Social media site, Pinterest, is the home of DIYs, engaging infographics and helpful life hacks. Whether you’re getting decor ideas, baby name suggestions or tips for turning red crayons into a flawless lip stain, this site has got you pinned (get it?). Now they are getting an upper hand when it comes to usability.
As of November 9th, Pinterest will allow users to search with pictures rather than words. For example, say you are looking at Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss’s Instagram feed. You love her designer boots, but she doesn’t include a link to where to buy them. Simply take that image and search it on Pinterest. You’ll discover they are Marc Fisher boots and they are available at Nordstrom. You’ll also find cheaper dupes on Ebay, DIY tips to keeping your boots polished with coconut oil and ways to pair those boots with any outfit. (***Coconut oil is not a verified polish for boots, use at your own risk)
It is predicted that keywords have seen better days and that many searches will be moving towards an image-based setup in the coming years. Controversially, this strategy benefits advertisers and focuses on purchases rather than really honing in on the needs of users. It is speculated that this might be a move for Pinterest it gain more revenue from companies as apposed to catering to their existing Pinners. In fact, some Pinners might be unhappy with this new feature or simply avoid it because of its encouragement towards making purchases.
Only time will tell how users will respond to this new integration. If you are a dedicated Pinner, would you respond positively or negatively to this feature?
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.
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).
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
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.
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?
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 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?
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. Her 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 – such 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.
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. It 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.
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.
In a pilot project launching this year, coffee giant Starbucks will be serving beer and wine at select Canadian locations. The project is titled “Starbucks Evenings” and has already been introduced by the company to American coffee shops. The “Evenings” menu also offers h’orderve style pairings with your beverage such as chicken skewers and bacon-wrapped dates.
The Evenings project is a great way to boost sales during low traffic hours. Typically a location will receive 70% of it’s daily business before 2 pm. Alcohol adds to Starbucks expanding selection of products (baked goods, sandwiches, iTunes cards). The company has been working hard to position itself as more than just a morning stop for a cup of joe, and is becoming a multi-service store. In the past few years, the dominating coffee company has been battling fast food chains who are competing with their own coffees. McCafe – McDonald’s successful bean brand is sneaking in as a close second to Starbs.
The US stores providing the Evenings menu have seen substantial success and experts are not worried about failure here in Canada. But some Canadian consumers have concerns. Based on online commentaries, some people don’t feel booze melds with the Starbucks atmosphere. Won’t customers who’ve had “one too many” disrupt the cafe vibe? Or even the boozy smell could off-put those expecting the rich coffee aroma we are used to. Others fear baristas aren’t equipped to be discerning IDers, or are uncomfortable with alcohol being more readily available and “to-go”.
The locations for the pilot project will be confirmed later this month, but they will most likely be based in major city centres such as Toronto. The company alludes that the project will be popular among their main target, women, who will prefer goat cheese flatbread and a glass of wine in a cozy coffee shop over the bar.
I am trying to be unbiased, but as a twenty something who loves goat cheese and who could take or leave the bar scene, it sounds like my cup of…coffee.
What? Yes…Stonemill Bakehouse, an Ontario based bread manufacturer has just released bread targeted specifically to each gender. For men, there’s the green packaged, protein packed, fibre fuelled Barley and Rye. For women, (who apparently don’t need protein and fibre) there’s the pink packaged, calorie conscious, calcium filled Hemp and Quinoa.
“Gendered eating” is not limited to bread. Marketing has played the gender card many times before when branding certain foods.
Ads tell us that meat is man food and we learn that women eat flaky, flavourless “guilt-free” snack foods and yogurt. But rarely do you see anything other than daily supplements be specified as “his” and “hers”.
The company insists the intention behind the Health and Well-Being bread is to directly target the nutritional needs of each gender. From a marketing perspective, it’s right on point. Why? Because as I mentioned above, specifically marketed products shape our way of thinking. Throw in a few trendy buzz foods we can’t pronounce like quinoa and you’ve got a wheaty gold goose.
The health bread craze has been baking up for a little while now with company’s such as Country Harvest and Dempster’s using ingredients like “chia” (like the pets?), ancient grain and everyone’s favourite crop – quinoa. Now I’m no Nutritional Expert here, but I would concerned with anyone who derived most of their daily nutritional intake from bread…of any gender… In fact many of these breads still contain fructose (which, in considerate amounts, causes insulin resistance and high blood pressure), preservatives and other unhealthy additives.
So there you stand. It’s a Wednesday night Loblaws run and you’re staring at the endless aisle of health breads, gluten free breads, whole wheat breads and you’re favourite of all – good old white. Stonemill has noted your yoga pants and your calorie-counting wrist watch and thinks they know you. And they are presenting you with that pretty pink package that fits in so perfectly with your stereotype. But let’s face it, Barley and Rye just sounds so much yummier. You rebel! You walk through the store swinging the burly green bag and when you get to the check-out and the cashier says, “Oh, picking up something for the husband?” you laugh. “No,” you smile, “Actually, I’m low on fibre.” You swing the bag over your shoulder and triumphantly leave the store. Applause ensues. You’ve concurred gender bread bias!