Super Bowl Commercials 2017: Miscommunicated or Misunderstood?

According to the headlines, this year’s Super Bowl was nothing short of historic. However, Tom Brady’s comeback isn’t the only thing that people are talking about. In the 2017 Super Bowl commercials, brands took strong political stances and let their opinions influence their advertisements.

We at Cercone Brown support companies that want to communicate their values in a transparent style. However, not all consumers share the same beliefs and some of the brands that aired controversial commercials this year are learning the hard way:

When using your ad to take a stand, be prepared to defend it.

84Lumber’s Journey to Nowhere

84Lumber is getting torn apart after it aired a Super Bowl ad of a Mexican mother and daughter making a difficult journey to America. This condensed version of the ad ends with a push to the company’s website to view the full length advertisement, where it concludes with the pair entering the United States through a door in a border wall.

At first, many interpreted the message as inspiring and not in support of Trump’s wall.
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However, others dubbed the ad “misleading” and claimed the company was overtly supporting illegal immigration and encouraging cheap labor.

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Audi Talks Gender Wage Gap

Arriving on the heels of the global Women’s Marches, Audi picked an appropriate time to promote gender equality and stress the importance of equal pay for equal work. The advertisement was widely regarded as powerful and poignant.

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However, the ad still garnered some negative backlash. Many pointed out that the company didn’t itself practice what it was preaching.

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Airbnb Acceptance and Inclusion

Airbnb’s commercial #WeAccept received primarily positive feedback and appreciation for their diversity and inclusion.

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Coke, It’s Beautiful

Coca-Cola’s America the Beautiful received both positive and negative feedbacks. Some commended Coke for its portrayal of diversity.

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However, others saw it as a sign of disrespect and decided to boycott Coca Cola products.

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Whether you agreed with their political beliefs or not, these Super Bowl commercials achieved their goal of making an impact. For any companies considering adding politics to their brand’s voice, just remember: you have to take the good with the bad.

How Can Brands Use Snapchat?

In September 2016, Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc., in an effort to distinguish the company from its product. Later that year, the company officially filed documents for an initial public offering (IPO) with a predicted value of approximately $25-35 billion.

As the company expands its horizons, so does the app itself. Snapchat is growing up and it is our responsibility as marketers to grow with it. With more than 240 million monthly users, Snapchat is providing more and more opportunities for brands to extend their reach by taking strategic advantage of its features.

Learn from those before you. Below are some ways that brands have successfully utilized the platform.

BMW On the Move

As the primary sponsor in North America for CNN, BMW rolled out a series of short video ads on CNN’s Snapchat Discover section. Later, BMW followed up by creating a microsite that allows consumers to write, draw and design messages on a holiday-themed red BMW X4 SUV with a snow-covered windshield.

By targeting the millennials through their beloved mobile messaging app, BMW is able to reach a younger consumer group for the sales of X4 SUV model. However, it is still a question whether this is a wise placement that led to more purchases.
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Sports Game Time!

Both Under Armor and Gatorade have created special campaigns to put on Snapchat. First, Gatorade designed a low-pixel tennis game that can be played directly on Snapchat. In this interactive way, it was able to generate more significant impressions on the audience.

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Under Armor, on the other hand, not only designed a Snapchat game, but also launched 10-second Snap Ads on the sports channel of Snapchat Discover.

Olympics and America

During the last summer Olympics, seven big brands partnered with Snapchat. Walmart highlighted its patriotism by supporting more American-owned business and a study later proved that 34% of American shoppers said they would be more inclined to opt for Walmart after seeing the Snapchat ads.

To promote The Angry Bird Movie, Sony Pictures created a 360-degree marketing campaign across television, digital, and social. On Snapchat, they created seven short film pieces of which two show clips from the film.

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As Snapchat continues to update, more features will be presented to accommodate marketing and advertising opportunities for brands.

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Transmedia Storytelling in Longlasting Campaigns

All advertisers strive to produce great work that goes beyond selling and becomes viral entertainment that consumers talk about for weeks. But then what?

Many have gotten into the habit of cranking out one campaign after the other, without too much diversity in-between. But in the pursuit of staying fresh, they lose the longevity of their brand identity.

This is where Transmedia storytelling comes into play.

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source: Wise Geek http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-mass-production.htm#

Transmedia storytelling is simply defined as “telling a story across multiple media” and thrives off audience engagement. Different media forms work together to create a larger, more engaging story that immerses the consumer in the brand.

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Traditionally, media franchises (like Harry Potter and Star Wars) have brought this technique to life by building off the original content with related games, toys, theme parks, etc. This results in a natural build of brand awareness and loyalty.

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Perhaps the best example of a brand using transmedia storytelling happened in 2008 when car insurance company Progressive brought out Flo, the quirky saleswoman who has since become the face of the brand.

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Over the last nine years, Flo has appeared in over 100 commercials, has her own bobble head, a Halloween costume, and even has a role in the racing video game ModNation Racers.

Flo’s ability to transcend traditional marketing mediums has helped Progressive appeal to the elusive younger audience.

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Melbourne Metro

PSAs have a bad reputation. So when Melbourne Metro had to release a PSA for train safety, they seized the opportunity to break the monotony usually associated with PSAs by using transmedia storytelling.

The campaign started with a catchy jingle but has since expanded to an iPhone game, plush toys, and figurines.

 

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When executed well, transmedia storytelling can extend the lifetime of a campaign and strengthen brand identity.

Why Fake News has a Real Impact on Brands & Consumers

BREAKING NEWS … or is it?

If you’re a regular on social media, you’ve likely seen the recent flood of alerts cautioning consumers to beware of “Fake News”. While news parody websites like The Onion and Clickhole are upfront about their satirical content, this other unfortunate trend appears to exist purely for clickbait on websites claiming to be authentic.

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Advertisers and consumers alike need to be aware of the fake news circulating online, but it can be tricky to spot.

Fake News’ Impact on Brands

But the landscape of your newsfeed is not the only thing impacted by fake news. This is the first time in history that billion-dollar corporations are sharing blatantly incorrect information without being held accountable for it.

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These “articles” have hurt brand reputations when a company’s remarks are spun into false statements. For example, Pepsi experienced the perils of fake news when the CEO made a statement about employees’ reactions to the 2016 election results. The innocent comment led to a lot of people boycotting the brand.
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Pepsi isn’t the only one who has fallen at the hand of fake news. New Balance was targeted by a white supremacists news site, dubbing the company as the “official shoes of White people”.

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As advertisers, we can help mitigate this flood of false information by publishing brand-honest content on responsible platforms. While there is no easy way to extinguish the wildfire that is fake news, advertisers must focus on reporting honest and reliable information about its brands and influencers.

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Connecting with Consumers in Unexpected Ways

Consumers are inundated with advertisements. While the exact number is impossible to pinpoint, the head of Kantar Futures, Dr. J Walker Smith, and other sources have cited that a person sees up to 5,000 marketing messages a day.

What does this mean for advertisers? Traditional marketing techniques no longer cut it. Consumers tune out the “seen it before” promotions as white noise. In order to capture the interest of consumers, marketing needs to anticipate their expectations and then disrupt them.

In Digital

Using Ad blockers has become common practice. Netflix recognized this trend long ago and found a clever way to use it to promote their original show, Black Mirror. Advertising via a technology designed to eliminate advertisements was a brilliant move. The campaign also fit with the show’s eerie tone, which resonated well with viewers.

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In Print

Print has always been a fairly straightforward medium. That’s why we especially loved to see Chambord blow our expectations out of the water with their print series, “Because No Reason. The blunt tone of the campaign caught consumers’ attention, and the nod to “impulse purchases” appealed to shoppers. Brownie points, because the campaign also went viral on digital.

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In Broadcast

Everyone skips YouTube pre-rolls; it’s just a fact. Instead of trying to manipulate consumers into watching a longer ad, Geico recognized the irritation and adjusted their ads to fit within five seconds. Their humorous “unskippable ads” understood that consumers just want to get to their content quick and dirty. The ads were so popular that consumers even went so far as to seek out the uncut versions.

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Product Packaging

We at Cercone Brown know you have to get creative if you want to grab consumers’ attention. That’s why we were all over it when our client, Backyard Farms, asked us to rethink how they package their delicious tomatoes. We conducted focus groups in Maine and Boston to hear what their customers had to say about the brand. This consumer feedback served as inspiration for the package design below – a signature branding of Backyard Farms that customers have loved ever since!

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So what do all of these brands have in common? They embraced the modern way consumers interact with advertising spaces rather than trying to force a cookie-cutter message. The result: content that consumers actually seek out.

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Like it, tag it, buy it: Instagram’s new mobile shopping experience

Instagram has come a long way since its debut in 2010, priding itself on being a top-performing platform for mobile discovery.

And now, the beloved platform has broadened its horizons even more – it will soon allow users to purchase products directly from an image. That’s right, Instagram is joining the mobile shopping revolution. This new feature is ground breaking for brands who rely on their online sales.

Mobile shopping has become a consumer favorite, making up 30% of all e-commerce sales. In fact, it is estimated that more than 84 percent of smartphone owners use an app or web browser to view products. This is a HUGE untapped market of potential buyers who use Instagram to follow their favorite brands.

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According to Instagram, this is how shopping will work: 

  1. Each post will have a tap to view icon.
  2. When a product is tapped, a price tag will appear.
  3. If the consumer is interested, they can select to view the product details.
  4. Then there’s an option to shop now, which takes the user to the ecomm site to purchase.

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Unfortunately for those who want to jump right in, the new experience is still in its test phase. Instagram partnered up with brands like J-crewKate Spade, and Warby Parker for the beta version, gaging ease of use and depth.

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When it does go public, we at Cercone Brown are especially excited to see how brands like Garnet Hill and Stonewall Kitchen will enhance engagement with current and prospective users. Either way, our wallets are sure to be lighter.

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Creative Campaigns: Changing the Way Digital Campaigns Work

A seasoned agency recognizes that media consumption nowadays is more than just the initial viewing experience: it’s all encompassing. Your audience wants to engage, comment, share, and experience it. The ability to tap into this insatiable consumer behavior is what makes creative viral digital campaigns.

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In other words, a few small changes in how you’re approaching your audience and the creation of an interactive campaign could leave you rolling in thousands of free and easy impressions.

So what changes can you make to produce campaigns that are powerful enough to reach unprecedented audiences?

A West Jet Christmas Miracle

In 2013, Canadian company West Jet went from bargain airline to leader in the industry after releasing a video that quickly became an Internet sensation. On Christmas Eve, the company sponsored a real-time gift-giving event in two different airports to spark buzz.

To complete this goal, West Jet had to get creative to foster positive brand image from customers.

Always is Always Innovative

To drive conversation, Always took a negative stereotype about girls and molded it into a positive branding strategy.

Cardstore Has A Breakout Moment

Cardstore by American Greetings posted a video 2 years ago called #WorldsToughestJob that has almost 27 million views. People were interviewed for a job with “unlimited hours” and “no breaks” on top of an increased workload on holidays … but the audience didn’t find out what the job was until the end.

At the end, it was revealed that they job was in fact being a mother. Since they do so much you should probably get them a card … from Cardstore.com, of course.

Jet Blue Wins Big

Recently, Jet Blue created a viral campaign, which shined a positive light on crying babies during flights. The advertisement was so successful it earned them the 2016 Grand Brand Genius Award from Adweek.

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With every creative and innovative campaign, consumer expectations get higher and higher. Do you have what it takes to go viral?

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

We Must Diversify in Order to Disrupt

Over the past decade, we have seen tremendous strides in advertising diversity, from gender to religious beliefs. However, let’s not pat ourselves on the back just yet. There is still so much room for more progress in attaining equal representation of these marginalized groups.

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today. Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

White male dominated agencies, like in the show Mad Men, still exist today.
Photo Credit: from Justina Mintz/AMC

Why Agencies Benefit from Increasing Diversity in their Workforce

At its most rudimentary level, advertising and marketing campaigns are meant to capture the attention of audiences. We do that by creating content that is relatable and strikes a universal chord. For minority demographics, we believe the best way to create content that resonates is to let them tell the story.

Agencies without a diverse staff are more limited in their understanding of their various target audiences.

With so many talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, why should we make our jobs harder by excluding their voices? We should embrace a breadth of perspectives as a way to stimulate industry progression and inclusivity.

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As Pepsi Co. Executive Brad Jakemen puts it, “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogenous groups of people. Quite the opposite. They come from collections of people with different life experiences coming together with a different perspective on the world. Different ages, races, sexual orientations trying to solve a problem from a different standpoint.”

Brands Pushing for Change

A few brands – including Pepsi Co., Verizon, HP, General Mills ­– have spearheaded this initiative by pressuring their agencies to hire diverse individuals. They’ve asked agencies to propose plans for how they will boost representation at all levels within their workforce.

The SMO for Verizon, Diego Scotti commented in a New York Times article that, “Marketers are expected to have a deep understanding and insight about their markets, about decision makers and about customers. We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our workforce and suppliers represent the communities we serve.”

We at CerconeBrown applaud the steps these brands are taking, but recognize there is still progress to be made. When new and unique perspectives are brought into the creative process, everyone wins.

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CBC Fall House 2016

Over the course of eight days, 20 editors, bloggers and journalists from top-tier publications attended Cercone Brown’s 11th annual Fall House in Santa Barbara.screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-2-56-04-pm

From October 16-24, attendees from publications like People, The Huffington Post, and SELF immersed themselves in the Santa Barbara County lifestyle as they lounged by the pool, explored picturesque California beaches, and participated in adventurous excursions all hosted by our brand sponsors.

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This year, brands like Buick, Miraclesuit, and Lather organized unique brand activations and experiences. The key to our success with our House Programs, we let the products speak for themselves. Buick kicked off the 2016 sessions with an iconic, self-guided road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway while Mircaclesuit hosted a pool party at the house.

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After all the excitement, Lather helped the editors unwind with facials and massages.

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Other brands like Sabra and Jackson Family Wines indulged the media influencers with delicious food and cocktails throughout their stay. They were even treated to a mixology class with blogger and author of This Girl Walks into a Bar, hosted by Bolthouse Farms.

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While Fall House is certainly fun for media influencers, it also encompasses a series of tailored experiences designed to give each brand meaningful exposure to media in a natural setting. Editors are experiencing a product in the way it is intended to be experienced – and without being clouded by the competition as each brand is offered exclusivity in its product category.

But enough about what we thought of Fall House – let’s let the attendees speak for themselves:

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Check out all of the social buzz from Fall House online at #CBCfallhouse.

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Facebook Urges the “Everyman” to Go Live

Even though the birth of Facebook Live occurred last April, the brand has successfully preserved the feature’s spot in the limelight.

Over the past several months, the world has watched countless brands, bloggers and celebrities use it to creatively advertise products and reach new audiences. Whether it’s through cooking tutorials, a glimpse behind the scenes or a Q&A with an influencer, Facebook Live has certainly become an industry favorite.

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In September, Cercone Brown organized a Facebook Live tour with blogger Natalie Thomas from Nat’s Next Adventure and Garnet Hill of their Mobile Boutique in New York City. Natalie gave viewers an insider’s peek into the unique boutique.

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Not Just For The Professionals

It seems that even though similar apps such as Snapchat and Instagram Stories have experienced great success, the masses have yet to heavily engage with Facebook Live. The brand is attempting to change this by encouraging people like you – the everyday person – to get involved.

The brand has launched a campaign that is based on showcasing user-generated content and demonstrating how to go live.

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While the tutorial ads feature statements like, “How to go live if you’ve got a hidden talent that you’re ready to make not-so-hidden” or “How to go Live when you have something to say and you just need to say it loud”.

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The set-up for going Live is simple and encourages a spur-of-the-moment call to action. Facebook claims that they want to make the world more open and connected through the Live feature … if only people would begin to engage with it.