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Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:
In the wake of the Abercrombie & Fitch controversy, American Eagle's Aerie lingerie brand is going down the Dove way of real beauty. In its latest campaign, Aerie does not photoshop its models and instead goes with a "real beauty" theme. A smart move for sure to differentiate itself from its competitors, which are criticized for their overall sexual appeal (A&F) and for promoting unrealistic body types (Victoria Secret).
Aerie hopes that this new move will not only earn them goodwill from customers, but that their customers reward them with word-of-mouth as well. In order to facilitate engagement, Aerie suggests a hastag to use on instragram and twitter to be featured on their main page. Pretty standard engagement strategy, and I think the real question will lie in whether their target audience will find this move genuine, or whether the dominant writing that "The girl in this photo has not been retouched", which is found on almost every ad, is seen as a sign that this is just a marketing ploy. It will be interesting to see whether this is part of a long-term strategic positioning of aeri, which would certainly make sense.
McDonald’s has recently been trying to reposition its brand as greener and healthier. This video matches this shift of image McDonald’s attempted to initiate few years ago. It shows why there is such a big discrepancy between the appearance of the food offered in the restaurants, and the one displayed on their advertisings.
This effort to be transparent is a really good marketing strategy. It answers growing customers’ concerns about the quality of the food sold in fast food chains. The video is aimed at reassuring them about the quality of the food McDonald’s offers. It shows that the products used are the same in the advertisings as in the shops. It reminds us of a documentary and employs rational appeal. Since McDonald’s already benefits from a high awareness amongst customers, we can assume that this video is meant to increase consumers’ preference for McDonald’s products over other fast food items they can find on the market. The message is that McDonald's is only good but genuine.
This video is part of the bigger project “behind the scenes”: people can post questions on a YouTube channel and McDonalds provide an answer to their concerns with a video.
The Internet and social medias are perfect medias for such a campaign, as it allows a strong interaction with the client. In order to create preference, McDonald's attempts to build a strong and loyal relationship with its customers.
The Save Lids to Save Lives campaign, which was created by General Mills in support of the fight against breast cancer, is a great example of cause-related marketing. Although this campaign has existed for 14-years, last fall was the first time the campaign expanded to include more than 20 brands, not just Yoplait.
This public relations activity not only allows General Mills to support a great cause, but also involves its customers in a simple yet charitable way. Giving customers the opportunity to dedicate their lids to someone in their lives, allows them to get emotionally involved. With one in eight women in the United States being diagnosed with breast cancer, this cause is something that many people can relate to. This is one of the reasons why I believe it has been so successful. Having a marketing campaign surrounding a topic people can identify with increases the amount of publicity and buzz that is created.
Not only does this expansion of the campaign increase the level of consumers’ perception of the company’s corporate social responsibility, but it also earns additional customer loyalty. If I had the choice of deciding whether to purchase a box of regular no-name brand of cheerios, or a box that could help save a life, like a lot of other people, I would want to save a life.
Chelsea Broderick, 05994009, Comm335-1, Public Relations, Cause-Related Marketing, Campaign
The latest installment in Dove's Real Beauty campaign is a creative online video called Thought Before Action. It showcases Dove's mission to confront the art directors and graphic designers responsible for 'manipulating our perception of real beauty' through photo re-touching with the message that true beauty is real beauty.
This campaign has been incredibly successful. Dove's promotion of self-confidence and happiness serves as a powerful emotional appeal that deeply connects with women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colours. The consistency and integration of this message in every element of Dove's Real Beauty campaign - from its billboards to its CSR initiatives - have created very positive associations with the Dove brand, which ultimately influence consumers in the liking, preference, and conviction stages. When consumers are evaluating alternatives and making purchase decisions, they will remember the brand that told them that they were beautiful.
Thought Before Action is a creative public relations stunt that has differentiated the brand by strengthening the importance of social influences pertaining to self-image. It is a newsworthy campaign that has stimulated positive media coverage and sparked a conversation among consumers on various media platforms. As Dove continues to blur the lines between public relations, CSR and traditional advertising, it is coming dangerously close to breaking the golden rule of public relations. Upholding its credibility will be critical to maintaining the perception that Dove is promoting a positive message, not selling trying to sell a product.
(Natalie Fisher, 06059159, Comm 335-2, public relations, emotional appeal, campaign)
The GE Citizen website demonstrates how companies can communicate their CSR activities, initiated or fulfilled that tackle the triple bottom line. The standalone website conveys the feeling of a serious commitment, effectively disguising any marketing driven intentions. Thereby GE adheres to the first rule of PR while promoting initiatives that indeed boost the company’s image. Exemplifying how their products can help the planet, its people, and the economy, GE reaches a variety of its customers. While green marketing and “sustainable systems” appeal to True Blue Greens and the Greenback Greens, Basic Browns are addressed by social oriented initiatives that could benefit them. The website incorporates a blog, effectively offering a platform for interaction by involving the customer. Hereby GE conveys a customer control that is in line with recent marketing trends. Overall, the website is an excellent example of how public relations can integrate CSR to improve the company’s reputation.
Sanneke Rothenberger, 10081443, Comm335-1, Public Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Marketing, Customer Control, GE
In December 2012 Coca-Cola released the above video as a teaser, not offering viewers much of an explanation. However, recent reports suggest that these vending machines are set to become part of a major project. According to sources, these vending machines will be placed in two socially and politically conflicting countries – for example Pakistan and India– allowing for individuals in opposing nations to connect via webcam and touching hands interactively. This latest idea is part of Coke’s happiness project, a campaign that has produced a vending machine that will dispense a pop if you hug it (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A-7H4aOhq0), and a vending machine that will only work if you prove you are a couple (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb1xZtfiRT4).
Coke is using emotional appeal in the form of happiness, love and friendship to stimulate the preference, conviction and actual purchase stage of the hierarchy of effects. Coke is connecting their brand with these powerful emotions in order to persuade the customer away from competing products. Additionally, Coke is using a cultural symbol strategy to position itself. Coke wants to be recognized as a company that unites the world through happiness and expresses this through their innovation. Finally, it appears that these vending machines dispense the soda for free; therefore, the happiness vending machines are a very clever form of sales promotion. If done correctly, this promotion will only generate more positive feelings towards the company.
Jeremy Vincent, 06096528, COMM 335-1, emotional appeal, sales promotions, positioning, campaign
|Suggested by Johanna Azis|
We have seen many brands make the most of the cuteness and lovability of animals through advertising before, but FedEx has taken it to the next level, donating its services to the Toronto Zoo in a PR campaign with the high-profile delivery of a pair of giant pandas from China to Canada. In order to “capitalize on the infinite PR value of cute pandas,” FedEx has made a video tracking the pandas journey while also using the opportunity to delivery key messages on the company’s socially and environmentally conscious values as well as its reputation as being the best in “global coverage and logistical expertise.”
Here we see Fed-ex engaging in content marketing to offer high value information to consumers about its services to create goodwill and enhance its brand images, using the emotions associated with cute pandas and linking it to the often dry subject of shipping packages. The video increases awareness of the brand and forms positive attitudes in a cost-effective manner at a low cost per view.
The video engages viewers with the entire journey of the pandas, showcasing FedEx’s reputation as a leading in shipping and deliveries. The video does not appear to be advertising, making it an excellent example of a brands successful PR, appealing to both current consumers, and stakeholders, as well as potential new customers in the purchase stage of the decision making process. Taking part in the giant panda program allows FedEx to play off of the emotions of its consumers, positioning itself as an eco friendly brand in the eyes of the consumer. Even Jillian McVicar, a senior communications specialist at FedEx admits that “The exact value of services is commercially sensitive information, but it’s hard to put a price tag on helping to save an endangered species through conservation and awareness.”
The FedEx panda project PR video is a great example of the latest trends/developments in the marketing communication industry as its message design and delivery communicate key messages about the brand, leaving its image as a proven company that can make every and any important delivery, including pandas, arrive safely and on time.
Johanna Azis, COMM335 001, Article, Pr, Emotional Appeal, Brand Image
|Suggested by Kate Corcoran|
With consumers becoming more and more health conscious, fast food companies are jumping on the band wagon to provide healthier food choices for consumers. But are they actually healthy for you?
Chipotle is one of the few fast food companies out there that cooks their food fresh daily and sources more local produce and sustainably raised meat than anyone else. This content driven marketing platform, “Cultivate,” was designed to emotionally engage customers in Chipotle’s journey to create a more sustainable future. This is the animated short film on the state of the food industry called, “Back to the Start.” This film ignited a national conversation and was tweeted more than 10,000 times with almost unanimously positive reviews. This ad had the largest impact on the competition; the day after the launch of the ad, McDonald’s announced it was ending its inhumane practices.
Katharine Corcoran COMM 335-002, campaign, advertising, branding, emotional appeal
|Suggested by Sonya Gleeson|
This is the Arctic. This vast area of tundra, jagged peaks and frozen seas is the only place where the polar bear can live, hunt and breed. And it needs our ...
Coke’s iconic polar bear mascot has always been a defining entity of its brand. Recently, Coke has partnered with the World Wild Life Foundation in a joint effort to help preserve the animal that has defined the Coke brand for decades. This is an exceptionally effective way of leveraging PR to generate liking and preference for Coca Cola. This ad uses a strong emotional appeal to shed light on the issue facing the bears, while simultaneously putting Coke in a positive light for supporting such an initiative. This can be an effective way of winning the hearts of consumers by showing that the corporation has a heart as well. Consumers also feel like they are doing their part, as 5% of the purchase of the product will be donated to the cause. The strong association of the polar bear with the Coca Cola brand is what makes this PR campaign most effective. Had Coke showed support for another organization, consumers may not have been able to see a strong connection between the organization being supported and the supporting company. This consequently may result in a “greenwashing” type action.
|Suggested by Brittany Cooper|
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty was launched almost ten years ago and they continue to introduce movements aimed at promoting natural beauty and making women feel comfortable with themselves. Dove’s newest campaign is targeted directly at those who distort our image of real beauty including graphic designers and photo retouchers. Dove disguised their message as a Photoshop action which claims to add a skin glow enhancement to photos. However, when downloaded the application actually reverts the photo back to its original state, “Making the point that Real Beauty isn’t retouched”. This campaign presents an example of digital marketing that allows Dove to target a very specific audience, solely those who partake in the behaviour of photo editing. The campaign doesn’t appear like advertising because it is targeted towards photo-editors rather than Dove’s customers. However, this public relations move appeals to customers because they can connect to Dove’s message as it evokes feelings of acceptance and suggests that Dove believes every woman is beautiful. It’s also an example of conscientious consumerism as it affects positive change, criticizing the photo editing trend which has become commonplace in today’s society. These photos create unrealistic expectations for real girls and women, with potentially damaging effects on their body-image and self-confidence. This creates goodwill for Dove, as celebrating natural beauty improves the firm’s image.
(Brittany Cooper, 0604 7256, Comm335-1, campaign, digital marketing, public relations, real beauty)
|Suggested by Kayla Crnic|
On February 12, 2013, Bell, one of Canada’s largest communications services, created the “Let’s Talk” campaign to raise awareness for mental health. With every text, tweet, or Facebook share, Bell would donate $0.05 towards mental health awareness. With the support of Bell customers and those inspired using social media, Bell donated over $4.8 million.
Social media and instant communication have become a necessary part of modern culture. The ability to share and connect is a powerful tool that can be used to influence our online social networks. Bell capitalized on the current market dynamics and was able to design a campaign that proved to be successful from a corporate and philanthropic perspective.
Bell created a simple message and delivered it in a way that engaged with its target audience. As a result, the marketing campaign was able to reach tens of millions by maximizing both the exposure and frequency the message was received. Bell was able to raise awareness for mental health along with reinforcing top of mind awareness for their telecommunication products and services.
As mentioned earlier, the 24-hour campaign cost Bell $4.8 million. When compared to a $4 million, 30-second Super Bowl commercial a few weeks earlier, Bell arguably received higher return on their marketing investment. The company was able to increase its brand equity while adding goodwill through the CSR initiative.
Kayla Crnic, 0619 5034, Comm335-002; campaign, brand equity, emotion, CSR, message deisgn, message delivery