Image Courtesy Today.com
In the last week, chances are someone you know has dumped a bucket of ice over their head to raise awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). But a week ago you may not have even known what ALS was. This viral initiative has dared hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions — of regular folks as well as many high profile people like Mark Zuckerberg, Jimmy Fallon, the entire New England Patriots football team and Ethel Kennedy to douse themselves with ice water and generated millions of media impressions. Coverage has included leading broadcast and online outlets – even a live on-air accepted challenge from The TODAY Show’s Matt Lauer.
The #IceBucketChallenge was not propelled into the spotlight with the help of a recognizable pharmaceutical company or celebrity endorsement. Rather, the celebrity falls to regular people and patients like 29-year-old Pete Frates, who set the wheels in motion with his own challenge to a few friends and favorite athletes. The rest is history (or on your Facebook newsfeed).
This movement is not without controversy; with many questioning whether participants are only accepting the challenge to be part of the trend. The true test of the #IceBucketChallenge and viral campaigns like it is whether it can span beyond raising awareness and convert social posts to dollar signs for research and truly #StrikeOutALS. According to a recent interview with PRWeek, there have been a flood of donations to ALSA.org, with $5.7M being raised in the last two weeks alone.
Campaigns like this provide inspiration for other diseases that lack a recognizable celebrity advocate, including multiple sclerosis, lupus and mental illnesses. Parkinson ’s disease, for example, has benefitted from high awareness and research funding because of Michael J. Fox’s goal of eliminating the disease “in our lifetime.” The #IceBucketChallenge proved that you don’t need a recognizable face to attract awareness and funding. You just need a great idea that goes viral. #nopressure.
Image Courtesy of FamilyCircle.com
Is the word traditional losing all of its vigor? Gone (well, almost) are the days when you look for recipes in a cookbook (hello Pinterest), find out breaking news from television (Twitter will alert you first) and learn how to French braid or tie a tie from a book (YouTube all the way). The online space has continued to make it easier to find everything you need, answer every question and complete every thought, so it’s no wonder online stars are starting to replace movie and TV stars as the new celebrities, especially for teenagers.
Variety recently commissioned a survey to find out the most recognizable “stars” among Americans age 13-18, and the top five are all YouTube favorites. The highest ranking was comedy duo Smosh, who have an impressive 18+ million subscribers. YouTube stars scored highest in influence as they are viewed as more engaging and relatable. More importantly, YouTube stars have the highest correlation to purchase influence among teens. This is especially important for mass brands, since according to a 2013 Business Insider survey, more than two-thirds of teenage girls said they shop at low-cost stores, as do 55 percent of boys. And while they may not be spending a lot of money on one product, they are spending, and spending a lot. A 2013 Fox on Stocks article reports, “Approximately 30+ million teens across the U.S. will spend between $200 billion – $300 billion.” And spending will only increase as this set of teens ages, further elevating YouTube stars as media powerhouses.
Mainstream celebrities need not be alarmed just yet; they still have some clout. Variety reports that they are viewed as smarter, more reliable and just as sexy; but more and more, teens want someone they feel they can relate to for an authentic and intimate experience.So next time you want to tap teens, tap into YouTube first so you can truly become one with your target audience.
Netflix recently announced it has surpassed 50 million subscribers globally and according to AdWeek, is projecting growth of over three million more subscribers next quarter. This will come as no surprise to many, especially “House of Cards” fans or those infatuated with the “Orange is the New Black” craze (myself included). With many consumers, especially Millennials, eschewing TV for subscription-based entertainment services like Netflix, HBO GO and Amazon Prime where they can “binge watch” at their leisure without commercials, marketers are continuing to put more of a focus on digital media to reach this growing audience.
Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt recently predicted that the “future of TV will see the unbundling of cable packages, more personalization of content and an end to TV commercials as we know them.” Additionally, the cable upfront ad market is estimated to be down 5% this year, possibly due to brands shifting their dollars to digital media. As a result, brands are thinking strategically about how Millennials in particular are consuming media and adjusting their marketing dollars as such to keep up with this influential audience who is growing rapidly.
We’re seeing this come to life with own our brands by building digital content into programs, whether it be video for YouTube, imagery for Pinterest and :15 clips for Instagram. We’re not only creating digitally-friendly content, but developing it with the understanding that this audience prefers to consume content where (on the train, in their homes), when (morning, middle of the night), and how (mobile devices, laptop computers) they like. The benefit of digital is that one piece of content can be customized to fit different channels, amplified by strategic PR in addition to paid support, to reach as many people as possible.
We’ve been monitoring to this growing trend for several years now, and expect to see the demand for entirely digitally-led programs to continue to rise.
Image Courtesy of Business Insider
In 2014, “overnight-sensations” have evolved to “insta-sensations” thanks to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube… the list goes on. “Insta-sensations” can also instantly disappear as we saw just a few hours ago with photogenic Belgian teen, Axelle Despiegelaere. (Business Insider)
Just this past Tuesday, Despiegelaere was offered a contract with L’Oreal after photos of her gorgeous locks went viral at the World Cup. L’Oreal had already released a promotional “hair tutorial” video starring Despiegelaere (which has already gained 2 million news). Today (Friday… a mere 3 days later), Despiegelaere “completed” her contract with L’Oreal after Despiegelaere’s social media history revealed her past interest in hunting which of course conflicts with L’Oreal’s beliefs in no animal testing.
As brand marketers in this “always on” digital age, the idea of crowd sourcing a new brand ambassador stood out as a smart move. At the same time, moving so quickly on such a partnership didn’t leave much time for background checks on Despiegelaere (or anyone for that matter!) to ensure she embodied all that L’Oreal stands for as a leading beauty company. For Despiegelaere and consumers around the world as well as brand marketers such as ourselves, it is a friendly reminder that we need to be mindful of what we’re posting on our social media channels… because anyone and EVERYONE can see it.
At MMC, it’s part of our job to create smart social media guidelines for our brands and their spokespersons (which we always keep in mind for ourselves as well), so here’s what you need to remember – whether you’re a major brand or a college student looking for an internship the next time you post to social media:
- Do post engaging content; don’t post objectionable content (definitions of objectionable content vary by subject). Whatever your passions might be (in the case of Despiegelaere, she’s a fan of hunting), you should embrace them in your personal time. However, be mindful of posting as your boss or other influentials could be watching and taking note of those actions. As for brands, anything that might irritate your community or rub them the wrong way should be avoided. (Mashable)
- Do share; just don’t solely rely on privacy settings. Your profile’s private? Great! What is it exactly “private” from? There’s so many nuances to privacy settings these days. Unless you’re 100% certain that what you’re posting is private (because you want to keep it private), keep it private and offline. Brands don’t have the luxury of “private” pages and therefore, must always feel great about the content they’re putting out there. (Mashable)
- Don’t think you’re not an influencer; everyone can be an influencer. How you show up in real life is just as important as how you show up on social media. One of the top rules of social media is to understand everyone is an influencer. Despiegelaere had great hair at the World Cup and was recognized for it. (PR Daily)
As more social-sharing apps and sites pop up, providing more ways to share, get noticed and go viral, it’s important to remember the basics of social media. You never know, your great hair could land you a spokesperson deal.
Image Courtesy of U by Kotex
Millions of pairs of undies are casualties to failed period protection every month. To help fight senseless underwear loss, U by Kotex has introduced 3D Capture Core to all its ultra thin pads to help stop leaks.
To showcase new 3D Capture Core, MMC and U by Kotex hosted a media event at a top lingerie boutique in SoHo. A U by Kotex representative explained how 3D Capture Core works and the store’s lead merchandiser shared underwear care tips and tricks. Media stopped by a nearby U by Kotex Undies Activist event, where U by Kotex brand ambassadors encouraged women to Save the Undies by educating them about the new 3D Capture Core technology.
Read more about U by Kotex brand’s mission to Save the Undies on MediaPost Marketing Daily and see some great social posts from the launch event here: Honestly Jamie, Entertainista, and Cosmo for Latinas. You can also check more of the online buzz with the hashtag #SaveTheUndies and visit www.ubykotex.com/save-the-undies for more information.
From Hong Kong to Kauai, MMCers are traveling all around the globe this summer. We asked MMCers to share their travel plans with us and pinned them onto an MMC Summer Travel Pinterest Board! If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or exotic big trip, we have plenty of destinations that will make you want to pack your bags or sneak into MMCers’ suitcases. Do you have the travel bug? Tell us where you are headed this summer.
Image Courtesy of Google
In response to a recent patent filing by Google, a number of online influencers (okay, Search-nerds!) are talking about something we already knew: earned media has a definite impact on organic search rankings.
Like most platform-owners, Google is usually tight-lipped when it comes to the inner mechanics of their algorithm. In the filing, however, a bit of the mystery is revealed: not unlike Facebook, their engine favors high- over low-quality sites. Anytime a brand (or company) is featured in a story on high-quality site, Google counts it as an “implied link.” The more links, the better the ranking.
Reacting to what many are calling an “inadvertent leak,” one watcher stated that “this single-handedly validates all of the PR that you’ve generated for your brand, all of the mentions and citations that you’ve accrued through hard work, great products and reputation, and effective public relations, even if you didn’t necessarily get an explicit link in the coverage.”
In short, PR is the new SEO.
So, if Google views media placements as “implied links,” how do we know whether or not the mentions we’ve secured through “earned” are having an impact? For site owners, there are number of tools that can provide the answer, the simplest (and most common) of which is Google Analytics.
If you’d like to see how many links point to a particular website, or if you’d just like to give Google’s algorithm a kick, try this hack: enter “links:www.sitename.com” into the search bar (minus the quotes, and obviously more descriptive than “site name”) and hit enter.