Baldwin & Krasinski: Baseball Battles

I just want to take a moment to comment on how much I love the Yankees vs. Red Sox/Alec Baldwin vs. John Krasinksi commercials. These ads, while not overtly obvious, are actually for the New Era Cap Company.

Now, I have to admit that I’m not actually much of a sports fan. I like the Yankees, but that’s simply because I’m afraid that if I didn’t like them my family would have disowned me by now. Both my father and step-father are hard-core Yankees fans, not to mention my 91-year-old Grandmother’s team devotion (which I’m convinced is partially due to her crush on Derek Jeter). I have therefore grown up rooting for the Yankees, which according to these commercials makes me Team Baldwin– perfectly alright to me.

I love both the actors involved, and I love the whole campaign even more. Whether you’re a rabid sports fanatic, an occasional viewer, or a family-forced fan like myself, these commercials are hilarious and fun. Checking out the New Era Cap Company’s Facebook page, you can find even more information about the company and their campaign. You can even vote for which “team” you are on– and it’s quite a close race. At the time of this post, the loyalties were tied 50/50!

So maybe, like me, baseball isn’t exactly your thing. Well, lucky for the rest of us, Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski, especially when put together, are quite fantastic. Here is the latest commercial, which prompted this post. Too perfect.

Coca-Cola Brings Happiness to the Highway

It is a universally acknowledged truth that rush hour traffic is absolutely despicable bumper-to-bumper traffic is the worst, and traffic jams are the bane of all drivers’ existence.

Taking this into mind, Coca-Cola decided to live up to their motto and “spread the happiness” to a situation teeming with displeasure.

To promote their new, smaller sized Coke Minis, Coca-Cola transformed a highway in Bogotá, Colombia into an outdoor theater. Models were hired to hand out typical movie theater refreshments– popcorn, nachos, and of course the new Coke Minis– to the lucky drivers stuck in traffic.

A screen was erected to show a film, synced with a radio station for the accompanying soundtrack, giving drivers the full movie theater experience.

It seems foreign to see so many smiling faces in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but it’s certainly attention-grabbing. In fact, this is probably the only example where drivers weren’t in a rush for the traffic to start moving again.

Check out the video below to see how Coke “spread the happiness” in an unlikely situation:

Lessons Learned: Gotham Inc.

Remember this post? Where I gushed on and on about how neat it was that Denny’s was doing a web series for their social media campaign? I mentioned that DumbDumb, a group started by actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, was responsible for the videos. Apparently, however, I failed to dig further and discover the true group responsible for bringing this hilarity to the web.

Then, yesterday, I attended a guest lecturer at our school–an alumni who has made quite a name for himself in the marketing and advertising industry. His name was Peter McGuinness and his company is Gotham Inc., an integrated marketing company. The presentation was spectacular and thought-provoking, and while it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite part, I was especially interested when McGuinness started talking about Gotham’s own work. Lo and behold, they were the masterminds behind the Denny’s campaign.

McGuinness and his group were given the daunting task of completely revitalizing a great American brand that had lost its heat. Focusing on the idea of “openness,” the group enlisted social media, marketing and advertising. The success was evident and the media were enthralled.

For my part, I was bit starstruck when I found out they had been responsible for the “Always Open” videos that I love so much. It took all my willpower to resist shouting out: “I blogged about that!” I managed to resist making a fool out of myself, while taking away a few valuable lessons in the process. Here are some of those lessons:

  • Evolution and innovation are continuous
  • Social media is more than a fad. It is pervasive and powerful– and here to stay.
  • Brands have become democratized: The consumers are in control and companies must work to “earn” their time.
  • The foundation of a successful brand/consumer relationship is reciprocity.
  • When executing a campaign, truth is more important than ever.
  • It’s important to remain curious, personally and professionally. Broaden your perspective and horizon.
  • And finally, when applying to jobs “package yourself in a unique and compelling way.”

While I never got to ask the most burning question on my mind (Is your company’s name a reference to Batman?), the event was certainly valuable. In the end, it got me all the more excited to enter the career world!

Old Navy: New Ads, Same Camp

I think the time has come that I dedicate a post to acknowledging a very serious issue that plagues are country today…

Of course I am talking about the Old Navy advertisement campaigns.

While the “Supermodelquins” have been dismantled to make room for a new campaign, the perky Kim Kardashian-esque singer is equally frustrating, leading to a serious introspective Q&A with myself– why on earth can’t I stop shopping there?

First of all, let’s be honest. If there’s a store whose clothes and products we enjoy, a silly commercial isn’t going to keep us from going there. Sure, we may grunt and groan as we hear the store’s speakers blare their latest mantras, but we will grin and bear it. With that in mind, I sometimes wonder if Old Navy is really just trying to test us…or is it just me?

Let’s begin with the newly departed Supermodelquins. Plastic display mannequins dressed in Old Navy fashions. And they can talk. Oh, and how they talk! Often their ‘witty banter’ gets frightfully close to making sexual connotations that personally make me feel uncomfortable (hint, they play up the ‘plastic’ thing a lot). The commercials were colorful yet campy. And yet, it was this exact cornball attitude that they hoped to put forth. Assisted by Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Old Navy hoped to return to their so-called “campy” marketing roots.

The latest campaign, while not outright campy, certainly makes a mark of its own. The commercials tout the theme: “Old Navy Records. Original hits. Original styles.” The stars of these latest spots are a group of sings and dancers. While the acts are said to change as time goes on, the current group is a trio called Audio Threadz. The ads have been getting a lot of publicity due to the lead female singer’s eerie resemblance to Kim Kardashian (coincidence?). Supposedly influenced by the success of Glee (but what isn’t nowadays), the company says research has shown that their own consumers are music fans as well. While time will tell how successful, or possibly just annoying, these commercials turn out to be, one thing is for certain– they stick with you. For better or for worse.

Old Navy identifies their target customer as women ages 25 to 30, typically moms. And, while I can’t speak for myself seeing as I’m part of neither category, apparently supermodelquins and pop numbers are the way to go. Afterall, so what if we like the commercials, it’s the fact that we remember them, that we write about them, that we spend time thinking about them– and thus thinking about Old Navy itself.

 

 

NY Welcomes a Week of Social Media

As if we needed another reason to get hooked in by all of our social networking sites. This upcoming week, February 7-11, is Social Media Week. A globally recognized event first launched in  2009 by Toby Daniels, SMW is “a global platform that connects people, content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media.” While the center of this conference will be in NYC this year, the events are worldwide–from London to Paris to Hong Kong.

The official website describes the event:

Delivered primarily through a network of internationally hosted biannual conferences and online through social and mobile media, Social Media Week brings hundreds of thousands of people together every year through learning experiences that aim to advance our understanding of social media’s role in society.

There will be over 150 events throughout the city, utilizing New York’s various hot spots, including the UN and the Guggenheim. The highlight of the event will undoubtedly be keynote speaker Dennis Crowley, the CEO of Foursquare. Other activities include a panel on social media and music as well as an event from the UN dealing with global social media. Sponsors include Nokia, Pepsico, NY Public Library, and a variety of marketing and PR-based companies.

With the growing importance of social media in both our professional and personal lives, what better way to educate and celebrate the trend. I’m sure several companies will have wisely taken advantage of this conference. Wish I could be there!

Know what I Meme?

The internet can be a mystifying place. And I don’t just mean the labyrinth-esque routes to websites, nor the complex jargon. No, I’m talking about all those memes out there.

What is a meme? Well, I’m glad you ask, because despite being what I had assumed was ‘hip’ to the internet lingo, I still only learned this term during the past year. To discover the definition for myself, I turned to faithful Wikipedia, just another internet creation that couldn’t live without. Wikipedia defined a meme (which they first told me is pronounced to rhyme with cream…good thing I had never actually had a chance to speak it aloud because I’m quite sure that I would not have pronounced it as such) as “ideas or beliefs that are transmitted from one person or group of people to another.” Vague, right? So I read on: “A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.” Still vague. Here I was, thinking that a meme would automatically be in reference to the internet– how foolish of me, living in the digital age, to assume such. In fact, the concept of a meme comes from the analogy that “as genes transmit biological information, memes can be said to transmit idea and belief information.” They are applicable throughout culture, including in spheres of religion, models of racism, and anthropological theories.

But to focus once more on the internet meme, this term is used to describe to describe concepts transmitted through the internet. Once more I had been hoping for a better explanation, but by coming across these indistinct interpretations I began to understand that the whole point was the memes weren’t as simple as they seemed. I was hoping for a specific definition that I could grasp and pass along, but the truth is that memes are all around us on the internet. By using sites such as blogs, social networking, and (my latest favorite) tumblr, we are constantly transmitting these memes. The internet is the society, and the memes are the culture.

To me, memes are best represented by the internet phenomenon. My internet-saavy suitemate will often show me YouTube videos or silly blogs that, despite obscure or non sequitur references, somehow gather a cult following. These are memes. But there’s more to them than just silly ways for hipsters to pass their time. Public relations, advertising, and marketing professionals have all taken advantage of using memes in viral marketing. Memes help create buz about a company, product, or service. They’re inexpensive and, if conducted properly, can become quite popular, especially with niche audiences. They’re also a great way to show creativity. Often the film industry will use memes to generate attention for movies.

For further information on memes, I highly suggest the website Know Your Meme. You will find yourself bombarded with hours of useless information and entertainment.

 

 

Communicating with the generations.

During a daily trolling of the PR/Media blogs, I came across this interesting little cheat sheet from Ragan’s PR Daily. Titled How to communicate to different generations, it gives a brief synopsis of what a variety of age groups best react to in messages from companies. Connect to the article here for more information, but here’s a brief run-down and some parts I found most interesting:

Age Group: Oldest generation (WWII generation),

communication preferences include:

  • Concise summary, sometimes known as the ‘Reader’s Digest approach’
  • Highly specific
  • Linear and sequential presentation of the information
  • Greater emphasis on formality

Age Group: Baby Boomers,

communication preferences include:

  • Experience that allows individuals to share own views/experiences
  • Democratic approach
  • Sense of equality and fairness is ‘critical’

Age Group: Gen Xers,

communication preferences include:

  • Hands-of approach
  • Visuals and graphics, with minimual text
  • Perceived sense of expertise from messenger
  • Relevance
  • Use of technology
  • Feedback and affirmation without strict intructions

Age Group: Gen Yers,

communication preferences include:

  • Collaborative learning setting
  • MOST visual (i.e. demonstrations) and technologically adept
  • Want to know exact expectations
  • “Active” learners

It’s interesting to see how differently each generation will react to a message. It certainly makes one pause and wonder how each individual interprets a single message– such as an advertisement or even a blog post. Since I assume that the majority of bloggers are of the younger generation, I guess I should start using more visuals. But, according to Gen Xers, I better make sure those visuals are RELEVANT.

So what do you think about this little guide to generational communication? What most surprised you?