Author: Simon Heaton

Apple’s ‘Misunderstood’ commercial pulls on heart strings this holiday

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With the holidays just around the corner, many companies are releasing new ads and campaigns focused on family time and winter festivities. (Check out our post on West Jet’s holiday surprise now if you haven’t)

One of the most emotionally impactful ads I’ve seen thus far this season was released two days ago by, none other than, the tech giant Apple. Their new “Misunderstood” holiday campaign aims to shed light on our society’s obsession with technology and why that can be okay – as long as we remember the ones we love.

Apple’s clever use of emotional appeal in this ad is highly effective (I swear I didn’t tear up) and it really strikes a chord with many people this time of year.

What do you think? Is Apple’s depiction of technology use a reality? Let’s hear your thoughts.

Check out the “Misunderstood” ad here:

Console Wars: How the PS4 has taken the edge in the U.K.

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XboxPs4

With the release of Sony’s new PS4 console on November 29 in the United Kingdom, the Japanese tech company went into high gear promoting its release throughout England and the United Kingdom.

And that’s no surprise since its direct competitor, Microsoft, released it’s next gen console, Xbox One, only a week before the PS4 release. With both companies pushing out brand new consoles at the same time, they have entered a fierce battle for market share. Because of this, the value of generating positive buzz in the U.K. has massive implications for the success of both consoles.

Sony was quick to recognize this and took matters into its own hands to ensure no one forgot that the PS4 was being released in the U.K. at the end of November.

The tech-giant turned to the marketing firm 180 Amsterdam to help launch a campaign for its most powerful console yet.  Al Moseley, CCO of 180 Amsterdam and his team decided to focus on the gamers and their experience rather than the console hardware in order to help generate buzz for the upcoming release.

“The goal for us was to turn a product built for the gamer, by the gamer, into a communications campaign that seduced the gamer.” – Al Moseley

With this simple ingenious idea in mind, the “For the Players” campaign was born. This integrated marketing campaign was filled with gaming culture references, special effects, and relates directly to their core consumer: the gamer. By focusing on the gamer’s experience, Sony was able to generate significant buzz among their target audience before the console was even close to hitting the shelves of U.K. retailers.

See the U.K. ad here:

But Sony didn’t stop there, they also took their campaign to the skies of London.

OXOTo further help amp up the release of the PS4 in Britain, Sony took over the OXO Tower in London for the length of November. The massive landmark was adorned in the iconic symbols from the gaming console’s controller, generating a huge amount of impressions around London. These symbols were lit up alongside the glowing London skyline every night for the entire month up until the U.K. release date.

The choice of using the OXO Tower as a freestanding installation by Sony was strategic for two reasons. Not only is the tower an iconic London landmark that can be seen across the city, but the building has existing windows that are already shaped like an O and an X: two of Playstation’s four renowned symbols – making it the perfect choice.

This extensive campaigning was not done in vain, and has already paid off for Sony in the U.K. market.

Over the opening weekend in the U.K., Sony sold over 250,000 PS4 consoles. This is approximately 100,000 units more than its competitor the Xbox One. This makes the PS4 the fastest-selling gaming console in U.K. history. And it is no doubt that the massive public relations efforts on behalf of Sony and 180 Amsterdam helped make this possible.

A war is raging in the United Kingdom, and Sony and its PS4 are on top.

Your move, Microsoft.

“Sina What?” – Why you should know about Sina Weibo, one of China’s fastest growing social media platforms

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weibo

Ever heard of Sina Weibo? Probably not. But if you lived in China you definitely would.

Sina Weibo, often described as the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, is a microblogging website that is home to over 503 million users and approximately 100 million messages posted daily. With numbers like this, it is a social platform that organizations trying to connect with Chinese consumers cannot ignore.

Especially when popular western social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have been blocked from the public eye by the government.

Considering that China is home to world’s fourth largest economy, one of the fastest growing GDP rates, and a daunting 1.35 billion consumers, it’s become more and more important for businesses to understand how to connect with this lucrative market.

And Sina Weibo is the answer.

Many non-Chinese businesses have taken note of Sina Weibo’s popularity among the Chinese population and have utilized the platform to gain marketshare. Below I will highlight some examples of how organizations and people effectively use Sina Weibo, commonly known as  Weibo, to further their brand in China.

Tiffany & Co

In a country where consumers will represent 20 per cent of the global luxury goods market by 2015, Tiffany & Co. has taken to Sina Weibo to establish itself as on of the top five jewellery brands in the eyes of the Chinese consumer.

With over 215,000 fans on their Sina Weibo account, Tiffany & Co. focuses heavily on creating an association between their brand and Chinese celebrities they have worked with. They accomplish this by tagging the Sina Weibo accounts of celebrities in their posts that showcase their products.

Above is a post by Tiffany & Co. comparing their jewellery to the photography of the popular Chinese artist @wangxiaohui. By associating the beauty and craftsmanship of the artist’s photography and the creation process of their jewellery, Tiffany & Co. is defining their product offering with a sense of prestige and personal, artistic expression among their target audience. Establishing this type of connection among Chinese consumers is helping the company drive sales of it’s high-end jewellery.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that @wangxiaohui has well over 1 million Sina Weibo followers that will have seen the post by the jeweller, boosting their consumer impressions.

Even celebrities are on the Weibo train

Not only is China a hotspot for the consumption of luxury goods, like jewellery, it is also becoming the world’s largest consumer market for film and entertainment industry. Recognizing this, many western entertainment celebrities are flocking to set up their Sina Weibo pages to engage with their growing Chinese fan base.

And many of them turn to Fanstang, a company that specializes in Chinese social media marketing for international celebrities. Fanstang’s model is to translate the Twitter posts from celebrities accounts and then repost the translated version to Sina Weibo on their behalf. This allows the celebrities to gain credibility and expand their fan base by communicating in their own language. Some of the accounts that run by Fanstang include Avril Lavigne, Paris Hilton, and Robert Downey Jr.

Fun Fact: The lead actor of the Iron Man series, Robert Downey Jr.  doesn’t  have a Twitter account, yet he is on Sina Weibo where he boasts an impressive 1.02 million followers. He used this following to promote the premiere of Iron Man 3 to Chinese movie-goers when it was released this past summer. By not ignoring social media platforms that are specific to his Chinese market, Downey Jr. has successfully built a major fan base overseas and the results are apparent. The opening weekend of Iron Man 3 brought in $21.5 million, shattering previous records and making it the most successful movie opening in China to date.

So if you’re a business trying to reach out to consumers in China, what are you waiting for? Don’t get left behind in the eyes of the Chinese consumer, and go create your Sina Weibo account today.

-Curious about other trendy social media platforms in China?Check out this great infographic created by the people at go-globe.com.-