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This post originally appeared on TweakYourBiz.Com

If you go to the Artic Ready website, you will see a site very similar to Shell’s main corporate website. The Artic Ready site recently ran a competition asking the public to suggest captions for their next advertising campagin. When scrolling through the ads you see that the public have clearly hijacked the campaign, turning against Shell and coming up with ads such as the below …

shell ad 1

shell ad 2

shell ad 3

A company’s worst nightmare right? An attempt to engage your audience by encouraging user generated content has gone horribly wrong!

So what happens next? … Go see what the company is saying on Twitter of course!

Shell On Twitter

On Twitter we find the @ShellisPrepared account which states that it is Shell’s social media team. On it are a string of tweets saying that Shell doesn’t endorse these ads and are working to take them down.

There are also numerous tweets insisting on the authenticity of the account. It appears, upon reviewing the tweets, that the social media team is in fact maintained by temps and interns who are clueless as to how to stop the tide of negative user generated content…

shell tweet 1

shell tweet 2

shell tweet 3

shell tweet 4

shell tweet 5

Marketing Fail

A return to the Artic Ready site and we see some more ads with captions pointing out how the Shell marketing team is failing at their jobs to keep on top of the situation …

shell ad 4

shell ad 5

So all in all it looks to be an absolutely epic failure of a social media campaign, one which colleges will use as a case studies to prompt students to figure out what Shell should have done when things started to go south.

However all is not what it seems …

The above co-ordinated campaign is not a failure at all, it is in fact a brilliantly executed and highly successful campaign run, not by Shell, but by Greenpeace, who have turned away from their hippy roots and taken a step into the online world in their fight against the major oil company.

Greenpeace have put together a well thought out online campaign which has resulted in a massive increase in online conversation and which has even been covered by major news corporations including Forbes, the Huffington Post and the Guardian.

Shell has announced that it does not plan to sue Greenpeace, most likely realising that legal action on their part would draw even more attention to the campagin.

So what can we learn from Greenpeace?

… Some advanced planning goes a long way towards the success of your campaign. If you are going to run an online campaign, ensure that you display consistency across your platforms, as Greenpeace have done with both their parody website and parody Twitter account.

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Last weekend the LXVI Superbowl was played in Indiana. American football is a hugely popular sport and according to Nielsen it was the most-watched program in the history of US television, with 111.3 million US viewers; meaning that over 33% of the American population watched the initial broadcast. That’s a lot of eyeballs.

It is exactly for this reason that the Super Bowl commercials have become as important a part of the event, for some people, as the game itself. For this year’s Super Bowl all the commercials were sold out by Thanksgiving 2011 (November) at an average price tag of $3.5 million per 30 second spot(!) – this was the highest rate in Super Bowl history, to date. As you would expect, with price tags like that, it was only the largest of brands who were on display, with ads showing from Samsung, Pepsi, Doritos, Volkswagen, Acura, Audi, Honda, M&M’s, Coca-Cola and Chrysler.

And it’s not just the air time that brands spend their money on, Samsung’s commercial featured British glam rock group, The Darkness, Pepsi featured Elton John and X Factor winner Melanie Amaro, Honda showed Matthew Broderick and Chrysler had Clint Eastwood.

Some of the commercials referenced the game, such as Chrysler’s ‘half time’ ad and Coca-Cola’s ‘superstition’ ad. Others, such as Pepsi, Audi and Honda, played off of popular culture, with Pepsi’s set up similarly to an X Factor audition, Audi chose to advertise their new ‘daylight’ headlights with a play on Twilight style vampires, and Honda had Broderick in a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off set up  (the 1986 movie Broderick starred in).

However it was Chrysler’s ‘half time’ commercial that seemed to win the ‘most controversial’ ad prize this year, albeit for different reasons than Groupon did last year. In the 2 minute-long Chrysler ad Clint Eastwood gives America its ‘half time pep talk’  saying “It’s half time in America too, people are out of work and they’re hurting, and they’re all wondering what they can do to make a come back, and we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game. The people of Detroit know a little something about this.”

Clint Eastwood is known for his support of the Republican party, so people were surprised to see him feature in a Super Bowl ad which spoke about the revival of Chrysler as an example of the American ‘come back’, given that Chrysler had received a government loan of $3.1 billion of taxpayers money. Shortly after the ad aired President Obama’s senior campaign adviser, David Axelrod, praised it as a “powerful” spot on Twitter, however Former Bush White House senior adviser, Karl Rove, told Fox News he was ‘offended’ by the ad. Many agreed it was a highly political ad, with debate raging across the internet. However Chrysler’s CEO has said it has “zero political content” and was not intended to be “any type of political overture“. Clint Eastwood himself has said “it was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America“, he has also said that he is “not supporting any politician at this time,” but gave his blessing for either party to reference the commercial, or at least its message.

Whatever the true intention behind the commercial, it has certainly got people talking, which is after all, the point of advertising…

Scroll down to watch some of the Super Bowl commercials…

Chrysler

Samsung

Pepsi

Doritos

Audi

Coca-Cola

Volkswagen

Acura

Honda

M&M’s

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L’Oréal Ads Banned In UKUK advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has just banned ads by L’Oréal featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington.

The Complaint

The ads for Lancôme and Maybelline, companies owned by L’Oréal, were accused of having images that had been manipulated to an extent beyond which could be reasonably held up as achievable results obtained using the products they were advertising.

MP Jo Swinson, who has long fought against the overuse of post-production techniques, such as airbrushing, in advertising, made the complaint against L’Oréal and has said “we should have some honesty in advertising and that’s exactly what the ASA is there to do. I’m delighted they’ve upheld these complaints.”

L’Oréal has admitted both images were retouched, but has denied that the ads were misleading. In an attempt to have the complaint overruled L’Oréal supplied pictures of both Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington on the red carpet, showing that they are both naturally beautiful women. L’Oréal lost out against the complaint because it is a requirement that companies be able to show exactly how much retouching has been done to an image, which L’Oréal did not do, saying that it was against their contracts to release pre-production images.

Not The First Time

This is not the first time the ASA has found against the beauty industry.

Last November an ad featuring Georgia May Jagger, advertising mascara for Rimmel London, was banned due to the use of false eyelashes. In 2009 an image of the model Twiggy, used to advertise an Olay product, was also banned due to excessive airbrushing – Jo Swinson was also involved in this complaint. And in June 2010, L’Oréal was again under scrutiny for a hair care ad featuring Cheryl Cole which prompted complaints from the public, as Cole is well known for having hair extensions. On that particular occasion the ASA did not ban the ad, concluding that it was not misleading, however future runs of the ad included a line advising that Cole was wearing hair extension.

Will The UK Stand Alone?

It is encouraging to see the ASA stepping in and letting advertisers know that the images they use need to be reasonably achievable using the products advertised.

It is not healthy for younger people in particular, to be bombarded with these images, believing them to be accurate, or something they are expected to emmulate.

We have all become a little too found of the retouch buttons on our computers in this digital age and as Jo Swinson has said, we need to “get back to reality”.

Hopefully the UK will not remain alone in this fight against the use of unrealistic imagery, and other countries will step up to the plate as well.

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There is a YouTube video doing the rounds at the moment that you may have seen. It was posted by Alamo Drafthouse, a theatre in Austin, that have a very strictly enforced no-using-your-phone-AT-ALL-in-the-theatre policy.

 

Recently a woman was kicked out of the theatre for texting during the movie and then left a very irate message on their answering machine.

 

Alamo turned her voicemail into an ad for their theatre and posted the video on YouTube. It’s pretty funny, although I’m guessing that woman is even less happy about it now that it has become a YouTube sensation!

 

The video was reasonably risky. Alamo were betting that people would side with them, but it could’ve gone either way.

 

Fortunately most people pretty much HATE other people using their phone in the theatre. It doesn’t matter how far away from you they are sitting, that illuminated screen is like a beacon, distracting everyone from the movie.

 

The video has had 5,000+ comments, 1.76 million hits on YouTube and has been even been posted on the Huffington Post.

 

It’s a great marketing tip – turn negative interactions into a positive! Anyone who hates others using their phone during a moive, now knows what theatre they can go to without that happening.

 

Everyone is in love with Alamo Drafthouse! If I lived in Austin I would definitely be visiting!

 

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Working in the marketing field there is constant pressure to ‘think outside the box’ and to continuously come up with new and different campaign ideas – but how about applying that creativity to searching for a job in the first place?

Féilim Mac An Iomaire, an Irish man from Galway, has done just that.  Féilim has rented a billboard on one of Dublin’s busy commuter roads for his poster plea ‘Save Me From Emigration’. The billboard shows Féilim with suitcase in hand looking across the water to famous landmarks from the skylines of Toronto, London, Sydney and New York.

Féilim has been searching, unsuccessfully, for a job since returning from Australia last August. Despite having a B.Comm from NUI Galway, Féilim, like many others in Ireland at the moment, has had no success in getting a job even though he has applied for well over a 100 positions in the last 10 months.

Féilim has said that he has felt the traditional ‘cover letter and cv’ method of applying for jobs doesn’t allow an applicant to show their creativity, and has decided to embark on this last ditch effort before throwing in the towel and emigrating to greener pastures.

In addition to the billboard, which also has the contact address joblesspaddy@gmail.com, Féilim has set up a Facebook page and Twitter account. He already has 1,703 people following him on Facebook and countless messages of support are pouring in.

Féilim’s innovative idea has caught people’s attention and he has already spoken on a number of Irish radio programmes, as well as on the national evening news.

This combination of coverage along with his obvious natural creativity will undoubtedly open doors for him. Who wouldn’t want someone showing this kind of initiative on their team? Aside from that, whoever hires him is guaranteed a lot of free publicity!

Good luck Féilim.

UPDATE: Féilim lands a job with Paddy Power.

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briefcase of moneyPreviously I talked about advertising on Twitter and celebrities being paid to tweet about certain products. The problem being that advertising on Twitter, versus other platforms, is not always clearly marked as advertising, so there is very much a transparency issue.

 

Recently the rapper known as 50 cent has upped the stakes and is facing possible investigation for insider trading as a result of several tweets he sent out.

 

As we all know celebrities can influence many things from fashion trends to charities supported – but I think influencing stocks might be a first.

 

50 cent’s promotion during a single day sent one company’s stock, HNHI, from .10 to .39 per share. 50 posted several tweets to his followers saying “TVG’s stock went from 5 cent to 10 in one day”, “You can double your money right now. Just get what you can afford” and “Ok ok ok my friends just told me stop tweeting about HNHI so that we can get all the money. Hahaha check it out its the real deal.” (TVG is a subsidiary of H&H Imports Inc. the publically traded company).


50’s followers promptly went out and bought $50 million worth of shares and 50, who had purchased 30 million shares for $750,000 last autumn, netted an estimated $8.7 million as a result of the stock surge.

 

As you can imagine, there has been a lot of coverage on this for a variety of reasons. Not least because there are very strict guidelines about influencing stock prices and so there has been talk in the media that 50 will be investigated over his actions. However, given that 50 has not sold his stock it is difficult to accuse him of the “buy, lie and sell high” tactics that investigators usually look into. Also, he only said to his followers that he thought it was a great company, and there is no evidence that he doesn’t in fact think that.

 

However, 50’s lawyers have obviously been on the phone, as not only have the original tweets been deleted from 50’s twitter page, but disclaimers have appeared saying “I own HNHI stock thoughts on it are my opinion. Talk to financial advisor about it.” and “HNHI is the right investment for me it may or may not be right for u! Do ur homework”.

 

Whether or not 50 did, or did not, do something illegal is a matter for the authorities. However, given the complete lack of transparency, it certainly comes off as a little shady.

 

But then again, taking financial advice from a celebrity? Seriously?

 

What do you think? Are 50’s actions shady? Do you approve of celebrity endorsed tweets?

 


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twitter logo with bird

Social media platforms have always encountered some resistance by users when they implement advertising, but as users we understand that ‘free’ tools cannot remain ‘free’ forever.

Now usually, we, the users, can get onboard with advertising when it follows two rules (1) the advertising is discreet and (2) we are given full disclosure i.e. we know it’s an advertisement.

Google has Google Ads running along the right-hand margin of search results, and in a different coloured box at the top of the search results, clearly labeled ‘sponsored link’.

Google Ad Screen Shot

Facebook introduced ads in a similar fashion with them displaying along the right-hand margin of the page as well.

Twitter however, has broached advertising a little differently, with ad-sponsored Tweets.

There has been a reasonable amount of controversy surrounding this since 3rd party companies such as Ad.ly started and now Twitter has its own official advertising using ‘promoted’ tweets. There has been a lot of talk about how ads in a Tweeter’s stream could dilute their authority and there has been many a discussion surrounding both this, and the idea that a user, with enough followers, could monetize their Twitter stream.

However, my concern is that ads in Twitter don’t always look like ads. Unlike other platforms, ads here are integrated into my information stream, and although some are clearly labeled ‘promoted’ and some have the word ‘ad’ in the tweet, it still seems to me that it would be easy to miss, at least to begin with.

Ad.ly advertises itself as a Celebrity Micro Endorsement Platform and has over 5,000 celebrities and 150 brands on its books.

ad.ly website

And while some of the ads seem to be marked ‘ad’

ad.ly tweet ad - nina dobrev

Some are harder to spot

ad.ly tweet ad - brian norgard

It seems to me that advertising on Twitter is currently a little murkier than elsewhere, and perhaps is too discreet. The big problem is that these promoted tweets are being pushed into our stream along with everything else, not off to one margin, and so while some companies have seen success by using ‘promoted’ tweets, I wonder how scalable these successes are? Promoted tweets are still pretty new, and so the current benefits are probably not going to last forever, and it will be the early adopters who reap the rewards.

Once everyone jumps on the bandwagon will the click through rate remain as high? Will we get suspicious of those we follow thinking everything they tweet might be an ad? Or might we be so overloaded by ads in our twitter feed that we leave Twitter altogether?

What do you think? Do you mind seeing celebrity endorsed tweets? Have you used promoted tweets?


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