Starface flips the script on acne care

What was once a source of embarrassment can perhaps now be a form of style points. D2C startup Starface is offering a new way to think about mild acne: Instead of hiding in shame, embrace your “uniqueness” by “owning” your acne, while helping it heal.

With star-shaped medicated stickers that users place over pimples, Starface helps acne heal while making a bold fashion and beauty statement. With the power of social media to shape perceptions of “cool” and “beautiful”, this reframe of acne could turn an embarrassment into empowerment.

Starface’s branding is very … Gen Z, post-postmodern, self-conscious retro-loving remix culture with all of human history as your source material. (Their “About Me” section parodies the opening text from Star Wars). And rightly so. This isn’t your older sister’s acne care. This is a new world.

Why it’s hot:

Another example of the ongoing and unprecedented revolution in social values, fueled by social media. The meaning of luxury, wealth, success, attractiveness, etc. is being scrutinized, tweaked, torn down, and reconstructed. Brands that have relied on the old standbys would be wise to re-calibrate their message and offerings to attract consumers in this new reality.

Source: Fast Company

That Sound You Associate With Brands? It Actually Has A Name: Earcon

Design comes in all shapes and sizes. In everyday life we interact, and react to visuals, interfaces and even touch and smells. But what about sounds? Earcons, or sonic branding is an often overlooked part of an experience, yet each one of us associates certain sounds with brands, events or actions.
Leveraging senses is a key way for psychological recall and in a world of “noise,” designers need a way to identify and alert beyond just visual queues.
Lost? earcons are everywhere. From the iconic Windows startup sound to the omnipresent “iPhone typing” clicks, sonic branding remains an important element of interaction, design, and branding.

Why It’s Hot
Brands have the opportunity to take their branding to another level with earcons. As seen with NBC, Netflix and T-Mobile, an earcon can cut through and identify a brand even if you don’t see it visually. This use of the senses works to leverage human psychology to not only increase recall but lead to affinity and familiarity.
We know that onomatopoeia is when a word sounds like the very thing it’s describing (  hiss, buzz). So whats the equivalent in sound design? That would be Skeuomorphism –  the design concept of making sounds resemble their real-world counterparts. ( think “recycle” sound!)

Produce is War: How Driscoll’s Reinvented the Strawberry

“Produce is war, and it is won by having something beautiful-looking to sell at Costco when the competition has only cat-faced uglies.” This lengthy New Yorker article recently dove into how Driscoll’s uses market insight and crop science to build their monopoly on the berry market.

Strawberry from New Yorker

“Driscoll’s focus groups have shown that millennials, adventurous and open-minded in their eating habits, and easily seduced by novelty, may embrace pale berries. With these consumers, unburdened by preconceived notions of what a white berry should look or taste like, Driscoll’s has a priceless opportunity: the definitional power that comes with first contact.”

“According to Frances Dillard, Driscoll’s global brand strategist and a veteran of Disney’s consumer-products division, berries are the produce category most associated with happiness. (Kale, in contrast, has a health-control, “me” focus.) On a slide that Dillard prepared, mapping psychographic associations with various fruits, strawberries floated between Freedom and Harmony, in a zone marked Extrovert, above a word cloud that read “Social, pleasure, joy, balance, conviviality, friendship, warmth, soft, natural, sharing.” (Blueberries vibed as status-oriented, demanding, and high-tech.) As I studied the slide over Dillard’s shoulder in her office, she smiled tightly and said, “This is proprietary.”

Why it’s hot: It’s pretty cool to learn how our favorite fruits came to be. I thought this was a cool case study in now market demand and consumer behavior drive product innovation and brand stories.






Volvo setting an industry standard

Volvo recently announced that starting in 2019, all of the new models it produces will be electric or hybrid. The move makes Volvo the first traditional automaker to set a date to phase out cars powered only by internal combustion engines.

Why it’s hot: While it’s a bold move for an automobile company, it is also a smart move from a branding and marketing perspective. Benefits should follow for Volvo for being first.

The Delicate Art of Creating a National Holiday

“Holidays have just gotten so commercialized that we’ve lost the true meaning.”

…or so one side of that conversation quips. However, with no other vision except pure, unadulterated commercialism as catalyst, the Chinese government is pulling no punches with it’s latest Holiday proclamation.

How could the world’s second-largest economy and renown manufacturing powerhouse, have so many of it’s companies struggle with brand-building? The country’s leadership wants to change that, and the State Council, or cabinet, has proclaimed that every May 10 from now on will be known as “Chinese Brands Day.”

Chinese Brands Day can be seen as a message to Chinese companies that the government wants them to focus more on branding as the market is trying to build its influence internationally.  There are only two Chinese companies on Interbrand‘s list of the best global brands,phone manufacturer Huawei (No. 72) and PC maker Lenovo (No. 99.)

One of China’s other goals is to change the connotations of “Made in China.” After years of focus on process, efficiency and manufacturing, a higher focus on quality products and services and a whole lot of brand lovin’ seems only natural. It remains to be seen how creative brands will leverage the holiday to stand out or engage audiences.

Why It’s Hot:

It will be interesting to see whether this holiday empowers consumers to rally behind brands in any meaningful way.  China is not short of holidays or brands, but will consumers really embrace this as a means to deepen connections with brands and will brands accept the challenge to love them back? It may be just stimuli emitted from the government in an effort to keep pace with top global brands, but it’s interesting to throw the gauntlet down and see if your business and marketing leadership picks it up and runs.


April Fools Round Up

Since April 1st fell on a Saturday, we likely were not scrolling the day away to see all the wonderful April Fools pranks pulled by brands this year. These are lighthearted and fun, something that we can forget is a perk of working in such a creative industry. We try to please our bosses and our clients, stay mindfully within our brand guidelines, come up with crisis management plans, try not to shake the boat, or shake the boat just enough to get those impressions – but 1 day a year, we can actually have some fun with the freedom of creativity.






Hurricane Grill & Wings


  • The level of production on some of these videos is as high as any corporate campaign, which means planning
  • It’s highly enjoyable to watch creative teams have some fun with their brands
  • Pressure to compete among brands for best hoax is care-free competition

Yes Good

Pre-package, flavored nut brand Emerald has taken “authenticity” to a new level. The brand’s new tag line “Yes Good” was pulled straight from a five star Amazon review, and it doesn’t end there. They are leaning in hard with favorable online reviews by creating a “Revue of Reviews” campaign in which they present artistic interpretations of some of the more exciting reviews on their product. They still don’t know who wrote their new tag line, but that hasn’t stopped them from going all-in.  (watch this)



Why It’s Hot:

  • It seems so obvious, but have yet to see anyone lean in to customer reviews to build a campaign
  • We talk often about “authenticity” and “engagement”, what a great way to get customers involved with your brand
  • The art is cool.


The Winners and Losers of YouTube’s Brand Saftey Crisis

The ripple of the video giant’s woes has gotten so great that some have predicted the impact from major brands could cost YouTube $750 million. Seemingly, there are some that are happy when such a kink in the armor is exposed, but there are myriad of stakeholders, each with their own perspective. With that amount of money – as well as brand reputation and confidence – at stake there are going to be some winners and losers, and here they are:


Old-fashioned publishers

These are the classic media players who started losing their lunch the second Google started owning the internet. One could imagine publishers grinning ear to ear, thinking, “Told ya so. Quality content isn’t so easy.” They can can make a more convincing case that knowing the content and the audience actually is still important.

This issue can resurface a shift to high-quality, direct-bought content, where brands have the most control but pay a premium for it in some cases.


Anyone selling streaming ads is in a good position – including Sling, Dish and even TV networks. Hulu, Roku, TV networks and anyone with a digital video platform will be showing off their highly curated content. These new shows and programming will look pretty good to anyone with a heightened interest in knowing exactly where their messages will appear.

Tech tools & 3rd Party Verification Partners

Brands have called for digital platforms like Facebook and Google to clean up the media supply chain and to be more transparent with data. The brand safety issue on YouTube is yet another bit of leverage to force more cooperation.

Independent third parties like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify, Moat and others will find more brands at their doorsteps looking for ways to ensure their ads appear near quality content.

The agency

One of the most important roles for agencies was helping brands make sure their ads didn’t show up in the wrong place by intimately knowing the targeting, brand safety protections and best practices of each channel. Well, now those services are increasingly valuable.


Net neutrality

When the Trump administration makes further moves to undo net neutrality, as many anticipate based on current momentum repealing FCC consumer protections, Google’s ability to defend it in idealistic terms could be undermined by all the talk about serving ads on terrorist video.


It took a long time for programmatic to stop being a dirty word. Programmatic advertising was once considered the least controlled, lowest quality ad inventory at the lowest price. In part, brands could start to pull back from blind, untargeted buying without transparency.


YouTube has said that part of its solution is to implement stricter community standards, and that could mean more bannings and ad blocking from their videos, impacting their earnings.They could be quicker to cut a channel at the smallest offense now that brands are watching closely.

Advertisers still on YouTube – this is a tricky one to classify and it’s too early to say. We’ll have to see how the video platform reacts over time to increasing pressures to allow verification partners and data trackers access within the garden’s walls.

Why It’s (Still) Hot:

This topic will continue to be important to the brands we represent, aim to represent and even those far from us that are faced with the same decision to either stay the course or sit it out. There is a lot of money moving around on media plans, a lot of POV’s being routed and a lot of reps working overtime to reassure teams of buyers/planners that they are taking brand safety very seriously. Often it’s not the crisis that defines a company, but what they do in the aftermath. Some are hopeful that this is a definitive crack in the ‘walled garden’-  but even if it is not, we’re all hoping for a better, safer platform at the end of this tunnel…a world where once again clients can be irked by their premium pre-rolls showing up prefacing water skiing squirrels and dancing cat videos instead of terrorist rhetoric.

Not All Olympians Are Millionaires In New Dick’s Sporting Goods Campaign

Back in January, Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG) announced its sponsorship of Team USA for the upcoming 2016 Rio Summer Games, which includes an initiative that employs almost 200 athletes from 35 different Olympic and Paralympic sports in 89 of its stores in 32 states across the country. Now the brand has unveiled its first Olympic ad campaign, starring a handful of those Olympic hopefuls who moonlight as employees.

The campaign, by agency Anomaly New York, is a direct extension of the successful formula the brand has used over the last few years, tapping amateur sports to tell compelling stories.

Chief marketing officer Lauren Hobart says the brand has long focused on the struggle and success of the amateur athlete—through content like its Hell Week series and We Could Be King doc—and there is no better example of that than Team USA contenders who work to get to the Games.

Both the sponsorship and the ad are bang on brand for DSG, tying perfectly into its focus on amateur athletes and the knowledge that, yes, the bulk of us only care about sports like javelin or gymnastics every four years, but these athletes are inspiring people who walk and work among us. Going beyond a straight up sponsorship to include the employee program simply adds weight and—overused word alert—authenticity to the brand’s overall message.

Source: FastCo


Why this is hot

The brand brings a fresher point of view to Elite Athletes: they are human, just like us.

Foot Locker, ASICS Kick Off Runner Inspiration Contest

Remember “Just Do It”? Great line, right? But what about the personal stories? Introducing: “Do It For A Reason”. At this point, I have to say that I’m a runner who runs for a reason. I started to run 9 years ago when I realized that if I was ever going to become a dad, I was not going to be a young one. I that point, I decided that I wanted to be an active father for my future child. In other words, there’s a reason why I run, which is why I love this campaign! (spoiler alert: our daughter was born last August and will be 8 weeks old next week)

The “Real Lives. Real Runners” contest is a partnership between Foot Locker and ASICS, and a follow-up to last year’s “All Runners Welcome” effort. Five films have been selected, and you can count on 26.2 miles of sniffles: It includes an ex-con who took up running while still in prison, one young man inspired by his late mother, another out to beat the running streak of his late father, a Stage IV melanoma patient and an Army veteran.



Based on number of You Tube views through Oct. 15, the creators of the top three spots get to fly to New York City for a Foot Locker and ASICS America screening event, with the final winner being selected a panel of judges, and the winning spot is scheduled to air on the national TV broadcast of the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 1. The filmmaker who wins also gets a cash prize from MOFILM, plus an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for the annual MOFILM Awards.

For ASICS, the Japanese company that stands for “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,” or “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body,”  the films reinforce its commitment to the many reasons people take to the streets. “The videos are incredibly exhilarating and truly speak to the diversity of what running means to people from all walks of life,” says Shannon Scott, ASICS America senior director of marketing, in the announcement.

Source: MediaPost

All films: YouTube

Why this is hot?

Simply put: human connection! By getting to the core of what motivates people to run, ASICS connected, not just with runners, but with every person who has a dream, a mission, a vision and a goal for their lives.

The Wheaties Brand Extension Into Beer is Genius

The General Mills cereal brand Wheaties has made a supremely awesome move to get back into customer favor: extending the brand to beer. Partnering with the Minnesota-based microbrewery Fulton, “HefeWheaties” is a hefeweizen-style ale that will be marketed in 16-oz “tallboy” cans.


Why Minnesota? Well, cereal and brewery are rooted in the Twin City. And as the story goes, the collaboration was borne out of a General Mills employee just having a close connection at Fulton.

For now the beer will only be available in Minnesota, but General Mills is not treating this like a stunt. If response is strong, the company may consider doing the beer in a bigger distribution.

Why It’s Hot

Beer is always a good way to grab people’s attention. And let’s face it, Wheaties hasn’t exactly been a cereal brand at the top of everyone’s minds these days. HefeWheaties was a smart, interesting way to get attention back to this legacy brand in and exciting fashion that brings interest by particularly younger audiences. And General Mills treating this as more than just a one-off shows the company is committed to smart business, not just PR.

via AdWeek

“We Are Good on Supplies” #SaidNoSchoolEver

Trash bag company Hefty and Havas Worldwide Chicago tackle a big issue—one that’s more powerful than smelly garbage or nondurable bags—for the brand’s new #SaidNoSchoolEver campaign.

The new work, which includes two 30-second online spots and a handful of playful memes, aims to raise awareness of the serious lack of funding many public schools and teachers face—but does so in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
The writing in the 30-second spots is both sarcastic and sharp, with teachers delivering lines like “We do not need any more art supplies,” and “This map—from 1913. Almost all of the states are there.”
“At no point was this supposed to be polarizing for the brand,” Havas group creative director Ecole Weinstein told Adweek. “We wanted to touch the surface of the issue and still do it with a bit of a smile and make [the campaign] culturally relevant and sharable.”

Havas also wanted to bring Hefty’s involvement with the Box Tops for Education program to light. Hefty, the only trash-bag brand currently supporting the initiative, has donated over $3.5 million to Box Tops over the years. The subject matter also hit close to home for some members of Havas’ creative team.
“Myself, as well as a couple members of the creative team, have deep ties to the education system,” Weinstein said. Weinstein, whose mother was an inner-city school teacher in Florida for 29 years, said she grew up knowing all about the challenges teachers and public schools face. She added that the dry, sarcastic humor would share well on social channels, especially among the teacher crowd searching for a little bit of humor.

Check out some of the memes from the campaign below.

Were-Good_meme_0 Budget-Cuts_meme_0

Instagram Advertising Set to Grow

Instagram will soon carry a lot more advertising. Direct-response buttons, an API for ad buying and Facebook-style targeting capabilities will give advertisers new ways to buy and will lead to rapid increases in ad spending on the photo-focused social network. eMarketer forecasts Instagram will have $595 million in ad revenue this year, rising to $2.81 billion in 2017.


These changes will likely result in their ad business growing rapidly the latter half of the year, as features will roll out over the next several months, and by the end of 2015 Instagram will have a full slate of ad products for advertisers large and small.

“We’ve spent the last 18 months establishing the platform for large brands. The next logical step is to empower businesses of all sizes to be able to achieve their objectives,” said Jim Squires, Instagram’s director of market operations.

Many companies will be eager to test the social network’s new features. Instagram advertising was previously a rare commodity, reserved for McDonald’s, L’Oréal, Mercedes-Benz and other brands that were willing to spend a flat rate of $200,000 to conduct a campaign. Instagram offered those advertisers a limited assortment of image ads, 15-second video ads, and the newest feature, carousel ads, which can display more than one image.

Now that Instagram is opening up to more advertisers, it’s likely to find a lot of pent-up demand.

“Instagram is probably [our] favorite platform right now in terms of pioneering and being willing to try new things,” said Roderick Strother, director of worldwide digital and social at Lenovo, whose Australian arm recently conducted its first Instagram ad campaign. “The importance of Instagram has grown tremendously for us.”

Why Its Hot:

Instagram has a lot of what marketers see as the most compelling package: audience plus strong engagement plus strong brand awareness. The new features seek to make a user-friendly success story into a marketer-friendly one as well, with the help of FB learnings.

  • The social network’s ad revenue is projected to increase rapidly, approaching $1.5 billion in 2016 and $3 billion in 2017. Instagram will account for 3.7% of parent company Facebook’s ad revenue this year.
  • In 2017, Instagram will have higher US net mobile display ad revenues than Google or Twitter.
  • Instagram advertisers will be able to use a full slate of Facebook targeting tools, including the popular Custom Audiences feature. That will be a key drawing card.
  • Instagram will set a high bar for direct-response ads, which will have a premium look. Ad load will remain low, which will likely increase prices. This combination will effectively shut out many performance advertisers seeking a low cost per click (CPC).
  • Users have shown high engagement with the branding ads that have appeared on Instagram thus far, but that could change as new types of advertisers enter. Appropriate use of targeting and creative will be necessary.
  • Instagram will launch ecommerce capabilities with the “shop now” and “install now” buttons, but the kinds of advertisers that will benefit most from them will be those with unusual, limited-quantity or eye-catching products. App installs may fare better—as long as the ads meet Instagram’s creative bar.


Periscope Into GE This Week…


GE used a combination of drones and Periscope this week to give people an inside look at some of the different technology projects it’s currently into (they appropriately called it #DroneWeek). The company used both its main account (@GeneralElectric), and also a dedicated account (@GEDronePilot) to broadcast the video, provide commentary from the brightest GE minds to help people understand what they were seeing, and interact with viewers to answer any questions they had.

Why It’s Hot

For most people, what GE actually does is probably a little esoteric. Technology, yes, but what exactly? By using Periscope (and drones), they were able to literally give people a better picture, while doing it in a way that also used the execution to convey the message – it’s innovative technology. Plus, they were targeting a millennial audience, whose interest they hope to divert from companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, to want to come work for them instead. A simple showcasing of what they are doing, in order to “inspire [their target] to participate in things that really matter”.

McDonalds: Joining the Ranks of SXSW Food Trucks

Food trucks are everywhere in Austin. And now, there’s a new kid in town.

That new kid is McDonald’s, the fast-food juggernaut and 2015 South by Southwest sponsor. As if people couldn’t get any more cynical about South by becoming one giant playground for brands, the Golden Arches has settled right smack dab in the middle of it all with its own food truck—which is actually more of a food big rig, as this thing dwarfs any food truck you’ve ever seen.

Proving everything is indeed bigger in Texas, the sizable footprint takes up the corner of 4th and Red River Streets in downtown Austin.  For its official SXSW debut, McDonald’s will have Fri-Fi stations for mobile device charging, street performances, live music, plus a truck that serves breakfast and lunch meals. With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, the food trucks will also be doling out festive Shamrock Shakes. In contrast to the casual atmosphere of a food truck, the brand will also host a private party on Saturday evening that promises Maple Bacon Bourbon Old Fashioned cocktails.

Why It’s Hot

McDonalds is trying to be seen as a brand that knows its audience, offering up “Fri-Fi” (Wifi), charging stations, and testing products that people may not be apt to try on a normal day…for free.  Getting people to come back is an important thing for the brand to work on.






A-B InBev Tricks Brooklynites Into Drinking Budweiser

As A-B continues its continued campaign targeting craft beer fans, Budweiser headed to Brooklyn during Restaurant Week and orchestrated a little stunt to get people to actually drink Bud—and even rave about it.

Hip, young Millennials were invited to sneak peek a new bar, weeks prior to its opening. When there, they were asked to sample a smooth, crisp, golden lager. The bartender played into the craft beer trend and highlighted how the lager had been aged over beechwood and the brewer’s recipe hadn’t changed for 139 years.

Why Its Hot

A-B InBev’s pro-macro beer Super Bowl spot was meant to ruffle a few feathers and get people talking. Budweiser has seen declines in sales in recent years as consumer tastes for more premium beers gains popularity. Craft beer production was up 42% last year, and for the first time ever, craft brews accounted for more than 10% of all beer sales in the US.


Craft brewing is still a niche, but a fast growing one that is beginning to take market share from Budweiser, transforming Bud into a beer without a “purpose” and in desperate need for a new positioning to entice young beer drinkers.

McDonald’s Refreshes ‘I’m Lovin’ It’

McDonald’s pushes global harmony hard in its new brand campaign, which refreshes the long-running “I’m lovin’ it” tagline by putting more focus on the lovin’. The spot is called “Archenemies,” and features pop-culture foes suddenly finding peace.

McDonald’s has never really leaned that hard into the idea of love— often focusing on the “I’m” and “it” parts of the line instead of the “lovin’ ” part. But the brand thinks the time is right for a shift.

“We recognize, and our customers do too, all the negativity that surrounds daily life and we are choosing to celebrate lovin’ more,” it says in a statement. “McDonald’s is in a unique position to use its scale to bring back the positivity with more uplifting content and conversations in the lovin’ spirit.”

The brand feels like it’s on to something here. The refresh will include new uniforms, new packaging, new signage in restaurants and a new focus on being more responsive in social media—which is in line with the transparency campaign it’s been running lately.

1-9-2015 9-11-54 AM


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Why It’s Hot

McDonald’s, a brand that still doesn’t allow fans to post on their Facebook timeline, is finally taking a step back and understanding the importance of transparency, authenticity and actually listening to what its consumers are saying. The fast-food chain is moving from a philosophy of billion-served to billion-heard,  in order to evolve with customers. As the brand is experiencing a difficult time – declines in sales and facing a new type of more ecologically minded customer – can this brand transformation be its saving grace? It sounds like the brand has a few tricks up its sleeve, especially with a return to the Super Bowl with a 60-second commercial that “will reveal a big idea.” Only time will tell if the fast food chain can turn “lovin'” into sales.

Malaysia Airlines Takes to Social Media for Rebrand

In a struggle to stay on course after twin tragedies this year, the rebrand of Malaysia Airlines is turning into a public exchange of sympathies.

The airline is tapping into the social media realm and using it as a way to inspire those affected by the disappearance of MH370 over the Indian Ocean and the downing of MH17 over eastern Ukraine earlier this year to #staystrong and keep #flyinghigh.

On top of the hashtag campaigns, the airline is also utilizing Twitter’s Pinned Tweet feature to keep an uplifting message at the top of their page:

malaysia pinned tweet


Why It’s Hot: It’s not unexpected for a company to rebrand after tragedy, and Malaysia Airlines has faced its (un)fair share of tragedy in recent months. As Adweek states, the brand’s Twitter and Facebook pages have become “something of a public condolence book” in its efforts to improve its image. It’s likely that, with the far reach of social media today, Malaysia Airlines could show that a complete brand overhaul can be done efficiently and almost seamlessly due to social media’s automatic integration into peoples’ lives. With a short series of tweets or Facebook posts, it’s possible that brands can change their image entirely while reaching the same audience of followers.

Airbnb re-invents

Airbnb announced a new logo, including a “symbol of belonging” called a Bélo, and new website design Wednesday.

“Belonging has always been a fundamental driver of humankind. So to represent that feeling, we’ve created a symbol for us as a community. It’s an iconic mark for our windows, our doors, and our shared values. It’s a symbol that, like us, can belong wherever it happens to be,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky states in a blog post.

The video really says it all:

Airbnb also redesigned every page of the user experience, both web and mobile, and also included a Create Airbnb feature to let users customize their own Bélo symbol.

The Airbnb makeover includes cinematic photography, a “Discover” section to browse selected places around the globe to travel, as well as typographic and color scheme adjustments for a beautified overall aesthetic.

The rebranding comes at an interesting time for Airbnb, as the company has visibly increased its outreach in New York. The “illegal hotel law,” passed in 2010, prohibits a large proportion of the company’s listings in New York City, and the New York state attorney general has made it clear he’s willing to fight.

The law prohibits subletting of entire apartments for less than 29 days. Prohibited rentals are a large portion of Airbnb’s business. Airbnb has been fighting back with a series of emotion and “public service type” messages TV and on subway cars and billboards in New York.



Sources: PSFK, Mashable

Why It’s Hot

This is an example of some really smart and in-touch brand thinking, with timing that couldn’t be better. It’s simple, memorable and can be owned by Airbnb’s people as much as the brand.

Forget Professionalism; Now Your Pheromones Are All You Need to Make That [Business] Connection

We’ve all seen the suggestive commercials working hard to convince us that Axe body sprays and deodorants make women melt. Now, Axe is taking their branding to a whole new level by infusing each employee’s business cards with a fresh dose of their unique pheromones.

In order to bring this clever idea to fruition, employees were asked to engage in strenuous exercise while wearing a sweat band around their heads. The bands were collected afterward, and the sweat from each was collected and distilled into a liquid that held each person’s pheromones. Then drops of the liquid were placed on each business card, capturing the unique and natural scent that each employee exudes.

Read more about the process here.

Why It’s Hot | Many psychology studies have been conducted to capture the impact of pheromones on human connection and attraction. Animals rely so heavily on their pheromones and studies have found that we do too, as this Discovery documentary explains. Now, Axe is harnessing that unique attraction-builder to help foster better connections with their employees.

Aside from the creepy side of things, Axe is taking their branding to a new level with these pheromone business cards. Their advertisements have helped secure the perception that Axe scents have a super-power-esque effect in attracting women. Now, Axe employees will use their own pheromone scents to make connections – only furthering the perception that Axe + scents = success.


Open a Coke, Open a Friendship

Coca Cola has always been about the connection and happiness behind the simple act of enjoying a can of Coke. This new ad campaign (kicking off first in Latin America) furthers the idea of sharing that has become almost iconic for the brand. The idea is simple – devise a method to get freshmen at colleges to become friends through the new “Friendly Twist” design, a bottle with a new type of cap that can only be opened with another bottle of Coke. Check out more in the spot:

Why it’s hot:

One step beyond enabling connection, Coca Cola is now almost forcing conversations around a brand. The experience creates a memory that lasts beyond the bottle. Plus, why sell only one Coke when you can sell 2?

How Important is Storytelling?

Earlier this week, AdAge honored the world’s best brand storytelling at the fifth annual Viral Video Awards in New York City. Together these videos drew hundreds of millions of views, and millions of shares. You can view the honorees here.


So just how important is storytelling in advertising? re able to get a prospect to pay attention. Storytelling enables us to capture that attention, whether it’s via traditional media, or digital and social advertising. s infinitely more moving than seeing how laundry detergent removes a coffee stain from a white dress shirt or a crash test dummy saved by an airbag. Stories wield power. They move our emotions, influence our behavior, shape our values, and affect our actions. Four suggestions for planning your story are to:

1) Establish your goal.
2) Understand your audience.
3) Know how you want your audience to feel.
4) Uncover what will elicit the feelings.

Check out more tips for moving from “marketing” to “storytelling”.


Why it’s hot

In today’s chaotic and distracting world, one in which we’re inundated all day everyday with advertising messages, a brand either gets remembered or forgotten. As we partner with our clients, from overall strategy down to tactical copy for social platforms, we need to remember how crucial the emotional connection is to our (and our client’s) success.