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.

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Tweeting Your Feelings

November 21, 2009

When Courtney Love becomes a headliner for a section in CNN, many of us being to wonder where journalism is going these days; however this article asks a pretty interesting and valid question. Can the law keep up with technology?

Taking her frustration out on Twitter, Courtney Love has been accused of posting derogatory and false comments about a clothing designer after arguing over the prices of some items. Due to her tweets, she is now being sued for libel.

This story doesn’t sound too unfamiliar to us. Consider the situation between Amanda Bonnen and her landlord when she tweeted about mold in her apartment. Once the reality company found out what was said, they sued her for libel and seeked $50,000 in damages.

Although social media networks aren’t considered the most credible sources sometimes, it is definitely showing signs of impact on other’s reputation. With this in mind, I believe laws might begin to form for these types of sites eventually, especially since there have been several issues with the networking sites already.

This made me wonder: would the creation of a social media law infringe too much on our freedom of speech?

A lot of people have stated that my generation is losing a certain something in their relationships with others because they communicate through a technological medium; and in some cases that may be true. However, Stefana Broadbent recently gave a speech, which was present on TED, that contrasted these thoughts.

The Internet has connected many people world wide and not only enables intimacy, but has  become a norm in our society’s culture. This made me wonder. In the future, will technology be part of the glue that holds them together or strengthens the relationship?

Broadbent explains how she delved deeper into this topic by interviewing several people and the person they talked to the most. These relationships ranged anywhere from close friends and family members to significant others and spouses. These interviews revealed things like:

– A person may have hundreds of friends, but really only keeps in touch and are good friends with a small handful of them.

-Massive communication through texting, IMing, Facebooking, and other Internet and technological forms are being done at 11 am.

– Facebook communication is one of the most popular forms of media used to socialize with others.

–  Of all the contacts a person has in their phone, 80% of the calls they make are only to a group of four people.

– It is becoming more and more popular to Skype with family members to feel like they are in the room. Many people, who have relatives that are far away, Skype in the morning or at night to have breakfast or dinner with them.

– Texting acts as little reminders that tell the other person things like “have a good day”

– Today’s children are being taught to understand and utilize these methods of communication due to the growing need to use it in many professions and (when encouraging independence and taking them on trips away from home) helping them learn how to keep in touch while in different locations.

People are constantly using these forms in order to connect with others and the numbers are only growing. Knowing this, how big a part, do you think, will technology and the Internet play in our relationships in the future?

Utilizing Social Media

October 30, 2009

Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, is becoming a more common feature in companies around the world. Some corporations are embracing it and fully submerging themselves into all formats, yet others still seem a bit hesitant to try this new digital component. According to an article written by Kimberly Maul (which was published on prweekus.com)  and a survey from PRWeek, 37% of the 271 marketers that were surveyed do not use social media tools. The survey also discovered that 49% of corporations don’t have a specific approach regarding its use, while 10% “discouraged employees to use social media to communication on behalf of the organization.”

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While having a global reach is  considered one of the benefits that have been highlighted by many professionals when it comes to utilizing social media tools, 64% of respondents say its current focus is local. This is interesting because many of the companies and people interviewed say that it is locally focused for now but in the future will provide conversations on a global scale, whether they like what the public has to say or not.

Once they reach this global scale, it can change the marketing landscape drastically. Some of the companies that are already taking advantage of the benefits of social media include: General Motors, PepsiCo, ING Direct, and American Express Open. This was shown in PepsiCo’s recent social media strategy where they turned campaigns into conversations and using these outside perspectives to improve.

To see the effectiveness of the social media campaigns, many companies have looked at web site traffic and the impact it has had on sales or brand awareness. Visualizing this ROI may also be done with surveys.

As companies begin to adopt or increase the use of social media tools, this will go beyond a form of communication but evolve into a much bigger business and marketing device online.

To view the article and survey charts visit: http://www.prweekus.com/reality-check-social-media-survey-2009/article/150009/