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It’s been a while!

I had to acknowledge this effort from a brand I know and love, Excedrin. Excedrin was the go-to choice for headaches in my household growing up, and so there is always a giant bottle of it in my home now.

I saw this Instagram post today and was intrigued. It’s Tan and Antoni from Queer Eye!

This is a brilliant idea. It makes complete sense to associate headaches with common triggers, and this particular choice of spokespeople is relevant and far-reaching. We all get headaches!

Here’s a look at the packaging on the Excedrin website:

Unfortunately handled was the page where you could sign up to receive a free sample of Excedrin Extra Strength with the limited-edition packaging. I filled out too many fields before finding out that they were apparently out of the free options.


The Excedrin team should have been ready to edit this page to alert visitors that they had run out of the giveaway items. It’s a miss in a day full of fun branding wins.

Which package would you pick if you had to choose the one that best fits you?

Here’s a news article covering the variety of content associated with this promotion.

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I’ve been using Ancestry.com for a number of years now, but with a basic membership that only gives me access to records from the United States.

I was excited to receive an email about free access to Irish records for St. Patrick’s Day, as I found out through my Ancestry DNA test that I am actually 39% Irish! Unfortunately, there was such a big miss with the rollout of this free access, and I was incredibly disappointed with it. The social promotion potential was completely blown.

From the email:

This is great, because the free access is helpful to those of us looking for Irish records, and also is a good way to offer a preview of the more expensive global membership. I click the “kiss me I’m 7% Irish” image because I am hoping I can get one of my own to share socially.

On the actual website, I’m shown another image, and encouraged to explore AncestryDNA. There is no social option here!

I would love nothing more than to upload a photo of myself and have an image created automatically that would show how Irish I am, and obviously, would be a great promotional tool for Ancestry.com.

Additionally, a one-time creation of a social image generator could be customized to feature any one of the major groups that your DNA result assigns you to. This could be used at any time, for anyone’s personal reasons, and then promoted around appropriate dates, like this promotion for St. Patrick’s Day.

From my own experience, I find that once people get into checking out their family histories, they become quickly obsessed. Even creating this little tool as a gateway for people to find their way to Ancestry.com would be a strong additional to their marketing and promotional plan.

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Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I just made up (I think) the word “edu-promotional” for this email from Photojojo, that is just too good. Take a look:

Why do I love this email?

  1. There’s no indication about buying the specific product until WAY down in the email, after the helpful content. There is a mention of a lens in step 8, but it isn’t even linked!
  2. Said content is actually useful.
  3. Said content is also humorous and fun.
  4. The button text is great, and not typical.
  5. The DISCLAIMER on the photo at the bottom, because someone is going to say something about it, so why not address it up front in a cute way.

Thumbs up to Photojojo for this email, it’s a winner!

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Missing the Mark #5 | LORAC Mega Pro Palette 2

by Jamie Sanford on October 6, 2015

To view all of my content about brand experience, please click here.

To read my Missing the Mark post about last year’s Mega Pro Palette, click here.

I was not surprised to see that LORAC was coming out with another Mega Pro Palette after last year’s sold out so quickly.

They did change the plan a bit, instead of dealing with unhappy customers on their own website, they announced that this palette would be sold exclusively through Ulta. As with every other palette that hits the market, I went ahead and checked in with online reviews from some of the YouTube beauty vloggers I follow (I watched this specific video), and also of course, read the Temptalia review. If you aren’t familiar, Temptalia is a massively popular beauty blog – I trust the content on this blog and if the reports come in on products not being that great, I’m not buying it.

Here’s where the mark was missed. This palette was sent to Temptalia for review before it was released. As a general way to promote your new palette coming out, this is a great idea. However, if the PR people at LORAC were familiar with the in-depth nature of the posts on Temptalia, they should have expected this focus on the price/value situation.

Worth repeating is that this year’s palette contains 0.45 oz., whereas last year’s palette contained 0.62 oz. (the price is the same on both palettes); visually, they appear to be the same size, and the pans still line-up, so I can only guess that the pans themselves are shallower or somehow they tweaked the formula to make it fill the same volume with less product. I was surprised to see such a noticeable difference in quantity, given that they otherwise appear to be the same size.

This is disconcerting, especially since the palettes look identical in terms of product size. On every single palette review that gets posted, Temptalia provides information on how much you are paying per ounce of makeup, so of course there’s going to be a mention about the amount of product dropping so much when the price has stayed the same.

This information, combined with the swatches and overall lukewarm review of the product from xsparkage on YouTube, and I wasn’t interested in this palette any more.

But this isn’t the end of this. When I went back to Temptalia today to pick up the link to use in this post, I noticed the following addition:

Updated 10/5 at 8AM PST: LORAC PR emailed me with the following information: “Similar to all of the brand’s PRO palettes, the shadows in this new one have the same base formulations, pan size/depth and shadow volume. However, the difference in weight is due to the actual weight of the shadow pigment, which varies based on light or darkness of the specific color.”

What a total miss! The Temptalia blog post went up on Sunday, September 27th, and the update was not posted until October 5th. I’m going to assume that Christine from Temptalia would have posted this information as soon as she saw the email from LORAC, which says to me that it took them a week to notice that their product was being questioned. Their answer seems legitimate to me, so why didn’t they think of this to begin with? If you’re going to work with bloggers as a way to get information about your product out there, you need to also be familiar enough with said blogger and their content so that you are responsible for making those collaborations successful. That means knowing enough about their style and format to make sure that your brand and product doesn’t get potentially ruined because you failed to communicate properly.

I can promise you that many readers of Temptalia read that review and certainly didn’t go back to check and see if any more information about the product quantity had emerged. I even decided to go to LORAC’s Twitter to see if they had clarified this point, and they haven’t mentioned it at all.

I understand that a decision had to be made.

  • Do we post publicly about this, and tell all of our fans that there is less weight to the product and hope that it doesn’t dissuade anyone from purchasing?
  • Do we send an update to Temptalia, and randomly hope that the large number of site visitors re-read blog posts that went up a week ago?

I guess the answer is B.

While I was studying marketing in school, something that came up a lot was to work through scenarios when planning PR and advertising. This is the exact sort of thing that should come up and be addressed before anyone can say anything about the change to the palette from last year. It seems that LORAC hasn’t quite grasped this yet.

The Mega Pro 2 Palette is not sold out, and is available at Ulta.

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IKEA bookbook(tm) | Brand Experience Feature

by Jamie Sanford on September 4, 2014

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This is a Brand Experience feature today – I was sent this video by a colleague and was just super entertained and loved it so much. Charming and brilliant and making a catalog into something fun.

Good job IKEA! (Or, IKEA’s ad agency.)

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