Congrats to our May Rockstar of the Month: Patty Jimenez!
We want to say a very deserved THANK YOU to our amazing Senior Account Manager, Patty Jimenez. Her incredible commitment to her clients and her extraordinary ability to finesse stressful situations make her an invaluable part of our team. She has delivered impressive results for some of our most prestigious client partners, including DrivenBrands, Xtend Barre, Versy and Modern Health Concepts.
Always willing to lend a hand when it is needed, Patty is a model team player and wonderful part of our RockOrange family.
“Patty consistently delivers and takes her work to new levels,” said VP of Content, David Quinones. “She’s an integral part of the success we’ve achieved for our client, DrivenBrands, and the agency as a whole.”
BIG UPS, Patty, for your brain and your brawn. We tip our hats to you!
“Regardless of what Millennials might say during brand surveys, this report reflects the facts of how they are living, and that information is crucial if you hope to gear your brand toward their lives.”
Contributed by David Quiñones
Lately, there’s no easier way for agencies and firms to insert themselves into brand and marketing related social conversations than to publish surveys about Millennials that promise to finally pull back the shroud of mystery from this beguiling generations’ consuming habits.
I knew a user data insight specialist once who told me that between Facebook data and Google data, she would rather attack a marketing campaign armed with user habits from Google. The information we put into Facebook is our “ideal selves” she said; it is our outward-looking aspirational identity. The questions we ask Google speak to who we really are.
Usually, the insights from these agency-led surveys wind up being pretty superficial. After all, these surveys are kind of like Facebook: respondents are imagining their ideal selves, and projecting it into their answers. And that’s fine; it can even be quite helpful in targeting and campaigning. But it isn’t necessarily the truth of who they are.
How Millennials are Really Living
On April 19, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report called The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975–2016, focusing on the differences between young adults over the course of 40 years. Regardless of what Millennials might say during the aforementioned brand surveys, this report reflects the facts of how they are living, and that information is crucial if you hope to gear your brand toward their lives.
A few takeaways from the report we found interesting:
Most of today’s Americans believe that educational and economic accomplishments are extremely important milestones of adulthood. In contrast, marriage and parenthood rank low: over half of Americans believe that marrying and having children are not very important in order to become an adult.
Young people are delaying marriage, but most still eventually tie the knot. In the 1970s, 8 in 10 people married by the time they turned 30. Today, not until the age of 45 have 8 in 10 people married.
More young people today live in their parents’ home than in any other arrangement: 1 in 3 young people, or about 24 million 18- to 34-year olds, lived in their parents’ home in 2015.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
In 2005, the majority of young adults lived independently in their own household, which was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. A decade later, by 2015, the number of states where the majority of young people lived independently fell to just six. Of the top five states where the most young adults lived independently in 2015, all were in Midwest and Plains states.
More young men are falling to the bottom of the income ladder. In 1975, 25 percent of young men ages 25 to 34 had incomes of less than $30,000 per year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent of young men (incomes for both years are in 2015 dollars).
Between 1975 and 2016, the share of young women who were homemakers fell from 43 percent to 14 percent of all women ages 25 to 34.
Of young people living in their parents’ home, 1 in 4 are idle, that is they neither go to school nor work. This figure represents about 2.2 million 25- to 34-year-olds. Among other characteristics, these young adults are more likely to have a child, so they may be caring for family, and over one quarter have a disability of some kind.
The Millennial generation, it goes without saying, is complex. The things they consider milestones (graduation, jobs, promotions) are different than what they consider capstones (marriage, children) and some capstones for previous generations are not showing up on their radar at all (do any of us honestly think we’ll get to retire?).
So, in the struggle to identify our target demographics’ “ideal selves”, let’s not give short shrift to their “real selves” and how they are living.
Interested in our public relations, social media and online brand analytics services? Get at us: email@example.com.
At RockOrange we represent a wide variety of clients – from large consumer brands to newly launching lifestyle businesses. With such a diverse group of clients, we always have to stay ahead of the game and keep a strong pulse on the practice of matching companies with the right strategic partners or celebrity ambassadors to drive awareness for corporate initiatives, be it product launches, red carpet events, non-profit programs or social media campaigns.
It is well known the power that a positive partnership or celebrity endorsement can have on your brand. But as a publicist, the glitz and glamour and perception of spontaneity that appears in the final coverage, doesn’t quite represent the less than sexy work that has transpired behind the scenes.
With that, we thought we’d share a glimpse behind the curtain at some of the steps and a few tips on how we minimized missteps and maximized this celebrity appearance:
Be prepared: In advance of the celebrity’s arrival, pre-write a statement and social posts that you can send out immediately following. Have your media list ready and an editor on standby to refine any photos or footage. You want to lead the conversation, so time is of the essence. With proper planning, you should be able to quickly make minor changes to your statement, and send it out with a few clean images and footage. (Biggest reminder: DO NOT over-edit or add music to the footage. Leave the ambient noise.)
Know your team: When things are moving fast, or if you are based remotely from the appearance, you need to be able to trust in your partners. Have your core team identified and roles clearly defined. (A shout out to our fabulous partners at Casa de Campo!)
Make it easy for the celebrity: No one likes to have his or her time wasted. Pre-walk the path where the celebrity will walk. Know your entry and exit spots. Make sure they are able to quickly and easily get to their locations, without anything blocking the way. In the moment, they will be looking to you for guidance and confidence.
Know your end goal: Pre-determine what your ideal coverage looks like. Seed the outlets you want to be in and give them first access, or provide it to the outlet with your house cameras. Determine what your ideal coverage/image of the celebrity looks like. You want them to be shot in the perfect lighting with your brand represented in the background. Sometimes, this means kindly coercing the celebrity to stand or be somewhere they may not want to be. Politely stand your ground, know what you need to achieve, and make it happen.
Find things you can control: If the appearances don’t go as planned, find other ways to tell the story. What was the celebrity wearing? Who were they with? Where did they dine before or after the appearance? Stay focused on the goal of getting your brand image weaved throughout.
Integrate your brand message: Ensure that statements and visuals (photos and videos) reflect your brand integrity, likeness and/or name. But unless you are the president or owner of the brand, the focus is not on you. This is business and not friendship, so no cameos please.
We hope these few insights help guide your celebrity experiences to provide the best return on investment for your brand.
RockOrange is a fully integrated communications agency made up of a diverse group of collaborators who are passionate about building brands. We don’t just follow trends, we set them. We take solid, fresh ideas and turn them into value for the companies we work with. We see problems as opportunities, provide strategic leadership and never lose sight of our clients’ goals.
Another year has flown by here at RockOrange. And it’s been an exciting one! We moved offices into our new home in Little Havana, added 15 new clients to our roster including Red Robin, Planet Fitness, The American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora and Millennium Hotels, had eight new RockStars join the team and continued to be recognized for our work, winning four new industry awards.
Through it all, the RockOrange blog gave us a place to share all these exciting developments with you. That’s why, as we count down the final days of 2016, we wanted to look back and share our top 10 blog posts of the past 12 months in terms of views, likes and comments.
It’s never been more important for brands to be good at talking to themselves. But today, that can mean communicating to more than just employees.
Often, those who have spent time outside the corporate world can be blissfully unaware of its realities. With large teams and budgets, the common misperception is that it is easy to get new initiatives implemented and to get everyone on board, paddling in the same direction.
But effecting change across large organizations is more often like slaloming the Titanic through a gantlet of icebergs. The lurking danger, just under the surface, is lack of communication.
This is why we have seen an evolution during the past 10 years toward seamless intranets that integrate into workers’ day-to-day activity. It’s about communication, getting every single member of the organization to lean left, then to the right, in concert.
But organizations are changing. Communication is no longer as simple as us (employees) versus them (the public). Today, brands need their own internal PR to speak with contractors, vendors, equity and commercial partners, board members, franchisees and other stakeholders.
Recently, RockOrange developed and launched a complex, multi-pronged internal communications portal for an automotive aftermarket-franchising client using proprietary software called Jive. The client is a conglomeration of some 10 separate, unique brands, each with their own distinct business model and footprint across North America. It was our second such project in the past three years that focused not just on employees but networks of franchisee and store-level managerial constituents—the first having been for quick service restaurant giant Burger King. In these engagements, the threads weave together to form complex permutations of different user roles, permissions, communication types and requirements. By necessity, these platforms must take fragmented needs and coalesce them, becoming all things to all people.
Don’t worry—it’s only half as daunting as it sounds. To find out how to do it, click through and subscribe to PRNews to read David Quinones, RockOrange’s VP Editorial & Content article on how to build an intranet that works for internal stakeholders across the board. The article was published in two parts in the weekly PRNews Pro newsletter: Before You Build an Intranet Listen to Employees and Determine KPIs (published Oct 24, 2016, Issue 41) and, Why Feedback is Important as You Build Your Intranet (published Oct 31, 2016, Issue 42).
By Miguel Piedra, Principal & Managing Partner, RockOrange
Last month, Palo Alto-based computer hardware developer HP made news when its CMO issued an ultimatum to its PR and advertising partners, exhorting them to submit plans for those agencies to become more diverse in the next 30 days.
In the letter, Antonio Lucio put HP’s roster of agencies on notice. That includes some of the most prominent names in our industry: FleishmanHillard and Porter Novelli for PR; and BBDO, Fred & Farid, and Gyro for advertising.
Lucio’s goal is laudable. The communications and creative world is overwhelmingly white and male. Hispanics, African-Americans and women are chronically underrepresented—doubly so in leadership roles. This at least partly explains many of the embarrassingly tone deaf and cringe-worthy campaigns that have tried unsuccessfully to court these demographics. To understand a culture, one must have at least some mooring in that culture. To execute a successful campaign, you need at least one person in the room who understands the target demographic. Too often, there are none.
But for diversity to take hold and deliver real, positive outcomes, the organization must truly believe in it. Lucio’s heart is in the right place. But from an internal, agency perspective, I can see the natural progression of what will come from this strategy. Ultimatum delivered, the hiring partners will scramble to keep the business. No one is in business to lose money. So whether or not they believe in the core value of diversity becomes beside the point. They will have their talent acquisition and human resources teams do what is necessary to ensure the business is kept. But in the end, if someone is hired as a show pony, or as a token nod to diversity, that is how he or she will be treated. How does that achieve the desired end of viewing projects through different lenses?
Understand, diversity is two-pronged: you must first hire a collection of individuals from different backgrounds, and then empower them to have an effect on your business. It is hard to imagine an agency compelled to hire or promote to meet a client ultimatum will deign to do the latter. The only thing that gets more diversity is the Meet the Team page on their website.
Instead, brands like HP would do well to hire agencies that already value diversity and show the veracity of that belief through their staffing.
There are many agencies around the country that look and act like ours. At RockOrange we are not only minority owned, but more than two thirds of our agency is comprised of women and at any given moment we are 75-80 percent black or Hispanic. Our RockStars range in age from 22 to 50s. We draw from a rich array of life experiences, employing talent from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds.
It wasn’t difficult to do this, and it wasn’t an accident. Miami is an overwhelmingly diverse city, a tapestry of black, white, brown, and all shades between, serving as a model for the next American generation. If you’re a believer in demographic data and population trends, Miami—and by extension our agency—looks a lot like how the country will look in 2050.
But our adherence to diversity as a value is rooted in more than simple geography. Many of our team members have worked in homogenous environments where everyone is from the same place and brings similar experiences. The effect is a deafening echo chamber where disagreement is viewed as dissention. Lack of diversity fosters groupthink, narrowing the collective view. The narrower the view, the broader the blind spot. It’s a dangerous way to do business. It’s how a campaign winds up comparing Naomi Campbell to a chocolate bar. It’s how every Latino menu item at national chains ends up being “spicy” or “fiery”.
For executives like Lucio who understand the underlying business proposition behind diversity, there are alternatives to shoehorning it into the vast organizations they hire—admirable a goal though it may be. Our agency has diversity baked into its very DNA. And while we work with mostly national or international brands, everyone’s unique point of view is not just respected—it’s required. We make diversity work for us, and for our clients.
Instead, try working with agencies that are already built that way. As someone who has worked on both the client side as a chief communicator and the agency side as an owner, I can attest that the work product is guaranteed to be more authentic and appealing when it comes from a room of different people with diverging opinions.
An agency that needs to be told to make itself more diverse has a long hill to climb before it becomes truly diverse. For those who see the value, there’s no such thing as scrambling to keep the business with token hires.
Innovation drives Sam Rodriguez, RockOrange’s new head of creative. The latest RockStar, Sam is a visual artist who has crafted nationally recognized campaigns through design, still images and motion pictures. A Miami native and a graduate of Miami’s Institute of Art and Design, Sam’s mastery of visual storytelling will help expand RockOrange as a creative force in marketing and communication. He joins us after more than a decade as creative director at kabookaboo in Coral Gables.
A self-taught photographer, composer and animator, Sam works rigorously to refine his craft every day. His meticulous attention to detail and desire to grow helped him turn his love for photography into marketing campaigns for large firms in the wine and sprits industry.
As a nationally recognized designer, Sam’s work has been the cornerstone of iconic projects here in South Florida and around the world. Throughout his career, he says he’s found it essential to understand every aspect of a project’s lifecycle – from idea, to creation, to execution.
As the leader of RockOrange’s burgeoning creative team, Sam will guide a group of talented, promising young designers as they continue to deliver the kind of beautiful, game-changing work that our clients have come to expect.
Along with his talent, Sam also brings a deep understanding of the agency world from both the employee and leadership points of view. Early in his career, he ran a successful creative business before ultimately selling. Fresh out of high school, Sam considered becoming an architect until he realized he could turn his love of art into a business unto itself. He found his passion in creating marketing campaigns that, as he describes it, “affect people’s psyches.” He loves to call out the differences in the brands he represents from the countless other choices consumers have.
And most of all, he’s not afraid of adversity—an important trait for a creative director.
“Challenges help you get out of your comfort zone and think differently about a particular project,” he said. “It can bring out the best and the worst in people. I always strive to bring out the best.”
In early 2015, RockOrange incepted and managed the first-ever Facebook Fashion show to promote the launch of Macy’s first-ever Hispanic-backed exclusive clothing line Thalia Sodi for Macy’s. The show aired live on Thalia’s Facebook page to millions of fans around the world and RockOrange reached across social media platforms and promoted the hashtag #thaliaformacys, which became a top trending term during the event and in the hours that followed.
The activation was a drop-dead success on all levels. As the first-ever Hispanic-backed exclusive clothing line to span several internal departments at the quintessential department store, the Facebook runway reveal also became the first of its kind in the history of the ubiquitous social network. The launch was one of the largest in Macy’s history.
More than 5,987 people viewed the show live and 410,134 more engaged with the event live. In its first 15 minutes of broadcast, some 34,000 people viewed the video of the fashion show. Over the next two hours, that figure ballooned to over 300,000. Today, more than three million people have seen the show.
Beyond the immediate success of the show, our Facebook Live Streaming was a trendsetter for numerous other brands that would execute similar campaigns in the following year. The trend has been followed most recently by Versace, Kate Spade, IDENTITIES, organizers of London and New York Fashion Weeks, and, ahem, Crochet Empire’s jock strap fashion show, just to name a few.
The full list of winners from this year’s PR News Social Media Awards can be found here.
What’s red and sweet and delicious all over? You guessed it, RockOrange’s Red Nose Day bake sale!
To give a little background, Red Nose Day was started by a UK non-profit organization, Comic Relief, in 1988. The fun and silly day devoted to raising money for children in poverty around the world has collected more than $1 billion in the last 25 years.
RockOrange joined the Red Nose Day bandwagon last year and continued to #RockTheRedNose last Thursday, May 26. We raised major dough (pun intended!) with a FUN-raising bake sale. Normally, orange is our color, but on this day each of our RockStars brought 12 red baked goods and we decked out our office kitchen in matching red.
We had delicious red treats like: red velvet cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake cookies, cookies with red M&M’s… We’re getting hungry again just thinking about it. Some of our teammates donned their creative cooking hats and brought dark chocolate bites with goji berries sprinkled on top or cookies filled with guava. (Yes, they were just as delicious as they sound.)
RockOrange raised a grand total of $245 to benefit children worldwide! We want to thank everyone who contributed to this great cause.
Last week, our RockStars ranked their favorite Super Bowl commercials of all-time. Now, on the heels of one of the least exciting games in recent Super Bowl memory, during which the world’s attention drifted from the subpar play on the field to the 30 and 60-second spots, we thought we’d take stock of this year’s crop.
Frankly, the slew of offerings was about as underwhelming as Cam Newton’s postgame press conference. Mildly entertaining? Sure. Memorable? Maybe a couple. But where were the game-changing, imaginative and innovative campaigns we’ve become accustomed to?
The creative process for conceiving a Super Bowl commercial, which this year cost some $5 million per 30-second spot, seems to have been reduced to a paint-by-numbers template approach: find a celebrity people know, surround them with a few widely shared cultural references, and pepper in a few easy sight gags.
Comparing this year with years past, we see some trends:
• Absurdist humor: Whether its aliens dryly joking about Scott Baio and murder or a gaggle of Ryan Reynoldses hawking Hyundais, the humor has gotten decidedly more random and scattershot. This is likely an outgrowth of the general trend in comedy, which has been led by the likes of Upright Citizens Brigade alumni, Louis CK, Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow. A lot of today’s commercials echo sketches from The State 20 years ago.
• Remember when?: Nostalgia and a yearning for a time-gone-by drive a lot of creative choices in the modern Super Bowl ad.
• Multi-celebs: One famous person will help your brand get noticed. So it stands to reason a bunch of famous people will really help your brand get noticed. Ensemble casts are in.
• Cars are more than cars: Almost every car commercial—the leading industry among Super Bowl advertisers—is focused less on function and more on lifestyle. Car commercials on this stage have become exclusively “what the car says about you,” not what the company has to say about its car.
• Cinematic look’n’feel: It’s becoming increasingly common to see brands make 30 or 60 second commercials that rival big budget Hollywood blockbusters in production value and tone.
• Animals work: Dogs, Clydesdales, bears and #puppymonkeybaby. Anthropomorphism is so hot right now. So is dressing up animals. Even though they probably hate it.
Not all of these elements are required, but they are almost universally adopted.
Sometimes, it comes together quite well. Case in point…
Here, the right celebrity (Janelle Monae) is paired with an inventive throwback through-the-years soundtrack concept and visuals that hit all the right notes.
Sometimes, it doesn’t work:
And sometimes, it just feels like they’re trying too hard.
These celebrity ensemble casts in commercials always seem to come across as a group of people thirsty for attention with their own products to shill. In this case, they came right out and said as much. We couldn’t remember what the commercial was for after it was over (Amazon Echo).
A few more celebrity-driven low fruit entries…
Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen get all mumblecore in this Bud Light spot that seems more like a parody of a Bud Light spot in a Judd Apatow movie.
Liam Neeson for LG because… ?
T-Mobile convinced Steve Harvey to poke some fun at himself in this spot:
Another celebrity smorgasbord, this time a bit more pretentious, from Mini USA:
Plus Helen Mirren sweating drunk drivers on behalf of Budweiser:
And Kevin Hart starring in a commercial trope as old as time, except this time Kevin Hart is in it:
From “people we know” to “things we know”, Coca-Cola used an odd couple of Avengers (without actually using the actors’ faces):
Apartments.com traded on the recognition of the Jeffersons theme song:
Audi using David Bowie’s Starman:
And Acura using David Lee Roth’s vocals:
Maybe it’s best to understand rather than lament the lowering of the brow and bar. As a brand, if your budget is already hamstrung by a $5 million buy-in, the deep, difficult creative work of devising a truly nuanced, compelling ad campaign might not be worth the investment. Better to just dress up some wiener dogs like… wieners?
Unless you are Avocados from Mexico, that is. Their commercial, #Avosinspace, was legit funny. Moreover, it was a truly original commercial that did not take the easy way out by relying on nostalgia, celebrities, easy cultural references or dumb laughs.
(Ok, we hear you, but one second of Scott Baio doesn’t technically count as nostalgia, and the commercial didn’t hinge on it.)
A few others are worthy of credit for originality and not pandering to the easiest common denominator of celebrity/call-backs/cute animals.
Colgate devoted their time to a message more powerful than dental hygiene:
A group of character actors who once upon a time played the Sobotka clan in season two of The Wire got back together on screen as a group of goofball bank robbers for Prius:
And then there was this, which we’ll just leave right here…