June began with the Champions League final, seeing a scintillating Juventus side square up to a fiery Real Madrid.
The match’s twists and turns made a fitting end for May, which proved to be a high-octane month across the spheres of social media, digital campaigns and content.
We watched a burger brand bravely contest the monarchy of Belgium, a Playstation ad play games with the laws of physics, a shark dramatically steal a 90s popstar’s thunder, and a crisp brand unknowingly create a content piece fusing Gary Lineker with Rebecca Black (a little less conventional than salt and vinegar!).
Read on for post-match highlights, analysis and more of five of the last month’s most noteworthy campaigns!
Walkers wave “the Walkers Wave” goodbye
Walkers’ “Walkers Wave” was an innovative approach to the competition format, but an unfortunate tactical oversight caused the campaign to be abandoned in less than twenty four hours.
The competition, presenting entrants with the opportunity to win tickets for Cardiff’s Champions League final, revolved around user generated content: they asked people to send in a selfie, converted the selfie into a video of the person’s picture being held up by Gary Lineker and then automatically tweeted the video back to the user from Walkers’ verified Twitter account.
The process of posting tweets to Walkers’ feed was automated. Herein lies the fatal flaw, for many of the selfies that were submitted were not actually selfies at all.
The campaign, quickly peaking into virality, witnessed Lineker welcoming into the Wave people that ranged from Joe Biden to Rebecca Black, alongside more unpleasant images such as mugshots of criminals.
— Suzanne Scacca (@SEScacca) May 30, 2017
A high profile, high cost campaign, Walkers supported online activity with media elements such as supersized displays of the social stream in Cardiff city centre, which unfortunately added all the more publicity to the brand’s own goal.
User generated content catalyses campaign’s momentum, increasing interest and visibility on social, but it’s vital to only integrate moderated content into your brand.
As epitomised by last year’s beloved Boaty McBoatface, the denizens of the Internet enjoy a near-endless supply of spanners for every possible works.
— NERC (@NERCscience) March 18, 2016
It’s best not to take risks that can have serious implications down the line.
Discovery makes a splash with Seal
A whole host of famous figures errantly ended up in Walkers’ waters. Across the pond, the Discovery Channel combined with a celebrity of their own to announce this year’s “Shark Week”.
We’re happy to give Discovery a bye over the pressing safety concerns of putting on a show by shark-infested shore, because the ad’s creative risk-taking boldly pays off.
Its bleak and ironic humour moves the nature brand into waters that are largely unexplored by its competitors, whose creative incentives are to either impress a sense of horror or awe: think of Planet Earth 2‘s photography and the commanding voice of Attenborough!
Like a strong keepie uppie, it’s good to keep the football metaphor going. Take creative inspiration from Xavi and Iniesta and look out for creative directions that your competitors aren’t occupying.
There could be a good reason why content creators haven’t followed a particular creative path – e.g. sharks. Equally, there might not be. Just because someone else isn’t doing it doesn’t mean that it’s bad; you could just be the first to spot the opportunity!
Sony enjoys eureka breakthrough with Gravity Rush 2
Strikingly executed and based on a simple yet stunning concept, a Sony advert for the new video game Gravity Rush 2 received an extraordinary response across the web.
Some things defy words, others defy gravity. This incredible creative piece by Tokyo agency Hakuhodo speaks boldly for itself:
Gravity Rush 2 revolves around the player manipulating the laws of gravity. As such, the ad’s a brilliant example of demonstrating a product: it shows, rather than tells, what you’re able to do.
The ad complements the creative flourish with gameplay footage towards the end, giving a full illustration of the product’s functionality and confidently overcoming a problem that the field of game advertising has historically struggled with, sometimes showing inaccurate video animation that doesn’t actually reflect the game at all.
This is an advert that might seem to totally flip the box upside down, rather than merely think outside of it. However, it’s based on a simple premise done exceptionally well, making small but enormous changes to the rules of physics we take for granted, showing the massive effect that can be made in subtly tweaking the everyday!
McDonald’s television ad receives backlash from charities
Social media and charities alike responded harshly to a recent McDonald’s ad, accusing the international fast food giants of manipulating childhood bereavement into a marketing strategy.
Dr Shelley Gilbert, president of Grief Encounter, said that ‘Parents [are] telling us their bereaved children have been upset by the advert, and alienated by McDonald’s as a brand that wants to emotionally manipulate its customers’.
Like last month’s ill-advised Pepsi campaign starring Kendall, it’s vital for brands to only incorporate social issues into their branding work if the product or service has direct relevance.
Without making too much in the way of comment, it seems that, in respect of the above, the Filet-o-Fish certainly doesn’t.
‘Il n’y a pas de place pour deux kings en Belgique’: Burger King lose bid for Belgian succession
We wrote about BK in last month’s round-up and they’ve featured in previous months too, because of their penchant for the absurd throughout their creative:
🍔: Don’t fall in love, kid.
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) June 4, 2017
Having just spoken about Maccies, you’d think that Burger King would regard them as their competitors. Not so, apparently, with Burger King last month launching an online campaign against, erm, the King of Belgium, instead.
The campaign, directed by French agency Buzzman, featured a poll on the website www.whoistheking.be that gave users the choice of picking between two kings: the King of Belgium or the king of Burgers.
Who deserves the country’s crown “Two Kings. One crown. Who will rule” Belgium Monarchy not impressed with Burger King promotion pic.twitter.com/mChO1a2qPJ
— RESEARCH STAR (@research_star) June 2, 2017
Any attempt to vote for the King of Belgium led to prompts in BK’s favour, such as ‘Are you sure? He won’t cook you fries’.
Perhaps they anticipated it, perhaps they didn’t, but Burger King’s campaign met a guarded response from representatives of the Belgian royal family.
Spokesman Pierre Emmanuel de Bauw said that ‘we would not have given our authorisation’ for the king’s likeness to be used in the material, landing the American brand in a sticky situation.
Moreover, Burger King actually lost the election – albeit narrowly – with 51% of its electorate preferring their current royalty to the House of Hamburger.
The combination of the above led to Burger King stopping the campaign. However, they handled it with flair and creative grace, editing the website, removing ‘King’ from their logo, and declaring in a caption: ‘There isn’t room for two kings in Belgium’.
The brand used controversy for promotional gain, which is an incredibly risky strategy that we wouldn’t necessarily advocate, but it paid off.
They may have lost the election, capturing the attention and ire of the Belgian royals in the process, but BK’s campaign was certainly a success, bringing more attention to their zany, off-kilter branding.
Thanks for dropping by and see you next month – we look forward to finding out what June has to offer!
by Joe Vaughan