5 Things for September 13: Fiona Crucifies 'Big Food' for Chipotle

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Haunting and genius online video creation? Yup. Oddities from the world of social media marketing? Uh huh. Some legitimate news thrown in just for good measure? You got it. Our weekly list of five things you might have missed has all that and then some.

1. Pure Imagination:  The creative team on Chipotle’s new online short film and game reads like a big-budget movie: Fiona Apple singing an iconic song, Oscar-winning producers and a compelling look at a controversial topic. While cute and charming in animation, make no bones about it: This film takes a tough stance against “Big Food.” Undoubtedly one of the most creative and most-talked-about online videos of the year. 

2. Footlong Couture: Project Subway incorporated the currently happening New York Fashion Week with its “$5 Any Footlong in September” promotion to produce a competition where designers made outfits entirely out of Subway wrappers. The hashtag #ProjectSubway was used by the chain to help engage its 1.6 million followers in this unique fashion smackdown. 

3. Twitter’s New Song: Speaking of Twitter, the social media giant has long tried to launch its own music platform. The results have been underwhelming at best. Yet all hope for #TwitterMusic may not be lost: This week, the company paired with massive music service Spotify to hopefully take music streaming and social search to new heights.

4. Skip the McLine: Mobile ordering to pick up real-life items and in real time is something a few brands have been ballsy enough to attempt. According to Mashable, McDonalds is willing to give it a shot. The company is now testing a mobile payment application in Utah and Texas. “With the app, you can order ahead and pick up your food at drive-thru windows, curbside or in the restaurant,” Mashable reports. 

5. Try to Forget: Finally, we round out this week’s list with a major Twitter bellyflop from AT&T. The communications magnet tried to pay tribute to those lost on 9/11 with a tweeted image of the Twin Towers in searchlights, but consumers weren’t having it. After hundreds of complaints, the company took the image down and apologized a couple of times. The moral of the story? Take the day off from marketing on 9/11, brands… Or deal with the wrath.

5 Videos for August 30: Hyundai, Twitter and, Yes, Twerking

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Since the Labor Day holiday is fast approaching, let’s get things kicked off with the best online video creations from the week that you might have missed. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own online videos or just wanting to kill some time, these five should do the trick. And the best part?  No work required on your end. 

1.) Morgan Freeman Twerks it Out: We here at Brandsplat try to be 100% Miley Free, but given this week’s onslaught on Cyrus-related news, it’s a difficult task… especially when it comes to twerking. We’ve already had ABC News do a much-maligned report on the twerk (which coincidentally spawned #ABCReports, one of the funniest uses of hashtags of all time). Thank goodness for Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman. Freeman sorts out all of this twerking silliness by reading the definition to Headline News with his Voice of God inflection in an already viral hit. 

2.) Tech Commercial Clichés Exposed: Looking to promote your tech brand with online videos? CollegeHumor.com has come up with a phony ad that brilliantly skewers tech ads while playfully listing the clichés to avoid. Perfectly titled “Every Tech Commercial,” the spot features lots of bakers, people talking at the same time, hollow concerns about speed and convenience and other hilariously omnipresent crutches marketers use to peddle products.

3.) Keeping Up with the Conversation: Twitter, on the other hand, avoids those tired clichés. The social network has cooked up a great video which explains how its new update makes following conversations on Twitter even easier. On the official Twitter blog, the brand explains, “As you can see, tweets that are part of a conversation are shown in chronological order so it’s easier for you to follow along. You’ll see up to three tweets in sequence in your home timeline; if you want to see more, you can tap a tweet to see all the replies, including those from people you don’t follow.” A great feature, and a great use of online video, too.

4.) 0 to 60 in 6 Seconds: Hooray for Hyundai for beating other carmakers to the punch with this ultra-clever Vine video. To illustrate a car’s speed and handling capabilities, Vine is an unlikely but brilliant choice for Hyundai. 

5.) Sweet Karma: We wrap up this week’s video roundup with a lovely little campaign from European chocolate company Milka. The brand produced chocolate bars with missing squares and gave consumers a choice: reclaim their chocolate square or send it to someone else. Sweet!

5 Things for August 23: Smelling Swift, Fancy Facebook Ads and Masculine Mascara

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Nine out of 10 online marketing geniuses and social media experts agree: Our weekly list of five things you might have missed has the best stories from the digital newsroom. Why don’t you read for yourself and see if they’re right? 

1.) Adtractive Facebook: Facebook announced this week a partnership with Shutterstock that will give advertisers access to Shutterstock’s massive visual library. “Not every business has a team of designers to help communicate their message, and so the Shutterstock integration allows Facebook advertisers of all sizes to search and choose from millions of high-quality images at the point of ad creation,” David Fraga of Facebook told Business Insider. This could help companies of all sizes make better-looking, more professional Facebook ads.

2.) Better Business Blogging: If you missed Daniel Newman’s post entitled “Demystifying Small Business Blogging,” please read it now (well, after you finish reading this post, of course). Newman helps his readers find easy ways to stop making excuses and start blogging. “In order to see results from blogging for your small business, you have to commit to doing it like any other sales, marketing or operational effort,” he writes. Preach.

3.) Surprise Package: We’ll go ahead and say that 2013 is the year of the double-entendre dude-filled viral commercial. This one for Benefit mascara is also star-studded. Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey Shore, Simon Rex and some comedian from Vine all take part in this sexy, silly viral hit which plays on mascara wands hidden in guy’s crotches. We promise it’s not as NSFW as it sounds.

4.) Smells Like Taylor Swift: #HiFromTaylor is a Twitter campaign, an interactive online video experience and social media marketing blitz — all in the name of promoting Taylor Swift’s new perfume, Taylor. The spot integrates fan’s photos and status updates to an ad with the pop star “shot from the perspective of the user to create a sense of them starring in the video with Taylor herself,” an agency rep says. As long as there’s no Kanye cameo, we’re cool.

5.) Food Photos for Thought: Lastly, big kudos to chef Mario Batali for spearheading Feedie, an app that both helps the hungry while celebrating our insatiable desire for food photos. According to Mashable, “Each time you take a picture of your food at a participating restaurant using Feedie, the restaurant makes an instant donation equivalent to one meal to The Lunchbox Fund. The non-profit provides daily meals for at-risk South African schoolchildren, many of whom have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.” Bravo!

Is What We Read More Important Than Who We Are?

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For a brief minute, social media marketing seemed to be a golden ticket into giving marketers a better look at who consumers really were and what they really liked. Facebook pages filled with “likes” for favorite brands, tweets mentioning interests and Pinterest boards chock full of lusted-after items give the illusion of really getting to know a consumer. Yet many think when it comes to content marketing, we should really be asking consumers what they’re reading instead of analyzing their status updates.

The webpages we visit, the blogs we read and the things we search for say far more than social media ever could, says the Guardian’s Jonny Rose.

“By tracking consumer interactions as they browse and engage with content, brands can begin to reveal current and evolving interests, inclinations and needs — sometimes before the individual knows themselves,” Rose says.

Technology referred to by Rose as “content analytics” gives brands access to invaluable insights — but how?

“Content analytics technology analyses pieces of text and makes it understandable and readable for computers. It allows computers to understand the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content, sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content,” Rose says. “This, in turn, means computers can track an individual’s interaction with a piece of content and collect and draw trends about that individual’s tastes and interests.”

If this sounds Big Brother-ish or a little creepy to you, you’re not alone. A lot of folks are startled by the amount of information that advertisers have access to. But others would argue that content marketing analytics helps companies get a more truthful look at the person they are trying to reach. These analytics have also been a long time coming; by now, most people know that when they’re online, they are communicating with brands, whether they want to or not.

Regardless of opinion, these kind of analytics are unavoidable.

“Whether you are browsing to kill time, entertain yourself or researching for a friend, what you are reading right now is incredibly indicative of who you are as a person — and this is immensely useful for brands,” Rose concludes. 

But what do you think, readers? Are content marketing analytics helpful or a borderline invasion of privacy? Tell us in the comments section below.

 

Vine Marketing: Nailing the 6-second Commerical

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Tired of hearing social media experts go on and on about Vine? Well, get used it. The mobile app, launched in 2012 and acquired by Twitter shortly thereafter, has just begun to generate the kind of buzz it deserves, and brands are finding all kinds of ways to make it work for them. But what is Vine exactly, and how can small businesses use it in online marketing?

Love it, loathe or fail to understand it, Vine isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Vine is a smartphone app that lets users create and post short videos — short as in a max of six seconds — which then can be shared or embedded on social networking. These tiny videos are easier to share and download given their size. Like YouTube’s early days, initial content has ranged from grating to nonsensical. Skateboarding, cats, skateboarding cats, weird old people making faces — you know, the kind of things that are the cornerstones of online video creation. Yet the longer Vine grows, the more brands are finding ways to creatively use the micro-video format. Oreo, Urban Outfitters and Lowe’s, for instance, are a few companies with the budget and talent to make effective and memorable videos on Vine.

“The good news is that almost any business can find a way to use Vine, but those that are great at storytelling are the most likely to be successful,” writes Yael Grauer for Business2Community.com. “Communicating via video works best for brands that have already identified how their story connects with customers. And as always with video or images, visually-appealing products or storylines win the day: The challenge is to fit a story into six seconds, say marketing experts, so some creativity is required.”

In other words, when it comes to standing out in the already crowded Vine jungle, creativity and an already high visibility are key ingredients.

Readers, what’s your take on Vine? Is it the next YouTube? Or the decline the of online video innovation as we know it? Sound off below!