Posts Tagged ‘Youtube’

What’s in a Hashtag? Entire strategies!

February 27, 2014


Pound sign, number sign, hashtag; whatever you want to call it, this little symbol has impacted the marketing sphere for all who work in the communications industry. It’s hard to remember a time when hashtags weren’t part of marketing campaigns because they play such a significant role when building a strategy. In fact, in some cases the hashtag is the strategy.

Since hashtags are supported on multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest) marketers realize using hashtags can be advantageous for bigger picture gains. Hashtags can be used to reach target audiences in a fun, engaging and social way that other forms of marketing materials can’t. By using hashtags, brands can create a quick connection to a large group, and if brands are really smart, they’ll connect the hashtag with a feeling. Creating an emotional connection enables the hashtag to leverage a positive brand image for an organization or individual. For example, Honda aired its touchy-feely #HugFest campaign (starring Bruce Willis) during the Super Bowl. Honda purposely did not mention their brand within the hashtag, in order to generalize it and position it to a larger group. Honda then went the extra mile and supported the #Hugfest social media campaign by launching a series of YouTube videos. Doing so caused the #HugFest hashtag to take off like a Civic Coupe on a race track. Marketers at Honda clearly know that everybody can use a hug now and then, and were wise to correlate a “warm and fuzzy” feeling with the famous auto maker.

Additionally, hashtags can be used as a fierce weapon to differentiate brands from competitors. For example, Yoplait Greek Yogurt flipped their lid and created a duel with competition brand, Chobani (the Greek yogurt giant). After realizing they would rather win the “who’s better” battle fair and square (instead of swooning shoppers with studly John Stamos) Yoplait formed the hashtag #TasteOff as a way to motivate customer feedback. A risky move that even Uncle Jesse couldn’t combat.

Yoplait invited real consumers to go spoon to spoon and vote in the #TasteOff on Twitter. Ladies and ‘gents, Yoplait won the brand battle right then and there. At EZG, we can stand behind a hashtag campaign that inspires direct engagement with consumers and promotes real brand loyalty across social media. Consumers want to be involved; they want to be spoken to and know when they’re being sold. Through a simple hashtag, Yoplait kicked off the conversation that inspired brand loyalty amongst consumers, a tasty move indeed.

At EZG we participate in hashtag specific campaigns on behalf of our clients. We conduct industry research and survey the conversations taking place on social media in order to be active social listeners. When monitoring hashtags, we filter out the noise and find the windows of hashtag opportunity where our clients can promote their brand, position the brand ahead of competitors, or just simply engage with an existing audience. Whether it is a brand specific campaign using a designated hashtag, or a hashtag that is used during an event, we understand the power that hashtags have and we love it.

What are some of your favorite hashtag campaigns? Comment and let us know which brands you think use hashtags effectively or tweet us @ebben_zall.


I Don’t Always Watch the Super Bowl…But When I do It’s for the Commercials

February 6, 2014

When I was a kid, I would sneak into my parents closet several times in the weeks leading up to Christmas and find my presents. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth (sorry, Mom). Even though it was such a thrill to tip-toe around when I thought no one was paying attention, knowing what my gifts were ahead of time made Christmas morning anti-climactic. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, I had been reacquainted with that old, familiar feeling.  This year, the eager American public was absolutely inundated with “leaked” Super Bowl ads online – eliminating any element of surprise when it came time for the beloved commercial breaks.

While it is has historically been a tradition for some of the best ads to be released for a “sneak peak” before the game, it seems to me that every year, more ads are released weeks before the big game. I’ll be the first person to admit it, I am not a huge football fan. However, I am one of the many people that (regardless of which teams are competing) will tune in to watch the commercials—I do work in advertising after all.

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 The volume of leaked ads has me wondering about the future of Super Bowl advertising. Super Bowl ads are without a doubt, regarded amongst advertisers as the most coveted advertising real estate there is. This year’s game was the most watched television event in U.S. history drawing in 111.5 million viewers last Sunday night. According to The Washington Post, a 30 second ad cost a record breaking $4 million, or $133,000 per second.  So, with ads leaking prior to the Super Bowl I have a major concern: Each ad that is exposed ahead of time reduces the amount of viewers who tune in just to see the ads.  By doing this, viewership can dramatically drop and real estate for advertisments can depreciate.

One company that is embracing the trend of leaked ads is Google. CBS MoneyWatch stated that “while Google isn’t disclosing how much money it’s earning from Super Bowl commercial pre-game buzz, the company is stoked enough by the number of related searches and video streams…”. One of the biggest beneficiaries is Google’s subsidiary company YouTube, being that practically every pre-released ad is almost immediately posted on the video sharing website.

With the overwhelming takeover of social media in recent years, the reoccurring trend of Super Bowl ads caused me to ask this question: Will a time come when 30 second pre-roll ads (commercials that play before an online video loads) are just as sought-after as a 30 second TV ad? If Google and YouTube have anything to do with it, the answer would be “yes.” It may seem like a stretch, but when thinking about how much social media has changed the way marketers reach their audiences, the concept does not seem too out of reach.

Although viewership of the actual game was up, ratings for the game were down from last year. According to Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Journal, “FOX’s coverage generated an overnight rating of 47.6 for the Seahawks-Broncos game.  That’s down a hair from last year’s 48.1, during the Ravens-49ers contest in Super Bowl XLVII.”

While the drop has not been proven to be directly linked to the early release of so many ads, advertisers may want to be wary about leaking their ads too soon as a way to gain viral buzz. The last thing major companies would want is to spend an incredible amount of money and have it completely fall through on the day of the Super Bowl. Hey, I guess advertising wouldn’t be the only thing to fall through during the big game right? Too soon, Broncos fans?

Boosting brand with video production

August 15, 2013

Public relations – and marketing in general — never seemed boring to me.  Even in the early days when I was faxing letters to the New York Times (yes, faxing), the ability to convey a story through channels that reached such a wide range of audiences was a fascinating exercise.

Today, the core of that buzz is the same.  It’s about the story.  And yet the channels available to us have expanded tenfold (stay tuned for more on this from EZG TV).

Video production is a great example that we’re seeing more of every week.  A medium that used to be reserved for big budget clients looking to mass-market has now become a tool we can use on a variety of levels.  I dug into this a little in PRNews, examining when it’s appropriate to use film clips in-house and when it makes sense to seek out a production house.

That’s a valid discussion, as we use deploy video for quick Facebook clips, YouTube channels, multimedia press kits, corporate branding exercises, and of course B-roll and commercials for more traditional broadcast placement.  We have longstanding relationships with production professionals who can do a far better job than we can of creating sophisticated, crisp content that will play well with more discerning audiences.  Those studios are expensive, but they play a key role in maintaining client brands in some circumstances.

Hemenway & Barnes, investigated these options earlier this year.  H&B is the oldest law firm in Boston (celebrating its 150th year in 2013), an EZG client, and was looking for a way to convey its traditional values through a modern vehicle.  When it came to developing a video overview of the firm’s history, a high end production house – in this case, Moody Street Pictures – was absolutely appropriate for the job.  Our internal team could certainly have filmed interviews and spliced together clips that conveyed H&B’s character, but to capture a culture that has persevered for centuries it was more powerful to invest in a higher end product.

The resulting video series has generated outstanding awareness of the firm and stayed true to its traditional values.  For H&B, it speaks well to the firm’s client base and influencers; for EZG, it becomes another effective storytelling device as we interact with the media.  A lower-budget effort would have cheapened the look and feel, and in this case the brand itself.

We know more video is on the horizon, and likely more innovative channels through which to distribute it.  PR continues to bring the ultimate media mix to the table, keeping us engaged at every corner.

YouTube, YouAds…YouKnow?

July 20, 2011

YouTube’s most recent endeavor has them pitching advertisers to exclusively sponsor YouTube Original Series.  This initiative would take original programming from being solely based on broadcast or cable to be strictly on YouTube…not just repeats or clips. With this idea YouTube would use big stars to draw in advertisers and views to the interactive big screen.  Advertisers get the ability to have an exclusive sponsorship of the program therefore owning advertising property on YouTube.  Exciting, right?

At first glance this seems like a natural progression of television in the digital age, but it’s actually much bigger than simply bringing together TV and the internet.  If this really catches on it would be quite a turn of events for media planners/buyers.  If an advertiser could truly buy interactive television advertising (assuming it has the same popularity as shows we watch today on broadcast or cable), media planners would then be able to utilize the benefits of being online. Selecting the right program and or daypart would evolve into something more…they would be able to target an audience by a certain behavior.

For example, Honda would have the ability to their ads to viewers who recently searched for new or used car online.  Orbitz could utilize remarketing to make sure that 5 days after you booked your flights to Aruba they were running TV ads for hotel or car rentals during your favorite television program. Talk about big brother!  All your interactive behavior would begin to work in synch.

I’m not entirely convinced the general public is willing to allow advertisers to have this much accessibility at the risk of becoming too invasive.  Advertisers, on the other hand, would probably be very interested in seeing this initiative move forward.   Today more and more clients want the ability to measure traditional advertising in the same way that we measure interactive.   As for advertising professionals this would certainly be beneficial to help develop even more targeted media plans to reach the most qualified consumers for their clients.

Could this be the next “big thing”?

Always have your victory dance ready

June 15, 2011

Hockey Fever is in full effect in Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins are just one game away from winning their first Stanley Cup since 1972 and Boston fans could not be more excited for this historic event [Editor’s Note: in case you missed it…they won]. It is my pleasure to write about two loves in my life; The Boston Bruins and Advertising.

Since moving to Boston five years ago, I have increasingly become a bigger, crazier, and best of all more loyal fan to the Bruins. I owe part of that to their incredibly hilarious and also truthful advertising campaign, The Bruins Hockey Rules. The campaign includes a series of posters and billboards across Boston and television commercials that outline what not to do as a fan of Bruins hockey. The rules include proper TD Garden etiquette with “Never leave early to beat traffic;” wardrobe directions such as “Never tuck in your Bruins jersey;” and best of all, a true lesson to live by, “Never date within the division.” These pointers may seem simple and totally obvious to fans, but on a broader scale the reason we love this campaign is because it takes us back to Advertising 101.

If you’re a Bruins fan, a Canucks fan or you don’t follow sports much at all this campaign still connects with you in some way. We’ve all experienced incidents such as these at one point or another. “You fall for someone, discover something about them that could cause friction with friends and family, and then decide to hang in there for superficial reasons. Until a giant bear knocks the beer out of your hands.” And isn’t that just a basic principle of advertising? You must connect with your audience, making your brand resonate in their daily lives. With this campaign, the Boston Bruins have shot the basics out of the rink. They walked through the market in the shoes of their customers, learned what plagued them the most, and ultimately identified a solution; the Bruins Hockey Rules.

So if you take anything from this other than a prompt to YouTube the Bruins Hockey Rules, take with you the value of getting back to basics. I see highly creative, artistic work every day in every type of media and half of the time it’s so out there I’m not even sure what their selling. If you connect with your audience, spend some time in their shoes, and deliver a solution to a common need you are sure to see positive results. And it can be as simple as that.  In closing, I put it to you Bruins fans, to pray the Bruins get back to basics: Pass, Shoot, and Score… a lot! And of course, “always have your victory dance ready.” 

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