Posts tagged #volvo

Of Frorks and Ford Cribs - aka viral stunt marketing

I am probably the most McDonald's-loving vegetarian / tree hugger you will ever meet - considering there is very little on the menu for me and the environmental waste is soul-crushing when you think about it.  

Which is why you'd think that I hate the new FRORK invention that has set some spheres of the interweb ablaze with commentary, confusion and delight.  It's basically a red plastic fork handle that allows you to insert 3 fries into the end to serve as the fork's prongs, which can then be used to sop up any extra ketchup or Big Mac special sauce left on your plate, erm, wrapper.  

Sometimes the rational marketer in me asks: What's the value of doing something like this - does it ACTUALLY SELL MORE BURGERS?  Is this just content for content's sake?  Or is pumping out ideas that spread virally simply the way brands need to operate today to remain top-of-mind? 

Ford did something similar recently with a baby crib that simulates being in a car, since babies are more prone to falling asleep in cars:  The crib gently rocks back and forth like a car, emits car engine hums, and has a circling glowing light that emulates a car passing street lights at night.   I'm getting zzzzzzz just thinking about it:

Part of me is very sceptical and thinks it's a total waste of dollars and energy and won't sell a single car... but part of me also recognises the PR value being generated by these stunts.  A quick search on Youtube for FRORK shows the number of people who've created additional content off the back of the original videos.  By even writing this post about them, I'm adding to the chatter.  

And I was guilty of doing it last year too when I blogged about Volvo launching the Volvo Life Paint, a clear spray paint that can be sprayed on clothing and bikes that glows and is reflective at night.  This to me was the ultimate in viral stunt marketing as it also hammered home Volvo's core positioning of being a SAFE vehicle and caring about protecting consumers.  

But did it sell any Volvos?   

That's debatable - but it did manage to get the brand top-of-mind for a bicyclist/car buyer like me who never watches ads any more.  To that end, perhaps it's done its job.

What do you think?  Are these viral stunts worth it?  Do you believe they help build sales --- or could that money be used better some other way?  


Posted on May 9, 2017 and filed under RADvertising.

RADvertising: 3 brands that get benevolence

First off, I’m going to be totally honest: I didn’t come up with the idea of benevolent brands – it’s been around the past few years.  Even worse, I had to google “define benevolent” to even understand what the word benevolent even meant at first!  I’ve since discovered that I’m not the only one, so for those of you who suck at Scrabble too, here you go:

Benevolent (adjective):  “well-meaning and kindly” and “an organization serving a charitable rather than a profit-making purpose.

In the past month there’s been a surge in brands doing cool, benevolent things that take them beyond their core categories (cars, dog food, vodka) – and into an adjacent space that might not make them rich, but certainly make their brand proposition stronger. 

The one you’ve probably seen mentioned the most is Volvo’s “LifePaint.”  The boxy family car that’s synonymous with “safety” has deepened its commitment to safety by creating a spray that can be used on bikes, backpacks and clothing so they become reflective at night (but look no different in daylight).  Apparently the bike shops that sell it are receiving hundreds of phone calls a day about it.  Whilst Volvo isn’t in the bike business, it is in the business of safe driving and this initiative has got people talking about the brand again.

Similarly, dog food Pedigree has launched Pedigree Found – an app that lets dog owners notify if their pet has gone missing, and in conjunction, Google Display Network will post a picture of the dog to people within a 2.5km radius of the owner – acting almost like a digital “Missing Dog” poster. So far it's only in New Zealand (and so far it only applies to missing dogs... what about us crazy cat ladies?!?!) 

And last, Absolut Vodka is elevating its 30-year connection to the art world with Absolut Art – an initiative that helps regular folks like us (I assume you’re not a high end art collector either) discover and purchase artworks from rising talent around the world.  First stop: Stockholm (of course).  It demonstrates that their commitment to artistry and creativity isn’t just lip service – it’s part of who they are as a brand.

Based on my own newsfeed of friends’ posts, the social media currency of these benevolent initiatives seems strong – and I imagine they have a good deal of PR value as well.  The beauty is they manage to strengthen the brand without resorting to traditional forms of advertising… and do some good for the world at the same time.

What do you think… Is it all hippy-dippy feel good stuff with little reach and impact?  Or something every brand needs to be investigating?