WIRED, Edgewell Personal Care & Chevrolet Let Emojis Poke Some Fun into Business as Usual

Most of us probably interact with at least one emoji a day. We see them in our private text messages, personal emails and now they’re a meaningful part of the greater media machine that saturates modern life.

Emojis have been creeping their way into our mediated communication steadily over the past decade. Creator, Shigetaka Kurati invented them as an easy way for cell phone users to communicate sentiment. He was looking for a way to make expression of feelings more simple and direct. This was similar to the shortcodes people used on pagers. Remember 07734, turned upside down (looks like hello!) ?

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Emojis now show up in consumer goods commercials and even on the cover of magazines. WIRED magazine’s cover, a 2016 Finalist in the ASME’s best cover contest – Brainest category –  featured one simple emoji and a few dots.

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The magazine said of its cover:

“Creating a cover for WIRED’s first Sex Issue was a delicate task. We spent many months crafting balanced and thought-provoking editorial for the issue, which touched on all aspects of sexuality through a WIRED lens. But coming up with a singular image to represent this breadth of content was a challenge, and we went through nearly 50 cover options, ranging from sexy to scientific to quirky to safe. Ultimately, we arrived at the most WIRED cover possible: the emoji for sex, followed by the three dots of anticipation.”

An ad released last month by Edgewell Personal Care, the owners of Schick® & Skintimate®, brought emojis to life by depicting some of the most common emojis by actors in this music video-esque spot.

So, not only are we seeing more emojis in general but new expressions of them in conjuction with more traditional media/advertising formats. See the Chevy Cruze’s use of emojis in this common ad scenario – real people (not actors) try it.

Some find emojis integrated into advertising to be insulting. Yet, more Google searches including ’emoji’ are occurring now than they have in the last five years prior.

 

 

 

 

Have an innovative idea? Having some trouble getting it realized?

Over the years, I’ve worked with many people who have great ideas. They have ideas for new products, new ways consumers can do the things they love and better ways that business can be done. Heck, my family tells me about great product ideas on a regular basis!

Sometimes, the initial way we go about realizing our vision doesn’t work and we have to find a plan B. Here are two ways to approach getting your innovative ideas out of your dreamscape and into reality.

Crowdfund and find some self-sacrificing companions who believe in the cause.

Go out on a limb, take a risk, and put yourself at the mercy or blessing of crowdfunding. They always say that if the people want it, it will happen right? One of my favorite examples of this is Bibliotheca – a revamping of the Bible without numbering for easy reading. It was backed by over 14,000 pledges.

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Once you have the money, you have to create the systems to make production and shipping (if necessary) happen.

Take it to the people who have the power to make it happen.

It can take multiple rounds on crowdfunding platforms to get fully funded. Sometimes this is a promotional issue and other times it’s because there are serious changes that need to be made with your product. If you still aren’t funded after a few tries, take this with a grain of salt. If push comes to shove, produce your prototype and then sell it to someone who can take it to market.

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I know, I know, this is the one that nobody wants to here. You may ask, “Why should I work with some large media company or business mogul to bring my game-changer to life?” The simple answer is that they have the resources that you do not. Also, they probably won’t take so big of a cut that you won’t benefit.

Mattel Diversifies: 33 New Versions of Barbie

If you can’t win with a single version of a product, diversifying may be the answer. Last month, Mattel unveiled a new line of Barbies. No longer will children have to look at the dolls and wonder why they don’t look like anyone they know.

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The dolls try to be representative of our diverse population. They took about two years to produce from start to finish, and come in a variety of hair styles and skin tones.

Barbie’s creator, Ruth Handler, once said, “my whole philosophy behind Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything that she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.” Now, children have choices! They may now see in the Barbie brand a symbol of their mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers or cousins.

Expanding the Barbie look may be a sociocultural response coupled with ongoing efforts that Mattel has made to restore sales. And perhaps, it’s worked. The company reported an increase in net sales of 7% in the last quarter of 2015.

However, Mattel wasn’t the first to the table with a more realistic doll. An artist and researcher, Nikolay Lamm produced doll with more realistic measurements in 2014.  See some school- aged children respond to the realistic doll in the video below:

Whether it’s Lammily or Barbie, having non-digital toys that may mirror the role models children have in everyday life may help them to feel more comfortable in their world.

Brand Confusion? Just Alpha Up. That’s What Google Did.

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When the name of your company has become the verb that everyone and (quite literally) their mother uses to talk about searching for something, you’re going to face a lot of difficulty introducing a new product line like tech’s best Utopian dreams.

And just to make sure you don’t run out of opportunities for naming of these new lines, you’ll need to pick something that’s multi-faceted, universal and just as unique as your current brand. It’s got to be something that everyone can relate to and recognize as fundamental, foundational and necessary for every day life.

Enter, Alphabet. What other name can you think of that has 26 pre-included hooks (read: letters) to name businesses and services after. While Google hasn’t made an official statement saying that they intend to designate a venture under each letter, Tech Crunch takes a stab at listing possibilities.

Among the most interesting alphabetical call-outs are Calico, a bio-engineering fountain of hoped youth, Makani, kites that take advantage of wind power and Vehicles (Google self-driving car). Coming later to the story during the week we learned, BMW, which is also owns an Alphabet of its own suited up and delivered A-B-Cs of their Alphabet service, you can see it here.

Whether the search giant is merely keeping with their consistent theme of fundamentals or strategically chose a name that opens their brand to many possibilities, only time will tell. What’s for sure is that they’re willing to step on the toes of BMW and an eCommerce-based distributor (think: everything you need from a to z) in their new larger than life branding schema.

T-Mobile Ups the Stakes in the #NeverSettle Match

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While AT&T and Verizon are duking it out for customers, T-Mobile jumps into the fight to give consumers yet another option. Calling itself, the “un-carrier,” the telecommunications company is looking to persuade diehard Verizon fans to switch to their service with this tempting offer: try the T-mobile network risk free BEFORE switching.

The #neversettle trial offer started in the middle of May and will extend until June 27th allowing Verizon customers to port their numbers to the T-Mobile network for 14 days. If trialers like their experience, T-mobile will pay for their early terminations fees sanctioned by Verizon (that’s up to $650.00!). Even, if they decide not to go with T-mobile, T-mobile will pay any Verizon re-activation charges.

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The average consumer can be set adrift by any ad campaign that keys into their instinctual needs and desires (read: I need cheap phone service). But, when you throw in benefit-rich, emotionally-driven, value-compatible messaging (read: We’ll take care of you and give you the freedom you desire, we’re the “un-carrier”), even the savviest technophile may start to consider alternative options.

What’s of more interest is T-mobile’s use of the same hashtag that Verizon featured in their commericals: #Neversettle. Hashtags aren’t trademarked or reserved in any way (at least not yet) and they are an easy way to catalogue all of the conversations that are happening and content that’s being created surrounding the topic. What’s more, T-Mobile has turned the #neversettle hashtag on it’s head to include #NeversettleforVerizon.

What’s great about America is that our advertisements are far less regulated that other countries. You’d never get away with directly challenging the competition in other countries’ campaigns.

See the #Neversettleforverzion ad here:

Will you give T-Mobile a try this month? I probably won’t, but, I do applaud them on their savvy campaign execution.

Vacation Season is Here – Brush Up on Your Fun-Management Skills [Infographic]

Whether you are putting on your autoresponder and heading down to the beach or pressing play on some new email marketing programs this summer, snatch up these project (a.k. fun) management tips for delightful productivity all season long.

Planning an Email Campaign vs. Planning a Vacation #Infographic

Brought to you by GetResponse Email Marketing

Verizon Focuses on Quality when Sprint Cuts Price

Verizon took little time to respond to Sprint’s Cut Your Bill in Half campaign. These artfully done lifestyle-inspired, moment-in-time spots show what it’s like to live with the Verizon network in your pocket or what you’ll experience with the other guy.

Each scenario is described by two people who are seemingly similar in either age, socio-economic class, or situation. However, don’t let those looks fool you, what you hear is in direct contrast to what you see at first blush.

The background on each side is decorated similarly and each person is dressed to complement one another. Aesthetically, you are looking at a mirror-imaged set, each side made to look exactly like the other with the exception of the people being different. This gives you a sense of similarity that is later counterpointed by the extreme difference in the experience of each of each of the users. This sense of coming toward and then moving away makes you pay attention to what’s going on by violating your expectations.

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When you watch these ads Verizon may want you will empathize with the non-Verizon customer and feel the frustration found in each situation. The message is clear, you don’t want the hassle of poor service and the embarrassment that comes with it. Poor service negatively impacts your daily life. In addition, you’re invited to happily pay more money to avoid that discomfort.

I’d say it’s a powerful response to the Cut Your Bill in Half campaign that speaks to both Verizon’s broad customer base and its potential customers. I can’t wait to see how the competition responds.