Why the Pepsi ad could end in triumph

If cola wars was all about grabbing the attention, Coke must be climbing the walls. So could Pepsi actually benefit from its recent fall from grace? Alex Smith, Planning Director at Sense, investigates…

A truism that pervades our industry is that the worst thing that can happen to your work is not to have it hated, but to have it ignored.

Well, I hope this thought is keeping the Pepsi team warm tonight, because it’s probably the only morsel of comfort to be found in the wreckage of their latest ad and flames of mockery that have engulfed it.

To be fair I guess they can also take heart in the fact that they did indeed manage to unite people – just like they said they would – it’s just a shame that the common ground they provided was at their expense.

There probably hasn’t ever been an ad storm quite like this, but the closest parallel that comes to mind is the infamous Protein World scandal from 2015.  And this should make us pause for thought.  For Protein World’s campaign was not only hated; it was incredibly successful, garnering £2 million of sales for the small brand in a few short days.  Could the same reward befall Pepsi?

The short answer is… probably not.

The two scenarios aren’t really analogous, since Protein World chose a particular side of an argument, and simply defended it to the hilt, thereby attracting hate from one faction but fandom from another.  Pepsi on the other hand also chose a particular side in the culture wars, but it is this side that has turned against it the most viciously, with the protesting classes voicing deep offence at the work while the other side of the aisle simply shake their head incredulously.  In other words, at least some people were on Protein World’s side – Pepsi on the other hand has no one.

That said, if hatred is better than indifference, then there should still be glimmers of hope to be found for the brand.  So here are three reasons to be (sort of) cheerful…

The ironic purchaser

About a decade ago a game swept across American college campuses called “Icing”.  What it essentially involved was hiding a Smirnoff Ice in a creative manner so that someone would stumble across it (like baked in a cake say https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2bBjQ8DD0U) .  When they did, they were officially “Iced”, and as such were obliged to drop down on one knee and down it – unless they happened to be armed with an “Ice” themselves with which to block the attack.

Needless to say the root of this game was not a deep admiration for the brand.  In fact it was the very perceived “naffness” of Smirnoff Ice that gave the game its humour.  Not great for the brand you might think, until you realise that an ironic purchase looks the same on the bottom line as a sincere one, and the people buying the product for this reason are in fact incremental buyers who otherwise wouldn’t be buying it at all.

When it comes to Pepsi, the fact is that the vast majority of people will be unaffected by this ad.  They might have a laugh at the brand’s expense, or more likely let the scandal pass them by completely; either way their base layer of sales won’t go anywhere.  Meanwhile, the people who are actually engaged with the story are doing things like this:

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 10.48.26

Pepsi has now unwittingly launched an all new purpose for itself – a sort of ironic “injustice shield”.  All around the United States people will be handing cans to cops, creating memes, and generally battling prejudice with the cans for quite some time.  Who knows, it may follow them for years, just like Icing did Smirnoff.  And these sales, they’ll be a bonus.

Mockery is not the same as hate

Generally when a brand gets embroiled in something like this, there is venom in the criticism they face.  That’s certainly what Protein World experienced, as have most other brands who waded into murky political waters.  With Pepsi the tone has been rather different.  Maybe it’s the earnestness of the spot, or the fact that they were clearly trying so hard to be “good”, but there’s something in the commentary that is more patronising than furious.

The most common term I’ve heard applied to it is “tone-deaf”.  That is not the same thing as malicious, and as such one would imagine that the mud is unlikely to stick to the brand for long.  There have been no calls to boycott, and indeed there has been something bordering on affection and pity in much of the commentary.  Could Pepsi actually emerge from this with slightly improved unconscious brand sentiment thanks to their utter haplessness?  Stranger things have happened.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 10.48.58
Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 10.54.46

Finally, let’s face it, it’s massive

If we accept some of the above premises, namely that most people will have the details of this case rather pass them by, and even if they don’t they will feel more pity or amusement than anger towards the brand, then we can only conclude the following: this is kind of a hit.

Rarely has any ad generated so much buzz, or received such numerical success as this.  Pepsi, now, are simply more famous than they were a week ago.  A brand that hasn’t made ripples for a long time has just cannonballed into the pool of public consciousness, and the principal residue that will be left behind will probably be simply fame.

For a product that’s bought on impulse, with little deliberation by a fairly disinterested buyer, that’s not such a bad result.

Alex Smith is Planning Director at real world marketing agency Sense.

The article appear on Cream Global.

Community Manager

This person acts as the frontline brand manager by interacting with customers and fans in real time on various web platforms. Duties also include acting as a liaison across the Internet; participating in minute-by-minute online conversations by answering questions, offering solutions and mediating conversations; and identifying creative content opportunities for feeds to spark discussion on emerging and existing social platforms. The right candidate will have excellent verbal and writing skills, the ability to work with cross-functional teams, a knack for research, a sharp wit and a willingness to work during nonstandard business hours.


  • Manage day-to-day content publishing and conversation monitoring on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram
  • Mine for relevant creative insights based on organic fan conversation and trending topics
  • Build relationships with clients in order to become an extension of each client’s team
  • Help clients integrate social media into marketing initiatives
  • Research, develop and optimize ongoing content strategy. Maintain editorial calendar.
  • Track, monitor, and help analyze performance of campaigns and social media activities
  • Develop testimonials and case studies from clients and present internally
  • Coordinate fulfillment of projects for clients
  • Monitor social trends, including the latest channel updates and case studies, and share with the internal team
  • Maintain a personal presence in the offline social media and digital world of events and conferences

Desired Skills & Experience

  • Previous social media or digital project management experience required
  • Bachelor’s degree required with a major in marketing, communications, advertising, or public relations preferred
  • Passionate social media practicationer and internet culture junkie, with an expertise in platform best practices
  • Experience and interest in automotive and/or luxury preferred
  • A proactive approach to projects and the ability to take initiative and self-start is a must!
  • Excellent written communication skills as well as editing and proof-reading skills
  • Research and discover new content is prudent
  • Effective time management skills, a keen eye for detail and organization
  • Able to juggle multiple projects and deadlines with ease and comfort
  • Proven critical and analytical thinking skills
  • Ability to make a judgment call, act swiftly, and be responsible for the results
  • Superior relationship-building skills
  • Creative thinker and idea-generator; not afraid to take chances
  • Experience with client and project management software

If interested in applying for this position, please email your resume and cover letter to jobs@rokkan.com.

The post Community Manager appeared first on Rokkan.

Associate Director, Strategy

Rokkan is a place where modern strategic thinkers thrive. We look for those who have helped clients imagine a more exciting future for their brands, and have the demonstrated the skills to make it happen.

As both visionaries and doers, strategists at Rokkan are expected to recognize patterns (through market research, performance analytics, customer insights, social listening), have a strong and defensible point of view, and monitor results.

This Associate Director will lead digital and social strategy on a top luxury automotive brand, serving as a trusted advisor in connections planning, channel strategy, social content and digital execution.  They will be responsible for partnering with other account leaders to guide our most senior clients to bold and innovative creative solutions.

They will be expected to demonstrate a high standard of analysis and imagination that will lead to transformational business solutions. They need a history of translating these discoveries into inspiring strategies and tacticts for brands. And they must be able to effectively represent their ideas persuasively among internal colleagues and clients.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Qualified candidates will bring at least 5-7 years experience in an agency setting (3-5 years in social/digital)
  • Candidates should have successfully launched multiple integrated camaigns into the marketplace
  • Should be a passionate collaborator, integrating best-in-class digital thinking, trends and advanced technologies into large and small scale executions
  • Must have deep knowledge of social content strategies, platforms, services, and measurement techniques.
  • Ability to work alongside data analysts to uncover actionable insights, trends and optimizations
  • Team management experience. Must be able to staff, grow, and manage a team of community managers
  • Must be able to work in a multi-discipline collaborative creative environment.
  • Proven leadership abilities to manage multiple initiatives across multiple accounts.
  • Highly skilled presenter with experience among senior level clients.

If interested in applying for this position, please email your resume and cover letter to jobs@rokkan.com.

The post Associate Director, Strategy appeared first on Rokkan.

Social Media News Roundup: April ’17 Week 4

social media news roundup
In the news this week – Instagram reaches 700 million users, Pinterest looks to reinvent itself and Twitter wants to live-stream 24/7…
Twitter shares rise as users grow at higher-than-expected rates

Shares in Twitter surged more than 10 percent this week. Alongside better than projected revenues and earnings, investors cited an increase in users. The social network, which struggled to grow its user-base in line with rival networks throughout 2016, said it was “proud to report… accelerating growth in daily active usage for the fourth consecutive quarter, up 14 percent year over year.”

Although no actual numbers were released for daily active users on the network, Twitter announced that monthly active users were  9m more than the previous quarter at 328m, 7m more than expected. Chief executive Jack Dorsey said this:

“While we continue to face revenue headwinds, we believe that executing on our plan and growing our audience should result in positive revenue growth over the long term.”

Twitter’s ambitions to live-stream 24 hours a day

Twitter is making a stand to increase its dominance in the world of social networking live streaming with plans to broadcast news, sports and entertainment 24 hours a day. Twitter COO and CFO Anthony Noto spoke about the company’s ambitions in an extensive interview with BuzzFeed News:

“We will definitely have 24/7 content on Twitter… Our goal is to be a dependable place so that when you want to see what’s happening, you think of going to Twitter.”

New app helps Instagram users choose a caption for their photo

Former Made In Chelsea star Amber Atherton has launched an iOS app that uses computer vision technology to offer up potential captions for photos. Rubric, which has already been downloaded over 7,000 times, attempts to detect what is in a photo, allows users to choose a subject, before suggesting captions such as quotes, phrases and song lyrics.

Instagram reaches 700 million users

Instagram looks set to be Facebook’s next venture to reach 1 billion users. The social networking app has gained an additional 100 million monthly active users in the last four months, putting the total at 700 million active users a month. The team said this on the Instagram Press Blog:

We’ve made it even easier for people across the globe to join the Instagram community, share their experiences and strengthen connections to their friends and passions. With new features like stories, live video and disappearing messages in Direct, people now have more ways than ever to express themselves and feel closer to what matters to them.

Pinterest looks to reinvent itself with major ad campaign

Pinterest is hoping to reinvent itself as a visual search engine and not a social network in its first major ad campaign this summer. Unlike networks such as Facebook which are looking to virtual reality, Pinterest wants to inspire real lives. CEO Ben Silbermann said this:

“I hope that Pinterest would someday be so useful to people they could so reliably get inspiring ideas that they wouldn’t be able to imagine how they used to just go through life and find inspiration for things.”

The post Social Media News Roundup: April ’17 Week 4 appeared first on Giraffe Social Media.

Friday Reading #92

For those readers who have followed Goodstuff and Friday Reading for a while, you’ve probably heard us talk about SWAN UK quite a bit over the years, it’s a cause close to our hearts. Thousands of children every year are born with rare genetic conditions which are impossible to diagnose, leaving families uncertain and often isolated at an incredibly difficult time. Today is Undiagnosed Children’s Day, aimed at raising awareness of these issues and what SWAN can do to support them. Please share with your friends and family, it has a real impact for this small but fantastic charity.


High fashion can be a perplexing world from the outside, from the experimental eccentricities on the catwalk of London Fashion week to the mind boggling prices some will pay for a plain white t-shirt. So when luxury handbag brand Balenciaga recently created a $2150 homage to the humble blue plastic IKEA bag, it was met with the predicable mix of befuddlement and derision. This week IKEA responded with a straightforward, tongue-in-cheek ad reminding us how to spot the real thing, from the crisp packet rustle when you shake it, to the 40p price tag. 


After the ad disaster that was Pepsi, Heineken have released their new (anti-Pepsi) ‘worlds apart’ experiment. It depicts pairs of strangers with polarizing opinions (think feminism & climate change), neither aware of the other’s views, building a bar together. Once the bar has been built they discover the other person’s views shown to them by film, and are given the option to leave or sit down, have a beer and discuss their differences. Amongst the political and personal views portrayed through the ad, the message still remains; have a beer and chat about it. Importantly, the beer is not the answer in itself – but it’s a means to working things out on a human level. A smart, honest insight which never feels forced or contrived.


Love them or hate them, Amazon’s model of an amazing blend
of low prices, thought leadership in technology and profitless prosperity has
made them one of the most influential companies in the market. In a recent
letter to shareholders
, Big Jeff outlined his philosophy which elucidates a lot
of Amazon’s strategy, victories and failures. Essential reading for all, fast
decision making, customer focus, embracing of trends and a focus on the goal
rather than the process.


Trawling through the streets of London, ducking in and out
of underground stations, annoyed by the busy hustle and bustle of the
slow-moving commuters and dreading your 9am meeting with what’s-his-chops…relatively
low on the list of things to do for most would be to check the quality of the air that is
quietly infiltrating your lungs. However, Silicon Valley start-up Sprimo, want to make air-testing a thing, an actual thing with their new
handy (quite literally) air tester which plugs into your iPhone
to give you
‘real-time air-quality scores’. The ‘tiny device checks the air for VOCs
(volatile organic compounds)’ so you can always be up-to-date with your daily
intake of…well…air.


“Finish that RFP, email the client about costs, schedule the photo shoot, review scope changes, did I buy my brother’s birthday present? – wait, now I need to reschedule the photo shoot.”

Do you feel like your mind is constantly full of lists? In brand management, we’re always multitasking, going from one thing to the next, and generally running full speed ahead at all times. Sometimes it would be helpful if we could just pause, be present in the current moment, and consciously choose how we’d like to move forward. This is where the idea of “mindfulness” comes into play.

I know what you’re probably thinking: This is just a fluffy Millennial idea about how we should have peaceful, relaxing workspaces. Well, it’s way more powerful than that. It’s an idea that some people have centered their entire lives around.

Mindful magazine (yes, that’s a real magazine) defines mindfulness this way: “The basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” More simply put, it’s the act of being aware of oneself, in the present. This means different things to different people, so try to think of mindfulness in the form of meditation, breathing exercises or controlled breathing, and even some yoga postures.

In a 2017 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of more than 85,000 adults, yoga practice among U.S. workers nearly doubled from 2002 to 2012. Meditation rates also increased, from 8 percent to almost 10 percent. There was also evidence demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness practices among workers related to both physical symptoms and mental well-being.

Studies are finding that mindfulness has tangible benefits in the workplace. Here are some of the most common:

Reduces stress and anxiety
Improves the ability to focus
Cultivates emotional intelligence
Helps you become less REactive and more PROactive
Increases self-confidence
Improves creativity

These are benefits we’d all enjoy, but it may seem like a lofty goal to practice mindfulness enough to make an impact. Here are some ways you can start practicing mindfulness at work (or at home):

Stop (or minimize) multitasking – Try to maintain focus on a single task, and then notice when your mind drifts off to something else. When this happens, mentally shut down all the unrelated thoughts entering your mind and stay focused on what you were doing.

Turn off all notifications – Turn off notifications and check email only when you’re intentionally breaking your focus from a current project. Same goes for calendar invites.

Breathe – It sounds too simple, but if you get an infuriating email or are rushing from meeting to meeting, take a few seconds to breathe. Just a short period of time practicing controlled or focused breathing can put you in the right frame of mind before going back to your work.

Practice daily – Committing to some amount of training every day is the key to progress and success. This can be counting to ten, sitting in a dark room, or doing guided meditation. Try to allot at least ten minutes a day – pick a location and time of day, and stick to it.

Take classes – Attend guided meditation or yoga classes, or sign up for a program like mindfulness-based stress reduction or Transcendental Meditation.

Download an app or two – They give you access to different types of meditation practices, let you set goals and reminders, and track your progress.

I hope this post has left you feeling inspired, relaxed, and thinking about how you might try a few mindfulness practices on your own. Who wouldn’t want to be more relaxed, focused, and productive at work?

The post Mindfulness appeared first on The Richards Group.

Trump’s First 100 Days: Four Communications Lessons from the Trump White House

White House BLOG-full
If there’s one thing everyone in America can agree on, it’s that the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been anything but quiet. Candidate Trump upended communications principles that had dominated politics for decades with tools he developed while branding and promoting his real estate business. As president, Trump has run into a different set of challenges that are testing the tools he used so effectively on the campaign trail.

So, what can we learn about political communications from Trump’s first 100 days in office? And how can these lessons be applied to help businesses, institutions and organizations adapt to this new communications terrain?

• Integrated communications give depth and balance. With tens of millions of Twitter followers and endless media coverage, Donald Trump’s ability to focus attention on an issue is unparalleled. But it is not absolute. Organizations, businesses and even presidents need well-planned, integrated and coordinated communications to break through and move the narrative about an issue.

• Stay focused. The White House is pulled in different directions every minute, whether trying to manage its own initiatives like health care reform, immigration restrictions and budget negotiations, or fielding incoming crises from North Korea, Syria and Russia. The only way your message will penetrate in such a chaotic environment is to stay focused. Determine your policy priorities, develop and maintain a core narrative for each, and enforce message discipline, starting at the top. Do not chase emotional, shiny objects if they are not connected to your objectives. Stay disciplined and always work toward your end goal.

• Journalism is not dead. Legions of people have written about President Trump and his agenda, but none have had a greater impact over the last 100 days than political journalists. Those tasked with reporting on the administration day-in and day-out have driven far more attention on any given issue than maybe even the president himself. Even Trump sees this. Despite disparaging the D.C. media establishment, the first two reporters the president called after pausing his health care reform effort were from The New York Times and The Washington Post. So while there are dozens of ways to get your ideas in front of your target audiences, investing in relationships with the media is as important as it has ever been.

• Relationships matter. Trump came to Washington as an unapologetic outsider who assailed nearly every institution in town. But getting things done requires people, relationships and experience — those who can define and shape policy, those who can advocate for you and those who can implement. Identifying those influencers and building meaningful relationships with them gives your communications efforts the depth and authenticity you need to succeed in Washington. Without them, you are often left shouting into the wind and ultimately failing.

Bad Social Media Techniques You Need to Stop Right Now

Bad social media techniques
If you are unknowingly utilising bad social media techniques as part of your strategy, you might as well not bother. One cowboy tactic can ruin everything.

Sometimes all it takes to elevate a social media campaign from great to magnificent is one teeny strategy addition. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the opposite. Make one erroneous strategy addition, no matter how teeny it is, and your results can plummet.

One thing in particular has made identifying bad social media practices a much harder process than it needs to be; Marketing.

A fairly scathing statement now I look at it written it down, and an ironic one to boot. But true because often these practices are better marketed than best-practice strategies. Why? Well, they can make guarantees about vanity numbers simply because they use underhanded methods; case and point, buying followers. Genuine services have to work on projections justified by the strategies they create, and by previous results from similar strategies.

Why we all stumble into bad social media techniques

There are so many things you can work to achieve on social media, and so many ways you could potential achieve those things. Building social media marketing takes time and a great deal of A/B testing. At some point, we are all going to try something that turns out to be a bad idea in the long-run. The greatest of these being, y’know, giving it up all together.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some strategies are downright boring to work on but get the job done perfectly well. These can often result in apathy – and from that place of despondency we can stumble into bad social media practices too. The greatest of these again being, y’know, giving it up all together.

On that note, here are some bad social media techniques that you’d do well to avoid:

1. Using a curation tool for personalised shortlinks

Some content curation tools, in particular the ones that use sales buzzwords to market themselves, allow you to add your own call to action banner to a piece of content via a personalised shortlink on Twitter. Any content writer who has had their work curated this way (ahem) will tell you that it is dishonest and frustrating.

These apps, such as MarketHub.io, effectively create a duplicate version of your page with somebody else’s call to action (often with the words free webinar included) slapped across it. In many cases, this call to action doesn’t disappear when internal links are clicked. This is misleading, making visitors think that the brand or person on the CTA is affiliated with the website or content.

These are the kind of bad social media techniques that not only harm your own brand, but even worst, can effectively destroy the hard work of another innocent content marketer.

2. Buying followers

If I hadn’t already made it perfectly clear, buying followers is the thing that you should never, ever do. These are nothing but empty numbers; bots and fake accounts that reduce your reach and flag your pages as spam. I’ve gone into this in full and complete detail in my previous article ‘Why you should never, under any circumstances, buy followers’.

3. Using vanity hashtags

I’ve gone into this previously in my article “Why popular hashtags are ruining your strategy”. I’m not totally convinced that vanity hashtags is a recognised term, but it should be. What I’m referring to is using hashtags that exist primarily because they rhyme or roll off the tongue nicely; case and point, #mondaymotivation.

Social media managers and marketers often end up including these hashtags in their posting strategy because they are relevant; which is fine. But when they are engaged with for no reason but numbers, they simply end up marketing to other marketers who are just looking for numbers.

4. Using auto-DMS on Twitter

I’ve made it perfectly clear in the past that automated Twitter messages are the single most annoying and pointless technique ever to darken the doors of social media marketing. These are often sent via following/un-following software/apps that are standard sales pitches. They have effectively made direct messaging on Twitter utterly redundant for anybody who ever wanted to use it for, I don’t know, direct messaging other users.

5. Spending all your resources on so-called “viral” content

Ah, “viral”. Many an MDs favourite term and one that, when heard, makes social media managers shudder. This idea that you can somehow create social media content that is so mind-bogglingly good, so shareable, that the process of merely posting it on your wall will mean that the whole internet will leap on it is totally nonsensical.

I’m not saying that things don’t go viral, that would be a fallacy. However, the idea that you can fabricate virality (not a real term) is. Things go viral when the planets align – the most we can do is create awesome content and ensure it is fastidiously distributed/promoted to the right people.

Constantly piling all your resources into content creation is not a sustainable strategy. You need to be interacting with real people consistently, always conducting network analysis and tweaking your strategy as needed, posting daily in order to make sure your message is getting across.

6. Not giving your strategy the time of day

This is a point that I cannot stress enough. The best social media marketing strategies are built, sustained and made-whole by analytical data. When you start a social media marketing strategy you need to be persistent with it. That way you can see what is working, what isn’t working, and where you perhaps need to redistribute your investment.

Social media isn’t a sales channel. However, many professionals are sales minded. If that’s you, turn your eyes away from your bottom line because unless we are talking about social PPC, it isn’t advertising. Instead, conduct a little social listening – see how much people are talking about your brand now.

7. Thinking social media is the only thing that needs work

If you are building an engaged, relevant audience, and traffic from social networks to your sites is high but those leads aren’t converting into sales, the issue is likely to be somewhere else. You need to have one clear brand message across all of your channels – your website, web content, email, outbound, inbound, Homeward Bound, ALL of those buzzwords.

One final, happier note

Instagress, the spammy auto-comment/follow-unfollow bot service for Instagram, has been closed. So at least that’s one less bad social media practice that we don’t have to worry about.

And you can use relevant hashtags without getting hundreds of bots telling you that your picture of your lunch is “WOW! Inspiring! 😍”.

The post Bad Social Media Techniques You Need to Stop Right Now appeared first on Giraffe Social Media.