Why It’s a Mistake For Brands to Ignore Tumblr

Pretend I’m someone who understands the basics of the Internet but has never used a social platform. Now let me ask you: What’s Facebook? What’s Twitter? What’s Instagram?

Most answers, at least from the readers of this blog, would be similar. But I’ve got another question. What’s Tumblr? I would bet that at this point the definitions start to differ. 

“It’s a blogging platform, like WordPress or Typepad.”

“It’s a social network where people share all sorts of content.”

“It’s a website for theme-based GIF repositories.”

For the record, Tumblr defines itself as a platform that “lets you effortlessly share anything” including “text, photos, quotes, links, music and videos.” But the six-year-old content platform is still commonly misunderstood by brands and agencies as it relates to social strategy. Even its self-definition fails to clearly define its focus, its user base or its potential as a place to engage with fans through organic and paid media.

Should your brand be on Tumblr? Let’s discuss.


6 TV Ads That Will Grip You With Their Story

Television advertising has traditionally been seen as an interruptive yet creative means of exposing audiences to a brand. There’s no denying the massive audience that television commands, not only in the United States and the UK but around the world, but it’s been said that audiences hate advertisements so much that they created technologies for avoiding them.

Many households have “pulled the plug” on television altogether, opting for on-demand television viewing with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Roku, HBOGo and many more alternative services. Add to that the Nielsen Global Survey revealing the decline in consumer trust of ads on television (from 62 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2012) and one would have to wonder how television advertising can or will stay relevant in the post-advertising age.

The answer? Storytelling.


Getting Marketing Miles Out of Your Superfans

In my tween years I was a huge fan of the WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation). I would watch every episode of Superstars of Wrestling and Saturday Night’s Main Event, among other various WWE programming. I’d watch all the pay-per-views on VHS days later, since my parents wouldn’t splurge to watch it live (I’m not bitter or anything). I’d even watch Talking Wrestling on the local cable-access channel in Marshfield, MA, which consisted mostly of prank calls and thick Boston accents.

I was a superfan to the full extent of the definition. I begged my parents to buy me championship belts and action figures, take me to local wrestling shows and I was undefeated against my big stuffed panda bear. When Hulk Hogan had his ribs broken by Earthquake, I sent a bevy of get well letters to his hospital bedside. I even got a postcard back. The "writing" looked eerily similar to Arial, but I’m sure it was just coincidence and he wrote it all himself.

Superfans are everywhere. From television shows and video games to automotive and even CPGs, superfans are embracing the brands they love. They aren’t getting the “superfan” title just because they tune in every week or refuse to drink any other kind of soda. Superfans are the rare but powerful fan base that is sharing branded content with friends, creating unique content of its own and providing an authentic endorsement of a product or service that a brand could never replicate. 

Brand managers: Are you listening to your superfans? Are you recognizing and rewarding them? Are you embracing them on their own platforms? If not, your brand may be suffering because of it. 


Drive-Thru Marketing: Bite-sized Content for an Impatient World

I have no patience anymore.

I know that at some point in my life I did. I could wait in lines, sit through three-hour college classes and even read a book for hours, all without feeling as though I’d missed out on something. But not anymore.

Today my patience (or maybe it’s just my attention span) has deteriorated to a sliver of what it was. In a normal day at the office, I scan hundreds of tweets and status updates, read (or at least skim) a dozen or so blog posts and view countless Facebook photos, YouTube videos (the short ones), Touts and Vines. I can't stand in line without checking my email, Facebook or Instagram. 

I’m not reading books or even long- form articles. I’m busy (at least I think I am), and I don’t have time to read your lengthy e-Book or watch your 60-minute webinar. In reality I probably do have the time, but the advent of social media has changed not only the type of content I consume and where I consume it, but also the speed in which I feel I must consume that content. And by "I," I mean most everyone. 

So what does that mean for content marketing?


3 Television Shows that “Get” Social

Television has been “social” for years now, but the rapid embrace of real-time marketing in 2013 (and we’re only two months into it) has shifted social TV into a higher gear. 

But the topic of brands reacting to television programming via social channels has been discussed ad nauseam. I’m not sure anyone can write an article lately about social media without mentioning Oreo, and this year’s Oscars apparently invited every brand to the social media party, whether it was relevant or not.

What is largely forgotten in all this is the shows themselves. Social media is fertile ground for television programs to engage audiences not only before, during and after an episode airs, but also during the off-season, making social a year-round commitment. Now that countless brands utilize real-time second-screen tactics, it’s time to investigate which shows and channels are innovating in the social space. 


BuzzFeed’s Native Advertising is OMG WIN!

OMG. This may have been my hardest assignment yet. 

BuzzFeed is killing it on the interwebs lately (WIN), and not just because it creates some of the most shareable content around. It’s “killing it softly,” so to speak, monetizing its wildly successful site by partnering with brands to create branded content that people actually consume, enjoy and share with their audiences.

But why was this a difficult assignment? To write about BuzzFeed means one has to peruse BuzzFeed. And when one peruses BuzzFeed, time is sucked into a vortex while one reads journalistic masterpieces like “40 Reasons Honey Boo Boo Became a National Treasure in 2012” and “12 Days of Grumpy Cat Christmas.” Minutes quickly become hours, and deadlines come and go. But Grumpy Cat doesn’t care.


Four Examples of Successful Long-Form Branded Content

Time. We only wish we had more in the day, right? As technology has evolved over the years, the speed of our lives has increased exponentially. Interconnectivity has reduced our capability to stand tasks that demand a great deal of time, and the “normal” nine-to-five is simply no longer the norm. We get to work early; we work late. While in bed at night, we fight the urge to close our eyelids, instead opting to write one more blog post or send one more email.

So when it comes to advertising, it’s almost laughable to think that audiences would ever have the time for long-form content—no less long-form branded content. Maybe a 30-second spot could slip by, but audiences would never find 20 minutes to watch a sponsored video and then spend another 10 sharing it with their networks, simply because they loved it, right?

Ten Brands Doing Post-Advertising Right

Ten Brands Doing Post-Advertising Right

We've spent a good deal of time at Post-Advertising pulling the curtain back on marketing and advertising practices that are on the wrong side of history. We try to expose those executions that desperately try to prolong the age when interruptive techniques and big budgets ruled the advertising landscape. We feel some sort of responsibility to reveal what's wrong with advertising today in order to teach our readers about the future of advertising.

However, it was time to take our badge off and pull out our sheet of gold stars (sorry, no monetary prize here) to reward those brands that are doing it right. These are the brands that have embraced Post-Advertising and focused their efforts on creating engaging content and igniting movements that spread.

Here are ten brands that stand beside us, ushering in the Post-Advertising age:

Kenny Powers - New K-Swiss CEO

Kenny Mother-F**king Powers Shakes Up the World of Training Shoes

The world of athlete sponsorship has long been dominated by sweaty men and women exercising in slow motion. K-Swiss is taking a different approach to brand storytelling in their attempt to get into the training shoe market. And that approach is Kenny Powers.

Kenny Powers, played by Danny McBride, is a fictional character on the HBO series “Eastbound and Down” known for his aggressive behavior and incessant cursing. Not quite the typical mascot for a company. But K-Swiss is proving that they don’t like to do things by the books. The campaign debuted last year with a 4-minute video for Funny or Die (NSFW) in which Powers negotiates with a roomful of K-Swiss executives for an endorsement deal with K-Swiss Tubes. After buying 51% of K-Swiss stock, Mr. Powers has a new position—Mother F**king CEO—and their latest extended length commercial, just like Kenny, is like nothing you've ever seen.

Game of Thrones - Stark Family Crest

HBO’s Brilliant Sensory Marketing for “Game of Thrones”

Debuting a new television series is hard enough. But when the new show requires viewers to familiarize themselves with a mythical land, dozens upon dozens of characters, intricate maps, and confusing power struggles, it's a steep marketing hill to climb. HBO's Game of Thrones, which premiered last Sunday, is such a show in that it asks viewers to embrace the complex world of Westeros. The biggest challenge? Getting potential fans up to speed. Instead of relying on the usual advertising conventions of television commercials, print ads, and billboards, HBO thought outside — and inside — the box.