Influencer caught in college admissions investigation

News broke this week of a vast college admissions cheating scheme in which wealthy parents paid hundreds of thousands to get their kids into elite universities by falsifying documents and test scores with the help and cooperation of coaches, and college and test administrators. Olivia Jade, daughter of actress Lori Loughlin (Full House), beauty and lifestyle influencer to 3 million followers across Instagram and YouTube was one of the beneficiaries, and now her Instagram account is under fire.

https://jezebel.com/heres-everything-i-learned-about-lori-loughlins-influen-1833237961

Why it’s hot: Reminds us that a potential brand crisis can come from the most unexpected places. Brands that have worked with Olivia Jade include Sephora, Amazon and Tres Semme, though it’s likely they’ll be blameless here. Sheds light on the tangled web of personal + private that comes with the mainstream macro influencer.

Alexa gets its first celeb voice with Oprah

Welcome to the World of Voice Shopping

Amazon has partnered with “O, the Oprah Magazine,” on a holiday promotion that gives voice-assistant Alexa the voice of Oprah Winfrey when users shop among the iconic celebrity’s “Favorite Things.” Oprah’s voice will recommend a product and share background on why it made her list.

Read more here.

Why It’s Hot

  • Yes, it’s gimmicky – but, It’s an interesting ex anploration and build off existing platform (O, The Oprah Magazine and Amazon have worked together over the past couple of years to co-promote Oprah’s Favorite Things online and on mobile through a dedicated Amazon storefront), and therefore – a great way to test and learn.
  • The UX is not there yet – this won’t be a very efficient way to shop. Not only does it force you to listen to items one-by-one, it’s also difficult to encourage people to shop based on product suggestions and descriptions alone. Most people want to see photos – and sometimes even videos – before making an online purchase.

The Fyre Festival: A Fiasco Fueled by Instragram

By now you have heard about the fiasco that was Fyre Festival. The social media-fueled project, co-founded by rapper Ja Rule and his tech entrepreneur partner Billy McFarland, promised people “two transformative weekends” on a private island in the Bahamas, with “the best in food, art, music, and adventure,” and, if the model-filled promo videos were any indication, this would be a tropical Coachella. This festival emerged seemingly out of nowhere but soon went viral after the festival organizers hired some 400 Instagram influencers to post about the event. The campaign promised luxury, beauty, and exclusivity.

This festival never happened, and the lead up to it was a fiasco. People remained stranded in Miami and the Bahamas on their way to the festival, which organizers announced at eight A.M. last Friday morning had been “postponed.”

The first warning sign came from Blink-182’s cancellation – the band backed out on Thursday afternoon, just 24 hours before the festival was set to begin, saying “We’re not confident that we would have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans.“ Then came reports of flight issues, with many attendees stuck on tarmacs in Miami. Those who actually got to the island found half-built tents (which end were actually storm relief tents), mattresses stacked around the tents, luggage dropped from shipping containers, a Sandals resort around the corner, less-than-ideal weather, and these sad sandwiches.

Festival goers now demand refunds, there is even a $100 million dollar lawsuit facing Ja Rule and Billy McFarland.

Why it’s NOT Hot:

What does this say about authenticity of influence marketing? Sure, many people blame “rich millennials” for falling for this mess of a festival, but is that fair? An editor at Wired writes “Fyre Festival was, in essence, the physical manifestation of the false narrative that social media creates. It’s the wide-shot on the smoothie bowl.” In my opinion, Fyre Festival and its rise and fall lessens the credibility of celebrity influencers – who have taken no accountability for promoting this, and collected their paycheck mindlessly.

Source: WIRED, Bloomberg

What an Influencer wants…

It’s time for marketers to change how they select and reward influencers.

Until now, brands have practiced three levels of influencer marketing.

Level 1 uses PR to send free brand product and information to target influencers, hoping for earned media (or at least a response).

Level 2 allocates media spend to pay relevant influencers with desirable audiences to create “cool” content that showcases the brand in a positive light.

Level 3 builds meaningful, advocate-level relationships with influencers who authentically love and embrace the brand in a way that spans beyond a video, campaign or launch.

Enter the next level

Today’s influencers are operating as businesses, not just communities—and as businesses, they want more from the brands with which they work.

Influencers

Welcome to level 4
, where marketers treat content creators as businesses, help them add value to their brands while bringing value to their audiences—and both sides see greater benefits.

It begins with marketers giving creators access to the newest products before they hit shelves, and moves into sharing audience data, helping identify growth opportunities, and even providing production assistance including studio time, professional content editing and fresh collaborations.

In exchange, influencers can offer brands preferred rates, disruptive creative, faster speed to market, higher credibility and, ultimately, sales.

http://www.adweek.com/tv-video/its-time-for-marketers-to-change-how-they-select-and-reward-influencers/

Why It’s Hot

Partnerships can help breed a more authentic relationship among brands, influencers and those they influence versus just paying for posts.

FTC Fires Warning Shot at Social Influencers

After reviewing numerous Instagram posts by various social influencers, Federal Trade Commission sent out letters reminding influencers and marketers that influencers should clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media.

The letters were  regarding influencer advertising on Instagram, and Instagram posts reviewed by FTC staff. They mark the first time that FTC staff has reached out directly to educate social media influencers themselves.

The FTC’s beef is that if there is a “material connection” between an endorser and an advertiser that might affect the weight or credibility that consumers give the endorsement – that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, unless it is already clear from the context of the communication. A material connection could be a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the gift of a free product. Importantly, the Endorsement Guides apply to both marketers and endorsers.

The letters also addressed one point specific to Instagram posts — consumers viewing Instagram posts on mobile devices typically see only the first three lines of a longer post unless they click “more,” which many may not do. The staff’s letters informed recipients that when making endorsements on Instagram, they should disclose any material connection above the “more” button.

The letters also noted that when multiple tags, hashtags, or links are used, readers may just skip over them, especially when they appear at the end of a long post – meaning that a disclosure placed in such a string is not likely to be conspicuous.

Some of the letters addressed particular disclosures that are not sufficiently clear, pointing out that many consumers will not understand a disclosure like “#sp,” “Thanks [Brand],” or “#partner” in an Instagram post to mean that the post is sponsored. When it comes to video, the FTC calls for disclosure to be said out loud or displayed on screen. It can get even more complicated on Snapchat, where there’s not an obvious place to put a hashtag, and the videos are only a few seconds.

Why Its Hot:

Personal endorsements are as old as advertising itself, and there’s always been abuse. So when the FTC highlights influencer marketing as having a disclosure problem, it can come across as unfair.

It’s up to the FTC to be more clear and consistent about their policies and enforcement, because more influencers than not want to adhere, be transparent and maintain their own credibility in their trade. It also should create a statement that is valid across all influencer-leveraged platforms, not just Instagram.

A lot of influencers think they are following the rules, but in fact are falling short. More than 300,000 sponsored posts on Instagram in July used hashtags like #ad, #sponsored and #sp, up from about 120,000 a year earlier, according to Captiv8.

With such a huge increase in the influencer channel in recent years, companies have been pouring marketing dollars into social media endorsements, paying everyone from a Hollywood celebrity to a mom who regularly Instagrams her baby snuggling with a puppy. But marketers need to remember that even the most renown celebrity endorsement is meaningless if it’s not authentic and maybe even harmful if not true to brand and voice.

FTC announcement, as posted yesterday, can be read here.

 

Lord & Taylor Got 50 Instagrammers to Wear the Same Dress, Which Promptly Sold Out

Retailer Lord & Taylor blitzed into feeds by partnering with 50 influential fashionistas on Instagram and having each pose wearing the same dress.

lord-taylor-dress-hed-2015

The dress itself sold out by the end of the weekend, but luckily for the brand, it had a larger goal in mind: Debuting its Design Lab collection, focused on “fashion-forward finds.”

“The program was designed to introduce Design Lab to this customer where she is engaging and consuming content every day,” said Lord & Taylor CMO Michael Crotty. “The goal was to make her stop in her feed and ask why all her favorite bloggers are wearing this dress and what is Design Lab? Using Instagram as that vehicle is a logical choice, especially when it comes to fashion.”

Why It’s HOT: 2015 is proving to be the year of the “Influencer impact”.

Source: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/lord-taylor-got-50-instagrammers-wear-same-dress-which-promptly-sold-out-163791

An even 50 Instagrammers were hand-picked and compensated by the brand, with each selected “based on her aesthetic and reach,” Crotty said. Many of the posts generated more than 1,000 Likes each, with several surpassing 5,000 Likes and some reaching rarified levelslike 13,000 Likes.

The Pepsi Challenge Returns

In the 80’s, the Pepsi Challenge became a pop culture sensation before Twitter could make pop culture sensations in seconds. And now Pepsi is bringing an interpretation of this campaign back to celebrate the original’s 40th anniversary.

The new campaign will be socially-based and content-led through a combination of 6 celebrity brand ambassadors, social consumer challenges, and local interpretations of the campaign around the world. Also, every time consumers around the world use the hashtag #PepsiChallenge in their social media channels, the brand will make a donation to an organization committed to bring light to people around the world.

The brand will be working with Usher, Serena Williams, Colombia and Real Madrid soccer star James Rodriguez, Usain Bolt, designer Nicola Formichetti, and social media phenom Jerome Jarre throughout 2015, to announce a series of challenges from March to the end of the year, which PepsiCo Global Beverages Group chief marketing officer Kristin Patrick says are designed to push consumers to push themselves and dream big (…not to mention, sell product). “The challenges will ask consumers to do things, submit things, it could be a piece of writing, a selfie, the range will be from challenging to things anyone can do,” says Patrick. “In the past we’ve been linked to sports and music. Consumers passions are evolving and the world of culture is increasingly connected—film and fashion are connected to music, all these entry points all work together. And if you look at celebrities today, while the do stand in a particular genre, they also have different points of interest across culture. So our challenges will be across technology, sports, music, and design.”

Why it’s hot:

In today’s cluttered digital world, a simple re-launch or celebration of the original wouldn’t likely break through. Pepsi’s interpretation of this new campaign is an effort to take the spirit of the original success and make it relevant way beyond the taste of Pepsi and into the lifestyle of consumers.

“Pepsi, as a brand, is much bigger than a cola and is considered a pop culture brand,” says Jakeman. “We have to innovate around the brand from a product perspective so that we’re meeting the changing consumer demands but in our marketing we’re moving beyond just the core Pepsi advertising and really advocating the trademark that encompasses all the brands while still retaining the Pepsi lifestyle promise.”

Derek Jeter Launches The Players’ Tribune Publication

Just days after his final game as a major league player, Jeter has launched The Players’ Tribune, a new online publication offering “unfiltered, honest and unique perspectives” direct from athletes. The site will feature content from athletes across every sport, including articles, videos, podcasts, photo galleries and polls. 

“I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or ‘I don’t knows,'” Jeter wrote in a letter on The Players’ Tribune site. “We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.”

This afternoon the publication introduced NFL player Russell Wilson as its first senior editor, with a timely article from Wilson addressing the issue of domestic violence and his personal history. According to a press release, the site plans to announce further athlete editors in the coming days and weeks.

Jeter stressed in an interview with ESPN that The Players’ Tribune was not meant as a substitute for sports journalism. “We’re not trying to take away from sportswriters. Sportswriters are what makes sports successful,” he told ESPN. “I think we’re sort of working in conjunction with them.”

Instead, his site is meant as a way for athletes to address fans directly, beyond the 140 character limit of Twitter.

“How many times do you see someone put something out, and then next thing you know, they’re saying it came across the wrong way, it was out of context, it’s not what I meant,” he told ESPN, adding, “This generation has fun sharing things.”

Why it’s hot:

This site has great potential to disrupt the current sports news franchise.  It would be interesting to see the degree of access and daily in-depth (beyond 140 characters)  interaction between the fans and athletes.

 

 

IKEA About-face to Fervent Hacker Community

After receiving considerable backlash from IKEAHackers.net, IKEA is reconsidering its recent against taken against Jules Yap and the fervent grassroots “furniture hacking” community.

Ikea hacking is the practice of buying things from Ikea and re-engineering—or “hacking”—them to become customized, more functional, and often just better-designed stuff.

Site founder Jules Yap got his start in hacking back in 2006. On IKEA Hackers, would-be hackers can gather tips from others, and once they’re ready, post pictures and how-to guides of their own hacks.  The site quickly took off, and because Ikea products are available in so many countries and use metric measurements, a worldwide “hackerati” has been able to thrive.

140820_EYE_1.jpg.CROP.original-original

But in March, Yap got a cease-and-desist letter from Ikea. Ikea claimed that using their trademarked name was a violation—even just using the blue-and-yellow color scheme was not allowed. Since Yap makes money off the site through advertising, Ikea argued that she was profiting from the Ikea name.

The cease-and-desist sent ripples through the Internet community, with some prominent influencers calling the move bulls**t among much worse.  It was not pretty for IKEA. Supporters of Yap felt like IKEA Hacking was actually good for the Ikea brand and that IKEA was foolish to make an enemy out of her.

PANYL_Expedit_Bar_Hack_1-727079

It appears the backlash has finally set in.  The site’s founder was invited to meet with IKEA’s team in Sweden to for the two parties to work through an alternative arrangement that preserves the site’s community and interest, while respecting IKEA’s understandable desire to manage its brand online. Details of the meeting have not been disclosed.

Why It’s Hot

When IKEA targeted IKEA Hackers back in March, the company clearly underestimated the influence this community had in the digital sphere.  What may have started as a standard “cease-and-desist” became a major brand problem.  IKEA Hackers has demonstrated that brands need to work closely with their fans and better understand where influence lies before taking action online.  Partnership is the new digital model.

Source: Slate

Tigerair’s “Infrequent Flyer” rewards customers in a humorous way

A new campaign for Tigerair pokes fun at frequent flier programs with a club for “Infrequent Fliers.” In effect, it’s just an email marketing list with discount fares, but the features built around it, such as print-it-yourself membership cards and online games, will make customers feel like they’re part of something greater.

There are no fewer than 18 membership levels, each one a satirical description of color, from “really dark black” to “hipster chino.” In the low-cost spirit, the cards have to be printed out by customers themselves on their home printers.The website for the campaign also features a deliberately pointless flight simulator game.

The campaign will also include a more traditional series of TV and print ads that will describe what customers won’t get from the no-frills airline, from lounges to “tiny bottles of vino.”

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

What Tigerair has done is take what would normally be a bland CRM effort to give discounts and spice it up. People will pay attention because it’s clever, uses accessible channels, and is pretty easy.

 

 

YouTube Uses TV Commercials to Court Mainstream Magazines

The difference between YouTube and the TV and movie businesses that has become a large complaint in web video circles is that YouTube does not advertise its content in the same way that the TV and movie businesses do. In an effort to address this complaint and diminish doubt, YouTube aired an ad during the recent season premiere of hit TV show, Mad Men.

Featuring three young, attractive, “normal,” and brand-friendly women who post videos about cooking, beauty, and fashion, YouTube’s ad campaign hopes to show that their platform is not just for edgy or odd content; it is for mainstream content that appeals to the masses. The campaign is also being coupled with a press event where journalists from top magazines can meet with the three new faces of YouTube, who will convince that the platform is “much more than a collection of weird, viral content.” (Note: Only one of the three women featured works with a multichannel network. The other two women independently create and share their own content.)

Read more in The Wall Street Journal and AdAge.

YouTube's ads that will wrap New York subway trains

Why It’s Hot | With a new ad campaign featured during the most popular TV shows, to showcase the mainstream popularity of YouTube’s content, other content creators may begin to see the benefits of the platform. YouTube may be about to expand their reach far beyond what was ever imagined, bringing their reputation from that of the Time Wasting, Cat Video Heaven to the Best Place to Find Fresh and Interesting Video Content from top mainstream publishers.

Social networks like Facebook can spread moods

A study by researchers at the University of California, Yale, and Facebook has found that moods can spread virally through social media sites.

Researchers have long known that emotions can be spread through people via face-to-face interaction, but the new frontier is to examine whether the effect translates to social media interactions.

hotsauce1

Read more here and here.

 

Why it’s Hot

Hidden in the article are some hard statistics on exactly how (emotional) virality can be quantified– positive and negative. Emotional transferrence usually requires a visual or auditory cue (a smile, a “thank you” but seems just as likely to spread through social connection where physical presence isn’t a factor.

 

Leveraging a User’s “Splash” on Social Media

Introducing Splashscore. This start-up has been pivoting and growing for the past couple years, and has now found their sweet spot. It has a unique and effective way of approaching social media campaigns that produce results. Your Splash is a measure of how well you engage your friends on Facebook, and the higher the better. Engagement occurs when you affect the thoughts, feelings and actions of others. On Facebook, this is represented by the likes and comments received on posts. Brands can utilize brand advocates and their “Splash” to spread the campaign in a more trusted and organic way.

Why It’s Hot

Brands and agencies are always looking for an ROI for social media campaigns, and solutions such as buying ads only result in more engagement on your properties that do not drive to sales. The most effective engagements on social media are when users can interact with each other. Social media is becoming a known arena and the need to differentiate is becoming an even greater challenge. Splashscore is still a very young company and looks to be heading in the right direction with some of their upcoming contracts.

 

Coke Promotes Freestyle Fountain Machine With Clever Vine Shorts

Coca-Cola tapped Vine celebrity Zach King to help promote its new Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain machine, which can create more than 100 drink combinations, in a series of fun and clever six second videos. King, known as the “Vine Magician” for his use of special FX in the medium, helped create the Vines with the aim of capturing the fun, choice and possibility of Coca-Cola Freestyle.

Why It’s Hot

Leveraging Key Opinion Leaders is a strategy marketers talk about often. Strategically speaking, Vine is the perfect medium for reaching the target audience of the new Coca-Cola Freestyle machines and Zach’s combination of  technology and magic tend to go viral with great frequency. The first two posts have already generated more than 53,800 Likes and 30,000 Re-Vines. The series rolled out a new video each Monday throughout the month of February.

Brands’ Organic Facebook Reach is Crashing

Social@Ogilvy analyzed 106 country-level brand pages and they’ve concluded that the days of admins achieving free reach for their pages on Facebook are numbered. The study found that the average reach of organic posts had declined from 12.05% in October to 6.15% in February.

Read More Here

hotsauce

Why It’s Hot

Facebook’s algorithm changes and its affects on brand page performance should serve as a reminder for marketers. Facebook originally presented an immense opportunity –  the ability for brands to listen to, connect with and build authentic relationships with their consumers in real-time. As the social ecosystem continues to change, this founding principle can become lost and fall away in the race to collect ad dollars, please shareholders, and report high numbers of “likes” and “shares.” To keep strategies sustainable and successful in the ever-evoling world of social algorithms and emerging platforms, marketers must maintain a focus on the long-term goal of social media – building genuine relationships with their customers and not get caught up in the hype of short-lived novelty trends and futile ad spends.