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Heinz is Taking a Special Interest in Chicagoans

America’s favorite ketchup company may have its feelings hurt over Chicagoans refusing to put the delicious condiment on their hot dogs. Whether you’re from Chicago or not, it’s no secret that according to Chicagoans ketchup just doesn’t belong on hot dogs. We love our all beef dog on a poppy seed bun with all the fixens of chopped white onions, pickled sport peppers, one large pickle spear, dash of celery salt, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices and mustard. Ketchup? No, thank you.

chicago dog

Heinz thinks it may have a more inclusive solution to incorporate a tomato based condiment for Chicago dogs. It is being very careful not to refer to this sauce as ketchup, but rather “Chicago Dog Sauce.” In honor of National Hot Dog Day, one of the many days dedicated to delicious food that the world has adopted within the past years (see post here about World Chocolate Day), Heinz went to Chicago hot dog shops and provided them with the new Chicago Dog Sauce. The locals’ reactions were positive until they found out what was really in the Chicago Dog Sauce. Watch the ad below to see how Heinz’s Chicago Dog Sauce experiment really went.

Just When You Thought Ice-T Couldn’t Get Any Cooler

Ice t ice

Who doesn’t love Ice-T? And to be clear I am talking about the rapper turned actor turned loving husband and father, not the delicious and refreshing beverage (which I also love). Whether you listen to his music or you watched him on Law & Order: SVU, everybody knows and loves Ice-T. He has a down to earth personality and a cool vibe about him. In this interesting article by AdWeek, Ice-T just got cooler by partnering with Sonic.

After 6,000 years of human civilization, it’s come to this: A finely detailed, life-sized ice sculpture of rapper/actor Ice-T will slowly melt, drip-drip-drip, during a live internet event. When its microphone falls the to floor, it will make winners of some lucky Sonic Drive-In fans.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners came up with the chill stunt, which will stream Tuesday on Facebook at 1 p.m. ET. The sculpture, made by David Fong of Ice Illusions in Santa Clara, Calif., will be holding a real mic, and once it drops, the first 100 users to comment will receive a limited-edition Ice-T T-shirt that changes color when frozen.

Read more by visiting AdWeek!

Everyone’s Favorite Ad Man Makes His Big Return

He’s the man you know and love despite his questionable life choices. He’s charming, smart and witty (not to mention incredibly handsome). He’s Don Draper and he’s back. No, the popular TV drama surrounding a New York ad agency set in the 1960s is not coming out with new episodes, unfortunately. But, AT&T Audience Network will be showing all seven seasons of the critically acclaimed series starting June 12th.

 

don draper

 

AT&T Audience Network is available to the subscribers of DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse. Audience Network is the first network to have attained Mad Men’s off-network rights. The show is going to air commercial free with occasional marathons on Saturdays. Chris Long, the head of the network, explains that they have seen a major boost in their viewership because they are commercial free. He also said this gives viewers the opportunity to catch up on a show that they may not have seen without interruption or if you’re like me, an opportunity to re-watch one of the greatest TV shows ever created and swoon over Don Draper. In addition to Mad Men, Audience Network will also be airing Weeds after attaining the off-network rights for that show as well.

 

GROUP - Mad Men _ Season 7, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

GROUP – Mad Men _ Season 7, Gallery – Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

 

Tune in June 12th to watch Don Draper and all of our other favorite ad execs on AT&T Audience Network!

 

Read more on Ad Week.

Pokémon Go, Caffeine and Data. What More Can You Need?

While playing the ever popular Pokémon Go app, there are few things you need other than caffeine and cellular data to keep your Pokémon catching adventures going. Now Pokémon Go is making it easier for you to get those necessary supplies by partnering with both Starbucks and Sprint.

sprint-and-starbucks

According to an article by Ragan’s PR Daily the popular gaming app by Niantic Labs recently announced their partnership with the beloved coffee company, Starbucks. Starbucks stores will now be labelled as PokéStops and gyms for players to stop in, grab some caffeine to recharge and continue playing their game. Not only will 7,800 Starbucks locations be turned into PokéStops, but to celebrate the partnership Starbucks has also announced a special addition Pokémon Go Frappuccino. This is a high point for fans who can now drink their favorite game-inspired frap and have fun in the new stops catching Pokémon. While announcing the partnership, Niantic Labs also leaked that there are new Pokémon being created for the game in addition to the new PokéStops.

pokemon-phone

Starbucks isn’t the only company partnering up with the hottest gaming app of the year. Sprint has also announced their partnership with Pokémon go, as well as a couple surprises of their own for the players and fans. Sprint stores across the nation will be turned into even more PokéStops for app players and offer charging stations to allow gamers to fuel up their smart phones before heading out to hit other PokéStops. Along with the PokéStops and charging stations Sprint boasts about its unlimited data plan to make sure that players of the app never run out of data, so they can “Catch ‘em all!”

pokemon

These aren’t the first large companies Pokémon Go has partnered with and they definitely won’t be the last. It seems the launch of the app over the summer was just the beginning for the revival of the Pokémon phenomenon.

Read more at: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/21901.aspx

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

Oct. 21, 2015: Brands That Leveraged #BacktotheFutureDay

BttF Day Blog

Last Wednesday marked the day Marty McFly went to the future in the 1980’s movie, “Back to the Future,” and brands didn’t skip a beat aligning themselves with the cult classic. Fortune took an in-depth look at how brands like Nike, Toyota and Pepsi  leveraged the day with ads connecting them to the film, while Ford and Universal created mock ads for a Flux Capacitor and Hoverboard. Lyft even added an element to their ride-sharing app called “McFly Mode.” Great Scott!

Here’s how each of these companies used Back to the Future Day to promote their brand:

  • Nike: When Marty McFly arrives in 2015 in the film, he puts on a pair if Nike sneakers that can lace themselves. Starting in January 2015 Tinker Hatfield, the original creator of the concept, said the Nike team was planning to release self-lacing shoes at some point in the year. The concept was again teased to the world this past Tuesday via a tweet. As of now, we still wait for the futuristic sneaker to become a reality.
  • Toyota: Not only does the car in the film travel through time, it is also fueled by garbage. The car company used the date to promote its new hydrogen fuel car, the Mirai, by including actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the debut commercial.
  • Pepsi: The drink of choice for Michael J. Fox’s character in the film, Pepsi released limited edition bottles of the soda that were sold on Amazon. However, they may have been a little too limited. Many fans hoping to get a bottle of the Back to the Future Pepsi took to Twitter to express their disappointment.
  • Ford: In honor of Back to the Future Day, Ford created a dummy version of a flux capacitor – the essential part for time travelling in the film. The Y-shaped generator powered by a getting struck by a bolt of lightning bolt or nuclear fuel was released in a mock ad and advertised to sell at a fictional $1.21 million.
  • Universal: Unfortunately not a real product, but Universal released a mock ad for a hoverboard like the sweet ride available in Back to the Future’s version of 2015. Check out the ad here to see how Universal envisions hoverboards in 2015.
  • Lyft: The on-demand ride sharing company offered free rides for up to 15 minutes around New York City in a DeLorean, the type of car used in the film. Users simply had to press the “McFly Mode” button in the Lyft app and the DeLorean ride would arrive minutes later.

Whether a devoted fan who has waited decades for this day or just someone who wanted to take part in the Back to the Future Day festivities, brands successfully engaged audiences through strategically impactful advertising.

For more on how brands utilized the date for product placement read the full Fortune article here: http://fortune.com/2015/10/21/back-future-day-brands-twitter/

 

Extra Gum Pulls At Audience’s Heartstrings

Extra Gum Blog

After what may have seemed like a very long two years since the success of Extra’s first gum wrapper centered video, “Origami,” the company released a second advertisement featuring the brand’s foil wrappers. Quickly capturing a favorable public opinion, the new ad, “The Story of Sarah and Juan,” gained 74 million views within a week of its release.

Audiences have eagerly waited for the Wrigley Company to produce another video for the campaign. With the tag line “Give Extra à Get Extra,” the ads tell stories about how it’s the little things that add up.

Marketing Magazine talks about the “Minty Love” vibe of the ad and the love it or hate it mentality viewers will have. The video starts on the steps going into a high school where students Juan and Sarah first catch each other’s eyes and one offers the other a stick of Extra Gum. As the ad continues, the relationship of the two characters has its ups and downs. However, there is always one constant – Extra Gum.

Whether it’s the love story or the catchy Haley Reinhart cover of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the video has captivated the minds of its audiences. In two minutes of video, an emotion can be conveyed that will resonate with audiences, potentially creating  a very positive brand association for Extra.

The ad comes at a time when viral videos are what create an engaging, lasting memory with a brand’s audience. Audiences have taken social media by storm, sharing the ad on their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. Twitter users took to the social media platform to express the emotions watching the video evoked in them. Many also noted that they were initially exposed to the ad through it playing before the YouTube video they were attempting to watch. These various channels are key for reaching the maximum possible audience.

For more on The Story of Sarah and Juan check out the Marketing Magazine article here: http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1368588/love-hate-it-extra-gums-the-story-sarah-juan-definitely-having-moment

Amazon Launches “Handmade At Amazon”

amazonetsy

With handmade items trending in today’s society, it seems like everyone has had their fair share of DIY disasters. Sites like Pinterest have a variety of jewelry, style and decorating ideas that can be hard to resist, but when projects turn out looking nothing like the original, it’s probably best to leave it to the pros. For the past 10 years, Etsy has been the go-to site for these unique items, where creatives can open their own shop to take orders and sell products. Last week, online shopping mogul Amazon launched a new element to their online platform, Handmade At Amazon, which is in direct competition with Etsy.

In a recent SF Gate article, the challenges that will face Etsy because of Handmade At Amazon are contemplated.

Handmade At Amazon currently consists of 80,000 products from 5,000 artisans. In order to sell on the site, artisans, which are determined by having 20 or fewer people working for the shop, have to fill out a questionnaire and be approved by Amazon. Etsy currently has 22 million active users and 1.5 million active sellers and allows for specific products to be made with the help of approved manufacturers.

Amazon also announced that users who have Amazon Prime can utilize the free shipping on the site’s new element as well. This gives Amazon an edge over Etsy. When an Etsy shop owner sells one of their products, they either need to then charge their customer for shipping or pay for it out of their own pocket.

Though Amazon does not allow for outsourced manufacturing for Handmade At Amazon products, Etsy feels that this allows for their marketplace to grow. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson says that they only allow these manufacturers to be those who align with their values. The site has grown so much, that in order for more growth at Etsy to happen, these outside sources may be necessary to continue at their current rapid rate of growth.

So how can Etsy hold its own against an e-commerce giant? If Etsy sticks to their values and continues to sell unique, well-made products, the company can keep their customer’s allegiance. Individuals who shop on the site value the customer service experience and relationship between buyers and sellers.

Competition is always a great way to see how a company can do under pressure. Since its launch 10 years ago, Etsy has been the leader when it comes to purchasing and selling handmade goods online. It will be interesting to see how and if they change their marketing tactics or business strategy to compete with Handmade At Amazon.

For more on Etsy or Handmade At Amazon, visit their sites, or read this article from SF Gate here: http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Amazon-challenges-Etsy-with-Amazon-Handmade-6557787.php

Contemplating Content Marketing

Content Marketing

In order to ensure content and messages are reaching the right audiences, one crucial element comes into play – content marketing. This is the concept of directing a message to attract a specific, strategic audience.

We live in a world a where the Internet and social media sites are continuously growing. However, this also means that the volume of information online is expansive. For businesses, making sure their content does not get lost in the noise is crucial.

For content marketing to be successful, each message must contain contextual, connected and interactive points that resonate with the audience. These three elements tie the audience and the content together, bonding the trust between a brand and its consumer.

PR Daily explains the importance for PR professionals to utilize content marketing for their clients. Here are our top three tips to staying ahead of the game:

  1. Become the Media

The digital age allows for a brand to be represented across numerous platforms at the same time. By being the direct source of a headline, the brand’s voice can be heard exactly as they desire and there’s no need to have their pitch picked up by a journalist.

  1. Growth of Social Media

The creation of unique, original content is no longer restricted to written content. With the ever-growing popularity of picture and video sharing, social media platforms have become a crucial tool in communicating information. Have a picture or video that will captivate the attention of your audience? Post it to social media and all of your brand’s Facebook fans, Twitter followers and Instagram savvy users will be more likely to see the content you want them to.

  1. Adapt to Conquer

Since the beginning of time, the human species has been rapidly adapting and evolving to our planet. The same goes for our technology and how we get information. If we want to continue to grow, we need to adapt and develop content that fits with the technology available to us.

Adapting to the ever-changing media standards will make for more strategic and beneficial content marketing. For more tips, check out this article on PR Daily: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/19350.aspx

Taking Control of Your Personal Brand

personal-branding
Building a personal brand, or the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers, has become an important tool in becoming more successful in the age of technology. Due to the quick spread of social media, online profiles have become some of the most effective resources to enhance your career and personal brand, as well as build boundaries between your professional and private life.

Here are our four favorite tips from Forbes on how to control your personal brand on social media in an authentic way:

  1. Embrace your story: Get used to sharing how you landed your dream job, the mistakes you made or where you went to college with others because it will ultimately help you make relationships and market yourself to influencers. Make sure you’re the primary force in telling your story to the rest of the world.
  2. Reach out: Some people go too far in trying to keep their privacy and reputation from being damaged on social media by shrinking their digital presence. When doing this, a digital search of their name means nothing. Be your own advocate and don’t be afraid to market yourself based on who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
  3. Make an impression: Your picture and profile content heavily influence a first impression. Make your profile true to you but remember to always stay professional. Sharing and publishing ideas that can help other people get a better understanding of who you are and what you’re passionate about can also help make lasting impressions on future employers or clients.
  4. Know your limits: When it comes to building a personal brand, the challenge is to portray yourself in the best light as well as being authentic to who you are. Know when posting pictures from last night is a good or bad decision. Understand the boundaries of your personal and professional life by thinking “would I want to explain this to my boss?” before you post it. Everything on social media can be seen by employers so if you are questioning whether or not you should post the picture – don’t do it!