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

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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/

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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