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:

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.


Top 5 Brand Moments on Twitter in 2013 (and what to learn from them)

2013 was filled with  innovative and brilliant social media moments from some awesome brands.   Let’s take a look at my personal favorites and see what brands can learn from them as we start off the new year.

5. Wendy’s Pretzel Pub Chicken Love Stories
Wendy’s made thousands of consumers laugh in October of 2013 when they created a ridiculous, soap-opera style video featuring over-the-top actors reading real tweets from consumers.

Wendy’s had users tweet what they loved about the all new Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich using the hashtag #PretzelLoveStories

Wendy's Tweets

Why It rocked: The video is hilarious, and incorporates user-generated content in a fun, interesting and engaging way. The hashtag #PretzelLoveStories is short, sweet and to the point. Plus, the idea is original and Wendy’s let consumers feel like they are really contributing to the campaign!

Lesson learned: Utilizing user-generated content is a great way for brands to  interact with their consumers.  However, brands should make sure that they don’t require the user to put too much work into the content.   Asking them to write a tweet with a hashtag may seem a little simple, but brands should focusing on finding unique and creative ways to use that content.

4. DiGiorno Live-Tweeting: The Sound of Music

The hills are alive, with the smell of pizzaaaaa!  DiGiorno scored big when they live-tweeted during NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!”  The company used their witty sense of humor to play on the sentimental and beloved musical, and managed to sneak their way into their consumer’s heart.


Why it rocked:  The brand took consumers by surprise, talking to fans when they weren’t expecting it.  Who would have thought that “The Sound of Music” and pizza have anything in common? (hint: they don’t!)  While most brands focus so much on major events, they sometimes forget that reacting to smaller moments of pop culture can also generate some great buzz.

Lesson learned:  Brands should come up with unique ways to connect their brand to pop culture events and current happenings.  And not just major events, like the Super Bowl or Royal Wedding.  Companies should strive to catch their consumers at unexpected times and places.  DiGiorno only tweeted 3 times during the event, which was enough to keep users engaged, without clogging up their Twitter feed.  Sometimes, less is more.

3. Kit-Kat vs. Oreo

It all started with a tweet from a random user, who inadvertently got two big-shot chocolate candy brands to go head-to-head in the real-time marketing event of the year!

lauraellen tweetBoth Kit Kat and Oreo vied for the affection of a consumer through a little game of Tic-Tac-Toe.  The results were hilarious and entertaining!

tictacWhy it rocked:  Both Kit Kat and Oreo showed that they really listen to consumers, and they took advantage of a major opportunity to engage with another brand on Twitter.  The tweets were unexpected from such giant brands, and show that both the Kit Kat and Oreo brand are approachable and silly.  Both tweets were genuinely funny too.

Lesson learned: Responding to consumers is key.  Social media is not one-sided.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Brands need to  interact with both consumers and other brands to ensure that they are reaching customers.  Also, brands should focus on giving their company a voice and personality on social media.

2. Water is Life “Hash-tag Killer”

#FirstWorldProblems are not problems.

That was the messaging strategy behind a brilliant campaign by Water is Life that spread like wildfire across Twitter.  One of the best viral campaigns of 2013, the video displayed individuals in third-world countries, like Haiti, reading #FirstWorldProblems tweets written by everyday Twitter users.

water is life tweets

Why it rocked:  The juxtaposition of these individuals living in third-world countries and the tweets of people complaining about such trivial things makes the campaign memorable and meaningful. The video gained traction and got tons of people talking about the company.

Lesson learned: The best way to make people care about your brand is to understand your customers and talk to them using something that they know.  Water is Life took advantage of a trend, #FirstWorldProblems, and got thousands of people’s attention.  Again, the success of this shows that keeping up-to-date on current trends and finding ways to incorporate the message into this trend is help bring the campaign to life.

1. Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” 

Ask anyone on Twitter, and they’ll tell you that Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl knocked it out of the park.  Oreo took advantage of the lights going out during the game, and jumped into action to post a timely, applicable tweet.  Oreo had experience cranking out great content quickly, after their  100-Day Daily Twist campaign.

dunk in the dark

Why it rocked:  This is an example of real-time marketing at its finest.  The Super Bowl is a huge time for brands and social media activity, and Oreo stepped up their game and made a memorable impression.  The tweet was re-tweeted about 16,000 times!

Lesson learned: Timing is everything.  Being able to think quickly and cleverly is key in social media.  While content calendars and planning tweet ahead of time ensure that the brand is consistently active on Twitter, companies shouldn’t be afraid to post things on a whim.

Are they any moments you think I missed?  What was your favorite?