“What Were They Thinking?” Finds a New Home in BRAND United

Last week I shared the news of the four-year anniversary of “What Were They Thinking?” and asked “What’s next?” Well, I’m happy to announce that we just recently refreshed BRAND United’s website, with the goal of a more robust content offering, webinar programming, events, and more. And part of that content offering will be “What Were They Thinking?”

Last week I shared the news of the four-year anniversary of “What Were They Thinking?” and asked “What’s next?” (Oh how I miss you President Jed Bartlet) Well, I’m happy to announce that we just recently refreshed our sister brand BRAND United’s website, with the goal of a more robust content offering, webinar programming, events, and more. And part of that content offering will be my weekly “What Were They Thinking?”

BRAND United’s mission is to educate and equip brands, agencies, and designers with strategies to maximize the impact of their campaigns while helping to create a united brand experience … which lines up perfectly with what I talk about for WWTT?

Much like Target Marketing, BRAND United has an e-newsletter full of content covering brand campaigns, optichannel — optimized omnichannel — marketing strategies, print marketing tips, and marketing trends. And while “What Were They Thinking?” is making the move to BRAND United, Target Marketing is still going strong, offering our audience marketing best practices, marketing technology info, and marketing leadership articles as per usual.

So be sure to subscribe to the BRAND United e-newsletter, and as always, feel free to email me at mward@napco.com when you see excellent examples of the good, the bad, and the truly bizarre of marketing campaigns (also, I’m open to any brand approaching me about new campaigns they’re launching and excited to talk about!) Until next week … have a great weekend!

WWTT? 4 Years of Reviewing Marketing Campaigns

It’s another revolution around the sun, and I have spent another year looking at marketing campaigns, talking about what I think works really well, and the things that are less than stellar for “What Were They Thinking?”

It’s another revolution around the sun, and I have spent another year looking at marketing campaigns, talking about what I think works really well, and the things that are less than stellar. And while “What Were They Thinking?” formats have switched a bit to include more written content alongside video, it’s still been a pleasure to dig into the marketing creative being put before consumers on a daily basis.

During that time, I’ve looked at Burger King’s Moldy Whopper campaign, discussed creative marketing from a cemetery, and shared how Pedigree helped get some shelter dogs their forever homes during the pandemic.

And of course, who could forget about the marketing campaign that married a box of House Wine with Cheez-It? Absolute proof that if you tweet about something you love enough, you might be heard:

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Or what about that time Popeyes kicked off the Chicken Wars … then ran out of chicken? (I still haven’t tried that sandwich yet.) While fans of the chicken restaurant tweeted excitedly about the new sandwich last summer, Popeyes’ own tweet about the new sandwich is what caused Chik-fil-A, Wendy’s, and other restaurants to jump online to tout that their sandwiches were better.

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The past 12 months of marketing campaign coverage has brought my total up to 158 videos and 32 posts, and I’m excited to see what the next 12 months will bring for “What Were They Thinking?” What will be the new marketing campaigns that will cross my path? How will marketers come out of our current hot mess of a world (thanks to COVID-19) and find new and creative ways to connect with consumers?

In the words of my favorite TV president, Jed Bartlet: “What’s next?”

If you have a marketing campaign you think I should discuss — whether it’s your own or that of a peer’s — drop me a line at mward@napco.com. I’m especially interested in campaigns that feature innovative print marketing as part of the overall omnichannel marketing strategy!

WWTT? Barefoot Wine Pivots Summer Campaign to Be ‘Pandemic Appropriate’

Many marketers have had to scramble due to COVID-19 wrecking current and future campaign plans. For Barefoot Wine, which had debuted new Barefoot Hard Seltzers and Barefoot Spritzer cans in January, this meant re-editing a summer ad campaign shot before the pandemic to ensure it was still spot-on.

Many marketers have had to scramble due to COVID-19 wrecking current and future campaign plans. In some cases, this meant cancelling campaigns completely, and for others it meant having to pivot quickly. For Barefoot Wine, which had debuted new Barefoot Hard Seltzers and Barefoot Spritzer cans in January, this meant re-editing a summer ad campaign shot before the pandemic to ensure it was still spot-on.

Featuring Kenan Thompson and Aubrey Plaza, the original #SummerDream ad was shot in a pre-physical distancing world, and was directed by black-ish’s Anthony Anderson. However, Barefoot Wine knew it couldn’t share the campaign as-is for the summer during the current pandemic — but it doesn’t mean that the summer dream had to come to an end.

Anna Bell, VP of Marketing for Barefoot Wine commented:

“We had planned to launch this campaign just as COVID-19 became a pandemic, so we knew we needed to examine the creative to ensure it was appropriate and relevant for current times. We hit the pause button, brainstormed ways to present it in a different, more appropriate manner, and went back to make the edits. In the end, we wanted to ensure the content was uplifting and positive for our audience, and give them something that would make them smile.”

That pivot involved reworking the audio and adjusting the edits. Instead of the ad being about a current Memorial Day party, its new focuse has Kenan sharing a dream he had about a party he would have thrown. Still timely, topical, and gets the products front and center for summer.

Having Kenan also share the ad on Twitter with the reminder about social distancing (but hey, still enjoying a cold, tasty beverage), was also very smart of Barefoot Wine in terms of audience reach.

I can only imagine how hard it has been for marketers to adapt their work during the pandemic, while also remaining as creative as possible. But I have to say, when it works, it works.

Marketers, what do you think of the campaign from Barefoot Wine? How have you had to adjust your current campaigns, as well as plans for the future? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, next week marks the 4-year anniversary of “What Were They Thinking?”!!! I’ll be working on a post about some of my favorite campaigns to date, and feel free to let me know what some of your favorites were … or if I missed covering them!

WWTT? La-Z-Boy Campaign Offers Comfort and Thanks to Healthcare Workers

If you’re a bit of a YouTube watcher, or a fan of The Office, you may have heard about “Some Good News,” hosted by John Krasinski. So in that vein, here is some more excellent news, along the lines of a new La-Z-Boy campaign that combines a considerate donation with some heartfelt user-generated content.

If you’re a bit of a YouTube watcher like me, or a fan of The Office, you may have heard about “Some Good News,” hosted by John Krasinski. If not, watch through some episodes, and take joy that there is still plenty of good in the world. So, in a similar vein to SGN, here is some more excellent marketing news, along the lines of a new La-Z-Boy campaign that combines a considerate donation with some heartfelt user-generated content.

To offer some physical comfort to healthcare workers, La-Z-Boy is donating $1 million worth of furniture to frontline nurses. According to the furniture retailer’s CMO, Eli Winkler, the company is working directly with the American Nurses Association to select nurses in areas of the country most heavily impacted by COVID-19, and those individuals will be able to receive their choice of a chair, recliner, or sofa.

But the La-Z-Boy campaign doesn’t just end there. Dubbed “#OneMillionThanks,” the furniture retailer has created a microsite that encourages the public to find creative ways to thank healthcare workers — and to share those thanks on social.

#OneMillionThanks La-Z-Boy CampaignI had the opportunity to ask Winkler some questions about the La-Z-Boy campaign earlier this week, and of course my first question was about the campaign’s inspiration, and why the retailer wanted to get the public involved. Winkler responded:

“La-Z-Boy has always provided comfort to those who need it most. Frontline medical professionals have had to live without the normal comforts of home for the last while. In many cases they have had to distance themselves from their families, while also enduring an incredible amount of stress. We saw an opportunity to say ‘thanks’ in the way that we know best — by providing furniture to nurses who deserve both physical and emotional comfort.

“This is our way of showing thanks. But we wanted to create a million more ways to say ‘thank you.’ People have shown an incredible amount of creativity while at home. We wanted to harness all that creativity and generate one big “thank you” for medical professionals. A simple show of thanks goes a long way.”

Participants are encouraged to get creative with their thank yous and post to social, tagging with the hashtag #OneMillionThanks. The campaign is supported by 15 and 30 second video clips, created by creative agency RPA and supported by a digital buy.

La-Z-Boy campaign, featuring Kristen BellIt’s great that La-Z-Boy has its brand ambassador Kristen Bell participating in the project, but I feel like there’s more to this than having a Hollywood sweetheart encourage UGC.

When I look at the microsite, the impression I get (whether intentional or not) is that this campaign does more than just help healthcare workers feel good. #OneMillionThanks is also a creative exercise to help the people doing the thanking feel good, too.

Scrolling through the site, you come across myriad activity ideas to help create your thank yous, from origami heart-folding to DIY sidewalk chalk paint.

La-Z-Boy campaign ideas for showing thanksDespite the fact that these activities are geared toward creating thank yous for healthcare workers, at the end of the day they’re also great activities for individuals, couples, and families to work on while under quarantine — whether they’re creating a thank you or something else. I’m certain the DIY sidewalk chalk paint instructions will be put to use for many more projects down the road, and perhaps the origami heart folding will inspire people to look deeper into the Japanese art form as way to de-stress and be creative in general.

Practicing the act of gratitude is a great way to improve your mental health and well-being … something I’m sure we could all use a bit more of nowadays. And while the #OneMillionThanks La-Z-Boy campaign probably wasn’t aiming for this, I’m glad that by asking people to create thankful content, La-Z-Boy is helping us all be a little more creative and gracious.

Speaking of practicing the art of gratitude, one of my and favorite authors and YouTube personalities, John Green created a wonderful Vlogbrothers video about it, as well as gratitude journaling. I highly recommend giving it a watch — once you’ve finished making your own #OneMillionThanks post.

Marketers, tell me what you think about this campaign, how you’re practicing creativity and gratitude, or anything else on your mind in the comments below!

WWTT? You Can Attend a Virtual Dog Adoption Interview, Thanks to Pedigree

If you’re looking for a furry best friend, stay at home orders don’t have to keep you from finding them, thanks to Pedigree. The brand, best known for its dog food and care products, has a new campaign helping animal shelters provide virtual dog adoption interview possibilities via Zoom.

Have you noticed when you’re on a video chat with just about anyone nowadays, people get excited if your pet(s) decide to participate as well? The stress of the pandemic is taking such a toll on people that seeing an animal is a highlight to their day, especially if they don’t have any pets of their own. But if you’re looking for a furry best friend, stay at home orders don’t have to keep you from finding them, thanks to Pedigree. The brand, best known for its dog food and care products, has a new campaign helping animal shelters provide virtual dog adoption interview possibilities via Zoom.

The campaign, known as “Dogs on Zoom” is featured on the site MeetYourNewDog.com (a landing page on Pedigree’s site). The campaign kicked off on May 13, featuring the Nashville Humane Association (Pedigree has a replay of this Zoom event available to watch on YouTube, so if you need a little extra cuteness I highly recommend watching for a bit.).

Potential adopters can sign into the event via Zoom, ask the presenter questions about the featured dogs, and receive additional information about adopting — all without ever leaving their homes.

As of May 14, there are dog adoption interview Zoom meetings scheduled for May 14, 15, and 18 with different shelters, and the possibility for even more shelters to sign on to the project to help dogs find their forever homes.

"Dogs on Zoom" campaign hosts dog adoption interview events via ZoomAccording to MediaPost, the Nashville Humane Association was selected for the first few events, since it is the hometown shelter for Pedigree. And while the MeetYourNewDog.com site lets potential adopters know that the brand is covering adoption fees, MediaPost also shared that Pedigree is covering the Zoom fees for shelters.

This makes the decision for shelters to apply to participate in these dog adoption interview Zoom events easy, because the barrier to entry is fairly low, and there will still be adoption fees collected (instead of a standard practice of waiving fees in order to entice more adopters). Because these fees go directly into the care of animals and running of the organizations, anytime a shelter can keep them in place is important to the bottom line … also known as the bottom of the kibble bag (excuse the cheesy joke — I used to volunteer at an animal shelter).

Pedigree worked with BBDO NY on the campaign, and I have to say that the “Dogs on Zoom” Shelter Toolkit — available on the site — is an excellent example of educational content creation to provide all parties with the necessary tools for a successful outcome. The toolkit walks shelters through the entire practice of hosting the virtual adoption event, from how to use Zoom to how to best keep the dogs and audience engaged.

Not only is this campaign doing something great for shelters and supporting the pups it’s helping to find homes, but it’s also helping a lot of humans. Not everyone is sheltering in place with families, significant others, or room mates. There are a lot of people living alone during this pandemic, and feeling very isolated.

While being able to get on a Zoom call to enjoy a virtual meet up with friends is nice, having a pet to share space with helps a lot people deal with loneliness and other mental health issues that could be exacerbated during these extremely challenging times.

It’s uplifting to see, week after week, the creative minds behind myriad brands and agencies think of how to help. Not every brand can switch over to making PPE or necessarily do something monumental to support healthcare workers.

But it’s still meaningful when a brand thinks about what other sources of good it can provide. And sure … the more dogs adopted can mean more Pedigree brand dog food sold … but for now, I’m going to take solace in the idea that Pedigree is helping shelter dogs find their forever homes and people find their newest four-legged friends.

But marketers, that’s just what I think … tell me what you think about this campaign in the comments below!

WWTT? Post-Pandemic Vacation Daydreams Courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

It’s not a question that COVID-19 has devastated multiple industries, but maybe one of the hardest hit has been travel and hospitality. While it might be hard to answer the question of should these brands be working on advertising right now, there is room for some thoughtful post-pandemic vacation messaging.

It’s not a question that COVID-19 has devastated multiple industries, but maybe one of the hardest hit has been travel and hospitality. From airlines to hotels to destinations big and small, they’ve all felt the pain, and are trying to figure out what they can do to stay in business and keep their employees safe and on staff. While it might be hard to answer the question of should these brands be working on advertising, I think there is room for some thoughtful post-pandemic vacation messaging.

The weather is gradually warming up in Philadelphia — usually by now I have a trip planned for May/June, with more mini-trip planning speckled out through the summer. But thanks to COVID-19, those plans and daydreams have been set aside. And not just for me — for pretty much everyone. So when Puerto Rico’s nonprofit destination marketing organization (DMO) Discover Puerto Rico reached out about a new campaign, I was intrigued (and ready to look at something other than the inside of my apartment).

Discover Puerto Rico’s newest campaign, “All in Good Time” has a simple, yet clear, message: “Right now, it’s time for patience, but soon enough it will be time for paradise — all in good time.”

Discover Puerto Rico’s series of videos are available on YouTube, and the marketing campaign will run across the DMO’s social channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In an interview with CMO Leah Chandler, she explained that the campaign’s sentiment will remain “All in Good Time” until travel restrictions on the island loosen — then it will shift. ” … messaging will shift from ‘All in Good Time’ to ‘It’s Time for Puerto Rico,'” states Chandler. “We’ll carefully evaluate before this shift is made to ensure we market the Island responsibly.”

“‘All in Good Time’ is about reminding travelers that as much as we would love to host them, we know it’s not the right time,” Chandler shares. “Now is the time to stay safe, and soon it’ll be time to come explore our beautiful Island – ‘All in Good Time.’ We wanted to make clear that we’re in this together. The elements highlighted are, similarly, some of which truly define Puerto Rico – the hidden natural wonders of the Island.”

I appreciate that there’s no hard-sell of this campaign. No “get your plans squared away now so you can book as soon as travel restrictions lift!” Instead, the campaign is a gentle reminder of Puerto Rico’s natural beauty and place as a desirable vacation destination. It feels like a permission slip to let your mind wander and daydream a bit about a post-pandemic vacation, something I think we all could use.

But, in the meantime, Discover Puerto Rico is offering several virtual events via Instagram Live and Facebook Live. These are fantastic opportunities for people interested in Puerto Rico to go on virtual tours, and could end up converting them to booking clients once travel is possible.

Again, it’s about offering value, and Discover Puerto Rico is doing a good job of that while being unable to welcome physical visitors to the Island.

What do you think marketers? Having any post-pandemic vacation daydreams of your own? Drop me a line in the comments below, and stay tuned for a Q&A with Discover Puerto Rico’s CMO Leah Chandler in the next week or so as we dig more into this campaign and how the DMO is handling COVID-19.

WWTT? Coors Light’s New Campaign Calls It Like It Is — Times Are ‘Sucky’

Marketers have seen, and used, every available euphemism for COVID-19 in marketing messages. “Pandemic,” “crisis,” “uncertain times,” and “the new normal” are all accurate, but it’s beginning to sound a bit tired. Enter Coors Light’s new campaign, “#CouldUseABeer.”

Most marketers have seen, and used, every available euphemism for COVID-19 in marketing messages. “Pandemic,” “crisis,” “uncertain times,” and “the new normal” are all accurate, but it’s beginning to sound the same and a bit tired. Enter Coors Light’s new campaign, “#CouldUseABeer” and the fact that the brewer is calling these times like they really are: sucky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWEwr3wrykQ&

As part of the ongoing “Made to Chill” program, Coors Light is giving away up to $1 million worth of beer via the new social media initiative. Legal-age drinkers can tweet at a friend, who can then receive a rebate equivalent to the price of a six-pack of Coors Light (in states where legal; Coors Light provides all promo rules here).

https://twitter.com/CoorsLight/status/1255128607682412546

What went from a 93-year-old grandma becoming an Internet sensation when a photo of her holding a Coors Light and a dry erase board reading “I Need More Beer!” turned into the brewery answering her plea for a cold one. And then, from that point, further inspired Coors Light’s new campaign, “#CouldUseABeer.”

Sure, this campaign isn’t necessarily changing lives drastically … it’s not providing PPE for healthcare workers, but it’s staying true to Coors Light and the brewer’s product.

Chris Steele, marketing director for Coors Light, commented:

“A lot of times, when you see someone working hard, doing something really good, you want to recognize them and you take them out for a beer. That’s not really possible right now, but we want to help people get that brief moment of pause and enjoyment that Coors Light provides.”

Coors Light’s new campaign features 15- and 45-second ads narrated by  Paul Giamatti who reminds us that Americans have dealt with really had times before, and during those times, beer kinda helped.

The marketing is relevant, and in my opinion, the message is spot on. These times DO SUCK. They’re hard and they’re scary, and the only thing we can do is take care ourselves and our loved ones, and make it through to the other side. And if responsibly enjoying a cold beer helps, I say go for it.

Because I’d rather see an ad from Coors Light — a beer I don’t drink — being unapologetically themselves than to have to sit through some somber ad telling me for the umpteenth time that some brand is “there for me.”

Better yet, if you want to talk about a brand offering value to its audience, Coors Light also has shared recipes for beer-battered waffles and beer bread for home chefs to try out. And on a philanthropic note, the brewer hosted a pre-NFL football draft happy hour with pro football MVP Patrick Mahomes and college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit on April 22. As a thank you for their participation, Coors Light made donations to the charities of choice for both men.

I think it’s amazing when brands step up and show how they can affect positive change during a catastrophic event such as this. But I also think it’s pretty great when a brand finds ways to just be there for their audiences, bring some joy and fun, and stay relevant.

What do you think marketers? Drop me a line in the comments below, and in the meantime, check out this really handy infographic from our friends at Hero’s Journey Content about how you can be a bit more creative when talking about these “sucky” times.

30 New Ways to Say Unprecedented
Credit: Hero’s Journey Content

WWTT? Yeti+ Launches for Earth Day, Offers Unique ‘Streaming’ Content

This past Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Despite dealing with a pandemic and quarantines, a number of brands put out campaigns to celebrate the environment, including Yeti’s launch of Yeti+.

This past Wednesday, April 22, was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Despite dealing with a pandemic and quarantines, a number of brands put out campaigns to celebrate the environment, but the Earth Day campaign that caught my eye the most was from Yeti.

The Austin-based brand, known for its outdoor lifestyle products, created Yeti+, along the same vein as Apple+ or Disney+. But unlike those streaming video subscriptions, Yeti+ is free (though available for only a limited time), and has some pretty great content to watch, especially during these super stressful times.

Yeti offers Yeti+ streaming service to celebrate Earth Day
Credit: Yeti

What sort of goodies can you watch? Some fun nature documentaries? Action-packed outdoor events? Nope. You can watch streams be streamed.

The site copy reads:

We’ll be back outside before we know it. Until then, kick back, grab a cold one, and wet your appetite for the wild with one of our streams.

Click on any of the options, the video goes full screen, and you’re treated to the calming serenity of simply watching a stream — literally a body of water (each one runs about 10 minutes). If you’ve ever been to a holiday party where someone puts on a festive Yule Log video, then you get the picture.

But where the holiday Yule Log videos are often more about kitschy ambiance, I think the video offerings of Yeti+ are not only clever, but honestly, good relevant content.

They’re soothing. They’re beautiful. They take us out of our homes and transport us to a place of calm. Maybe to a place we’ve never been before. And though many of us may still be able to go outside and exercise while maintaining our stay at home rules, not everyone lives someplace this beautiful, green, and lush. Or is even physically able to go outside at all, for whatever reason.

Yeti+’s website copy may be a little tongue-in-cheek, but I think their Earth Day campaign offers a much-needed escape from the harshness of this world. And in my opinion, every little bit helps. We talk about how important it is to offer value to our customers and prospects. Well, I think Yeti+ nailed it.

What do you think, marketers? Leave me a comment below!

WWTT? Draper James’ Free Dress for Teachers Giveaway Debacle

Sometimes well-intentioned plans can land a brand in hot water with customers and prospects, especially when there is a fail regarding the plan’s execution. Such is the case of Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James fashion line and the debacle it’s facing with the free dress for teachers giveaway launched earlier in April.

As I began to work on this week’s “What Were They Thinking?” post, I dug through my inbox, looking for a campaign that celebrated solidarity, creativity, or just something worth talking about this week in the world of marketing. Then I saw an email from Target Marketing friend and blogger, Chuck McLeester, and down the rabbit hole I fell as I read The New York Time’s article, “Reese Witherspoon’s Fashion Line Offered Free Dresses to Teachers. They Didn’t Mean Every Teacher.” with my morning coffee. The debacle involving a free dress for teachers giveaway brought this to mind:

The best-laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew

Who knew that on Day 36 of quarantine/isolation/social distancing/THIS (gestures wildly), I’d be quoting a Robert Burn’s poem in a “What Were They Thinking?” post, but here we are. So let’s look at the issue of not thinking through your well-intentioned plans enough, and the kind of havoc that can cause your brand, your marketing team, and your reputation in the long run.

On April 2, Reese Witherspoon’s fashion line, Draper James, shared the free dress giveaway via the following Instagram post:

Draper James Free Dress Instagram Post

Now, as my Mom has always said “It’s the thought that counts …” and while it certainly is a nice thought to offer a free dress, there are NO expectations for giveaway applicants set in the post. The post reads:

Dear Teachers: We want to say thank you. During quarantine, we see you working harder than ever to educate our children. To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress. To apply, complete the form at the link in the bio before this Sunday, April 5th, 11:59 PM ET (Offer valid while supplies last – winners with be notified April 7th)

Yes, the post states “while supplies last.” But c’mon. If there are a set amount of dresses, SAY IT. Especially when the line before reads: “To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress.”

What did most of these people see? “To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress.” Their expectations soared, and while most people would realize that there probably weren’t enough for all applicants, there also wasn’t a single expectation set. A lot of teachers — who have been working their butts off, are most likely exhausted, burnt out, and worried about their own host of concerns — got their hopes up.

What would I have done, had I written the copy? Made it really clear. Maybe something like: “To show our gratitude, Draper James is offering 250 free dresses to teachers who apply to this giveaway as a thank you. If you are not selected as a free dress recipient, we will be providing discount codes, should you want to purchase a dress from Draper James.”

Because without setting clear expectations, you have these sorts of conversations and complaints cropping up:

That’s right … when teachers signed up for the giveaway, they had to include their email address (that’s standard for most giveaways, so no issue there) … however, my question is will Draper James be using them to market to these teachers now? In most cases of giveaways, this is not a big deal because it’s in the fine print (and I’m sure it was included here, too). But the way this was executed has really turned off a lot of individuals.

In an attempt to address this and apologize, Draper James did reach out to those who applied for the giveaway and added the following messages to its Instagram story (now a highlight called DJ <3 Teachers):

Draper James Free Dress Instagram Story Part 1Draper James Free Dress Instagram Story Part 2Draper James Free Dress Instagram Story Part 3It’s something, but honestly, it feels a bit too late. There are a lot of disappointed teachers right now, and the partnership and offering of funds to the nonprofit might not be enough to completely remove this scuff from Draper James’ brand reputation.

Look, it’s hard right now, and there are so many people at brands who want to do good things for others; that is a great mindset and spirit to have. Fashion designers have shifted over to creating masks for healthcare workers; meals are being donated; there is a lot of good being done. And I think the decision makers at Draper James had very good intentions. Quoted in the New York Times article I mentioned above, Draper James SVP for Brand Marketing and Creative Marissa Cooley said:

“We felt like we moved too quickly and didn’t anticipate the volume of the response. We were really overwhelmed. It was way more volume than the company had ever seen. We expected the single-digit thousands.”

Even when you want to help, you still need to stop, think through the plan, and figure out the best way to execute it in a sustainable way.

As Chuck said to me in our email exchange about the story:

“My take on it was purely from a metrics standpoint. 3 million teachers, 77% female, 2.3 million prospects, a free offer of a valuable item — even at a paltry 1% response rate that’s 23,000 responses or 100x the number of dresses that they had to give away.”

This could have been avoided, and I bet if applicants had known there was a limited amount, it would have been received in a much better fashion. But what do you think marketers? Drop me a line in the comments below.

WWTT? Ad Council and Partners Remind You to #StayHome and Save Lives

It’s another week spent working from home, practicing social distancing, and doing what we can to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. And to help spread the word, the Ad Council has teamed up with a bevy of partners to show people why they need to #StayHome in order to save lives.

It’s another week spent working from home for many of us here in the States, practicing social distancing, and doing what we can to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic, as directed by guidelines from the CDC and WHO. During an interview with TODAY’s co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in:

“The real data are telling us that it is highly likely that we’re having a definite positive effect by this mitigation, things that we’re doing — this physical separation … But having said that, we better be careful that we don’t say, ‘OK, we’re doing so well we can pull back.’ We still have to put our foot on the accelerator when it comes to the mitigation and the physical separation.”

Dr. Fauci’s message is important, and comes one day after the announcement of a major initiative from the Ad Council. Known for its long history of creating public service communications in times of national crisis, the Ad Council in partnership with Google, ANA, and other leading advertising, media, and marketing associations came together to bring forth the “#StayHome. Save Lives.” movement.

#StayHome builds on the #AloneTogether PSA platform previously created by ViacomCBS, and both efforts support the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.

Google created “roof” iconography that can be added to brands’ logos, and there are myriad creative assets available in broadcast and digital video, social media, radio, print, and out of home (OOH) formats. All assets drive audiences to www.coronavirus.gov, a centralized resource from Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CDC that provides up-to-date information about COVID-19.The creative toolkit is full of #AloneTogether assets, which the #StayHome movement further amplifies. There are multiple asset options per channel, and honestly makes it beyond simple to jump in, spread the word, and do your part. I was really impressed by the variety of assets, as well as the additional social copy, overview documents, and more. Seriously. It’s so easy.

#StayHome #AloneTogether print marketing to combat COVID-19
Courtesy of The Ad Council

Of course, there are also some Dos and Don’ts that marketers need to commit to if they’re going to take part. From the #StayHome overview document:

DO integrate the “#StayHome. Save Lives.” message and iconography across your communication touchpoints, beginning Wednesday April 8.

DO share and support the existing #AloneTogether PSA assets in conjunction with the #StayHome hashtag and message.

DON’T use the #StayHome messaging and materials in conjunction with any commercial marketing messages, or you risk appearing opportunistic.

DON’T just post once on April 8 and stop. We hope you’ll join us in amplifying the #StayHome message that day, then continue to reinforce this important messaging in the weeks ahead.

The following is just a smattering of the 30-plus brands, agencies, and media companies made commitments to begin using the #StayHome creative assets on April 8:

  • Ally Financial
  • AMC Networks
  • Google/YouTube
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • IBM
  • OKCupid
  • Oreo
  • Postmates
  • Reddit
  • Roku
  • Twitter
  • ViacomCBS

The following trade association partners and groups also have encouraged all their members to join the #StayHome movement:

  • American Advertising Federation (AAF)
  • Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM)
  • American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As)
  • Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
  • Digital Content Next
  • International Advertising Association (IAA)
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)
  • News Media Alliance
  • Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)
  • PTTOW!
  • Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)
  • Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB)
  • Video Advertising Bureau (VAB)

Commenting upon the effort, ANA CEO Bob Liodice stated:

“There is no more important message that we can deliver but to #StayHome. Save Lives. I urge all ANA members to join this effort and drive home this point to their staffs, to their consumers, to customers and, especially, to Millennials. Everyone needs to do their part to fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. We’re holding hands with the Ad Council, Google and all of our sister trade associations to make a difference in our nation’s fight against this pandemic.”

Millennials have been called upon multiple times to focus on social distancing … but as many tired Millennials have pointed out in knee jerk-fashion, we’re a bit too old for Spring Break, and most of us haven’t been in the partying mood (then the finger points to Gen Z). But, as Dr. Deborah Birx explained, the Millennial generation (born 1981-1996) is good at sharing information widely, and that’s why we’re the generation to lead the cause.

Either way, this is a global pandemic that goes beyond the generational divide when it comes to sharing important info, in my opinion. We are all in this, and we all need to do our part, and I think this effort by the Ad Council and their partners is a good step forward, pairing the #StayHome movement with #AloneTogether.

Because we can do this. We have to do this. And we can do it together … while staying apart.