Archive for May, 2011
We were all raised on it, some of us are even bringing up our own children on it. PBS has forever been the go-to channel for quality programming without mind-numbing amount of advertisements. But that’s all about to change. The channel that used to only feature promotional messages before and after programs is soon to introduce a new format for promoting and branding.
Here’s a breakdown of the new layout, according to a New York Times article by Elizabeth Jensen: “The longest period of uninterrupted programming, according to a plan shown to the programmers, would be just under 15 minutes, compared with the current 50 minutes or more.” This means that every 15 minutes, viewers can expect to be interrupted by an ad, sponsor spots, promotional messages, and/or branding. Take a look at the image below, created by The Atlantic Wire, which outlines the new strategy:
What happened to interruption-free television to keep viewers engaged and interested? In the coming weeks, we will all see how the new format is received by audiences and corporate sponsors alike. If retaliation occurs, it will be interesting to see how PBS recovers. Stay tuned for more (after this commercial break)!
As if she needed any help (the buzz surrounding the release of “Born This Way” has been almost deafening), Lady Gaga teamed up with a slew of companies and organizations in order to promote her album which was released this week. From appearances to promotional deals, the team behind the massively famous artist pulled all the stops this week. Let’s go over what worked and what was more trouble than it was worth:
- Amazon.com Inc.’s one-day, 99-cent album download.
While this was certainly a brilliant idea, how did no one consider the obvious? Even non-Lady Gaga fans would be crazy not to take advantage of this extremely cheap promotional offer. These days, you’re hard-pressed to find a song for 99-cents, let alone an entire album. While the Amazon-Gaga collaboration surely exposed new fans to Lady Gaga’s music, it also disappointed others. The huge turnout caused intense delays on Amazon’s Web site. Although this promotion was good in theory, the near-collapse of Amazon’s Web site exemplified that it’s not quite ready to handle music downloads at such a large scale … yet.
- Best Buy Promises Free ”Born This Way” CD after Purchase of Mobile Phone, as well as Appearance by Lady Gaga
This is an interesting promo. Not everybody automatically associates Lady Gaga and her music with smartphones. In fact, it might be the case that nobody does. However, Best Buy did as good a job as possible in creating a link. As reported on Reuters.com: ”As smartphones become more sophisticated, we’re seeing our customers rely on their mobile devices for everything from video and photos to music players,” said Scott Anderson, head of merchandising for Best Buy Mobile. “Best Buy has a solid history as an entertainment company and with the great response we’ve received from our customers around our free smartphone promotions, we felt it was an opportunity to bring these two worlds together, and give our customers two high-demand items – a new smartphone and the new Lady Gaga CD – for free no less.” OK– we’ll take it. Lady Gaga also appeared at a Best Buy in New York City on the album’s release date for album signings and more. A celebrity appearance is always hugely successful, albeit nothing out of the ordinary.
- Starbucks Scavenger Hunt
Coffee house superpower, Starbucks, also teamed up with Lady Gaga. However, this one, it appears, might have benefitted Starbucks more than the huge pop star. The coffee shop franchise set Lady Gaga up with a digital promotion. What did Starbucks get out of the deal? Young Gaga fans were drawn into the coffee houses, meaning that Starbucks could promote itself to new potential coffee drinkers. Starbucks hosted a Lady Gaga scavenger hunt across Facebook, Twitter, and more (again, in an attempt to appeal to younger generations). This promotion was less than impressive; some are even calling it the epitome of “selling out.”
Really? Really!? This one might take the cake for over-the-top level of ridiculous. But, hey, that’s what sells. Zynga, the organization behind the wildly popular Farmville, created a new version of the game that showcases the recording artist’s style and themes. Players who pay have an opportunity to receive a free copy of “Born This Way,” as well as a ton of other incentives and contests. One can only wonder what team Gaga was thinking with this promotion (some have termed it “Gagville–” not so good).
All in all, you have to give credit where it’s due. Lady Gaga’s very expensive talented team of people clearly utilized every tool and medium at its disposal. And while a few (OK, a lot) of critics and fans alike have deemed the huge amount of promotions surrounding “Born This Way” as “gag-worthy,” you’ve got to hand it to them. It certainly got people talking. And, as the old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
How do you brand a sport? Usually teams and sports already have their designated and dedicated fans, and the rest of us watch when we catch a game. But the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), in order to develop a closer relationship with fans of the sport, has launched a new promotional campaign: “Strong is Beautiful.”
At a time when the many forms of media constantly send out over sexed messages about what a woman’s image should be, this campaign introduces a new idea. According to Caroline Wozniacki, WTA World’s No. 1,“It takes so many elements to reach the top of such a competitive sport as tennis – strength of character, discipline, and will power. All of these things define who we are as people and as athletes. For me the new campaign is able to capture the inner strength of players in a beautiful way,” as reported on 10Balls.com.
This message of a convergence between strength and beauty is a rare one in today’s society. Girls are more likely than ever to stare at and look up to the heavily-photo-shopped images of celebrities that appear in teen magazines. Therefore, through disseminating its “Strong is Beautiful” message, the WTA has not only established a unified message for the sport of tennis, but is also contributing to a more honest, healthy standard of beauty for girls all over the world.
According to TheSportsCampus.com, the WTA’s promotion will be sent out via television, digital and print ads, and social media over the next two years. Its message is clear– for women, as well as the sport of tennis itself, strong can be beautiful.
It’s no mystery that over the past several years, companies, organizations and governments have been forced to make budget cuts in an attempt to save money. From schools eliminating art programs to company layoffs, we’ve all been impacted by the drastic measures taken to cut spending. Something that might surprise you, though, is the fact that many of these organizations are still investing in promotional products.
According to PRnewswire.com, “Although most marketing costs are being slashed, companies are still finding room in their budget to purchase promotional products.” It’s interesting that while other forms of marketing, advertising and promotions have been cut considerably, promotional items are still relevant, and at this point even preferred. However, with one look at these products’ budget prices, you can see why this is the case; promotional products offer high influence without costing the buyer a bundle.
One organization that has taken full advantage of this inexpensive promotional medium is the Texas government. As reported by Star-Telegram.com, “…more than $3 million was set aside in fiscal 2010 to spend on items and events promoting state programs, agencies and universities — expenses that have drawn both criticism and praise.” Critics of the spending say that this money should be spent on other important issues, such as lowering taxes and lowering spending.
However, executive director at the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priority, F. Scott McCown, disagrees. According to McCown, “Marketing can be an important part of a program. For example, if you are trying to recruit foster parents, marketing may help you increase public awareness and attract applicants.” Indeed, marketing, especially via promotional products, can help raise awareness for a variety of issues at a low-cost.
The key, says Newsday‘s Jamie Herzlich, is “knowing your audience and finding the one that not only delivers value but also provides ongoing brand recognition.”
For governments, schools, and small and large business across the country and the world, promotional items can deliver an important message without breaking the bank. While some may criticize spending on marketing efforts, the truth is that promotional products are one of the most affordable means through which to achieve brilliant brand exposure. That brand exposure helps establish companies, organizations and even locations (such as the state of Texas) as establishments to visit or with which to do business, and that exposure is priceless.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard about the US’ successful Osama bin Laden mission. Immediately following the news of bin Laden’s death, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr were lit up in a frenzy of celebratory Tweets, posts and reblogs. Indeed, America and its allies have not been shy about celebrating this recent development in what is by now an almost 10-year war on terror.
But how has the killing of bin Laden affected those in the promotional world? According to PRNewswire.com, “Companies selling promotional products with a patriotic bent are reporting super-size sales this week as news of the death of the 9-11 terrorist fueled nationalistic fire.” Bin Laden’s passing, it would appear, has evoked a patriotic response from Americans that has not been seen since the months following September 11, 2001.
One way Americans are showing their excitement about the capture and execution of bin Laden is by purchasing USA-themed promotional apparel touting the phrase, “We got him!” See the below photo, which demonstrates this sentiment imprinted on a red, white and blue hat.
The current patriotic promotional party goes far beyond promotional apparel, as well. For example, Gerald Zhou of Pinata Casa claims to have sold more Bin Laden-shaped pinatas over the past few days than he has sold in the past year. ”Osama is one of our most popular pinatas,” he said.
However, promotional companies’ quick response on a ground-breaking event is nothing new. According to Timothy M. Andrews, CEO and president of the Advertising Specialty Institute, “The promotional products industry has a history of turning on a dime and responding quickly to whatever the marketplace and news of the day commands, and this historic response and patriotic surge is no different.” Clearly the promotional world’s reaction to bin Laden death is no exception to that rule.