All Articles Tagged "advertising"

Pinning is Winning! Pinterest Is Now Valued At $5 Billion

May 16th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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pinterest homepage1In May of 2012, Pinterest only had 418,000 users. Today, the social sharing site has spread like wildfire and now hosts 70 million users! Matching its current worth, Pinterest racked up $200 million in funding from existing investors and increased its market value to $5 billion, The Telegraph reports.

So what exactly is Pinterest?

Have you ever cut out pictures from decorating magazines when re-decorating your home?  Have you ever written down or clipped recipes from books or magazines?” Active Living Zoomers asked. “Pinterest is basically the same idea, except you ‘pin’ what you are looking for to your own virtual idea board.”

Pinterest is really catching on, and of course, they’d be nuts not to capitalize off of its growing popularity.

The clever masterminds behind Pinterest are finally wringing out some money from the site and are poised to launch paid advertisements from Kraft, Banana Republic, Lululemon, Athletica, and more. “In what the social scrapbooking service is calling a test, Promoted Pins will start appearing in users’ search and category feeds,” Forbes said. Pinterest reaches more American women than Twitter; this, no doubt, was a selling point to lure in advertisers.

“If you’re an advertiser targeting females, Pinterest is going to be a great environment for you,” Debra Williamson, an eMarketer analyst, told Forbes. “When people use Pinterest, they’re raising their hand and saying they’re interested in something by the fact that they’re pinning it. That makes them a really strong market for advertising.”

According to Shopify [via NY mag] “users referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make purchases on e-commerce sites than users of other social networks.” They also spend twice as much as users referred from Facebook.

The best part about Pinterest, from the marketers’ eyes, is that their ads don’t really look like ads — users are simply pinning what they love while simultaneously increasing the visibility of products. This ultimately multiplies the probability of a purchase.

Facebook and its ilk better watch their back. Pinterest just may take the spotlight.

Just last fall, Pinterest was worth only $3.8 billion. After raising $200 million from SV Angel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity, Andressen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital, and Valiant Capital Partners, Pinterest is now worth a “ridiculous amount of money.” At $5 billion, BuzzFeed says that Pinterest is worth more than Domino’s ($4 billion), JCPenney ($3 billion), Motorola ($2.91 billion), and Pandora ($4.85 billion).

Since its inception in 2010, Pinterest has accumulated $764 million in funding.

Jeeps & Jackson: Michael Jackson’s New Music No. 1 In Over 50 Countries & Featured In New Car Campaign

May 15th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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michael-jackson-xscapeEven though he died in 2009, Michael Jackson is still the King of Pop. Most music industry experts say his new album of previously unreleased music, “Xscape,” promises to rule the airwaves. The album, released on Tuesday, has topped the digital charts in more than 50 countries.

The eight songs on the album (a deluxe edition has nine more) are a mix of old and new: The vocal tracks were laid down in the years before his death. But, the music, is a contemporary creation put together by a team of producers led by Timbaland, under the guidance of Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid, reports The Grio.

The first single, “Love Never Felt So Good,” is a dance tune first heard on the iHeartRadio Music Awards earlier this month. Justin Timberlake provides additional vocals on the song, which The Independent says was first penned by Jackson and Paul Anka in 1983. There’s also a remake of America’s “Horse With No Name,” renamed “A Place With No Name” on the album and a romantic track called  “Loving You.” Mary J Blige and D’Angelo appear on the album as well.

Jackson’s new music is already racking in advertising money with new Jeep commercials featuring “Love Never Felt So Good.” Jeep teamed up with Epic Records and USA Basketball to launch a first-ever summer brand campaign. The campaign, which kicked off on May 8, stars USA Basketball National Team point guard Kyrie Irving. It is for Jeep’s brand’s 2014 Altitude Edition.

Created by black ad firm GlobalHue, the firm tells Target Market News the campaign will be spread across channels, from online and social media to television.

And between May 22 and September 1, consumers can access custom content across the Jeep brand’s summer campaign microsite and win prizes. Twice a week, consumers can upload a summer photo moment using the #jeepsummer hashtag on Instagram, with each photo upload representing a contest entry to win prizes, including a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Altitude Edition.

“This is a unique collaboration with Epic Records and L.A. Reid, and the USA Basketball Team — together we are creating a new definition of summer,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group LLC.  “‘Love Never Felt So Good’ makes you want to dance, to move, to play, to get up off the couch — the same way people feel when they are driving Jeep vehicles.”

“We’re extremely pleased to expand our partnership with Jeep,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO.  “USA Basketball and Jeep are a great fit as both organizations’ legacy and drive to be the best resonate with sports fans around the world.”

The GlobalHue agency also produced the Super Bowl ad for Chrysler featuring musician Bob Dylan.

Even With Great Reviews, The HTC One Didn’t Sell A Ton & Bad Ads Might Be To Blame

April 8th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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HTC has released its financial results for the final quarter of 2013 and it looks like good reviews of the HTC One couldn’t improve its fortunes. The company posted revenues of $1.1 billion, down from $1.4 billion the previous quarter. The company posted its first-ever losses for that previous quarter, reported in October.

This despite the fact that the HTC One was greeted on the market with critical acclaim. “HTC sold 5 million of its One devices in its first month, according to the company. It ended the year with a U.S. market share of 2%, according to Strategy Analytics. Globally, Samsung had 27.2% market share for the year, versus 15.2% for Nokia and 9.2% for Apple,” reports Mashable.

One issue may be advertising. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Spending in the telecom category as a whole grew more than 8%, about nine times faster than the total U.S. ad market that grew 0.9%, said Kantar Media chief research officer Jon Swallen.

…Samsung outspent Apple by $68 million in 2012, but the iPhone maker responded last year with a TV-led counter-attack and closed the ad spending gap to just $12 million as Samsung dialed back its outlays… Last year, Apple spent about $351 million on total U.S. wireless phone advertising, up 5% from $333 million, according to Kantar Media. Samsung spent about $363 million on all U.S. mobile phone ads, down 10% from $401 million, the only top device maker that cut U.S. ad spending.

Bringing up the rear in ad spending, along with flailing BlackBerry and LG Electronics was HTC with $76 million in 2013. HTC eventually advertised its HTC One with help from Robert Downey Jr., but the ad, honestly, wasn’t that great. Now there’s a new ad (above) specifically for the HTC One m(8). Do you think it’s any better? We posted the previous ad, which CNET calls “nonsensical and ultimately ineffective,” below.

Advertisers Are Starting To Get It: More Companies Reflecting US Diversity In Ads

March 16th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Ads are always in pursuit of our consumer dollars. Now, it appears advertisers are doing more to acknowledge the diversity of the consumers they’re trying to win over.

The number of straight, interracial couples in the US increased 28 percent — by 5.4 million — between 2000 and 2010, growing to one in 10. The number of same-sex couple homes has grown nine percent in that time period, up 646,000.

As a result, you’re starting to see more ads and commercials with diverse lifestyles reflected.

A Banana Republic ad starring designer Nate Berkus and his partner.

A Banana Republic ad starring designer Nate Berkus and his partner.

We started to see that last year with the now-famous interracial Cheerios commercial. The backlash to that ad was met with equal amounts of push back from people who supported the brand’s message. Even before that, points out Ad Age, we had JC Penney’s defense of Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson in the face of opposition. And, before that, ads like those from Benetton.

but while they were once few and far between, ads featuring diversity are starting to pop up with greater regularity. Now we have the interracial family in the Swiffer ad. The various families in the Chevrolet commercials that aired during the Olympics (one is above) that didn’t cause a stir. The image above is from Banana Republic’s latest campaign. And then there was Coke’s Super Bowl ad featuring people singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages.

Ad Age goes so far as to draw a line from brands and their more diverse outlooks and their stance against Arizona’s attempt to pass a law that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay customers. Pressure from companies like Apple, no doubt, played a small role in Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to veto that law.

Still, the companies aren’t willing to talk openly about these more progressive ads in great detail besides comments of the support for the message they send. The magazine was in touch with a number of the advertisers for comment and didn’t get much. (MadameNoire Business was also in touch with Cheerios for a story a few weeks back and the brand declined to share more than a brief statement.)

There’s an counterintuitive downside to this: with more general market advertising agencies doing this sort of work, it could lead to declines in business for multicultural agencies.

Black Twitter, A Money Maker? Twitter Sees Its Diversity As A Way To Sell Ads

January 27th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Twitter knows that African Americans overwhelmingly favor the social media network. So it’s using this diverse user base to lure advertisers.

According to stats provided by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 59 percent of Twitter users are white (non-Hispanic), 18 percent black (non-Hispanic), 12 percent Hispanic, and 11 percent are “unknown.” According to Meredith Clark, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who is studying Black Twitter, blacks flocked to Twitter because it is used primarily on phones, and smartphones are the primary Internet device used by many blacks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “as a newly minted public company needing to generate revenue, it is moving to capitalize on its demographics.”

The company is so serious about the revenue possibilities, it has hired marketing veteran, Nuria Santamaria, to fill a newly-created position, multicultural strategist. Santamaria  will focus on reaching out to black, Hispanic and Asian-American users, which account for 41 percent of its 54 million U.S. users.

Santamaria’s strategy is to start with Hispanics, whose Twitter share almost parallels the U.S. online population.

But a chunk of Twitter’s power lies with African Americans. Twitter’s 18 percent of black users are nearly twice the 10 percent of U.S. Internet users who are black and substantially more than the 11 percent of Facebook users who are black, according to Pew. (“Facebook has more black users because it has more than three times as many U.S. users as Twitter,” notes WSJ.) And many black Twitter users fall into the 18-to-29 age bracket that advertisers like to target.

Prior to Twitter’s recognition of its diversity potential, advertisers were already on the case.

Home Depot’s four-year-old “Retool Your School” campaign gives grants to HBCUs for building or renovation. And, says Monique Nelson, CEO of UniWorld Group, the creative ad agency behind Home Depot’s multicultural advertising, for a recent grant, winners were selected partly by the amount of mentions a school got on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. In the end, there were 143,000 mentions on Twitter, more than 10 times as many as on Facebook or Instagram.

An online campaign for the movie 12 Years a Slave is also a good example of Twitter’s black power. Cornerstone Agency threw small screenings and invited “influencers” with big Twitter followings such as Pharrell (who has 2.5 million Twitter followers), says Jon Cohen, Cornerstone’s co-chief executive.

“The hope was that people see the film and they feel compelled to talk about it, and Twitter is usually that medium, especially among the African-American target” audience, says Cohen.

The Worst Commercials of 2013

December 17th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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A still from the Geico "Hump Day" commercial, a favorite for the year.

A still from the Geico “Hump Day” commercial, a favorite for the year.

In thinking about the most memorable commercials of 2013 and the advertisements that enticed us to use that product and/or service, you almost have to stop and think about the ones that failed. Can you remember changing the channel when you saw a particular ad appear that made you roll your eyes and say whatever? Or perhaps there was one that stirred up a little anger as to why companies would think it would be okay to run such marketing tactics? While there are probably tons that are out there, here’s a look back at some of the worst commercials of 2013.

The Most Memorable Commercials of 2013

December 9th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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super bowl bruno marsWith the year soon coming to an end, many advertisers have their eyes set on one of the biggest campaign opportunities of the any year, Super Bowl. Already sold out and going for as much as $4 million a slot, one can only imagine what companies have up their sleeves to get our attention and capture our business.
But until that time comes, it’s kinda fun to think about the commercials that left a lasting impression on us throughout the year. Are there any that come to mind? If so, what was it about the ad that kept you glued to your television? Here is a look back at some of the most memorable commercials of 2013. Of course there were many but these instantly came to mind.

Advertisers Still Ignore Black Media, Miss Chances To Reach Black Consumers

September 26th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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You’d think that with African Americans possessing a buying power expected to reach more than $1.1 trillion by 2017 that advertisers would be flocking to black media to reach this valuable consumer.

But no. According to a new Nielsen report, of the $75 billion spent last year in the U.S. on television, magazines, Internet and radio advertising, less than three percent went to media focused on black audiences.

By not advertising in black media, companies are missing out on a prime market of 43 million blacks in the U.S. representing about 14 percent of the population — more than half younger than 35, says Nielsen. “In short, the message and the medium matter when selling items such as feminine hygiene products and Big Macs, both of which are purchased more heavily by African-Americans than the general population, according to the report,” writes the Chicago Tribune.

According to the Nielsen study, blacks watch 37 percent more television (an average of more than seven hours per day) than any other group. The favorite network remains BET, with four of the top 10-rated total daytime programs through June. Another favorite network in the top 10 for black viewers is ABC, home to Scandal.

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, VP of public affairs and government relations at Nielsen, says advertisers make a major mistake when assuming that they do not need to tailor advertising to the black consumer market. “Because there are no language barriers, the assumption is ‘I can reach African-Americans with the same ads that I can reach the general market,'” she said. “In reality, there are a lot of cultural nuances that resonate more with blacks… that could actually drive up market share if you incorporated them into your marketing strategy.”

Despite the proof that broad-based campaigns don’t necessarily reach black consumers, the advertising world has been slow to react. In fact, Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co. has been trying to drive this point across to advertisers for more than 70 years. Johnson’s  Ebony and Jet magazines have both undergone recent redesigns in an effort to attract more readers and revenue, but a striking advertising disparity between those publications and general interest magazines still exists, reports the Trib.

Ebony has a total average circulation of 1.29 million, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, Ebony had advertising revenues of about $48 million, up 29 percent from 2011. Compare this to general market publication Vanity Fair, which has a total average circulation of 1.21 million. Last year the magazine generated more than $268 million in advertising revenue, according to the bureau.

But Johnson Publishing CEO Desiree Rogers believes things are changing, with younger blacks undergoing a “reverse assimilation” of sorts, taking renewed pride in their cultural heritage and seeking entertainment, information and news that speaks directly to them. Because of this, she said companies employing black-oriented media and messages will be “much further ahead” in terms of influencing buying decisions among those young consumers.

MN Biz was at the American Advertising Federation’s Diversity Achievement & Mosaic Awards yesterday and it’s clear that major companies like Pepsi and State Farm are paying attention to marketing that specifically targets minority groups. Other companies are playing catch up.

Jet Magazine’s Brand Spankin’ New Look Hit Stands With The Stars of ‘Fruitvale Station’

July 23rd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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The cover of the redesigned 'Jet.'

The cover of the redesigned ‘Jet.’

Jet magazine, the self-proclaimed No. 1 African American weekly magazine, will hit stands in August with a brand spankin’ new look, reports Chicago Business.

Jet mag’s new design will have a brighter cover, better placement of feature sections, a brand new logo, better quality photos, and more infographics. The mastermind behind this upgrade is Mitzi Miller, the magazine’s editor-in-chief since May 2011.

The only facet of the magazine that will remain the same is its small-booklet form.  “[T]hey like it just the way it is,”added Chicago Business.

CEO Desiree Rogers is completely on-board with the move. “We have to continue to remain competitive in the business landscape,” Rogers told Chicago Business. “And that includes[…] constantly updating those publications, keeping them contemporary, keeping them fresh and continuing to please our existing customers.”

While the next revamped issue will have more pages, Jet magazine’s future page count will rely on the advertiser’s response.

Rogers is under a lot of pressure to keep Jet magazine’s circulation at more than 700,000 readers to please her advertisers. Figures for the last half of 2012 show that Jet reached 724,637 readers, which was down three percent from June 2012, according to a source in Chicago Business.

The three percent decrease does not seem to faze Rogers, though. She’s just content she’s surpassed the threshold and does not plan to spend extra marketing dollars until the readership drops below the 700,000 mark.

The redesign is an attempt to “remain relevant as readers lose interest in print,” said Chicago Business. Check out the new Jet on August 12.

UPDATE: Octavia Spencer and Michael B. Jordan, who are promoting their highly praised film Fruitvale Station, are set to grace the cover of the new revamped issue of Jet in August. The redesigned magazine will also feature brief videos for readers’ mobile phones, according to the New York Times.

The Grio tells us how Jet magazine will implement mobile technology in their new upcoming issue:

With Layar, a smartphone application, readers will be able to scan an icon from the magazine, and a video will pop up on their phones. In coming months, Miller said the brand plans on rolling out its iPad application, which follows its existing presence on e-readers.

“I’m proud to say that my team has created a product that strikes the perfect balance between freshness and familiarity. The new JET combines what our readers have always loved, with a modern look and vibe,” added Mitzi Miller, editor-in-chief, in a press statement.

Music Video Or Commercial? Artists Blur The Line

July 11th, 2013 - By C. Cleveland
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D. Salters/WENN.com

D. Salters/WENN.com

India.Arie has a reputation for being obvious with her Mother Earth persona. Now she’s making her love for cocoa butter clear. It’s not just that the lead single off her new album “SongVersation” is called “Cocoa Butter.” She’s also partnered up with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula for the new music video (available at the bottom of the page).  As if a chorus of “Your love is like cocoa butter on my heart” doesn’t provide enough inspiration for 140-character jokes, her latest music video positions her as cocoa butter’s answer to the Avon lady.

Brands Behind the Music

Lady Gaga is credited with ushering in blatant product placement in music videos. Before her, product placement meant the camera lingered on the product longer than it took for you to count to “one-Mississippi.” In 2010, Gaga’s “Telephone” video included in-your-face placements for everything from Miracle Whip to Virgin Mobile.

Brought on by videos’ move from television to the Internet and record labels’ attempt to make videos a revenue source and not just a marketing tool, this trend shows no signs of slowing. Music integrations were up 22.7 percent last year alone according to the PQ Media Global Product Placement Spending Forecast 2012-2016. Remember when MTV dominated music video distribution and logos were blurred out? The channel had it’s own advertisers to cater to. The Web allows advertisers more access to space in videos.

“YouTube and Vevo provide the best places for music videos to be posted with ads,” says Deborah Posner, an advertising instructor at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. “Vevo, in particular, was launched in 2009 for the specific purpose of enabling product placement in music videos by high-end advertisers with free access by viewers.”

When It Works & When It Doesn’t

Lord knows the music industry can’t afford to churn out videos like it did in MTV’s heyday. Product placement helps the medium to survive. Artists get financial support often without sacrificing their creativity or bombarding their fans with overt advertising. Everyone wins. Until now.

Advertisers can take things a little too far. Watching Arie’s leading man smooth Palmer’s on her brown skin as she sings “You rub it in” is a tragic comedy that shows exactly where the limit on these arrangements lie: when the whole affair feels like a sales pitch.

“To avoid making the video look simply like a commercial, the products should complement the story, and not be the main attraction,” Posner adds.

Don’t Ruin This

Music videos are an advertiser’s dream. Videos promote lifestyles, and brands are always looking for ways to align their products with a larger community or feeling. Videos also have a permanence that traditional commercials don’t offer. “Cocoa butter” will exist on YouTube as long as the Internet gods see fit.

But artists have to remember to make these deals work for their best interests. That’s why artists like Jay-Z and Beyonce are signing up for creative collaborations with major brands (Budweiser and Pepsi, respectively) rather than simply being a spokesperson. They don’t want the products to overshadow their artistry. They don’t want to turn themselves into a pusher or a punchline.

At the end of India.Arie’s video, as the cream ribbons floating around her faded away, I felt like I had been tricked into watching a four-minute commercial for cocoa butter. I guess the joke’s on me.

C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveOutLoud) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).