Monthly Archives: October, 2013

Will Ferrell and Dodge- Don’t Act Like You’re Not Impressed

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To market his new movie, Anchorman 2 (see the newest trailer here), WIll Ferrell has teamed up with Dodge to promote the new 2014 Durango.  Ferrell pitched the SUV while dressed as his character from the film, anchorman Ron Burgundy. They are ridiculous as you might expect from the charismatic news anchor, and a few of the commercials generated over a million views on YouTube.  Early reports from Brand Index indicate that the campaign has been a resounding success thus far. It’s achieved Dodge’s best perception numbers with potential car buyers this year, and noticeably boosted its purchase consideration levels. Here’s a graph to better visualize what all that means.

Dodge has been making clear attempts to integrate recent ad campaigns with social media in order to appeal to a younger generation of consumers, particularly those 18-34 years old.  Fictional versions of both the Dodge Charger and Challenger were also featured on the hit video game GTA V.

In addition to the marketing success for Dodge, this is a win-win for Ferrell. Dodge is paying him to sponsor their vehicles while he also gets an opportunity to showcase his upcoming movie.  At the end of every commercial, a reminder to “see the movie in theaters December 20th” flashes onto the screen.  The advertisements effectively target two distinct markets at once, almost serving as two completely different commercials.  On one hand, you have the people who are genuinely interested in the new car, and on the other, you have fans of Ferrell or Anchorman who could care less about the car.

Promoting a movie with the help of a brand, like what Doritos is doing for the new Avengers movie, is becoming popular with executives because they recognize the potential audience size is much greater than a “standard” commercial.  The possibility of going viral and spreading via word-of-mouth is heightened as well.  In the near future, it wouldn’t surprise me to see many more actors teaming up with brands and creating these dual-threat commercials that appease both parties. In the meantime, you stay classy.

Justin Timberlake: Actor, Musician…Marketing Genius?

Justin Timberlake has been in the public spotlight for almost his entire life, beginning as a child star and now as a multi-talented entertainer.  But his recent marketing campaign to promote his comeback album, the 20/20 Experience, was unlike any other project he’s taken on. To promote the two-part album, (Half the songs were released in March, and the other half this October) Timberlake orchestrated a long, calculated marketing scheme. Most artists leave it up to their respective agencies or labels to push their albums for them, but it was Timberlake himself who took control of the marketing.

When Justin became a part-owner of MySpace, he was quick to promote the upcoming album with a splash ad that took up the entire login page. His first single from the 20/20 Experience, “Suit and Tie” immediately jumped to #3 on the charts.  He also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live for a week straight, aka “Timberweek”.  There, he reunited with longtime buddy Jimmy Kimmel and performed comedy skits, danced, played instruments, and Justin also played songs from the new album.  In addition to that and other late night TV appearances, Timberlake was featured in advertisements for Bud Light Platinum and Target.  He hosted Saturday Night Live for the 5th time as well, joining elite comedic company such as Tom Hanks and Steve Martin. As if this wasn’t enough, his memorable performance at the VMA’s cranked up the hype even more.

His efforts clearly paid off, and the first part of the 20/20 Experience opened with 968,000 records sold in the first week.  28 weeks later, the second part of the album sold 350,000 records. Both of these releases were easily good enough to open at #1 on the album sales charts. Going all the way back to the Billboard 200 charts from May of 1991, Timberlake is just the 20th musician to score two No. 1s in a 12-month span of time.  Nearly half (47%) of his record sales were digital.  According to Keith Caufield of the Hollywood Reporter, the 20/20 Experience is “only the 19th album to sell more than 900,000 copies in its first week of release since SoundScan began keeping accurate count of record sales 22 years ago”.  What other artist can spend 7 years away from music and come back to such gaudy sales figures?

Based on Justin’s overwhelming success, you could expect to see other artists imitate his personal branding strategies in the future.  Capitalizing on primetime TV spots with large audiences fueled his album’s campaign and was far more effective than simple, traditional advertising.  In today’s day and age where artists are finding it increasingly difficult to sell records, Justin Timberlake is making it look easy.

Oh yeah, he also brought N’SYNC back.  Is there anything he can’t do?

Oregon Joins the Pink Movement

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Chances are, if you’ve flipped on an NFL game this month, you have probably seen a surprising amount of pink on your screen.  Players have been donning pink equipment, such as their cleats and gloves, to support breast cancer awareness. This past weekend, the University of Oregon joined the cause, unveiling a pink helmet for their game against Washington State. Their mission was to support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which has raised $2.6 million for scientific research since 2009.  After the win, Oregon auctioned 25 helmets to raise more money.
Nike sponsors both the NFL and Oregon, thanks to Nike chairman and Oregon alumni Phil Knight, so it’s no wonder he decided to get involved.  Marketing like this is genius because not only does it support a great cause, it is certainly going to be talked about, which further bolsters Nike’s brand image.

It’s refreshing to see a college football story that isn’t cast in a negative light, like the violations at Miami (and just about everywhere else) and realize that a lot of good still takes place in and around the sport. There’s more serious issues than where Johnny Football is partying tonight, and actions like this put life into perspective.
We’ve seen college teams like Virginia Tech and others wear camouflage uniforms to support our troops, but the pink craze has yet to spread to collegiate teams.  Oregon is known for their flashy uniforms and cutting-edge innovation, and they might have just created another trend.  Pink is for the boys too.

The Sad State of the Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are screwed. Ok, maybe not completely.  Coming off an 8th place finish in the NBA’s Eastern Conference and a first round playoff loss at the hands of the Miami Heat, the Bucks are stuck in mediocrity.  It is pretty clear that they have no chance to win an NBA championship, yet their offseason moves indicate that they do not seem to mind.  After compiling a good, but not great team, the Bucks will again look to squeak into the playoffs, only to be eliminated in the first round.  All of this is amidst talks of relocating the team to Seattle.  Seattle lost their team, the SuperSonics, before the 08-09 season and have been in hot pursuit of both the Bucks and Sacramento Kings.  The Kings recently made a deal with the city to make a new arena, essentially saving the franchise. The BMO Harris Bradley Center is recognized as the poorest arena in basketball, and quite possibly all of American sports.  Its lease will expire after the 2017 season, and Bucks owner, Wisconsin senator Herb Kohl, has promised that the team will stay in Milwaukee.

If the Bucks are serious about staying in Milwaukee, they need to win more to get more support from their fans.  It seems that the only way that will happen is if a marquee star comes through free agency or the draft.  Free agency is out of the question, since no star player would willingly choose to play in Milwaukee. However, the drafting of 6′ 9″ 18-year old Greek baller Giannis Antetokounmpo could be just what the Bucks needed. Most Bucks fans are accepting of the fact that there won’t be a playoff run this season, but there is hope thanks to the kid affectionately known as the “Greek Freak”.  In his limited preseason action, he’s shown flashes of talent that helped make him the #14 pick in last years draft.  It’s even been enough to have basketball heads talking. Remember Seattle? They had a teenage prodigy for a season prior to their move, his name was Kevin Durant, and he’s now become a consensus top 3 player.  The team that left town for Oklahoma City is now one of the best in basketball.

Bad teams can still draw fans and have tremendous loyalty. The Chicago Cubs, for instance, have been brutal in recent years and yet they still have sellouts for a majority of their home games.  Wrigley Field has become a famous monument that people go to see for the history and the culture, not just to see the baseball team win. The Bucks would be smart to build around the Greek Freak and build enough buzz around the town to ramp up the talks of a new arena.

A location I would look at is along Lake Michigan. Some of the best venues in sports are situated on waterfronts, AT& T Park in San Francisco, PNC Park in Pittsburgh and American Airlines Arena in Miami to name a few.  The Bucks could make going to games more of an experience with a state of the art facility. Milwaukee is far from a baseball city, but the Brewers sell nearly 3 million tickets (82 home games, 36,585 in attendance per game) year after year.  Last year, the Bucks sold about 16,000 tickets per game. By comparison, the top team in attendance was the Chicago Bulls, with 20,010 spectators a game.  There’s not as big of a gap as one might expect.  We as Bucks fans need to support our team and the city of Milwaukee, or risk losing them forever.

Editors Note: ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose broke down the Bucks in their annual season preview, I thought this was a pretty cool piece. Bill ranked the Bucks as the 15th best team out of 30, the definition of mediocrity.

Brewers Give Back

After superstar outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended for the final 66 games of the season for performance enhancing drugs, the Milwaukee Brewers opted to do something rarely seen in professional sports today. They gave back to the fans. Strange, right? For all the Brewers home games in the month of August, every fan was given a $10 voucher for use on concessions and apparell. Braun’s suspension will cost him $3.2 million dollars and this promotion is estimated to give $3.6 million in vouchers to the fans.
The Brewers have surprisingly gotten people into the Miller Park stands while struggling in recent seasons. This is despite playing in one of the league’s smallest TV markets, as they have drawn over 2.75 million fans in each of the past six seasons.  The marketing team for the Brewers has been able to keep fans support with gestures such as these, and that has been enough to keep Milwaukee’s fans happy.  Other sports teams should take note of situations like this one and show their appreciation for a loyal fan base, even when times are tough.
One such team is the one the Brewers share the city with, the Bucks.  Stay tuned and tomorrow we’ll dive into their dicey situation with the city.