Each Tuesday morning, we convene for a caffeine-fueled “Lightning Chat” about the past week’s hottest news. Through cross-functional input and debate from different teams – designers, developers, strategists and anyone else that’s in the trenches on a daily basis – we aim to find new perspectives and “lightning bolt” ideas about branding and marketing. Here are a few topics we covered this week, and why we think they matter.
1. Social Media Changed The Game In This Year’s Midterm Elections
What Happened: This election, social media networks such as Snapchat and Instagram made a point of telling people to vote. And it worked. According to the New York Times, Snapchat helped register over 400,000 voters thanks to its built-in voter registration option within user profiles.
Our Take: This year, it was hard not to notice brands putting more of an emphasis than usual on getting audiences to register to vote, pay attention to election contests, take advantage of free transportation to the polls, and more. With big brands becoming more and more willing to take a stand on controversial topics, it’s no wonder social networks also hopped on the bandwagon to utilize their power for the democratic good.
2. Speaking of Politics, Beto and Ocasio-Cortez Have Mastered Instagram
What Happened: Politicians such as Beto O’Rourke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Instagram Stories this election to show their audiences just how down to earth they really are. These small snippets gave voters a glimpse into the lives of their political candidates as they’d never seen them before.
Our Take: Humanizing a brand through social media is a sure fire way to help audiences and consumers connect with a product, so there’s no reason why these tactics wouldn’t translate into the world of politics. Videos of making slime or doing laundry aren’t exactly tasks you’d immediately associate with a political figure, but these special moments help bridge the gap between a seasoned politician, and a young person unsure of who to vote for. Candidates, they’re just like us.
3. National Geographic Wants To Take You To Mars
What Happened: National Geographic is working on its first-ever programmatic VR campaign to promote its recent drama, “Mars,” by giving users a chance to explore life on a red-rock planet.
Our Take: Despite programmatic VR being extremely limited in terms of audience size, available placements, and creative opportunities, National Geographic is using this as a test for going after up-and-coming placements and sub-target audiences like gamers. There’s a ton of ad formats and audiences out there, but VR is still a relatively new product to sell. It’s been interesting to see such how a huge company has chosen to advertise a new medium.
4. The Dollar Shave Club, Coming To A Vending Machine Near You
What Happened: The Dollar Shave Club is branching out into fragrances, vending machines, and more in an effort to raise awareness and boost business. The company is opening more than 10 vending machines in crowded areas such as airports and malls to encourage consumers to engage with their products. The machines will include TSA-friendly kits that offer trial-size products for shaving, skin care, showering, and hair care all under $15.
Our Take: This is a big move for an e-commerce brand that began with such a narrow portfolio. However, a vending machine with new products is a clever way to increase awareness of the brand and gives consumers a chance to interact with their products in an easy, accessible, and affordable way.