WWTT? Burger King’s Moldy Whopper Ad Has People Talking … But Are They Buying?

Seeing mold on a food item usually elicits a response of disgust, followed by tossing said item as far away from you. But for Burger King, the home of the Whopper, mold is seen as a sign of beauty — of no artificial preservatives. Or at least that’s what the fast food chain’s latest moldy Whopper ad is telling us.

Seeing mold on a food item usually elicits a response of disgust, followed by tossing said item as far away from you (usually in the trash). But for Burger King, the home of the Whopper, mold is seen as a sign of beauty — and more importantly — of no artificial preservatives. Or at least that’s what the fast food chain’s latest moldy Whopper ad is telling us.

While I wouldn’t consider this imagery particularly shocking — if you’ve left something long enough in the refrigerator, you know exactly how funky and moldy food can become — putting your product front and center and letting it rot in front of a time-lapse camera is definitely not the norm for any marketer in the food business.

Burger King Moldy Whopper No Artifical Preservatives
The campaign ran in print, social media, and out-of-home (OOH), like on this transit shelter. Credit: Burger King

But Burger King doesn’t tend to play by the rules of other fast food marketers. Sure, it might not be collaborating with Crocs, but this is the brand that took the 2019 Cannes Lion Festival by storm with its Whopper Detour campaign.

According to a press release about the moldy Whopper, Fernando Machado,  Global CMO for Restaurant Brands International (Burger King’s parent company) stated:

“At Burger King restaurants, we believe that real food tastes better. That’s why we are working hard to remove preservatives, colors and flavors from artificial sources from the food we serve in all countries around the world.”

However, none of this matters if customers are turned off by the idea of a moldy Whopper, no matter what point it’s trying to make. Jonathan Maze of Restaurant Business Online took to Twitter to ask people what they thought of the campaign:

https://twitter.com/thatbilloakley/status/1230167233730506752?

For an audience who understands what artificial preservatives do (and how they’re not necessarily a good thing), I think this campaign will resonate with them. Sure, it’s not pretty, but it makes a very clear point. However, is this audience the normal Burger King audience? Or, is it an attempt to grow a new audience.

Burger King moldy burger OOH advertisement shows the lack of artificial preservatives
Credit: Burger King

Many consumers opt for fast food because it’s exactly that: It’s FAST. They enjoy the flavors and have favorite menu items, and even appreciate the affordability when compared to other dining options. But do they know enough about what artificial preservatives are … and more importantly, do they care?

According to AdWeek, approximately 50,000 people have taken to social media to share their disgust over the moldy burger. Mentions have soared by more than 500%, and the hashtag #MoldyWhopper has received more than 21 million impressions. So people might not like it, but they’re definitely talking about it.

Marketers, what do you think? Leave me a comment below, and have a great weekend!

WWTT? Super Bowl Ad Illustrates Snickers’ Plan to Fix the World

This year, Feb. 2 wasn’t just Groundhog Day — it was also Super Bowl LIV. With the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad clocking in at $5.6 million, stakes were high, as usual, and ads ran the gamut from quirky to nostalgic, with some political and heart string-pulling ads debuted as well.

This year, Feb. 2 wasn’t just Groundhog Day — it was also Super Bowl LIV, and while we did get to see the furry critter and Bill Murray team up again in a Jeep ad, there was more than cute rodents and amusing gimmicks during the Big Game’s commercials. With the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad clocking in at $5.6 million, stakes were high, as usual, and ads ran the gamut from quirky to nostalgic, with some political and heart string-pulling ads debuted as well.

One of the standout Super Bowl ads of the evening was Snickers’ and BBDO’s “#SnickersFixTheWorld” campaign, which illustrates how the candy maker plans to fix the world. The ad, which loosely spoofs Coca-Cola’s 1971 “Hilltop” commercial (you know the one, where you’d “like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company.”) provided its own weird twist on a community coming together and singing.

https://youtu.be/SLAV4LYO-yU

“SnickersFixtheWorld,” which launched with a 30-second version as its Super Bowl ad, is the latest evolution of  Snickers’ award-winning “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign. And considering the number of challenges faced globally today, ranging from the Coronavirus to climate change, immigration issues and presidential impeachment, the idea of using chocolate to calm down the world does offer some comic relief. If only it was that easy.

Snickers Brand Director Josh Olken commented:

“Since the first Super Bowl spot 10 years ago, we’ve shown the power of Snickers to satisfy when you’re out of sorts. Our attempt to ‘fix the world’ is a new angle, and our biggest yet: When the world itself is out of sorts, maybe it just needs a Snickers.”

The Super Bowl ad , while maybe not as quirky as others (I’m looking at you, Bryan Cranston and Mountain Dew), definitely resonated with other advertising professionals, especially Super Clio jurors who selected the Snickers ad as the Super Clio winner for 2020.

Super Clio juror Jaime Robinson, Co-Founder & CCO of Joan Creative commented:

“It was a lively and engaging discussion and we talked at length about idea, execution, and the very specific media event that is the Super Bowl. In the end, we loved Snickers for being so in-tune with the world as it is right now, for being a fresh idea that re-frames a longstanding campaign, and for having a really, really good laugh at the overly earnest ads of recent Super Bowls past. It seems sadvertising’s reign might just be coming to an end.”

But for Snickers, its Super Bowl ad was just the beginning. Following the Kansas City Chief’s win, Snickers placed the following print ad in the Kansas City Star, cheekily taking credit for the team’s first Super Bowl win in 50 years:

Snickers ad in Kansas City Star
Credit: Snickers/BBDO

Shifting from #SnickersFixtheWorld” to #SnickersFixedtheWorld, the brand has created two 15-second spots showcasing how throwing a huge Snickers into a hole in the earth has begun to fix things. Titled “Chancellor” and “Online Date,” both shorts feature actor Luis Guzman giving credit to Snickers for the wins.

https://youtu.be/iSigOPo1v00

It will be interesting to see where else Snickers takes the #SnickersFixtheWorld” campaign — what other issues the candy maker will tackle, and what channels the campaign will spread to.

What do you think marketers? Did Snickers deserve the Super Clio, or was there a more worthy Super Bowl ad? Let me know in the comments below.

WWTT? Planters Kills Off Mr. Peanut in Viral Marketing Effort Ahead of the Super Bowl

Mr. Peanut survived two World Wars, as well as the white-mold rot crisis of 2012, but at the age of 104 his time had come. Or maybe his death is a hoax. Either way you try to shell this nut, it’s clear that Planters has opted to invest in a viral marketing effort ahead of its Super Bowl ad debut on Feb. 2.

[Update, Jan. 27: Planters announced that following the news of Kobe Bryant’s death on Jan. 26. the company would be pausing the current promotion of the death or Mr. Peanut campaign, however that ad and the “funeral” ad spot are still scheduled to air during the Super Bowl.]

Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here this day to mourn the untimely death of everyone’s favorite dapper legume, Mr. Peanut. Donning his monocle and jaunty hat in 1916, Mr. Peanut survived two World Wars, as well as the white-mold rot crisis of 2012, but at the age of 104 his time had come. Or maybe his death is a hoax, as some would believe. Either way you try to shell this nut, it’s clear that Planters has opted to invest in a viral marketing effort ahead of its Super Bowl third quarter ad appearance on Feb. 2.

On Jan. 22, Planters announced the death of its mascot via social media, which resulted in an outpouring of responses from both brands and consumers alike:

With brands like those above, as well as Toyota, Shake Shack, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Chips Ahoy, and more “mourning” the loss of the nutty icon, Planters followed up on social media with a Super Bowl teaser ad, showcasing just how Mr. Peanut met his untimely demise:

Samantha Hess, brand manager for Planters, said in a statement:

“It’s with heavy hearts that we confirm Mr. Peanut has passed away at 104 years old. He will be remembered as the legume who always brought people together for nutty adventures and a good time. We encourage fans to tune in to Mr. Peanut’s funeral during the third quarter of the Super Bowl to celebrate his life.”

I suppose turning a Super Bowl ad into a funeral for Mr. Peanut is both 1. a fairly unique use of advertising dollars; 2. one way to get people to start talking about the ad before they watch it; and 3. a good opportunity to either surprise viewers (he was never dead!) or launch a new branding initiative.

That said, while supposedly “killing off” an iconic mascot (remember, we didn’t see the body) is quite the branding switch-up, there is no question that this well-timed stunt is the epitome of viral marketing. Just take a look at this Google Trends chart for starters:

Google Trends chart showing the effectiveness of Planter's viral marketing campaign surrounding the death of Mr. Peanut

Mentions about Mr. Peanut (and thus Planters) have jumped significantly due to the viral marketing effort. A Google search for “Mr. Peanut” netted 107 million results Thursday afternoon, showing me media coverage about the anthropomorphized legume’s death from CNN, Deadline, New York Post, Sports Illustrated, AdWeek, Forbes and more.

So sure, people are talking about Mr. Peanut, but does that translate into anything more meaningful than talk? The campaign’s reach was thoroughly amplified, especially due to the #RIPeanut hashtag, but what does going viral mean for Planters?

I think Jason Aten’s article “Yes, Mr. Peanut Is Dead. But Old-School Advertising Is Even Deader” makes an important point about the viral marketing campaign. Referencing Oreo’s tweet during a power outage during Super Bowl XLVII and Arby’s hat tweet during the 2014 Grammy’s, Aten writes:

But the beauty of those tweets was that they happened in reaction to real-world events. That isn’t the case with Mr. Peanut. In fact, there’s literally nothing more manufactured than a pre-planned marketing campaign featuring a tweet announcing the death of a made-up brand character just to generate buzz for a pretend funeral for said character.

Think about the creative meeting for this: Some social media-savvy account manager pitched the idea that this tired mascot really needed to be permanently retired. And, desperate to attract the attention of salty-snack-craving Millennials, the company agreed.

Aten hits the nail on the head: While we can all laugh at the ridiculous responses from other brands to the the social media announcement of the death of a brand mascot, what purpose does this campaign really serve? Mr. Peanut is not a real person, and is this use of social media even real marketing? You tell me.

And, for anyone interested in a little conspiracy theory regarding the death of the mascot, check out this Jan. 14 Facebook post from the Mr. Peanut account … “dying to hit the road”? Talk about some foreshadowing.

Because it’s Friday and we probably could all use a giggle, I will share with you one last Twitter thread:

Pop Tarts responds to Planter's viral marketing effort regarding the death of Mr. Peanut

 

WWTT? Walmart Learns Important Lesson About Third-Party Sellers This Holiday Season

I’m not sure when Ugly Christmas Sweaters became a thing, but they seem to show up regularly each holiday season, spurred by Ugly Christmas Sweater parties and people who enjoy making poor fashion decisions. However, it seems this trend has gone awry for Walmart Canada.

I’m not sure when Ugly Christmas Sweaters became a thing, but they seem to show up regularly each holiday season, spurred by Ugly Christmas Sweater parties and  people who enjoy making poor fashion decisions. However, it seems that what used to be ironic sweater-wearing has turned into shock-value sweater-wearing for some individuals, and there are sellers out there who will gladly cash in on that trend. And so we have the recent problem that Walmart Canada faced when a number of highly inappropriate Ugly Christmas Sweaters were made available for purchase on walmart.ca by one of the third-party sellers, Fun Wear, that sells its merchandise on the site.

The sweater that has caused the most uproar features a bug-eyed Santa Claus in front of a table with three lines of a white substance, with the words “Let It Snow” below. Okay, so not great. But then it gets way worse.

https://twitter.com/HurrbaSousJohn/status/1203353309396029440?

Unfortunately for Walmart, this is more than an embarrassment for selling something tacky and enduring some snickering from the Internet. The product description, partially seen in the tweet above, is particularly problematic:

“We all know how snow works. It’s white, powdery and the best snow comes straight from South America. That’s bad news for jolly old St. Nick, who lives far away in the North Pole. That’s why Santa really likes to savor the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade A, Colombian snow. He packs it in perfect lines on his coffee table and then takes a big whiff to smell the high quality aroma of the snow. It’s exactly what he needs to get inspired for Christmas Eve.”

On Saturday, Dec. 7, Walmart Canada removed the product, and issued an apology. A spokesperson provided the following quote to Business Insider:

“These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on Walmart.ca (our website in Canada), do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our website. We have removed these products from our marketplace. We apologize for any unintended offense this may have caused. These sweaters were not offered on Walmart.com in the US.”

Despite the removal of the product and the apology, the reference of “Colombian snow” has the National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State in Colombia prepared to sue. According to the Washington Post and El Tiempo, on Dec. 10 the agency stated that Walmart’s apology about the product from a third-party seller on Walmart.ca was not enough. Agency director Camilo Gómez Alzate provided this statement to El Tiempo, reported by the Washington Post:

“The Walmart sweater is an offense to the country. It generates damage to the legal products of Colombia and damage to the country’s reputation. Although Walmart apologized, the damage was done.”

So the lesson to be learned here: third-party sellers may expand the amount of business you do and the revenue you pull in, but you can’t always trust that their products will be in line with your company’s values. This was not the only Ugly Christmas Sweater that Fun Wear had up on Walmart Canada’s site … and the majority of them were in rather poor taste.

While Walmart may have policies in place to limit undesirable products from third-party sellers, it’s clear these policies are either difficult to enforce or they’re not being enforced. The consequence of losing customers over this is one thing, but having Colombia’s National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State sue if appropriate reparations aren’t made is an even bigger problem for the retailer.

What do you think marketers? Is it worth it to have third-party sellers offer their products on your sites, checked or unchecked, or are issues like this enough of a reason to avoid third-party relationships? Oh, and yes, Amazon is selling products with similar and identical designs.

 

WWTT? Philadelphia Cream Cheese Exposes Thanksgiving Cover-Up in New Ad

For Thanksgiving, Philadelphia Cream Cheese worked with independent advertising agency Gut to create a new omnichannel campaign in the U.S. to creatively “expose” the Thanksgiving cover-up that has gone on for decades.

Thanksgiving is next week in the U.S., and many of us are already sorting out the logistics of holiday travel, planning menus, and writing out shopping lists. If cream cheese isn’t on your shopping list — you know, to make the traditional Thanksgiving cheesecake — then it appears that you, too, have succumb to the Thanksgiving cover-up.

According to  Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cheesecake was the “true” dessert sitting on the Pilgrims’ tables in 1621. And with the help of the Cheesecakers Society, some true crime docu-drama flair, and the creative assistance of independent ad agency Gut, Philadelphia Cream Cheese is ready to shed light on this Thanksgiving cover-up.

https://youtu.be/x8LaejzifRk

Megan Magnuson, associate director of marketing for Philadelphia Cream Cheese, spoke to Campaign about the Thanksgiving cover-up:

“At first, we were hesitant about the theory. But once we saw the evidence and the original paintings, it was clear to us. Cheesecake is 100% the original Thanksgiving dessert. We think. We fully support the honorable Cheesecakers Society in their quest to restore cheesecake to its rightful place at the Thanksgiving table.”

Of course, Magnuson is just playing along with the fun of this “Thanksgiving cover-up” because there’s no way there was cheesecake on the first Thanksgiving table — no one had access to the ingredients!

Philadelphia Cream Cheese has leaned into the campaign heavily on Twitter, posting polls like the one below, and including images that “clearly” show that cheesecake was the dessert of choice back in 1621 (again … it wasn’t!)

Conspiracy silliness aside, Philadelphia Cream Cheese did include an offer via social … according to the tweet below, individuals could like the tweet, and they would be sent a cheesecake recipe (sadly, I think I missed the cut off, but would be intrigued to see the recipe … for science, of course.) It’s a smart item to include, especially if someone wants to experiment with baking a cheesecake. A sweeter deal would have also included a coupon for cream cheese, but now I’m just getting greedy (or hungry?)

According to Campaign, this omnichannel campaign from Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Gut includes the short documentary-style Cheesecakers Society video, social media mentions, digital, as well as billboards and print — all sharing the truth about this cheesecake conspiracy.

While this Thanksgiving cover-up campaign is totally silly and absolutely not supported by any real facts (again, cream cheese was not a staple in the new world in the 17th Century), Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Gut went all in to become front-of-mind for consumers this holiday. As of Nov. 21, the video has more than 2.5 million views on YouTube, and it will be interesting to see if sales get a bump.

Marketers, what do you think of this campaign? Tell me in the comments below, and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving next week if you celebrate!

WWTT? Budweiser Shares Spooky Mugshots in ‘Drink Wiser’ Campaign

In celebration of the spooky season, Budweiser put a Halloween spin on its “Drink Wiser” campaign, enlisting the help of those who know how much it sucks to be arrested for irresponsible drinking.

Halloween isn’t just for trick-or-treaters, however it seems that many of the “treats” for adult revelers often involve bars, parties, and alcohol, and thus many of the tricks can be less than amusing … especially when drinking and driving are combined. So in celebration of the spooky season, Budweiser put a Halloween spin on its “Drink Wiser” campaign, enlisting the help of those who know how much it sucks to be arrested for irresponsible drinking.

The Drink Wiser campaign kicked off originally in 2018, taking on the topic of binge-drinking and alcohol-impaired driving. In the original effort, Budweiser promoted the importance of hydrating in-between beers, as well as planning ahead regarding safe transportation options home.

For Halloween, Budweiser continued to promote the same efforts, but with a season-appropriate twist for its social media and digital out-of-home (OOH) visuals: The macrobrewer worked with actual individuals who were arrested for irresponsible drinking during Halloween seasons of the past.

Budweiser 'Drink Wiser' Campaign
Credit: Budweiser

While these aren’t the actual mug shots of Sharyn W., Cesar O., or Ameneh K., Budweiser opted to re-imagine these three individuals in Halloween costumes that had clearly seen better days. With the tagline of “Don’t Let Halloween Haunt You Forever,” the campaign’s digital OOH ads will be present in Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia.

For the social component of the campaign, Budweiser has advised fans to follow it on Twitter, @BudweiserUSA, as well as turn on tweet notifications to receive reminders to drink responsibly and hydrate with water between beers.

According to an Anheuser-Busch (parent company of Budweiser) press release, Budweiser has been involved in cause marketing for over a century. “Budweiser Means Moderation” was the brewer’s first responsible drinking message — dating back to over a 100 years ago — and its first responsible drinking campaign “Know When to Say When” debuted over 35 years ago.

Halloween can be quite the party holiday for many, and it’s smart of Budweiser to come out ahead of it, reminding people to consume its products responsibly. The Halloween costume-themed mug shots are a great visual to use, and hopefully have people thinking twice about drinking and driving.

We see a lot of campaigns that — rightly so — show just how horrible drinking and driving can be for all involved. But I appreciate that Budweiser mixed humor and shame together to get the point across about irresponsible drinking this Halloween.

WWTT? KFC Offers Game Day Wings Subscription and Sells Out ASAP

Lately, it seems like the major players in fast food have been keeping themselves agile when it comes to marketing in attention-grabbing ways, if not downright viral.

Lately, it seems like the major players in fast food have been keeping themselves agile when it comes to marketing in attention-grabbing ways, if not downright viral. Popeyes made a splash with its sold-out chicken sandwich at the end of summer, and now KFC — another purveyor of chicken — announced a game day wings subscription and sold out in one day. And of course, because it’s KFC and football season, there’s a very special Colonel for this campaign.

https://youtu.be/n2w-Kl86vu8

So, for $75, subscribers will be able to have 48 made-to-order wings delivered (or they can pick them up) every week for 10 weeks. Week 10 includes a Double Wing Bonus ticket, tossing in an additional 48 wings, bringing the total of the subscription to 528 wings. According to KFC, the Seasoned Ticket subscription is valued at more than $400 per Seasoned Tickets package. Oh … and the tickets smell like fried chicken. Because, you know … this is KFC, home of the fried chicken scented sunscreen.

KFC worked with Stubhub on the subscription promotion available to up to 500 fried chicken fans, launched the campaign on Oct. 17, and then promptly sold out on the same day. This isn’t surprising, given the value of the subscription, and KFC’s ability to woo customers.

KFC sells out of Game Day chicken wing subscription
The Seasoned Ticket subscription sold out in a day on Oct. 17.

Olivier Ropars, StubHub’s CMO commented:

“We’re always looking for ways to give fans an enhanced and unique game-day experience. That’s why we are excited to partner with KFC for the launch of KFC Seasoned Tickets, a really fun offer at a great value that only StubHub and KFC can exclusively curate like this.”

While there were only 500 people lucky enough to snag the Seasoned Tickets, consumers can still order the wings online for delivery or at KFC restaurants for their menu price. And sure, you can argue that 500 subscriptions aren’t that many — the revenue only comes in at $37,500 — but it will be interesting to see how this campaign boosts overall sales of wings for KFC, especially during football season.

 

WWTT? Death Gets Good Advertising From Lake View Cemetery

It’s October, the start of the spooky season, and a time to enjoy the dark and macabre … and possibly also the uplifting? While many feel that cemeteries are for the dead and/or mourning, Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland has a more positive outlook on death and final resting grounds (and it’s not just because the nonprofit cemetery has some skin — or bones — in the game.)

Lake View, while being an active cemetery accepting new business, is also a tourist destination for those who want to tour the beautifully kept grounds spanning over 200 acres; visit the graves of famous Americans such as Eliot Ness, John D. Rockefeller, and President James A. Garfield; or attend an event ranging from walking tours to 5K runs. You can even have your wedding at Lake View.

Credit: Brokaw

To get the word out that Lake View is both a final and tourist destination, the cemetery worked with agency Brokaw to produce an omnichannel campaign featuring print, digital, social media, as well as digital OOH.

The digital messaging is on point, showing personality and a sense of humor.

According to Brokaw, the cemetery also wanted to adjust the perception that Lake View was only a resting place the for the wealthy. President and CEO of the Lake View Cemetery Association Kathy Goss is quoted:

“This [campaign] is a great example of how, together with Brokaw, we’ve completely reinvented our brand from being perceived as an elitist cemetery to a place that celebrates all walks of life and beyond.”

The ads run the gamut from the importance of end-of-life planning to tourism opportunities, and according to Goss, the campaign has resulted in perceptions have shifting 100% and sales increasing $1.9 million over the past three years.

Credit: Brokaw

In my opinion, it seems like this campaign is clearly working based on the results. It’s not only to brought in money, but adjusted how the cemetery — and perhaps death — is perceived by the Cleveland public. As someone who enjoys visiting famous cemeteries whenever I travel, I appreciate the effort Lake View is making to position itself as a place to visit, while also not ignoring its need to keep up “new” business.

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

WWTT? Back-to-School Supplies Have a New Purpose in PSA

Kids around the U.S. went back to school just a couple of weeks ago, trading in summer vacations for backpacks and notebooks. However, this year, the idea of back-to-school essentials has been turned on its head in a new PSA to make a point about school shootings and gun violence.

Kids around the U.S. went back to school just a couple of weeks ago, trading in summer vacations for backpacks and notebooks. And with the start of school of course comes with back-to-school shopping, picking out the essentials needed, while also trying to select items that show fellow students your personality. It’s supposed to be fun, and it can be … but this year, the idea of back-to-school essentials has been turned on its head in a new PSA to make a point about school shootings and gun violence.

The national nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) was created by several family members whose loved ones were killed on Dec. 14, 2012 during a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The nonprofit’s mission, according to the organization is ” to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization BEFORE they can happen by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others.”

The nonprofit launched a new PSA on Sept. 18, titled “Back-to-School Essentials,” and as of 3:30 pm EST on Sept. 19 the video has more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. The tweet sharing the video, in full, has 11 million views, 172,000 likes, and 111,000 comments. The comments run the gamut of positive to negative, but it’s without a doubt that the campaign has people talking.

Below is the video, but I’m also going to share the content warning that SHP has included with both the YouTube and tweeted video: “This PSA contains graphic content related to school shootings & may be upsetting to some viewers. If you feel this subject matter may be difficult for you, you may choose not to watch.”

The video, which starts out as light-hearted and relatable to anyone who’s been a student, evolves into a nightmare that has been a reality for some school kids. While many students in the U.S. may not have experienced a full-fledged school shooter situation, these students do participate in active shooter drills and bomb threat drills.

On a personal note, I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened, and it was an event that changed schools in the U.S., possibly forever. I went from the seemingly normal life of a student who sometimes witnessed a school fight in the hallway to having to evacuate the building multiple times a month due to bomb threats or other drills. Thankfully nothing serious ever happened to my school, but school itself was definitely changed for me.

But back to the campaign: It was created by SHP and BBDO New York. According to the nonprofit, which also created the award-winning PSAs “Evan” and the Emmy-nominated “Point of View,” this campaign is its largest to date. SHP secured more than $2 million in donated media placements, and the campaign will include digital, OOH, print, and radio.

The campaign also supports SHP’s downloadable brochure, “Know the Signs,” highlighting the warning signs of a potential school shooting, and helping students and adults recognize them.

There were 22 school shootings in the 2018-2019 school year in the U.S. … it would be great to see that number drop, especially if due to the actions supported by SHP’s Know the Signs programs. But this becomes a bigger issue beyond school shootings and shifts into gun control, which is a major hotbed topic in the U.S.

The question is, will this PSA campaign rise above those debating gun control vs. 2nd Amendment rights, and help kids stay safe in schools? That’s a really tough question to ask. But I hope it helps move the needle toward making schools safer for kids, teachers, staff, and parents.

Marketers, tell me what you think about this campaign in the comments below!

WWTT? Bud Light Won’t Give Up the ‘Corn Syrup’ Bit

The “Corn War” has been going on since the Super Bowl, when Bud Light used its very expensive air time during the Big Game to call out its competition for using corn syrup in their beers. And the brewer doesn’t show signs of stopping, despite a judge’s ruling.

The “Corn War” has been going on since the Super Bowl, when Bud Light used its very expensive air time during the Big Game to call out its competition — Miller Lite and Coors Lite — for using corn syrup in their beers.

[brightcove videoplayer=”5999581959001″ width=”100%” height=”100%” autostart=”false”]

The back and forth between the brewers escalated,with MillerCoors parrying Bud Light’s attacks, but decided enough was enough in March and sued Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, alleging the ads are false and misleading.

In late May, a Wisconsin judge ordered AB InBev to stop advertising that MillerCoors’ light beers contain corn syrup, though the order does not affect all of Bud Light’s advertising — it was ruled that the “Special Delivery” ads premiered during the Super Bowl could keep airing. According to the preliminary injunction granted by U.S. District Judge William Conley for the Western District of Wisconsin granted, AB InBev would be temporarily prevented from using the term “corn syrup” without providing more context in ads.

MillerCoors was pleased with the initial ruling, and on Sept. 4 Judge Conley modified the ruling. The court stated:

“Following additional briefing and factual submissions by the parties, the court will now modify its preliminary injunction to cover packaging, but will allow defendant to sell products using the packaging it had on hand as of June 6, 2019, or until March 2, 2020.”

But none of this has really stopped Bud Light, since the brewer has new 15-second ads ready for the start of football season.

https://youtu.be/kyzXk4U7GiM

While the “brewed with no corn syrup” statement is still made, it’s a bit more subtle than in the past. AB InBev is appealing the judge’s ruling, but seems to have thrown caution to the wind with the new ads.

What do you think marketers? Are you sick and tired of the Corn War, twitching whenever you hear “corn syrup” or are you sitting back and enjoying as the Big 3 breweries fight it out while craft breweries continue to focus on brewing quality, quaffable beverages? Let me know in the comments below!