The Iron Throne of Marketing

IT’S ALMOST HERE, FOLKS! Game of Thrones will be back Sunday for its final season, and it’ll be a great season full of many feels. It’s been hyped to the next level, ad campaigns up the wahoo, and many marketing stunts just to make sure you know that April 14th is Thrones Day. The marketing budget for this season of Game of Thrones, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, is about $20 million. I mean a monumental marketing budget for a monumental show, everyone (almost everyone) talks about it and has been waiting two years for this moment…to simply be on the edge of their seat to watch their favorite characters die. But there’s soooo much more. They had a collab with Adidas in launching Ultraboost shoes for each specific Thrones house, seen here GoT Boosts. There’s a #ForTheThrone quest in which a giant Iron Throne is popping up in random cities. There’s branded wines for houses, White Walker whiskey, and one of my favorites would have to be GoT Oreos.

CASH COW. That’s exactly what GoT is and what all these brands definitely know, so why not get behind GoT and have your products flying off shelves. So cheers to HBO and GoT for absolutely relishing what’s left of this historic run of a show, keeping pumping it because come May…it’ll all be over. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. GoT? More like GOAT. Amirite?

-JC

WOW, Didn’t See That Coming

(Image – Wow Air)

Do you want to fly to Iceland for the low? Look no further than Wow Air. *record scratch* Or don’t do that. Why? Because they abruptly ceased all operations. Flights cancelled, passengers stranded, and all future flights suspended.

The lossmaking Icelandic carrier has suffered from falling tourist visits to Iceland, as well as the rise in oil prices and more of its rivals offering direct, low-cost long-haul flights. Wow, which marketed itself as a service allowing passengers to break up transatlantic flights with a stopover in Iceland, said alongside releasing its interim results in September that fuel prices had “put pressure” on its financial outlook (Financial Times).

And you best believe their social media is feeling the heat of all the cancelled flights and suspended operations, that in itself will be a whole other storm to deal with aside from jobs, investors, etc. Thoughts and prayers for sure. Is this the last we’ll see of Wow Air? I hope not, was really looking forward to a cheap flight to see Iceland and all of its beauty.

-JC

America Runs on Dunkin… Literally

 

(Image – Dunkin’ Donuts)

Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered up with Saucony, an athletic shoe manufacturer based out of Lexington, Massachusetts. This is their second year partnering up with each other to create a fun new fun pair of shoes in honor of the Boston Marathon. The description of the shoe states, “In celebration of Boston’s biggest race, Saucony and Dunkin’ are debuting their second collaboration, the Saucony X Dunkin’ Kinvara 10. Inspired by Boston’s historic marathon, these two iconic local brands have joined forces to honor the symbiotic relationship between running, coffee and donuts.”

Last year’s shoe was mainly white, with accents of pink and orange, and sprinkles coming from a donut on the back of the shoe.This year, they had their name written all over the new shoe. Looking much more stylish and sleek, it is again a white shoe, but also has Dunkin’ written across the sides in pink and orange, pink and orange accents, and a donut medallion on the shoe laces as well as a cup of coffee on the tongue.
These shoes won’t have you just looking like a snack, but also running like you’re on clouds. The shoes include topsole construction for enhanced energy return and continuous cushioning throughout the run. Saucony’s website also encourages you to, “Let these lightweight, sweet-looking kicks to power you through the full 26.2.”

Although almost all of the sizes are sold out online, they’re also holding a contest to win a pair!

-EC

Hey Google, How Do You Pay Fines?

(Image – Google)

Google is in some hot water. European regulators fined Google €1.49 billion (or $1.7 billion) on Wednesday for abusing its dominance in the online advertising business by imposing restrictive and anticompetitive contracts on its European customers (Gizmodo). Oh and not to mention….Last year, the EU competition enforcer imposed a record 4.34 billion euro fine on Google for using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals. This followed a 2.42 billion euro fine in 2017 for hindering rivals of shopping comparison websites (Reuters).

I mean, *kanye shrug,* this is a drop of water in the ocean considering Google’s parent company Alphabet had about $39 billion in revenue for Q4 2018. But it does make you wonder what Google is up to. The coined phrase “Google it,” is all that comes to mind when something isn’t known. Not many people I know go to Bing and search for things, or use their advertising platform. Google rankings for your site/products/advertising reach are so crucial to the success of your business. But in a world where corporations just get larger and larger, we need to have rivalries amongst businesses.

-JC

Halo Top’s Outlook on the World of Adulting

(Image from @HaloTopCreamery Twitter)

We need to talk about Halo Top’s new commercials. With the tagline, “Ice cream for adults, because adults need a lot of ice cream,” they go into the harsh reality of adulting nowadays. The solution to that dark reality, according to them, is eating Halo Top. The four topics of their new ads are love, swiping, mortgage, and work. They all start with a child or children eager to get ice cream, but denied, because like the tune at the end goes, it’s ice cream for adults.

The love commercial features Nick Viall, who was a runner-up on The Bachelorette as well as being on The Bachelor. Ending up single after being on both of those, he doesn’t have a lot of hope for love. The ice cream man mentions how love is an illusion and that everybody dies alone. Later, Nick comes up to the ice cream truck and says how love is worth it in the end, but then says that it really isn’t.

The swiping commercial is a spin on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. It shows a middle-aged man who isn’t very photogenic endlessly swiping while sitting on a park bench. It shows how adults are lonelier than ever and live in a world full of swiping and not actual love.

The work commercial shows a child asking for ice cream while her mom is on the phone while trying to become a partner at her work. It pokes at the reality that most adults don’t actually enjoy their jobs.

Finally, the mortgage commercial starts with a group of children running to the ice cream truck. It then shows a man in a robe who didn’t make enough money to pay his mortgage. When asked what a mortgage was. He explains, “It’s like waterboarding, but you do it to yourself,” which is basically drowning yourself – in this case, in debt. The ice cream man ends the commercial by telling the children that every day we die a little more.

After this article and these reminders of all of the fun that is soon to come to me through adulting, I could go for some Halo Top now too.

-EC

Those Darn Millennials 2.0

Oh geez, now what…? Entrepreneurship doesn’t seem to be that big of a thing amongst millennials, which I think has a lot to do with failure. A study of 2014 data by the U.S. Small Business Administration revealed that fewer than 4 percent of 30-year-olds are actively in entrepreneurship, compared with the 5.4 percent of Generation X-ers and 6.7 percent of baby boomers at the same age. Failure is a big deterrent of pursuing something, but there’s a lot to be learned from failing. Which goes hand in hand with some tips to really spearhead your way into the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

Are you passionate about a creating a company or selling a product you think consumers might need? Do it. Some say, yeah go all in! If it’s not reasonable for you, build an empire in your spare time after working your 9-5. If you really want it, achieve it..it’ll be a grind and you’ll be drained but in the end you can’t say you didn’t try. Don’t do it for a quick buck, put something out you truly think people need and you can be happy about selling. Without consumers you’re nothing, and you need to truly care about those using your products or services…this is VITAL. This is a tough one, but PATIENCE! It’s going to take time to create your company, go through the legal process, brainstorm, retain customers, grow organically, and find new leads. Stay patient..you won’t become a Fortune 500 Company overnight, always remember this given the instant gratification society we live in. So get after it, just like us here at Ciconte Consulting did.

-JC

whaT tHe heCk

Well this is going to be an interesting topic to briefly touch upon…and I’ll only be getting into advertising aspects of cannabis since this can easily trigger audiences. Is their a double standard for cannabis advertising? Yes there is. What the heck? How many cannabis ads have you seen on your tv, Facebook, or Google (two of the largest online ad platforms)? Zilch. Cannabis companies aren’t allowed to advertise their products on such platforms. Acreage Holdings actually tried to advertise, during the Super Bowl, the benefits of medical marijuana that some patients experienced. CBS said, “Under our broadcast standards, we do not currently accept cannabis-related advertising.” So nah fam. Cannabis is taboo and legalization of it has grown in recent years both on a medical and recreational level, but ads are forbidden on television and in traditional print…because they’re inappropriate. All while commercials for beer, hard alcohol, prescription drugs, condoms, yada yada yada, are all appropriate. Our friends at Big Pharma kept spending big—and, in fact, went even bigger, dropping more than $3.73 billion on national TV commercials last year, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv (Fierce Pharma). Makes you think. This post was strictly munchies for thought. Do you think we’ll see cannabis advertising deemed acceptable as it becomes legalized in more states?

-JC

A Lovely Weekend Brunch

Nothing says brunch like bottomless fentanyl, errr uh. Well this is what Yuzu, a restaurant in Lakewood, OH, jokingly put on their Instagram story as the “new brunch special.” And outrage ensued once the wonderful world of social media got ahold of it. From you shouldn’t be making fun of the opioid crisis, to it’s in poor taste, to maybe your account was hacked. The owner didn’t respond to any of the backlash until a few days later and here’s a blurb of his response on Facebook:

Was the original post just in poor taste? Or is backlash like this to blame on an overly politically-correct culture we’re living in. Being a business owner is like walking on eggshells, be careful as to what you post on social media and stay away from controversial topics, because that can be like opening Pandora’s box. Ciconte Consulting is here to assist you with your social media strategy, just contact us!

-JC

Hulu Has Live Sports?

(GIF – Hulu)

In Hulu’s recently launched marketing campaign, we can definitely confirm that “Hulu has live sports.” Here’s their ad spots Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid. I did in fact know that Hulu has live sports along with their live tv options (starting at $39.99/mo). But if you didn’t know, and assuming you know of Dame (Portland Trailblazers) or Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), then you realize that Hulu got two of the biggest names in the NBA to advertise their live sports platform. The “Hulu Sellouts” campaign will include four national TV spots that will run through June, featuring athletes from varying professional sports. An ad to be released in the coming weeks will feature All-Star Game team captain Giannis Antetokounmpo – Adweek.

I’m a fan of this campaign, it’s funny and very informative of what they have to offer, albeit live tv in addition to their already known streaming options. I’ll plug Hulu Live TV, although I just have it for streaming (with Spotify bundled), I’m more of a Sling TV; a Slinger as they call it. Check it out..there’s plenty of other options than going the traditional, expensive cable route and you can cancel anytime, no bogus contracts.

-JC

Welcome to the New Battle Royale

(Image – Dextero)

Update 2/11/19 8:10pm CST – Apex Legends has surpassed 25 million players within its first week of launch.

Apex Legends, what the? It’s the newest free-to-play battle royale game, following in the footsteps of Fortnite, set in the Titanfall universe (Developed by Respawn Entertainment – Published by EA Games: Xbox One, PS4, and PC). Check out a trailer of some gameplay to get familiar with Apex Legends. That battle Royale genre is so hot right now. Some crazy numbers to put into perspective as to how hot it is, Apex Legends, went from rumored to leaked to released in the span of just a few days. After that, it went from somewhat buzzy to worldwide phenomenon in 72 hours, which is as long as it took to amass 10 million players and 1 million concurrents (Forbes).

With this smashing success out of the gate, how are they planning to make money with their free-to-play game? MICROTRANSACTIONS, WOOT! E.x. Apex Coins (AC) are Apex Legends’ real-money microtransaction currency. You can get 1,000 AC for $9.99, with bonus AC coming along with higher-priced bundles like 2,150 for $19.99 or 4,350 for $39.99. Also, selling Founder’s Packs for $29.99 which has a bunch of exclusive items. And the inevitable season passes (battle pass, speculated at $15-$25) which will get you gear, items, maps, etc. So monetization is well in motion for Apex Legends.

My thoughts: I’ve played this game and it’s FUN (with a squad of 3 that is, possibly adding singles/duos mode in an update, got to stay relevant nowadays). Randoms = no fun, for me at least. But there’s so many aspects of this game they got right, and being it just came out not everything is perfect, some bugs here and there, but well done Respawn Entertainment. I may or may not put money into it, but the marketing is off the walls with all the well known streamers playing this on Twitch. Give it a download, have a good time with your squad, and try taking the elusive 1st place (I’m still trying for 1st 🙃).

-JC