probably never made ‘My dog ate my homework’ type of excuses because of online assignment submissions. To them, writing letters has never been more than a nostalgically polite gesture.[6]

With regards to shopping, Millennials do not like carrying shopping bags back home; they purchase online and have purchases delivered to their location so that they can make most of their limited leisure time with their friends, significant others, and families. As to trust, these people would rather trust an unfamiliar Joe who seems to have used product X as inferable from his real-time comments on a blog rather than trust the manufacturer who is bound to have monetary concerns over the product’s sales. Similarly, their media choices resemble nothing like those of former generations: Millennials do refer to TV not as an admirably perfect means of entertainment, but as one of the sources that hold them as captive audience, exposing them to time and place limitations. Instead, they live on mobile technology and smartphones instead of water and food. For them, immediate communication and voicing their opinion regardless of location have been the two basic needs to be sated and the most effective weapons to be used when public opposition is required. When it comes to socialization, they can not remain spectators; they demand involvement in and interaction with almost anything they value (e.g., people, brands, products, pets, the nature, philanthropy, and so forth), and because they know that the most unfettered way of this involvement is through mobile technology and social media, they socially choke in the absence of their smart gadgets.[7] Indeed, if Sergeant Hartman were one of them -a Millennial in reality-, he would recite as follows in his famous scene in Full Metal Jacket (1987):

This is my [smartphone][8]. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My [smartphone] is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my [smartphone] is useless. Without my [smartphone], I am useless.”[9] Sergeant Hartman (Full Metal Jacket, 1987)

Inferably, such a generation which has apparently grown up having access to information whenever and wherever desired through the Internet and mobile technology can not possibly be satisfied via time/place-bound sales and promotion tactics. Aware of this fact, marketers today put an emphasis on the integration of marketing communication platforms in campaigns to provide Millennials with the holistic approach they demand. They especially use digital (especially social media and mobile) to engage Millennial consumers as demanded and to strategically reach them on the platforms where they are exactly found.[10] Although marketers seem to have deciphered this new generation and have taken necessary actions to address their needs and wants (as the very gist of marketing requires), a bigger trouble winks on the horizon: the upcoming Generation Z.

[1] Please notice that the quote is with reference to a brief chat with the next-door neighbour Mr. Daniel Ahlin on 16.02.2015.

[2] The verb ‘ to applify’ has been derived by me through my background in linguistics. It means ‘to convert into a (mobile or tablet) application.’ I hope it earns broader recognition.

[3] Please notice that the point in question is with reference to “Rethinking Marketing” by Roland T. Rust, Christine Moorman, and Gaurav Bhalla on pages 1-15 of HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing (2013).

[4] The research paper is be found on www.uschamberfoundation.org/millennial-generation-research-review.

[5] Please notice that the profile drawn in the two paragraphs below has been compiled with reference to the following resource and then combined with some personal creativity: www.uschamberfoundation.org/millennial-generation-research-review.

[6] Please notice that the information in this paragraph has been compiled with reference to the factual data on the following resource and then blended with some personal creativity to ensure a good read: www.uschamberfoundation.org/millennial-generation-research-review.

[7] Please notice that the information in this paragraph has been compiled with reference to the factual data on the following resource and then blended with some personal creativity to ensure a good read: www.uschamberfoundation.org/millennial-generation-research-review

[8] Please notice that the word ‘rifle’ in the quote has been switched with the word ‘smartphone’ throughout the quote for the sake of literary emphasis.

[9] The quote is with reference to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/quotes.

[10] Please notice that the point is with reference to “Welcome to the Future” by Ronald D. Geskey on pages 3-19 in Media Planning & Buying in the 21st Century (2013).

GOTHAM WENT DIGITAL!

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/comic-con-foxs-gotham-get-720463
Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/comic-con-foxs-gotham-get-720463

Since its first episode on 22 September 2014, Gotham has become one of the addictive series ever aired on TV, as illustrated by its average rating of 4.1[1]. Considering the series’ ability in locking 8 million[2] people to TV screens at its premiere night, one can suggest that the enviable ratings were probably no surprise to TV show producers. Yet, how exactly did Gotham manage to end up with such successful results, especially at its premiere? Was it purely due to the sympathy people have for Officer Gordon’s decency? Alternatively, did Bruce Wayne/Batman charm the target audience with his charismatic wry smile? More creepily, did Dr. Crane somehow rise from the script into reality and surreptitiously inject some medication into the state’s water resources to make people watch the show at the premiere? Well, a marketing-oriented approach suggests otherwise.

As one of the most challenging and hotly debated issues in the world of marketing, attracting Millennials is an art of using marketing intelligence creatively and patiently. Observing myself (also a Millennial) and my peers, I can say that we are an insanely demanding generation with almost no brand loyalty, thanks to our tendency to try ‘new things’ to ‘keep up’ with the ever changing world. We seek comfort in interaction, engagement, and sincerity. We do not trust anything we do not get familiarized on an in-person basis. Thus, offering an incredible amount of interaction between consumers and brands, marketing activities based on digital strategies do enchant us. Considering the marketing tactics analysed below, one can infer that marketers of Gotham did not revive any crazy doctor to take control of spectators’ habits but only gave the target audience the platform and tactics they needed to interact with and get to know the show ‘in person’ before the premiere. In other words, they cleverly resorted to digital marketing to beguile us -Millennials- through increased interaction.

Before the premiere, Gotham’s marketing team followed three main tactics as part of the show’s digital marketing strategy. First of all, they established gothamchronicle.com, a website that served as the online version of the fictional newspaper in Batman movies. Being integrated with other digital channels, the website was promoted on the show’s Twitter and Facebook accounts as an online newspaper whose fake and fictional nature was noticeable only upon visits to the site. Indeed, print versions of the ‘newspaper’ were also published and distributed throughout Comic Con week [3]. Thus, the abstract nature of digital was rendered concrete. Yet, the team did not let the website’s utility end at this point. Contrarily, they did milk the website through a creative approach: To render the website interactive enough to attract the targeted Millennials, the show’s marketers also established a campaign in which spectators could, via e-mail, send to the ‘newspaper’ the daily crimes they observed or had been exposed to. Among the stories sent, the ones found suitable to the story line were selected and partly included in/inspired the script. Thus, potential viewers were included in the production, a point which probably gave them another reason to follow the series.

Secondly, Gotham established another interactive website (WitnessGotham.com) in which people could investigate the major scene (the Wayne murder) in the first episode and play detective to guess the murderer before the show was aired [4]. Inferably, the show’s marketing team did literally provide Millennials with the kind of toys they were craving and proved successful through such entertainment-oriented marketing means.

Thirdly, and most extraordinarily, marketers of Gotham promoted the promotional tool itself, the point where the strategic creativity of the show’s marketers actually lies. Contrary to the mainstream digital marketing tactic in the movie industry, which is basically to air a trailer and wait for it to generate curiosity on its own, marketers of Gotham started a video contest just upon the release of the show’s first full-length trailer [5]. In this tactic, fans competed to have the privilege to attend the show’s premiere party and to have their trailer aired on TV by producing an imitation of the trailer [6]. To facilitate fans’ video uploading through the most widespread digital devices in our decade (mobile phones), the show also formed a strategic partnership with a mobile platform provider and had a mobile app developed [7]. Thus, the marketers in question admirably showed the rest of the World how digital methods could be combined with one another (video with mobile) and with experiential (i.e., experience and event based) marketing to render the rather abstract nature of digital concrete, memorable, and humanly.

As the marketing tactics above illustrate, the promotion of Gotham’s premiere sets an example as to how digital marketing can be used to engage consumers and to form integrated campaigns that combine various promotional tools. Apparently, Gotham’s success does not rely on the revival of any fictional evil character’s taking control of spectators’ minds, but on its marketers’ ability to literally give the crying child the care, interaction, and the games he/she wants, as the gist of consumer-focused marketing necessitates.

[1]The values are with reference to the following webpage: http://www.thewrap.com/gotham-fox-david-madden-tv-ratings-nielsen-joker-batman-ben-mckenzie/

[2]The number has been derived from http://screenrant.com/gotham-premeire-ratings-vs-agents-shield/

[3]The information in question is with reference to the following webpage: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/comic-con-foxs-gotham-get-720463

[4]The information has been derived from a brief reading of the following webpage: http://vast-media.com/gotham-witnessgotham/

[5]The information is with reference to http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/television/18341.html

[6]The information has been derived from http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/television/18341.html

[7]The information has been derived from a brief reading of the following webpage: http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/television/18341.html

TOP 3 IN AD BOWL 2015

Source: http://www.earlylearninghq.org.uk/celebrations-festivals/olympics/gold-silver-bronze-medal-illustrations/
Source: http://www.earlylearninghq.org.uk/celebrations-festivals/olympics/gold-silver-bronze-medal-illustrations/

Super Bowl may have different connotations for many. It is a matter of pride for the zealous teams, a fair reason for excitement and shouting out loud to get refreshed for the fanatics, an occasion for friends to get together, and climaxing sales for the ‘well-behaved’ pizza stores that wait for the day of the game like kids waiting for Santa in front of the chimney. Yet, for marketing and advertising people, it is a visual feast that results from the sweet rivalry among completely different players: brands and ad agencies. To bring the cup back home this year, different brands seem to have employed different strategies and tactics. As one of those too impatient to wait for Sunday night to see the commercials, I watched the participants on YouTube and briefly analysed the three that I found most creative below.

As the gold medallist in my heart, Budweiser seems to have maintained it 2014 strategy of bringing forth the emotional benefits by implying that its product is consumers’ lifetime bud. To realize this point, the brand has wisely leveraged the popularity of its “Puppy Love” commercial by having its agency Anomaly develop a sequel which highlights the no-matter-what friendship between the brand’s adorable Golden-Retriever puppy and Clydesdale horses. Apparently, the brand follows a safe path by keeping loyal to what actually did achieve the desired emotional effect and brand awareness level intended last year.

As the long-lost participant and the silver medallist, McDonald’s does just the opposite: The brand adopts a strategy that is based on change. To specify, the chain works with Leo Burnett Chicago, changes it’s ‘I’m loving it’ slogan to ‘Choose Loving’, probably as an attempt to make consumers opt for it (the ‘loving’ brand) over competitors to resolve its recent drop in sales. Perfectly illustrating the choice for love and peace in its slogan, McDonald’s pacifies and reconciles die-hard enemies such as Batman and Joker, Mario and Dragon, Smurfs and Gargamel, and many more through McDonald’s products in cartoon format. Inferably, the brand positions itself as a mediator of love and peace, implying that it is perceived similarly attractive even by opposite consumer profiles and offers the same value to anyone regardless of extreme differences between consumer profiles. Thereby, McDonald’s utilizes Super Bowl to announce that it still maintains its standardized service which is claimed by some parties to have been compromised long ago.

As for the copper medallist, Toyota finally shows up with its agency Saatchi LA, adopting a completely different strategy: resorting to customer engagement and user-generated content via leveraging on digital. Through the social media competition, the brand has had interested parties post ‘bold fathers’ themed videos on its Facebook page and the video receiving the most likes has been chosen to be aired on Super Bowl. The choice of an emotional theme such as fatherhood implies that the brand probably intends at increasing brand awareness; whereas, the choice of digital as the main tactic suggests that Toyota does want to increase the level of interaction between the brand and people interested in it. All in all, the winning video does touch hearts, exhibiting a father-daughter relationship that is ‘bold’ (courageous and hearty) enough to make one burst into tears upon witnessing the true story of a Paralympic athlete. Although the commercial highly resembles the one developed by the agency BDDO-New York for Guinness Beer’s Super Bowl spot in 2013 and, thus, falls short of uniqueness, it seems to be strategically successful in the sense that it has provided Toyota with the brand-consumer interaction sought.

Considering the above explications, one can suggest the moral of the story as follows: The Super Bowl commercials seems to have reached such a point that one can not help checking out the commercials once brands announce their participation and release teasers. The most fascinating issue is that brands and agencies are aware of the enthusiasm awaiting their commercials, and they use this as an opportunity to engage their targets, who, this time, are the impatient marketers and advertisers themselves. Although each brand adopts a different strategy that suits its unique need and works with the agency that it trusts to satisfy the need in question, at the end of the day, Super Bowl becomes a platform for brands to justify their most human parts by focusing on brand awareness and emotional benefits at some point to eliminate their abstractness for at least 60 seconds.  

Notice: Please notice that the names of ad agencies mentioned above have been learnt and derived from a brief reading of  the article found in the following link: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-2015-super-bowl-ads-2015-1?op=1.