The Head Down Revolution

Woman on city street looking at smartphone

If you live in a major metro market, then you know what it’s like to walk down the street and see 90% of the people with their heads down buried in their phone. I was one of those people, until I found myself standing in the middle of the street in Manhattan writing a text and nearly getting hit by a taxi. From that point on, I made sure that I was always looking up. But I am definitely in the minority. And this post is not about the safety, or lack thereof, when it comes to texting. It’s about how marketers can capitalize on this Head Down Revolution.

According to Statista, the U.S. mobile phone penetration has reached 81%, representing 223 million consumers. And those consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours per day glued to their smartphones. More importantly, is the role that texting now plays in our everyday lives, especially when it comes to marketing. For an eye-opening example, texts have a 99% open rate compared to 20% for email*. Pretty amazing, huh? Now I imagine that smartphones are currently in the midst of fine tuning their hardware to introduce features that can block such correspondence. But who knows when that will come?

So until that day, marketers have a humongous opportunity to take advantage and focus their outbound efforts on the behaviors of the smartphone user. A behavior that is now second nature, and while receiving a text from a brand may seem like a nuisance at first, it is certainly less of one than an email. Also, if you’re sending info or content that isn’t selling, but more serving them something of value, then you’re more likely to be able to maintain that dialogue.

And isn’t a dialogue what we want? It opens the door, and leads to traffic. And when you have enough traffic, ultimately it will lead to transactions. It’s this approach to marketing, partnered with the aforementioned tactics, that can build the awareness and engagement you’re looking for.

Now how about a little “social experiment”: The next time you’re walking down the street, take note of how many people’s’ heads are down. It truly is a sight to see. Just think, those eyes could be engaged in your brands message. And if the message is “timed” to when your customer is in the market for a new product, it becomes relevant and timely — a very powerful combination.

*Credits: Jack Loechner — Editor of The Center for Media Research; SinglePoint; Statista

Make Love Not Scars

reshma

Since its founding in 2005, YouTube has been home to a myriad of beauty bloggers who post tutorials and other how-to makeup videos. But in a powerful new campaign for Make Love Not Scars by Ogilvy & Mather, the woman giving the red lip tutorial looks a little different than the typical 20-something beauty blogger.

Reshma, whose face has been scarred and disfigured, is a spokesperson for the #EndAcidSale campaign, whose goal is to curb the number of acid attack victims in India by limiting the accessibility to acid (you can buy a liter of it in any drugstore in India for about $1.50).

According to a petition that Reshma asks viewers to sign (which has over 65,000 signatures), India has over 1,000 reported acid attack cases per year, of which 90% of the victims are female.

What Sparks Our Fire: Creative and powerful campaigns that capture attention and call for change.

And So It Begins

old spice

For the first time in history, the two Old Spice spokesmen (Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews) are squaring off in a spot together. Last week, Old Spice released a commercial simply entitled “And So It Begins,” which features Mustafa as the rugged everyman in-touch with nature spokesperson for the brand’s Timber scent. Mustafa pitches the scent as “what the angel-faced woman in your life deserves” but is interrupted by Crews, who interrupts him by bursting onto the scene, the embodiment of the aggressive, hyper-masculine male personifying the Bearglove scent. The third scent, Swagger, is also portrayed by Mustafa, as a smooth-talking, debonair gentleman.

mustafa

The campaign encourages consumers (particularly male millennials) to choose which scent best fits their personality and “make a smellmitment,” and the use of both iconic Old Spice spokespeople in one campaign has garnered widespread attention for the brand. However, the two actors aren’t the brand’s only first. Old Spice, in conjunction with the video advertisement, partnered with Imgur, a popular image-sharing site frequented by male millennials, to create a sponsored post that would appear on the site. Its innovative use of GIFs, laser-shooting helicopters, and Imgur-friendly terminology won the community over, and the brand was commended for its familiarity with its target audience, with users commenting things like “a shamless ad I can get behind” and “I’ll allow it”.

bearglove

The scents are available in a variety of products, from body wash to deodorant, and will be promoted through a series of six more spots this fall.

What Sparks Our Fire: Brands that not only invent creative and engaging campaigns, but know their audience well.

Google+ is Going Through a Breakup

google plus

Google+ has been suffering from what many tech blogs and business publications are calling a “slow death”—its initial launch established the site as an attempt to be a fully-integrated social platform, with its multifaceted approach rivaling companies like Facebook, Dropbox, WordPress, and Skype.

However, after failing to gain both traction and users in the social media community, it recently announced that it will be splitting the platform into three different components: Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. Hangouts is a video chatting service that will remain independent of Google+, photos is a storage space for images that will be added to Google Drive, and streams covers the rest of the Google+ experience along with News and Blogger.

While the idea of a streamlined, all-in-one social media platform sounded like a good idea, perhaps it was the ambition of the venture that led to its demise; users considered the Google+ login to YouTube a nuisance, found the interface unaesthetic, and the whole system a cheap Facebook facsimile.

Google has finally compromised, maintaining the best aspects of Google+ like Hangouts and Photos, and has removed the Google+ sign-in on YouTube, much to users’ delight.

The moral of the story: Don’t put all of your digital marketing eggs in one basket, especially if your product is at risk of being disruptive—and not in the good way.

What Sparks Our Fire: Google+ taking the next step forward and making smart decisions in the face of a highly-publicized technological failure.

MAC + Selena: A Love Letter to Fans

Image #: 15785708    Grammy award-winning Tejano music superstar Selena, 23, was fatally shot and killed by a former business associate March 31 in Corpus Christi, Texas. The suspect, identified as Yolanda Saldivar, surrendered to police after a 9 1/2 hour standoff.  REUTERS/HO /Landov

MAC Cosmetics, a company famed for its collaborations with celebrities (and even a few fictional characters) and its bold, striking makeup looks, announced yesterday that it would fittingly release a line of cosmetics in honor of the late Tejano pop star Selena, who was known to many as “the Latina Madonna” for her style and her domination of the Latin music scene in the ’90s.

However, the most noteworthy aspect of this collection is that not only is it inspired by one of the Mexican-American community’s biggest pop icons, but it had a grassroots origin: a Change.org petition. The petition, started by Patty Rodriguez, asked for 5,000 signatures, which it earned in less than 24 hours. After just three months, the petition had garnered over 37,000 signatures.

mac selena

MAC posted an Instagram picture announcing the collaboration with the caption: “Like the legend herself, Selena Quintanilla’s fans are an inspiration to us all for their love and enthusiasm. It’s happening! We are excited to announce the M•A•C Selena Quintanilla collection, available in 2016. @SelenaQOfficial#MACSelena

In an age where social media rules consumer communication, the brand’s decision to honor the late pop star shows that it is truly built around its consumer’s preferences. Change.org boasts hundreds of thousands of victorious petitions, ranging from local government to nationwide legislation, but the announcement was seen as a direct response from the makeup company; the success of the petition has been attributed to both Selena’s loyal fans, and the brand’s willingness to listen to its customers’ demands, a pragmatic business tactic that companies like Urban Decay have found effective in the past.

The Mac + Selena collection will debut in late 2016.

What Sparks Our FireA brand that stays consistent with its image and caters to its consumers