Gillette has revolutionized the world with their innovations in blade technology by always looking for what features their competitors don’t have. But this month, they introduced super razors that have the potential to shave the world: the Superhero Razors. These shaving blades are physically and technologically modeled after the features and powers of the Avengers. Gillette seized the opportunity made available by the release of the new Avengers movie, the Age of Ultron. They saw the waves Marvel was making with consumers, decided to grab a board and not only ride the waves, but turned the hype into a surf competition that had Avengers-fans everywhere cheering Gillette on.
Although, social media strategies such as this one have tremendous and various forms of risks, Gillette has become a superhero to the world’s shavers. How did they do this? By using the right content on the right platform. Gillette posted their ad on Twitter before spreading it to Facebook. This was a prime example of posting on the right platform: 284 million monthly active users (Twitter Statistics) on a social media site optimal for messages (tweets) that are short, but sweet!
Overall, Gillette planned and implemented this social media campaign with success! Utilizing the Avengers hype, staying true to their brand, and their use of humor, is still leaving audiences with anticipation, respect, and laughter.
“Milk does a body good”, “milk is good for you”: these were phrases used in early milk campaigns. But where was being “good for you” getting milk? To the bottom of the sales chart. Why? Because these campaigns specifically targeted people who don’t drink milk. To combat decreasing milk sales, the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) hired Goodby, Silverstein, and Partners (GS&P), an advertising agency, to develop a new milk campaign.
In late 1993, milk launched what has now become one of the most successful marketing campaigns: “Got Milk?” This campaign achieved 90% awareness by 1995 and had 9/10 Americans knowing the slogan by 2003. The “Got Milk?” campaign centers on the “desperation for milk”, appealing to the audience that was neglected in previous campaigns: the milk drinkers. Utilizing posters, TV commercials, print, and billboards, “Got Milk?” became a multimedia campaign.
“Got Milk?” possessed three marketing objectives for their campaign: (1) change attitudes toward milk, (2) create idea of “milk occasions”, (3) and convince audience to buy more milk. These objectives were based into the humor, action, and integration of the campaign. One great example to showcase the “Got Milk?” objectives, would be their original ad: “Who Shot Alexander Hamilton?”
In this commercial, we find a History buff obsessed with the battle between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. As he makes himself a peanut butter sandwich, the radio chimes in to alert listeners of their $10,000 question: who shot Alexander Hamilton? The history buff receives the call from the station, but cannot answer due to his mouth being full of peanut butter sandwich. To wash down the thick peanut butter, he attempts to pour himself a glass, but is out of milk. The message behind this commercial: always have milk. Or else you might miss out on $10,000.
Just recently, CMPB announced their new campaign “Milk Life”. While we can never erase the phrase “Got Milk?” from our brains, we can look forward to what “Milk Life” has to offer.
When content goes viral it permeates social media. The meme or article trends or becomes most viewed, shared, or liked on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. You cannot use the internet without seeing the viral content at least once. But how does an idea or product become viral? Derek Halpern, the founder of a social media trifecta called Social Triggers, breaks down the components of viral content into three categories: positive content, content with high emotion, and practical content.
Using our knowledge about viral content, let’s look at an example:
The (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge
The idea of this campaign was to spread awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease of the nervous system which leads to paralysis and eventually: death. In this challenge, the one “called out” by a friend or colleague had to either dump a bucket of ice water on themselves or donate a various sum of money to the ALS Association. This campaign went viral in July/August of 2014. People would take videos of them completing the challenge or saying they would donate money. Many even did both. But how did this campaign become viral? According to the Social Media Bible: the more interesting and appealing the content, the more viral it becomes (248). In support of this argument, Halpern would say the Ice Bucket Challenge took over the Internet because of two reasons: positive content and high emotions were evoked. The campaign was for a good cause: donating money to research a cure for a life-threatening disease. The concept also evoked high emotions such as awe, fear, and even surprise. Halpern classifies the emotion of awe as something you “can’t resist responding to”. How could people resist the urge to respond to people dumping buckets of ice on themselves and/or donating money to help save lives? Especially if someone like Robert Downey Jr. dumps an ice bucket over himself…
Let’s talk about the other high emotion: fear. This is the most powerful of motivators. In this campaign, fear is utilized to provoke the viewer/challenge into responding: no one wants to be seen or known as that one frugal guy who didn’t donate money to help save a kid diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.
Another high emotion evoked by the Ice Bucket Challenge was surprise. The ALS Association had no part in planning this campaign. ALS was incorporated into the Ice Bucket Challenge by a golfer in Sarasota, FL by the name of Chris Kennedy. He was nominated by a friend and decided to support the ALS association’s mission because it resonated with him–a friend’s child had ALS. This was not your typical fundraising campaign. But the viral content helped ALS Association to achieve their goal of fundraising. Even if there was no definite goal, I would say the donations that the Challenge brought in: $115 million dollars and that it went viral made it a very effective campaign.
Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter have supported the rise and ease of strategic communication professions. To better understand strategic communication, we must break it into two parts: strategic and communication. Strategic means to establish goals, while communication is defined as the exchange of ideas. An example of this profession would be a public relations practitioner. PR professionals utilize social media tools on a daily basis. They depend on Twitter, RSS, and analytics to locate, connect, and promote the image of their company/organization with the consumer. For example, a PR professional can create a twitter account and tweet about events their company holds or sponsors. Consumers who follow this account can reply or retweet to this tweet, which allows for a direct-to-consumer approach for the PR professionals. A great article to read for more information on this concept: http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/PRJournal/Documents/2010Lewis.pdf
The web also allows for ease of access to locating consumers. PR professionals can use analytic sites to locate consumers and find where most spend their time on the internet. For example, say a PR professional runs a search on which website many of their customers visit frequently. The results yield a popular website, kittensforcuteness.com, a web page dedicated to sharing quirky and adorable kittens. The editor of the site posts a kitten picture every other day with a description of the young cat. A good PR practice would be for the professional to comment and become familiar with the editor. Once a network is established and the editor holds the opinion of the PR practitioner in regard, then the PR professional would be able to send the editor adorable kitten pictures they may or may not use for their posts. The PR professional has established a positive relationship with the influential editor. The kitten photo editor now promotes the brand of the PR practitioner’s company to the target audience, creating a viable market for the company.