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


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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, Brides.com, 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!


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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.


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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.




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.




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.




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.




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: http://mashable.com/2014/01/28/kia-superbowl-ad-matrix/


Guinness inspires with an Olympic-themed disappearing ad: http://mashable.com/2014/01/29/olympic-twins-guinness-ad/


Toyota turns to Terry Crews and the Muppets: http://mashable.com/2014/01/28/muppet-crews-toyota-ad/


Budweiser tugs at the heart strings: http://mashable.com/2014/01/29/budweiser-puppy-love-super-bowl/


Squarespace brings the Internet to life: http://mashable.com/2014/01/27/squarespace-super-bowl-ad/


In other Super Bowl news, Bud Light has bought most of the searches for Super Bowl ads: http://mashable.com/2014/01/27/bud-light-super-bowl/


And lastly, 61% of Internet users will share Super Bowl ads on social media: http://mashable.com/2014/01/29/super-bowl-ads-infographic/

Hit the comments and tell us your favorite!




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.




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!




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.



November 29th, 2013

Thanksgiving, historically one of the worst travel days of the year, got a little more interesting this year. A man named Elan Gale live-tweeted his interactions with the obnoxious woman a couple seats over. As The Daily Dot reports, “Gale tweeted his passed “notes” with a fellow passenger on his plane, after a flight delay caused her to complain.” While Gale tweeted pictures of his notes to the mysterious “Diane,”


speculation has arisen that she may not actually be real, or that she may BE real and suffering from cancer. Either way, Gale, a producer on The Bachelor, comes off looking a bit…nasty. In any case, the story took off, perhaps relating to the “angry customer” narrative so popular on Black Friday. As one tweeter, @benschwartzy, put it, “Somehow the guy who produces “The Bachelor” managed to turn an emotionally distressed woman into entertainment. #GoFigure

Whether or not Diane is real, this story is an interesting snapshot of what it takes to make something go viral. In Gale’s case, all it took was some clever staging, an engaging narrative, and a slow news day.


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November 25th, 2013

This weekend was the 50th anniversary of beloved BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who. Many companies did tie-ins with the show, but the winner has to be Google, with an amazing 8-bit doodle game that had Whovian productivity dropping all day.


Tie-ins and rebrands came from disparate industries, with the Saucy Fish Company rebranding as the Saucy Doctor Company. The company rebranded itself on all its social media, as it has done before on other occasions, landing it on a list of cool UK brands. This kind of recognition is one of the great perks of showing your fun side on social media; the other is a sales bump, as seen on geek sites like ThinkGeek.com. Whether it be a holiday or a movie release, participating in the popular culture is always a great place to start on social media.




November 15th, 2013

TV network the CW has partnered with sound company Bose to produce a web series surrounding its hit show Arrow, which follows the adventures of popular DC Comics hero the Green Arrow. The minisodes center around two of his sidekicks, Felicity Smoak and Roy Harper, played by Emily Bett Rickards and Colton Haynes, respectively. The product placement for Bose is pretty heavy-handed, but that’s to be expected, and the episodes do a good job of promoting both Arrow and some of Bose’s newer products, which are aimed at a younger crowd than they have gone after in the past.


This kind of transmedia advertising is really effective because it wraps the ads up in a story fans are already interested in, which is a great way to leverage existing viewers. But that’s not all the partnership is doing; Bose and the CW are also running a sweepstakes offering a trip to Vancouver to visit the Arrow set. By combining an engaging story with a call to action like this, both partners can get a lot of eyeballs on their products, as well as collecting a lot of email addresses for future marketing efforts, which is the beauty of transmedia.

What other digital partnerships have you seen that caught your eye?




November 8th, 2013

Twitter is known for being a source of up-to-the-minute, on-the-ground news during disasters, and that function has come into play this week with Typhoon Haiyan ripping through the Philippines. The storm caused mass devastation and cost upwards of ten thousand lives. The social networking site is being used to connect survivors, as happens during any disaster, but it is also being used to muster help for those in need. Celebrities such as the Pope are tweeting their sympathy and prayers, but more importantly, disseminating reliable information and places to donate.


Mashable has a good list of ways for those outside the Philippines to send help. They also have a list of reliable sources to follow for information. Meanwhile, what can you do besides donating? First, the best thing you can do is spread the word. Spare a few tweets or Facebook posts to share sources and aid organizations with your followers. Second, be sensitive. Be careful what you post, and make sure your tone is appropriate. As always, common sense is your best friend where social media is concerned.




November 2nd, 2013

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is in trouble again. The platform is under fire for a much-reviled new policy of making all user-posted media automatically appear in your timeline, with no way around it (you’re welcome, advertisers). This might not sound like a big deal but it’s proving to be problematic in that there’s no way to avoid pictures that are, shall we say, not safe for work.


This new policy backfired on Costolo yesterday when parody account @ProfJeffJarvis posted a full-frontal nude picture and then started tweeting (facetiously) about why he was losing followers. The account, run by Rurik Bradbury of Unison, started including Costolo in these tweets, and Costolo did not get the joke.

Needless to say, somebody seems to have informed Costolo about the truth of the situation, because the account is now suspended. However, the evidence remains, thanks to Storify and ValleyWag.

The lesson to learn from Costolo’s misstep is that you need to pay attention to the conversation before you get involved. It would have taken about thirty seconds for Dick Costolo to look at @ProfJeffJarvis’s feed and see, not only the silly tweets, but the NSFW picture, and he could have either responded with appropriate humor or chosen not to get involved, instead of putting his foot in his social media mouth. In any case, whether you’re a small business or the CEO of a giant company, you need to pay attention to what your users are telling you before you try to diagnose, let alone fix, a problem.




October 25th, 2013

Amelia Earhart is plotting a transcontinental flight. No, not THAT Amelia Earhart, but one who resembles her in more than name. Colorado news reporter Amelia Rose Earhart is planning a 100-hour flight in order to get young women and girls interested in aviation the way her namesake did. But there will be a few differences this time. Today’s Earhart has made intense amounts of preparation, taking courses on how to survive if she and her copilot are forced to ditch the plane over water, among other lifesaving techniques.


But what really sets Earhart the second apart is that you’ll be able to monitor her flight every step of the way. The plane will be fitted with multiple live cameras, plus custom satellite tracking equipment, allowing viewers to keep track of where Earhart is and how the flight is going. More than that, Earhart and copilot Patrick Carter will host live Facebook and Twitter chats while in the air. Now that’s a novel user experience.




October 23rd, 2013

YouTube star Karen Cheng has a great post on Fast Company about how to make a video go viral. She offers ten excellent tips, but we’re going to focus on just a few of the main points.


First of all, Cheng points out that going viral is work. As she puts it, “If you put all this effort into your video, why would you rely on luck for the last leg? Swallow your pride. Give your work a fighting chance.” Put in the time to seed your content in as many (targeted) places as you possibly can, which brings us to point number two: “understand how things go viral on the internet.”


What worked for Cheng, whose work centers on dancing, was sending her video to prominent dancers, posting on Reddit, and seeding to popular blogs like Jezebel. What may work for you and your content will depend on your industry, your subject matter, and your goals, but whatever your aims, you have to understand what to do and where to do it.


Point five is the really important one: “None of this matters if your video isn’t good.” You have to give people a reason to watch your video or read your blog post, or it’ll be just your mom sharing it on Facebook. Cheng says “People share things when they feel emotion. What emotion will your viewers feel?” Make people feel excited, amused, awed, whatever. Just make them feel something.


Lastly, step nine is a good one to think about, especially where marketing is concerned. Know what you’re willing to do in order to get views. Are you willing to compromise your beliefs? Which ones? Are you willing to live with a misleading title? How about linkbait? You need to know ahead of time because you can’t scrub your content from the Internet after the fact.

Bottom line, all the preparation in the world won’t do you any good if your content isn’t interesting or moving, but Karen Cheng’s tips can help you put forth your best effort at going viral. Do you have other tips? Hit the comments!




October 11th, 2013

FOX’s new show Sleepy Hollow is taking the social media world by storm. The show started off with a bang, jumping into a Revolutionary War battle and immediately introducing the big bad villain of the show. The premise of the show may be silly, but darn it, it’s fun, and it’s garnering great ratings. But part of the reason the show is developing such huge momentum is because of social media. The social media producer behind the show’s strategy does things like “…tweet along with the show, and we try to engage fans – we’ll try and spark a conversation with them. We also try to feed out those images of those iconic moments, and the quotes as well, to see if we can get some traction on that.” Check out this blog post featuring the producer in question for more about the show’s strategy.


But that’s not all. The show’s writers get in on the Twitter action, even getting into imaginary feuds with other showrunners.


However, the best social media use is coming from actor Orlando Jones, who plays curmudgeonly Captain Irving. He live-tweets both East and West Coast airings of the show, including the Friday replays, and he has led the charge in the formation of the new Sleepy Hollow fandom, dubbed “Sleepyheads.” He’s active on both Twitter and Tumblr, sharing fan art, memes, and games, and best of all, he actively solicits Sleepy Hollow fan fiction from the rabid fans on Tumblr.

So what can we learn from Sleepy Hollow and its fabulous social media strategy? Basically, things are more fun, and more effective, when everyone gets in on the action. Transparency is always attractive to users and consumers, and showing the human side of your company is a great way to get people interested in engaging with your brand. You might not want to go as far as soliciting fan fiction, but letting your personality shine is a great way to go.




October 5th, 2013

We’ve written before about how well the Muppets franchise does social media, but they’re broadening their transmedia reach with a foray into Google Earth. Furry and loveable monster Grover is providing tours of Sesame Street Workshops around the world, starting with a charming introduction.



Other Muppets get in on the action, introducing different versions of Sesame Street, like this one from Northern Ireland, known as Sesame Tree, complete with its own accent-sporting Muppets.


There are several reasons this pairing works so well. First, it achieves both partners’ primary goal: education. Users of all ages can learn about the world through the medium of the beloved children’s program. Second, it’s creative. Taking a TV show (or other property) and moving into multiple forms media is pretty much a necessity these days, and Sesame and Google is a perfect pairing. Third, it’s done with incredible grace. These kinds of partnerships can often come off as pure advertising, or simply as cheesy, but in this case, the end goal is education first, not just hits. Users can generally tell when a brand means well, and that often goes a long way towards making something go viral.

What are some other creative transmedia partnerships you’ve seen? Hit the comments and let us know!




nostrum clients soon find out that we have strong opinions, as well as ideas. and we're not afraid to share them. get to know us, and who knows, we might even have something in common.

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