Paris Terrorist Attacks and Social Media’s Response

November 18th, 2015

Another atrocity shocks the world, this time in Paris. Again. Just under a year ago, the city was stunned when Islamist extremists stormed the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly satirical newspaper, and executed 11 people. Last Friday, the 13th of November, extremists once again targeted The City of Light in a coordinated attack that claimed the lives of 129 residents and tourists, many of them young people gathered at an American rock concert.

After the January incident, the phrase Je suis Charlie (“I am Charlie”) made the rounds on social media, with many on Facebook swapping their profile picture for a black and white Charlie sign in a powerful show of solidarity with the fallen journalists and the French people. Today, there is an online storm brewing, and not just in response to the terrorists’ latest heinous act. Instead, this uproar involves Facebook’s safety check-in function and the photo filter, which allows users to overlay their profile picture with the French flag. Who could possibly find this offensive? Even those who typically complain about social media being onerous or a time-waste have to admit that this was both useful and deeply moving.

As it turned out, the day before the Paris attacks, two suicide bombers killed 43 and injured 239 in an ISIS-backed maneuver in Beirut. But the people of Beirut haven’t seen the outpouring of support that Paris received almost immediately following reports of a bomb. There was no safety check-in function activated in Beirut. And, Facebook didn’t unfurl a digital Lebanese flag filter for users to upload.

While #PrayforParis was trending on Twitter and a global audience has professed its concern for the French people on myriad social channels, nary a word has been uttered for the Beirut community. They have been overlooked.

Or so they (and we) thought.

While it’s true that the support for the city has reached nowhere near the levels as those afforded its Western counterpart, the reality of this double standard has at least been raised in online debates. In fact, many users have noticed this disparity in coverage and have taken to social platforms to protest it. They’ve even called out Facebook, demanding to know why no safety check-ins were made available to people in Beirut. Facebook’s rather lame response? A post (naturally) from Vice President of Growth Alex Schultz: “There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris. This activation will change our policy around Safety Check and when we activate it for other serious and tragic incidents in the future.”

There’s a good chance that something similar in scope and size will occur again in the near future. And that, in itself, is tragic. Let’s hope that when it happens all social channels — and governments — are equipped to offer equal support.

Emissions Test Fraud: Volkswagen Deceives Regulators and Consumers, Brand Image Takes a Hit

September 28th, 2015

It’s a tale as old as time: corporate greed — and unchecked power — drives corrupt behavior, resulting in public outrage and expensive lawsuits. As that old song goes, “When will they ever learn? When will they e-e-e-ver learn?”

Apparently never, because last week brought the news that German automaker, Volkswagen, used sophisticated software to cheat U.S. EPA emissions tests on an estimated 11 million of its diesel cars. This is a scandal of epic proportions that has rocked the U.S. and Europe and has threatened to destabilize the German economy. Even the company’s CEO has stepped down, though he claims no knowledge of any misdeeds (of course not). Could this possibly be true? Only time will tell. The fact remains that Volkswagen has done irreparable harm to its brand – one that, until now, has enjoyed a sterling reputation as both economical and trustworthy.

Forgive yourself for rubbernecking, for it’s altogether warranted. In terms of reputation, this is a four-car pile up – carnage everywhere, with the Volkswagen image splattered in little, tiny pieces. Decades of hard work—and advertising dollars— have gone into building the brand, transforming it into the economic stalwart that it has become. Famous for some of advertising’s most memorable campaigns featuring clean, hip, and quirky creative that touts an economical and efficient product, all of that has come crashing down. Consumer trust has plummeted overnight, and it’s now up to a new CEO and crisis management team to do what they can to pick up the pieces of a broken brand. Will they succeed? We think so, but it will be a long, uphill battle, and Volkswagen may never again achieve the type of success that once made it a brand worth following.

‘We believe’ that she is marketable: U.S. women’s soccer star, Carli Lloyd, set to score big with corporate sponsors following World Cup win

July 8th, 2015

Last Sunday, the chants of “USA! USA!” shook Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium. The world had just witnessed a dominant display of athleticism and technical wizardry courtesy of the U.S. women’s soccer team. And it made us swell with pride. From online social media communities to pubs to living rooms and more, Americans everywhere celebrated the squad’s first World Cup win since 1999. Not only did they defeat a worthy Japanese opponent, they sealed the victory within the first 16 minutes of the match, when midfielder, Carli Lloyd scored a hat trick, to make it 4-0. The U.S. went on to win 5-2, and Ms. Lloyd effectively cemented her status as the sports industry’s next darling. She’s all but guaranteed to join the ranks of female soccer stars Sydney Laroux, Abby Wambach, and Alex Morgan – all of whom have already inked lucrative marketing deals with the likes of Coca-Cola, GNC, AT&T, Bank of America, and others.

A relative unknown outside of the women’s soccer circuit, Lloyd’s star is now shining bright thanks to her Pelé-like performance that had the American public and international spectators in thrall. Within the short time it took her to slot through a thundering half-field punt, her Twitter followers surged by 50k+, and her official website crashed temporarily. Even superstars Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi gave a tip of their hat on Twitter.

With Lloyd’s marketability now through the roof, marketing analysts are predicting a surge in sponsorship deals for the winsome 32-year-old who they say has all the attributes a company could hope for: integrity, tenacity, intelligence, and likeability (not to mention a clean police record, unlike teammate and U.S. women’s soccer goalie, Hope Solo, who was involved in a domestic assault dispute earlier in the year, which sullied her image).

Up to now, Lloyd’s corporate partnerships have been limited to just a few minor players, with the exception of Visa, which signed her the week before the World Cup finals match (talk about timing!). But, with her profile now higher than ever, experts say Lloyd’s representatives would do well to secure national endorsements before the media frenzy dies down. As for her long-term marketing potential – could she be another Mia Hamm or Serena Williams? It’s too early to tell, but if she plays her cards right and maintains momentum by logging more superstar performances like the one last Sunday, Lloyd will become more than just another high-profile athlete, she’ll become a brand.

Cinco de Mayo Marketers Cast Their Consumer Net Wide

April 30th, 2015

March Madness is but a memory, and the Easter Bunny has delivered his final basket. So, who – or rather, what – will fill the marketing void? If you answered “Cinco de Mayo”, give yourself a hand. The holiday, which commemorates Mexico’s 1862 victory over France (and not Mexican Independence), has grown in popularity, and not just among Latinos. Brands like Avocados from Mexico, Honda, Taco Bell, Major League Baseball, Corona, and others are throwing mucho dinero behind Cinco de Mayo campaigns aimed at the general consumer — Americans of all creeds and backgrounds who love chips, guac, and beer.

What was once a niche, largely manufactured holiday has become a U.S. staple, observed by more than just college students. When this annual Mexican fiesta rolls around, merchants report a dramatic uptick in sales that can be directly attributed to this branded event. Professional baseball teams, amusements parks, and food and beverage companies experience a similar phenomena as consumers take to the outdoors for sporting events and barbecues that signal the official advent of summer.

How will this year’s Cinco de Mayo promotions play out? Brands are deploying a variety of tactics to capture the hearts and minds of the general consumer as well as the growing U.S. Latino base. Avocados from Mexico is hosting a live Twitter chat with Latina actress and activist Eva Longoria, while Taco Bell will unveil it’s “hottest” hot sauce yet and give away free biscuit tacos. But the biggest corporate sponsorships will come from beer and liquor producers, like Corona and Jose Cuervo, both of whom host dozens of festivals around the country and roll out Cinco-centered print, TV, social, and digital campaigns that dwarf virtually all others.

At Nostrum, Inc., we know we’re lucky: we work in a dynamic industry with exceptionally smart clients and partners. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our Southern California location, where authentic Mexican food is as ubiquitous as the palm-lined streets. So, when the Fifth finally arrives, we’ll be out there, enjoying a delicious dish of arroz con frijoles and on the lookout for Cinco-centered advertising that hits the mark.

The Shorty Awards Honor Best Digital, Social Media Content

March 26th, 2015

If you’re like us, you’re probably a little obsessed with all things digital and social. If something’s making waves on YouTube or generating retweets around the world, you can guarantee it’s made the rounds here at Nostrum. So, when the nominees for the 7th Annual Shorty Awards were announced, we were downright giddy! (For those unfamiliar with the program, the Shortys recognize exceptional short-form content on social media.)

Our account managers, media team, and creative department spent hours – possibly too many – pouring over the submissions and marveling at the ingenious ideas executed to perfection. There was the Humane Society of Silicon Valley’s in-house marketing campaign, “Eddie the Terrible”, which took a hilarious approach to promoting its services. Rather than taking the predictable route of using pictures of adorable dogs and cats to tug on the heartstrings, the agency’s marketing and social media team instead highlighted their most problematic adoptee, Eddie – a very crusty dog with some very bad habits (yapping, scratching, peeing, just to name a few). Through the use of blogs, a satirical press release, and an aggressive media outreach campaign, the Humane Society not only raised its profile and achieved a record number of media impressions, it also found a permanent home for Eddie!

Another Nostrum nominee favorite was GoPro, who blew us away with its YouTube and Instagram submissions. Billing itself as the “inventor of the world’s most versatile camera and category creator in action, adventure and lifestyle photo and video capture”, the company does an outstanding job of producing creative content through the eyes of its social media followers and sponsored athletes. From adventures high atop snowy mountain peaks to terrifying encounters with a great white shark, the awe-inspiring photos and video tell an authentic tale of those among us determined to take the path less traveled. That GoPro social media content has been favorited, shared, and viewed hundreds of thousands of times speaks volumes about its marketing team’s commitment to customers and to the company’s mission.

For a complete list of the Shorty Awards nominees and winners, visit Be inspired!

Beware the bot: Coke is unwitting victim of Gawker Twitter prank

February 13th, 2015

Social Media. Either you’re on it, or you’re not (but be honest, you’re probably on it). It comes in multiple forms, too: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, et al. These online communities are more popular than ever, with features that promise greater freedom and flexibility. The opportunity to experience the world and connect with friends and family is just a touchscreen or a mouse click away, making it remarkably easy for brands to deliver their messages right into the hands of customers. But of course for every Yin there is a Yang. And as Coca-Cola experienced firsthand earlier this week, for every well-intentioned social media or digital campaign conceived, there’s an army of trolls ready to thwart forward progress.

Following a well-received Superbowl commercial in which a glass of Coke is accidentally spilled on a city power grid and subsequently “spreads” good vibes around the world, the company executed a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #MakeItHappy – an attempt to combat online negativity by turning mean tweets into cute, fanciful images.

Naturally, this brought out the trolls – in this case, Gawker, the gossip blog that covers media and celebrities – who proceeded to tweet out lines of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf using a Twitter bot @MeinCoke. You can guess what happened next: Coke’s automated system churned out passages from the book in the form of cute text art to its millions of followers.

Almost immediately, the company’s Twitter campaign was suspended, with Coke issuing the following statement: “The #MakeItHappy message is simple: The Internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It’s unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn’t. Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign.”

It was indeed unfortunate, but it was also a valuable lesson for Coke and other brands considering automated Twitter campaigns: assign a team to host the campaign in real-time, and monitor interactions because the likelihood that your campaign will be trolled, Rickrolled, hacked, hijacked is high. Even non-automated campaigns run the same risk, for where there is social media, there are pranksters at the ready, waiting to instigate and cause embarrassment on a massive scale. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Super Bowl Ads: GoDaddy Ruffles Feathers, Uber Scores a Touchdown

January 29th, 2015

It’s a tale of two campaigns – two distinct advertising efforts launched the week before Super Bowl XLIX. Two companies, two campaigns, one thing in common: puppies. And that is where the similarities end, because the two vastly different outcomes that resulted from Uber’s PuppyBowl promotion and GoDaddy’s Super Bowl Puppy Mill TV spot highlight the need for businesses to seriously consider their messages, their audience, and their environment before paying good money for an ad campaign.

First the good: today, Uber, the app-based ridesharing network announced ( its partnership with television network Animal Planet to deliver on-demand, adoptable puppies to businesses in the following cities: Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington D.C. It’s a promotion for Animal Planet’s wildly popular annual Puppy Bowl, where the hardest hits are also the cutest!

Between 11am and 3pm today, you can use your Uber app to request a 15-minute, $30 playtime with the adorable puppies. All proceeds will be donated to city shelters.

Consider us sold.

This brilliant idea not only helps shine some positive light on the beleaguered taxi company (which has taken a beating in the press) but it also helps raise awareness for animal shelter adoptions, a growing movement in the U.S. In short, Uber’s feel-good Puppy Bowl promotion is relevant, engaging, and sincere.

Now for the not-so-good: GoDaddy, the irreverent domain registry, has a history of pushing boundaries with its ads ( It’s a brand with a clearly defined identity and voice; and when it runs campaigns, they invariably generate attention. But when the company unveiled its latest spot ( earlier this week, it wasn’t prepared for the negative reception from consumers and animal welfare groups who decried the ads as being pro-puppy mills. The spot features a puppy that finds its way back home only to be sold on a GoDaddy site.

While the company was smart to issue an apology and remove the ad (an alternate one will run during the Super Bowl), the damage was already done. What the company considered a tongue-in-cheek piece was instead perceived as cruel.

Perhaps most puzzling was that a company exec would even think to greenlight such a project, especially in this day and age when support and awareness for animal causes has risen so dramatically. And while brands should indeed remain true to their identity and protect them vigorously, they need to take care that they don’t overstep boundaries in the pursuit of envelope-pushing work that grabs attention. The lines might blur, but good taste does not.

Nostrum named finalist in Knight Cities Challenge

January 17th, 2015

It’s been hard to contain our excitement this week, what with the exciting news that we were recently named a finalist in the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Knight Cities Challenge! More than 7,000 proposals from across the U.S. were submitted for this national call for ideas to help make cities more vibrant places to live. And Nostrum’s ‘Living Walls’ entry was among the 126 finalists to advance.

We now have the opportunity to compete for a share of the five million dollar civic grant money, which will be used to help encourage collaborations and spur creativity right here in Long Beach.

‘Living Walls’ is a series of themed structures placed throughout the city, combining educational and entertainment elements that we hope will help foster civic engagement. Think nature walls, arts walls, fitness walls, and more – the possibilities are endless! And with fun, educational features that attract both young and old alike ‘Living Walls’, will serve as a platform for the exchange of innovative ideas.

Final applications are due February 1st, and winners will be announced in Spring 2015. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re up for the challenge. Go Long Beach!

2014 – The Year of Content Marketing

January 9th, 2015

The holidays have ended, and 2014 is but a memory. You may be inclined to simply forge ahead with your eye on the tasks at hand. But before you do, let’s pause and take a minute to look back at the year that was – when the industry seized upon the great, big idea of content marketing, a concept that, while not entirely new, found what looks like its permanent place in the marketing plans of companies everywhere.

Content marketing is the practice of generating original, relevant, unique, and timely content in a way that engages a brand’s audience(s). Gone are the days of one-way, trickle down communication. The current spate of online communities and social media networks – Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth – have returned power to the people; consumers now talk with brands and help shape the conversation.

These same online channels also provide a constant drumbeat of messages, inundating consumers with flashy images and exhortations to buy, buy, buy! This glut of “noise” and newfound consumer influence can be intimidating. What’s a marketer to do when talking at a customer no longer works?

You guessed it, content marketing.

Consider top players like American Express, J. Crew, Target, and Disney. They’ve mastered the art of content marketing, and they understand that in today’s fast-paced world of short attention spans and ease of information a different strategy is needed. They must offer fresh, exciting, authentic and even provocative content to tell their story, earn customer loyalty, and promote brand awareness. These brands are tweeting, pinning, and blogging their way to higher sales and customer satisfaction with content that’s authentic to who they are, relevant to their target audiences, timely, and wildly entertaining.

Take American Express. To demonstrate its commitment to the success of small businesses, it set up a robust online forum where entrepreneurs can share information and advice. The company publishes content-rich articles with valuable tips for starting and running a small business.

Another content marketing home run: Target’s online, behind-the scenes magazine, A Bullseye View, a popular resource for home décor, lifestyle, and fashion tips, exclusive to the site. It churns out quality content that helps drive business sales but isn’t itself “sales-y”. It’s helpful. Likewise, J. Crew provides exclusive deals as well as stunning fashion photography on its corporate Instagram account, while the Disney company blog offers behind-the-scenes video capturing the magic of Disney characters and the happiest place on earth. Coincidence that customer loyalty and brand awareness are on the rise? Hardly.

2014 taught us a valuable lesson that we predict will hold true in 2015 and beyond: content marketing is an essential part of a successful marketing plan. Whether it’s via a corporate blog, a white paper, video, e-newsletters, or social media, consumers have an insatiable thirst for information that’s entertaining, that helps them solve a problem, and that helps them improve an area of their life. If your organization can provide that magical concoction of exciting and informational content, you’ll win both hearts and business. Good luck.

Nostrum scores windfall of marketing awards for Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

December 11th, 2014

Smart marketing and superb design. That’s the Nostrum way, and there’s nothing we love more than when a client comes to us with a seemingly impossible marketing or advertising request. A close second? Garnering recognition for those efforts, and showcasing our clients’ products, people, and their capabilities.

So, imagine our excitement when we learned that the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau – a longtime client – was honored by four separate marketing awards programs for Sky Transformation, a full-day conference and event celebrating the unveiling of the Long Beach Arena’s new multi-million dollar Pacific Ballroom.

The LBCVB and Nostrum teams won the following for a three-piece invitation series:

• Addy Awards, Regional Silver Winner
• Hermes Awards, Platinum and Gold
• MarCom Awards, Platinum and Gold – multiple
• Summit Awards, Silver and Bronze – multiple

Sky Transformation, which took place on November 20, 2013 was months in the making and took countless hours to coordinate, from musical acts to food selection, to purple and pink themed flowers and more. The goal? To help sell the re-imagined event space for conventions, large scale events, concerts, meetings, and more.

Nostrum was tasked with developing the event branding, messaging, and collateral/promotional pieces, including three direct mail invitations that played on the Sky Transformation theme of sight, sound, and space.

Using complex origami folds, acetate, and vintage vinyl record material, we produced an exciting invitation series that ultimately helped attract hundreds of folks from the media and hospitality industries, as well as local city leaders. The event was a rousing success, generating numerous press mentions and sparking a flurry of social media activity from guests eager to share their experience.

The best part: meeting planners from across the country booked the Pacific Ballroom for a range of events, while others now had Long Beach on their radar as a potential venue for future engagements.

Making our clients shine – that’s the Nostrum way!

First Invitation in Series

First Invitation in Series

Second Invitation in Series

Second Invitation in Series

Third Invitation in Series

Third Invitation in Series

Move over ladies: men are now Pinterest’s fastest-growing demographic

November 17th, 2014

Long considered the domain of females, Pinterest is fast becoming a man’s world. Well, ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the growing numbers of male “pinners” is making brands think twice about their social media strategy. Last week, Pinterest — the web and mobile application network that allows users to collect and share visual bookmarks from around the web — announced that it doubled its U.S. male user base in the last year, with men now accounting for one-third of new sign-ups. According to the company, more American men use Pinterest than read Sports Illustrated and GQ combined. Whoa.

Why is this significant? Because brands now have yet another avenue — beyond LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and so forth — to reach both their male and general audiences. Traditionally, Pinterest has attracted a mostly female crowd (70%-80%, in fact) – one that shares pins pertaining to weddings, crafts, home décor, and clothes. Consequently, brands that cater to this demographic have achieved record levels of success via targeted campaigns. Companies like Etsy,, Urban Outfitters, and Williams-Sonoma all boast active followings on the social network and have boosted their profile through the creation of branded content specific to the site. In other parts of the globe, particularly emerging markets, the Pinterest gender divide runs closer to an even split, proving the platform can engage both men and women.

Already, some traditionally “masculine” brands like ESPN and Mercedes-Benz, have established a strong Pinterest presence, actively courting their (mostly) male consumers with boards dedicated to car design, classic car shows, fantasy football, tailgates, and “game time grub”. Other “manly” boards you might stumble across? There’s Motor Trend, Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and, oh yeah, Chuck Norris.

So, if you’re looking to tap that male demographic with a social media marketing strategy that’s perhaps a little different, consider adding Pinterest to your marketing arsenal. And be sure to let us know how it goes!

Teen girls make Alex from Target an online sensation

November 7th, 2014

He’s a social media phenomenon with thousands of Twitter followers, almost all of them teen girls. He’s not in a boy band, and he doesn’t star in a Disney sitcom. He is Alex from Target.

And, unless you’ve been absent from social media this entire week, you know exactly who we’re talking about: the Target employee and Justin Bieber look-alike whose good looks prompted a young female admirer to snap his photo, which then went viral after it was shared via Twitter. Besotted teen girls quickly made the hashtag #alexfromtarget a nationwide trending topic on Tuesday, November 4, and within a few days, analytics revealed that more than 1.1 million people had tweeted about him.

Naturally, rumors swirled that this was all an elaborate marketing ploy engineered by the discount retail giant. Target quickly denied any involvement in or knowledge of the photo and its circulation on social media. And the young man at the center of it all – Alex Lee? His instant Internet fame has left him flummoxed. Since his identity has been discovered, his Twitter followers have ballooned from 2,000 to 600,000+, and just one day later he appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show to talk about his sudden rock-star status.

The lesson for brands? Don’t underestimate the power of teens on social media, especially teen girls. With plenty of free time, disposable income, and online proclivities that span the spectrum of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube—this segment can drive interest in products and brands in a way that other groups can’t.

Teens are early adopters, too. They eagerly wade into the social media sphere, connecting with each other as well as the brands that take them seriously and target them effectively. They are vocal in their likes and dislikes, sharing that information via online channels, which can result in the kind of rapid snowball effect (influence) that we saw with Alex from Target. So, brands, take note: some of your most viable and valuable marketing prospects are the teeny-boppers you pass in the mall. Ignore at your peril.

Get on the Game of Thrones Bandwagon

April 8th, 2014

It’s been a long, cold winter, but Game of Thrones is finally back. We’ve blogged before about how great their use of social media has been, but now let’s take a look at how other people react to the show’s momentum. For one thing, Sunday’s season premiere crashed HBOGo, which left users feeling extremely unhappy. Take a look at Mashable for some of the funnier reactions. Our favorite is “Winter is…loading?” from Twitter user @marissachristy. HBOGo had similar problems in March with the season finale of True Detective, and they promised more support for the app, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, those who did get to watch the episode loved it, including other brands looking to capitalize on the show’s trending status. The tweets range from hilarious (Arrested Development) to ridiculous (Mentos), but they’re all interesting from a social media perspective. The main question to ask yourself when trying to jump on another brand’s bandwagon is this: is it going to make users smile, or is it going to make them groan? Click here to see who was successful and who wasn’t.

Finally, if you didn’t see the episode, or just want to relive it, here it is recapped in .gif format, perfect for Tumblr. But beware…spoilers abound.

Social Media Roundup: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

March 24th, 2014

This past week had the usual run of viral videos featuring Beyonce and clever cats, but there was some interesting news as well. We’ll cover both the newsworthy and the purely viral in this week’s social media roundup!

YouTube may be looking into creating a kids-only site, says Mashable. The site already has safety features to protect younger viewers, but they’re not 100% foolproof. A kids-only site could be just what parents need, given the, er, adult popularity of some children’s shows, such as “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” It won’t erase the need for careful monitoring and safety features, but it’s a good start, if it comes to pass.

A very informative study done by Fox, Twitter, and the Advertising Research Foundation shed some light on the dynamics between Twitter and television consumption. Click over to Mashable to get the full details, but the long and short of it is that there is, in fact, a direct link between a show’s activity on Twitter and viewers’ actions, although not in the way you might expect. The study reveals that the most influential proponents a show can have are the on-air talent, whether it be an actor or a host of a reality show. That being said, the more active a show’s brand is on Twitter, the more likely viewers are to make an effort to watch the show, and the more likely they are to take action on advertisements, especially if they are closely tied into the show’s activities.

On the viral side of things, frequent flier Jimmy Fallon teamed up with Kevin Bacon to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bacon’s dance classic, Footloose. Fallon announced that NBC had made dancing on “The Tonight Show” illegal, and that did not sit well with Bacon. What follows is a brilliantly choreographed homage to Footloose, proving that Bacon (and his dance double) has still got it. Click here to see the full video, and prepare for some serious 1980’s nostalgia.

Finally, just because we’re so excited for the return of “Game of Thrones” and because we like their social media efforts so much, check out some of the awesome fan art being sold on Etsy. The dragon egg necklace in particular is really hard to resist.

A Love Letter to Social Media: Denny’s

March 17th, 2014

We’ve focused before on brands doing well on Tumblr, but the last brand we expected to find rocking the social media world was diner chain Denny’s. When you think of Denny’s, you probably think of white ceramic coffee mugs, Formica tables, and red vinyl booths–decidedly not hip. Nevertheless, thanks to a young, up-and-coming marketer from Gotham Inc., Denny’s is taking Tumblr by storm.

Denny’s already had an effective presence on Facebook and YouTube, being named one of the most responsive brands on Facebook, but to break into Tumblr, Gotham Inc., a New York-based firm, hired twenty-something Amber Gordon to take over Denny’s social media strategy. And the move paid off. Gordon’s take on social media, especially where Tumblr is concerned, is to be as authentic as possible. “I was hired to use the social networks as I would my own. That’s our strategy, having that diner feel. You’re just happy to be there. We’re trying to show that we’re the same thing, but on social. It’s not supposed to be advertising in your face,” Gordon told the Daily Dot.
By combining strategically placed .gifs with humorous content, Gordon has created a huge Tumblr following, with users even “shipping” an anthropomorphized Denny’s with another restaurant chain. What we can learn from Denny’s Tumblr triumphs is that the best strategy for social media is to cut back on strategy and punch up on authenticity. Be current. Be funny. Be real.

Muppets and McDonalds and Netflix, Oh My!

February 26th, 2014

There have been some surprising developments on the Internet in the last week, from Muppet selfies to what some are calling the end of Net Neutrality. Let’s take a look.

We’ve blogged before about the Muppets and their awesome use of social media, but they’re taking things to another level by joining Instagram, the popular photo-sharing (and enhancing) network. In the run-up to their next film, coming out in March, they’re even having the evil Moopets take a selfie or two. What makes the Muppets’ social media efforts so charming is a combination of skill and savvy, along with the cuteness and wit that comes with any Muppet production. The takeaway here is to find what makes your business or product special, and then use social media to showcase that.

In other social media news, McDonalds has joined SnapChat. The fast food giant is using the infamous photo and video-sharing site to generate excitement for their soon-to-be-announced new sandwich, with the help of Lebron James. The move seems to be working, as the account has garnered thousands of fans in just a few days. The reason the account has taken off is partly due to James’s star power, but also because McDonalds is creating a sense of mystery and excitement by teasing tidbits of information leading up to the product launch.

Finally, you’ve probably heard about Comcast’s deal with Netflix, which many have called the end of Net Neutrality as we know it. Mashable has a great piece detailing what the move actually means, and it’s not what you might think.

What other social media news blew you away this week? Hit the comments to let us know.

Get Excited! It’s Super Bowl Sunday!

January 29th, 2014

This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest day of the advertising year. To help you get excited, we’re going to do a roundup of the ads we’re most excited to see. Then, next week, we’ll take a look at which ads were actually the coolest and most effective.

Kia channels The Matrix:

Guinness inspires with an Olympic-themed disappearing ad:

Toyota turns to Terry Crews and the Muppets:

Budweiser tugs at the heart strings:

Squarespace brings the Internet to life:

In other Super Bowl news, Bud Light has bought most of the searches for Super Bowl ads:

And lastly, 61% of Internet users will share Super Bowl ads on social media:

Hit the comments and tell us your favorite!

Starting the New Year Off Right

January 13th, 2014

It has not been a good week for Google+, with nasty articles in both Mashable and ReadWriteWeb. Both sites are critical of Google’s increasing insistence on integrating the social network with its other services, such as YouTube comments. Criticisms include the lack of organic discussion and the fact that users can now email anyone with a Google+ account. The less control users have, the unhappier they become. This may account for why user numbers have grown, but engagement has not.

On a totally different note, Mashable was very complimentary about Google’s analytics advances in the last year, including demographics data and Google Tag Manager. Click the link for things we’d like to see in 2014.

And on an even MORE different note, during Sunday night’s Golden Globes broadcast, the Muppets launched what may be our favorite ad campaign of 2014 so far: a mock-Twitter fight deploring the lack of nominations for the Muppets. Check the link for video.

2013 Year in Review

December 27th, 2013

As 2013 winds down, let’s take a look at some of the best viral marketing and content of the year.

First, as you may have noticed, Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character was everywhere this year, promoting Anchorman 2. The character did everything from auto ads to interviewing Broncos star Peyton Manning. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny that the Burgundy campaign was effective.

Next, Century 21 created a fantastic campaign to sell Walter White’s Albuquerque home in the wake of Breaking Bad’s departure. They made a fake Craigslist ad and set up a phone line where a Century representative congratulates the user on their great taste.

Finally, Grumpy Cat. That frowny-faced cat is everywhere! What started as a cute internet meme became a lucrative merchandising machine for the cat’s owners, with calendars, t-shirts, and television appearances galore. Who could resist that face?

We hope your 2013 was fantastic and that your 2014 will be even better! Happy New Year!

Social Media Roundup

December 13th, 2013

This has been a big week in social media, so let’s do a roundup.

  • Uh-oh, Spaghetti-Os! Campbells Soup is in trouble for posting an insensitive Pearl Harbor Day tweet asking Americans to honor the 1941 attack with the following picture:

Needless to say, people were outraged, and the tweet was pulled. The company has since apologized.

  • HBO is keeping the Game of Thrones love alive with a campaign to smear the TV king everyone loves to hate: Joffrey Baratheon. Using the hashtag #roastJoffrey, users are being asked to tweet the nastiest things they can think of about the boy king. Even Oreo and JC Penney got in on the action.

  • Twitter made a major change to its block feature, making it so that blocked users could still follow and interact with their blocker’s tweets. Users were outraged, asserting that the changes favored harassers instead of protecting victims. The move was so unpopular that Twitter undid it the same day.

  • Last but not least, Queen Bey dropped an album with no warning, generating millions of tweets without an ounce of promotional marketing. Beyonce’s unconventional release paid off, as the album shot to number one. Get the full story here.