Image courtesy of Emmys.com
- USA Gets a “Modern” Spin: Since its 2009 premiere, ABC’s “Modern Family” has won critical praise and the hearts of fans everywhere. Now USA has acquired rights to the program, which will air 18 times per week on the network. The acquisition is a huge win for the network and they have added a bonus digital layer to the program, which allows viewers to interact with the show online via the USA Sync Second Screen platform. USA is also creating a larger social campaign for Modern Family called MOFY Nation (“Make Our Family Yours”) that has its own website http://mofynation.usanetwork.com/. Just more Dunphy/Pritchett fun for all you “Modern Family” fans, with a digital twist!
- Television’s New Territory: For television fanatics (myself included) September means two things 1) the annual EMMYs celebration 2) the debut of new Fall shows! Some become major hits, while the majority are flops that won’t live to see a second season. The shows this season have been especially buzzworthy, and the promotion trail has been hot! With big stars including Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams, and Rebel Wilson headlining some of the most talked about shows, networks are making big strides to outdo their cable counterparts. Out of the box marketing tactics have included a headless horseman riding through the streets of Manhattan to promote FOX’s new “Sleepy Hollow” and ABC taking the nostalgic route promoting its new comedy “The Goldbergs,” showing up in shareable social hubs like BuzzFeed and Tumblr’s #WhatShouldWeCallMe.
- The Host with the Most: Recently the term late night wars has become a little more lighthearted as our favorite Jimmys have been battling for viral notoriety. Jimmy Kimmel seemingly punked the nation when he released the now famous twerk #fail video featuring a girl twerking upside down and then catching on fire after falling through a glass table. Needless to say the video was a viral hit. But even more impressive was that the video was a stunt put together by Kimmel’s team to garner attention for his late night show. Not to be outdone, Jimmy Fallon released several other videos that are now going viral including a lip-syncing competition with John Krasinski and Joseph Gordon Levitt, as well as a #Hashtag comedy bit featuring Justin Timberlake. Although not a prank, certainly a worthy competitor in the viral landscape. Who knows what these two will come up with next and what brands might buy in, but #yourmoveLettermanandLeno!
- There’s a Price tag for Misbehaving: Ever since Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction the FCC has been cracking down on vulgar stunts that take place during live telecasts, and now the NFL is taking action. The NFL is demanding that singer M.I.A pay $1.5 million for flipping her middle finger during last year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show. The singer is fighting back, claiming that Madonna’s underage provocative dancers were much more offensive then her hand gesture. It will be interesting to see how the legal battle pans out, but with the rise of “shock value” including Miley’s recent VMA stunt, the question of “how far is too far” lives on.
Photo courtesy of Merck
On any given day, MMC’s entertainment specialists are busy researching, negotiating or working with a wide range of talent on behalf of our consumer and healthcare brands.
So how do you choose the right brand ambassador for your client – that person who will authentically mesh with the brand and inextricably deliver messages in a way that engages target consumers and media? Research might be helpful, Google some key words that meet your criteria and see what pops up. Or, based on your relationships, you could call the talent’s representative and see if you can get a top-line idea of that person’s connection to your campaign. If you know the talent’s publicist, makeup artist, stylist, etc. very well, you could reach out to them for insights.
Or, you could just ask the talent directly. As part of MMC’s “Meet the Talent” series, celebrities, sports figures and other key influencers stop by and share their interests, ideas and projects directly with key MMC account staffers, who in turn can delve a bit deeper on behalf of their client to uncover potential partnership opportunities. This insider intel has fueled unexpected ideas, created unique launch opportunities and has given MMC clients the edge on not only leveraging talent news, but in some cases breaking it. When a noticeably pregnant Melissa Joan Hart walked into our offices, it immediately sparked an idea for one of our clients with a major maternal health initiative. Fast forward four months later, and after intense negotiations with her agent, Melissa and MMC gave birth to Merck for Mothers’ “Once Upon a Birth” campaign which was strategically timed to break immediately following the birth of Melissa’s third child. Jo Frost, aka The Supernanny, has stopped by to talk about her severe allergies. Heather Graham her latest projects and La La Anthony how she juggles family and a hit show STARmeter. The lovely Mel B is our next scheduled guest.
There are lots of ways you can identify the perfect brand ambassador. But we believe there’s no better way than meeting them.
Baby Prince George’s mum Kate Middleton has done wonders raising visibility for select brands, and even certain aspects of motherhood. Do you look to the Duchess of Cambridge – now Princess – with a close eye for inspiration for fashion, jewelry or maternity? Have you purchased an L.K. Bennett bag recently? Then you may be suffering from “The Kate Effect”. Here are some other signs:
- You’re the first one on line today at Banana Republic for the release of its 40-piece collaboration with Issa London, including an imitation of Kate’s “royal” blue engagement dress.
- You’re begging your significant other for a personalized brooch for your next anniversary, birthday, any holiday – you name it.
- You just gave birth, have a few extra pounds and are flaunting it! Thanks Kate, for showing the world what pregnancy looks like before and after for all women, even celebs.
- You’re pro-breastfeeding. It offers health benefits, cost savings, an opportunity for mum to bond with her baby – and now, is even fit for a Princess.
Have you let “The Kate Effect” “rule”? Don’t be shy, you’re not alone!
For many decades, it’s been common practice to engage celebrities, experts and others to credential brands. The process is pretty cut and dry. Experts or celebrities are positioned to media and consumers as paid spokespeople. But today, the process is a little more complicated. When brand marketers engage experts just to use their personal social media channels to spread brand messages, how will target audiences know if they are being compensated for that tweet or post? Some of these experts and celebrities don’t routinely disclose their brand relationship. And that’s when they, the brand and its agencies risk hearing from the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC’s updated Dot Com Disclosures, emphasize that “consumer protection laws apply equally across all mediums,” from traditional channels like television, radio or print to newer forms like desktops, laptops, and now, mobile. Worth noting is that these rules don’t just apply to bloggers and other Social Media content creators; they also affect socially-active spokespeople whose every status update, tweet, shortened URL, uploaded image and @reply is being monitored. This means that brands that pay others to “speak” on their behalf must insist that those parties disclose their connections. The FTC has stated publicly it is “cracking down” and companies that don’t comply can incur stiff penalties — in the neighborhood of $12,500 for the first offense and exponentially more for subsequent offenses. Not complying risks damaging company and brand reputations as well as those of the agencies involved.
To ensure compliance with the guidelines, here are some tips for “clear and conspicuous” disclosure:
- In situations where money or goods have changed hands, stipulate that all third-parties include statements of disclosure when they use personal social media channels to promote products or services. Some best practices include opening blog posts (or video segments) with “I received X from Y,” and placing “Ad” or “Sponsored” at the beginning of a status update or tweet.
- When sponsoring an online event – like a Twitter party, Google+ Hangout or Facebook chat – encourage hosts and channel owners to kick off the festivities with statements of disclosure and ask that they repeat them as often as necessary. Never assume that an audience has been “on” from the onset.
- When working with vloggers, make sure they incorporate statements of disclosure into their scripts as well as their landing pages. This same rule also applies to audio reviews (podcasts).
- When activating partners and advocates, build “compliance” into contracts and recommend that they use understandable language, clearly placed, to avoid confusion. “Clear and conspicuous” should be just that!
We are responsible for protecting the reputations of our brands and anyone who acts on their behalf. While the FTC updates aren’t actual laws, they are designed to provide a more open and honest consumer experience – and in the end, isn’t that what every brand wants?
- A Social Storm Known as Sharknado! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the new SyFy flick “Sharknado.” A film about a tornado of sharks that wreak havoc over Los Angeles – totally plausible right? Well it certainly set off a social media storm, with #Sharknado trending nationally at a pace of 5,000 tweets per minute! Although the social media feeding frenzy didn’t translate to viewers (only 1.4 million viewers tuned in) it does drive home the growing importance of social media and what it takes to go viral in a landscape that is consumed with content. SyFy is chomping down on the success and just announced they are planning a sequel – “Sharknado 2” in Manhattan!
- Banking on the Royal Baby – In true royal form, the prince of Cambridge has officially arrived. After weeks of royal baby media mania outside of St. Mary’s hospital, Kate and Will welcomed a son, George Alexander Louis. On Tuesday, Kate and Will stepped out of the hospital holding the tiny heir, giving the world its first glimpse of the year’s most eagerly awaited baby. In the trend of real-time marketing for brands on social media, many tried to capitalize on the announcement. Oreo celebrated the royal baby with the clever tagline “Long Live the Creme” while Johnson & Johnson outfitted a baby in a tub with a bubble crown. Both of these brands were considered conversation winners! This sparked debate that real-time marketing is less about showing up and more about saying something meaningful.
- Insta-trailer – Well that didn’t take long! Mere weeks after Instagram launched its video platform, the first ever movie trailer has been launched for the new Steve Jobs biopic “Jobs.” As our attention spans continue to deteriorate, it only makes sense to shorten trailers to accommodate. My prediction is that this trend will continue to grow, with the release of music videos, commercials and more – the possibilities are insta-endless.
- Rowling Undercover – It was a twist suited for a crime thriller! JK Rowling, the mastermind behind one of the most successful book series of all time, Harry Potter released a new novel entitled, The Cuckoo’s Calling. The twist stems from the fact that JK Rowling penned the novel under pen name, Robert Galbraith! When the news leaked, Rowling expressed what a liberating experience it had been to release a book without all of the hype and of course sales of the book skyrocketed. As the old saying goes “what’s in a name?” – well, everything.
- Comic-Con Craze – With the rise of geek chic, Comic-Con has become one of the biggest entertainment events of the year. The world of superheroes, fantasy, and sci-fi has become a world where a lot more brands are playing. The geek niche, has now become mainstream with the success of Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Batman, The Avengers, Spiderman and more. Brands have taken notice and many flock to the scene to capitalize on the geek gathering. Because of the expenses tied to participating in Comic-Con, a trend has been for many brands to band together for activations. Power in numbers!
Image courtesy of Oli Scarff / Getty Images
The recent health pronouncements from Michael Douglas and Angelina Jolie reminded me of the impact of the celebrity voice, helping us take a closer look at our own health. It wasn’t that long ago when well-known figures would take great strides to hide a health condition. In the 1930s and 1940s, FDR concealed his wheelchair and paralysis in public. In keeping with social customs of the time, the media generally treated Roosevelt’s disability as “taboo.” However, somewhere around the time of Betty Ford, who was one of the first public figures to publicly talk about her breast cancer and later, alcoholism and drug abuse, the exposure of health conditions took a sharp turn. Celebrities and the media began to understand the impact that they can make by getting behind disease awareness.
Today, we have several public figures and celebrities proactively raising awareness and changing perception of diseases from breast cancer to HIV to Parkinson’s disease. I doubt it was in his plan – but when Magic Johnson announced he had tested positive for HIV, he educated all of us that HIV/AIDS was not just a disease that impacted drug users and the gay community. Because of this announcement – families talked about HIV/AIDS at the dinner table. The “Katie Couric Affect” refers to more people getting tested for colon cancer after she televised her own colonoscopy on the Today Show. More recently using a more casual approach, when Michael Douglas told The Guardian that his type of cancer is most often caused by cunnilingus, social media was flooded with discussion, reminding all of us of the consequences of our actions.
Thanks to those who are willing to ignite the dialogue. Each time you raise our awareness, you make us all think and maybe even take action.
- Superman Proves to be Super Profitable – The new Superman flick “Man of Steel” opened, breaking box office records as the largest June opening in history. As many predicted, the summer blockbuster was a huge success and more than 100 global promotional partners took full advantage of that. Brands such as Warby Parker, Gillette, Walmart, Hershey’s, Chrysler, Army National Guard and Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. have all cashed in on the flicks success, some even including Superman himself, Henry Cavill. Brands making money, capitalizing on the ultimate integration super power! What’s next Spiderman?
- Nothing But a Jay Thing – Samsung continues to bust through marketing barriers this year, and in one of their boldest moves to date they have partnered with rap superstar Jay-Z by purchasing 1 million copies of his new album to pre-release it exclusively to Samsung Galaxy owners 72 hours in advance of its official release. This means that before the album even goes on sale, Jay has sold a million copies – pretty impressive numbers. Another example of ways musicians are finding new outlets for their music, while brands like Samsung find creative ways to leverage the buzz using their products.
- Baby Makes Three! – Hollywood has been experiencing a serious baby boom, and it just got more intense with the arrival of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby girl. Access to the first photo will definitely carry a hefty price tag. If you recall Brad and Angelina sold photos of their twins to People and Hello! for a whopping $14 million. Given the Kardashian craze, wonder if photos of baby Kimye will top that? Next up on the baby countdown… the royal infant in July!
- The Final Rose – The latest season of The Bachelorette started this summer, and premiered at an all time low. Desi is the lucky lady this season, and is vying for the affection of some notable suitors. Aside from the poor ratings the show introduced, for the first time, live tweets that air on the screen during the broadcast. Since the show has such a vocal fan base, it has certainly been polarizing but an interesting move by ABC. Wonder if it will catch on with other shows?
- @SocialReality – This is a first! A reality show that will exist only on social media platforms! The Chernin Group is targeting the socially savvy with a new series called @SummerBreak that will live only on social media including Twitter, Instagram, VINE and YouTube. The series will track a group of high school seniors as they enjoy summer while preparing for college. AT&T is the primary financial sponsor of the program and you can view the official trailer here. An interesting idea to keep on top of the social game and the ever shortening attention spans of millennials.
Image courtesy of Carl’s Jr.