Promotions

The Things We Do For Love.

Holidays have always been a reason for marketing teams to mashup branding or advertising elements in an attempt to capitalize on a specific holiday’s panache or excitement. More often than not the success of these campaigns tends to fall short. Usually the campaign is a half-baked idea, or an afterthought with the results being poorly executed and delivered, resulting in nothing more than a mention in one of the advertising trade publications or blogs.

This year there were three campaigns that I ran across for Valentine’s day that range from bad (Pepsi) to possibly good (KFC) – depending on the long-term execution of the latter. So, let’s take a look at these and see what cupid brought us in 2020 for Valentine’s Day marketing mashups.

I’ll start with the bad. Pepsi somehow thought it would be a good idea to create an engagement ring to promote Crystal Pepsi. A ring made from something like cubic zirconia housed in a cheap cardboard box emblazoned with the Pepsi logo. Why? Because nothing says “I Love You” like a cheap ring in a logo box.

The engagement ring features a lab-grown, clear-cola-containing 1.5-carat diamond set into a platinum band (this might actually have value if you melt it down). Real Crystal Pepsi was broken down into elemental carbon and then added into the artificial growing process to create this exceptional stone. (color, cut and clarity are outstanding I’m sure) The resulting bling sits inside a white ring box featuring the retro-chic Crystal Pepsi logo.

The ring is only available through a social media contest where entrants share their proposal plans using the requisite mentions and hashtags on Twitter. One lucky proposer will win the one-of-kind Pepsi engagement ring, freeing up a year’s worth of someone’s salary to buy a replacement ring with an actual diamond in it.

Pepsi worked with creative agency VaynerMedia to create the Pepsi Proposal campaign, which runs until March 6th, with the winner announced March 16th.

Another outstanding mashup is the Heinz Ketchup chocolate box. Yes you read that right chocolate truffles filled with tasty, tasty ketchup. Why? Because nothing says “I Love You” like nausea inducing confections packaged in a heart shaped box.

Heinz UK partnered with confectionary wizards Fortnum & Mason for Valentine’s Day creating a red and cyan box with gold foil, which actually looks really nice and matches the Fortnum & Mason brand quite well. From a packaging standpoint I really like this. I question the novelty of the execution though. In my opinion this will be read as a joke, and while it might appeal to some, most are simply going to say “gross” and forget about it. I’m not sure how this will elevate the Heinz or Fortnum & Mason brands long term.  

This isn’t the first time Heinz has tried to ruin the magic of a romantic Valentine’s Day Last year they released ketchup caviar, a move in what now seems like the first attempt to forever tarnish this holiday and, likely, your marriage. (Someone at Heinz apparently isn’t loved)

Now for the one that might actually work. KFC Crocs. Yes, the shoe everyone loves to hate has been done up to look like a bucket of the colonel’s finest. This one might actually work. The love connection is a bit obtuse, with KFC joining forces with avant-garde artist Me Love Me A lot (MLMA), who often showcases her eccentric and provocative art on Instagram, where she has over 1.2 million followers.

MLMA introduced a platform version of the shoe where the sole becomes the chicken bucket and the toe is adorned with a little drumette at New York Fashion Week in order to generate buzz and give KFC a platform to announce that a more subdued version of the shoe will actually go on sale next month which means this might have some staying power.

I actually like this because while there is novelty to the campaign, there is an actual practical use for the shoe, and some people are going to be all in on the fact that their ugly crocs are a bucket of chicken. Time will tell through sales though and I predict that these will end up being a collector’s item featured on American Pickers in 10 years.

A Social Media Promotion Dilema.

There is a looming problem for companies and brands that use Facebook as an exclusive way to promote themselves. There are people like myself that absolutely loath the idea of having to use Facebook or any other social media as an entry vehicle to what ever they are promoting. In other words, I don’t want to spam the Facebook timeline with crap that other people might not be interested in. The other issue is there are people who don’t have, and won’t ever have a Facebook account. So why would a brand only offer the ability to engage with a high-profile promotion via a Facebook with no other alternatives? Case in point furniture store Room&Board’s new Look Book promotion and sweepstakes.

fbooked

This afternoon I received an email asking if I’d like to enter a sweepstakes with a prize of $10,000. This is part of a campaign to promote the redesign of the new printed look book and catalog, plus the room&board website. The problem is you can only enter by going through Facebook. There is absolutely no other way to do it. The embedded link in the email takes you to Facebook, so does the link on the home page. I’m not sure how many people they are failing to connect with because of this, but I am going to assume quite a few. I can’t be the only person in the world that doesn’t want to use Facebook for everything.

In fine print at the bottom of the Facebook page there is this disclaimer; This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Room & Board and not to Facebook.” OK I get it, but I had to scroll to the bottom of the page to see this, and like most people I almost backed out of the promotion as soon as I saw it land on Facebook page. For me this is marketing fail. If Room&Board really wanted to promote the new site and Look Book, they really should have offered an alternate route for those people like myself that refuse to use Facebook for anything advertising related.

I know that Room&Board is simply using Facebook as the point to collect your information. The thing is, this just gives me a bad feeling overall. Even if Room&Board says I am only providing the information to them and not to Facebook. I might have a better feeling about participating if there was a non Facebook location that I could actually go to and engage with the brand.

Unfortunately this is a trend that continues to grow, and one that is going create a social divide between those of that won’t participate in Facebook hosted events/promotions, and those that will.

Where Should We Go? Wieden + Kennedy’s Pop Up Book for Nokia.

Leave it to the folks at Wieden + Kennedy to come up with this promotional piece for a new Nokia smartphone release. Working with illustrator Nate Coonrod, W+K created this absolutely charming pop up book titled “Where Should We Go?”. At the end of the book the smartphone is revealed with a pull out section that shows the phone screen. The phone is hidden in a drawer that creates the binding foe the book itself.

The story is about a family who is looking for the perfect place to enjoy their vacation; so Tim and Jenny pack up their car, two kids and cat, and drive from forest to coast, to country and mountains searching for the ideal holiday destination with the help of their new Nokia smartphone.

I’m not sure how many of these were produced, but they are getting a ton of press due to the blending of the physical book, and the digital nature of the phone. I wish there had been a way to activate the phone when the pull out tab was used. It would have been a really wonderful way to tie the to objects together in a more complete way.