Why Millennials Splurge On Halloween (Hint: Social Media Plays A Part)

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Social media has become a vital factor in the lives of so many, and millennials in particular. When it comes to a holiday such as Halloween, half of the excitement is the feeling of inclusion as you post Instagram pictures of yourself dressed as Tinkerbell while enjoying an adult beverage at a seemingly cool house party. You can compare your night to that of your friends and forever memorialize your status as someone who was a part of this social trend.

diy makeup halloween

YouTube makeup tutorials about creating the perfect zombie princess are more useful for those who want to capture a Snapchat of themselves before they hit up their Halloween event than those who want a functional, multi-layered mask that won’t wear off after hours of dancing and sweating. The work that goes into costumes is for the camera, for the “likes” and for Pinterest shareability.

According to The-M-Age, over 30% of consumers engage in online research for Halloween costume inspiration and 23% of millennials will wear costumes inspired by celebrities, TV shows and movies. Halloweeners spend a universal average of $75 on their attire, many of which are pieces for their DIY creation.

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This spells out disaster for pop up Halloween shops that market pre-made costumes, but it provides a new niche for stores who specialize in DIY projects, theatrical makeup and even thrift shops. New digital platforms are also cashing in on this trend by creating discussion boards and apps that allow amateur designers to trade notes.

Could millennials push out the concept of buying an already manufactured costume thanks to social media? Share your thoughts!

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Brand Social Media Audit: Young & Reckless Clothing Company

young and reckless clothing company

Young & Reckless is a clothing brand based out of Los Angeles, California, which specializes in both male and female clothing items. The style of clothing is mainly athletic wear including: sweatpants, yoga pants, hoodies, tank tops and tee shirts. The company’s sales are e-commerce based, while having a few items sold in the retail stores of other companies.

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Young & Reckless have been active on social media since the summer of 2009, and have grown a substantial follower-base ever since. Y&R has 552,000 followers on Instagram165,000 followers on Twitter and 1,175,099 likes on Facebook. The brand posts about twice a day on Instagram, three times a day on Twitter and once a week on Facebook. 

The target market are young, athletic men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 who have an interest in the modern music scene (mainly hip hop). The brand provides the target with uniquely designed clothing and has a cool, divergent personality that appeals to them.

The primary competitors of the brand include clothing brands Obey and Diamond Supply Co. Secondary competitors include retailers who carry competing brands, including Zumiez and Urban Outfitters. The following chart shows how these competitors stack up on social media based on their follower counts.

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They are not being talked about by many influencers as of yet, but some music artists are mentioning the brand on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and their items being worn by YouTube and Instagram personalities alike. Hip hip artist, Fetty Wap, endorses the brand and his career is currently soaring after the success of a few major hit singles. It may be a few years before Y&R breaks into a mainstream clothing market, but they are leading the way in engagement on two social media platforms when compared to their rivals.

Young & Reckless is doing a good job of providing followers with promotional information, but could add more interactive posts into their social media. The brand could also incorporate more videos into their feeds to capture the eye of social media scrollers. Otherwise, so far Y&R is steadily advancing in the game of SMM follower by follower.

Every Brand Has A Story To Tell, But Which Ones Are Really Worth A Listen?

brand story telling examples

Do you know someone in your life who is an excellent storyteller? Perhaps it’s a family member or good friend who has the ability to have you hooked on their every word. They can bring about emotion, laughter and intrigue just from their own presence and voice. This is the type of person that big brands want to emulate. The companies of the world want to have you enthralled by their words, their imagery and their insights. They want to make you feel raw emotion and tell you a tale that will change your perspective on the day or even on life itself. Many brands are successful at creating this sense of feeling, but some unfortunately fail to communicate their stories properly.

Skype Makes The Impossible Happen With Tearjerker Ad Spot 

Skype is a beautiful example of a brand that has won at telling stories to consumers for years now. The live video chatting tool stretches beyond being an easy means of conferencing in the boardroom. It even goes farther than saying ‘happy birthday’ to Grandma who lives across the country in Florida.

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Image source: http://search.creativecommons.org

Skype wanted to tell a story that crosses the globe, and exemplifies the true meaning of family, and they succeeded.

The “Stay Together” campaign actually shows how digital platforms are changing what it means to come together. The 2 minute spot tells the story of Solomon, a Ugandan man who came to America with the clothes on his back and only 5 dollars in his pocket. Leaving his family behind, Solomon uses Skype to connect with relatives and his young son from thousands of miles away. The masterful campaign contrasts America and Uganda with stunning imagery, and concludes with an emotional gift for Solomon. A photographer takes a photo of Solomon’s family on Skype being projected onto his living room wall, while Solomon stands beside them. This ‘Impossible Family Portrait’ is the first of it’s kind and a unique testament to the power of the video tool.

This type of storytelling let’s the product speak for itself. It does not push the value of Skype on the consumer, but rather opens their eyes to the possibilities it presents. There is no call-to-action, no deal offered, no salesperson asking you to buy. Simply Solomon’s tears as he sees the official printout of his first ever family portrait and hangs it on his bare bedroom wall says enough about why Skype is so essential and meaningful to people. The company also projects the sense that it cares about the lives of it’s users and the journeys they undergo.

How does this Skype campaign resonate with you? Are the imagery and story enough to take the viewer from perception to purchase?

“Not Your Father’s Oldmobile” – A Cautionary Tale  

The story of how General Motors lost it’s way with their model, The Oldsmobile, is a classic tale of a reinvention that went terribly wrong. (Rarely do brand-reinventions go right, mind you).

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Image source: http://search.creativecommons.org

General Motors banked itself as an all American, slice- of-apple-pie kind of brand back in the 1960s. It produced cars that were not only burly, but very innovative for their time. GM was always on the cutting edge of design and technology, along with being trusted for their craftsmanship and quality. Their tagline was, “Escape From The Ordinary”. But come the 1980s, that’s just what they did…

With the emerging popularity of Asian car manufacturers and changes to the standard look and feel of a motor vehicle, the late 80s and early 90s was a hit or miss for American car companies. Faced with an adapt or flee kind of circumstance, GM tried its hand at adapting the Oldsmobile. In an attempt to be ‘hip’, the brand developed a whole new story for the trusty vehicle, which was now being favoured by a much older demographic. They released a commercial featuring Ringo Starr and his daughter that was jam-packed with early 90s cheese-ball production value. “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile” was the new tagline, in hopes of attracting young drivers by rebranding their dad’s dated old set of wheels and making it look desirable again. It went against their original automotive values and tried to rewrite what it was all about to appeal to this new generation of drivers it had little understanding of.

The campaign went against what the brand originally stood for, and cheesed off the loyal customers. It was a certified nail in the coffin for the Oldsmobile, which shut down production a few years later. The key takeaways from this brand storytelling fail are: 1) do not betray what your brand stands, 2) let your brand die with dignity vs. trying to grasp at straws to be something you’re not.

What could GM have done differently to save the Oldsmobile, or was it on it’s way to anyways?

How Starbucks Made Fun Of Their Customers, And Won The Internet 

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Image source: http://search.creativecommons.org

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is a yearly tradition for Starbucks lovers and even non-Starbie regulars alike. It became such a craze upon it’s release years ago that it has almost become a modern cultural staple in the Western world. The coffee giant recognized their customers pent up excitement for the PSL’s release date each year, their obsession with Instagramming and Facebooking their beverages and the inherent mocking of people (particularly women) who love PSLs. Starbucks decided to poke some fun at this cult flavour following with a clever ad spot.

The story revolves around a made-up town which celebrates the coming of the PSL every year with an annual festival. There is cinnamon stick baton twirling and pumpkin-inspired hair colouring. The spot is beautifully shot in a real-life documentary style that could easily pass as a TLC network reality show you may have the fortune of binge-watching on a Saturday afternoon after Say Yes To The Dress.

The narrative connects to the audience in a way that gently jokes about the PSL phenomenon, and creates a heartfelt depiction of this endearing and relatable small town. It opens up an interaction between brand and customer, a sort of nod from Starbucks that they understand what is happening with this product. It also gives the brand room to expand upon these characters and this fictional town.

Is this type of storytelling creating the right engagement with customers? Where could Starbucks take their narrative next?

Share examples of your favourite brand stories, or ones that have failed miserably in front of the eyes of consumers.

Tostitos Tasty Tweets: Analyzing The Success Of Real-Time Twitter Campaigns

Utilizing the power of Twitter, Tostitos Canada is giving users a unique real-time experience with the “Open Up The Fun” Campaign. Simply use the hashtag #OpenUpTheFun along with a hashtagged ingredient (ex. #greenpeppers) and an instant reply will pop up with a related recipe and even a quick video tutorial. Pretty neat, eh?

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For Thanksgiving, users were able to find custom recipes instantly using this fun and fast concept. Turkey Chilli Nacho Dip, for example, was a big winner in households across Canada thanks to Tostitos.

“It’s a way to test out different mechanics on how to drive consumers in-store for a call to action.” explains Susan Irving, senior director of PepsiCo Foods Canada. “Twitter is a platform where consumers really like to engage, so we’re getting them to tweet at us and giving them the immediate response they want. And doing it quickly means they can get those ingredients right away, since they might be in the grocery store at the time they tweet it.”

Real-time Twitter campaigns are becoming increasingly more popular as advertising moves towards interaction with the customer rather than talking at the customer. Adidas participated in a real-time campaign using Twitter back in 2013 during the Wimbledon games, which got the ball rolling for other brands. Evian broke barriers in 2014 by using a clever hashtag strategy called #Evianbottleservice. Twitter users simply tweeted their current location (if they were in a select number of locations approved by the company) and used the hashtag. evian twitter online marketing Evian staff members would respond by hurriedly heading towards the location to deliver a free bottle of water to the Twitter users within 5 to 7 minutes of their tweet being sent.

“We are doing something that is a real-time service for the first time ever, but it is a long-term commitment to put real-time social media engagement at the heart of our activation.” explains Olga Osminkina-Jones, Vice President of Marketing at Evian.

Are real-time campaigns the future of online engagement? What will social media advertising look like in the future?

4 Unique And Unusual Social Media Tips That Drive Your Brand

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The biggest challenge for companies who want to build a successful online presence is to set themselves apart from the meaningless splurge of information that we scroll through on our news feeds. If your business isn’t meeting the mark when it comes to likes, shares and retweets, it’s time to step up your SMM game! Here are 4 tips to being fresh, fun and unique online.

#1 Custom-formatted tweets

How many tweets do you bypass before one catches your eye? The answer is probably in the hundreds. This is the reality of Twitter, but it doesn’t have to be this way for all businesses. Setting your tweets apart from the competition is as easy as switching up your font colour or style, or including a colourful emoji. Simple, fast and effective.

#2 Long Posts

long posts interaction brand If your way to targeting your consumers is by posting blogs, new research has uncovered that longer posts are often more frequented than short and sweet posts. Blogs that have long lists of items in odd numbers generally attract more people. For example, “43 Ways To Use Marshmellows, Besides Eating Them” will gain more readers than smaller, more balanced titles. Contrary to popular belief, readers want hefty amounts of content when it comes to informational posts.

#3 Embedded Calls To Action

Drive clicks by embedding calls to action within, say, your Facebook status. This makes the purchase process effortless for a consumer who’s casually searching through their timeline. Cutting out just a few added clicks can make all the difference.

#4 Calculated Risks

calculated risks social media twitter

Be a little weird with your online brand personality to stand out, as long as it fits your brand. The ‘voice’ of your brand should be the same within all your social media platforms. If you want to be silly and playful, sarcastic or totally quirky, a well calculated risk can pay off. Oreo interacts with their audience through cute and funny graphics that appeal to the kid in every customer. It’s all about the way you want your brand perceived.

Sometimes social media success doesn’t happen overnight, but employing proper measures can help push your brand forward.

Clean and Clear Features Jazz Jennings in Beautiful New Campaign

Clean and Clear’s #SeeTheRealMe campaign is a fresh perspective on the typical zit shaming acne ads. Rather then pointing out blemishes, the Johnson and Johnson skin care company focuses on feel good, esteem building stories.

Among the collection of mini bios is a story from Jazz Jennings. At only 14, she is a Youtube sensation, author and LGBTQ rights activist. Jazz is also transgender and has become a role model for children and teens. jazzHer Clean & Clear ad spot has been part of a recent cultural shift of including openly transgender people in mainstream media.

The spot features Jazz explaining her initial struggle with being a transgender pre-teen, and her journey of becoming authentically her. It is a story that any teen can relate to. Jazz’s dynamic personality and captivating smile light up the spot. 

Just this year, brands have made significant progress with the inclusion of same-sex relationships in their campaigns – tiffany-gay-couple-fullsuch as Tiffany and Co. who put this real life same-sex couple as the face of their 2015 engagement ad. Hallmark has also featured a same-sex couple in their 2015 Valentine’s Day spot called “Put Your Heart to Paper”. But as far as creating campaigns positively representing transgender people, Clean and Clear is one of the first to get it right.

The ads are also flawless because they rail against traditional skin care advertising. The beauty industry appears to be making a change in the way they communicate what “beauty” is to their audience. They approach the consumer more delicately rather than telling them how their skin should look. In turn, empowering, encouraging brands create a deeper relationship with customers.

The best part about this? If media makes these changes now to promote authenticity and inclusivity, new generations a more accepting world than those before them have. It is remarkable to see brands help shape that future world.

Pucker Up for 2015’s Answer to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Twizzler challenges celebs to lock lips over liquorice Lady and the Tramp style to raise awareness for autism.

Following the wildly viral success of last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the world has been waiting for something like this. The sensation that sparked up last June inspired over 2.4 million videos posted of participants dunking ice water over their heads. Ice-Bucket-Challenge-LIt was hailed “The Harlem Shake” of summer, with celebrities, athletes, Homer Simpson and college students alike posting their chilly challenges and tagging their friends. Nearly $100 million was raised for the ALS Association alone, along with millions raised for various other charities of dunkers choice.

The challenge began at Jon Stewart’s Night of Too Many Stars gala to raise funds for New York Collaborates for Autism. And while the Twizzler Challenge is still in it’s infancy, Today show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Matt Lauer have taken part in an awkward smooch, along with Girls stars Lena Dunham and Allison Williams.

 Things have already taken a freaky turn with one man liquorice nibbling with his dog. Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.16.25 PM

As long as participants are donating, or at least know the cause they are representing, then viral video challenges are an effectual way to raise both awareness and funding. Twizzler, owned by Hershey’s, has made a strategic move to get behind a positive, charitable venture that will solidify a genuine, caring brand image.