Monthly: June 2014

Market Information, Social Media

McDonalds Mascot For Happy Meal: Happy | Velocity Agency

McDonalds let Twitter followers in on a happy little addition last week when they released a photo of their new mascot. Bulging eyeballs and big smiling teeth, a Happy Meal box appropriately named “Happy” made his debut to the internet. This fictional character was created as “an ambassador for balanced and wholesome eating” pushing the idea that kids will be happy to choose healthier options like apples and yogurt in place of french fries in their McDonalds boxes. These good intentions that began in France in 2009 have sparked mainly negative jokes about the new face of the fast-food chain in the United States, targeting the red box and making him the laughing stock of social media.

This is not the first time McDonalds mascot has gotten a makeover, though. Lately, the golden arches have began to push their brand as more of an “upscale dining experience” rather than the grab-and-go greasy meals known since the restaurant opened in 1940.

While we appreciate the effort, there is one tiny detail McDonalds Happy Meal marketing strategists just aren’t getting when it comes down to changing their brand: nobody’s loving it.

The reason big brands become big brands is because of an early well-established mission for the company.

While many newer brands spend years playing around with multiple logos, taglines and purpose, brands like McDonalds may be better off just sticking to what they know.

Not to say they haven’t tried multiple marketing outlets for switching it up a little, but when your restaurant feeds over 68 million people per day, why bother?

Other fast-food corporations have tried to match the efforts of McDonalds but aren’t even close when it comes to the the global takeover of the golden arches. Brands like Coca-Cola and McDonalds do well in their classic familiar bubbles but modern chains may need to switch-up their image to keep up with society.

Several years ago after multiple strings of bad press and negative reviews, the pizza chain Domino’s decided to give their brand a facelift. Commercial after commercials were made since the change in 2009 regarding Domino’s “new and inspired pizza recipe” to help boost sales. In the ads, Domino’s blames itself for the less-than-average tasting pizza and costly delivery fees and announces its new upgrades through offers and giving an overall sense of “personal care” to the customer. Changing the entire marketing approach benefited Domino’s so much, the company saw a 14.3 percent in same-store sales within the first quarter.

So what does this mean for older brands trying to boost their image? Is it a gamble for classic companies but not new ones? Only time will tell if McDonalds attempted image will truly take-off the way they would like and if “Happy” the mascot will stay around for generations of consumers.

Velocity Agency is a digital marketing and advertising firm specializing in digital and internet marketing & advertising, print, web design, graphic design, film, and HD video promotion and post-production. Velocity serves clients all over the United States from our Metairie, LA office just outside of New Orleans by strategically implementing proprietary tools and techniques to get you the most conversions for your business through lead generation, cost-per-acquisition, and top line revenue.

 

Advertising, Sports

Coca-Cola Targets Brazil For The World Cup | Velocity Agency | New Orleans

Coca-Cola is on the brink of changing their advertising strategy for the World Cup 2014. The classic brand, known for its traditionally wholesome and soft image, may soon be plunging into much deeper waters as it explores a more realistic approach relating to Brazil’s current political situation.

While it is isn’t picturesque to imagine anything but sports fans across the globe uniting over goals and jerseys, the truth is that life in Brazil at the moment is pretty unglamorous. The lack of health care, poor public services and extremely high poverty rates are masked by the extensive spending on advertising and commodities during the World Cup 2014. Sadly, Brazil’s somber inequality as a country is being overshadowed by an $11 billion dollar budget for the series of games.

Activists are intent on protesting Brazil’s distorted representation through rallies and marches that seemed to have even become severely violent even before the World Cup began. At one point, even massive plastic sheets were used by protesters to hide a giant Coke bottle in front of Rio’s Maracana Stadium. Brazilian police have been using tear gas and rubber bullets to fend off the rioters that are targeting stadiums in all six countries of the games. In the city of Belo Horizonte, demonstrators set fire to a dealership selling cars produced by Kia Motors (partly owned by World Cup sponsor, Hyundai) and officials say there is likely more violence to come.

Coca-Cola’s executive vice-president, Joe Tripodi told the Associated Press, “That [World Cup] spotlight can act as an opportunity to tell a story of happiness but it can also be a spotlight to tell a story of grievances and concerns that they [the public] have about the direction of the country.”

Although it leaves the question, is Coke’s goal to use Brazil’s corrupted government in ads a genuine effort or is it merely a strategic business plan to take a touchy social problem and financially profit from it?

It isn’t unlike Coca-Cola’s advertisers to stand firm on a political front when it comes to their brand. Only a few years ago did Coca-Cola’s U.K Branch sign the Public Health Responsibility Deal promoting healthy living. As part of their pledge, Coke fought off critics that bashed their sugar-filled cola by distributing soccer balls for each Coke sold during their World Cup Trophy tour. Thus, encouraging kids to get out and play, while still selling soda.

Yet, Coca-Cola does seem to be contradicting their original World Cup 2014 campaign slogan “One World, One Game” by now considering to address Brazil’s depressing situation. It is a slippery slope when projecting political views into a marketing campaign, especially one during events as large as the World Cup.

“Sponsors have got to be locking themselves in their sports marketing war rooms right now to figure out exactly how to respond,” says David Carter, a management professor who runs the Sports Business Institute at the USC Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles told Business Week. “Not only do they need to be concerned with activating their sponsorship, but they’ve got to be really concerned with a rapid response to anything that might go sideways.”

If Coca-Cola does in fact plan to push forward with the plan to support Brazil’s efforts, it will be interesting to see what progress, if any, will result for their residents, government and the Coca-Cola brand in general.

Velocity Agency is a digital marketing and advertising firm specializing in digital and internet marketing & advertising, print, web design, graphic design, film, and HD video promotion and post-production. Velocity serves clients all over the United States from our Metairie, LA office just outside of New Orleans by strategically implementing proprietary tools and techniques to get you the most conversions for your business through lead generation, cost-per-acquisition, and top line revenue.

Social Media, Sports

#HashFlag #Twitter #WorldCup | Velocity Agency | New Orleans

Twitter scores, again.

Creative and colorful, the network is bringing back the ever popular #hashflags to utilize hashtags for World Cup series in 2014.

This promoted bit allows Twitter users to hashtag the national three-letter code (e.g. GER, FRA, USA) with the flag emoji of that particular country appearing along side of the tweet. A patriotic element just added to Twitter for the World Cup 2014, this item is a fun way for World Cup game watchers and Twitter users to show support to their favorite teams throughout the series.

Although the feature hasn’t been around in a while, it isn’t exactly brand new, either. The #hashflag became popular when introduced four years ago at the 2010 World Cup. Sadly, the #hashflag component hasn’t made it to the Twitter Application for iPhone, yet. But it was frequently used by the voice of the World Cup, pop-superstar Shakira (one of the first to use the element in 2014 for the series) and has already gained back an audience as tweets of the anticipated global sporting event commence.

Even though the network usually holds a firm second-place to Facebook, the quick, live-action content makes Twitter the better option when it comes to World Cup. This year, Twitter has created a special page with anything and everything World Cup related under just about any topic one could wish. Clicking on the trending hashtag #WorldCup or #WorldCup2014 will transport the user to a feed that includes a continuous stream of real-time score updates, highlights from matches, press comments and player/coach tweets.

Not only is Twitter giving their audience extensive information for the World Cup, they’re also changing up it’s delivery. By allowing non-Twitter users to view their feed with their own sign-in made specifically for the run of the series, they are catering to a whole new crowd of sports fans. Twitter is asking those who register to list what matches and teams they are most interested in, then applying that information to an account tailored for what they need for games.

From a marketing point-of-view, this isn’t a bad idea.

If you consider the increase in web activity social media receives within the duration of a globally televised event, the idea of a temporary account makes sense. Keeping in mind that these events are usually athletic affairs, it is a fantastic strategy to attract new users and keep them entertained with the idea that the account doesn’t have to last forever. The genius is realizing that the new user will eventually rely on Twitter for all sports news updates (not just the World Cup), and come to the conclusion Twitter is the right network for them. Facebook has tried a similar approach with a main page for the soccer series, but it seems doubtful they will see as much success.

Many advertisers say hashtags during events like the World Cup are becoming more valuable than 30 second commercials. It seems that social media traffic peaks during the breaks between airtime and advertisers are finally picking up on this concept. Brands like Kia, Volkswagen, Marriott and Johnson & Johnson have been involved in online promotions during large sporting events and with the World Cup 2014’s popularity on the rise this year we will be seeing even more big names participating in this form of advertising.

With this incredible global show of athleticism in our midst, it is an exciting time to be present as a consumer and advertiser in social media. Whether you support your team in the stands at Brazil, or in 140 characters behind a screen, there is no doubt the world will be buzzing about the excitement that is #WorldCup2014.

Velocity Agency is a digital marketing and advertising firm specializing in digital and internet marketing & advertising, print, web design, graphic design, film, and HD video promotion and post-production. Velocity serves clients all over the United States from our Metairie, LA office just outside of New Orleans by strategically implementing proprietary tools and techniques to get you the most conversions for your business through lead generation, cost-per-acquisition, and top line revenue.

Advertising, Social Media

Facebook provides marketers with web browsing history for better targeting

Facebook announced earlier today that it would allow advertisers to utilize the information that was once only privy to Facebook, to other advertisers working to reach specific audiences.

The multi-billion dollar company has access to this information by placing code on Facebook user’s desktops and laptops that collect the websites the user visits. On Facebook mobile, the app collects the same sort of information by determining which apps have been downloaded on the user’s phone.

Facebook once kept this information private for security reasons, but in spite of resistance from some Facebook users, the company proceeded with the new feature regardless.

This change will allow consumers to better control the way they are marketed to, and allows them to give feedback in the moment; the ads will now offer a right hand click down menu that will allow Facebook users to respond to the ad, suggesting if the ad was useful or not.

Although this is a new leap in social media advertising, Facebook did not just re-invent the wheel, and Facebook users should not worry. The social media network already allowed marketers to target users based off of their networks, geographic locations, interests, ages and genders. Although these filters allowed advertisers to better reach certain demographics, it was only allowed to target information based off of what was “liked” on Facebook, which can be rather limited, depending on the campaign.

Now, marketers are able to directly appeal to specific audiences based off of what they know the users will like to see, and consumers will have less time wasted viewing adds they are not interested in.

Velocity Agency will be using this new feature in their social media marketing, in order to better serve our clients.

Digital Innovation, Market Information

Google Grants some Users the Right to be Forgotten | Velocity Agency | New Orleans

For their next trick, Google will now make you disappear…

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 11.55.40 AM

About a week ago, Google out of Europe created a request form regarding outdated, inaccurate or inappropriate search results to be removed by the “Right to be Forgotten.” More than 50 million people live in the area affected by Google’s potential purge, and so far Google has received over 41,000 requests to have content removed (and counting).Within the first 24 hours the site posted the form’s publication, over 12,000 requests were sent to Google seeking to remove personal content. Google supervisors estimated 7 requests per-minute since the form’s availability on the site. With numbers such as these, it seems everyone is for the request application, but some specialists believe this isn’t Google’s duty.

Secretary general of the Internet Service Provider’s Association, Nicholas Lansman, stated in an interview, “ISPA has consistently argued that companies are ill-placed to make such decisions which should be made by a competent authority such as the Information Commissioners Office and it’s European counterparts.” Meaning this removal should be laser-focused on the individual requests by government authority, not a company like Google.

This makes sense, due to the fact many of these requests (sent in primarily from Germany and the U.K) tend to be more personal and require an in-depth examination to approve request. Noting that there is a fine line between individual privacy and serving the public interest. For example, a man in Germany sent in a removal request to Google only a few hours after the form was available just so happened to also pop up on dozens of search engines after attempting to murder his entire family- no word if he ever managed to fulfill his proposal, but information like this may be best left for public viewing.

The idea behind the “Right to be Forgotten” began with the European Court of Justice reaching out to improve the reputations of the Europeans Union by petitioning Google and other search engines to remove potentially damaging links from search results. Other search sites like Yahoo have also began making small strides trying to find a balance between public domain and user privacy. But how do you know which is which? The subject is tricky and there is a large gray area that needs to be considered before completely stripping all requested names from the web.

Thankfully, Google is taking some identity precautions before granting all internet-escapees a right of passage. Along with a series of questions, a copy of your drivers licenses or other photo identification, you must select the country you would like the information deleted from followed by this statement, from Google’s ‘Right to be Forgotten’ form:

“In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information. When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.”

However, if you are an American looking for a way to get rid of your online presence, you’ll be waiting quite some time. The Google headquarters of the United States show no signs of making a take-down option such as our neighbors across the pond, and even state on their site that anything you put on the web, belongs to the public.

Beyond the in-depth questionnaire and proof of identification, Google also wants to reiterate the fact that just because your information is removed from the search engine doesn’t necessarily mean it is erased from the internet. Meaning, in a nutshell, you can run but you can’t hide!

Social Media

MySpace Starts #TBT Campaign: Will It Work? | Velocity Agency

Myspace is giving long-time social media users the ultimate “throwback Thursday” experience.

The aged network has been trying to reach a new audience and take back their old one for almost 10 years, and are using your old, embarrassing MySpace photographs to do it.

Myspace new marketing trick

“Myspace has been reaching out to connect past users to re-engage them through personalized experience,” a spokesperson for MySpace stated in an interview with Mashable.

The site, which hit peak popularity in the early 2000’s are now e-mailing former MySpacer’s decade old photos of themselves labeled “the good, the rad, and what were you thinking?” with a link connecting to their old profiles.

Although a humorous and enjoyable marketing approach, will the personal touch land MySpace back in the elite networks?

Right now, no one can be sure. Within the past several years, the dated social site has been redesigned, updated, lost focused, regained focused and yet none of the reconstruction of MySpace has caused any stir in their low web traffic. A disappointing ranking of 982 total web traffic as of May 2014, to be exact, that has plateaued for roughly a year.

With all of the more modern sharing networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr, there is intense pressure to keep up with the constant changes and MySpace has fallen behind to this concept. It isn’t just that the site itself is lacking in new features, but that the branding of the network is having trouble identifying its purpose. Formerly music-oriented, turned social engagement, flipped back to music-oriented, MySpace’s identity crisis could be playing a major role in the company’s failure to flourish. A flaw they’ve had since the company began in 2003.

The history of MySpace is not much of a story as it is a short chapter. Two music-loving computer nerds by the name of Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson joined forces to create one of the first big social networks. At first, MySpace was crushing it in the numbers. In 2006 it passed Google as most visited website in the U.S. which is mind-blowing if you consider Googles epic popularity today. Everyone who was Anyone had a Myspace page and tweens and teens relished in the creative freedom of choosing ones own music, fonts and backgrounds on their personalized page.

All was right in the world of Myspace until 2006 when Facebook showed up to the social network scene with the ultimate game-changer, and Myspace has been in a rapid decline ever since.

However, they haven’t given up just yet. Justin Timberlake has apparently taken up quite a bit of stock in the company (a rumored $35 million worth) and has put publicity plans into motion recently with a string of A-list celebrity attended parties and expensive advertisements.

Will all of these tactics work? Or is MySpace going to continue to be that expensive work-in-progress house that never quite gets finished? In the end it will all boil down to brand loyalty, from not only the investors but from previous users of MySpace. Maybe this time around we can keep our Ed Hardy trucker hats out of future pictures.

Velocity Agency is a digital marketing and advertising firm specializing in digital and internet marketing & advertising, print, web design, graphic design, film, and HD video promotion and post-production. Velocity serves clients all over the United States from our Metairie, LA office just outside of New Orleans by strategically implementing proprietary tools and techniques to get you the most conversions for your business through lead generation, cost-per-acquisition, and top line revenue.

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