Brands love #LoveWins

When I logged on to WordPress the other day, I was excited to see a beautiful rainbow bar at the top of the page, right where you can click to start a new post. In fact, for the past few days, every time I open my screen and log in to Facebook & Twitter, I can’t help but smile at all the beautiful, rainbow-colored images I see. The Supreme Court Ruling making gay marriage legal in all 50 states is a historic moment worthy of celebration, and many brands are showing their support by creating original content and sharing via social.  Here are some of my favorites:

5. Visa

What I love about Visa’s tweet is that it stays true to their brand voice. Visa promotes that their card is accepted “everywhere”, and the clever play on words in their tweet reinforces this messages and rings true for love of all kinds. The graphic is touching and the message here is simple and powerful, which remains consistent with their other social posts.


4. Pandora

The biggest problem with companies tweeting about current events is that they can’t relate it back to the brand in any way.  Pandora, however, doesn’t have that problem. By quoting one of the most famous songs of all time and adding a killer line “Rock On”, they embrace the power of music and show their audience that they proudly support the LGBT community.


3.  Ben & Jerry’s

It’s one thing to tweet about something, it’s another thing to actually make a change based on something. Ben & Jerry’s, a company that has always been very supportive of the LGBT community (remember the Hubby Hubby flavor?) renamed their chocolate cookie dough ice cream in their scoop shops to “I dough, I dough” flavor and hearts fluttered everywhere.

2. American Airlines

With their powerful, clever message & beautiful visual, American Airline’s post was spot on. Get me on the next American Airlines flight!

1. Youtube

If you haven’t seen this video yet, get your tissues ready. Youtube shows how their platform has helped brave people spread their message of love & support for the LGBT community. The video is touching & moving from start to finish.  And, with over 3million views so far, it’s definitely making an impact.



A ton of companies have also created rainbow-colored logos. Check out some of them below:

What I Learned from Watson

It’s elementary, my dear Watson.

Well, to be fair, everything is pretty elementary for Watson.  After all, he’s a computer system that analyzes and processes information.  Watson understands natural language, and generates hypotheses based on the evidence.  Watson is more intelligent than  Siri, and thinks more like a human than a computer. In fact, Watson is so smart that he dominated in a live game of Jeopardy.

Factoids may come easy to Watson, but marketing and branding IBM’s new technology took some out-of-the-box thinking and real creativity.

Cue  Cindi Ellis from IBM and Kimberly Duffy from Ogilvy who worked together with their respective teams to show the world Watson’s amazing capabilities.  These two articulate and smart women visited Boston University’s College of Communication for the Doers, Makers and Innovators series to discuss how they made Watson a household name.

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Watson’s journey didn’t stop at Jeopardy, though.  Recently, at SXSW, Watson made headlines by using Cognitive Cooking.  IBM food trucks used Watson’s computing powers to reinvent traditional foods, adding ingredients and combinations that even some of the world’s best chefs would have never imagined. People at SXSW were very impressed with the food, and food trucks were a huge success.

So, how did IBM and Ogilvy think up these creative ways of promoting Watson?  Well, these ladies gave the audience four takeaways that they said contributed to the campaign’s success.

1. Every Campaign Needs The Big Idea

Kimberly quoted Ogilvy’s fearless founder David Ogilvy:

“Unless your campaign contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”

She says that is the motto of Ogilvy, and something they continuously use as inspiration. Clever puns or interesting pictures aren’t effective unless their is a concrete, creative idea at the core.

2. Reach the customer by using insights. 

A brand’s customers are important.  They have stories and passions, so brands shouldn’t treat them like numbers or cash cows.  Instead, they should spend time getting to understand the customer and use data to connect with their consumers in engaging and effective ways.

3. Think outside the billboard and commercial. 

Advertising isn’t just print and TV spots anymore.  Brands can promote and advertise their products through different ways. What new outlets could a brand use? If a campaign has a strong message and key insights into the consumer, this will help the team find innovative ways to promote the product.

4. Show, don’t tell. 

There’s an old-fashioned saying: actions speak louder than words, and that is completely relevant with advertising.  IBM and Ogilvy could have shared Watson’s intelligence test results, or explained how smart Watson is, but they wanted to prove his intelligence!  So how can they show Watson’s brains??  By putting him to the test through Jeopardy competitions and cooking challenges.

This session was not only inspiring because these two women are taking the integrated marketing world by storm, but also because the audience received an inside look at the innovative ways that IBM is promoting their newest technologies and products.

Special thanks to Mullen & Edward Boches from bringing this presentation to BU COM.

5 Things Ad Students Should Do Over Break

Most college students spend their spring break partying in Cancun and soaking up the sun. But some students may chose to take a bit of a different route… like me! Boston University’s College of Communication sponsors a yearly Spring Break trip for Advertising students in the Big Apple! We’ll be visiting some of the top advertising agencies in the country like (R/GA, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Grey, Giant Spoon, Firstborn and even Google!
I’m SOO excited!

But, for aspiring advertisers who are taking it easy this Spring Break at home, fear not! You can do so much more than binge-watch TV shows on Netflix and take every quiz on BuzzFeed.

1. Update your resume

Make some edits to your resume. Add what you completed last semester and delete what is either irrelevant or unimportant. Here’s a list of 6 changes you can make that will make a huge difference! While you’re at it, also, order some business cards! I used VistaPrint to order mine, and they turned out great. It’s useful to carry them around in case you ever run into someone important!

2. Create a website and start a blog

When potential employers Google search you, you want them to find only professional, interesting information. That’s why having your own website and brand is really important. Sites likes WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace allow you to show off your resume and any presentations or work that you’ve done! If you already have one, spruce it up a little to make sure it’s in tip-top shape.

Aspiring social media professionals, strategists and copywriters should also take the time to hone in on their skills by writing a blog. It can be about anything, but it should be authentic and should show off your writing style and voice. WordPress is a great platform to use, but other sites work too. Try to post somewhat frequently (I have a schedule for what I’ll be writing about, but I also post about current campaigns sporadically as well!)

3. Work on your portfolio

Haven’t started yet? I suggest CargoCollective because it has some clean, interesting designs and it’s very easy to use. Heads up though, you have to “apply” for an account, so you’ll be contacted shortly once you put in your information.

If you already have one, use this time to touch it up. Add an element to any of your campaigns to show you can think across multiple platforms (maybe social, experiential or out of home). Make sure you make it cohesive though. When you get back to school, show it to on of your professors or intern coordinators so they can take a look at it and make suggestions.

4. Network, Network, Network

I’ve participated in many Tweetchats Tweetchats, and they’re a great time/place to network with other people (it’s basically live-chatting through Twitter). Here’s a schedule of all the Tweetchats out there (I suggest #LikeableChat, #InternPro, #PinChat, #PRSSAchat, etc.)

Also, use this time to connect with professionals. If you’re applying for a summer internship or a job, send out some emails, tweet at companies that you like, message people on LinkedIn and make an effort to get your name out there. Share a link to your website with them to show off your work! Don’t be shy!

5. Learn a new skill
Just because you’re not sitting in a classroom doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Take this time to gain more knowledge. Learn HTML (CodeAcademy is a great resource!) Photoshop, Final CutPro, After Effects, etc. Now’s the time to do it!

Will you be doing any of these things over break? Let me know! I’ll try and write about my experiences checking out the awesome ad agencies in NYC, so keep an eye out for that!

Technology That’s Raising “The Bar”

A bar is a place for drinking and having fun and socializing and dancing.
It’s usually not a place you’d expect to find some innovative technology.
Until now.

We’ve all seen it before.

A group of people sitting together in a pub.  But they’re not looking at each other, and they’re not talking to each other either.

They’re all on their phones.

What are they doing with their lives?


Technology is awesome and everything, don’t get me wrong.  I tweet constantly, and enjoy being able to call my sister in DC while I’m hundreds of miles away in Boston.  But I firmly believe there’s a time and place for everything.  And when you’re out with friends, it’s not the time or the place to check your Facebook newsfeed or make a Vine video.  And sometimes, it prevents you from experiencing things IRL (in real life).

But what’s the solution to the problem of overusing technology?

A small beer brand in Brazil came up with the answer by using… you guessed it, technology!


Polar beer wanted to make drinking beer with friends a social event.  So, they designed a high-tech beer cooler that blocks the signal of cell phones within a 5-foot radius.  That means that no one at the table will get a chance to be on their phones. And without phones, people are more encouraged to interact and laugh and joke and sing and be with their friends.  To live in the moment and enjoy it.

Check out how this innovative technology encouraged other people to ditch their own technology.

This is such a simple idea, and a great way to have people associate Polar beer with sharing fun, loving moments with friends.

Another beer company also decided to bring technology to a bar too!

buddy cup

Budweiser designed the innovative Buddy Cup in 2013 that encouraged people who met in bars to connect with each other on social media.  With the simple clank of two glasses together, strangers who shared awesome conversations would automatically add each other as friends on Facebook and be able to stay connected long after the bar closes for the night.

What’s really unique about both of these ideas is that these brands are both using something common and simple (a beer cooler, or a glass) and making it part of an experience.

They’re not creating high-tech glasses and coolers.  They’re starting a movement that involves connecting with people and living in the moment.  Both of these campaigns are examples of how technology is transforming not only the messages that brands are trying to send to consumers, but also the behavioral changes that brands are trying to create.  Technology isn’t just relevant in billboards and advertisements and online banner ads.  It can be used to start a conversation or create experiences.

Let’s drink to that!

Marketing Memories

“Paul W. Swansen tagged a photo of you.”


Every day, millions of people all over the world see a message like this on Facebook.

And they usually feel some sort of emotion before clicking on that photo.  They might be filled with embarrassment (“please tell me this was not from last night!”) or they might be bursting with excitement (“yes, they finally put that picture up!”), but normally, they’re not confused.

But I bet your would be if you were tagged in a photo at an event you never attended.


Your face is right there in the picture, at a random location you’ve never seen before.  And you’re surrounded by people you’ve never met.  But you have no recollection of ever being there.

What’s going on?!?!?!

Alzheimer Nederland is behind this marketing experience that showed everyday people what it’s like to forget people, moments, events, etc.  In short, what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s Disease.

The organization photoshopped images of people into photographs from “fake” events and had help from other organizations who created photo albums and hosted these fake images on their Facebook page.  Then, they tagged the individual people in the photos to stir up the pot and create a confusing, eye-opening experience.


There was a specific call to action:  spread awareness by letting your friends experience this too.

Those tagged in photos were encouraged to go to the event website and upload their friend’s pictures so they too could be placed in these images and experience the confusion those with Alzheimer’s deal with everyday.

The organization was smart by first tagging Dutch celebrities and social influencers, who really kick started this campaign and helped the cause receive the attention it deserves.

Here’s a video summing up the Facebook campaign:

I’m just fascinated because most organizations like this tend to play the guilt card in their marketing efforts by making individuals feel bad for not helping out (think Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA commercials). They show people in need, play sad music and try to tug on the heartstrings on the consumers.

Alzheimer Nederland could have done something like this , but instead instead of showing people in need, they’re making the audience feel the need these people have.  It makes them have a stronger connection to the brand, and creates of community of people who can share this experience with others.

The Facebook campaign is also a reminder to aspiring marketers- you don’t need to be working on Coke or Tide or other major name brands to produce creative, inspiring work. 

This campaign is a prime example of that.  It has inspired participation, lead to the creation of shareable content, and has given people the power to share an experience (not just a picture or a message or a greeting) with someone else digitally.

How Brands Celebrate Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year, when people obsess over roses and chocolates and jewelry.

But brands, on the other hand, focus on likes and views and shares.

Brands are taking advantage of the festive spirit by producing some great content and getting consumers to engage with them online. Here are some great content pieces created for this year’s Valentine’s Day!

Dumb Ways to Die Steals Your Heart

Remember those adorable little creatures from the viral “Dumb Ways to Die” video (I mean, how could you forget them?)  Well, two of them are back for an adorable 30-second-clip that will certainly steal your heart!  Get ready to watch this video over and over (try not to “awww,” I dare you!)

Century 21 Valentine’s Day Poems

Things are getting steamy at Century 21 houses all across the country!  They recently posted Valentine’s Day non-rhyming poems on their Youtube page that are short and sweet (and hilarious!)

Just another example of great, smart work done by Mullen.  Bravo!

Necco Tweet Hearts

Have to give a gift for that special someone (who just so happens to be a social media fanatic)? Why not do it through Twitter?  Necco (the maker of Sweethearts) started a new Twitter page, aptly named Tweethearts, that let’s users tweet messages to be created on sweet hearts.  So cute, right?

GE “Geeky” Valentine Cards!

Flirting has never been geekier with these Geeky Valentine’s cards that GE posted on their Facebook Page!


Check out the whole series here and try them out on any engineers or scientists (guaranteed to make them blush….maybe.)

How are you celebrating you Valentine’s Day?!

Pay With Posts: The Future of Social Currency

Forget paper money and credit cards!

That’s what Marc Jacobs said last weekend when they opened up the doors to the Daisy Perfume Pop Up Shop in New York City. Consumers could leave their wallets behind because the store was accepting a new type of payment.  Customers exchanged posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain in exchange for branded products like perfume, jewelry, and even handbags.


The store (on 462 West Broadway) was only open to the public from Friday, Feb. 7 to Sunday, Feb. 9, which fittingly coincided with New York Fashion Week.  The opening event including a stellar guest list, with stars like  Anna Kendrick (Actress, Pitch Perfect), Meghan Markel (Actress, Suits), and Jamie Chung (Actress, Believe), to name a few.

Daisy is one of Marc Jacobs’ most popular lines, and the brand is very active on Facebook and Twitter.  Check out how they promoted the pop-up shop on the streets of NYC.

But, why would a brand give away so much product for free?  Well, by using social currency, the brand is gaining something that is extraordinarily valuable: word of mouth (WOM.)  It’s such a crucial part of maintaining a successful brand that, in fact, 2 out of 3 marketers say it is actually more effective than traditional marketing.  Marc Jacobs could have produced some commercials, put some print advertisements in a magazine, but instead, they created these pop-up shops that improved their social media impressions and garnered media attention from sites like Mashable, Forbes, and more. 

This idea of social currency, however, is not entirely new.

Kellogg’s opened up a Tweet Shop in London back in 2012 during Social Media Week, where consumers exchanged tweets for 100-calorie snacks!  This gave consumers the chance to actually get their hands on the product and encouraged them to share their thoughts on the brand with family and friends.


But even before that, the book “Oh My God What Happened and What Should I Do” had the idea to start a campaign called “free-for-a-share,”where they gave free downloads to individuals who tweeted about the book.  The idea earned them a CyberLion at Cannes and you can still go to the website to download a free copy of the digital marketing book (only if you tweet about it though!)


So, what is the future of social currency?

While social currency is awesome, don’t expect it to replace actual money.  After all, businesses need to make a profit.

The examples here show that, for brands to try to use social currency to gain social media impression, they need to be well-established with loyal customers and a strong social media/online presence.  The items that are given away need to be small and low-price, yet significant, and should only be available for a tweet for a limited amount of time, in order to spark a sense of exclusivity and urgency.

I expect we’ll see more of these one-time, short-term “free-for-a-share” campaigns from brands in the upcoming years.