Direct Line Blog

Be a Brand Leader, Not a Brand Follower

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Marketing is all about taking risks and being bold. And it's always the leaders, rather than the followers, who reap the most benefits. Here are four brands that set the 2014 marketing bar high with their ingenuity.

Old Spice:
I first spotted this Old Spice commercial while watching the Green Bay Packers versus the San Francisco 49ers football game last Sunday. (Don't even talk to me about it. To say that I'm heartbroken over the outcome would be a true understatement.) The creepy moms spying on their sons from behind their bedroom doors, on the back of their convertibles, and at the beach definitely caught my attention, as well as the attention of others. The 60-second spot featured on the P&G brand's official YouTube channel has racked up more than 3.1 million views since being uploaded January 3. Fans can even download the “Mom Song” track from SoundCloud so they can listen to moms gripe about their sons' entrance into manhood on repeat.

Old Spice has also been humorously promoting the spots, done in partnership with Wieden + Kennedy, on its website, Twitter, and Facebook channels as part of its “Smellcome to Manhood” campaign. And whether customers consider the ad funny or downright disturbing,it generates word of mouth either way—proving that humor, when used appropriately, can sometimes go further than any marketing budget ever could.

Charmin and Denny's: Oreo's Dunk in the Dark tweet during last year's Super Bowl blackout taught brands that providing timely, relevant content can have big payoffs in terms of earned media.

“Creating content around up-to-the-minute happenings is something that consumers have been doing ever since Twitter launched—and until recently, brands have moved too slow to get into the act,” Shankar Gupta, director of social marketing strategy at 360i, told Direct Marketing News for its July 2013 “Under (and so over) the Influence” feature. “But if you can set up your brand and your agency to take advantage of this white space, you can reap enormous benefits.”

Toilet paper brand Charmin and family restaurant chain Denny's followed Oreo's lead this week by creating humorous tweets surrounding the BCS National Championship. For example, Denny's tweeted an image of a map showing Auburn fans all of the places they could score a Denny's meal on their drive back to Alabama. The tweet generated more than 6,433 retweets and more than 2,993 favorites.

Likewise, Charmin's tweet about college football fans getting ready to “sheet their pants” achieved 1,470 retweets and 828 favorites.


These tweets support the trend that TV and social are becoming more interconnected. So it's important for marketers to have the right staff and resources in place so that they don't miss a game-winning opportunity.

Don't even watch this ad unless you have a box of tissues next to you. In P&G's touching “Pick Them Back Up" spot, four mothers of Olympic athletes discuss the role they play in helping their children achieve their dreams. The online film is the latest addition to the company's ongoing Thank You Mom campaign and the sequel to the film “Best Job,” which debuted at the London 2012 Olympic Games and earned more than 21 million views.

The brand debuted the two-minute film on January 5 in preparation for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and has since received more than 2.8 million views. The film, also done in partnership with Wieden + Kennedy, will be shown in more than 20 countries in the form of shorter TV spots. P&G is also promoting the film, as well as its “Raising an Olympian” video series, via its social and online channels.

Not only do the spots capture all of the emotions and national pride that go into the Olympics, but it also pulls on the heart strings of its target audience—making it relatable to moms everywhere and causing P&G to bring home the gold.

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