Monday, December 5, 2011

Vosges Chocolates: A Memorable Experience

Last summer, my team of IMC students had the privilege of analyzing Vosges' brand positioning.  We gave recommendations for their corporate gifts strategy.  What we found was that there only needed to be one brand association added to the existing brand equity: that you could still travel the world through chocolate, but that the journey should also be a memorable one.  From that one brand association grew a whole world of tactics.  We suggested everything from developing packaging with the company's story printed on the inner lid, to developing a scented ad for chocolate (similar to a perfume ad). 

We began by interviewing those that purchased corporate gifts, and then, based on those interviews, divided Vosges' consumer base into attitudinal segments.  Attitudinal segments are just what the sound like-- they are when you group your consumers by their behaviors rather than by their demographics.  What we discovered was that there were two large clusters in the consumer base--those that bought gifts because it was "all about me," and those that bought gifts that were "all about you."  Based on this discovery, we were able to make recommendations for industries to target.  For example, an "all about me" industry might be a quirky design firm, or a boutique advertising agency-- a company that wants to express its uniqueness through creative, handmade chocolates, and also support a small business.

Vosges Chocolates, a Chicago-based chocolatier, specializes in gourmet chocolates with novel ingredient combinations inspired by the travels of its founder.  Featuring expensive packaging and luxurious retail outlets, the chocoaltier has found its way from its humble beginnings in the founder's kitchen, into the aisles of Whole Foods and on the shelves of its own chocolate boutiques.  The brand is rich in associations, and has a free spirited, yoga loving persona.

By adding one brand association, you can readjust your positioning without reinventing the wheel.  You can add richness and dimension to your brand associations.  It was truly a memorable journey for us as well.

Hipstamatic and the Dali Art Museum: A Case Study in Fundraising

In 2010, the museum hired the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

and gave them the task of driving awareness and ticket sales for their museum’s new

building. The budget? $0. Undaunted, the agency set out to partner with the mobile

picture taking app Hipstamatic, which had won notoriety from such publications as The

New York Times for its usability and uniqueness. Hipstamatic created a premium add-

on to their app that developed the photos you took with your camera into fantastical

Dali-esque surreal paintings. Hipstamatic agreed to donate the proceeds of the $.99

download back to the Dali Museum. The agency then ran a social media contest for

the best photo, a contest that was judged by the film director and Dali aficionado John

Waters. 80,000 downloads and $50,000 in raised funds later, the museum was alive

with art lovers and tourists, and the agency was nominated for many awards.

By tapping into an already existing community, the Hipstamatic user base, the Dali Museum was able to drive awareness.  They used recognition rather than a cash drive to motivate their social media contest.  And they created a campaign that was relevant to their mission.  The mobile app not only offered a method of donation, but it offered insight into Dali’s work in and of itself.

With a little ingenuity, non-profits can provide something of tangible value in exchange for a donation, something that gives insight into their mission.  Technology is the most scalable form of fundraising, and e-philanthropy will be rooted in mobile’s future.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gamification - Make it fun, make them loyal

Knowledgeable, independent, and savvy – those are the characteristics of modern shoppers. They have more power to the market, more access to different channel also to different information, and more knowledge about the product they are interested in. The traditional outbound marketing, including TV commercial, print ads, trade show, cold calls, and direct mail, has less and less effect on consumers. They know what they are looking for, and they know the exact price that they will be willing to pay. Worst of all, they have become less and less loyal to your product. The halo effect of a brand has been decreasing dramatically in recent days. The marketers have spent more and more time and resource maintaining the relationship with their customers. The products have become commoditized across all categories. People tend to pay less attention to the brand and walk away easily with slight dissatisfaction.

How to maintain the heat of a campaign? How to let the customers be willing to tell you about their likes and dislikes, what’s more, to tell you what do they want from you as a brand?

There’s an answer for that: Gamification. Gamificaiton is not a trick that only drives people to play and walk away with nothing. If you play your card right, this could be an ultimate tool to engage with your customers. The reasons are as followed:

People love games, and they love playing it. Through gamification you would be able to create stickiness with them. Through the process of playing, the brand would be able to understand their preference and behavior toward the brand. What kind of shoe they would buy? What kind of clothes they would go with them? Why does she choose the boot instead of the flip-flop? All these answers can be found within a game. The more time they spend in a game, the more you would get to understand them

Additional touch point
Gamification also could bring virtual to reality. There are reasons why people would go onine and look for information they want – because they have that need. They would look for Kelly blue book because they are looking for a car, and they would browse different technology blog because they are interested in such information. If a brand could leverage all these at the right spot right time, it is highly possible that it can turn this into revenue. Such as if you put an coupon or a 20% off on the bottom of the clothes they just set up for their androids, they might just click it and make the purchase. The ROI would be extremely high.

Another very good benefits that going for Gamification is that they will create buzz for you and you might even go viral because of those users. They propagandize your brand for free! This WOM effect are the thing you can’t buy from advertisement.

In all, gamification is a very good way for marketers to leverage under this very competitive and sophisticated world. If you haven’t tried it, you’d better start it now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How close is close enough? Is it magical?

Facebook just reached privacy settlement with FTC (, and the settlement also requires that Facebook obtain periodic reviews of its privacy practices by an independent auditor for the next 20 years.
One of the biggest reasons that Facebook being so eyeball catching is that it successfully helps marketers define online segments clearly. We used to have a difficult time determining who the people exactly are behind those IDs, but now we can have a clear grasp idea about the target we would like to address to, what are their favorite foods, where they shop, and what kind of music they are listening to. The power of WOM would no longer be limited to regions; instead, it would reach out to the whole world and affect the behaviors globally. In addition, WOM has become so powerful because those comments are either from the people who have no direct benefit from doing so or from the friend you rely on most. Thanks to Facebook, we would be able to leverage the power of community to another level; thanks to Facebook, the information on the side can tell me the information of my favorite band; thanks to Facebook, we can find out whether our boyfriends/girlfriends are cheating on us.
Wait, cheating? Why would I want others, especially marketers, to know my relationship status? Why do I want them to know how many kids do I have or where do they go to school? Do I want them to know that I’m keeping a dog or a cat, or what do I have for breakfast?
Indeed, the overall trend of online community is growing and growing. They like to share life and whatever happens around them in every second. There is, however, another group of people that who tend to reveal less and less information online so they don’t have to worry about receiving those intrusive yet very relevant advertisements on the side of their page. In fact, they might not even bother looking at it. One of my friend did tell me that she felt creepy to see the wedding planner advertisement when she changed her relationship status, and she stopped to provide any personal information online ever since.
There are also other indicators suggesting that Facebook should reconsider how it approach to other advertisers and to its users. According to the campaign performance over 2009 and 2010, the average click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook ads in 2009 was 0.063% and 0.051% in 2010 — half as much as industry standard of .1%. The cost per click (CPC) was also $0.27 and $0.49 for those periods, respectively. This suggests that either the power of social community isn’t that dominating, or Facebook hasn’t found a right way to wave its magic wand to address it to both the advertisers or to the users.
What Facebook would need is to give full respect to its users and not to abuse its power of users information to advertisers, and figure out a better way to express the ads to increase its CTR in a way that its users won’t feel “creepy”. It can’t just run through database and feed those advertisers the segments with digital criteria. After all, it is people they are dealing with, not numbers.  

Do Not Try This at Home: “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” Campaign

Is the Old Spice man truly perfect? Is the campaign P&G launched in 2010 going to be impossible for Old Spice and other companies to match? As a senior Integrated Marketing Communications student at Northwestern University I am going to argue why it is going to take nearly a miracle for anyone to replicate the marketing campaign.
            Before continuing any further, I would like to describe the campaign quickly to refresh your memory as to what the Old Spice “Man Your Man Can Smell Like” campaign is. The campaign, run by Weiden+Kennedy, first aired in February 2010 during the Super Bowl. Videos hit youtube, Facebook, and other online media sources the following day and the campaign became viral almost immediately. The campaign ran for 6 months ending in a week where Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice man, shot 186 youtube responses to questions tweeted at Old Spice. Some of the people the Old Spice man responded to include Perez Hilton and Jessica Alba. In August of that year when the numbers came out, Proctor & Gamble, Old Spice’s parent company, must have been ecstatic. Old Spice body wash revenue had jumped 55% and had become the leading man’s body wash.
            So, why can’t this campaign be replicated? The answer lies with why it was so successful. The campaign marketed to women by having Isaiah Mustafa in a towel the entire commercial, while being funny enough that guys didn’t care he was just in a towel and flirting with their women through a screen. Proctor & Gamble found that in the 70% of households, women purchase the body wash. Naturally that was their target market. What they did brilliantly, though, was find the right actor to market to women. Isaiah Mustafa is an ex-professional NFL player. What makes him great is that he exuded friendliness and humor, he was not overly intimidating towards men and perfectly romantic with women, he had never been seen before and that allowed him to flourish without negative media in his past. He was perfect.
            The next reason I believe this campaign cannot be replicated is because Proctor & Gamble have a nearly infinite budget, and because of this were able to air the first commercial during the Super Bowl. I would assume that it is rare to find many mens body wash companies that have that kind of budget.
            The most important reason, in my opinion, is that it was relatable and actually connected with the audience. Everything about the commercial, from the actor to the humor to the ridiculous sequence of events throughout the commercial had people talking. In the final week of the campaign alone, the video responses received over 40 million views. Since then the number of views have grown and will continue to grow.  
            All these factors brought together make this the most perfect campaign of my time and make it impossible to replicate. It because of these reasons that Dairy Queen, with those obvious knock offs, will never have anywhere near the same success. The only reason why the new Heineken commercials are able to be successful is because they are combining aspects from “The Most Interesting Man in the World” with the Old Spice man and making the only audio in the commercial very catchy songs. So I urge other companies, please don't try to replicate this, it is nearly impossible.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Target Markets and Stereotypes: The Hidden Side Effects of Market Segmentation

By the end of this December, I will have completed my fourth course in Northwestern University’s Integrate Marketing Communications program. Throughout these four courses, one of the most prominent concepts that always seems to reappear is the idea of a “target market”. It is one most foundational principles of marketing, and hard to avoid in any marketing class. What is a target market? Most of the time, a target market is roughly defined as the group of people who are most likely to buy from you and the customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts at.

Thinking in terms of target markets is essential to market segmentation and would be foolish for any marketer to do without. But at some point, we have to wonder: Are we marketing to stereotypes of simply segmenting? Or both? By identifying a target market, we accept the idea that a certain group of people behave and think differently than the rest, and that the individuals within this group carry some significant degree of homogeneity. The concept of individuality is severely diminished by this mentality. Marketing aimed at a specific ethnic group is one of the worst offenders of crossing the line between stereotyping and segmentation. By trying to appeal to a Hispanic, Asian, African-American or any other ethnic market, marketers often resort to stereotypes when trying to create a message that will be most relevant to this group. Often times, these marketing efforts simply come off as being racist and even end up offending that group.

As marketers, we are trained to identify recurring patterns within characteristics and behaviors. Unfortunately, unless we choose to foolishly ignore these trends, resorting to some degree of stereotyping may just be a necessary evil to effective marketing. 

Kevin Yuen
Undergraduate IMC Student
Twitter: @kevinyuen650

Marketing in Community-Based Social Enterprise: An Opportunity for Impact

From July to August 2010, I had the opportunity to work with a team in Jinja, Uganda to help develop a social enterprise for an HIV/AIDS NGO. Since returning, my coursework in the undergraduate IMC program at Northwestern University has encouraged me to consider ways in which the program could make an even greater impact on the lives of its participants, given the application of basic marketing concepts. The opportunities I have identified could potentially be scaled to similar social enterprises across the African continent.

The Social Enterprise

In Uganda, grandmothers (jjajas)
often care for young children.
Photo: David McCoy
Ugandan society has a tradition of extended family support, which has resulted in many families adopting children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. However, grandmothers and widows (called ‘jjajas’) shoulder most of this burden, and stretch their limited means to care for these extended families. It is not uncommon for a grandmother to care for a large number of dependent grandchildren due to the death of the grandchildren’s parents (the jjaja’s children). My host NGO initiated an education-based social enterprise program designed to help supplement these grandmothers’ cash income. This program, dubbed the ‘Demonstration Farm,’ teaches participants how to turn their small home gardens into profitable enterprises using innovative agricultural techniques.

Problem: Production Orientation

While the grandmothers have seen moderate success thus far, the enterprises have been primarily production-oriented, rather than market-oriented. The Demonstration Farm exists to expose grandmothers to profitable, unconventional opportunities in commercial (versus subsistence) agriculture, but the selection of crops taught through the farm is not currently based on measurable market opportunities. For example, the Demonstration Farm may teach the grandmothers to grow beans, potatoes, and tomatoes, without determining whether legitimate market demand exists for these crops.

Pigs raised on the Demonstration Farm for commercial sale.
Photo: Faustine Ngarambe
Miller and Levin’s writings on Zambian microenterprises suggest a similar conundrum pervades other social businesses. Holding that most “take a passive role in marketing” and market research, many of the social enterprises they studied faced an “unplanned approach to production and sales.” Instead, the authors suggest a shift from a production orientation to a market-based orientation, “producing what can be sold instead of trying to sell what can be made.”

Miller and Levin’s recommendation evokes Peter Drucker’s philosophy that “the purpose ofbusiness is to create a customer." Unfortunately, if current trends in social enterprises persist, sellers may begin to see market saturation due to a customer-ignorant production orientation. If local NGOs recommend the same mix of crops and animals to all of their clients, competition among them may increase and prices (and profits) could subsequently fall. Because most grandmothers operate on extremely limited resources, it is imperative their activities yield the highest profit margins possible.

Opportunity: Market Orientation

Jjajas sort mushrooms as part of the Demonstration Farm social enterprise.
Photo: Faustine Ngarambe
As such, a paradigm shift in which the NGO actively and systematically studies the marketplace, in order to identify and locate unique market opportunities and advertising channels, could create a significant competitive advantage for the jjajas’ ventures and help to ensure their limited funds are used most effectively for the highest, most sustainable yield.

The process of researching pricing, evaluating distribution channels, surveying local consumers, and developing insights requires time and mobility that are not readily available to the jjajas. However, another demographic of the NGO’s clientele, the HIV positive secondary school students in the NGO’s peer support group, may have these resources at their disposal.

Method: Educational Program

If secondary school students involved in the NGO’s teenage support group were connected with an experienced marketing professional to learn basic market research and culturally-relevant IMC planning, they could assist the NGO in making strategic, market-based decisions in its recommendations of crops and animals to the jjajas using the Demonstration Farm.

An “Intro to IMC” course for teens would have the following objectives:
  1. Develop the skills and accreditation of local HIV positive secondary school students by developing transferable business skills, specifically in market research and IMC fundamentals.
  2. Assist the NGO in being effective in its Demonstration Farm social enterprise by gathering data and insights from local market conditions, identifying and measuring local passion and trigger markets, and making informed recommendations to the NGO on profitable agricultural opportunities.
  3. Assist grandmothers pursuing individual commercial enterprises to identify effective advertising and distribution channels and promotional tactics through which to sell their products. 
Recently-constructed facility for the jjajas' Demonstration Farm.
Photo: David McCoy
The HIV-positive teens will enroll in a weekly course, set to meet before or after their regular peer support meeting. Taught by an experienced marketing professional, the course will teach students fundamental marketing frameworks, and assign tasks that will challenge them to think critically and creatively about local and regional opportunities. Throughout the course, students will apply their learning by developing research-based recommendations for the NGO’s Demonstration Farm. Upon completion of the course, they will receive a research certification and an opportunity for profit-sharing if their insights prove fruitful.

While the results of these research activities may not be as empirically sound as a report composed by a costly third-party marketing consultant group, they will nevertheless contribute to the effectiveness of the Demonstration Farm project. Most importantly, the education of local young adults serves as capacity-building that provides long-term benefits to students and their communities.

Moving Forward

The opportunities identified here have implications for both marketers and social impact professionals. Socially-conscious marketers should consider ways in which their practiced expertise, and internalized understanding of a market-oriented business, could contribute to social enterprises attempting to lift communities out of poverty (for a few ideas to get started, see Philip Kotler’s work).

Meanwhile, social impact professionals should consider educating their staff on IMC frameworks to improve effectiveness of social enterprise programming. If resources are limited (as they were in this Ugandan NGO), consider the assets of your NGO’s constituents, and promote incentives for clients to gather data and contribute marketing strategies that will help your organization improve their lives.

Aaron Faucher (@aaron_faucher) is a senior at Northwestern University studying Social Policy and Integrated Marketing Communications.

How Congress could change internet marketing.

As a graduate student studying Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, I know that, when it comes to the internet, content is king. To use content online, a key issue that all marketers must understand is the law surrounding copyrights. It seemed that after Viacom sued YouTube for copyright infringement, and lost, that the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which give a web site immunity so long as it removes infringing content upon notification) provided an adequate framework to protect websites accused of distributing infringing content. However, the DMCA is apparently not enough for Congress, who is now considering the MPAA backed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). If passed, this bill could have huge implications not only for marketers, but just about anyone who uses the internet.

With the goal of blocking sites which traffic in copyrighted material, SOPA would give the attorney general the power to create a blacklist of sites which would be blocked by ISPs and search engines. However, the bill is very broadly written, and the legislation would essentially end the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.   All it would potentially take is one infringing file to take down an entire website – creating, as TechCrunch calls it, a “perfectly legal kill switch for any site on the internet.” Or, as Eric Schmidt put it, “[the bill] would require (Internet service providers) to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked (emphasis mine)." It should be noted that, from a technical standpoint, the legislation wouldn’t stop piracy.  As Nancy Scola pointed out in Salon “Hard-core pirates are simply going to traffic in IP addresses. For example, copy and paste “″ in your browser. The Pirate Bay should still pop up, and there’s nothing Google can do about it.”

This legislation could potentially have serious effects on internet marketing. The law not only creates a blacklist, but it gives it gives intellectual property rights holders the ability to ask payment providers and ad networks to stop working with infringing sites, which could cripple a site financially. Eliminating the safe harbor provisions would most likely end marketing campaigns which include user generated content (i.e. contests with videos), as the liability for the sites would be significantly higher. Additionally, in a recent study by Booz & Company, holding websites responsible for the content uploaded by users would reduce the pool of interested angel investors by 81%.
The legislation not only impacts companies, but it could impact consumers as well. The bill includes provisions which could consider posting any copyrighted material a felony. believes that, under the new laws, Justin Bieber could potentially face 5 years in prison for posting covers of other peoples’ music (which, though it happens, is not a fair use of copyrighted material). However, this would also affect people like Stephanie Lenz, whose use of Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” in a 29 second video of her kids dancing was determined to be fair use. As SOPA makes no provision for fair use, people like Lenz could find themselves in serious trouble.  

Marketers should all be watching this legislation very, very closely as it could strongly affect our business and make our jobs much more difficult. Yahoo! has already canceled its membership in the US Chamber of Commerce (a supporter of SOPA) over this, Google is threatening to follow suit, and there are a number of petitions on  attempting to stop SOPA. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

Marketing industry veteran Ed Jaffe is three weeks away from completing his master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. You can find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.   

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Google Management Not Active on “The Future of Their Company”

As a student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program, we discuss the importance of the growing capabilities in social media, yet we also keep a close eye on “High Reliability Organizations” and how they can best utilize the benefits of social media. For instance, social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are continuing to prosper in the business world due to their strong commitment to resilience and innovation. We may ask ourselves how it is that these organizations continue to generate new benefits for their users. For starters, social network companies are entering the minds of their users through the first-hand use of their services.

It was recently discovered that Google’s senior management were not active users on their own social network site, Google +. People immediately spotted the red flag and questioned Google’s confidence in their product. The even bigger concern is that Google views Google + as the future of the company, yet their lack of engagement makes us all question why they decided to enter the social networking sphere and why they believe it can be even remotely fundamental to Google’s future.
However, it is clear that Google + has been growing rapidly and has captured over 40 million users. It would be interesting to see how many users will make the switch to Google +, because brands, consumers, and leisurely users will always migrate to where the audience is. The biggest members of the audience, however, are either not interacting or present at all. Sure, Google + is becoming more and more popular, which means Google seems to be off to a good start. However, management being disconnected from the company’s products bodes poorly for the long term. 

There has already been signs of failure for Google + as a Google engineer publicly stated his doubts on the company being able to leverage Google + as one of their valuable assets. The engineer, Steve Yegge, claims Google is “trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.”

I am currently reading a book in my Public Relations course through the Northwestern Medill IMC program called Managing the Unexpected-Resilient Performance in the Age of Uncertainty. The authors expand on some of the principles High Reliability Organizations (HRO) should follow in order to remain high-performing entities. Google has failed in being “sensitive to operations”, one of the HRO principles. Being absent from the Google + community means management is not being attentive to the front line, where the real work gets done. Instead of trying to predict the needs of users and potential users, Google management should be heavily active on their site and experience the very services they promote and stand by. Leading by example is Rule #1 for any business, and to do this, Google must begin to show their commitment to social media.  

Margarita Lamas 
Undergraduate Northwestern IMC 
Twitter: @maggielamas1

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic’s Social Media Competition

Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer occupy the top three spots in the tennis ranks

The tennis playing Cerberus of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic has taken their competition and dominance of tennis outside of the white lines and into the world of social media marketing.  All three of these tennis greats use facebook, twitter, and have personal websites on which they compete for fans. Online fans are important because they will support the players’ sponsors, their charities, and themselves as they travel the world. This will improve the player’s brand values.
Here are some numbers that show their dominance in the online world. The triple-threat combines for a total of nearly 20,000,000 fans on facebook. The fourth most influential tennis player online, Andy Murray, has only 460,000 fans. As an aspiring tennis professional, a lifelong tennis fan, and a student of the Medill Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program at Northwestern University, I have particular interest and insight into the way in which Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic have managed to build their fan base and brand through the use of social media.
One way that these athletes connect on a personal level to their fans is through their pictures and videos. Rather than using the professional pictures one would find in a magazine, they upload pictures from their mobile phones, taken up close by themselves or their friends. Under the photos, they give personal, detailed, often funny descriptions of their daily life and entourage.  This makes fans feel that they are also part of the team, and have an intimate view of the life of their favorite player. The videos deliver the figurative and literal message that the fans are part of their intimate circle. For example, on November 1, 2009 Roger Federer posted this video in which he said directly to the camera:
Hey guys, its me again, after six weeks of no tournaments I’m playing again in Basel Switzerland, …where I used to be a ball boy…it’s been a long time, but here we go again. See you later guys, bye bye.”
 Rafael Nadal uploads similar style videos. Here’s a recent one.
Novak Djokovic gives fans a look at his jokester personality through his videos. Rather than talking directly to fans, they are often funny videos of him and his friends that would otherwise never be seen on T.V or at matches.  Here’s a link to these videos.
In addition to using videos and pictures, the three athletes can connect with fans and build their likeability through their words. For example, they can show good sportsmanship through congratulating another top player on a tournament win, or help another player promote a charity event through twitter. Last month, Andy Roddick’s agent passed away unexpectedly. Novak Djokovic’s tweet on October 20th read,    
@andyroddick Andy,we are all feeling sorry for your loss.Ken has always been a true entertainer and respectful person. Stay strong..
Although I’m sure such tweets from the players are heartfelt, don’t think they aren’t also aware that this increases their likeability among fans and in turn their brand value. Such tweets to other players, individuals, and organizations act as a form of self-promotion. Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal are all masters of self-promotion and marketing.
They can also use twitter or facebook for push marketing. Here was a tweet from Rafael Nadal promoting his “Drink Responsibly” campaign with Bacardi Rum: “Win a chance to serve me for real. Check out ‘Ace Rafa’”
A couple of interesting notes to make about tweets like this from Rafa. First, he shares a link to his facebook site in order to get fans on multiple platforms. Second, Rafa includes every tweet in both Spanish and English, so as not to alienate any group, especially his core fan base in Spain. Djokovic and Federer similarly link up their social sites and use language skillfully.
The three stars also link up their social network sites to their main, personal website in strategic ways. On November 11, 2011, for example, Djokovic sent out a tweet with a link to his site on which he wrote a letter to fans. It read,
Dear fans and friends, sadly i have to inform you that i have withdrawn from the further tournament. I have pushed myself to the limit by playing, and after the match yesterday my shoulder got worse. For this reason, i have to put my health first and withdraw even though my urges as a professional player are making me want to play until the last drop of energy. I am very sorry for all of you who bought tickets and wanted to come to watch me play. My season has been long and tiring, i played all of my matches at my highest level, and now my body is aching for recovery. Hoping for your understanding and support,
Rather than waiting for fans to read an article online about his withdrawal, Novak Djokovic wants to control the message as he would a backhand down-the line. Facebook, twitter, and personal websites give the triple-threat this control. In addition to being the head marketer for themselves, social media gives the trio the role of Public Relations specialist.  
For celebrities, getting fans (consumer) to follow them on multiple platforms is very important, as it builds brand value and allows celebrities the choice of distribution channel depending on the kind of message he/she is delivering.

Josh Graves
Undergraduate IMC
Follow me on Twitter @joshgraves4

Online viral marketing leads to paranormal success of the Paranormal Activity series

  Nowadays, online marketing has been the key factor of integrated marketing communications. Especially, thanks to the escalating popularity and influence of social media, online marketing is getting bigger and bigger power of utilizing word of mouth. 

 The Paranormal Activity (2007), was probably the most successful case of online viral marketing, especially when social media was just beginning to explode. As a mere $15,000 budget independent film, the movie was only screened in a horror film festival. 

 It took 2 years for Paramount to purchase the distribution right and actually decided to release the movie on theaters. However, the movie was likely to be fail, mainly because it's an independent film with no celebrities. In order to minimize the risk and find out the demand, Paramount made viewers to "demand" the movie to be screened in their town. If certain number of people demand the movie in a website called, then Paranormal Activity would be released. As a result, both people who loved the movie, and those who wanted to see the movie went online and spread the word. 

 Surprisingly, within a month, Paranormal Activity was expanded to nationwide release, from 13 college town release in initial stage. Thanks to the successful viral marketing, The film earned nearly $108 million at the U.S. box office and $194 million worldwide.

 Based on the enormous financial return from the first movie, the sequel came out in 2010. Interestingly, even though the film title was already proven to  have enough demand to be lucrative, marketers used the same viral marketing technique to promote Paranormal Activity 2 (2010). 

  Once again, people were encouraged to demand the movie to be screened in their town, by spreading the word through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. As a result of the marketing tactic, the sequel earned $84,752,907 in North America and a worldwide total of $177,512,032, which is slightly less than the first movie, but still generating a huge ROI.

  And this year, Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) was released. As the movie gets successful every year, the production cost increased to $5 million for the third one. Still, it is a very low budget in Hollywood. 

 Maintaining consistency, Paranormal Activity 3 has also used lots of viral marketing. The difference is that people now do not demand to have the movie screened in their city, but rather to have the movie released earlier than other parts of the world. And the campaign was targeted toward the entire world. The result was even more successful than predecessors with $102,619,000 in the United States and a worldwide total of $197,119,000.

 Overall, such paranormal success was possible thanks to the power of viral marketing. Would Paranormal Activity 4, if it comes out, follow the same path? Probably Yes, as it can increase the user engagement and can generate buzz with less effort than traditional marketing.

NU IMC certificate
Ian YS Lee