Drone Marketing: The New Face of PR Stunts

When we used to say the word “drone,” you probably envisioned a low humming sound or a male bee that does no work. But recently, drone is a common term for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or a more specific type of UAV, quad-copter. As drone technology continues to develop at a fast pace, these small, durable and cheap model aircrafts are becoming one of the hottest tools for people to shoot videos and for companies to market their brands.

Drones – The Conversation Igniter

OREO’s Drone Cookie Dunk, Fantastic Four’s Human Torch drone, Lexus’s automotive ad campaign, Super Bowl LI drone show, and even Petco’s DooDooDrone are all eye-opening marketing applications of this new technology. Now, let’s see how exactly they used the drones.


March 6th was National Oreo Cookie Day and to celebrate, the brand pulled a PR stunt. They launched five big Oreo-like drones from NYC and dropped cookies into milk cups on a barge in the Hudson.

Although it was an undeniably creative approach, the video ultimately backfired because the brand revealed how many resources were wasted to produce this video.

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Even in 2015, the drones were used in guerrilla marketing for the sci-fi movie, Fantastic Four. Producer of the film, Marvel studios, was so proud of its character “Human Torch” that they brought the superhero to life using a flaming drone.

To some fans, this was even better than the film itself.

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Lexus – the Japanese luxury branch of Toyota – rolled out an “amazing in motion” campaign to highlight the modern design of its cars. In this particular instance, cameras followed the drones as they explored the city at night.

While an interesting idea, the audience agreed that the brand muddled its message in the process.

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Drone marketing has also made its debut at large-scale entertainment events. During the Super Bowl 2017 Half Time Show, Pepsi and Intel shared their brands’ excitement using hundreds of drones:

Intel Shooting Star drones light up the sky in the Pepsi logo following the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show. (Credit: Intel Corporation)


Based on twitter reactions, the future of drones is as bright as their shining lights.

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What’s more, for the past April Fools Day, Petco engaged its audience with a “new” app, which provides drone service for dog pooper-scooper.

With this short and simple video, the brand spurred some social discussion and triggered some laughter.

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The CBC Way

Last but not least, at CBC, we also try to follow up with the drone marketing trend. This January, we invited editors to Colorado for our Telluride Experience where we enjoyed fresh powder and delicious meals. To capture the experience, we shot video footage using drones of the quaint town and beautiful mountains. As an added plus, the drone perspective depicts our five-day program and destination experiences in a brand new way.

There are still many questions remaining in the area of drone marketing. Our advice: keep your eye on drone technology and prepare yourself for the impossible!

Context Matters: A Marketer’s Guide to Safer Digital Advertisements

AT&T, Verizon, and Johnson & Johnson were among the over 100 brands that quit YouTube after a London News Reporter exposed the advertisements were aired alongside extremist videos. Soon after, conversations broke out about brand placement and how to create a safe digital space.Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 10.17.11 AM

Especially in lieu of today’s tense political climate, it is essential to ensure that your digital advertisements do not appear in a damaging context that could sabotage the brand image.

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How can we, as marketers, try to avoid framing our creative and content in a negative light?

Promoting Transparency

A two-way street of open and transparent communication between both parties is crucial in programmatic buying. Ask the publisher to provide you full information about where the ad will run and the nature of their incoming traffic.

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Establishing Your Target Audience

Conceptualize your ideal audience. Task yourself to prioritize pushing your content to the right audience in the right environment.

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Research Your Options

There are several ad networks out there – know how they differ from each other and what’s best for you. Understand the price market. If something is cheaper than it should be, it’s likely a shady site.


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Know Where Your Ads Run

At the end of the day, you are still accountable for where your brand’s advertisements are placed. Crosscheck live URLs to make sure your brand values align with content on these websites.

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When you work with vendors or ad networks, make sure they’re certified to IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) measurement guidelines. IAB has set a list of Quality Assurance Guidelines to make sure suppliers comply with the industry’s best practices. To ensure authentic inventory, use services by companies that have been certified by a third party.



Establish Relations

Develop good relations with media sellers to build a reliable network.



To avoid situations like this, practice methods that will keep your brand identity safe in the digital space.




Taking Home the Gold at the 2017 David Ogilvy Awards

On Monday night at the 2017 David Ogilvy Awards, CBC and our client Garnet Hill took home gold in the “Reinventing Traditional Media” category for the Beautiful, Naturally Garnet Hill Mobile Boutique.

Named after advertising legend David Ogilvy, the ARF David Ogilvy Awards celebrate the critical role of insights that inspire great advertising. In the category of “Reinventing Traditional Media” Advil’s “Distant Memory” campaign took Silver and TD Bank Group’s “Official Partner of Big Dreams” campaign took Bronze.

The Garnet Hill Mobile Boutique, a 350-square foot refurbished shipping container, is part mobile showroom, studio, and pop-up brand experience. It made its pilgrimage throughout the summer of 2016, beginning in Franconia, NH and wrapping up in New York City. But not only that, it acted as a living, breathing billboard.



Built to feel like a tiny home where customers can literally touch, feel, and shop all of Garnet Hill’s select products, the boutique is equipped with all of the homey essentials including a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, closet, and a roof deck.

More than just a shopping experience, the boutique embodies the brand’s essence. It was used to host community events including wine tastings, farm-to-table meals, art shows, and more.


Lastly, the boutique acted as a broadcasting platform for Garnet Hill’s digital and social media channels. Live and produced content was shot with various partners such as Apartment Therapy and influential lifestyle bloggers.

Read about the whole story behind the pop-up experience here. The Mobile Boutique plans to hit the road again in 2017 so keep an eye out for announcements on Garnet Hill’s blog THREADS, or follow #GHMobileBoutique on Instagram.

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The last few years of digital expansion has certainly provided many opportunities for us to connect personally and professionally. This includes a rise in Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing: the marketing of products or services to other businesses.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 94% of marketers use LinkedIn as a platform for B2B sales. Twitter follows this rate at 87% and Facebook at 84%. Why is LinkedIn more popular over other social media platforms? LinkedIn is the only one that emphasizes professional networking, rather than just socializing.

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If you’re looking to optimize your company’s LinkedIn page and generate more leads, here are a few tips on how to do so successfully.

Image is everything.

Improve your company page with attractive pictures. A research by Ad Age shows that brands utilizing high-quality, original images are perceived as more creative, experienced, and knowledgeable.

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You have the opportunity to make a lasting impression at a glance. Invest in a banner that’s personable to your company, and provide clickable links to your products, website and contact information.

Set your profile settings to fit your needs.

If you want to generate leads, the leads need to be able to find you. Customize your LinkedIn URL with the company’s full name and use the LinkedIn Showcase option to promote brands under your company.


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Share diverse content on your page.

It is key to find a good balance between promotional posts and interactive posts. According to Content Authority, the good balance is 20-80. Toot your own horn without being annoying.

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Make sure you understand your audience by evaluating what kind of posts are getting the highest number of likes or shares.

Search for groups, and create them too.


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Find a group on LinkedIn that fits your niche. Be an active participant of that group. If you don’t find a group that fits you, create your own!

Paid advertising and its worth.

Organic is good, paid is better! If your budget doesn’t allow you to spend on everything, prioritize your content. Promote whatever you think has potential to generate leads. Be specific with your target audience. This way, not only will your cost-per-clicks save you money, they will be more effective.

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Ask for recommendations and reach out often.

Ask your loyal customers and companies to recommend your products and services on LinkedIn, and share what they love about them. At the same time, build credibility by posting often on your LinkedIn page with updates and latest news.
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Social Selling works 68% better than cold calling does. Use it to your advantage and generate more B2B leads by improving your LinkedIn page with the above tips!

How brands are adapting to a changing (consumer) environment

In 2016, the world saw a rise in temperature. In fact, it was recorded as the highest on record thus far. With this shift in climate has come a significant change in consumer behavior. Many people are emphasizing an environmental consciousness and embracing what we call an ‘eco-fad’.

So, how are brands positioning themselves to adapt to this profound environmental mindset amongst its customers?

Moving Away from Plastic Bottles

S’well was launched in 2010 with a mission to reduce the amount of plastic bottles. Using a recycling bottle can help one consumer save up to 1460 plastic bottles per year.

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In its latest collection of bottles, S’well collaborated with Lily Pulitzer and Starbucks to bring other brands into the cause.

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Plant your Pencil

Sprout is a green startup that makes sustainable pencils that you can plant after you finish using them. The seed in the eraser capsule blossoms into either flowers, fruits, herbs or vegetables.     

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Drink More Beer, Save the World

A New Zealand beer company DB Breweries organized a series of fun and creative sequel campaigns to promote the importance of conserving their beaches. DD Breweries beer bottles can be crushed into sand to help restore the receding beaches – and all the consumer has to do is chug a beer!

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Eco your Journey

Tesla is known as a car company accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. With a focus on energy innovation, Tesla raised the bar for all other auto-makers in 2012 after introducing Model S – the world’s first premium electric sedan.

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With more emphasis being placed on environmental awareness, there is definitely room for brands with environmental activation missions to get involved.

3 Après Ski Essentials

After a long day on the slopes, there is really only one way to reward yourself: après ski. Après ski definitely has a party reputation, though there is no reason you can’t create an après ski party at home with your friends. We spent some time with Miraclesuit in Park City, UT and they shared three essentials that make for the perfect après ski gathering.

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1. Make Slopeside Cocktails

This is a given. And sometimes a beer or glass of wine doesn’t do it after a chilly day on the mountain. Try warming up with cozy cocktails like a hot toddy, Irish coffee, or hot spiced wine. Since we had a roaring fire pit to keep us warm, we made Pomegranate French 75 and Moscow Mule cocktails.



 2. Warm up in the Hot Tub

There is nothing better than relaxing in a hot tub after a long day of riding or skiing. Your tired muscles will thank you! Grab your freshly made cocktail, a trendy, figure-flattering après ski swimsuit, and toast to your day on the mountain.

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Also, it might just be us, but isn’t it fun to hot tub in the winter? We love pairing our swimsuit with a winter beanie and boots. Our friends at Miraclesuit are experts in après ski style, so they gave us these outfits ideas as well.


 3. Pull out the Board Games

Next on the list of après ski essentials: board games. Get the fire crackling and throw down a blanket to have a cozy game night with friends. We love pulling out old favorites like Scrabble and Pictionary.

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You’ll never get cabin fever when you use these three tips! Thanks to Miraclesuit we’re ready to have the perfect après ski gathering with friends.

Miraclesuit was a sponsor at Winter House, our winter-themed experiential media relations program. Interested in learning more about our House Programs, click here.

CBC Winter House: 2017 Recap

Can you believe it? CBC just wrapped up its 11th annual Winter House. And if we do say so ourselves, it gets better with age!

As communication methods evolve, so do the creative ways that we as marketers collaborate with brands. For those who don’t know, the CBC House Programs bring some of the nation’s most coveted top tier media to some incredible locations. For Winter House, Park City, UT was the perfect setting to experience brands and their products the way they were intended.

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19 editors from top-tier outlets like Esquire, Fox News, and Women’s Health joined us in Park City to ski the slopes at Deer Valley, sip cocktails by the fire at Wyndham Vacation Rentals, and experience a Rocky Mountain winter firsthand.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the brands and experiences that were showcased at the 2017 Winter House:

Miraclesuit hosted a playful hot tub cocktail hour and dinner hosted by a private chef. The perfect ending to a day on the slopes.

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Deer Valley is home to some of the best skiing in the country. Here, editors skied on perfectly powdered runs while outfitted with gear from Obermeyer, Rossignol, and the Rudy Project.

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After skiing, yoga was the perfect way to unwind and stretch out those tired muscles. Kleenex hosted a relaxing yoga class at one of Deer Valley’s most elegant resorts, The Montage.

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And the fun didn’t stop there. Media guests were wined and dined with POM-perfect cocktails, while bundling up in Ugg boots and Stance socks.

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To close the experience, Ester-C hosted a breakfast on the last day where they concocted juices and smoothies that included their immune boosting products. After the healthy meal, editors boarded their planes energized and fully equipped to fight off the winter cold season.

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Through the experiences provided by CBC Winter House, editors naturally connected with brands and products as a way to craft genuine stories to share with their readers. But don’t take it from us, check out the full story of #CBCWinterHouse on Instagram.

It’s Handled: Navigating Social Media Mishaps

Social media can often be a “love/hate” relationship for brands. In one sense, it allows for positive engagement, communication, and relationship-building between brand and consumer. In another, many take to these platforms to air their grievances. With all this buzz and real-time interaction, brands are expected to be very attentive when counteracting the rapid amplification that can come from negative social conversations.

And like anything – especially in regards to this new era of constant connectivity – we look to the past to plan for the future.

Uniting Against United
Almost 8 years ago, a little band known as Sons of Maxwell was flying United Airlines. It was all great until a band member’s guitar broke because the airline staff was recklessly throwing luggage on-board. After United refused to compensate him for the broken equipment, the band posted a song on YouTube describing their experience. Lucky for the band, this song went viral and was the big break in their career.

Unlucky for United Airlines, they neglected to respond until after the video garnered 150K views. This forest fire of bad PR had an effect on people’s decision in choosing an airline. BBC reported that United’s stock dropped by 10% after the release of the video – a decrease in valuation of $180 million.

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An Uber Lapse in Judgment
Earlier this month, Uber faced a blistering response after CEO Travis Kalanick failed to denounce President Trump’s immigration ban and then continued to serve New York’s JFK airport during a reported taxi strike. The company received adverse reactions on social media. As a result of the hashtag #DeleteUber, 200,000 people deleted their Uber apps and many public voices added fuel to the fire.


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Amid Uber’s silence, Lyft – a runner-up competitor to Uber – capitalized on the opportunity by immediately taking the opposite stance on the immigration ban. They quickly sent out an email to their customers letting them know of the $1 million donation they made to ACLU. Many Uber customers shifted to Lyft after this.

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A Salty Reaction to Cinnabon
After the death of famous actor Carrie Fisher, Cinnabon made a controversial move by tweeting the below:

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Needless to say, this particular move left a bad flavor in people’s mouths.

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Fortunately, Cinnabon’s PR team was quick and tweeted an apology early the next morning. It’s likely the brand won’t suffer permanent damage.

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The CBC Way
We at CBC aren’t impervious to the accidental dangers of digital. In late 2016, an ad from our client Garnet Hill appeared on the infamous Breitbart News website. Known for its far-right policies, anti-LGBT messaging, and overall controversial reputation, it’s no mystery why lovers of Garnet Hill were vocal about their disapproval.

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Of course, both CBC and Garnet Hill were not aware of the ad’s placement on the website until it was brought to our attention via Twitter. We immediately pulled the ad, blocked Breitbart, and informed our distressed followers that the situation was handled.

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The moral of story: Respond promptly, show genuine concern and value your relationship with your consumers. It takes years to build a brand reputation and seconds for it to crumble.

The Secret to Netflix’s Success: Exploring Netflix Originals

To say that Netflix is crushing the competition when it comes to on-demand television would be an understatement. Since it was founded in 1997, Netflix has quickly become a household staple and inspired other platforms like Hulu and Amazon to throw their hats into the ring. But it seems that no matter what the competition releases, Netflix cannot be beat.

When you consider the way we consume television, it’s no secret why Netflix is the most beloved of the options. The streaming platform has used many tactics to its advantage including: (1) binge-watching, (2) zero commercials, and most importantly, (3) releasing multiple Original Series.

In 2013, Netflix aired House of Cards as its first Original Series. Since then, Netflix has produced more than 100 in-house series. Below we look into some of the top-rated series and how Netflix’s marketing strategy positioned them for success.

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Powerful Partnerships

In 2016, Netflix partnered with Marvel to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of popular shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. This collaboration built niche connections between Netflix and comic fans, as well as opened the door for future Marvel Universe opportunities. In fact, Marvel Studios just confirmed seven new shows with Netflix.


For Daredevil, Netflix created a digital outdoor stand ad in France.

In 2016, DDB Vancouver installed three billboards featuring three main characters in Daredevil’s season 2, and created individual hashtags for each character. As part of the campaign, “Hashtag your Hero to Fuel their Fury”, Netflix encouraged fans to tweet with their fav character’s hashtag (i.e. #Daredevil, #Punisher, and #Elektra). The total was counted at the end of each round and the two billboards with the least amount of social mentions were “damaged” by the winner.


Promoting Family Values

Most recently, Netflix released two series that have proven very popular: (1) Stranger Things, which ranked the third most-watched season of a Netflix Original Series; and (2) A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the famous children’s novel series by Lemony Snicket. The latter was recently dubbed Netflix’s “first great TV for families” by the Verge.

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Surprise, Not Saturation

One year ago, the Netflix CCO declared that the online streaming giant has little need to spend heavily on marketing. However, during the Super Bowl 2017 Netflix surprised its audience with the teaser video and premier date for the second season of Stranger Things. Rather than over-saturate people with commercials, the company has opted to sparingly sprinkle in a few teasers to increase buzz.

And the fans loved it!

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Product Placement

Netflix has also made impressive use of using other brands to fund its Original Series – in other words, product placement (examples below). By subtly placing their logo or product in Netflix’s hit shows, brands are making impressions to their target audience. Meanwhile, Netflix can remain “commercial-free” in some sense of the term.

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More and more younger generations are watching television online. As marketers, we need to stay on top of the evolving television medium.

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.