2016 Super Bowl Ads – Part 1: Celebrities and Pop Culture References Prevail

This year’s Super Bowl game might not have been all that memorable, but the ads are definitely worth talking about. Many commercials made us laugh, some commercials stirred our emotions, and other commercials left us scratching our heads (puppymonkeybaby??). Among this diverse list of TV spots, a common ad strategy emerged: the use of celebrities and pop culture references. Several brands incorporated famous personalities or funny memes into their ad’s message, effectively capturing the viewer’s attention and leaving a lasting impression of the product. Continue reading to find out which RLF staff members identified their favorite ads in this category.

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Major (key emoji) for Brands: Staying Relevant

By Kat Pallotta

Over the past few weeks, you may have seen people use “Major (key emoji) to success” in an Instagram caption, Snapchat, Facebook post or tweet. This phrase refers to the popular Snapchat account of hip-hop producer DJ Khaled. More than 2 million people a day watch Khaled’s Snapchat stories that feature what he believes are major keys to success.

Leading brands such as MasterCard and Uber have participated in the DJ Khaled phenomenon by tweeting his trademark phrase in relation to their services. “Major (key emoji) Alert: If you need ID Theft alerts, we’ve got you covered (credit card emoji) #blessup,” tweeted MasterCard. The White House, which recently joined Snapchat, also used the phrase in its “My Story” the day before the State of the Union address, stating: “Major (key emoji): Get some rest before the big day.”

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How Companies Have Leveraged User-Generated Content in Marketing Campaigns

By Heather Ebert

The evolution of social media has led to a change in the consumer brand experience. No longer do people wait to tell friends about their latest favorite brand or product in person; instead, they share images and posts about their indulgences instantly on social media. This change in brand advocacy has resulted in a stockpile of user-generated content that brands can easily use in their own marketing efforts.

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Public Relations Lessons From Celebrities That Apply to Not-So-Celebrity Clients

By Heather Ebert

Recently, singer Taylor Swift penned an open letter to Apple via her Tumblr page expressing dissatisfaction with Apple Music’s policy to not pay artists for music streamed during the service’s free three-month trial period. She stated that because of this policy she would not release her album “1989” on the platform. Apple quickly reversed its policy and pledged to pay artists during the trial period, which began June 30.

The intensity and reach of the public eye often requires that celebrities like Swift be very transparent and responsive with the media and their fans, especially when news stories or scandals break. There are many celebrities that handle such events almost seamlessly, but there are others whose actions make the situation worse. There are lessons to be learned from both. Here are the top three PR do’s and don’ts that we can take from celebrities.

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History in the Making: How Brands Showed That #lovewins

By Amanda Garrity

imagesThe world was exceptionally colorful on Friday, June 26. From Twitter feeds to the illuminated White House, everyone was buzzing about the historic Supreme Court ruling, which made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

Responding to current events, especially ones with international news coverage and online engagement, is a great way for brands to showcase timeliness and relevance. It can also bring added attention to their brand and gets people talking, a win in the world of public relations.

The following four brands captured our interest (and hearts) by the way they uniquely and creatively showed their support of the Supreme Court’s decision.

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March Madness: 3 Lessons for PR and Marketing Professionals Straight from the Court

By Victoria Dolan 

Most basketball fans can sum up this year’s NCAA basketball tournament in one word: surprising. Losses by Duke University and Ohio State University in the first round resulted in real “March Madness” and broken brackets for many avid basketball fans. Whether you researched team histories, banked on expert opinions or viewed every game personally, there were not many advantages to be had building your brackets this season.

Depending on current standings, predictions and status quos can hurt PR and marketing strategies too. Here are some lessons that translate from the basketball court to the communications world:

Leverage your victories.

Relish in the glory but don’t let your winner’s high distract from building relationships or converting customers. Awards, media mentions and successful rankings are the perfect time to reach out to nonbelievers and show them why your product or service beats the competition. After UCONN’s victory over Michigan State, the team President Obama had picked to win the national title, @UCONNHuskies tweeted: “Sorry about busting your bracket @BarackObama… We have room on our bandwagon if you’re interested.” A little humor never hurt anyone, right? Engaging with them then might not convert them right away, but it can help build a better relationship in the long run.

Just because you are seeded #1 does not guarantee winning the title.

Michigan State was seeded #4 and was defeated by UCONN who was seeded #7. Kentucky was seeded #8 in the Midwest Region and has made it to the Final Four. Your product or service may be accredited “the best” in the industry today, but tomorrow is another day and there’s a good chance that the competition is trying to show that they are just as good, if not better, than you. Continuously innovate and challenge yourself to exceed your customers’ expectations because being too comfortable with your current bragging rights can lead to failure in the end.  

Be aware of ALL your competition.

Know, observe and track all of the teams you’re playing against. Today’s underdog could be tomorrow’s fiercest rival. Follow their marketing campaigns, new product releases and developments, news coverage and social media interactions. Keeping tabs on their strategies will not only show you what works and doesn’t work, but will also keep you a step ahead of the game.

 

Photo courtesy of Luis Blanco’s Flickr photostream.