Red Bull’s solar-powered billboard lights-up nighttime sports

Lighting for nighttime sports is scarce in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, making it hard for people to enjoy outdoor activities, like football and skateboarding, at night. The desire to play sports at night is especially strong in Vietnam because of the intense daytime heat and humidity. Red Bull, being all about energy and action, used this as an opportunity to create a social benefit while aligning the brand with a different kind of energy than caffeine: solar.

To do this, they painted a grid of used Red Bull cans black, in order to soak up the sun’s energy during the day, then stored that energy in batteries, which were used to power flood lights, making nighttime games and sports possible.

Why it’s hot:

Instead of just throwing up some standard billboards in outdoor recreation areas, Red Bull decided to be user-centered, looking to solve a real problem first, and found a clever way for the brand to participate in a more meaningful way within the culture it wants to attract.

1. Alignment: Red Bull sells an image of passion — a desire to go “all out” for one’s dreams, and this project fits perfectly with that image.

2. Social benefit: This hits on all cylinders for Red Bull. It positions the brand as essential to the sports it’s supporting, while repurposing resources, reducing energy use, and showing off its innovation chops. Helping people in this small way with things they are passionate about extends good will toward the brand far beyond the initial investment.

Source: Contagious

Guerilla “Beach Body” Ad Backlash Goes Viral, Shows Brands How NOT to Respond

Since launching its “Beach Body” campaign in the UK, Protein World has been catching a lot of flack for its sexist advertising.The ads, which had popped up around the London metro system, prompted readers to question, “Are you beach body ready?” and quickly caused a stir last week for their role in promoting unhealthy body images among girls and women.

In response, riders of the transit system began to deface the advertisements with foul language, and creating a post-worthy spectacle across social media.

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People began using the campaign’s copy against it, twisting the CTA into its own hashtag #EachBodysReady giving the campaign more legs and representation among more people.

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As buzz grew, the guerilla tactics evolved from more and more advocates. Artists staged bikini-clad protests, feminists and allies bombarded Protein World with criticisms, and an online petition requesting the campaign’s removal garnered over 50,000 supporters in just a few days.

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You’d think Protein World might concede defeat. But no.

Protein World and its CEO Arjun Seth doubled down on their stance to dictate how your body should look. Through the branded handle, the company fired back at critics as “sympathisers” and “fatties.” The brand even went so far as to call the critics “terrorists” and suggest that they should not project their own “issues” on the Protein World brand.

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Showing how brands should not behave online, Protein World even went so far as to boast about its paying out bonuses for a surge in sales following the aftermath.

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So what happened?

After receiving more than 270 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, Transport for London has pulled the campaign citing its promotion of “unhealthy body image” to riders.

Why It’s Hot

The Protein World case study is a weird one, in that the brand has shown you can alienate a huge part of the population and still come out OK if you’ve galvanized the right support among your advocates. At the risk of their brand’s integrity, Protein World clearly tapped into some deeper sentiment among its most fervent customers. Those who hold similar views and are likely buying to voice support. Though the campaign was ultimately removed, Protein World managed to gain a big bump on all the publicity in its wake. Protein World demonstrates that when you’re selling image, doing what’s “right” isn’t always what’s best for business–so long as it’s right for your core demo. But will “Beach Body” come back to bite them?

Source: BuzzFeed

This is not a drill. [Social Media Crisis Simulation]

Polpeo, a subsidiary of the social media management firm eModeration, specializes in a novel new corporate exercise: the simulated brand crisis. Police officers train for various crises all the time; so do airline pilots. But most corporations don’t — even as the rise of social networks allows bad news about them to spread globally at record speed.

More than a quarter of brand-related failures typically go international within an hour on social media, according to Polpeo, and a year after the crisis passes, more than half of companies haven’t recovered their share price. You can read all about the author’s simulation experience at SXSW here.

Why It’s Hot:
In a time when a small mistake by a community manager or the antics of a company executive can go viral in a matter of seconds, many companies unfortunately discover that they aren’t prepared when a social media crisis hits. Polpeo’s offering is brilliant and the details of the simulation in the article shed the light on the reality of being human and how someone’s actions outside of the office can impact the entire company.

Uber Price Surging in Sydney Raises More Than Fares

When gunman took a cafe hostage in Sydney earlier this week, many took to Uber to flea the scene. But when riders booked up their apps to request a ride, many may have gotten more than they bargained for. Demand for rides was so high that the app, famous for its demand-driven pricing or “surging,” automatically began charging users minimum fares of $100 dollars!

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When word spread of the shockingly high pricing, Uber came under fire (understandably). With a PR nightmare on its hands, Uber began to offer free rides to users during the siege and provided frequent updates through its regional Twitter handle, @Uber_Sydney. But not before significant damage was done to the brand.

Why It’s Hot

Supply and demand is a double edged sword. Though most of the time it can be advantageous, rare occasions like the Sydney Siege demonstrate the dangers of algorithmic pricing if left unchecked. Many have since called for caps on such pricing to  create a ceiling that might protect against similar surges in the future. But what this case really shows is that companies who use such a surge model need to be proactively mining their user data to uncover patterns and thwart problems such as this before they start. Big data is enabling brands to be part of the solution, and it’s up to us as to what we begin to expect of brands armed with that power.

Link: The Daily Beast, Gawker

Ill-Conceived DiGiorno Tweet on Trending Hashtag Burns Pizza Brand

@DiGiornoPizza is known for being an “irreverent” and “active” brand in the food category, but a recent tweet has put the brand in a surely embarrassing light. And while the brand was proactive to respond to criticism, sometimes “damage control” can only do so much.

On September 8th, @DiGiornoPizza jumped into the trending #WhyIStayed / #WhyILeft conversation with this gem:

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Pretty witty right?  DiGiorno Pizza and/or its agency clearly thought so. Until Twitter reminded them that the trending hashtags were a serious, viral discussion around domestic abuse stemming from the case involving Janay and Ray Rice. Yeah.

Upon learning of the outcry, DiGiorno Pizza reacted quickly to remove the post and issue an apology.

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In addition to the tweet, the brand issued a statement to affirm what their brand stands for in light of the situation. Evidently, whoever was at the helm didn’t read what #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft were about.

Why It’s Hot

DiGiorno Pizza didn’t mean to offend, but this incident demonstrates how much damage one simple slip up can dearly cost a brand. It isn’t clear from the fiasco whether DiGiorno’s community manager was an employee of the brand or agency staff, but as agents of our clients’ brands we need to always remember the power to create–and destroy–that our words have. Don’t let the desire to be speedy and relevant outweigh the need to assess the risk inherent to joining the public conversation.

Source: Mashable