Adam Fisher
3rd October 2017 - 5 mins read
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etting people to listen to your story or message for 15 minutes to an hour is challenging when you think about how short our attention spans have become (just eight seconds according to recent research). But businesses are increasingly realising the power of podcasting.

Savvy brands are recognising that well produced Podcasts differentiate them from many of their competitors.

The most successful are those where products and services are subtly woven into the story the podact is telling rather than being pushed as a hard sell.

Here are some of our favourites:

 

InterContinental Hotels

The hospitality chain launched its podcast series exploring unique features about its hotels with the goal of tapping into a traveller’s passion for new discoveries.

For example, one episode revealed that deep within the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel’s basement there is a hidden tunnel which was used to transport wealthy travellers to and from Grand Central Station in the 1920s.

The 20-minute Stories of the InterContinental Life podcast is aimed at reigniting the guest’s passion for travel and intrigue in discovering new places. It is produced to inspire travellers to experience the world and create their own stories.

The podcasts were created as part of a global marketing campaign to drive engagement by connecting the InterContinental brand to what is relevant in culture.

There are now a series of videos to go alongside the podcasts to really bring the stories to life.

 

General Electric

This multinational company which operates in many sectors including aviation, Digital, Healthcare, Oil and Gas etc. launched its first podcast series, The Message, in October 2015 and garnered 4.4 million downloads.

The sci-fi podcast show managed to reach the No. 1 podcast spot on iTunes and fans called for the series to be made into a film.

It was a huge success with an average of 450,000 people tuning into each episode. When the podcast series ended the episodes were collectively listened to another 90,000 times.

A new series, LifeAfter was launched in 2016 and explored the question of what happens to our digital identity when we die, and the role AI can play in the grieving process.

The goal of the podcast series is to tell a really good story that touches on a theme that reflects GE’s work in science and technology.

It’s clear to see GE saw an opportunity in the story telling space and took it. They learned that quality generates an audience reaction and being clear on their objectives and not name dropping GE or GE products in every other word builds value and trust. Something that clearly brings listeners back again and again.

 

Tequila Avión

The Rich Friends: The Elevated Conversation podcast by Tequila Avión, the world’s best tequila firm, launched in 2016 in association with GQ associate editor Mark Anthony Green and The New Yorker nightlife editor Matthew Trammell.

The tequila firm’s podcast explores current affairs, music, lifestyle, art, culture and fashion.

Both men bring their own unique tastes to each episode with their experience in fashion and lifestyle magazines. The dynamic, enthusiastic and opinionated hosts make this podcast feel like you’re with them exploring the best of what ‘the city that never sleeps’ has to offer.

Tequila Avión’s forward thinking attitude combined with Matt and Mark Anthony’s cultural backgrounds makes this the perfect podcast partnership which has resulted in a unique piece of programming.

Topics are always discussed with a cocktail in hand and in any way the duo see fit. Founder of Tequila Avión, Ken Austin said “When we came in, we said, we’re willing to sponsor this thing, but I said to the guys, I don’t want to tell you what to say […] it was more about the audience and the listener versus a brand dictating anything”.

With 24 episodes under their belt, it seems the elevated conversation continues.

 

Slack

The Slack Variety Pack podcast launched in 2015 and is held among the gold standards of branded podcasts. This is down to the fact it understands its audience very well.

As a result, the company – a cloud based collaboration tools and services firm - has grown dramatically, predominantly due to word of mouth in Silicon Valley and other American workforces, and it is now slowly making its way across the pond.

The podcast drew in the ‘tech-savvy, young, curious, light-hearted’ with their episodes which ranged from ‘work, life and everything in between’.

The 20-40 minute long episodes that included work-life anecdotes and self-contained stories, as well as Slack’s signature quirky and curious sensibility personality, enabled the podcast listenership to grow with every episode.

With success like this, we can only assume that Slack will continue to create podcasts.

 

Shopify

‘Thank God it’s Monday’ is not something everyone utters as we walk into work (although we do, in case you are reading boss), but this is the title of Shopify’s podcast.

It was created for people who can’t wait for a new week to begin, targeted at ambitious innovators Shopify hoped to inspire listeners by telling success stories of like-minded entrepreneurs.

In addition to a very successful blog, Shopify created the podcast in order to capture a part of the growing podcast market. They also say it is a portable form of content which anyone can listen to wherever they are – many people prefer audio to text as a learning format.

By interviewing high-powered businesspeople including marketing guru Seth Godin, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes and serial start up entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk in 30-45 minute episodes Shopify creates quality content that people want to listen to.

“Mark Macdonald, Shopify’s content manager said: “We would much rather be the content than the advertising. We are creating something that people want to consume, rather than interrupting them with something they wish to ignore.”

 

 

At Thirty Seven, we offer content marketing and design services to ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures your content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement whether it is a podcast or blog post.

Marketing

7 viral campaigns that went wrong for all the wrong reasons

Adam Fisher 2nd October 2017 — 8 mins read
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big budget helps, great ideas are critical, but as some of the below companies found out some elements are simply outside of your control and can sometimes cause campaigns to go viral for all the wrong reasons…

 

Walkers Wave

In this campaign, fans were asked to tweet their selfies so they could feature in a short video clip in which Gary Lineker held a picture of their selfie and say “Thanks for joining the Walkers Wave and celebrating the UEFA Champions League Final.”

 However, this backfired and went viral in a way Walkers probably wished it hadn’t.

Walkers set up an automated tweet system meaning all images were automatically submitted to show in the picture frame.

There was seemingly no screening or filtration process.

This meant that when members of the public started to tweet in images of people who are famous for committing crimes, the campaign quickly started to go downhill.

 The campaign’s failure soon spread like wildfire through the Twittersphere and other media platforms due to the ease of sharing posts.

You can tell Walkers had good intentions and hoped the campaign would be original, convey emotions, spark interest and be easy to share.

Like any great campaign it did do this, just not in the intended way.

 

Pepsi’s Advert featuring Kendall Jenner

Pepsi faced huge backlash to an advert featuring Kendall Jenner where she was seen giving police a can of Pepsi on the front line of a protest.

The advert was meant to portray a message of peace, unity and understanding but instead was criticised for trivialising social justice demonstrations.

In the advert Kendall is seen giving a police officer a can of Pepsi, he then smiles at a fellow officer as protestors cheered. 

Backlash from the advert suggested that if protestors were kinder and gave police a drink, there would be no need for social justice demonstrations.

The public mocked the campaign with key influencers like Bernice King, Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter, tweeting a picture of her father with the caption:

Pepsi’s hope of creating a campaign relating to current political events obviously fell flat. It initially defended the advert saying it “reflects people from all walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony”.

Pepsi’s hope of creating a campaign relating to current political events obviously fell flat. It initially defended the advert saying it “reflects people from all walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony”.

However, the backlash continued to grow, and Jenner also faced criticisms with Eric Thomas, senior partner of Saga marketing posting on LinkedIn that “A Caucasian, blonde, classically beautiful, affluent, kid born into celebrity probably isn’t the person you need to represent struggle and civil unrest”

Pepsi finally withdrew the advert and apologised with the following statement:

 

Southern Rail – Let’s Strike Back

It’s not just food and drink based campaigns that can go wrong as Southern Rail found out when its Twitter campaign was derailed.

The company’s campaign asked its customers to challenge a Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) strikes on Twitter.

With the headline ‘Let’s Strike Back’, the company’s initial tweet asked customers to tell the union how the rail strikes make them feel with the hashtag #SouthernBackOnTrack

But perhaps not surprisingly given the operators reputation for late, cancelled and over-crowded trains, customers used the hashtag to lambast its service.

Quickly, Southern Rail lost control of the campaign with the public creating their own, more popular hashtags including #SouthernFail.

Soon, national media picked up on the Twitter storm generating more unfavourable headlines and comments for the company.

The company initially refused to apologise for the campaign or the poor services customers had received, saying its ‘aim was to get the debate going’.

However, a month later the deputy chief operating officer of Govia Thamesline Railway, the parent company of Southern Rail, said the adverts were a “mistake.”

It’s clear to see there was little debate around the topic but more a way of customers to vent their disappointment and even anger at the brand.

 

Amazon: The Man in the High Castle

Back in 2015, Amazon’s new show ‘The Man in the High Castle’ depicts a dystopian life in which Nazi Germany and Japan have control over the US after winning World War Two.

To promote the show, Amazon decided to advertise across New York City.

The company wrapped the subway seats, walls and ceilings of one train in a version of the American flag, replacing the stars with a German eagle and iron cross. They even created a stylised flag for the ‘new Japan’.

The campaign also involved having 260 posters across the subway station.

The advertisements were due to run for 2-3 weeks until early December but were pulled hours after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called Amazon to do so.

Bill de Blasio stated that the advertisements were “irresponsible and offensive to Word War II and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers”.

The lesson learnt: Historical events are still sensitive even in a dystopian world.

 

Coca Cola – GIF the Feeling

When Coca Cola changed their tag line from ‘Open Happiness’ to ‘Taste the Feeling’ Coke decided to celebrate the launch with the campaign ‘GIF the Feeling’.

The idea was that the public would be able to superimpose their sentiments on a pre-created GIF.

Coca Cola was smart and had thousands of words filtered so they couldn’t be included in the campaign including hell, fat, homosexuality, diabetes, all swear words, business, sex, drugs and more.

However the public, as menacing as they are, decided to get creative and create GIFs with the words which had not been filtered, including diarrhoea, capitalism, Benghazi and more.

It was soon clear to see Coca Cola had lost control and the public had hijacked the campaign.

In a statement, Coca Cola said: “Our intention was to invite consumers to share their feelings in a positive and uplifting way as they discover our new campaign. It is unfortunate that some people have chosen to use our campaign materials to do just the opposite” … “Their comments do not reflect the views of The Coca Cola Company”.

 

Protein World - Beach Body Ready

The supplement company’s weight loss advert featured a model in a bikini with the phrase ‘Are you beach body ready?’

It was displayed all over the UK and faced huge backlash for ‘body shaming’.

Watchdog reported the campaign received almost 400 complaints. Additionally, a protest was held in London’s Hyde Park and a Change.org petition gained more than 70,000 signatures.

The Advertising Standards Authority stated they received a range of complaints on issues including the ‘very slim, toned’ model which suggested that all other body shapes are inferior.

Protein World remained defensive and unapologetic during the backlash. They even invited the public to consider if they were in the shape they wanted to be and that the campaign doesn’t imply everyone should look like the model.

After much debate over the wording the ASA initially deemed the advert to not breach any UK advertising rules relating to harm and offence or responsible advertising.

Many of the public were upset with this result and continued to campaign against the ‘beach body’ image.

However, after some consideration ASA decided to ban the advert and ordered it to be removed.

Protein World continue to advertise with similar campaigns like ‘Think Small’.

 

Bud Light – Up For Whatever

In an effort to get everyone together for a good time, Budweiser launched their campaign ‘Up For Whatever’.

The beer company produced bottles with the following line printed on them, “The perfect beer for removing ‘No’ from your vocabulary for the night’.

This led to heavy criticism on social media with critics claiming it undermined the anti-rape “no means no” campaign in an effort to stop sexual assault.

It upset many consumers who claimed the beer’s messaging didn’t recognise that alcohol frequently plays a part in rape cases.

The initial release of the new bottles was supposedly designed to ‘inspire spontaneous fun’.

Soon after, Budweiser admitted they had ‘missed the mark’. It said: “We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behaviour”.

However, a longer statement was issued by owner Alexander Lambrecht who said: “The Bud Up For Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In the spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it.”

 

 

It’s clear to see that all of the mentioned campaigns had good intentions and never wanted to go viral for the wrong reasons but you can’t deny it did create conversations around their brand.

At Thirty Seven, we offer content marketing services and ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures our content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement for all the right reasons.

 

 

 

 

Adam Fisher
3rd October 2017 - 6 mins read