FRESH IDEAS: APRIL FOOL’S Edition

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Contributed by Carolina Cepeda Vigoya

 

Welcome to our weekly “FRESH IDEAS” post.

Had a busy week and feeling a little lost around water cooler banter? We’ve got you covered. Once a week, we’ll share some of our favorite brand stunts and announcements, trending topics, tech news, and social media buzz that stand out from the herd.

Saw something awesome that we should have included? Share it in the comments section below!

BUZZ REPORT

3.27.17 – 3.31.17

Fun Fact: Scientists are able to turn peanut butter into diamonds.

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Each week, we ask our RockStars to pin a hashtag on a buzzworthy trend, news topic, or fun fact. This week’s winner: #SparkleButter by Lead Designer, Josue Brizuela.

APRIL FOOL’S

Google Outdoing Themselves

Google Wallet Mobile ATM          

In 2013, the company announced the release of the wallet Mobile ATM, a device that would attach to smartphones and dispense money instantly, including unique $2 bills.

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Google’s Treasure Map

Ahoy! The company created an old school map that “belonged” to infamous pirate William “Captain” Kidd. Users were invited to “crack the code” to find hidden clues in order to find treasure.

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Google Nose Beta

Before Siri helped us out search for stuff and answer questions, Google came up with the brilliant idea of “searching for smells.” The feature included the “Mobile Aroma Indexing Program” that would detect 50 million databases of smells.

Google Mic-Drop

As their tradition, Google released their April Fool’s “Mic Drop” prank that backfired. The feature allowed users to “send and mic drop” to their emails that attached a GIF of a minion dropping a mic. The new button had a bug that would send the GIF when using the regular “send button” and not the new feature. Google pulled the plug on the prank shortly after they detected the problem.

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Gmail            

Back in 2004, Google announced the launch of Gmail, a free email service on April 1st and because of the company’s April Fool’s history, people thought it was a hoax, as they stated that it would have 500 times the capacity of Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. This was a smart play by Google, since it generated them extra publicity.

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Sayonara, YouTube

The company teamed up with The Onion to announce that after eight years, their days were almost over and that they would no longer accept video uploads. During the announcement, the spokesperson said they were looking for the best home for video on the Internet, and that it would take 10 years to watch them all in order to find the winner, who would be announced in 2023.

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Twttr Annncmnt

The social media platform announced that it was shifting to a new feature where only consonants were allowed in order to have more “dense” communication. For five dollars a month, the premium “Twitter” service would include vowels as well.

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Glasses For Dogs

Warby Parker released dog eyeglasses back in 2012 the furry members of the family. When customers went to check out their $95 canine glasses, an April Fool’s announcement popped up into the screen.

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Domino’s Canned Pizza

Canned ravioli is already a bit weird, but canned pizza is definitely weirder. Domino’s in Japan unveiled a “canned pizza” that was sold for 401 yen online as part of their April Fool’s joke.

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Cheeteau

Cheetos introduced their new fragrance, Cheeteau on April 1st, 2014. The smell supposedly smelled “buttery, with notes of sharp cheddar, and a hint of lemony sweetness.”

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DUH! WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? (APRIL FOOL’S PRODUCTS WE WISH WERE REAL)

Domino’s Edible Pizza Box

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Glass Floor Plane (Virgin Atlantic)

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International Space Rental (Airbnb)

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Rain boots for dogs (Hunter Boots)

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Play Doh 3-D Printer

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How Can Brands Turn A #Fail Into a Win?

Last week marked the kick off of the 2016 NFL season and with it, the much anticipated start of fantasy football. However, on Sunday the ESPN Fantasy Football app, which everyone and their mother uses to track their stats, went down and consumers took to Twitter to vent their rage… or post hilariously mocking memes.

For today’s constantly connected consumers who are checking their phones around 46 times a day, the internet, and more specifically, Twitter, has become a ‘social telephone’ to call in complaints about brands and customer service in real time. And those customers expect a response. Fast. However, while 78 percent of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour a 2015 brandwatch study discovered that only 46.6 percent of brands engaged with any tagged @mentions (which were categorized as neutral, questions or complaints) with 64.6 percent responding to questions within five days and only 11.2 percent responding within one hour.

Nevertheless the opportunities for brands to turn their social media #fails into wins is possible. Which is why this week we’re turning to our RockStars to get their advice as we ask – How Can Brands Turn A #Fail Into A Win?

How Can Brands Capitalize on Pokémon GO?

The Pokémon GO craze is real. So far around 7.5 million people in the U.S. have downloaded the app and players are already spending more time with the game than they are on Snapchat, Twitter and even Facebook.

But what’s the opportunity for brand marketers and how can they capitalize on those highly engaged users who just gotta catch ‘em all?  We asked our RockStars to share their thoughts.

Oh, and if you know where a Pikachu is let us know!

 

You, Too, Can Own Your Platform. (And You Should!)

By David Naranjo
Indulge me for a moment in some “back in my day” reminiscing.

When I was coming up in the world of media and communications, leading a team of PR pros at Sony Music and later the Estefan Enterprises, we worked hard to gin up positive coverage for our artists. More coverage equaled more units sold, so these earned opportunities were golden. Those media gatekeepers could make or break a new album, a career, or a label itself.

Needless to say, things are different today. For musicians and entertainers the revolution kicked into high gear back in the mid-00s with the rise of MySpace as a proto-platform to own the messaging and imagery associated with your brand. With a little bit of HTML and a lot of elbow grease, you could bring your art to millions, where you once needed a label, a marketing team, and an interested media. The MySpace page became the new street team (not coincidentally around this time Sony and other record companies decommissioned their own networks of real street teams).

And we know the story from there: MySpace begat Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, and for artists more targeted apps like Soundcloud and Bandcamp integrated nicely. Cobbling together these pages with a centralized website and blog makes an effective, elegant platform for artists. Tend that social media garden well enough, and it becomes hard to remember why we ever needed media outlets so badly.

Of course, we love our friends in the press, and they always make our jobs easier. But the best brands today are leaving nothing to chance. Like those bands inhabiting the early MySpace, smart brands are creating their own platform for message management.

Our client Zappos recently engaged us for a back-to-school campaign. The deals were great, as was the apparel. And the brand is noteworthy in its own right—definitely not an unknown, frequently covered by mainstream press and trades. But this was a back-to-school campaign, straining its neck to be noticed in a sea of other back-to-school campaigns. Earned media coverage was incredibly unlikely without some kind of elevation.

We used the brand’s social media platforms to link out to guest bloggers whose influence made the campaign into actual coverage-worthy news. Now, it wasn’t just half off your second pair of sneakers. It was mommy bloggers bragging about the pairs of shoes they had gotten for their kids. Engaging with the influencers, we were able to rise above the commercial noise.

Sometimes the need to control the message speaks to the brand’s very existence. Consider a quick service restaurant client of ours who was facing a very difficult investigation in Europe into their locations. The sensational story gave short shrift to the facts and was bombastic in all the ways you hope to avoid for your clients.

So, rather than engage with the journalists in their forum, we marshaled the strength of the brand’s social media to publish facts about the situation, taking a crisis and turning it into a teaching moment. This kind of education would have been impossible on any platform other than the client’s own. The strategy was effective: the news magazine shelved a planned sequel to their report after our own messaging essentially defanged their reporting.

Here is a healthy exercise for anyone leading a brand’s communication efforts: imagine you have something incredibly important to say, something everyone needs to hear, and you have to do it right this moment. How would you do it? Would you be reliant on someone else to do it for you? Is your social media presence primed and active? Have you tended that garden? What shape are your lists in? When’s the last time someone organically signed up for your newsletter? Do you have a newsletter, if only to collect email addresses?

Media companies spend millions to refine their platforms. So should you. No one can tell your story better than you.

Summer’s Here. Time to Lighten Up Your Marketing.

Summer – a time to strip down, lighten up and have some fun. With the longer days and rising temperatures comes a sense of renewed energy and a tendency towards the whimsical. Heavy soups and stews are replaced by summer salads and outside BBQs, weekends spent binging on TV shows are replaced with trips to the beach; hemlines are on the rise and the possibility of a summer romance is around every corner.

A lesser-known summer side effect is that when the sun is out, people spend more. Research suggests that the sun makes us feel better and, in turn, according to these findings, shop more.

For marketers looking to capitalize on this sunshine-induced positive consumer attitude, lightening up their campaigns to match the season is a must. Here are three ways to do it.

  1. Make it fun

Summer is all about having fun, and that should translate into summer-focused marketing campaigns. From using elements of gamification to spark competitiveness, to boosting engagement with loyalty programs, to viral marketing, making campaigns fun means making them engaging. That’s why Snapchat has overtaken Twitter in daily users. The fun factor is significantly higher with its array of filters and, like a summer romance, is non-committal by the nature of its time-limited posts.

  1. A picture’s worth a thousand words

As Apple introduces its new emojification feature, where users will be offered up emoji’s as alternate suggestions to typed words, and Twitter announces the ability to target ads based on emoji’s, the power of the written word is diminishing. That means marketers need to be more visual than ever with their messages and campaigns. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 10-times as much. According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300 percent increase in click-through rate. And 45.4 percent of users viewed at least one video online over the course of a month according to ComScore.

  1. Get mobile

This is the time of year marketers should be directing even more of their attention to mobile. As consumers head outside and away from home, marketers must reach them in the mobile-moment wherever they are – and mobile is the best channel to do that. But the key to mobile marketing is relevance – getting the right content to the right customer at the right time will drive action. The easiest way to be relevant is through location. Understanding where a customer is in relation to your product is the best way to understand where and when to target consumers. Remember, all that sunshine makes them want to spend more – so it’s just a matter of ensuring your brand is top of mind when they make that in-the-moment purchase.

This summer, make sure your marketing matches your customers’ season. Make it fun, make it visual and make it mobile. Just remember, summer may only be one season, but the memories last a lifetime. Make sure your marketing is memorable to match.

Why Snapchat?

It’s official. There are more people snapping every day than they are tweeting. 150 million daily users in fact compared to Twitter’s 140 million. And it’s not just Twitter. Snapchat now sits second only to Facebook in the amount of time users spend in social apps beating out Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger among others.

So we asked our RockStars – Why Snapchat?

 Here’s what they had to say.

 

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