Duracell: The Power of Connection

Duracell’s creative “Moments of Warmth” campaign not only shows the power of their Quantum battery, but the power of connection as well. They set up a bus shelter in Montreal with a much-needed heater. The catch? Getting the heater to turn on requires a human connection. One hand must be placed on each side of the shelter and commuters have to hold hands to connect the two sides of the shelter so that the heat is able to come on.

When we think of commuting to work or class in the morning, the last thing most of us want to do is interact with people, especially before our morning coffee. It’s hard to imagine having to hold another traveller’s hand to get the L stop heating stations to turn on; some of us might just opt to ride out the cold. This Duracell campaign encourages people to connect where interaction between strangers is rather uncommon. In the cold Canadian winter however, Duracell made it necessary.

This campaign forces us to reflect on the power and necessity of human connection, it shows us that sometimes we really do need each other, and the person we need might just be another stranger on their commute. It also forces people to interact, a practice that is often lost between strangers in this technological era governed by smartphones.

Duracell is quite clever in their campaign as the use of human touch to create power parallels the connections made by their batteries. While the science is different, the campaign makes us thinks about the power of human connection, and the Duracell product as well.

I’ve always been a fan of guerilla marketing campaigns; I find them to be a clever and inspiring way to attract consumer attention in a way that doesn’t make them feel that they’re being bothered by an advertisement. Rather, they often gain a sense of appreciation for the creativity of the campaign, and they most certainly take notice.

Guerilla marketing also adds the element of press to advertising. Creative campaigns are often reported upon by news media, or shared on social media websites, garnering more consumer attention than a traditional advertisement would.

I think this is a great example of creative advertising through the connection of the product to the connection of people that not only earns the product attention, but provides the feel-good element of people helping each other as well, representing the values of the company, also shown through the company’s pledge to donate $1 for each share of the video from their Facebook page to Habitat for Humanity Canada.

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Marketbook

To everyone reading this, you’re just a science project. You’re an experiment.

Every day we log onto social media to chat with our friends, to express inner opinions, to look at the new movie coming out, or even to “like” a new program. What you probably don’t know is that you’re part of a science experiment which is using everything you do, on your free to use social media platform, to create a profile for who you are and how you think. Ever write a status update on Facebook just to see your ads to change immediately to whatever you just typed about? That’s exactly what I’m talking about here.

In a PBS post by Angela Washeck, she quoted Douglas Rushkoff as saying that impressionable teens today have replaced their habit of plastering their personal stuff on their bedroom walls with now moved on to inhabiting social media and sharing their personality through there, but don’t realize how this is benefiting trends and brands (Washeck, 2014). Rushkoff’s newest Frontline documentary “Generation Like” explores how young adults are providing social marketing and advertising with treasure troves of information through their online interactions. Some, like Tyler Oakley, are getting “free” stuff in order to promote certain brands to their friends and/or followers (Washeck, 2014).

What we have perceived as “organic” viral trends are actually meticulously planned marketing strategies (Washeck, 2014). Do we really like these things or are we just monkeys running through the course in order to try and score “free” stuff and fame? While some are being given things for free, they really aren’t free. As these items or brands become popular, their publicity does the work for them. A couple of freebies handed out to some carefully placed popular online identities can turn into millions or billions of revenue for companies, so in a sense, they pay for themselves.

One of the questions being raised is whether or not this is exploitation. Not only have advertising pros learned exactly how young people share, but they’ve also learned just what drives them to share (Washeck, 2014). We, as consumers, are providing free data for marketers and advertisers without even realizing we’re doing it. Some may actually realize it though, and they’re profiting off of your shares and retweets. There is definitely more public relations work being done through this, but there is a lot of behind the scenes advertising as well. We, the consumers, are doing all the leg work without much benefit, unless you feel that the products you’re knowledgeable about now is your payment. According to Washeck, Rushkoff said, ““Over time, there will be a reaction against it…I’m kind of hopeful we’ll have another burst of awareness” (Washeck, 2014).

Knowing how we’re all essentially being manipulated through observation, how do you feel about this? Does this make you think twice about “liking” or re-tweeting something?

References

Washek, A. (2014, February 19). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2014/02/rushkoffs-generation-like-explores-space-where-social-media-teens-brands-merge/

United welcomes back “Friendly Skies”

After a 17 year absence, United Airlines has gone back to the ad campaign it employed for over 30 years, persuading customers to “fly the friendly skies.” This reinvention is United’s biggest campaign in decades and puts an emphasis on customer service and “flyer friendly” business practices. The multimedia campaign features television, print, radio, and social media based ads that highlight improvements in United’s service.

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(Screenshot from hub.united.com, September 23, 2013)

Four 35-second television spots began airing this Sunday released, each focusing on a different “friendly” feature of the airline. “Orchestra” features the classic musical score United has used since 1987, “Rhapsody in Blue.” The song hearkens back to the original campaign created by Leo Burnett in 1965. “Taxi” showcases United’s extensive world coverage of service, with cab drivers asking customers in various languages which airline is their destination. “Satellite” introduces satellite-based Wi-Fi service now available on many flights. “Built Around You” emphasizes United’s new aircraft designed with the customer in mind, with features such as more legroom and in-flight entertainment.

The new campaign follows the 2010 merger with Continental and its ensuing high-profile technology issues.

According to United’s senior vice president for marketing and loyalty, Tom O’Toole, in a September 20th New York Times article by Jane Levere, the effort is to “say to customers, co-workers and competitors that United is back in the game in a big way” and to reaffirm United’s place as the world’s foremost customer service airline.

How effective is the campaign? Time will tell. From the outset, the familiar approach seems to be an effective, proven idea. Why mess with a good thing? The attempt to bring flyers back to the “good ol’ days” of air travel focuses on customer service and convenience, consumers’ favorite things. And although it’s an old idea, the ads feel fresh and interesting rather than stale and recycled.

The choice to go back to a previous ad campaign is an interesting one, but I think for this company it’s an effective one. Not all companies could pull this off but I believe United is off to a great start.
 

 

References

Bomkamp, S. (2013, September 20). United goes back to ‘friendly skies’ ad campaign. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-09-20/business/chi-united-friendly-skies-20130920_1_friendly-skies-united-airlines-print-ads

Irwin, T. (2013, September 23). United airlines continues to ‘fly the friendly skies’ read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/209587/united-airlines-continues-to-fly-the-friendly-ski.html

Levere, J. (2013, September 20). Old slogan returns as united asserts it is customer-focused. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/business/media/old-slogan-returns-as-united-asserts-it-is-customer-focused.html