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Last year, you probably played a game or watched a movie in 3D. But it seems like 3D is already out of date and virtual reality is the next big thing.  The developments around virtual reality are gigantic and the possibilities are endless. For instance, in China it is already possible to pay online with virtual reality. You only have to nod to confirm the payment. That seems pretty handy, right?

The next big advertising medium

Virtual reality is able to mimic the physical reality by replicating images, sounds, scents, feelings, and even taste. It does not go unnoticed by marketers. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, called virtual reality the next big advertising medium and states that it is a whole new communication platform. The biggest power of virtual reality as an advertising medium, is the long-term impact. The human brain remembers approximately 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear, but 90% of you do and experience. Indicating that commercials with a virtual reality experience have the potential to be more memorable than traditional commercials.

Some examples of virtual reality for commercial purposes

A lot of brands have already experimented with virtual reality, and for some branches it has proved to be especially useful. For example, the real estate branch: with virtual reality people can view many houses in different cities in a short time. The travel industry will also greatly benefits from virtual reality. Consumers can experience a real holiday feeling and this has a positive influence on sales.  

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But virtual reality is not only connected to a certain branch. Overall, it is a great tool to increase customer engagement by telling an amazing story.

Last year Coca Cola set up a great campaign, which made use of virtual reality. If you ever wondered what it is like to ride on the sleigh of Coca Cola’s Santa then you should definitely watch the video below!

Click here to watch the Coca Cola campaign!

Concerns about virtual reality

Currently the prices of virtual reality glasses are quite high. But the expectation is that these prices will decrease, making virtual reality glasses easily accessible to the public. Besides the price, privacy is also a major concern. Virtual reality applications for commercial purposes offer new possibilities for targeting eye like movements, facial expressions, and emotions.  

There are definitely some concerns that need to be resolved before the mass audience adopts virtual reality. Yet despite these concerns, virtual reality seems to be a promising tool that will prove to be very advantageous for future marketers!

Written by Leonie Douma

What is a blog post all about? To give one’s opinion about a specific topic, isn’t it? The following one might therefore be slightly biased as I LOVE the Obamas. Always have, always will! What a pity that Barack Obama’s presidential term cannot be prolonged anymore and please, let’s not talk about the current candidates…

 

Self-marketing à la Michelle Obama

However, as good a president Obama might be (or not), let’s have a closer look at his wife, first lady Michelle Obama. This woman definitely is a guru of self-marketing: she is casually using Snapchat to reach a younger audience and gives some insights into daily life at the White House. She launched the Let Girls Learn campaign, which aims at enabling adolescent girls around the world to attain a quality education, and she affectionately calls the White House garden her “baby”, where she is actively planting vegetables in order to make (younger and older) Americans aware of how important healthy nutrition is. To cap it all off, she even published a book about gardening.

Michelle Obama

 

A new marketing coup

Two weeks ago however, Michelle took it one step further and joined James Corden for Carpool Karaoke. The mini-series is part of The Late Late Show, which is broadcasted Monday till Friday on CBS. Usually Corden invites celebrities like Adele and Gwen Stefani to “join him for his ride to work”; this time however, he surprised America and the whole world with the first lady herself having a seat on the passenger side of his black SUV.

 

Michelle Obama – America’s Sweetheart

And what kind of carpool karaoke that was… Michelle looks wonderful in her red-white summer dress, with perfectly manicured nails and easily sings and raps along Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé and Missy Elliott (who joins the car later herself). She chats with James like an old, much-liked friend, calls the karaoke a “treat”, makes jokes, smiles, showing her perfect white teeth and mentions her Let Girls Learn campaign on the side – did you know that she even launched a song supporting the campaign? “This is for my girls” features Kelly Rowland, Lea Michele, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, Jadagrace, Chloe & Halle and Missy Elliott, who insists on rapping her part of the song, being present in the car anyway. A real girl squad rallying round you, Michelle…

However, besides all that promo and the slightly “rehearsed” nature of the whole thing, there are no airs and graces, no conceit, the first lady knows how to be liked and loved. Being asked by James what she is going to miss the most when having moved out of the White House, she answers: “the people” without even thinking about it. What better answer could you possibly give? Referring to her employees as family definitely makes her more loveable right away. Seeing this, I broken-heartedly think of the times to come: a new first lady (or man) with a different attitude, not even thinking about the new president him- or herself…

I will miss you Michelle Obama! And America, you should as well!

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Guest article by Lara Galka from Little.Loved.Details

 

Some people humanize brands and say that they have a kind of personality – that they are nice and friendly or more sophisticated, for instance. And, like real humans, brands can actually also like each other… or not!

A large percentage of the funniest commercials and ads in history are at the expense of other brands.

 

Round 1: DHL vs. UPS vs. TNT vs. DPD vs. FedEx

Take the logistics industry for example: In 2014, DHL let UPS, TNT, and DPD advertise for them using a “Trojan Mailing”:

 

But, it seems as if FedEx is even one step ahead of DHL in this advertising contest:

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Hilarious, right!?

 

Round 2: McDonald’s vs. Burger King

Even more entertaining is the everlasting fight between McDonald’s and Burger King. BK always claimed that their Whopper is larger than Micky D’s Big Mac and also showed this in its ads.

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This year McDonald’s mocked Burger King in a pretty creative way in France:

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But the smart guys in BK’s marketing department took up the gauntlet and implemented a little plot twist:

 

Jury?

So, what do you think? Who won round 1 and 2? And do you know any other entertaining ad-bitchfights?

 

Written by Felix Kausmann

The weddingdress for only 29,99. If you haven’t heard anything about it, I suggest you have a look at the following commercial:

About two weeks ago the first batch of in-house designed wedding dresses by Zeeman became available and unavailable again very quickly: the first 400 pieces sold like champagne at a fashion show.

A total of 1500 specimens will be sold exclusively online, over 3 releases. Such a smart move: First they create a massive hype, by marketing a dress that is simply too cheap at a limited availability. As a result, they left women wanting one, but not being able to get one. People start talking about the deal, and awareness of the Zeemann Weddingdress increases. Consequently, the heart wants what it can’t have.. When 500 more dresses were released in the second round, more people know about the deal, and the demand increases further.

Even though the brand always produces at extremely low costs, and sells products at likewise low prices,there’s no chance that Zeeman made any money with this wedding dress (or at least not directly). The amount of fabric and stitching alone, that is necessary for a wedding dress size 38 (not to mention one in size 44), costs about the price of that garment. What about compensating the seamstresses, and the designers? Or paying for the promotional video and the shipping?

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Really, selling the dress this far below its cost, should be seen as an expense of the marketing budget. The difference between the price based on the mark-up of the costs, and the price the dress was marketed at, is the advertisement cost. Ballparking that the expected price should have been 69,99 at the lowest (to cover its design, production and distribution), the Zeeman spent 40 per dress, resulting in a 60,000 marketing expense. Not bad right; for a nationwide hype?

So, why are they engaging in such a radical campaign? To me, it looks like Zeeman is coming after Hema with their new brand positioning. The extremely quirky video might as well have the Hema logo in the right bottom corner. The fun, light tone of the whole ordeal feels just like image Hema has built over the years. But who knows- maybe I’m wrong. In any case, I’m excited to see what the future Zeeman advertisements are going to look like!

Written by: Susanne ten Brink

 

Image credit: Parekh Cards via flickr

The 50th Superbowl Sunday… the season finale is one of the most watched sports events of the year; every year. This year’s viewing rates aren’t released yet, but based on previous figures the estimated number of people watching, amounted to 117M. Due to an unfortunate series of events (i.e. living in the Netherlands, as opposed to the U.S., not subscribing an extended sports package, also not finding a good stream, and not wanting to stay up until 4am in the morning), I did not watch the game last night. I can’t say I’m that upset that I missed the match, because even though I lived in the States, I didn’t grow up getting (American) football drilled into childhood, so I lack the communal sentiment. I am, however, sad that I missed the show. And by that I mean the half-time program (sorry for the bad quality..), the legendary commercials, and the puppy-bowl.

The Superbowl has grown into one of the world’s best TV marketing events. During the breaks, the biggest brands showcase their new campaigns, trying to trump one another with humor. Which ones were the best this year? I just spent a lovely 1.5 hrs watching (and rewatching) this year’s TV commercials (all in the name of research, of course), and picked three that caught my eye.

The one for the women who don’t care about football but slaved in the kitchen to make snacks for everyone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih4VYnbm6Sw

Superbowl Sunday is something the whole house + neighbours + friends take part in; but what if not everyone likes football? You give them Ryan Reynolds; in many outfits and forms. In any marketing effort, it’s important to know your audience, and with this big football event, the audience doesn’t just consist of those who love football.

The one that’s based on hot-topic marketing, but isn’t really Superbowl Sunday material

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb2VXVmUga4

Marketing, by personifying a company, is a road travelled within industries where brands experience difficulty differentiating from others. Taste is a sense that is challenging to sell with words and visuals. so brands try to give their product a human face (Aaker, 1997). In this Budweiser commercial Helen Mirren sells the beer as someone who cares about drinking responsibly. Despite a few weak attempts, the clip is not very funny. You would expect a beer brand (especially) to come up with something hysterical, but unfortunately Budweiser lagged behind. Maybe it’s because it’s so obvious what they’re trying to do here, or maybe it’s really just not that great, but in any case, it’s not very impressive attempt in a competitive environment like the superbowl.

The one with the most goodwill

Even though this commercial has a very clear target market (the 40-60 year old crowd), this speaks to a much bigger audience. The cute dachsund puppies (also called sausage dogs) are literally turned into hotdogs, as they run across an extremely green (but not even flower filled) field. Harry Nilsson’s ‘Without You’ gives the scene a hysterical twist, but also ties Heinz to nostalgic Generation X memories, as the ketchup family (yes; a family wearing Halloween costumes) tries to contain their excitement with very subtle facial expressions. This commercial really gets funnier every time I watch it. And, because either the (hot)dog or the (human) faces with surrounding Heinz bottle are always in the picture, the brand ensures that the viewer remembers what brand was linked to the funny broadcast, which can’t be said for many others.

A main takeaway here are that the commercial should resonate with your audience, which is more complex with such a big event. It should also be distinguishable to your brand, in between the large number of new and fun campaigns launched in the space of two hours. And lastly, it should fit the mood of the affair. I hope you enjoyed the ones that stood out to me / continue to watch others, because they are such an inspiration to us marketers, and also: it is a pretty fun (semi-responsible) way to procrastinate…

Written by: Susanne ten Brink

 

Literature:
Aaker, J.L. (1997). Dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34, 347-356

Image Credits:
U.S. Department’s of Agriculture photostream via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Hello, its me
I’ve been wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over, everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing

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Let’s start today with a little anecdote. The inspiration for this blogpost came this weekend, when I played Adele’s ‘Hello’ on the piano. I have to confess, I am a big Adele fan. I love her. And I was curious about ‘Hello’ and how hard it would be to perform. At the moment Adele’s smashing hit from her album 25 has more than 1 billion views  on YouTube (for those of you that also need a visual: 1.000.000.000 views),  which is absolutely insane, and breaks all kinds of records. So when I looked at the chords for this song a few days ago, I was astounded: this could not be right. Only 4 chords?! Okay maybe 1 or 2 more in the bridge, but that’s it.
How could such a simple song become such a hit? Is it brilliant in it’s simplicity (she would not be the first one)? Or is it the marketing? Let’s have a look at both sides of the story.

A 30 second clip to release the storm
The pro-marketing party states that the clever build up to the song caused the immens amount of hits on YouTube. The release date of the single was a well-kept secret and an unannounced teaser was aired during the commercial break on X-factor UK:

The crowd went wild. Their Adele was back, unannounced, and with her most emotional and powerful voice ever. The buzz around the release of the new album was enormous; fans had been waiting a long time for this new album, after complete silence from the singer for over 3 years. Adele does not do interviews, prefers to keep to private events and does not reveal much of her private life; her voice and the lyrics with the commercial were enough to create a hype. Additionally, there were also marketing

Beggars Group - Adele 25 "The New Album", GVB 2087, Lijn 14, Bos en Lommerweg, 15 november 2015. Foto: René van Lier.

Beggars Group – Adele 25 “The New Album”, GVB 2087, Lijn 14, Bos en Lommerweg, 15 november 2015. Foto: René van Lier.

expenses for offline exposure of the album, as the striking example of the ‘Adele tram’ here in Amsterdam illustrates:

Hello, it’ me…on a tram

Adele’s marketing team understood perfectly that, in order to match the number of sales of her last album ’21’ , the fanbase needed to be reengaged. The teaser was exactly enough to release the buzz storm online. The singer’s marketers did a great job by listening to the fan base and giving them exactly what they wanted: just Adele and her voice. Nothing more, nothing less.

Adele’s secret weapon
However, there is also the artistic side of the song. For example David Rees, of the Dave conservatoire state, said:

“Adele’s performances express a direct kind of emotional connection that her audience clearly loves. She has mastered a range of vocal colours and techniques, but cuts particularly through her long, held, higher notes – a key feature of both ‘Hello’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep’. This is, in our view, Adele’s secret weapon.”

The song is simple, yes, but does that mean that it is not art? In it’s simplicity it is also easily copied, covered and sang under the shower by the immense fanbase that Adele has build, which contributes to the virality of the music video. As David Rees states, the emotional connection that Adele has in here voice is something the audience clearly loves. So one could argue that the quality of the song in combination with Adele’s unique voice are the reasons behind the succes of ‘Hello’.

The question I want to raise today is: what do you think?
Are you with team marketing, and do you agree ‘Hello’s success is purely based on strategy, or are you with team musical skill, and do you think it is simply a beautiful song? OR could it possibly one of the most lovely marriages between art and marketing to this day?

I would love to hear your thoughts. To inspire you some more, here are some stils from the ‘Hello’ videoclip.

Enjoy 🙂

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