Candy is Dandy

May 3, 2010

For years candy companies have undoubtedly made their delicious treats synonymous with fun. Whether they were tempting people with dancing candies across a theater screen or paying a pretty penny for advertising spots, these businesses have tried to incorporate themselves in people’s lives as often as they could. This is the same today as it was years before, only this time these sweets are more prominent in a whole new media platform.

Since we crave entertainment and a certain level of involvement, candy companies have had to figure out a way to reach a myriad of audiences and maintain people’s attention by creating more interactive brand ads. This usually requires the company to adopt new mediums and to present itself in a way that incorporates actions made by the customer. In other words, brands are being strengthened by connecting themselves with ideas and mediums such as gaming, movie tie-ins, viral videos and online sites such as Twitter or Facebook.

One of the more successful and aggressive marketing strategies currently seen is the M&M online campaign. Not only have TV viewers seen clever commercials that make us giggle:

But we also have the opportunity to “become” an M&M ourselves. When visiting the M&M site, which according to an article from iMedia Connection had 283,000 unique visitors in June of 2009 alone, you can choose from a wide selection of physical features and accessories to create an M&M personality that mimics you or any other person. This has made the brand more fun for people, while building a relationship between the consumer and the company.

Mars also reached beyond engaging people with M&M personalities by creating holiday related games. During Easter, the company created a 3D “Easter Egg Hunt” type of game where they hid codes on their site, as well as some others, and encouraged customers to find and decode the pin numbers. The winners walked away with points and prizes.

Other companies have also been successful by utilizing social media tools. A perfect example of this is Cadbury’s Creme Egg Twisted Campaign.  The corporation gained millions of followers by asking customers to make creative videos or photo stories that gave information on the “missing” twisted bar. They made an interactive site that showed the wanted or fugitive posting for a Mr. Twisted Bar on the grounds of “gooing public figures. Celebrity gooings. Conspiring with other bars to create Gooey mayhem and organizing illegal gooing attacks online.”

By involving their customers in a fun activity that focused on their brand, they  achieved not only great marketing but entertained consumers on a whole new level.

Unfortunately, sometimes the sugar rush ends when using these newer media outlets incorrectly. Skittles, for example, did well in the beginning when they redesigned their site to be more colorful and modern, but soon plummeted when their Twitter account was bombarded with negative and uncensored buzz from “pranksters” and others that seeked to market their own products.

I guess that goes to show that there are pros and cons to utilizing new mediums for a candy brand these days. Although this generation needs to be more involved and companies are finding success in the adopt of various platforms, let the previous Skittles campaign be a warning to all that you also need to know how to use them as well as which ones will be most beneficial so things don’t go sour.

Advertisements

Celebrities in Headliners

February 12, 2010

“Kim Kardashian Isn’t Engaged to Reggie Bush!”

“An Exclusive Interview: Angelina Jolie from Haiti.”

Not to completely bash news corporations and media conglomerates, but honestly are these really headlining pieces? The world of celebrities and entertainment has seemed to become more of a common feature within news outlets, not to mention a concern for many journalism and communication focused people. This has brought about many questions that mainly come down to the inquiry of why entertainment has been published as news.

News, defined as the presentation (to the public) of important current issues and happenings, has been evolving to fit a new audience, one that seems to be reinterpreting the idea and possibly value of journalism.

Within Robert McChesney’s book, The Political Economy of Media: enduring issues, emerging dilemmas, he states that the faults or defects within the news system existence primarily because of the for-profit mind-set. By providing the public with entertainment, they will gain readership and in turn stay afloat financially. However, while discussing this topic with my media issues group, there was one point that stood out.

Although the media is slightly straying from their traditional mission of providing the public with what we need to know, they are not the only ones to blame for the substitute of hard-hitting and investigative news with entertainment. To carry some of this burden of blame is actually today’s audience that has become the driving force behind the appearance of celebrity-centered articles outside of the entertainment sections.

Why does the public demand such coverage? Patrick Butler of the Collegiate Times asks the same question and determined that a 24 hour and 7 day a week schedule has actually diluted the news by trying to fill spaces with less substantial stories. He also claimed that money talks, which helped to form stations that try to give us what we want to hear above anything else.

I do feel that as consumers for this industry, we have found that entertainment is just more fun in comparison to the more realistic, complex and sometimes horrifying news that is presented to us today. I mean who wouldn’t want to view something entertaining or happy rather than depressing? At the same time, we’ve got to know that this preference is affecting the coverage of news and the younger part of our generation that may not fully be able to establish what is actually news. In case you were wondering…celebrities in headlines such as “Brad Pitt Trims his Beard” in my opinion is not news.

Although the solution to this issue has not fully been found, I wonder if there is a possibility of just making the news more interesting or packaging it in a more entertaining fashion to keep the audience both entertained and informed.

We’ve seen Jon Stewart and his Comedy Central program, The Daily Show, gaining quite a following due to a more sarcastic and intellectual twist on current events, so maybe this is something to take note of. Instead of celebrities becoming headlining news, let’s just repackage the facts so they are presented differently. It’s worth a try, I think.

For Your Entertainment

November 18, 2009

While going through some of my bookmarked sites, I discovered a common thread. Interestingly enough, many of these are either interactive sites or webpages where the public has been the main creators of the content (they have also been saved purely for entertainment purposes). These are considered some of the most popular and most viewed websites today.

This shows exactly how powerful interactive formats and content created by the public can influence the sites traffic and interest. The focus on having an entertaining site is also a huge factor in whether or not people decided to participate or follow them.

Post Secret
Go Fug Yourself: Because Fugly Is The New Pretty
Exploding Dog
Graph Jam
A Softer World
texts from last night
Fail Blog
FMyLife
Awkward Family Photos
My Life Is Average
Chrome Experiments
Ugliest Tattoos
Etsy
Threadless
Banksy
You Should Have Seen This
Poster Boy
This is Photobomb
Passive Aggressive Notes
1000 Awesome Things

Viral Videos

October 12, 2009

Entertainment can be found throughout several forms of media. Today, the Internet is providing people with entertainment just as much as (if not more than) television programs and radio stations use to. One of the most popular forms of entertainment online is known as viral videos.

Viral videos, according to a small group consensus in my theory course, have a few commonalities which is what makes them more spreadable.

We believe that majority of viral videos are relatable. More specifically, one of the things we find the most entertaining are the ones that we know we, or some of our friends, have done before. Many of the videos also contain humor. This could be in the format of blatant and obvious humor, clever, stupid or even a parody.

The videos also need to have a certain amount of uniqueness and originality. We don’t want to see the same thing over and over again. We would rather witness something new and funny.

Shock may work as a common characteristic for some as well. We like to be surprised or tricked because the same storyline gets boring. If you don’t know what to expect then you are more likely to pay attention and be entertained, or even watch it several more times.

These videos that are shared between thousands of people are usually simple, because if the viewer doesn’t grasp the purpose then they won’t understand or want to watch it, and shorter than 4-5 minutes in length.

The following are some of the examples of viral videos that the class put together. We remember these videos because we have either passed them around to our own friends and family, or have never forgotten them due to the level of entertainment it provides. They range from commercials to shows and humorous to serious.

Don’t Vote PSA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhDRVKDcXQo

Slippery Turkey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTw0SDvxoqE&feature=player_profilepage

Amateur wedding video http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/youtube-trumpets-popularity-of-viral-wedding-dance/

Train station Dance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkBepgH00GM and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM&feature=related

Shining Spoof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf7h6o3I8yw

Rap Impression http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQlgLgyi7bI

I’m not intoxicated http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgJKRvgWTwA

Ok Go http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI&feature=related

E-Trade Baby http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x26x9xVNH98&feature=channel

Hawaiian Chair http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQspIJnQLRE

Best Wedding Dance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT56YizyR2o

Her Morning Elegance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_HXUhShhmY

Grape Stomping http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMS0O3kknvk

Elon iCribs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQf9z0ORpp4

Wanna Buy a Ghost? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tXsO35TQ-0

Fillet-O-Fish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bJOIqVAD-s

Piano Stairs http://www.break.com/index/interactive-swedish-piano-stairs.html

Lion Reunion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjWtRYaxmWM&feature=PlayList&p=12A805DF0D78A069&index=0&playnext=1

Font Conference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3k5oY9AHHM

GI Joe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4OPr_QxoFg

Flea Market Montgomery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ3oHpup-pk

Reebok http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbSpAsJSZPc

Trigon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDy63RfVZD4