@Skittles: Taste The Lame-bow

I turned on Monday Night Football this past week a little late, but when I did, I was taken aback by what I saw. It looked like a Skittles commercial! Seattle Seahawks fans dressed up as Skittles bags, hundreds of signs reading, “Feed the beast,” and the like, with Skittles written all over it. Literally!

Then, the climax, after Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown late in the game, the skies open up and the fans shower him with Skittles. What a great bit of exposure for Skittles. So much so that #Skittles was the #1 trending topic on Twitter at one point Monday Night! How did they capitalize on this incredible marketing opportunity?

Are you kidding me?!? You’re handed this golden opportunity to do incredible things and all we get is a #noaffiliation? FUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!

What are you thinking?!? Granted, Marshawn Lynch has had legal troubles in the past and doesn’t exactly fit your brand identity. Maybe you’re concerned that by attaching yourself with the festivities, it will lose it’s organic appeal. Fair enough. And I did find out later that you sent him a 2-year supply of Skittles. But really, that’s the best you could do?

Skittles has been known to come up with some pretty off-the-wall stuff in their ads. Very creative. Incredibly silly, but usually puts a smile on my face. In fact, while there are dozens of things they could’ve done beyond sending Marshawn Lynch a 2-year supply of Skittles, one thing that comes to mind would’ve taken no effort at all. Instead of their lame tweet that ended in #noaffiliation, dampening all enthusiasm for what happened the night before, how about a tweet that went like this:

“Wow, great job last night @MoneyLynch. You could’ve done more with your TD celebration though. Try this on for size.”

Have fun with it. Embrace it. You don’t have to pay him to be your pitch man to maximize an opportunity like this. You were given a unique opportunity to weave yourself into the fabric of the football community. Get in the game!

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Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself

I was recently approached by a Bridal Show marketer who relayed to me their particular concern of how to penetrate new markets from a social media angle. To this point, she has relied heavily on the SEO component, attempting to position her digital properties so that when brides-to-be type in wedding related search terms, her page(s) appear.

While there is certainly value in addressing the SEO component of digital marketing when it comes to penetrating a new market, the following are steps I would recommend that take a much more active approach, and allow for your introduction to the market to resonate more powerfully through the use of social media:

  1. Identify and engage the category influencers in the market: Find businesses and individuals who have significant followings, and can activate those followings on your behalf. The key here is how creative can you be in engaging the influencers and providing them the tools to activate their followings?
  2. Communicate the value of your brand: What is it you offer that will make me want to associate, and be associated, with your brand? Then, you must determine how you are going to communicate the value of your brand: What is the best way to tell your brand’s story through social media channels?
  3. Be part of the community: Both online and off, contribute to the community in ways that are meaningful to the new market you wish to serve. From simply replying to Facebook comments and Twitter mentions, to product giveaways or sponsorship of local events, “contributing” can take many forms.
  4. Run Facebook ads: While each market and target demographic will have it’s unique attributes, as little as $100 should be plenty to allow you to test the waters for a few days to get a good sample size and see if further investment in Facebook advertising is warranted.

The value in this approach is that all of your efforts are “endorsed” by others in the market. All touch points are supported not just by your message, but by the relationships you establish and activity you create from others who are familiar to the market you are entering. If you can effectively address these four points, you will find yourself entrenched in your new market, and in an excellent position to capitalize on your new fan base.

If you need help in finding effective methods to attack the four points, contact me.

Sponsors Dropping The Ball on NFL Network

Rich Eisen tweeted this picture of colleague, Marshall Faulk, talking with a former NFL player on the NFL Network set.

Watching the Ravens v. 49ers game last night during Thanksgiving, I noticed what a presence the advertising partners had on the NFL Network. Lexus, Kia, Sears, and Kay Jewelers all had their logos brightly lit, and positioned so they could not be missed on the set of the pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows. Great.

However, I wasn’t satisfied with that well executed “old” way of marketing, with the signs on the set, and commercials during the breaks. That shouldn’t be where the effort stops. In fact, that should just be the beginning. Let’s take this involvement to another level.

Rich Eisen, the anchor of the football roundtable has 277K+ followers on Twitter. Beyond sponsoring the game on the NFL Network (which “only” has 187K+ followers Twitter), the brands should be reaching out to Rich Eisen, and having him integrate their products into his life and Twitter feed, to give the brands even stronger and more seamless penetration into a segment of consumers.

It could be something as simple as Sears (which has just 15K+ Twitter followers) providing two suits for Rich Eisen to wear that night, having Rich Eisen take pictures in both, and then asking his followers which suit he should wear that night. It let’s you know that he is actually wearing suits from Sears, it gets you engaged with the brand as opposed to just aware of it, and it makes the Sears brand a part of life, as opposed to just a prop on a set. That’s Branded Life: The difference between advertising, and brand integration.