Tag Archives: twitter

What do Subway, Habitat, Associated Press and HMV all have in common?

Answer, they each weren’t prepared for a social media crisis they themselves caused or fell foul of not responding to consumer feeling/feedback.

Subway is the latest in a sadly never ending line of brands and organisations that have fallen foul of social media backlash and do not have clear procedures and guidelines when a social media crisis arises. This month’s anonymous flash poll from the DMA is looking to see what percentage of marketers feel they are prepared to handle a social media crisis if it hit tomorrow.

Being prepared when it comes to social media responses is not only sensible but also a key way of selling in social media in the first instance. Step one is usually having a response procedure (sometimes referred to as an “engagement matrix”) should the worst happen – however due to the speed at which things change, having an update policy is also required.

Be it Twitter, Facebook or Google+ each carries a risk as well as a reward – the question is how prepared do you feel? Let us know your thoughts below.

By DMA guest blogger Paul Armstrong, Founder of Digital Orange Consulting and DMA Social Media Council member

How to avoid your hashtag turning into a bashtag on social media

How should brands talk to today’s always-on customer? Social media is a minefield for brands as British Gas discovered to its cost last year when its Twitter hashtag AskBG turned into a bashtag.

The trouble with these sorts of social media campaigns, according to Jeff Nicholson, VP of marketing Provenir, is that they’re telling consumers what to talk about and the conversation is all about them and not the customer. It’s a bit like having a friend who likes to control or hijack the conversation. (We’ve all been there.)

Talking on the DMA’s webinar The golden guidelines for actionable social engagement on 26 January, Jeff explained that the key was knowing how to listen for the right data cues and act on them without making the consumer feel like they’re being stalked.

It’s straightforward enough when it comes to direct mentions @yourbrand on social media, but what do you do if someone is looking for advice about a product? Should you jump in and if so how should you behave?

Most marketers would agree that if someone shares an update on social media “Just tucked my kids up in bed” a brand shouldn’t jump in with a “That’s great to hear. By the way we’re offering 20% off beds this Friday” but what if someone is asking about car insurance or has just tweeted that they’ve passed their driving test?

This is where a delicate balance must be maintained based on what the customer is expecting a brand to be listening to and when and how to respond.

Brands also need to build trust with consumers by starting conversations about what they care about but being careful to avoid the creepy factor. It is only then that brands will make the most of the opportunities in this ultra-connected world. What consumers want is an honest, open relationship with brands who know them and are prepared to talk to them on a one-to-one basis about the things they’re interested in.

By Smarayda Christoforou, Copywriter, DMA

Listen to a recording of the webinar for free.
Join us for the second free webinar in the series, The new look of loyalty – email, social, real time, on Wednesday 26 February.


A socially superficial Super Bowl

The Super Bowl remains a seminal social event, and not just for the growing fan base of American football.

It is one of the last truly mass reach marketing platforms, and one with a unique relationship between consumers and marketers.  Shouldn’t smart social strategies embrace, extend and deepen that very special connection?

I’d not be able to name another mass cultural moment where people wait for, talk about and debate adverts.  The increasingly expensive costs of booking a spot, combined with the size and universality of the audience, has always meant that the ads have been part of the experience, and heavily anticipated.

Just think: 100 million viewers glued to their screens and their sofas.  Expecting great ads. A marketer’s dream and an ideal proving ground for social media integration or even ‘social first’ thinking, right?

Not quite.

According to the metrics vendors, well over 12 million mentions of the game appeared on 2nd February across Twitter and Facebook, with a slight but instructive majority on the latter.

Something like 1.2 of the 12 million mentions on the two main platforms were about the adverts in some way.  Typical prices for a 30-second spot are allegedly $4m – just for the media.

Take a moment to do the maths, in any direction you like.

Even assuming mates rates taking that cost way down to $3m, it doesn’t seem like cause for champagne cork popping to me.  Under what circumstances would a single consumer mention of your brand communication be worth $40?  What about $100, $200, $500 or more?

Not many.

If my multi-million pound punt returned such scarily low scores, I’d turn off my phone and be on the next slow boat to somewhere with no extradition treaties before my clients or colleagues thought something amiss.

But sadly, I’m the odd one out at this tailgate party, despite the cold hard facts.

Even if you pretend that the total production, agency and media cost (rather than just media) for a single Super Bowl spot was $4m – and you lucked out with one of the best performers on social with 100,000 mentions or so – are you sure it was all worth it?  How many of the 100 million viewers even gave it a glance?  Can you be sure they were not cracking open another can, in the bog or attacking the guacamole instead?  And if they did see your spot, are they impressed or amused by the advert, or inspired by the brand?  Will they change behaviour in your favour or even buy something as a result?

Probably not, and the evidence keeps looking worse.

Communicus, an advertising evaluation firm, deftly deployed the news cycle to release research demonstrating that 80% of Super Bowl adverts have no sales effect, and in fact fare worse in recall than regular spots.  This could well be because these s’leb stuffed, big budget executions are seen as simply entertainment, rendering the brand unnoticed or irrelevant.

There is a big difference between content ‘brought to you by’ a brand like the original ‘soap operas’, where the value exchange is clear and the association is long term, and just jamming as many laughs and mainstream stars as possible into sixty glossy seconds of video, slapping a logo on it all.

Social buzz words and beige ‘best practice’ concepts are not ignored by the Super Bowl circus.  They are stuck on to the same old thinking like go faster stripes.

Surely the internet and memes and all that are mostly based around animals and Kawaii?  Why not make the ads ‘viral’ by releasing them ahead of time?  Genius idea! Build up momentum on social and watch it peak during the game like a tidal wave of consumer enthusiasm.

So brands previewed and teased their big spots more than before, possibly depressing social buzz in the process.  Not such a good move. The reality of the ‘second screen’, a much misunderstood and mis-sold phenomenon surely would suggest a bit of live surprise remains relevant?

The allegedly most loved advert, and one of the most heavily teased, Bud’s ‘Puppy Love’, may not have increased purchase intent. At all.

You like Bud, or you don’t.

An interest in puppies exists independently of adult beverage preferences. All the money, cross channel integration and PR around the advert (yes, some people still try to do marcomms about marcomms) and more cannot change this fact. A simpler approach with some kind of incentive and direct response mechanic, even just on social, would have shifted the needle further, faster for Bud.

We all know that Oreo’s typically genius Tweet in response to a power failure was the highlight of last year’s show.

This time, they offered a related quip and stepped away to let consumers enjoy the game.  Other than that, JC Penney’s accidentally sort of brilliant ‘Tweeting with mittens’, where the line between demonstrating a product truth and appearing to be dangerously over-refreshed was blurred, is the only stand out for me.

It will take more than smart cookies and woolly typing techniques to call time on this ritual destruction of value.

The back slapping and magical thinking around Super Bowl adverts mirrors how the remains of Hollywood does its risky business. Big budgets mean big efforts to make it work, or at least make yourself think it worked, and even bigger love for your own effort all round. The higher the cost, the higher the hoopla, and therefore the higher the risk of getting little return on investment.

Yet return on investment is not the point here.

It’s all a mutation of the ‘sunk cost’ fallacy – investment decisions and perceptions are shaped by the mental burden of monies already spent.  In the case of the Super Bowl, there is a psychological sunk cost to add to the fun – the implied duty of big brands and agencies to participate means that opting out is taking a huge risk.

Shareholders, bosses and media will have an easy thing to point to if any metrics don’t perform as expected.  Second half of Q1 looking low?  Whose idea was it to sit out the Super Bowl?  Q3 sagging like a soggy sandwich?  Well, we didn’t go into the year with strong momentum like our competitor that hired half the cast of The Hangover and sent them to the North Pole in honour of the Super Bowl.  All these would be very ‘career limiting’ conversations.

A codependent conspiracy of self delusion and fear prevents any rational examination of the circus, and therefore the more pragmatic, accountable thinking required for social media excellence.

By DMA guest blogger Jay Sorrels, Senior Social Media Strategist, Social@Ogilvy

Achieve actionable social engagement without the creepy factor

Fortunately, most companies have come to realise that traditional marketing approaches will only get them so far in the world of today’s perpetually connected consumer. Over the last decade, consumers have been pushed to a breaking point. They’re tired and understandably so after years of being inundated with irrelevant, impersonal, and untimely offers. Continue reading

Spooktacular creative

Each month, the Creative Hub of the Brand Activation Council seeks out inspiring work, to share with you, here, on the DMA Blog. To do this, we ask creative teams and individuals from member companies to put forward new, standout work that they’ve spotted, from anywhere in the world, that involves at least one brand activation element. This might be: ambient, digital, direct mail, experiential, PR theatre, shopper marketing or social network activity. Continue reading

No #ad or #spon but Rooney Nike Tweet still OK

Footballers seem to love tweeting and brands seem to love getting them to tweet on their behalf. Wayne Rooney (with over 7 million followers) is no exception, and recently tweeted “The pitches change. The killer instinct doesn’t. Own the turf, anywhere. @NikeFootball #myground pic.twitter.com/22jrPwdgC1.” on behalf of Nike. A complainant challenged whether this was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication. Continue reading

The rise of the social farmer

I don’t know about you but farming and social media isn’t an obvious pairing in my mind. And yet a growing number of media-savvy farmers are setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts to promote their business, connect with customers and each other. Social media is enabling them to establish direct relationships with thousands of followers and fans, not just the foodies who frequent farmers’ markets in the search for organic, locally grown produce and a back story about how this cheese was lovingly made or what happy lives the dairy cows lead. Continue reading

Marketing lessons from latest Greenpeace publicity stunt

Greenpeace’s latest guerilla marketing stunt at Sunday’s Formula 1 Grand Prix ceremony raises some interesting issues about advertising censorship and the power of social over TV.

The Greenpeace video, the latest instalment of its Save the Arctic campaign, shows two remote-controlled banners being raised just as the Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel takes to the podium. (It’s very funny to watch, which makes it all the more shareable.)

YouTube has since taken down the video following an alleged complaint from Formula 1 over copyright infringement but you can still view the video on rival video-sharing website Vimeo.

It’s impressive how Greenpeace has managed to turn the ban to its advantage, urging people to share the video out of principle, in defence of freedom of speech and defiance of YouTube. It doesn’t seem to matter that there wasn’t any TV coverage about it either.

The news about the ban is showing up on people’s Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds, with a ‘get it before it goes’ on Vimeo too message. If anything the ban has made the video more shareable.

And in a further act of defiance, Greenpeace has uploaded a new video on YouTube attacking the ban and showing another publicity stunt featuring 35 ‘polar bear’ activists going on a Trigger Happy TV-style rampage.
The videos also raise an interesting point about freedom of expression in marketing. Who’s to say which adverts can and can’t be shown? Plus, the ban has also got us all talking about Greenpeace, whether we agree with its aims or not.

Posted by DMA’s copywriter Smarayda Christoforou