The Plague of Viral Marketing

The Red Swimsuit Phenomena

On Wednesday, May 4, Sunny Co Clothing posted a picture on Instagram of a red swimsuit. If you posted the picture of the swimsuit on your Instagram within 24 hours, you were promised the same suit delivered free to your doorstep! While shipping and handling were not covered, the swimsuit, which retails for about $64.99, was completely free. A portion of the proceeds from the shipping were to go to Alzheimer’s research.

Sure enough, Instagram blew up with this image. It went viral. Twitter blew up with funny commentary, and even celebrities made comments on social media about the infamous “red swimsuit.”

It didn’t take long for Sunny Co to realize they were in over their heads, where they responded with a post: “Due to the viral volume of participants, we reserve the right to cap the promotion if deemed necessary.”

On top of this, they stated that shipping could take 3-6 WEEKS.

At first glance, it seemed like a great marketing plan. Wow, brand awareness! Free advertising! Positive attention!  However, I’m interested to see how Sunny Co now plans to retain their customers.

Historically, when brands and products go viral, or grow rapidly, there is usually the inevitable downfall. This happens all the time. It happened to the once trendy LA fashion brand, Nasty Gal.

  • Sales hit $24 million in 2011, which was a 200% increase from the year before, the brand said publicly.
  • In 2012, they hit $100 million.
  • By 2015, they dropped down to $77 million.
  • In 2016, they filed for bankruptcy.

Nasty Gal and Sunny Co share the tactic of cultivating one-time buyers. Spending money on indirect advertising, like online ad banners, can score you a multitude of people who might buy your product once. But, if you spend $100 on an ad and one person buys an item one time, you aren’t really making money. The same scenario applies to Sunny Co’s red swimsuit. If you spend the time and hire the workforce to ship thousands of free swimsuits, are you really making money? On top of that, if you can’t deliver on your promise of a free product, are you really building your brand’s reputation for future success?

As far as I know, no one who participated in this promotion received their red swimsuit yet.  People I know have deleted their repost from Sunny Co, the original Instagram account has been shut down, and no one is talking about the brand or product anymore on social media.

Marketing dollars and social media exposure are valuable for brands when they’re targeted. If you’re in B2C sales, focus on building relationships. If your product is good, the sales will follow.  One hundred loyal customers are more valuable than 500 one-time buyers. B2C relationships last longest when they are built like any other relationship. Find your audience, personalize your message, follow up with good customer service and a good product, and retain your clientele.

Cause Marketing Important to Millennials, Too

By Madeleine Smith

While the term “cause marketing” was coined in the 1970s, it’s become increasingly important today for companies to support a cause or sponsor a charity. If you want proof that cause marketing is on the rise, it’s in the numbers. Engageforgood.com tracks several consumer studies, all of which support the importance of cause marketing:

  • Cause sponsorship is reported to reach $2.06 billion in 2017, a projected increase of 3.6% over 2016 (IEG Sponsorship Report, 2016).
  • 33% of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good (Unilever Study, 2016).
  • 74% of employees say that their job is more fulfilling when they have a positive impact (Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study, 2016).
  • 80% of global consumers believe that businesses must play a role in addressing societal issues (Edelman Trust Barometer, 2016).

What’s most interesting is where Millennials factor into the picture.  A 2014 Cone Communications Digital Activism Study found that:

  • 74% of Millennials surveyed learn about a companies’ social or environmental business practices, versus the U.S. average of 54%.
  • 80% of Millennials were likely to donate to a cause after learning about it through an online source, versus the U.S. average of 63%.

However, Millennials are often portrayed as the “me” generation–selfish, entitled, lazy… Also, it seems every Millennial has had the talk with their grandparent about how, “back in the day, they had to actually read books to write research papers, and walk to school uphill both ways in the snow.” The bottom-line is that they think technology has made Millennials’ lives much more convenient, and we have it so much easier than they did.

That’s probably true to some extent.  Growing up with computers, cell phones, and technology has made things easier for some of us, but harder for others.

While I’m not walking to work in the rain or churning my own butter, I’m involved in my community. I’ve spent countless hours doing unpaid work for causes that I care about – and, after doing research, I know I’m not alone.

If you’re a business owner and you want to reach Millennials, consider supporting a cause or devoting pro-bono work to a non-profit. Cause marketing statistics show that it does pay off, no matter what side of the transaction you’re on.

The Art and Science of the Exhibit Hall: Presentation Skills for Conferences

Andy Likes, Vice President

 

How many of you have been to a conference in the last year? You probably remember lots of helpful breakout sessions and keynote speakers you’d love to hear again. Now what about the exhibit hall? Read more

Celebrate “Silly” Questions Every Day, but Especially This Week

Donna Vandiver, President & CEO

According to Parade magazine, September 28 is “Ask a Stupid Question” day. When Marilyn vos Savant was asked if there was such a thing as a stupid question, she replied, “Yes”. Read more

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Abbey Theban, Account Executive

 

As a millennial in the communications field, I know how much every brand, organization and corporation wants to get inside our heads. Read more

Why a PR Pro Should Run your Social Accounts

Laura Vandiver, VP of Research & Strategic Insight

 

When it comes to social media in the business world, many companies approach it in the same way they approach their personal social media accounts. Because it’s not that different, right? How hard could it be? Well, let me put it this way: once you put something out on social, it’s out there. Make a mistake? Too late- the whole world has seen it, and they’ve made screenshots, too. Read more

Why a PR Pro Should Help You with Presentation Skills

Laura Vandiver, VP of Research & Strategic Insight

 

We’ve all been there. Your palms are sweaty, your mouth is dry. It’s that awkward moment before you begin a big presentation. Public speaking or making a presentation- whether to a large group or small – is consistently rated one of the top phobias among Americans, as well as other cultures around the world. But, fear not friends! There is hope- and it comes in the form of your local PR professional. Read more

Super Bowl 50 Ads

Jesse Selz, Graphic Designer

 

I’d be lying if I said I was big fan of football, or that I even attend Super Bowl events for the purpose of watching the game. However, there are many other coexisting elements which are persuasive enough to make me an active participant: all the food and refreshments, watching the halftime entertainment, being part of the Super Bowl social-culture, and most importantly — the commercials. Read more

How a Lack of Communication Became a Major Fumble for the Rams

Andy Likes, Vice President

 

Like it or not, Stan Kroenke, his Rams franchise and the NFL are squarely in the middle of a crisis—and it’s all due to a lack of communication. When Kroenke purchased the majority ownership of the Rams in 2010, he told the NFL, Associated Press and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I’m going to attempt to do everything that I can to keep the Rams in St. Louis, Just as I did everything that I could to bring the team to St. Louis in 1995. I believe my actions speak for themselves.” Read more

Typography Matters: Part 2 of 2

Jesse Selz, Graphic Designer

 

“From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.”

– Adrian Frutiger

Read more

Typography Matters: Part 1 of 2

Jesse Selz, Graphic Designer

 watch full Justice League Dark film online

Content marketing has become one of the primary ways of retaining customers, attracting new clients, and generating leads, sales, and profit for a company. While the content itself on a website is incredibly important, another crucial aspect of content marketing is typography. Read more