As the Internet catches its breath after last season’s Game of Thrones, and ‘winter is coming’ becomes more and more of a reality, the greatest minds in digital marketing continue to produce buzzing campaigns and pique the attention of the Internet.
A tea giant ran a giveaway in their cricket whites, the National Gallery introduced Van Gogh to Facebook, and an airline produced its own take on John Cage’s 4″33. Read on for five digital media happenings that caught the attention of Fusion’s content team last month!
1) Yorkshire Tea hits the content for six
In the build-up to last month’s match between England and the West Indies at our very own Headingley Stadium, an inspired Yorkshire Tea competition asked entrants to film themselves bowling their teabag into their cuppa as spectacularly as possible.
The prizes didn’t stray far from the wickets. The lucky winners received VIP tickets to the game, a signed cricket bat, and the opportunity to chat with legendary English cricketer Michael Vaughan.
The competition benefited the brand in several ways: it enabled them to highlight their Yorkshire roots and tap into pop culture interests, whilst encouraging the creation of unique user generated content that created animated conversations on social media.
— Yorkshire Tea (@YorkshireTea) August 18, 2017
2) Vincent Van Gogh gets social with the National Gallery and Facebook
Recently, Vincent Van Gogh has enjoyed an unlikely pre-eminence in digital media. In February, Airbnb partnered with the Art Institute of Chicago to build a real life version of his iconic painting ‘The Bedroom’, making it available for art-minded guests to stay in. Now, he’s starred at the heart of a foray into VR by the UK’s National Gallery, who used Facebook Live to host a virtual exhibition that united his legendary ‘Sunflowers’ paintings – displayed in galleries all over the world – for the first time in their history.
The exhibition functioned as a relay between five galleries. Each had fifteen minutes to present their own portrait to the audience, before passing the impressionist baton on to the next.
‘We launched our first Facebook Live a year ago’, said Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the Gallery. ‘They’ve been growing in popularity ever since, so we are delighted to be teaming up with galleries all over the world and Facebook for the first ever live relay focusing on Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’. This collaboration is a key step in the National Gallery’s Digital Strategy, which will see us fully explore the potential of immersive media to create new ways of experiencing art’.
The joint effort provides a wonderful example of a brand capitalising on the new opportunities that new channels present to create unique, ground-breaking content. We’re excited to see how marketers will pick up on Facebook’s Live availability in the future!
3) easyJet gets ambient with charity album
Musically, August delivered a fairly happening month for the airwaves: Leeds and Reading Festival came and went, as thousands of starry-eyed festival-goers discovered the invention of the beer bong and depleted the country’s Frosty Jack’s, whilst Taylor Swift deleted her social media channels, before springing back with a new single which remained very Taylor Swift. However, what piqued our interest the most was the astonishing arrival of an ambient album from easyJet, with the release of their two-song EP titled ‘Jet Sounds’.
This wasn’t the sign of a change of heart for the airline brand, but a clever example of a zany, high quality campaign. It followed the UK Sleep Council’s recent findings that 22% of the population get a poor quality of sleep, and their recommendation that one way to remedy this is by listening to white noise before we go to bed – a monotonous and droning sound that soothes our minds and eases out distractions. As the low humming of an aircraft’s engines meets these criteria exactly, the airline decided to record two tracks of it on a plane flying from Gatwick to Nice!
All of the release’s proceeds go to The Children’s Sleep Charity. If you’re feeling a little tired yourself, or just fancying some Boeing 737 beats to liven up your weekend predrinks, check out the album on iTunes here.
4) Airbnb criticised over email marketing campaign
— Delfina Meyer (@DelfinaGMeyer) August 28, 2017
After the devastation of flooding in Houston by Hurricane Harvey, Airbnb waived rental fees across the city, enabling hosts to let out their properties for free and provide shelter to the tens of thousands of people left homeless. However, the company simultaneously received criticism for the poor timing of a concurrent email campaign which promoted an opportunity for holidaymakers to stay in a ‘floating world’, spending a trip in a home on the sea ‘without touching dry land’.
Striking too much of a chord with the events unfolding in Texas, the brand received an overwhelmingly negative backlash on social media:
Considering the major meteorological disaster atm, not sure @Airbnb's email promoting floating cottages was particularly well thought-out.
— Chris (@CTIGower) August 28, 2017
— Alden Ulrich (@AldenUlrich) August 28, 2017
An Airbnb spokesperson said: ‘The timing of this email marketing campaign was insensitive and we apologise for that. We continue to keep everyone affected by Harvey and all the first responders and their families in our thoughts’.
Whilst Airbnb has thorough disaster response measures, it’s essential for all brands to ensure that their content schedule remains suitably responsive to current events.
5) The North Face challenges Trump’s wall in campaign championing social mobility
Since Trump’s election as President of the USA, talk of the border wall with Mexico continues to dominate the headlines. Leading outerwear brand The North Face alluded to it heavily in their latest campaign, cleverly titled ‘Walls Are Meant for Climbing’.
Walls Are Meant for Climbing. #ClimbWalls
— The North Face EU (@TheNorthFaceEU) August 15, 2017
Integral to the brand’s campaign are themes of unity and community-building, opposing the barriers that divide us. ‘Some people build walls. Other people climb them’, says the print copy. Whilst there’s no direct mentioning of White House policy, the reference’s political elements are readily apparent.
On a less metaphorical and more practical level, the campaign centres on the brand’s objective of making climbing more universally available. They’ve invested fairly heavily to do this: they donated $1,000,000 to the USA’s Trust for Public Land, for them to build climbing walls and facilities in public spaces across the country, and partnered with gyms across the world to establish August the 19th as a global day of climbing, allowing people to climb, for a day, for free.
The North Face’s campaign placed the brand within an important, relevant and politicised conversation, which – as shown by Pepsi earlier this year – can be a risky line for brands to tread. When doing this, it’s essential for the brand to support marketing efforts with practical and impactful activity. Here, however, the North Face accomplishes this impeccably.
Come back next month for more!
by Joe Vaughan