5 Brands That Really Shouldn’t Have

Some are obvious disasters, others are my opinions of ads that don’t make much sense.  Brands and their ad agencies really strive to be creative and bold.  Most times it works, other times it’s just cringe worthy.  I appreciate their efforts, and they make for good conversations, but these ads aren’t the reason I purchase these brands.  Also, these are “modern day” ads.  Ads from “back in the day” are definitely conversation for a different blog post.

These are my opinion of the Top 5 Flops:

    • Kenneth Cole: So he sent out a pretty insensitive tweet.  This isn’t the only time either.  He must’ve gotten his brand image confused with Ricky Gervais’s?Kenneth Cole tweet
    • Dr. Pepper 10: Uh, I’m sorry, is it 1950?  Has our country’s social evolution over the past 60 years meant nothing to this brand?  I get that they’re targeting men, but don’t blatantly shut out over 50% of the population.  Do you see Tyler Perry advertising that his movies are “not for white guys?”  Nice try, but there are other ways to be bold.dr pepper 10
    • Chanel:  Okay I get it, a beautiful guy, talking some deep gibberish in black and white, getting us women all hot and bothered to wear…perfume? Okay, you got me, I don’t get it.  I really, really don’t get it at all.  I think someone over at Chanel wanted a chance to meet Brad Pitt and said “HEY GUYS! Let’s throw him in our next ad!”
    • Orangina:  These are a couple of print ads for the French campaign.  I’m not sure how the animal-ish figures relate to the brand, or even the tagline for that matter.  I don’t know about you, but this isn’t making me thirsty.  It is, however making me concerned that those into bestiality are getting a bit aroused…Orangina French
    • Dodge: Well guess whose wife won’t agree to buying a Charger because she has 50% of the say on big ticket items and didn’t like the ad? Yours, probably.  I am a sucker for some Michael C. Hall, but let’s not act like a shiny car is a mans reward for being married.  This actually makes men look weak and childish: “Yay, mommy — AHH — I mean wifey.  I did everything I’m supposed to, can I have my toy now?”  Men should probably be more insulted than women.

Really though.  As multi-million/billion dollar companies, you’d think they would know better.  Well, at least they got us talking.  Any publicity is good publicity, right?

Of course there are tons more that I will probably post in the future, but these seem like a good start.  Also, take a look at these other 2012 brand fails and 2013 brand fails from Adweek.  They’re hilarious and epic!  What are some ads you found to be terrible? I want to know!

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When Using Social Media For Business, Don’t Be A Broadcaster

My ultimate pet peeve is when a brand doesn’t utilize social media the “right” way.  Many companies use social media primarily to sell their products or services by posting coupons, promotions and discounts.  Ew.  These brands are usually categorized as “Broadcasters” or “Salesmen.”  In my opinion, that’s the last thing they should be using it for.  Social media shouldn’t be an extension of sales.  If should be an extension of brand awareness and customer service.  It’s a unique chance to engage with consumers on a personal level.  Get this right and trust me, the sales will surely follow, and better than that: LOYALTY and RESPECT.

I love when brands “get it” by utilizing social media to post “remarkable” content to their consumers and immediately reaching out to customer service inquiries.  Knowing what their followers like and using it to catch attention is the best service a brand can do to better its image.  These brands are usually called “Conversationalists.”

An example of a brand that busts out remarkable content to their followers without giving the dreaded “pitch” is Whole Foods.  They have an amazing blog and branded social media presence that captures the interests of their consumers without trying to sell them a free frozen turkey with every one hundred dollar purchase.  They make frequent posts across all channels that relate to their brands genre without hassling immediate in-store presence.  This is successful Inbound Marketing.

This seems like a good time to post about my positive social media/customer service experience with a brand:

I had a surprisingly positive experience with Optimum.  It was 10 pm on a Sunday, and I had DVRed The Walking Dead.  When I pressed “play” on my DVR, an error message appeared telling me to try again later. …Wait, Whaaa. Later? That can’t happen.  Not with The Walking Dead.  Not when there’s Twitter spoilers.  Not when my friends are texting “OMG OMG ARE YOU WATCHING THIS?!”  Not when Rick and Michonne and Glenn are in danger!  I restarted the box, tried several times to fix the issue with the common troubleshoot solutions, but nothing was working.  This incident had conveniently been happening to me every Sunday for the past few weeks, so naturally, I was frustrated.  It was late, and the last thing I wanted to do was get on the phone and talk to a recording for 15 minutes before I reached a human, only to have him tell me the same things I had already tried.  Instead, irritated and laying in bed unable to find out what drama was happening with The Governor that week, I took to twitter to share my frustration:tweet

Within minutes, to my surprise, Optimum tweeted me back:

tweet 2We communicated via Direct Messaging on Twitter.  I gave them my name and account information and they looked into the problem right then and there.  The problem was fixed within minutes!  I was astounded.  Never did I think my temper tantrum about my trivial cable problem would get noticed and fixed over Twitter.  I was impressed and now, I am a loyal, happy Optimum user.  If they keep it up, they have my business for life.  Oh, and of course, I gave them some much deserved recognition as well:

tweet 3

If a company isn’t monitoring social media on a full-time basis to see what people are saying, what are they waiting for?!  In my opinion, it’s one of the MOST important areas to spend money on.  One way or another, someone is going to mention something and you want to be there, immediately, when they do.  Unlike a phone call or email, this is publicized.  If the right person gets the wrong experience, your company could have a lot of explaining to do.  Better to act quickly than ignore the issue.  Trust me, it’s not going away.

I will, no doubt, be posting a lot more about social media utilization by brands in the near future because it is fascinating to see how they interact with their followers.  Things to always remember when using social media for business are to: stay positive, stay active, stay engaging.  Do these things and you can’t lose!

When Creatively Stumped, Why Not Ask the Consumers?

How about letting your consumers get creative?  It’s great that some brands have embraced the unique approach of trusting their consumers to come up with creative ideas for advertising and product development.

For a brand to trust the consumers, it must have a clear brand identity and excellent follow-through.  Brands must be confident that they have promoted their brand identity in a clear, concise manner, if they are going to entrust this responsibility to the people who utilize the brand the most.  This is a great way to engage with consumers because it’s inviting them to participate in one of the most precious and sacred segments of the marketing process: the advertising.  They feel important and are motivated to really think about, and understand, the brands identity.  Also, Cheap brand exposure can never hurt.

Marketers appreciate participation because they receive user-generated content that they can use for years to come, at a fractioned price.  Many campaigns used the perspective of their consumers, and they rocked! Here’s a few:

Pornhub

 

This popular porn website has started a contest where people can compete to become a Creative Director for the company.  Pornhub wants to be able to advertise within mainstream media because they want to grow.  So far, they have the same, more or less, diverse following and they want to expand upon that.  Their goal is to create ads that aren’t too lewd so they can achieve maximum reach.  Take a look at the Pornhub Tumblr page and see what you think of these amateur ads.  Despite the content, you can’t deny the creativity.  Also, here’s an article on Adweek discussing this interesting contest.


Lay’s

Lays-Flavor

Lay’s annual “Do Us A Flavor” contest is a little different than creating a campaign because the brand is asking it’s consumers to create a unique potato chip flavor.  This past April wrapped up the 2014 contest entries.  Last year, the three finalists were Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha and Cheesy Garlic Bread.  Cheesy Garlic Bread was the winner.  Now everyone is dying to know who will win this year!


Doritos

Dorits

Frito-Lay definitely loves letting their fans run the show.  Who can forget Doritos’ hilarious annual Super Bowl commercials, generated by their devoted supporters?  Honestly, it’s what I look forward to every year during the Super Bowl.  Since 2006, The winner receives $1 million dollars and the exposure of a lifetime.  Check out the 2014 finalists.

As an Advertising student, I was constantly asked to create ideas for brands.  It’s an exciting and challenging process that I’m glad some marketers have been embracing.  Eventually, I will sporadically post some of my campaign ideas that I pitched in school, and those I just did for fun.  So stay tuned!

Chipotle: Can’t Wait to See What’s Next!

I know this is a little delayed, but since this blog is new, I have to incorporate my support and awe for one of the greatest promotional videos by a big-name brand.  I am a huge fan of Chipotle.  Not only do they pump out quality, but they’re so good at making the competition feel like a bunch of soulless corporate murderers.  Oh, and they get HUGE social recognition in the process.

In September 2013, Chipotle and CAA Marketing pumped out an amazing video titled “The Scarecrow” to promote the new free app-based game.  The video, if you remember, was extremely sad and gave a glimpse into the darkness of processed foods.  While promoting the game, Chipotle also promoted their own values by pulling on viewers’ heart strings.  As an avid animal lover who is supportive of the humane treatment of animals of “corporate” slaughterhouses, the video might’ve had more of an effect on me than a “regular” person.  It tore at me emotionally and gave me a different view of Chipotle as a brand.  I found this bold promotional material was a courageous move for the brand.  It was also long overdue for someone to captivate an audience that has been in the dark.  An audience that never sat down and watched the horrors of how the meat they put into their mouths are injected with steroid and hormones, to say the least.

This isn’t the first time Chipotle has created a video highlighting the horrors of corporate slaughter and the mistreatment of animals.  In 2011, they introduced their bold and creative advertising with a hauntingly beautiful animated video.  In the “Back to the Start” video, farmers aren’t really farmer’s at all.  What once was, no longer is.  Farmers of livestock have become industrialized monsters with no remorse.  Chipotle encourages reform and proves it with this heart-felt video.

In this day and age, society as a whole has become more concerned with how animals are treated, mostly because of evolving media.  Blackfish, another eye-opener, shows us the horrors of keeping animals in captivity and training them for human entertainment.  The new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, has shared his concern for horses pulling carriages in NYC.  These are issues that are rising into the spotlight, and you can bet there are more to come.  CAA Marketing’s Jessie Coulter sat with Adweek and talked about how these videos aren’t the end for the Chipotle brand.  They are planning on producing more videos revolving around the same theme, and will incorporate beautifully haunting versions of recognized songs by distinguished musicians. (Read the full interview here!)

Before this video, Chipotle was just another chain to me.  Now I see them as a company with heart.  This is a brand that I have respect for, and will continue to research their success.  If you don’t think these videos are brilliant then you probably work for McDonald’s.  I for one, can’t wait to see what Chipotle brings us next!