Category: Marketing

Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Was Genius Marketing

During the Super Bowl, Budweiser aired an advertisement that enraged many of the craft beer community. It was an ad that many will regretfully have to discuss over and over anyone that knows they enjoy craft beer, and see posted to their feeds again and again.

In this ad Budweiser took jabs at the many stereotypes of craft beer drinkers. It implied craft beer drinkers dissect too much and drink strange styles. But it is what the ad didn’t say that makes it so powerful. This ad did three things that many brands don’t have the guts to do.

1. Took A Stand

The Budweiser brand has been losing market share to the craft beer category for several years (Budweiser is considered a macro beer for the unfamiliar). While it’s still one of the top sellers in the AB InBev portfolio, just under Bud Light, its sales have been steadily decreasing since 2003. All the while Budweiser has been toting its horses and puppies completely missing the connection with the new generation of beer drinkers. It was recently found that 44% of drinkers aged 21-27 hadn’t even tried the brand.


Not only did the brand take a stand for what it is, it took advantage of the perception of the marketplace. Budweiser isn’t trying to be something that it is not, rather it is owning what people believe it to be. It claims “macro” with a vengeance, and one could only assume with the intent to transform the term. It is making the statement that it is proud to be macro. This ad brought the brand, and all that it is at its core to the foreground, out from the shadows of dogs and stallions.


Continue reading “Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Was Genius Marketing” »

New Castle Follow the Money

When all else fails, buy your Twitter followers

You may be familiar with New Castle Brown Ale’s satirical take on marketing. If not, I highly recommend watching their YouTube playlist. They call out the bullocks with no restraint and regularly newsjack big events. Most notably, the brand produced over eight videos about a “mega huge” Super Bowl ad that was never produced, and never was going to be produced. New Castle then proceeded to create videos about how other brands should have made their ads “mega huge.”

However, it wasn’t until June that New Castle turned their satire towards social media marketing. The brand launched an in-your-face social media campaign that was meant to literally buy Twitter followers. Too clever for their own good (they claim that the marketing team was not willing to put in the time to come up with a better idea), New Castle announced the “Follow the Money” campaign.

“Follow the Money” was designed to earn up to 50,000 new followers for the brand on Twitter by paying each new follower exactly $1.00 in exchange for their following. Being a social media analyst and enthusiast, I did not hesitate to participate.

After watching the video (below), going to (very literal) and clicking the “Follow” button, you then waited. About 6 hours later, you received a direct message from New Castle:

Finally, a DM worth receiving!

Finally, a DM worth receiving!

After waiting some more, you should have received a letter from New Castle around September 8th with enclosed payment for your surly duty — a brand new shiny commercial check in your name on it for the amount of one whole dollar!

Not Good Over $1.00

Not Good Over $1.00

So participants received a one-dollar check and something to blog about. But what did this whole stunt earn New Castle?

First, consider the strategy. New Castle wanted to spend the least amount of money to market their product. Let’s be honest, the new Twitter followers are just a byproduct of this campaign. The real aim was the loads of earned media from doing what every other brand did not have the bullocks (or brand voice) to do. It was a lofty goal, but not one too difficult to execute these days. You just need a wacky idea, a press release, a YouTube video and be ability to fulfill the promise.

New Castle Brown Ale ended up with 45,095 total followers (as of 9/11/14 at 5:30pm EST). Assuming they paid them all, discounting the 15,000 or so followers they had prior to the campaign, New Castle paid a total of roughly $30,000, plus postage and handling. However, the brand’s video received over 39,000 views, and the campaign received a considerable amount of media attention in the form of articles and blogs. In the grand scheme of things, the “Follow the Money” campaign was a relatively small investment compared to past campaigns, and well worth the cost per impression.


Exclusive content done right: Untappd Supporter

There are nearly infinite tactics for content creation and distribution. Any business hopes that content creation will result in revenue of some sort. If you are looking for a great way to build a community of passionate customers and generate revenue, there is one content tactic that you may want to consider: exclusive content.

Truly exclusive content is rare these days. Many companies have simply disguised readily available content as “exclusive” by putting it behind a landing page with a form on it. There is little or no vested interest in offering content only to devoted members of an audience. Rather, it is a bait-and-switch with hopes of creating a sense of scarcity, rather than added value. To do exclusive content correctly, it has to be genuine and of real value to the person jumping through the hoops to acquire it. Continue reading “Exclusive content done right: Untappd Supporter” »


FAB Understands Marketing is a Part of Everything

The philosophy of “marketing is a part of everything” is the notion that every part of your business that touches the customer is an opportunity for marketing. Not marketing in the sense of selling, but true marketing that reinforces brand values, builds consumer relationships and, yes, sometimes up-sells. It describes marketing that touches every part of your business; product design, manufacturing, customer service and billing all have marketing built in. 


You are likely familiar with the discount design shop FAB, or at least familiar with this type of business. FAB is an e-commerce website that offers time-sensitive deals on designer products. Based purely online, this company must have precision marketing to grow and sustain its business. That is where the “marketing is a part of everything” philosophy comes into play.

I recently purchased something from FAB (a nifty pair of touchscreen-compatible gloves). When my package arrived, it came with a note and four cards. The note said, “Here are three gift cards for your friends. Keep one for yourself.”


Even after I purchased, they continued market to me, and even empowered me to market for them! It’s the holiday season, and I passed the cards out at the office. FAB used the delivery of purchased items as an opportunity to spread the word about the company.

They needn’t reward me, but it certainly helped. FAB’s success is based almost purely on word of mouth. Tactics like these help FAB empower its customers to market for them. Nearly every touch point that the company has with its customers can be a marketing opportunity.


Every business can do this. Invoices, inbound phone calls, packaging and paper receipts are all opportunities to market the business and tell your story. If you are handing people plain, brown, recycled paper bags to carry your product in, it better be part of your eco-conscious, world-saving story. Otherwise stop being a cheapskate and get something printed on them that reinforces your brand values or entertains your customers! You are missing a big opportunity for your business. Think it through, consider all the touch points you have with a customer and make them all work together to tell your story.

Other posts you might like:

Why Budweiser is Not Hypocritical

Many in the craft beer community have been pointing the finger at Budweiser for being hypocritical for bashing craft brewing while its parent company AB …


Why You Would Read “You Get What You Give”

I recognize there is a disparity between "best practices" and your business practices. Social media (and marketing in general) can be a tough gig, especially …


A Great Conference has Lessons Learned!

#ENGAGE2013 Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Engage NYC 2013 event held by Social Bakers. It was a huge breath of fresh air …


Justine Sacco: A Lesson In The Three Lenses of Social Media

The recent Justine Sacco debacle has brought to light what I believe to be a very serious problem in marketing and PR. There is a linear relationship between responsibility and one’s prominence in the public’s eye. The more public you become, the more responsibility you have to act in a manner befitting of a public figure. Social media has altered your relationship with the public. Your prominence now has an exponential relationship your responsibility to behave appropriately online. What you say can quickly be spread across the Internet, far beyond your immediate reach. Even if you have a private account, someone will screenshot what you have written and repost it. Continue reading “Justine Sacco: A Lesson In The Three Lenses of Social Media” »

Christmas Jammies Viral Video

This morning many of you have seen the above video. If not, you will likely see it pop up in one of your streams as it is officially going viral. It is perfectly crafted to do so as it has all the elements of a viral video; emotional driver, relevant, low barrier to share, a community, plus bonus kid cuteness.

I posted this video on Facebook to see what people thought. Based on the comments received, it hit home for many people.

Continue reading “Christmas Jammies Viral Video” »


How GE Used Stories in Social Media

Social media starts with stories, and stories are a critical part of the customer experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to mavens, socialites, or homebodies — you are still telling a story. Your story will tap into communities, some stronger than others, and those communities will spread your story if you tell it in the correct context. Successful social media brands and people are not pushing a message, they’re sharing a story.

Take for instance, General Electric’s presence on Vine. GE’s customers aren’t on Vine, but that doesn’t stop them from creating viral stories that support their brand. On Sept. 9, the company started a meme around #gravityday. The premise was that an apple would drop from above, the user would interact with it, then drop the apple below off screen. When these Vines were displayed in succession, the apple was seemingly falling through a series of Vines, each one telling its own story with the apple, but as a part of the greater #gravityday story. Continue reading “How GE Used Stories in Social Media” »


Can We Quantify Brand Relationships?

Relationship Data

A recent article in Inside CMX by Ted Rubin urged brands to concentrate on what he calls “Relationship Data.” In a world where “Big Data” is gaining ground, Rubin encouraged brands to not forget about the conversations and personal impact their companies have on people. 

“Relationship Data” begins to approach a problem that has gone unsolved for many years. Each relationship between two people is entirely unique and nearly unquantifiable. You can subjectively qualify your relationship with someone, but it may take awhile because relationships have so many nuances, especially depending on how much you know about that person or how long you’ve known him or her. Your relationship with that person may be nearly the same as the one another person has with him or her, but only on the surface. Change a single variable in that relationship (say, the sex of that other person), and you have a completely new set of dynamics and rules under which that relationship operates. Sociologists and research companies have been trying to quantify relationships for a long time, but creating a simple, standard ruler on which to measure all relationships is incredibly difficult. Continue reading “Can We Quantify Brand Relationships?” »


Being a jerk is good for your brand.

“Study the top stories at Digg or and you’ll notice a pattern: the top stories all polarize people. If you make it threaten people’s 3 Bs — behavior, belief or belongings — you get a huge virus-like dispersion.” – Timothy Ferriss

Many companies have recently taken a public stand on their values, and polarized the marketplace using the three Bs. They created divides on controversial issues, which in turn created buzz, generated interest and — most importantly — gave their real advocates reason to believe in the brand. But is this really that bad?

A strong brand knows who its customers are and caters to them and their worldviews. It builds a tribe around those values and enables its customers to spread the word and grow its market share. But what if those values go against the more recent movements for change? Continue reading “Being a jerk is good for your brand.” »


How To Strategically Use Context To Craft Your Story

The reason for businesses to have a story is to build emotional connections with the target market: the audience. Having a story gives the audience reasons beyond price and availability to desire and purchase your product. The catch is, of course, that considering how quickly information flows today, you can’t just tell your story once. You need tell your story over and over again in a series of content, and continually reinforce that content with other kinds of content. But not all content is the same. 

Context is what drives your content, and therefore, context drives your story! People use context to tell stories that appeal to specific audiences all the time. One image or sound bite can be used to tell multiple stories. Just one look at the mass media and you can see many examples of this tactic Continue reading “How To Strategically Use Context To Craft Your Story” »

Older Posts