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The problem with product placements — TVB sitcom Come Home Love: Lo and Behold

Yue Hang LAW

Image retrieved from encoretvb.com

Image retrieved from encoretvb.com

Image retrieved from encoretvb.com

Nowadays, the freedom and variety offered by technology have given consumers more control over what they choose to view and when to view it. As such, this limits the reach of commercial advertising, prompting marketers to resort to other methods of reaching their target audience. One tactic commonly used by brands and marketers is product placement, also known as embedded marketing, a marketing tactic used by companies that serves to integrate their brands or products into a non-advertising production to help gain recognition for their brands.

The TVB sitcom:  Come Home Love: Lo and Behold many attempts of product placement throughout the show

The TVB sitcom: Come Home Love: Lo and Behold many attempts of product placement throughout the show

The TVB sitcom:  Come Home Love: Lo and Behold many attempts of product placement throughout the show (Image retrieved from am730.com.hk)

The immediate benefit of this strategy is that audio and visual cues integrated into the media productions means that consumers are unable to avoid seeing the advertisement as the product is an integrated part of the show. Contrariwise, this means that consumers could become easily annoyed by product placements, and become in some more sensitive towards them.

Lo and Behold Characters using the services of the newly opened Green Community recycling centre (Image retrieved from the source)

Lo and Behold Characters using the services of the newly opened Green Community recycling centre (Image retrieved from the source)

Lo and Behold Characters using the services of the newly opened Green Community recycling centre (Image retrieved from the source)

This problem can be illustrated by one of the Hong Kong TVB sitcoms; Come Home Love: Lo and Behold. As one of TVB’s longest running and most popular sitcoms, the show has amassed the sponsorship of many brands to feature their products as part of the show. A recent episode featured a collaboration with the Environmental Protection Department on its “green community” recycling project, as the main characters, while discussing their tactics to outwit their bosses on a crazy one-minute sale at home, sent its youngsters downstairs to recycle their used items at the newly opened recycling plant. Upon airing, viewer reactions to the episodes were mixed- From praising the show’s ingenuity to introduce important social facilities to the public through such a direct method, to criticism over the product placement’s misalignment with the plot. That said, the episode had ultimately achieved its purpose, as viewer interest over the topic has sparked conversations following its release.

The latest Lo and Behold episode sparked reviews of distaste from netizens (Image retrieved from the SkyPost)

The latest Lo and Behold episode sparked reviews of distaste from netizens (Image retrieved from the SkyPost)

The latest Lo and Behold episode sparked reviews of distaste from netizens (Image retrieved from the SkyPost)

Riding on the success of their previous episode, two months later, the sitcom released another episode centred on promoting social messages from the government, from parodies encouraging citizens to take the COVID vaccine, to characters overtly praising the newly improved government-run ID collection point. Unlike previous forms of product placement in this sitcom which appeared discreetly and unobtrusive to the storyline, netizens were unimpressed with how the sitcom have so blatantly ruin their storyline by inserting  numerous ads, calling it distasteful and rallying others to boycott the show.

Comments from netizens (Image retrieved from the SkyPost)

Comments from netizens (Image retrieved from the SkyPost)

Comments from netizens (Image retrieved from the SkyPost)

The difficulty of finding the perfect balance is multiplied for product placements advocating social issues, because of the sheer complexity of discreetly presenting the issue whilst ensuring its key message aligns with the content of the media. Given that consumers are becoming more sensitive to the presence of product placement in social media, they are more likely to distrust the messages conveyed in product placement upon realisation of endorsement.

It is imperative that marketers should find the thin balance between effectively conveying the brand’s message whilst simultaneously not appearing too obtrusive to the production’s original purpose.

 

References:

[1] “Lo and Behold episode 1110”, extracted from
https://www.mytvsuper.com/en/home/cp_highlightscp/loandbehold_110561/590281?entry=seo

[2] “Lo and Behold episode 1171”, extracted from
https://www.mytvsuper.com/en/home/cp_highlightscp/loandbehold_110561/603674?entry=seo

[3] “《愛回家》劇情狂插入政府資訊觀眾吃不消 連林秀怡客串角色都叫「易苗」”, extracted from
https://skypost.ulifestyle.com.hk/article/2895954/%E3%80%8A%E6%84%9B%E5%9B%9E%E5%AE%B6%E3%80%8B%E5%8A%87%E6%83%85%E7%8B%82%E6%8F%92%E5%85%A5%E6%94%BF%E5%BA%9C%E8%B3%87%E8%A8%8A%E8%A7%80%E7%9C%BE%E5%90%83%E4%B8%8D%E6%B6%88%20%E9%80%A3%E6%9E%97%E7%A7%80%E6%80%A1%E5%AE%A2%E4%B8%B2%E8%A7%92%E8%89%B2%E9%83%BD%E5%8F%AB%E3%80%8C%E6%98%93%E8%8B%97%E3%80%8D

[4] “親子王國: 今晚愛回家問題:請問講環保回收係乜名?”, extracted from
https://www.baby-kingdom.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=23414796&extra=page%3D1

[5] “Product Placement: Some Benefits and Weaknesses”, extracted from
https://ybeat.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/product-placement-some-benefits-and-weaknesses/

[6] “GREEN @ COMMUNITY”, extracted from
https://www.wastereduction.gov.hk/en/community/crn_intro.htm

[7] “When Product Placement Goes Wrong”, extracted from
https://daily.jstor.org/when-product-placement-goes-wrong/

[8] “am730: 開心速遞瘋狂賣廣告 網民︰改名叫愛客戶啦”, extracted from https://www.am730.com.hk/news/%E5%A8%9B%E6%A8%82/%E9%96%8B%E5%BF%83%E9%80%9F%E9%81%9E%E7%98%8B%E7%8B%82%E8%B3%A3%E5%BB%A3%E5%91%8A-%E7%B6%B2%E6%B0%91%EF%B8%B0%E6%94%B9%E5%90%8D%E5%8F%AB%E6%84%9B%E5%AE%A2%E6%88%B6%E5%95%A6-154965

 

 

 

 

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Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

Vika Zhang

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

The beginning of 2020 was not easy for everyone with the outbreak of pandemic, especially in Hubei Province, mainland China. There was no doubt that the front-line medical workers were the most burdened ones at that time,  as they had to work long shifts while facing the high-risk of getting infected.

While the donation of medical supplies such as protective clothing was encouraged by the whole society, there was another problem for female medical workers. The supply of feminine hygiene products fell short of its demand. To handle their biological needs, female medical workers were not able to use pads and often used napkin as substitute, which might lead to infection in their urinary system.

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

LIANG Yu, A girl from Shanghai noticed the problem and decided to offer a hand. She launched the campaign called “Stand by Her” (姐妹戰疫安心計劃), which aimed to provide these female medical workers not only with female hygiene products, but also mental support through this hard time. The volunteer team was divided into nine groups of different work and they collaborated so well.

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

Divided into nine groups, the volunteer teams visited hospitals in Hubei Province and donated various hygiene products. The donation included lady pants and disposable underwear. Not only did the public helped raise money to buy the supplies, some feminine hygiene brands also donated their products to the hospitals. There were also local volunteers helping to deliver the supplies because of the transportation restriction in Hubei.

As a result, the donation has helped more than 80 thousand female medical workers and this campaign was reported by more than 50 news media.

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

Why is “Stand by Her” so touchable and successful?

As a campaign, “Stand by Her” was successful and touchable. There are a few things we can learn from this case.

  1. The problem was noticed and identified during the start of a humanitarian issue
  2. Teamwork is of vital importance, and during the pandemic time, collaboration is even more necessary when congregations were discouraged.
  3. As public fundraiser is the main way to get donation, the organizer should be reputable and trustworthy in order to gain the best results
  4. Their (those female medical workers and the volunteers) stories during the pandemic were recorded in detail and has touched so many people, which became a main persuasive factor

 

As for the limitations, they were not able to provide other medical supplies and the communication with the government was not that sufficient. Although there were also some limitations of the campaign, it was still memorable and impressive.

 

Reference:

《姐妹戰疫安心行動經驗手冊》
梁鈺Stacey新浪微博 https://weibo.com/u/1306934677
一場由女性發起的戰疫 https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/6lYNbuoHqsGMyQ-hHkFXFQ
澎湃新聞 https://m.weibo.cn/status/4473088017801211?

 

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Saving the world’s paradises – Corona and the plastic pandemic

Wong Wing Yan Viann

 

Have you ever thought of buying products with your daily waste?

Since 2019, global leading beer brand Corona, has partnered with Parley for the Oceans, an environmental organization, to celebrate the World Oceans Week. Noticing that around 8 million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the oceans each year (National Geographic, 2019), together they launched ‘Pay With Plastic’, a purpose-driven campaign dedicated to protect the world’s aqua paradises (Ellman, 2019).

Saving the world’s paradises - Corona and the plastic pandemic

Saving the world’s paradises – Corona and the plastic pandemic

The campaign provided consumers with various activities to be part of the initiative, all for a good cause. First, people are encouraged to trade plastic waste for a new brew, where geo-targeted interactive maps are displayed around cities to guide people to the nearest recycling machine for the exchange (Yu, 2020). Users may trade three plastic bottles for a bottle of Corona beer. Secondly, a limited edition package made of upcycled materials is designed – for every package sold, one square meter of a beach will be cleaned up. Meanwhile, consumers can sign up to take a role in the clean-up too. Through these activities, the campaign demonstrated Corona’s strong commitment to fight against plastic pollution.

Saving the world’s paradises - Corona and the plastic pandemic

Saving the world’s paradises – Corona and the plastic pandemic

By the end of 2020, the campaign has already collaborated with over 25,000 volunteers, where 537 beaches, a total of 3 million square meters in 23 countries, have been cleaned (Yu, 2020). It also engaged with various stakeholders from nine countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Spain, to participate in the action (Christe, 2019).

Saving the world’s paradises - Corona and the plastic pandemic

Saving the world’s paradises – Corona and the plastic pandemic

The campaign has created a buzz towards environmental and social issues by utilizing low-cost yet impactful guerrilla marketing tactics, such as posting huge posters and placing recycle machines around cities. This reinforces the word-of-mouth effect and its brand image, which also aligns with its beach-friendly brand identity.

Saving the world’s paradises - Corona and the plastic pandemic

Saving the world’s paradises – Corona and the plastic pandemic

Besides being successful in raising awareness, the campaign has connected Corona with its audiences, allowing them to be part of the campaign. As a purpose-driven campaign, it tapped into consumers’ concerns and engaged people who shared the same value, which helped the brand to reach a broader audience. It can be seen that Corona differentiates from a business-focused brand like some of its competitors; instead, it positions itself as a value-driven and relatable brand (Chiste, 2019).

Interestingly, such marketing strategy is especially effective in targeting Gen Z. According to a survey done by GlobeScan (2020), around 60% of the Gen Z respondents mentioned that they prefer to work for and consume products from a company that is socially and environmentally responsible. Hence, this campaign further builds a loyal relationship between Corona and potential Gen Z consumers, bringing benefits in the long run.

 

‘Pay With Plastic’ is still an ongoing project where it does not only embrace sustainability but also incentivizes and educates customers to achieve the social mission together through effective and innovative activities. Corona’s bona fides and continuous effort towards environmental issues will definitely create a ripple effect of positive changes to the world, where we all belong to.

 

 

 

 

References 

Christe, D. (2019). Corona lets beer drinkers pay with plastic waste for World Oceans Day. Retrieved from https://www.marketingdive.com/news/corona-lets-beer-drinkers-pay-with-plastic-waste-for-world-oceans-day/556517/

Corona Swaps Sales for Plastic During World Oceans Week as Part of Mission to Protect Paradise with Parley. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190604006171/en/Corona-Swaps-Sales-Plastic-World-Oceans-Week

 

Fisk, P. (2019). Pay With Plastic … Corona teams up with Parley to let you pay for your beer with plastic waste – GeniusWorks. Retrieved from https://www.thegeniusworks.com/2019/06/pay-with-plastic-corona-teams-up-with-parley-to-let-you-pay-for-your-beer-with-plastic-waste/

 

Radically Better Future: The Next Gen Reckoning Report. (2020). Retrieved from https://globescan.com/radically-better-future-next-gen-reckoning-report/

Yu, K. (2020). The Good Corona: Find out how this brand inspired consumers to make a positive change! [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing] – Valens Research. Retrieved from https://www.valens-research.com/dynamic-marketing-communique/the-good-corona-find-out-how-this-brand-inspired-consumers-to-make-a-positive-change-fridays-gorillas-of-guerrilla-marketing/

 

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HomelessFonts: A Meaningful Campaign That Turns the Homeless to Artist Under Low Budget

Li Pui Ching, Venus

Who would have imagined that words written by a homeless person could be turned into fonts that are sold online? Arrels Foundation, which supports 1,600 homeless people in Barcelona, collaborated with advertising agency The Cyranos McCann to create this creative and meaningful campaign, winning applauses from netizens and media around the world. Initiated in 2014, the “HomelessFonts” Campaign allows people to buy typefaces created by homeless people on its website, aiming to raise awareness of homelessness and give a sense of worth and significance to its participants, many of whom have given up hope in their lives (Homeless Fonts, 2014).

The 3-minute promotional video[1] has conveyed a clear message, “Every human being’s writing is unique, yet the homeless write signs that no-one wants to see”. The homeless people’s writing on their cardboards were perceived as miserable symbols towards them; but after joining the “HomelessFonts” campaign, their writing has turned into a powerful tool that can change their lives. The homeless people were asked to participate in a calligraphy workshop and their writings were turned to functional fonts. Individuals and brands could then buy their fonts at homelessfont.org to use the typefaces for design and advertising purpose. Not surprisingly, the innovative execution has led to excellent results. “HomelessFonts got over 30,000 downloads, 200,000 visits in the first week from 170 different countries and 37% more funds raised,” said Marc Blanco, the campaign planner (ADC Global, 2015). It even won a bronze prize in the Integrated Campaign category of Clio Awards 2015.

Screencapture of Homeless Fonts Promotion Video

Screencapture of Homeless Fonts Promotion Video

Screencapture of Homeless Fonts Promotion Video

Valonga olive oil bottle with Homeless Font

Valonga olive oil bottle with Homeless Font

Valonga olive oil bottle with Homeless Font

With such overwhelming results, people might think that the campaign is a huge production. In fact, “HomelessFonts” does not involve any media investment and celebrity endorsement. The soul of the campaign, homeless people, actually worked as volunteers, but of course they are benefited from the money raised. Also, the major production cost only included agency fee, video production fee and website set-up cost. There are definitely some important take-aways from this low-budget campaign.

Firstly, “HomelessFonts” identifies the audience and the homeless’ true needs. The planners have noticed an opportunity for homeless handwriting in the market as brand humanization is becoming more common. On one hand, buying typefaces created by homeless people could be considered as an action to display corporate social responsibility, which in turn improves brand reputation (Kelley, Hemphill & Thams, 2019). On the other hand, Arrels Foundation has understood that many homeless people have low sense of self-worth and are attached to negative labels. By teaching them to turn their skills into money will bring more social impact than just giving them money

Secondly, the campaign demonstrates excellent storytelling. Arrels Foundation has turned an otherwise overlooked medium – the cardboard sign-  to unique, personal expressions in the promotional video (Rizzo, 2014). Before purchasing the typefaces, customers can also read the font owner’s personal story, enhancing emotional touch on the product. Storytelling is definitely what fundraising campaigns should work on if they aim for effective awareness enhancement and perception change.

Anne Maria’s Font at HomelessFonts.org

Anne Maria’s Font at HomelessFonts.org

Anne Maria’s Font at HomelessFonts.org

Anne Maria’s Personal Story at HomelessFonts.org

Anne Maria’s Personal Story at HomelessFonts.org

Anne Maria’s Personal Story at HomelessFonts.org

Last but not least, there are some learnings for low-budget social campaigns:

  1. Be creative: that’s how you can earn free press coverage.
  2. Go for digital: digital marketing is a low-cost and highly sharable way to connect with audience.
  3. Try to target big brands: big brands need great CSR ideas too.
  4. Find volunteers: KOL is not a must. Suitable volunteers can make great social impact too.

 

To sum up,being small does not stop “HomelessFonts” from making a big effect on the issue of homelessness. “HomelessFonts” is definitely a creative way to challenge the public’s perception of homeless people.

 

Reference

 

ADC Global. (2015). The Homeless Create Workable Fonts. ADCGlobal.org. Retrieved from http://adcglobal.org/behind-the-cube-homeless-fonts/

 

Homeless Fonts. (2014). Arrels presents Homeless.org, a website selling fonts created by homeless people. HomelessFonts.org. Retreived from https://www.homelessfonts.org/press/

 

Kelley, Keith James, Hemphill, Thomas A, & Thams, Yannick. (2019). Corporate social responsibility, country reputation and corporate reputation. Multinational Business Review, 27(2), 178-197.

 

Ricco, Marica. (2014). Homeless Fonts: Impact, Story, Design. LinkedIn. Retreived from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140729235343-61421567-homeless-fonts-impact-story-design/

 

[1] HOMELESSFONTS.org YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhT63AB_wsc

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Why is it crucial for commercial organizations to develop social missions?

To Lok Ching

Why is it crucial for commercial organizations to develop social missions?

Why is it crucial for commercial organizations to develop social missions?

When it comes to marketing social missions and impact, we tend to associate them with non-profits or public sector agencies run one of their largest sustainability initiatives – Run For The Oceans. Their brand reputation to effectively educate and encourage participation, raising awareness on specific social issues.

Since 2015, Adidas produce sportswear using plastic waste, collected from marine environments and coastal communities (Runtastic, 2019). They have then created the global movement Run For The Oceans, organized in both 2018 and 2019. For every 1km run between June 8 and 16, Adidas will donate $1 to the Parley Ocean School, an organization that educates young people and their families about what they can do to protect the oceans, achieving long-term behavioural changes. Adidas also commits to eliminate the use of virgin polyester in all its products by 2024 (Adidas, 2019).

Adidas x Parley Sportswear (Parley, 2020)

Adidas x Parley Sportswear (Parley, 2020)

Adidas x Parley Sportswear (Parley, 2020) 

Run For The Oceans 2019 was particularly remarkable, as it uses the power of athletes, celebrities and running crews to ‘trash talk’ and influence the world to take action through social media. It attracted 2.2 million runners across 194 countries to contribute (Adidas Runtastic Team, 2019a), suggesting that it successfully gained attention from various global communities and how everyone is responsible for fighting against marine plastic pollution if we want a better future for our environment.

 

Adidas ambassadors David Beckham, Karlie Kloss, Mo Salah help promote Run For The Oceans and marine plastic pollution (Bullion Productions, 2019)

Adidas ambassadors David Beckham, Karlie Kloss, Mo Salah help promote Run For The Oceans and marine plastic pollution (Bullion Productions, 2019)

Adidas ambassadors David Beckham, Karlie Kloss, Mo Salah help promote Run For The Oceans and marine plastic pollution (Bullion Productions, 2019)

Many more organizations have committed to social missions over the last decade. According to a study by Deloitte, millennials want business leaders to be proactive about making positive contributions to society (Deloitte, 2018), and this is critical since they are now the generation moving through their prime spending years (Morgan Stanley, 2019). Especially for brands like Adidas, they have to persuade consumers that they are contributing to certain causes, instead of only focusing on profits. It increases consumers’ willingness to buy from your company when they know their purchase can help make a difference (The Wharton School, 2019).

On the other hand, leading brands can make good use of their reputation to create significant impacts. The Run For The Oceans initiative received over 24 million views, 8 million social media engagements and exceeded Adidas KPI’s by 240% (This is Lore, n.d.). In addition, Adidas hosted three live events in different countries and made them digitally accessible to individuals around the globe (Adidas Runtastic Team, 2019b), which enhances the level of participation. This shows how running – a simple sport can unite many supporters of Adidas, allowing them to raise awareness and advocate for the issue of marine pollution.

Social missions will reach further when organizations, such as Adidas promote issues that require the attention of everyone in society. It emphasizes the need for them to get involved, and tell the public that they will commit and contribute to achieving those goals together.

 

References

 

Adidas Runtastic Team. (2019a, June 27). Run For The Oceans 2019 – Fighting Marine Plastic Pollution Together. https://www.runtastic.com/blog/en/run-for-the-oceansrecap/#:~:text=Run%20For%20The%20Oceans%202019%20%E2%80%93%20Fighting %20Marine%20Plastic%20Pollution%20Together,cause%3A%20fighting%20marine% 20plastic%20pollution!

Adidas Runtastic Team. (2019b, May 27). Run For The Oceans: Join Us To Fight Marine Plastic Pollution. adidas Runtastic Blog. https://www.runtastic.com/blog/en/run-fortheoceans/#:~:text=adidas%20will%20also%20host%20three,June%208%2C%20World% 20Oceans%20Day.

Adidas. (2019, June). The oceans: Death by plastic. https://www.adidas.com/us/blog/361051.

Bullion Productions. (2019, July 7). Beckham is running for the oceans IN ADIDAS Social Campaign: LBBOnline. https://www.lbbonline.com/news/beckham-is-running-forthe-oceans-in-adidas-social-campaign.

Deloitte. (2018). 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/AboutDeloitte/gx-2018-millennial-survey-report.pdf. Morgan Stanley. (2019, August 16). How a ‘Youth Boom’ Could Shake Up Spending Trends.

Morgan Stanley. https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/gen-z-millennials-set-forconsumer-spending-increases.

Parley. (2020, June 30). ADIDAS X PARLEY. PARLEY. https://www.parley.tv/updates/adidasxparley. 5

Runtastic. (2019, May 28). Adidas announces next phase in the fight for the oceans with Upscaled commitment to the PARLEY ocean school program. https://www.runtastic.com/mediacenter/en/20190528-en-run-for-the-oceans2019/.

This is Lore. Run for the oceans. https://thisislore.com/work/rfto.

The Wharton School. (2019, December 18). Incorporating a Social Mission into Your Company. Wharton Online. https://online.wharton.upenn.edu/uncategorized/incorporating-a-social-missioninto-your-company/

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#StopHateforProfit: Facebook Ads Boycott

#StopHateforProfit: Facebook Ads Boycott

#StopHateforProfit: Facebook Ads Boycott

The ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ social campaign was initiated by a number of anti-discrimination and civil rights organizations in the United States, such as NAACP, Free Press, Color of Change, Anti-Defamation League, etc. They encouraged companies, non-profit organizations and advertising agencies to suspend the placement of Facebook ads in July 2020, forcing Facebook to face up to the spread of hate, discrimination, racism, antisemitism, and false information on social platforms (Stop Hate for Profit, 2020).

In May 2020, George Floyd, a black American man, was killed by a white police officer. The incident triggered a wave of anti-racism demonstrations. U.S. President Donald Trump wrote “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” in a post on social media in response to the protest. Afterwards, Twitter hid his post on the grounds of “promoting violence,” but Facebook did not take any action. In addition, the U.S. presidential election was being held at that period, so these non-profit organizations jointly launched this campaign to ask Facebook to solve the problem.

The campaign was carried out with the support of more than 1,200 organizations and innumerable consumers, including many large companies such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Microsoft, Levi’s, Ford Motor, The North Face, Ben & Jerry’s, etc. Non-U.S. companies such as Adidas, PlayStation and InterContinental Hotels Group have also joined the campaign. The British company Unilever even announced that it will boycott Facebook for at least three months until the U.S. presidential election.

#StopHateforProfit: Facebook Ads Boycott

#StopHateforProfit: Facebook Ads Boycott

In the past, companies, non-profit organizations and advertising agencies have relied heavily on social media for promotion since they have a huge number of users. According to Statista, Facebook’s revenue has grown from $17.9 billion in 2015 to $86 billion in 2020, and most of the profits come from advertising revenue (Statista, 2021). But in 2020, the social networking giant Facebook, which has 2.5 billion monthly active users, has been boycotted in turn. It is mainly because there are many alternative platforms, such as YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, etc. For example, after Disney participated in the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign, its advertising expenditure on Amazon increased by more than 43 times (Marketing Charts, 2020).

At the same time, it can be seen from this social campaign that companies and non-profit organizations around the world have become more sensitive to social issues, avoiding damage to corporate images. They even made statements on some social issues to gain more support from the public. Organizations supporting social campaigns are a way of reaching consumers. According to a survey of 420 American consumers, 75% would support a company that has the same values as themselves because of the strong emotional connection (Clutch, 2019).

To conclude, through the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ social campaign, we can see that despite being in the lead in advertising, Facebook is not invincible. In the future, more and more organizations will speak up on social issues to gain more people’s support.

 

Reference

Stop Hate for Profit. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.stophateforprofit.org

  1. Tankovska. (2021, February 5). Facebook: annual revenue and net income 2007-
  2. Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/277229/facebooks-annual-revenue-and-net-income/

 

Marketing Charts. (2020, September 17). Disney Was A Top Ad Spender on Facebook

in H1 Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/277229/facebooks-annual-revenue-and-net-income/

Toby A. Cox. (2019, January 7). How Corporate Social Responsibility Influences

Buying Decisions. Clutch. Retrieved from https://clutch.co/pr-firms/resources/how-corporate-social-responsibility-influences-buying-decisions

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The power of paws: Pedigree’s #Dogs For Dogs campaign comes to the aid of shelter dogs’ lives

Lee Sin Man, Sharon

Have you ever imagined you can conduct a successful marketing campaign without spending a large sum of money? The budget of a campaign should not dictate its success, but rather how it resonates with its target audience. In 2018, leading dog food manufacturer Pedigree had the brilliant idea to “borrow” the influence of famous Instagram dogs to boost adoption rates for the less fortunate canines in shelters.

Every year there are 10 thousand stray pets found in France. Meanwhile, pet influencers go viral to engage ten times as many users as their human counterparts (Adweek,2016). These dogs in the shelter look like pet influencers, but their destiny is entirely different. Inspired by this contrast, – Pedigree ingeniously utilized the power of pet influencers to help their friends, creating the #Dogs for Dogs campaign.

Pedigree contacted the pet influencers’ owner and borrowed the account for the campaign. They took photos and created stories about homeless dogs as if they were pet influencers, then posted them to dogs’ accounts with thousands of followers such as @bibi_charly, a Jack Russell with 35k followers, and @blogofbruce, a Dingo with 34k followers.

Figure 1: The 'real' Charly

Figure 1: The ‘real’ Charly

Figure 1: The ‘real’ Charly

Figure 2: The shelter dog

Figure 2: The shelter dog

Figure 2: The shelter dog

Posts of homeless dogs looked identical to the pet influencers, which makes followers mistakenly think that it is the deity’s life photo as usual. Likes, comments, story reactions came rolling in before the news was announced that the dog lapping up their attention was actually an imposter from a shelter. After realizing that the “star dogs” that they “liked” were dressed up by the dogs to be adopted in the shelter, followers who are fond of the shelter dog could adopt them by clicking one simple link attached in posts and stories, which in turn introduce shelter dogs’ background.

Figure 3: Posts and story revealing the truth

Figure 3: Posts and story revealing the truth

Figure 3: Posts and story revealing the truth

Pedigree selected a perfect channel that allows them to get in touch with their target audience with a low or even zero budget. They do not need any ad boosting for dog posts, posts will pop up in their news feed constantly, and fans will like, comment, and share as  they usually do. This method allows Pedigree to use the existing fan bases of pet influencers and hit pet lovers in a storm which helps Pedigree save a large sum of money on advertising and social media.

 

This campaign takes advantage of human attention to surprises, leading them to understand more about the dog adoption campaign. Posting info on dog adoption acknowledges people who have a higher chance to adopt a dog with similar breeding and appearance and allows them to imagine more concretely how good it would be if I also had such a dog at home.

Figure 4: Attached link for more dogs' info

Figure 4: Attached link for more dogs’ info

Figure 4: Attached link for more dogs’ info

Pedigree’s effective marketing has brought them success, increasing the ‘Agir pour l’adoption’ page traffic by 62 percent, and 70 percent of all dogs were adopted.

It came as no surprise that this has become the most effective strategy Pedigree has ever had.

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

 

Adweek. (2016. November,9). This Agency Is Tapping Dogs, Cats and Even Pigs as Its New Network of Influencers. Retrieved March 6, 2021, from https://www.adweek.com/performance-marketing/agency-tapping-dogs-cats-and-even-pigs-its-new-network-influencers-174502/

 

Pedigree.(n.d.). Retrieved March 6, 2021, from https://www.pedigree.fr/agir-pour-l-adoption

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Sound the Excuse – all you need to escape from Zoom meeting is in one single soundboard

Cheung Nga Wing Sharon

Have you ever been stuck in a stressful video meeting that makes you emotionally overwhelmed? It is reported that working from home and lockdown result in mental health issues, with 80% of respondents to a survey on the matter declaring that they are undergoing stress and anxiety caused by WFH (FE News, 2021).

The Book of Man, a men-oriented media platform, noticed that COVID-19 is not simply a public health crisis, but also creating a serious mental health issue. The Book of Man collaborated with TBWA advertising agency and launched an online social campaign. They believe that no one should have to make excuses to look after their mental health, which sadly is the only option in most cases. This is how The Book of Man came out with the idea of ‘Sound the Excuse’, to provide employees with an excuse for endless video calls.

Sound the Excuse – all you need to escape from Zoom meeting is in one single soundboard

Sound the Excuse – all you need to escape from Zoom meeting is in one single soundboard

The campaign ‘Sound the Excuse’ is a microsite with various interesting sound effects uploaded. There are sound clips of daily accidents that are likely to happen at home. For example, tea being spilt on laptop, kids arguing, food delivery arriving unannounced, windows being smashed and even wasp invasion (Sound the Excuse, 2020), which clearly shows that you have no alternative but to leave the meeting immediately. One of the distinctive features of video calls is that no one knows what is really happening outside your screen. By playing those sound effects, people can make an excuse and take a moment to escape from stressful video meetings in a humorous way.

Sound the Excuse – all you need to escape from Zoom meeting is in one single soundboard

Sound the Excuse – all you need to escape from Zoom meeting is in one single soundboard

In fact, ‘Sound the Excuse’ demonstrates few important elements that a social campaign should include. The campaign is produced with a relatively low budget but innovative at the same time. Once the sound effect is recorded, it can be used as an excuse by an unlimited number of people for unlimited times. Moreover, celebrity endorsement is not a must in this case when the campaign is launched at the right timing.

‘Sound the Excuse’ was launched at a perfect time when people have to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign is considered to be well timed as it is launched on 10th October to time with World Mental Health Day (TBWA, 2020). ‘Sound the Excuse’ got media coverage and exposure through earned media as the gimmick behind is widely reported by different media platforms.

‘Sound the Excuse’ may not be an effective tool to tackle Zoom fatigue in long term. It neither reduced any workload nor changed the fact that we are forced to work from home. Yet, the campaign does not simply deliver light relief, but the sense of hope and support. And more importantly, the underlying message ‘It is okay not to be okay’ helped people to navigate through the crisis (Bite, 2020). We can tell that the social campaign did make some changes to our society.

 

Reference

Nicola Kemp. (2020). TBWA\London and The Book of Man team up to tackle Zoom fatigue. Bite. Retrieved from https://www.creativebrief.com/bite/tbwa-and-book-man-team-tackle-zoom-fatigue

Sound the Excuse. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.soundtheexcuse.com/

TBWA. (2020). TBWA: Sound the Excuse by TBWA. Retrieved from https://www.thedrum.com/creative-works/project/tbwa-tbwa-sound-the-excuse

Wildgoose. (2021). 46% of employees say working from home is negatively impacting their mental health, according to study. FE News. Retrieved from https://www.fenews.co.uk/press-releases/61339-46-of-employees-say-working-from-home-is-negatively-impacting-their-mental-health-according-to-study

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A Debatable Use of Photographs

Lau Sean Hui Lok

The pandemic brings a ‘new normal’ to the world. For non-profits, it may be a more difficult time to receive funding from the public through large-scale events. Thus, digital platforms now play a more important role for organizations to execute their campaigns. While some NGOs like the Arreles Foundation successfully launched the ‘Homeless Fonts’ campaign, which received massive support and donations from the netizens (Arreles Foundation,2020), some did the opposite. The World Food Program (WFP) demonstrated what could go wrong with a fundraising campaign.

A Debatable Use of Photographs

A Debatable Use of Photographs

The fundraising campaign launched in  May 2020 featured photos of children from less developed countries who are receiving aid from WFP. The two photographs that went viral on social media depicted a screaming child during care and another one salivating. Mixed comments were generated about the situation, with most of them lie on the downside. Comments like “Wtf that photo is beyond frightening thought this was for a horror film or something.” and “You make me sick spreading picture like this to get people to give…” were posted on the Facebook post (Chadwick, 2020). WFP, however, did not pull the photographs down immediately but claimed that it demonstrates how people can have divergent perceptions about the same incident. Although they eventually decided to withdraw the images and made a statement on the choice of campaign photographs, it still stirred up negative discussions on the internet.

A Debatable Use of Photographs

A Debatable Use of Photographs

In fact, the strategy used in this fundraising campaign may be unethical. On one hand, the photographs use the beneficiaries as their subject, which may exploit their rights as consent have not been sought. This is a common mistake in marketing strategies when terms of photograph usage are not well-drafted. It redirects the focus to the person in the image instead of the product or service, which inserted various level of unethical perceptions on the individual. On the other hand, the photos might make its viewers uncomfortable.

The choice of photograph was arguably of bad taste: When photos involved controversial or inhumane situations, they should only be displayed with caution. For instance, the photograph of a 3-year-old Syrian kid on the beach in 2015 aroused massive awareness of the refugee’s problem rather than causing controversies (The Guardian, 2015). Photographs often serve a larger impact than words, therefore it could play a critical role in determining a campaign’s success.

During the pandemic, companies struggle to raise funds for their target audience. However, the inappropriate use of marketing strategies will not only bring adverse impact but also affect the reputation and credibility of the organization. For non-profit organizations who serve as role models to engage in benefactions, they should pay more attention to every move. Nevertheless, there are often crisis involving NGO’s unethical behaviors. Thus, it is crucial to plan thoroughly before publishing or executing any plans.

After all, campaigns are meant to benefit the underprivileged, but not creating unwanted attention from the public.

 

Reference

Chadwick, V. (2020, May 27). World food Programme Pulls COVID-19 fundraising images after backlash. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://www.devex.com/news/world-food-programme-pulls-covid-19-fundraising-images-after-backlash-97330

Fundation, A. (n.d.). Homelessfonts.org. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://www.homelessfonts.org/

Shocking images of drowned Syrian BOY Show Tragic plight of refugees. (2015, September 02). Retrieved March 15, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/shocking-image-of-drowned-syrian-boy-shows-tragic-plight-of-refugees

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How UNICEF and Facebook used technology to change the fate of the Immunization campaign in Pakistan under the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Hui Wing Lam, Rachel

Child receiving vaccine injection in local health center

Child receiving vaccine injection in local health center

Child receiving vaccine injection in local health center

Fear of human interaction, transport interruptions and economic hardships are some of the issues raised under the COVID-19 Pandemic, which seriously disrupted previously routine vaccination and increased vaccine hesitancy in Pakistan. The Director of WHO once said: “The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunizations could be far greater than COVID-19 itself.” With an urge to overcome these constraints to vaccine adoption, how artificial intelligence, big data and digital marketing strategies can work together in the UNICEF Pakistan Immunization Campaign? Let’s dig into it!

To escalate the effectiveness of the Pakistan Immunization Campaign, UNICEF cleverly partnered with Facebook’s Data for Good team, which provided insightful analysis of data related to vaccines on Facebook in Pakistan.

Facebook’s Data for Good (credit: Avantika Monnappa)

Facebook’s Data for Good (credit: Avantika Monnappa)

Figure 1: Facebook’s Data for Good (credit: Avantika Monnappa)

From the analysis, it was found that Age and Gender Differences exist in conversations about vaccines in Pakistan. Mothers aged  35 to 44 were the most active group in discussing vaccines (UNICEF, 2020). However, both young men and young women seldom had conversations about vaccinations. By tracing the discussed topics, results showed that women placed greater emphasis on individual and family-related issues, while men mainly focused on the local government issues and the health system (UNICEF, 2020)

So how did these insights collected using AI (artificial intelligence) contributed to the campaign effectiveness? UNICEF created three kinds of content targeting different groups according to their habits and preferences. Illustrative images promoting safety practices (figure 2 and 3), field images featuring photos of children and families receiving vaccinations (figure 4 and 5), and animation video were published to enhance awareness and trust towards vaccination (figure 6).

Illustrative images about precautions of vaccinations

Illustrative images about precautions of vaccinations

Figure 2 & 3: Illustrative images about precautions of vaccinations

Field images featuring children and families who received vaccination

Field images featuring children and families who received vaccination

Figure 4 & 5: Field images featuring children and families who received vaccination

Short animation promotion video on YouTube to build awareness of immunization

Short animation promotion video on YouTube to build awareness of immunization

Figure 6: Short animation promotion video on YouTube to build awareness of immunization

It is believed that ads assuring the safety and necessity of vaccinations towards children under COVID-19 mostly resonated with mothers. Ads highlighting safety precautions while getting vaccines also worked greatly on women. In order to activate the men’s and father’s groups, government efforts on protecting children with immunization could not be neglected and skipped in the ads.

This campaign was highly successful as it reached nearly 7.2 million people in Pakistan. The message “Vaccinating their child in a health center under COVID-19 is safe” was efficiently promoted through this campaign. With the key insights provided by Facebook through AI and big data, UNICEF can re-engage with the public and reach the right audience by having tailor-made content. Through using AI, audience targeting can be better customized, like the young group who was once not highly interested in public health matters.

 

Moreover, the adoption of AI in social campaigns not only helped NGOs to save budget and achieve higher ROI in the current campaign, but also in the future ones. By collecting real-time data and analytics, it was found that illustrative images performed the best in  Pakistan, which is reflected by the high level of ad recall, likelihood of vaccinating at local health center etc. (UNICEF, 2020). With this insight, UNICEF can continue to create more images in their future advocacy campaigns, which can increase the productivity of the campaign.

 

With faster and more accurate data analysis, more in-depth insight and greater efficiency, AI could come in handy when it comes to audience targeting and content optimization. However, is AI the panacea for everything? For social advocacy campaigns, it is still critical to maintain the human touch.

 

 

 

Reference

UNICEF and Facebook (2020) “Amplifying immunization efforts during the COVID19 pandemic”. Retrieved 14th December, 2020, from https://www.unicef.org/pakistan/stories/amplifying-immunization-efforts-during-covid19-pandemic

World Health Organization (2020) “WHO and UNICEF warn of a decline in vaccinations during COVID-19” Retrieved 15th July, 2020, from https://www.who.int/news/item/15-07-2020-who-and-unicef-warn-of-a-decline-in-vaccinations-during-covid-19

 

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