Stealth Advertising

Last Sunday I stumbled across this article in The Age that focused on the ethical issue of celebrity ‘pay for tweets’. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to; it’s when a company pays a celebrity to tweet about their product or service. Anything from a good review about a hotel, to a picture of them wearing a brand can and has been used.

Matt Moran Kangaroo Island Tweet

Yes that’s right; your favorite celebrities are making a bit of extra cash by exploiting the fact that you admire and trust them.

The reason marketers are finding secretive celebrity tweet endorsements so appealing is because:

14% of people trust advertising, while 78% of people trust a friend’s recommendation.

As celebrities are part of our lives in so many ways today, it is an effective method for marketers to communicating to large audiences, who trust this medium more than they trust print, TV or radio. People see celebrities as friends.

Many are finding these ‘pay for tweet’ celebrity endorsements an ethical issue that need to be addressed. The main suggestion has been to make the celebrity state when the tweet has been paid for.

The difficulty in controlling an issue such as ‘pay for tweets’ is that it’s almost impossible to differentiate between a celebrity who is actually satisfied with a product or service from a celebrity who has been paid to tweet positive reviews about a product or service.


What’s your opinion? Should celebrities have to disclose when a tweet has been paid for OR is it something we should just get used to?

In my opinion it is just another form of advertising that we will eventually learn how to spot and ignore.

It looks as though we will have to get used to seeing it more and more.


The Happiness Machine

This week I decided to explore some campaigns that I thought used digital marketing exceptionally well. One particular campaign that gained my attention was the Coca-Cola Happiness Machine.

Being a University student myself I found it particular easy to relate to this video and the idea behind it.

But let’s look at this a little deeper.

Coca-Cola explained that they had three basic goals with this digital campaign:

–             To grow their activity on digital platforms

–             Engage with the target demographic

–             Send a message that would resonate with the target audience

By meeting these three goals Coke hoped they would be able to create a piece of media that would ‘Go Viral’!

Coke then began brainstorming. By looking at other successful and unsuccessful campaigns they came up with a formula that they believe would be successful for online videos.

The three common themes of effective ‘viral’ videos according to Coke are:

1.     People have to be able to relate to the content and want to share it

2.     The video has to provoke a reaction

3.     The brainstorming process has to be fun, light-hearted and uncontrolled

When these three factors are working together the target audience will be engaged and want to share the content. Therefore creating this viral effect.

Coke then settled on the idea of the Happiness Machine. The video was extremely successful and today, the original video, has over 5.6 million views.

I believe this video was so successful for Coke for a number of reasons:

–             It depicted an image of people sharing ‘happiness’ (consistent brand message)

–             It engaged with the target audience

–             It provoked a positive, light-hearted reaction

–             AND, It was easily shared

Millward Brown was also involved in the development of this video and the idea behind it. Millward Brown did some further research for Coca-Cola on the success of the video and found that it placed in:

the top 1% of all Coca-Cola advertising campaigns ever tested!

So what do you think?

Is there a formula for the perfect ‘Viral Video’ OR will a massive global brand, such as Coca-Cola, always generate large amounts of online traffic and views?

Have a look at the video for yourself and let me know, you would share it?

Digitally Dependent

Us letting a sky lantern go in Phuket, Thailand

Us letting a sky lantern go in Phuket, Thailand

Over January and February 2013 I travelled through South-East Asia with a group of friends. It was an experience that I knew was going to be challenging. I had never travelled overseas before and only travelled for one or two weeks at a time domestically. This trip was going to be the longest amount of time I have ever spent from home and to intensify this it was taking place in a foreign country with a vastly different culture.

Sitting down with my friends to organise this trip we started our research where everyone would, online. We researched countries, flights, accommodation, events, what the weather was going to be like, practically everything we could think of. Furthermore we read reviews and asked questions to get the best idea about where to go, where to stay and what to do.

Thinking back on this trip we relied on the internet immensely. It gave us the ability to research, book and pay for flights and accommodation before we even arrived. Once we landed in Bangkok, Thailand the first Baht (Thai currency) I spent, besides on the taxi to the hotel, was in an internet café in order to access Facebook. I needed to let my family know I arrived, but perhaps even more importantly I just needed to scroll aimless through my newsfeed for a couple of minutes in order to feel like I was back at home, in a familiar environment once again.

Throughout the next six weeks we travelled through Thailand, Loas, Cambodia and Vietnam. Almost every day we would all sit in a small, sweaty room and pay 50 cents for an hour or so to access Facebook, check emails or book our next bus, plane or train. Thinking back on this trip made me realise just how much I, and my friends, relied on the digital world in order to travel efficiently and effectively but also just to feel as though we were back at home, sharing stories with friends and family. Facebook was where I turned when the culture became too much and I felt lonely or homesick.

I thought I would start my blog with this little anecdote about my life and dependence on the digital world. In closing I think this simply points out just how much of our lives today depend on the internet for information, organisation and socialising rather than reading magazine or watching TV. Therefore as our attention becomes increasingly focused here so should our modern day marketing efforts.