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Get into the Social Media Spotlight!

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Have you ever wondered why your company’s social media accounts aren’t taking off? You’re thinking, “Other companies have a large following and seem to be so successful on social media, why are our social media follower numbers so low?” Well, having social media accounts, and having an impactful social media presence are two entirely different things. It takes more than just having the accounts and occasionally posting to them about your business to make your company successful on social media. In this post we are going to give you some useful tips from our own experience, as well as tips we found from Forbes “How to Conquer Social Media #LIKEABOSS”, to help you make an impact on your consumers through social media.

  1. Not everyone wants to hear about what your business is currently working on. Yes, it is important to share what you do as a company, but it is also important to post things that will get people talking. For example, if you are a travel company, try posting an article you find about the best places to travel in the world. That is the type of post that will grab people’s attention, get them to click on your article link, and most likely comment on the post and share it with their fellow “wanderlust” friends. This not only puts you in the spotlight, but it shows people that you have more uses in mind for your Facebook and Twitter accounts, than just trying to push your business onto your followers.
  2. Having social media and being active on those accounts shows your consumers/followers that you, as a company, are human. It makes you more assessable because you are constantly communicating with the world; and therefore humanizes you (Forbes 2016). Show the world that you have a personality! Occasionally share that funny video of a dog struggling to get out of bed and relate it to how the people of your office feel on Mondays, but make sure to maintain a balance between professional and personal posts.
  3. Social media ultimately does a great job of increasing awareness of your company. Basically, it can help to spread the word that you exist. The world is in the technology obsessed age and social media is a big part of that. It is partly free advertising, as well as the gateway to communicating with your audience, which are both big perks.

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Ultimately, think of social media as a strategy to help you reach an objective or goal. It is one path that can help you succeed, but will not be the “make” or “break” for your company. If you keep this in mind, use it as a tool, and make sure to create interesting posts consistently, it may be the extra push you need to get you in the spotlight on social media and in the business world.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2016/06/29/how-to-conquer-social-media-likeaboss/#19697fed7b08

Budweiser Taps into American Patriotism with New Branding

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The countdown to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio has officially begun and with just under 3 months until the opening ceremony brands big and small have the opportunity to take advantage of one of the most watched sporting event in the world. Budweiser is doing just that with the introduction of their new beer cans and bottles they have aptly renamed “America.”

According to NPR, summer is the best selling season for beer with about one-third of all U.S. sales happening between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Combine the busy beer season with the 2016 Summer Olympics and Presidential Election and this summer is primed for what Budweiser Vice President Ricardo Marques says will be “the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen.”

In addition to the new name, the beer the cans will also feature phrases from the Pledge of Allegiance and lyrics from “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” The summer cans and bottles will hit the shelves on Memorial Day and will run through the November election; a seven month period in which every Budweiser sold in the U.S. will read “America.” Marques addressed the name change saying “Budweiser has always strived to embody America in a bottle, and we’re honored to salute this great nation where our beer has been passionately brewed for the past 140 years.”

To go along with the new look, Budweiser is introducing the “America is in Your Hands” campaign. This summer long campaign will focus on “reminding people from sea to shining sea to embrace the optimism upon which the country was first built.” The new cans and bottles will be featured in a national TV spot that is set to premier June 1.

The rebranding of Budweiser’s cans and bottles hopes to capture the patriotism of U.S. consumers. With the 2016 Summer Olympics, Presidential Election and the Copa America Centenario, U.S. patriotism will be running high, and Budweiser hopes this new branding will attract even more U.S. consumers. Despite the mild backlash by many after the announcement of the name change, Budweiser is taking advantage of a unique opportunity this summer and only time will tell if the campaign will strike success.

For more about this topic check out NPR’s full article here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/05/10/477499942/budweiser-will-call-itself-america-for-a-limited-time

Apple Wins Over Customers with Humor

PPR_Blog_AppleMusic

With iPhones, MacBooks, Apple Music and the newest Apple Watch, it seems that there’s nothing that Apple doesn’t offer customers these days. Through well thought out advertising campaigns and continuous customer support, Apple has been able to maintain a respectable brand image and keep customers coming back for more.

After a recent controversy between Apple and the U.S. government, Apple needed a strategic PR plan to draw customer’s attention away from the conflict and bring the focus back to the products. With a new string of advertisements highlighting various Apple products and their many features, the company was able to do exactly that.

According to Marketing Magazine, “[Apple] has been many things for many people, but there’s one trick it hasn’t tried in some time. Being funny.” The most recent advertisements released by Apple feature two very different celebrities: superstar singer and songwriter Taylor Swift and Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster. Both of these spots have been a favorite among the public, each racking up millions of views and thousands of shares shortly after being released.

These ads seem to be paying off quite well for Apple. The Swift ad, which featured the popstar running on the treadmill while rapping to Drake and Future’s single “Jumpman,” under a playlist called “#GYMFLOW,” boosted Apple Music into the spotlight of streaming music. “Jumpman” experienced a 431% increase in sales globally thanks to the campaign and the playlist featured in the ad, #GYMFLOW, has increased by 325%, making it the fifth highest streamed playlist on Apple Music.

After experiencing millions of views and shares, it’s apparent Apple has struck advertising gold.  Marketing Magazine says that all these views combined with the positive press the ads have received, more or less ensures that that there are more jokes to come from Apple in the near future.

For more info, check out the Marketing Magazine article here: http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1390080/apple-finds-its-funny-side-again-seals-the-kiss

Always Releases New #LikeAGirl Commercial Challenging Gender Stereotypes

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Procter & Gamble’s Always brand aims to support girls as they make their transition from puberty to young adults. With their latest #LikeAGirl campaign, the company is redefining confidence by turning the negative phrase “like a girl” into a term of empowerment throughout a series of commercials that have been released over the past year. The first ad in this campaign featured a social experiment that asked people to do things ‘like a girl’ and found that adults took this to mean ‘silly’ or ‘not good enough’, while young girls did them the best they could. The latest commercial for this campaign used research as the basis for the video and found that 67% of girls say that female emojis imply that girls are limited in what they can do and 75% said they want emojis to be more progressive, portraying female police officers and athletes.

According to Mashable, the new video brought together a diverse cross-section of girls and young women, 11 to 18 years old, and asked them “do emojis represent them?” and then captured their authentic spontaneous reactions when scanning the available emoji choices. The video follows the baffled faces of young girls as they scroll through their phone, many realizing for the first time that few women are represented and the girl category is limited to the color pink. “There’s no girl-professional emojis, unless you count being a bride a profession,” notes one of the girls in the commercial.

Executives at Always have approached the Unicode Consortium about expanding the available emojis to more accurately tell stories about how girls live today. Unicode president Mark Davis responded in an email saying, “the Consortium has been working on full representation of gender in emojis. We appreciate the efforts that Always is taking to collect feedback and input into the process for new emoji characters.”

Mashable also highlighted how this campaign is helping to reinvent the Always brand. “At more than 30 years old, it was considered a Mom brand and needed a refresh.” In order to appeal to the next generation of users, Always used young women as the focus of their new campaign. By casting a positive light on the traditionally insulting “like a girl” saying, the first commercial of the campaign made waves immediately. Over 75% of young women had a positive reaction to the phrase, “like a girl,” after seeing the video, when only 19% felt that way before, according to P&G research.” Since the release of the first video, Always has continued putting out advertisements focused on instilling confidence in young girls.

“This generation, they’re not just looking for a p­roduct,” said Michele Baeten, global associate brand director for P&G’s Always. “They’re buying into the values of a brand.” After losing relevance with young women, the release of this campaign was exactly what the brand needed in order to show the public that they are invested in addressing important social issues and dedicated to helping young women be their most confident self.

For more information on the #LikeAGirl campaign, check out Mashable’s full article: http://mashable.com/2016/03/02/girls-emoji-like-a-girl/ – OF7fQQ0nYqqG

Top Themes Seen in Super Bowl 50 Commercials

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Many watch it for the game, others for the halftime show, while some of us like to sit back and enjoy the entertaining commercials. It’s the annual American tradition: the Super Bowl. The New Yorker ranked this year’s best and worst commercials. At an average of roughly $5 million dollars for thirty seconds of air time, the stakes are high for Super Bowl commercials to be funny, memorable and ultimately, to sell a product. This year’s batch of commercials featured some distinct trends, including the use of celebrities, dogs and Public Service Announcements.

Celebrities

Many commercials this year capitalized on the use of celebrities. Bud Light featured comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen in a political satire commercial. The two are unlikely presidential candidates, with Schumer’s good-natured provocative humor and Rogen being Canadian. In the commercial, the two united the nation with something “everyone agrees on”—Bud Light. By poking fun at the divided political climate and using comedians that are extremely unlikely to become president, Bud Light connects to all its viewers and brings them together over beer.

Dogs

No matter how cliché, it seems everyone has a love for all things cute and cuddly. This year, Dorito’s made a hilarious use of dogs trying to get into a grocery store to buy Dorito’s chips. After being chased out by grocery store security, the dogs dress in human-like outfits to buy their coveted chips. The paradox of dogs in human attire is easily a source of laughter for everyone, making the commercial enjoyable and memorable.

PSAs

The NFL aired dramatic public service announcements during the Super Bowl to raise awareness and promote a change in behavior against domestic violence and sexual assault. This commercial featured a simple text conversation between two friends with a reference to one girl’s boyfriend in passing indicating that she was potentially in danger. The NFL has recently been criticized for being too lenient on charges of violence against women among their players. Last year, eight NFL players were arrested for violence against women, and five were arrested the year before. Half of these players still play for the NFL, demonstrating leniency. By creating a PSA against domestic violence and sexual assault, the NFL is combating controversies by publicly standing against violence against women.

Aside from the entertainment value of the Super Bowl commercials, the end goal is to increase sales for products or to raise awareness through PSAs. The viewers—all of us—decide the success of the commercials by how we react to them and this year’s overall response was positive.

Read the New Yorker’s full article on the Super Bowl commercials here: http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/super-bowl-ads-the-best-and-worst-of-2016

The White House has Snapchat

White House

President Obama is already the most tech savvy president and has yet again added another social app to his resume, Snapchat. The White House official account went live January 11 with its first snap.

Snapchat

According to TechCrunch, The White House launched their account before Obama’s State of the Union address to give users a behind-the-scene look at the preparation leading up to the event. This included additional footage and camera angles. The account followed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest through his rounds in the West Wing.

The White House is making the State of the Union address accessible and relatable to a younger generation. The speech has been available through YouTube for a couple years and this year it was available on Amazon for on-demand streaming.

The White House is no stranger to embracing social media, having already established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine and Instagram.

“There are over 100 million daily active Snapchat users, and over 60 percent of American smartphone users between the ages of 13 and 34 use the platform,” said White House’s director of product management Josh Miller. “In light of the number of Americans who use the service to consume news and share with their friends, the White House is joining Snapchat to engage this broad cross-section of the population in new and creative ways.”

While once known best as the “disappearing” messaging service, Snapchat has since developed a social platform for sharing content in a more authentic way. Snapchat’s Stories features is becoming one of the app’s go-to-draws, in which users will see all of the posts by the White House. These short-form, mobile-friendly media collections have grown over time to attract millions of users. Live Stores, for example, are capable of drawing in an audience of 20 million in 24 hours.

As for the new White House Snapchat account, the launch is a continuation of the company’s efforts at “meeting people where they are” – that is, on the social media platforms they use, said Miller.

For those who just want to see the president doing goofy things, that may not be coming just yet. But it won’t be all serious posts. The account has already been full of Sunny and Bo, the President’s dogs, lounging around on the lawn.

Check out the full article here: http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/11/the-white-house-joins-snapchat/.

Paramount Public Relation’s Client Highlights of 2015

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It’s been an exciting and busy year here at Paramount PR, our clients have been doing some fascinating things. From launching a new social deals website to celebrating the 50th anniversary of a childhood favorite, here are a few highlights from 2015:

  1. Bacon Lovers Get a Delicious Healthier Alternative: Schmacon, “Beef’s Answer to Bacon,” made its national retail debut this year and can now be found in stores across the U.S. Schmacon is an all-natural, smoked, uniquely seasoned, crispy whole muscle beef product that has less calories, fat and sodium than pork bacon. Bacon and meat lovers can replace bacon with Schmacon during breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  2. Cutting-Edge Launch: Ultimaker, a leading 3D printer manufacturer, launched two new printers at CES Las Vegas 2015. The two cutting-edge desktop printers, the Ultimaker2 Go and Ultimaker2 Extended, offer users unique features for a variety of projects. The Ultimaker2 Go is a compact, lightweight printer perfect for beginners. The Ultimaker2 Extended has the capacity to print larger designs in one print without losing the accuracy and speed of its counterparts. The new printers raised the bar for imagination within the 3D printing community.
  3. College Game Day Ready: XYIENCE, the original great tasting, zero calorie energy beverage partnered with ESPN College Game Day’s Samantha Ponder. Samantha Ponder participated in a digital press conference sponsored by XYIENCE and also starred in a variety of funny commercials.
  4. Company Launch: iConsumer, a coupons and cashback website and app, launched this year. In addition to saving customers money while online shopping, iConsumer rewards users by giving back shares of stock in iConsumer. iConsumer partners with over 1,700 stores to give shoppers access to items they shop for on a daily basis.
  5. Giving Back While Texting: GIV Mobile continues to appeal to consumers with their affordable no-contract plans starting at $20/month for unlimited talk and text. This consumer conscious no-contact service plan donates 8% of each customer’s monthly plan amount to up to three charities of the customer’s choice.
  6. Snag Deals up to 90% off from Amazon: Snagshout, a new social deals website, launched this year to provide a unique shopping experience to consumers by offering deep discounts on a wide range of retail products for purchase, use and review. The site connects shoppers looking for deals with merchants looking to gain traction with new items on Amazon.
  7. A Classic Turns 50: Since the 1960s the Lava Lamp has been a household classic and staple. This year Lava Lamp celebrated its 50th birthday by releasing two new collections. The 50th Anniversary collection adds gold with the classic lava colors, while the Beatle’s inspired line offers a funky twist to the original.
  8. Inventive Cocktails and Tasty Treats: Bungalow 23, culinary cocktail mixers, and Wagshal’s Fermín Spanish Raw Ibérico Chorizo topped the list as some of the most inventive and revolutionary products at the National Restaurant Association Show earlier this year. These prestigious Food and Beverage Innovations award–winning products are hand-crafted with full flavor in mind.
  9. Road to Financial Wellness: Phroogal, a financial education service that empowers Millennials to make better informed financial decisions, traveled across the country this June to 30 cities in 30 days to get people to actively discuss their relationship with money. Phroogal inspires people to learn and utilize resources and tools that empower communities to make better financial decision.

We can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us. Happy New Year! 🙂

2015: A Year in Review

2015

The holidays are upon us and here at Paramount Public Relations we would like you wish you and your families a happy holiday and joyous New Year. As 2015 comes to a close, it comes time to reflect on the year that has now passed noting the most memorable moments. We decided to share with you 10 of the most memorable news stories from the past year.

  1. “The Dress” Phenomenon: Early in the year, a photo of a dress surfaced on social media and there was one major question: was the dress blue and black or was it white and gold? Society weighed in on the debate, making the picture one of the most shared items on social media. While it was confirmed that the dress was indeed both blue and black and white and gold, the light reflecting off the dress influenced the color.
  2. Same-Sex Marriage Legalized: On June 26, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the marriage of same-sex couples in the U.S. was legal in all 50 states and U.S. territories. In the history changing 5-4 ruling, the country joined 21 other countries to legalize same-sex marriage.
  3. Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup: For the 3rd time in the past 6 years, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Being based in Chicago, here at Paramount Public Relations we were very excited about this achievement. Defeating the Tampa Bay Lighting, the Hawks brought home the title with a 2-0 win on June 13 to win the 6 game series.
  4. Left Shark Stole the Show: The football players on the field usually draw the crowds for the Super Bowl but this year the halftime show had everyone talking. During Katy Perry’s performance, dancers dressed in shark costumes stole the show and became a viral meme sensation. The Patriots may have won, but Left Shark is who the fans remembered.
  5. I Am Cait”: In June, Caitlin Jenner told the world her story as the cover model of Vanity Fair magazine and reached 1 million Twitter followers in a record breaking 4 hours and 3 minutes. Caitlyn’s original fame happened when “Bruce” Jenner, won an Olympic gold medal for the triathlon. Now she has added another award to her list, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.
  6. A New Princess: On May 2, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed their second child. Their daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, is fourth in line for the British throne after her grandfather Prince Charles, Father Prince William and older brother Prince George.
  7. FIFA World Cup: The women’s FIFA World Cup was held in Canada from June 6-July 5. It all came down to the final match-up, The United States vs. Canada. The game ended with a 5-2 U.S. victory. Winning for the first time in 16 years, the U.S. ended the drought and brought home the victory.
  8. Pope Francis: Making his first trip to the U.S., Pope Francis visited 3 cities: Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia. Giving numerous masses, meeting with world leaders and speaking in front of the Senate, House of Representatives and the United Nations, the Pope spread his message on U.S. ground.
  9. #PrayForParis: On November 13, terror struck the city of Paris as gunmen and suicide bombers hit a concert hall, soccer game and restaurants simultaneously. Events of the night left 130 dead and hundreds wounded. The world was instantly saddened by this horrible event and publicly displayed their grievances and support for Paris creating the hashtag #PrayForParis, while major cities shined French colors on national monuments.
  10. Water on Mars: NASA has confirmed that they found liquid water on Mars. Using advanced digital imaging they concluded that certain slopes and seasonal dark streaks are highly correlated with the presence of water on the planet. The news has created an exciting buzz because even if the water is very salty, it could still represent the presence of life on the planet.

Zuckerburg to Donate 99% of Facebook Stock

Zuckerburg Blog

For Silicon Valley’s newest generation of billionaires, the biggest trend in innovation is actually something old – giving back. As someone who is no stranger to innovation, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg is at the forefront of the movement. The 31 year old with a net worth of $37.5 billion announced on Tuesday that he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, will donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock shares throughout the course of their lives. The stocks are currently worth more than $45 billion and will be donated to charitable causes still to be announced, or even still to be created.

According to a recent New York Times article, Zuckerberg’s charitable plans are the latest indication of a growing interest in philanthropy among Silicon Valley’s young billionaires, who unlike previous generations of business tycoons, appear eager to spread their wealth while they are still young.

Zuckerburg and Chan have a new baby girl, Max, who was born just last week. The couple says the pledge to donate the stocks is all about making the world a better place for her generation and those to follow. Publishing an open letter to her, they explain the better life they wish for her to have. The letter explains that they are making the donation because they wish to help advance human potential, promote equality and help create technology to foster change for the future.

“Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges,” writes Zuckerburg. “I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work.”

Many industry leaders are showing support for the donation and aim for change including one of Zuckerburg’s childhood heroes and the wealthiest man in the world, Bill Gates. Mr. Gates and his wife congratulated his efforts releasing a statement.

“The example you’re setting today is an inspiration to us and the world,” they said. “We can be confident of this: Max and every child born today will grow up in a world that is better than the one we know now. As you say, ‘Seeds planted now will grow.’ Your work will bear fruit for many decades to come.”

Zuckerburg believes that by creating and building new, innovative technology will help drive changes to improve education worldwide. The improved technology would then increase literacy rates and decrease poverty levels in these areas.

To learn more read the full New York Times story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/technology/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-charity.html?_r=0

REI Would Rather #OptOutside On Black Friday

REI Blog Picture

The national outdoor and sporting goods retailer REI has decided to close all 143 stores on Black Friday this year in a push to encourage customers to #OptOutside and enjoy the outdoors. In recent years the trend has been for stores to open earlier and earlier on Black Friday leading some stores like RadioShack to open as early as 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This year, REI is taking a stand against the craziness that ensues when customers flock into stores for some of the lowest prices of the year.

An article by USA Today describes how REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke came to the decision to take a step back from Black Friday:

“Any retailer that hears this will be startled by the idea,” says REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke, who admits he was apprehensive about closing at first. “As a co-op … we define success a little differently. It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?”

Other stores like Costco and Nordstrom have taken a stand against opening early on Thanksgiving Day, but no other store has sat on the sideline during Black Friday until now. This is a momentous decision by Stritzke because Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season and, as USA Today points out, Black Friday has consistently been a top 10 sales day for REI.

With its #OptOutside campaign, REI hopes to completely turn the tide of the Black Friday shopping tradition and give its employees two paid days off to enjoy the outdoors.

The Bloomington, MN REI store manager Brian Harrower has already planned an ice hockey tournament for his first Black Friday off in 25 years, USA Today reported.

“Somebody has to be the one to kind of put their flag in the sand and say enough is enough,” he says. “That’s what #OptOutside is for us, is saying we’re going to be the first, we think this doesn’t make sense anymore, it’s not healthy. And an outdoor life is a healthy life.”

Well put, Brian!

In fact, shouldn’t REI fanatics be thanking Stritzke? Because after all, by forgoing shopping altogether, shoppers will score the best savings of the year.