Tag Archives: consumer brands

Real Time Marketing In History-Making Moments

As you’ve likely seen, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limited the rights of same-sex couples, was overturned by the Supreme Court in a historic ruling this morning.

As with other pop culture happenings and current events, brands are quick to leverage the news to connect with consumers. With countless eyes glued to computer screens, live-blogs and social networks, it’s a prime time for brands to get involved.

The key – especially when civil rights are involved – is to strike the balance between self-promotion and support. Here are a few brands that managed to be both clever and tasteful in light of today’s historic news:

Clothing retailer Banana Republic posted a visual interpretation of the iconic red equal sign made entirely out of folded shirts. The brand is also running a sweepstakes for couples – both gay and straight – to share photos for a chance to be outfitted by Banana Republic for their nuptials.

banana republic

ABC’s Modern Family posted a simple image of the show’s beloved gay couple – Mitchell and Cam – filtered with the famous red equal sign the tune of more than 12,000 likes and close to 700 shares.

Designer Jonathan Adler posted a playful message on his Facebook page, depicting two gay couples using upside down vases from his collection, with the caption: “Ding dong, DOMA’s dead!”

Virgin America took to its Facebook page and posted its own interpretation of the equal sign with the caption: “Great things start in San Francisco! #LoveisLove”

virgin america

See how even more brands, including Gap, Smirnoff and Ben & Jerry’s, showed their support in this Mashable roundup.


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Exploiting #Sandy In Poor Taste

We all know by now that Hurricane Sandy was a social media phenomenon. I’m sure in the days and weeks to come we’ll read all about record-breaking statistics that helped keep us all from going too stir-crazy while cooped up in our apartments. It’s only natural – when things get rough, we rally to vent our collective frustrations and fears. Social media is obviously a  great way for us as a culture to experience a current event.

But when marketers try to use current events to stay relevant, it can sometimes backfire. In fact, it can come off as inauthentic and downright desperate.

Take this email below that I received from a gym I’m considering joining. The subject line was “Sandy Equals Savings in November!” I rolled my eyes and brushed it off but it left me feeling uneasy.

THEN, I saw this gem from American Apparel. Wow, gee thanks dudes. I’m so glad there’s a sale on overpriced clothes for size 0 hipsters!!! Thanks for providing me something to keep me busy in case I was “bored” during the storm. I’m sure people who lost power really enjoyed seeing this pop up on their iPhones when they had only 10% battery life left.

I mean, we need to remember that this hurricane  left at least 38 dead and millions without power in the U.S. And we can’t forget the additional 69 lives it took in the Caribbean before it made its way to us. This is not something companies should be using to score a jump in profits.

Perhaps if brands want to leverage a current event, they should first consider the situations that their customers may be in. Consider strategic timing. Consider holding your tongue for a few more days. Or maybe consider a creative way to market to your customers while helping hurricane victims.

My heart goes out to those who lost a loved one during the storm. I also hope that those who lost their homes or property can find the strength and support to move on and rebuild. And in the coming weeks, I hope to see more brands getting involved in relief efforts.



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Too soon? Michael Jackson to appear in Pepsi ad

As if the Tupac hologram at Coachella wasn’t creepy enough, PepsiCo is resurrecting poor Michael Jackson for a new ad campaign. The deal, which was approved by Michael Jackson’s estate, will supposedly include television ads and cans of soda branded with MJ’s image.

The big questions that come to mind are:

1.)    Pepsi, are you SERIOUS?

2.)    Controllers of Michael Jackson’s estate, are you SERIOUS?

3.)    Fans who will probably buy MJ cans, are you SERIOUS?

Pepsi is notorious for tapping celebrities (mostly musicians) to stay fresh, young and relevant. Most of the time though, those musicians are still alive, willing and able to sign their own contracts agreeing to use their image to hock soda. To combat Coca-Cola from stealing too much of the soft drink market share, Pepsi has run previous campaigns with A-listers like Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey,  Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg – I could keep going, but I’ll stop.

Michael Jackson famously appeared in a previous Pepsi television ad in the 80s, when his hair caught fire and he suffered severe burns.

It seems like a desperate and tactless move on the part of Pepsi, considering the tragic way that MJ died, the recency of his passing (seriously it hasn’t even been 3 years) and the fact that MJ’s HAIR CAUGHT ON FIRE WHEN HE FILMED A PREVIOUS PEPSI COMMERCIAL. If he were alive, I hardly think the “King of Pop” would approve.

I’ll definitely be looking out for the ads and the cans (though I probably won’t purchase one) when they’re due out in the USA in a few weeks. Will you be buying a can of Pepsi emblazoned with MJ’s face? What do you think of the ad deal?

*Photo courtesy of PepsiCo

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