Monthly Archives: August 2012

Off-Color Spots Find A Home On The Internet

More brands and agencies are finding that the opportunity to generate video views cheaply online are only part of the equation.  The online video platform is allowing marketers the opportunity to present some targeted creative that might have otherwise been considered out of bounds and accesses a new audience.  A case in point is Ragu’s new campaign “A Long Day Of Childhood” for their pasta sauce products.

Courtesy of Ragu Facebook Page

They launched a series of online videos with their strongest one.  Each of them deal with the trials and tribulations of being a child, but the first one about a boy entering the parent’s bedroom is quite funny. It’s subject matter could be a common one in the home, but could only be expressed on the internet.

The drop in views found in the subsequent videos show how the creative execution drops off from that first one, but it is clear that we are no longer left to waiting for that TV special showcasing international ads in order to get our fill of funny and risque spots.

On another note, Ragu was smart to do a social program that asked users to submit their own recollections of childhood “hardships.”  They even do a nice job of creatively representing some selected user submissions, but they did all of this on their main Facebook page – which seems to be working off of different campaigns all at once.  It is confusing and probably stunts the social activity tied to user-submitted memories.  It is interesting that is available – yet Ragu didn’t use it.  I don’t know what Ragu’s url and social strategy is, but they could have (or should have) used that to drive traffic and more fully frame this campaign.  Even the images they created (like the skunk one above) could have had the vanity url placed on it to enable it to be posted many places and drive back into Ragu’s site.  At this point, if someone were to see that image outside of the Ragu/Long Day framework, they would have no idea what its all about.

Ragu’s strategy is not a bad one – the spots are cute with one being really funny and their usage on Facebook is OK.  But, it allowed for many holes to be realized in the campaign. You’ve got to wonder what kind of opportunities might have been missed by not providing the fullest platform to tie all of the pieces together under a clear and concise umbrella.

All in, this campaign is an example of something that is fun inexpensive to pull off.  I would imagine the entire campaign was done for much less than it would have cost to produce one broadcast commercial.  With it, they were able to reach a specific audience in a way that brought the brand to mind for an audience AND they were able to do some quantitative research at a nominal cost.

Whipping Products Together To Form A Fan Frenzy

There’s not much that’s truly original nowadays.  While titles of shows and movies may change, their stories are quite often very similar to something you’ve seen before.  Games and toys are generally revamps of items that have been around for decades (or even centuries).  And, if you check out fashion, there is an uncanny bit of style that comes back around every three decades. Sure, there’s usually some twist, but how do you get people to buy into your new product when it seems we’ve been there before?  The NFL doesn’t have the specific problem that others have – as it’s a sporting event and comes with its own built-in fan-base – but they are making great use of existing products that can help to separate themselves from the pack.

Promotional Unit from NFL

In anticipation for the new NFL season (when everyone can hold hope that their team might actually be good before proving otherwise on the field) the NFL network has announced a cool program surrounding their slate of Thursday night games airing on NFL Network. Engaging the fan community, NFL Network is asking fans to submit videos of themselves singing the chorus for the new Cee Lo Green song (based on The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”) that will kick off each Thursday night’s coverage – beginning September 13th.  To refresh memories, the song is the one with the repeated calls of “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!“.  Green will certainly add his artistic touches, but the videos of fans singing the well-known chorus will be spliced into the 90 second intro.

This engagement choice is strong because it seems like such a no-brainer.  They’ve provided the platform to bring Social Media to a new height – at least in terms of broadcast video.  The residual ability for fans to drive viewership of the intro – once finding out that their videos were selected – means that there should be a larger life for the intro videos than there would have been if fans were not incorporated.

This program’s components point to the additive benefit of Social Media.  Even the social features are derivative of other programs that have been done before, but their packaging is what brings it to another level.  Will more people tune in at the beginning of broadcasts to see the Fanthem?  We’ll see, but the NFL should definitely drive more interest both night-of and following on sites and social networks.  If Monday Night Football’s Hank William Jr’s song was able to energize the fan-base, this Cee Lo Green mashup with The Ramones using a strategic package of social media platforms should right whip them into a frenzy.

Beckham and H&M’s Tighty Whities Draw Event Marketing To The Cliffs Edge

H&M has just brought tighty whities to huge heights with their latest marketing event – projecting David Beckham images in various underwear products on the White Cliffs of Dover. The interesting part of it is that the stunt is the draw and not, necessarily, the execution or actual impressions. In this case, the brand presented a nice marketing mix of timing, placement and control – letting the buzz follow.

H&M’s timing could not be better – with the Olympics taking place and Beckham’s appeal through the roof (made even stronger by his appearance in the Games’ opening ceremonies.) And, the brand was able to leverage the Olympics without having to pay a fee like all the brands who have tied their names to the Games.

As we’ve seen with other landmarks, natural and man-made, it is tricky to make use of them for marketing purposes. The challenges in negotiating for their use often lead to ideas being dropped before they even start.  With the development of large-scale projection, a large part of the issue – hampering with the physical structures – is averted. It still remains to be seen what kind of fallout there might be when people realize that their beloved location has been usurped for marketing purposes.

What’s most interesting about this execution is the extremely small amount of people who might actually have a chance to see it in its actual form.  The limitation of viewers to anyone who might have a flight plan bringing them over the White Cliffs of Dover at night, on a night-time ferry across the channel, or a boat just passing by, or possibly being able to make it out from the shores of France being able to see it makes the actual reach of one night’s posting very limited.  But its the real reach that is making the difference.

Keep in mind that, in addition to the relatively few people who might have actually seen it, there is only one image that is circulating.  While this execution happened on Wednesday night, the 1st of August, there is still only one image that is circulating around the web as of four days later. (I actually waited a couple of days to post this in order to see if there was more than the one image.)  That one available image seems to be so brilliant that it just feels like it could be photoshopped. The most cynical could say that it was an agency’s mocked up proposal that made it out into the ether – with H&M getting the bang for the buck without having to actually execute.  Add to that their Twitter campaign using #beckhamsbriefsofdover which has people posting the same exact image.

Regardless of that, and even if it never happened, it was a smart move on H&M’s part because of the amount of control they had and how much the action is being picked up.  No matter whether people are upset or excited about it, there is still buzz.  When looking at H&M’s target demo, how much concern needs to be placed on negative feelings for this?

Kent Online digs deeper into whether it was a real execution or not, but does it really matter in the end.  What matters is that a generally positive buzz has been unleashed about a product that some could say had no business being in the news cycle.  Perhaps the only thing I wish they had done ensure that other images or video were available to support whether it was actually executed.  It will be left to the audience to determine whether they care if the execution really happened or not. What brings this marketing campaign to the edge is that it drove people to talk about a product based on an execution very people actually saw – if there was anything at all to be seen…