And with that sponsored tweet, Mountain Dew defused the latest in an embarassingly numerous string of downright stupid ad hoc ads by major consumer brands in recent weeks/months.
Crisis PR? Sometimes it really is that simple: recognize the problem, acknowledge responsibility, resolve offense. Please notice the refreshing lack of any weasel wordy qualifier, i.e., “…if we’ve offended anyone.” There, done with that.
I planned my pickup to coincide with a local account pitch that morning, and was relieved at the lack of cars in the parking lot, indicating a short wait time. Their new branch office was a pleasant blend of refreshing graphics and smiling faces.
Waving their ad in my hand I walked towards the receptionist to claim my prize and was surprised when the only interaction was her announcement that instead of the promised five seedlings the promo was limited to two. Still very much worth the effort. To me, if not marketing.
Because that’s where my point-of-contact began and ended. Directed to the box of pine lifts bagged and ready for retrieval behind her desk, I grabbed my reward for showing up and left just as quickly as I entered. No registration kiosk, form, or social media signup. No harvesting of email or local address. Not even a card drop. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, far from it. Just a big surprise from the standpoint of someone who sees opportunity unfulfilled.
On my own I grabbed their services brochure from the take-away wall board on the way out, but in the meantime this well intentioned promo fell surprisingly short on the followup.
Alternative fitness clothing manufacturer Lululemon’s troubles multiplied following one of the more colorful product glitches to make headlines. The Vancouver lifestyle darling’s line of yoga pants was revealed – yes – to have a manufacturing defect apparant only during down dog, a position that due to the fabric stretching across the wearer’s butt caused a sheer effect that revealed everything to whoever was behind the owner of said pants.
Meanwhile, drugstore chain giant CVS suffered major shots across the bow as a result of a particularly heavy-handed employee health policy that went viral. In order to access the company’s health insurance lowest rates, workers have to submit to a screening for obesity, hypertension, glucose, and several other tags that can signal problems.
problems of their own making
Both companies stumbled right out of the gate. Their failure to either forsee or immediately correct course is unfortunately all too typical of a corporate culture that continues to ignore how brand reputation is affected in the age of social media.
Despite increasingly common examples of how the medium can be leveraged for a positive result regardless of whether news is good or bad, simply ignoring the problem or trying to hammer an alternative outcome despite popular sentiment doesn’t work.
flash pants and worker shame linked to brands reps
For CVS, by far the more effective approach would be to offer employees free or discounted membership in a fitness facility, rather than exacting a two-bit nickel and dime penalty forcing workers to wear the “unhealthy” cone of shame. How does that motivate? If you’re obese, it’s usually no surprise.
For Lululemon, whose corporate rep is usually massaged by a themematic yoga chant as opposed to any heavy lifting, they stuttered and stammered before finally issuing a recall of the pricey flash pants with wording that bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the lame not-an-apology that begins with, “If we’ve offended anyone…”. But not until after the horse had floated over the dam trying to clean up the milk spilt.
3 steps to social management
Be Prepared – have a team in place and empowered
Be Alert – to what’s happening in real time
Be Responsive – to the message that is, not the message you want
Consumer brands Oreo cookies and Maker’s Mark bourbon both got a thumbs up for their conversation handling. Oreo’s reaped a whirlwind of p.r. goodwill for their initiative during the Super Bowl partial blackout, while MM parent Beam quickly did an about face after announcing a change in the whiskey’s formulation.
Those examples contrasted with Carnival Cruise’s headlines for a different reason, and who knew that President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and the Republican response would offer a gold-plated opportunity to score huge headlines. Unfortunately, not everyone is up to the task of monitoring, let alone responding, to social media’s powerful audiences. Read more here.
“To me the most important thing we need to do right now is listen to our customers. In order for us to get back on track, we need to talk less, listen more and fully partner with the customers who are the reason Dealer Expo exists.” Harris said. “Our industry has changed. What people need from this show has changed. But, we’ve been somewhat slow to embrace that. That ends today.” – Tracy Harris, Advanstar VP-Expositions
Houston, we have a problem. And we’ve had it for a long time. The buzz coming out of this month’s final forever February Dealer Expo was this: zzzzzzzzz. Most comments run along the lines of being able to talk to company CEOs without a crowd – any crowd – around, as unintentionally confirmed by most of the live (search YouTube for 2013 dealer expo) video already uploaded. (Read more about the issues facing trade shows: Trade Shows At A Crossroads)
While it’s been a few years since I last attended, YouTube reporting now making its way online supports the notion that Advanstar threw a party and nobody came. At least not in numbers unseen since the heyday of the mid 2000s.
move to september in 2014 a hail mary
Next year they’ll move to a (much more sensible, and perhaps fatally too long in coming) Fall event, a perfect time to be in the Midwest. All this follows a series of course corrections that can’t be described as anything other than chaotic.
Industry watchdog Joel Martin raised his own penalty flag as one of the first to comment publicly on the failure to deliver the dealer head count that is the lifeblood of a trade only event.
What happens next remains to be seen. The overall trend line for trade shows in general continues to head in the wrong direction. As newly added events like AIME elbow their way onto the scene, Advanstars options are increasingly limited but that doesn’t mean they’re dead in the water.
What it does mean is that the powersports industry cannot continue to support the current level of trade only activity at the present level. While hope these days revolves around the private-public EICMA and Intermot models, it’s possible the problems run much deeper than simply throwing open the doors to retail.
GIFs, or Graphic Interchange Format, was an early graphic format (dot-GIF) that demonstrated how different digital media was from print by offering flip-book like animation. One of my first attempts at the medium (READS, above) was constructed in Photoshop, while another early effort (HEADLINE!, below) was built with Fireworks.
My first recollection of the wow factor was of Baby Cha Cha, which easily holds the distinction of being the first viral internet/web sensation.
The GIF file was used extensively by the bulletin board ancestors to the web like CompuServe, which originated the format. When you see a GIF it’s most often in animated form (although there’s nothing in the file suffix to differentiate between animation and still), delivering economic motion characteristics in a sparse, somewhat choppy loop.
gifs aren’t all cats blinking or presidents winking
Programs used to render animation include imaging applications like Photoshop (top) and Fireworks (above) at the high end, freeware by the truckload directly off the net at the other. Production is easiest with the latter, more complex – and versatile – in the former. They’re often (and perhaps unfairly) thought of as the poor cousins of Flash (SWF) movie elements.
pri ends orlando run with successful show in sunshine
December’s 25th annual Performance Racing Industry trade show was the first under new owner Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) and recorded a solid three-day run of attendees in search of merchandise.
Just before show open, SEMA announced the purchase of PRI rival International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS), which has hosted a December trade only show in Indianapolis since forming nine years ago. Beginning in 2013, SEMA will combine both shows and move the event to the new convention facilities in Indy. continue reading here
desktop publishing transforms the communication arts
These days Software As A Solution (SaaS) is taken for granted, as evidenced by the proliferation of cloud-based apps delivering digital publishing output from your phone to your social page quicker than you can say Instagram. The unbelievable transformation from carving text into metal to clik-clik-send blasted out of the gate in the late ’80s and hasn’t let up since.
By the late 1990s, less than a decade later, the conversion from analog to digital was all but complete.
For much needed insight into the confounding world of paid digital media I staked out a seat at American Advertising Federation’s Tampa chapterDoing Digital Media Right meeting when they imported Goodway Group’s COO Jay Friedman from Dallas to talk shop. Thanks to a small class size, comfortable venue, and a generous with advice accessible speaker I got plenty of big data answers to my small data questions. (Also see online spending: search vs. display)