Jaguar USA: A Strategic Response to a Fictional Crisis

A few months ago I decided to jump on the Mad Men bandwagon to see what all the fuss was about. Two episodes in, I was hooked, and the show became a quick favorite of mine. I would like to attribute this to its obvious parallel to my favorite industry, but I will reluctantly admit that Don Draper may have a teensy bit of responsibility for keeping me around.

While I cannot help my interest in the show’s handsome men of the 1920’s, the actors are not the only aspect of intrigue. I am always interested to watch Mad Men’s incorporation of real-world clients into the not-always-flattering plotline of the story. What is even more interesting is to see how these real-world clients handle the fictional, yet mega, PR they recieve from the show– the good, the bad and the ugly.

Mad Men’s most recent plotline victim was Jaguar USA, a car company the show’s firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Price, wanted as a client. The storyline was going smoothly enough for Jaguar, when all came to a screeting halt in the May 27 episdoe. The car company’s fictional boss demanded and evening with one of SCDP’s employees, Joan Harris, in exchange for their business. This incredible plot turn overshadows the additional negative remakrs in the episode, such as Draper’s referral to Jaguar cars as “unreliable.”

In our world of progressive social media, immediate action is no longer simply an option, but an expected response, so Jaguar quickly sent the following tweet:

“Loved the pitch, didn’t love the process. We applaud Peggy leaving SCDP.”

According to a PR News article, David Pryor, VP of brand development for JaguarUSA, later released the following response to AdAge.com:

“I’m a big fan of the show and it was gratifying to see our brand portrayed. I would say we were fairly surprised at the turn of events. At the end of the day, though, we’re confident that people know it’s a fictional character.”

I must say, way to keep it classy Jaguar. While prompt responses remain necessary, knee-jerk reactions remain a foolish tactic. And hey, all coverage is good coverage, right?

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The Commercial Your Commercial Could Publicize Like

“Hello, ladies. Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man. Then back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me.”

Chances are, this quote from a 2010 Old Spice commercial sounds familiar. You may even be one of the 35,000,000 (and counting) that viewed the advertisement on  YouTube. In fact, the thirty-three second video quickly became the most frequently watched commercial of the year.

“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” commercial was an instant hit when it aired on televisions everywhere in 2010. An impressive feat, considering our modern age of TiVo and DVR devices allowing people everywhere to fast-forward through advertisements. Gaining publicity via televisions is simply not as easy as it once was, making popular, sticky messages more essential than ever.

So what makes this commercial so popular with viewers? Many credit the advertisement’s success to its implementation of random humor and pure absurdity. The deep, dramatic voice of the leading man, Isaiah Mustafa, and ridiculous dialogue quickly captured viewer attention, leaving them wanting more. This desire was easily filled by visiting Old Spice’s YouTube channel, which contains all of their advertisements. Millions of views later, a viral-commercial was born.

Old Spice’s use of comedy is no joke, however, when it comes to the bottom line, as they have only experienced an increase in press/brand recognition since the launch of the campaign. PR and Marketing professionals everywhere can clearly look to “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” when embarking on future campaigns.

Re-DQ-ulous Absurdity Trend

If you own a television set, it is inevitable that you have noticed the relatively new trend of absurd advertising. Whether it be rapping hamsters or re-DQ-ulous slogans, companies everywhere seem to be harnessing their most annoying marketing trend to date.

Needless to say, public relations professionals have done some research regarding the stickiness of their messages, and somewhere along the line found out that absurdity is memorable. This research brings us commercials such as the following:

Dairy Queen has embraced the absurdity trend full on with their newest advertising campaign. The weirdness of this commercial has already proven to increase brand recognition for the fast food restaurant, but I cannot help but wonder about the reaction of Dairy Queen’s marketing team when someone suggested a “kittens inside of bubbles” approach to their next commercial.

Whether this trend towards the weird sticks around or is gone by next year, salesmen everywhere seem to be taking advantage of it now. This goes to show that marketing and public relations professionals certainly take their research seriously. When they learn that “rockstar falcons” are great at selling car insurance, they put “rockstar falcons” in their commercials. Because the figures do not lie.

After countless commercials that leave the audience wondering “…huh?” it will be interesting to see if this trend sticks around. Personally, I am just more motivated to pay my TiVo and DVR bill every month.

Quality Dadvertisment

Majoring in public relations really changes the way you watch television, more specifically commercials. I can no longer tune out boring, annoying advertisements while I am waiting for my show to come back on. No, now I cannot help but take notice and think about the different strategies a corporation is implementing through their marketing tactics. The following advertisement, therefore, really caught my eye. See if you notice anything peculiar.

A snack company targeting fathers? What is this madness?!

We have all seen the seemingly thousands of annoying commercials with colorful characters and unforgettable jingles targeted at kids. From Heinz’s Green Ketchup to Kraft’s character macaroni and cheese, seemingly every food company has a gimmick to attract children.

Mothers are usually the other target audience for snack food commercials. How many advertisements have you seen informing moms across the country how a certain product will build healthy bones and supply necessary vitamins and nutrients for a healthy child?

Yoplait’s new advertisement campaign, “Dads Who Get It Get Go-Gurt,” is one of the first of its kind in trying to show that in America’s modern family, fathers are doing more, including packing lunches. The success of the campaign is yet to be found out, but rest assured that marketers everywhere will be watching to see if this opens a new advertising frontier.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Anyone currently studying the art of public relations has inevitably had the increasing importance of social media drilled into their heads.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, LinkedIn and countless other sites are becoming more and more crucial to the corportate world. If you are not on-board, you are already behind.

What has not been quite as evident is how to harness the power these sites exude for good. One may ask, is all social media created equal?

And the answer would be a loud, resounding NO.

So how do you decipher between the Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Lleyl Black’s article Five Killer Social Media Tips, available on Mashable.com, is a great way to start.

  1. Anticipate and join Twitter conversations. 
    No one expects you to be a mind reader, but knowledge of current events can really help your online presence. If a big event such as the Super Bowl or an election is coming up, make your tweets relevant to those topics. By implementing popular hashtags, you just might find some new followers. Also, respond to other popular user’s tweets! Do not be shy, get in on the conversation.
  2. Write tweetable press release headlines.
    This speaks for itself. If you can drum up audience interest in 140 characters or less, your writing may penetrate a whole new target audience.
  3. Turn your blog into a social news wire.
    Not everything your client/organization does requires a press release, but that does not warrant it as irrelevant! Keep your followers informed.
  4. Develop social news backgrounders.
    New backgrounder sites allow PR professionals to supply reporters with more information than ever. While you can only say so much during a pitch call, new websites such as Delicious allow you to compile links and articles relating to the story you want covered. Help make busy reporter’s lives a little easier.
  5. Use new aggregation services.
    Finally, as you are inevitably swamped with accounts and pages to keep up with, social media has even made managing social media more convenient! Site such asNetvibes allow you to compile all your sites into a single dashboard.
Following these steps will help increase your client/organization’s social media presence. For more information, read the original article on Mashable.com.

More Ways to Save, More Ways to Spend

As an avid Groupon and Facebook user, it is no surprise to me that internet users will soon be able to use both services at once.

Companies throughout the nation provide special deals for the Groupon site. For example, a particular restaurant may offer a $20 gift card for only $10. Because this group buying phenomenon continues to grow, Facebook has decided to capitalize on the deal with its own large market.

The new program will be tested in San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas and Atlanta. Similar to Facebook’s ability to target ads to its users, businesses working with the site will be able to offer “Deals” to users, specific to there interests. The program is not just for corporations, but for small, local businesses to implement as well. By 2015, the new feature is predicted to make $3.93 billion.

But this is not the site’s only upcoming feature. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg is also working on a new “Rental” page, which allows users to watch studio films on demand for $3 each. A margin of the profit will go to the website. Facebook is also talking with the creators of Skype about developing a video chatting feature for the site.

Facebook is clearly looking for new and exciting ways to implement technology in order to profit from its huge user base. Up until recent years, the site continued to gain popularity, but did not have a way to make money off their audience. With the help of other popular online sites and ideas, Facebook will continue to grow and evolve, and make more money in the process.

To read more about the upcoming Facebook changes, read the article here.

Facebook Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

September 27, 2011

Last week, seemingly every Facebook user was in an uproar when the site underwent yet another makeover. The Wall, now used as a constant stream of new information about friends, also includes a “Publisher,” which allows users to post photos, videos, notes, links and statuses right to their profile. Users can even control the size of the content they upload in order to dictate what receives the most attention. Finally, a plethora of new tabs can be found on the site for a more organized, easy to use layout. Sounds great right?

Apparently not. The Facebook community is not a fan of change. Venturing away from what is known and comfortable seems to be quite the disadvantage for bothered users. But there is one more aspect about the new and “improved” Facebook that has small businesses jumping for joy, $10 million in free advertising.

Facebook’s Marketing Solutions” program states that it will provide small businesses with $5o each in free advertising on the site in 2012. The site claims its new objectives are to help small businesses grow by gaining more customers, building lasting connections and reaching customers’ friends.

In addition to providing free advertising, Facebook promises to help their smaller advertising partners to learn about social technology and connect directly with the social media site.  Only time will tell the success of the program, if all Facebook users do not abandon ship for Google+ first, that is.