PR strategists understand the power of influence. A voice with enough clout is heard and heeded, even by ears that previously seemed to have been deaf. As the New York Times said, “When Taylor Swift speaks, even the most powerful company in the world listens.”Read More
New year, new trends. The landscape of PR and marketing services will continue to change in the new year. Here are my predictions for what PR will look like in 2015:Read More
Facebook is the largest social network, yet its popularity is decreasing among young people—teens, college kids, and recent college graduates—now more than ever before. Teenagers today are nowhere near as enthralled with Facebook as teenagers were a few years ago, and many who first became addicted to Facebook during their teenage years now just don’t care about it.
Even Facebook has noted its waning influence on teenagers. It’s failing at making itself more attractive to younger users, and because of that, it’s losing its cultural influence. How can that be, when it’s still the largest social network?Read More
I’ll admit upfront that sponsored content has always smacked of deception to me and it’s been a pet peeve long before it became the online darling of marketers.
One of the most important trends in the American business world is the blurring of boundaries among the various communications and marketing disciplines. As PR blogger extraordinaire Gini Dietrich put it last year in a blog post on her “Spin Sucks” blog, ”Integrated Marketing Communications for Every Sized Organization,” there were attempts 15 years ago to integrate the various communications disciplines to achieve synergy. It never really caught on at that point
New York is the media and communications capital of the United States, if not the world. As a result, it’s also the American public relations capital, with a greater number of PR agencies than any other U.S. city. New York PR agencies are approached more by foreign companies than PR firms anywhere else, too.
I kept looking at my iPhone until I started hearing the music. On the little screen in front of me, Virgin America was showing a video with singing, dancing – break dancing even – and rap, featuring a cast of at least a dozen fresh young entertainers. Could this be – is it really- yes, it’s the Sir Richard Branson version of the safety instructions!
I watched as a cast of over a dozen dancers cavorted across the screen, with music and rhyming lyrics spelling out the safety instructions. The characters were refreshingly irreverent, ranging from a gorgeous young woman dressed as a nun, whose smart phone was ripped out of her hands by the dancing crew members, to a little boy warning his fellow passengers they’d better not even think of smoking on board. I later discovered that the video featured former contestants from the TV hit, "So You Think You Can Dance."
Richard Branson is known to be an adventurer, never one to play it safe. It’s somehow ironic that Virgin American has taken this big leap forward into integrated brand experience territory with its safety video.
Maybe I’m easily entertained. But I must say I actually watched the whole thing and listened to every word. As Mary Poppins has been known to say, a spoonful of sugar sure helps the medicine go down. Play it for yourself and I think you'll agree.
When I looked online to find the video (which, of course, was on YouTube), I discovered that I must have been hiding under a rock over the last month, because the video had over six million views. Page one of my Google search turned up media coverage of the video from Forbes, The New Yorker, CNN, USA Today and TechCrunch, among others.
What a perfect example of an integrated marketing communications hit: here was a piece of video that was attracting the eyeballs of many thousands of Virgin American passengers, entertaining them while reinforcing the company's trailblazer brand experience, buzzed about online by social media, attracting many millions of impressions, and covered enthusiastically by top-tier media outlets. There's even a digital billboard version of the video in Times Square in Manhattan.
This "...Shockingly Brilliant Customer Experience," as the Forbes headline called it, is not just happening on Virgin American flights. It turns out that Virgin is only one carrier to have launched safety-as-entertainment videos over the past couple of months. According to Forbes, Air New Zealand wins hands-down on the comedy front, with a video starring Betty White. Domestic Japanese carrier StarFlyer has painted its planes on the outside with black ninjas and now shows a safety video featuring animated ninja warriers plucking cigarettes out of passengers' mouths.
Creative marketing and communications professionals have always hidden sales messages in entertainment, and they’ve helped savvy public health organizations and educators develop engaging and educational messages with their help for many years. I remember an HIV prevention message about 20 years ago that was delivered via a serial soap opera-like illustrated love story about the relationship of a young Hispanic couple and the sad consequences of unprotected sex. It was placed on ads in subway cars and had half of New York waiting with bated breath for the next episode. The Virgin America safety video is another example of what can be done when creative communicators are put to work to solve a problem.
Just think of the other mind-numbing but important announcements and directions we’re subjected to that could benefit from a Richard Branson-style production treatment. How about the online video instructions on how to assemble the new gadget you just bought? Or the government tax form with four pages of instructions to read so you can fill it out and pay what you owe? Would we enjoy filing our income taxes any more if the IRS developed an all new customer brand experience with some musical intertainment and dancing? OK, I know the answer to that question!
By: Lucy Siegel
Bridge Global Strategies LLC
Are you prepared for the Thanksgiving roundtable with the relatives? These great pieces we’ve come across lately will get you up to speed on some hot topics in social media, tech, philanthropy, and the world’s new universal currency. (Warning: reading The New Yorker, Wired and the New York Times can cause brain strain after a heavy dinner, so here’s a lighter distraction from YouTube, a cartoon in honor of the holiday).
Tags: Digital/Social Media
Surfing channels last night, I came across the 2006 movie, “Superman Returns.” This Superman was played by Brandon Routh with Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. I never saw this film in a movie theatre but had watched it (or part of it) on TV at some point before. I liked it; Superman was much more of a “mensch” than he was allowed to be in either of the two Superman TV series or the other Superman movies.