Our Marketing Blog

Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

What Marketers can Learn from Livin' the Sheen

AUTHORS' NOTE: AMP Agency does not condone making fun of someone potentially struggling with drug-related issues and/or mental health challenges, the media's irresponsible coverage and promotion of someone who is struggling with drug-related issues and/or mental health challenges, or the movie Major League II. Please, stop me if you've heard this one: 'I am on a drug, and it's called Charlie Sheen!'? This is one of many seemingly-mad rants of Carlos Estevez (d.b.a. 'Charlie Sheen'?), who within the past week has launched a one-man cross-media assault (radio, TV, social, print) on pop culture. He hit one million followers on Twitter within about a day. Since January, Google searches for 'Charlie Sheen'? have increased tenfold. It's safe to say these aren't just Two and a Half Men fans, either. While these Busey-ian quotes may seem completely devoid of any logic, reasoning or mental stability, there are some marketing-relevant applications to them, if you listen closely. After the past week, we've uncovered the following five key lessons for marketers: 1.) Pick One Brand Message, and Stick With It ' Sheen has recently unveiled his one-word personal tag-line, 'winning,'? and he hasn't strayed much off message. When asked if he was bipolar, Sheen promptly quipped back with, 'Wow. What does that even mean? '?¦I'm bi-winning. I win here and I win there, now what?'? Think of brands that you've seen that switch their brand message multiple times per year, or have multiple creative campaigns in market at the same time. It's hard to grow a brand that way. 2.) Think Holistically ' Keeping with the 'win'? theme, Charlie has promised, 'I'm going to win at every moment.'? For shopper marketing folks, this is the golden rule. There are numerous opportunities to influence consumer buying decisions along the 'path to purchase,'? and a holistic mindset helps you win at every consideration point along the way. 3.) A Unique Voice Rises Above All ' Every agency stresses the importance of 'breaking through the clutter'?, but very few brands are able to actually do that. Is it risky? Absolutely. But can it be effective? Yes. Look no further than any one of Sheen's several hundred grandiose quotes from the past few days. They are far more memorable than most PR-vetted answers and statements from an embattled celebrity. You could even argue that Sheen's quotes are so plentiful and so cutting that they have created an entirely new level of Sheen-clutter, where it's actually laborious to sort through the crazy. A few that specifically come to mind are: a. I've got tiger blood and Adonis DNA b. Imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists. c. 'I'm tired of pretending like I'm not bitching, a total freaking rock star from Mars'? d. Touch my children and I will eat your hands off your arms Clearly, we would never recommend that a brand speak about eating human hands off of arms. Though you do have to admit that in the world of celebrity pop culture, you've probably overheard people say 'I am on a drug, and it's called Charlie Sheen!'? more than any other celebrity quote in the past week. 4.) Plan Better ' On Thursday, he unveiled his latest Sheen-ism 'Ready for my next fastball, world? PLAN BETTER Applies to everything where an excuse now sits. Try it. U won't be wrong. Ever. #PlanBetter'? Seems pretty straightforward. Why didn't any of us think of that first? 5.) Be Prepared ' "I'm sorry man, but I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time - and this includes naps - I'm an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground." EVEN DURING NAPS, this guy is on fire. Good social media lesson here, that while customer service hours are traditionally some iteration of 9-5, social channels are always on and brands need to be prepared to resolve problems at any time. Don't get caught napping. Unless, like Chuck, you're an F-18 while doing it.

Why Over-Sharing has Changed the Way Companies Do Business

My generation is absorbed in social media. We were old enough to watch and understand the birth of Facebook, the dawn of Twitter, and the fast emergence of Foursquare check-ins. We've become accustomed to frequent status updates and 'mayorships'? of our favorite eateries. We tweet about what we're wearing or when the train is late. In a way we're almost like celebrities, voluntarily exposing ourselves to the people around us and living our lives in a self-proclaimed 'spotlight.'? There's nothing wrong with letting our friends know we're running late or sharing pictures from last night's party but sometimes we just share a little too much. We announce that we had Frosted Flakes for breakfast or the pains of shaving our legs. We post pictures of friends slumped over chairs after one too many cocktails. We check-in at the dentist, the doctor and the Starbucks on the corner (three times...three Starbucks, three different corners). We over-share some of the most intimate details of our lives leaving little to the imagination. Maybe as individuals we should tweet a little less and untag a few photos from last night. We don't need the whole world to know our most personal details. As much as we may wish we were celebrities, we aren't and frankly nobody cares about those details we're sure everyone wants to hear. Certainly in our personal lives this may seem like too much, but what many people (including many of those in my parents' generation) don't know is that this idea of 'over-sharing'? is what keeps many businesses afloat. The younger generation is so overly connected through the use of social media that sometimes this is simply the best and fastest avenue to reach them. I once tweeted to Whole Foods corporate asking why my favorite beverage was removed from store shelves. Rather than write an email or make a phone call, in less than 140 characters I asked my question. Less two hours and 140 characters later I had my answer. The beverage had an ingredient in it that didn't meet their standards. It's this communication through social media that keeps companies engaged with their customers. They see our problem, 'Ugggg I hate my razor! It irritates my skin!'? and can immediately offer a solution, 'Have you tried our brand? It has a moisture strip for less irritation!'? These channels provide instantaneous conversation between brands and customers 24/7 that are faster than drafting an email and cheaper than buying a print ad. Businesses can see what means the most to their demographic and reach out in unexpected ways. As a member of Generation Y, I can say that I've enjoyed watching the evolution of marketing and brand management. I've grown up reading print ads and watching TV commercials and now I scan QR codes for 'insider information.'? The way brands reach their customers is changing - I get most of my news from the web and now most of my purchases are influenced by the online presence of a company. While I still think that my generation has to make an adjustment to its tendency to over-share, it is this behavior that has completely revolutionized the way brands do business today.

"Thank You For Suing Us." Signed With Love, Taco Bell

When a lawsuit questioned Taco Bell's 'meat mixture' and allegations surfaced that the fast food giant's tacos contained a mere 35 percent of ground beef, the media had a field day. Reports of the lawsuit popped up in top-tier media coverage and consumers skeptical of what could go into a 99-cent taco quickly took conversations online. Tweets included, but were not limited to: 'Learning Taco Bell meat is not meat is like finding out cigarettes are addictive.'? 'So I guess wit Taco Bell revealin they beef is only 35% meat I has still upheld my New Year's resolution of eatin less meat??'? 'Just ate so much taco bell non-meat meat that I might die. Send my regards'?. With the clock ticking and pressure mounting, Taco Bell wasted no time fighting back. The company took out print ads only a few days later in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and our very own Boston Globe, to name a few. The ads boasted a bold 'Thank you for suing us'? headline and reiterated that Taco Bell uses 88 percent beef and 12 percent 'Secret Recipe.'? It then explained what the Secret Recipe entails ' including spices, water, and other seemingly trivial ingredients. But that wasn't all ' a campaign to reach its Hispanic customers; a YouTube video (cross-promoted on Facebook, Twitter and www.tacobell.com site) featuring President Greg Creed speaking about the company's beef facts; an 'Of course we use real beef!'?  microsite; and an aggressive online campaign on leading search engines and social media networks ' polished off the retort. So did Taco Bell's snappy response work? Let me start by saying that Taco Bell's response is more public and forceful than most other fast food giants. McDonald's, for example, still has not proactively addressed its lawsuit against including children's toys in its Happy Meals. Instead, the Golden Archs powerhouse has issued a reactive statement. By taking such an aggressive route, Taco Bell opened itself to risk. Such campaigning requires facts to be 100 percent foolproof. In other words, the company must be completely confident in the facts it presents to the public. However, with the appropriate amount of caution needed to fact-check, there is a high chance of reward, including positive publicity and a turnaround of negative brand perception. Taco Bell's speedy and confident response gave the company more control over the downward-spiraling situation. In fact, the day following the response, negative talk on Twitter only slightly led positive and neutral. And now, the plaintiff's attorneys are being questioned on the results of their beef testing. Not too shabby, Taco Bell! Not too shabby.

  • 3 min read
  • February 20, 2011

"Thank You For Suing Us." Signed With Love, Taco Bell

When a lawsuit questioned Taco Bell's 'meat mixture' and allegations surfaced that the fast food giant's tacos contained a mere 35 percent of ground beef, the media had a field day. Reports of the lawsuit popped up in top-tier media coverage and consumers skeptical of what could go into a 99-cent taco quickly took conversations online. Tweets included, but were not limited to: 'Learning Taco Bell meat is not meat is like finding out cigarettes are addictive.'? 'So I guess wit Taco Bell revealin they beef is only 35% meat I has still upheld my New Year's resolution of eatin less meat??'? 'Just ate so much taco bell non-meat meat that I might die. Send my regards'?. With the clock ticking and pressure mounting, Taco Bell wasted no time fighting back. The company took out print ads only a few days later in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and our very own Boston Globe, to name a few. The ads boasted a bold 'Thank you for suing us'? headline and reiterated that Taco Bell uses 88 percent beef and 12 percent 'Secret Recipe.'? It then explained what the Secret Recipe entails ' including spices, water, and other seemingly trivial ingredients. But that wasn't all ' a campaign to reach its Hispanic customers; a YouTube video (cross-promoted on Facebook, Twitter and www.tacobell.com site) featuring President Greg Creed speaking about the company's beef facts; an 'Of course we use real beef!'?  microsite; and an aggressive online campaign on leading search engines and social media networks ' polished off the retort. So did Taco Bell's snappy response work? Let me start by saying that Taco Bell's response is more public and forceful than most other fast food giants. McDonald's, for example, still has not proactively addressed its lawsuit against including children's toys in its Happy Meals. Instead, the Golden Archs powerhouse has issued a reactive statement. By taking such an aggressive route, Taco Bell opened itself to risk. Such campaigning requires facts to be 100 percent foolproof. In other words, the company must be completely confident in the facts it presents to the public. However, with the appropriate amount of caution needed to fact-check, there is a high chance of reward, including positive publicity and a turnaround of negative brand perception. Taco Bell's speedy and confident response gave the company more control over the downward-spiraling situation. In fact, the day following the response, negative talk on Twitter only slightly led positive and neutral. And now, the plaintiff's attorneys are being questioned on the results of their beef testing. Not too shabby, Taco Bell! Not too shabby.

Red Cross Continues to Excel at Disaster Relief

It wasn't a flood, but it could have led to a flood of bad publicity. Not an earthquake, but you could feel the rumble of email complaints coming in. It wasn't a tornado'?¦oh, enough with the disaster puns? Okay. On Tuesday, one of The Red Cross's social media managers accidentally posted a tweet that referenced #gettngslizzerd (that's 'drunk'? to all of you non Far East Movement fans) with Dogfish Head (that's a type of beer to all you Bud Light Drinkers ' me included). Though it was supposed to be to his personal account, a small error using Hootsuite instead posted it under the Twitter handle of the 130 year old humanitarian organization. Yikes. This was about to be something featured on the top stories on Yahoo.com as a 'social media disaster'?. Come on, you can see that headline. Something that would have used more bad disaster puns than the first few sentences in this post and ended with 'see what was said'? as the hyperlink. It would have also been a chance for an established entity to release the type of press release that would make your freshman journalism professor smile, and anyone outside of C Suites and PR Circles cringe. Instead, The Red Cross took the role as 'humanitarian organization'? to heart ' especially the 'human'? part. Here's their response: http://redcrosschat.org/2011/02/16/twitter-faux-pas/ If this was some weird 80's movie/social media conference hybrid thing, The Red Cross would have just burst into the prom, the music would have stopped, and all of the social media 'gurus'?, 'ninjas'?, 'geeks'?, 'motorheads'?, 'jocks'? 'basketcases'? and 'princesses'? would have slow clapped. It was quick, efficient, said what it needed to say, and ended up getting a ton of great press and even donations http://www.dogfish.com/community/news/press-releases/gettngslizzered-for-a-good-cause.htm Let's get another slow clap going. This is something that social has allowed companies to do. Say 'yea, we screwed up, but we're humans, we're not a bunch of suits hiding behind press releases'?. Don't get me wrong, press releases are still necessary in the business world, but there's just something about the 'apology'? releases that are sometimes worse than the actual thing they're apologizing for. That said, I am officially drafting up a release to apologize for the disaster puns at the beginning of this post. Hopefully it will be more cringe worthy than my terrible attempts at humor.

Will u be my Valentine...on Twitter?

Who says chivalry is dead? At least it's not on Twitter ' according to the top tweet on Boston's trending topic 'valentinesday'? on the 14th: What more could a girl ask for on Valentine's Day?! A perfect gentleman and a Big Mac ' check. It is true, social media has even changed Valentine's Day. On February 14 Valentine's Day dominated many news feeds as Twitter erupted with tweets of love as well as tweets of contempt for what many dubbed yesterday on the Twittosphere as the 'Hallmark Holiday.'? Who needs Cupid when there's Twitter? In 2008, Twitter added a new feature especially for the holiday of love ' Valentine tweets. Each time a user sent a message directed at someone (@username), and added a <3 symbol, the person hearted would be asked if they 'heart' back via a giant 'YES' button. Valentine's Day: Not just for Hallmark anymore Of course, you do not have to be Hallmark to benefit from Valentine's Day. Regardless of the diverse reactions to Valentine's Day on Twitter, many companies, such as Hershey's, Macy's and AT&T to name just a few, took advantage of the Holiday to promote their products through Twitter this year. Even Coca Cola didn't miss the chance to send out some V-day love with a sponsored top tweet. Here are just a few highlights of this year's V-day Twitter promotions: AT&T: 'Shout your love from the mountaintop.'? The campaign began Thursday and encouraged users to post declarations of love to AT&T's Facebook page. In turn, on Valentine's Day AT&T's mountain men would pick some posts to 'shout'? from the top of Mount Baldy in Southern California using HTC Inspire 4G phones. The hashtag #LoveShout was also paid for on Twitter as a promoted trend. My M&M's: Promoted personalized M&M's as a way to get a message across that may be hard to say using the M&M character Red, who has trouble showing his emotional side. Along with a variety of digital and traditional media used in the promotion, M&M used the Twitter handle MyMMscom as a way for users to share gift ideas and get discount codes for the candies. Macy's: The Sweetest Tweets Contest (Macy's first promotional contest through Twitter) prompted users to interact with the brand by tweeting love notes using the #sweetesttweets hashtag. The winner receives a three-stone diamond ring. Pizza Hut: Using the hashtag #iluvPH, users tweeted their best pick-up lines for a chance to win a free order of Pizza Hut's Hershey chocolate dunkers. Hershey's: Hershey's Valentine's Day Twitter Party. Using the #Hersheys tag on Twitter on February 3 users followed hostess @ResourcefulMom who was joined by representatives from The Hershey Company to chat about Hershey's Valentine's Day gifts and give away prizes. The grand prize being a Blu-ray player, two romantic comedies and, of course, a variety of Hershey's Valentine's treats. Hallmark (UK): Repeated last year's Twittermantic competition: By following @HallmarkUK and tweeting a romantic verse to them using the hashtag #TM for a chance to win a romantic weekend break.

What's New In Social Media This Week'?¦

This week in social media news'?¦ Path, the '50-friend limit'? social networking site continued to gain momentum. They just increased their venture capital to $11.2 million. Facebook is about to launch a commenting platform. Users can use the platform by logging in via Facebook or Twitter. Comments are threaded. Comments can be synced across a publisher's site and Facebook page. A new report from GlobalWebIndex says social entertainment is making us passive. According to a new survey conducted by the Association of National Advertisers, in conjunction with the Mobile Marketing Association, 88 percent of advertisers plan to be active in mobile in 2011 ' up from 62 percent last year.

What's New In Social Media This Week'?¦

Let's see what's new in social media this week: Twitter is expected to earn $150 million in ad revenues this year, a huge increase over revenues of $45 million during 2010. Facebook is giving brands a new way to collect 'likes.'? 'Sponsored Stories'? will give brand-related action such as a 'like'? or a check-in a lot more visibility on Facebook by adding them to an ad unit in addition to users' news feeds. Grubwithus, a new social network, is hoping to break the mold with their service. They offer price-fixed meals at vetted restaurants with the intention of bringing together singles and couples who want to meet new people in the neighborhoods Twitter users are now spending 2 hours and 12 minutes per month on the website, which is up from the 1 hour and 51 minutes last year. Twitter has brought in a new feature called 'Connections,'? getting rid of their 'You Both Follow'? feature.

Doing Good Through'?¦Twitter?

Last September, Eva Longoria introduced the first-ever, Twitter-based celebrity auction using TwitChange. TwitChange is one of the latest developments in the 'social good'? realm, serving as a celebrity charity auction where fans bid on an opportunity to be followed, mentioned or re-tweeted by their favorite celebrities with all of the earnings donated toward a cause. The month-long auction, which benefited building homes in Haiti, turned into an instant success. Flurries of fans requested their most beloved celebrities to enter. The result: 35 million hits; more than $540,000 toward the cause; and support from more than 175 celebrities including Justin Bieber, Shaquille O'Neal and Adrian Grenier. The media also loved the creativity of TwitChange's digital auction. "Twitter enthusiasts: Ever dream of having a celebrity follow and re-tweet your tweets? Here's your chance to have that dream come true. Even better? It's all in the name of good." - @USA Today 'In the Twitter universe, where a user is judged by how many followers he has, a celebrity follow or mention can be a catapult" - @Wall Street Journal With such a positive response, it's hard to imagine that TwitChange has adversaries, but it does. Some argue that the campaign is 'more about celebrity than actual charity'? and isn't likely lead to an impactful social activism movement. While I agree that TwitChange's celebrity component may outshine its 'social good'? component, calling out TwitChange as an overall bad concept nixes the idea that any form of charity is a good form of charity. To me, social giving through TwitChange may not be 'highly-involved social activism,'? but supporting a worthy cause with a platform that raises money and awareness is noteworthy and admirable. For those interested in participating or checking out TwitChange, the next auction will take place January 29, during which NFL star Troy Polamalu ' a star safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers ' will kick off an auction to benefit Operation Once in a Lifetime.

Doing Good Through'?¦Twitter?

Last September, Eva Longoria introduced the first-ever, Twitter-based celebrity auction using TwitChange. TwitChange is one of the latest developments in the 'social good'? realm, serving as a celebrity charity auction where fans bid on an opportunity to be followed, mentioned or re-tweeted by their favorite celebrities with all of the earnings donated toward a cause. The month-long auction, which benefited building homes in Haiti, turned into an instant success. Flurries of fans requested their most beloved celebrities to enter. The result: 35 million hits; more than $540,000 toward the cause; and support from more than 175 celebrities including Justin Bieber, Shaquille O'Neal and Adrian Grenier. The media also loved the creativity of TwitChange's digital auction. "Twitter enthusiasts: Ever dream of having a celebrity follow and re-tweet your tweets? Here's your chance to have that dream come true. Even better? It's all in the name of good." - @USA Today 'In the Twitter universe, where a user is judged by how many followers he has, a celebrity follow or mention can be a catapult" - @Wall Street Journal With such a positive response, it's hard to imagine that TwitChange has adversaries, but it does. Some argue that the campaign is 'more about celebrity than actual charity'? and isn't likely lead to an impactful social activism movement. While I agree that TwitChange's celebrity component may outshine its 'social good'? component, calling out TwitChange as an overall bad concept nixes the idea that any form of charity is a good form of charity. To me, social giving through TwitChange may not be 'highly-involved social activism,'? but supporting a worthy cause with a platform that raises money and awareness is noteworthy and admirable. For those interested in participating or checking out TwitChange, the next auction will take place January 29, during which NFL star Troy Polamalu ' a star safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers ' will kick off an auction to benefit Operation Once in a Lifetime.

    Related Posts