Tag Archives: advertisement

Celebrity Endorsements: Risky Business or Rewarding Endeavor?

When you think about Oreos, what comes to mind? America’s favorite cookie? Check. Glass of milk? Most definitely. Shaquille O’Neal? Not so much.

Well, Kraft Foods begs to differ. Just last week, Kraft released a 30-second commercial in which Shaq is teamed with Eli Manning, Venus Williams, and Apolo Ohno to defeat the mysterious “hooded menace” who threatens to overtake the affectionately termed Double Stuf Racing League (DSRL).

One would think that companies would be reluctant to pair up with a celebrity after the infamous “crash heard ‘round the world” and resulting backlash towards golf-legend Tiger Woods. Such is not the case, it seems. Agents and CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) will always get starry-eyed by the big names of “celebrity” because 1) brands love endorsements, and 2) consumers buy into “celebrity.”

Companies recognize the risk that comes with choosing the celebrity-endorsement approach; many have learned the hard way that it becomes a reflection of their brand. Putting a face to a name makes the brand recognizable; more so when that face is famous. According to Anita Elberse, associate professor at Harvard Business School, some companies have seen their stock increase by .25% on the day an endorsement deal was announced. That doesn’t mean that every brand needs a celebrity-endorser; it has to be relevant to both the brand and the consumer.

However, celebrity endorsement is always worth investing in if you have the right person.

International pop star Lady Gaga is set to revive the instant camera for Polaroid as its Chief Creative Officer.

Teen singing sensation Justin Bieber lends his famous hair and unblemished face to Proactiv.

New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady relies on Smart Water when hitting the gym to train for (hopefully) another Super Bowl appearance.

According to marketing research firm Millward Brown, U.S. celebrities show up in more than 15% of advertisements. Not all of the appearances are in front of the camera, mind you. Sometimes, all a celebrity needs to do is be seen toting around a product or updating their Twitter account with a simple 140-character tweet.

American socialite Kim Kardashian spotted with an exclusive Hermès Birkin bag.

That 70’s Show actor Ashton Kutcher tweeted behind-the-scenes details about Popchips (snack food item).

Celebrities generate gossip and gossip requires word-of-mouth communication. If consumers are talking about a celebrity and can link him or her back to a brand, the emotional connection or self-expressive benefit that consumers feel for / towards the celebrity is transferred onto that brand. As you can see, this is 50/50 chance that marketers must gamble on. When a celebrity behaves (Shaq), the brand (Oreo) does well. But, in the case of celebrity misbehavior (*cough* Tiger Woods *cough*), the brand (Accenture, Nike, Tag Heuer) suffers.

With that said, reports show that celebrities still push products. But the question that marketers need to ask of consumers is: Would you buy a product based on a celebrity endorsement?

Written by Vicki Truong


iPhone vs. Android: Which Phone Should You Choose?

Since 2007, Apple’s iPhone has dominated the cell phone market with its innovative and user-friendly design and style. AT&T is the service carrier that provides phone service to the iPhone, boosting sales a considerable amount and allowing AT&T to closely compete with Verizon and Sprint. Apple’s initial advertising campaign that introduced the iPhone first aired before the phone’s Jun 29th launch. Considering this was the only phone of its kind at the time, the campaign was extremely successful; the commercial was simple yet effective. With a black backdrop, it displayed only a person’s hand holding an iPhone, and visually illustrated how one would use the phone, its different capabilities such as email, web surfing, photo storage and how fast and easy it was to use. I remembered first seeing these commercials and reacting with awe, thinking to myself, “WOW! I have never seen anything like this. That is such a cool phone!”

The first day the iPhone went on sale, the advertising campaign’s outcome proved strong with thousands of people from across the country waiting patiently for hours outside of Apple stores to be one of the first people to purchase this new piece of innovative technology. Since 2007, Apple has sold several million iPhones worldwide and has released new, upgraded versions as well. The 3GS iPhone came out in 2009 and this year, the iPhone 4G was released.

The Android phone was introduced by Verizon in October of 2009 to compete with Apple’s iPhone. Google and Verizon collaborated to make a brand new phone, similar to the iPhone, with fast 3G network coverage in order for Verizon to compete with AT&T in the touch screen phone market. The Android, like the iPhone, is operated by a touch screen, internet accessible, email compatible and has thousands of different applications one can add to their phone.

The advertising campaign Verizon used was very sharp, bold and to the point. The Motorola “iDon’t, Droid Does” campaign directly attacks the iPhone by stating all of its flaws, and then points out that the “Droid Does” do all of these things.

Some of the phrases used in the “iDon’t” commercial are the following:

“iDon’t have a real keyboard”

“iDon’t run simultaneous apps”

“iDon’t customize”

“iDon’t run open development”

These are extremely strong allegations that Verizon boldly states in their commercials, and as a result, Verizon has won over many consumers over the past 11 months. In the first 74 days, 1.05 million Motorola Droids were sold, exceeding the iPhone’s initial release sales numbers when it first came out in 2007.

Another technique Verizon used to advertise the Android was institute the “Droid Does Times Square” campaign. People on the street were introduced to an interactive experience where a Droid was hooked up to the electronic billboards in Times Square, and by using the voice command feature, the Droid was able to control the huge billboards. This was extremely useful and productive; people became familiar with the new Verizon product and became excited for its release.

Verizon vs. AT&T

Before deciding on whether the Droid or iPhone is right for you, it is important to take into consideration which network provides the best coverage. Verizon Wireless has the best coverage in the United States, while AT&T has received constant complaints about dropped calls and lack of service in some areas. However, since AT&T uses a standard phone service, the iPhone can be used globally and not just domestically.

In 2007, AT&T had approximately 65 million wireless phone users where as today, it provides about 87 million people with wireless cell phone services. Verizon had 63.3 million users in 2007 and now has 92.8 million users, approximately six (6) million more than AT&T. (Cox, Network World) Verizon is the leader in the United States wireless phone market ahead of AT&T.

Now which phone will you choose? Will you pick the iPhone with the so-so AT&T service that has millions of different apps to choose from, or the Droid that is up and coming into the market and uses Verizon, which has the best coverage in the United States? Only time will tell which one of these companies will be the most successful in the long run, but the question is, which team will you play for?

Written by: Adriana Mirra

Social Media: A Revolution – How to Embrace It

I used to perceive business conferences as a gathering of uptight professionals with their pens and paper scattered all over the table, conversing about falling stocks or bad mouthing competitors’ initiatives. All of my pre-conceived notions were proven wrong when I suited up and attended the Marketing conference, TS2 2010, yesterday, July 15th,  at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

I was baffled by the variety of workshops offered throughout the day…a buffet of selections for you to choose from to satisfy your taste! Everything from up-and-coming lifestyle trends to how to generate ideas that will help boost your business, I was definitely ready to devour some of these great sessions that would feed my business-hungry mind.

Since we live in a world that is so connected through the Internet where social media has become a world-wide phenomenon, no one can go a single day without clicking through the “every day essentials:” Facebook and Twitter. So what does this mean for businesses out there?

Well, event will not be strictly dedicated to “Katie’s Bachelorette Party” nor will status updates be “ “Just had the best day of my life!” You will notice a lot of your favorite stores, restaurants, bands and other companies posting contests or daily updates for highlights within their industry.  This new practice is the result of businesses slowly integrating social media into their daily operations and tapping into a market where more people will look to for their favorite company’s promotions and news(in comparison to “old-school” methods like handing out fliers!)

Here’s the big question…how????

How do businessmen and women know what will grasp their customer’s attention? Is there some type of special lingo that people speak? Will posting traditional advertisements on social media websites work?

You might think so! Well…at least I thought that once you start to digitally post things on the Internet, people would read it regardless!

But I was DEFINITELY wrong! Having used my fair share of social media websites and tools as a means of posting advertisements and promoting events, I have been getting increasingly more frustrated when the responses were not what I had wanted or intended.

Instead of hoping for things to improve  by relying on people to just “stumble” onto the page, I learned some pretty decent tricks of the trade from the workshops that I attended at the TS2 conference. Here are some highlights:

  • Social media is so attractive because it plays off the emotions of the audience, but at the same time it exposes them to different things, giving them entertainment but at the same time there is an educational aspect to it
  • The most astonishing quality that makes people constantly checking status updates, reading blogs or viewing videos is that there is a humanizing element to the content that is posted. When people go on Facebook or Twitter, they’re not looking for formal updates like “X company announces merger with Y company”, there is CNN and BBC news for those kind of headlines! People go on social media to get a break from their hectic lives, giving them a sense of relief from stresses at school or work when you come across one of your friends posting an embarrassing picture of someone else! People feel more personally connected with each other through these websites; with that said, it is important to reinforce this fact and keep these websites personal and relaxing when you start using social media as a way to reach out to your target audience.
  • Another tool to engage your audience is to create valuable content and collaboration. You don’t want to post a blog about how miserable your life is with your monster-in-law criticizing your lack of commitment to the family or issues that you are having with your friends. Well, to a certain extent, if you were a celebrity, I guess that might be okay… But then again, the paparazzi and tabloids will catch you, leading to bad press… Regardless, you would always want to post something that is interesting for people to read, which in turn helps create strong bonds with the audiences as you leave them wanting to revisit your site again for more updates.

The conference also gave insight to some very interesting social media applications outside the main 3 giants of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube…here are a few that I liked:

  • Four Square: A tool on your phone and iTouch that gives you a new way of exploring your city. This application is a great way for people to promote their venues as when people “check-in” to the place they’re at, they can get inside tips of anything interesting that is happening at the venue. For example, when I “checked-in” to a small family-owned Italian restaurant out in Framingham, there was a tip that I could get a free appetizer if I showed them I was a first time customer on Four Square.
  • SlideShare: A great file-sharing place where you can post presentations, documents and portfolios for digital conferences or just for sharing’s sake!

It’s no joke when people say, “social media is changing the world!” Just look at the vast amount of new applications that have been popping up by the seconds! There is definitely a lot to learn about this universal occurrence, and just attending these workshop sessions at the TS2 conference has sparked my interest to research it more and use it to its full potential.

Written by: Venisse Wu