3 brand campaigns you’ll wish you came up with

ESPN

Ever spare a thought for Airdrop? You remember, it’s that handy little feature that lets Apple devices within around 30 feet of each other share files via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

With smartphones now playing host to tons of different file-sharing tools, you might have forgotten that deep within your network settings, Airdrop is sitting patiently just waiting to get some action.

But guess what? The feature, which first launched back in 2011, is having another 5 minutes of fame right now. And it’s all thanks to ESPN.

While other brands are busy creating AR lenses, 3D graphics, VR experiences and other cutting-edge campaigns, ESPN took to the streets of New York this month to connect with smartphone users in a less fantastical, more functional way: via Airdrop.

Unsuspecting members of the public, specifically those who are a little slack with their privacy settings, were subject to smartphone invasions by the sports network as part of its “You Seeing This?” campaign.

They received surprise personalised messages via Airdrop to promote the NBA Finals.

Essentially, bystanders with their Airdrop visibility set to “Everyone” were fair game for individualised messages relating to whatever activity they had decided to do other than watch the year’s most important basketball game.

Photo: AdWeek

Watch the full video here

I’m going to be honest, this is a ballsy move from ESPN. In the current climate of high sensitivity around data protection, intentionally targeting people without their security locked down with unsolicited communications is a high risk strategy.

But is it a cheeky curveball? Or an unwelcome invasion?

It’s a fine line, but I think ESPN just about stayed on the right side of it – helped massively by the tongue-in-cheek style of the messages.

 

Macy’s

This entry is really less of a campaign and more of a long-term initiative – but still interesting enough to zoom in on.

Macy’s, the US department store chain, is currently rolling out a new influencer programme called Macy’s Style Crew.

Creating a “tribe” of influencers (and also sometimes followers too) is something many big brands do, and it can really pay off. But there’s a key difference with Macy’s strategy: the tribe members in question aren’t social media stars carefully sourced by influencer agencies; they are Macy’s own store staff.

The company is taking applications from employees across the US for Macy’s Style Crew. Selection means they’re entitled to content production support and rewards (based on sales attributed to their product-oriented posts).

Style Crew members do not need to already have a massive social media following to apply (nice touch) and post about various topics related to Macy’s huge product catalogue.

What’s great about this is Macy’s acknowledgement and investment in the potential of its brand family.

Why look elsewhere when you have such a big talent pool right on your doorstep? Not to mention a talent pool that knows your company and products better than anyone.

This is a brilliant way to generate a regular stream of UGC from people who already have a deep connection with the brand.

The only thing I would question is whether that deep connection in itself will limit how receptive the audience is to the content. The effectiveness of influencer marketing somewhat relies on a sense of impartiality and authenticity on behalf of the content producer, making product recommendations seem non-commercial.

And while nowadays users are much more aware that most influencers are paid to promote certain brands, it’s still not as close a link as actually being a member of staff.

This could turn out to be a complete non-issue, or it could mean that Macy’s Style Crew is not as successful as a sales driver.

We’ll have to wait and see.

 

Google
Be honest. Have you ever – even for a single split second – thought that spreadsheets were fun enough?

Thought not.

Spreadsheets are useful; I’ll give them that. But they’re also INSANELY dull to look at. And when you consider that most people spend a considerable amount of time staring into those mind-numbing monochrome cells, you can see the issue.

Wouldn’t everybody be so much happier if spreadsheets were more attractive, or say… I don’t know… rainbow coloured?

Well, we’re about to find out!

Google is taking bland-spreadsheet matters into its own hands, with a pretty nifty little hack for its Sheets software.

As part of its support for Pride month, the company has secretly embedded a bit of tech trickery into its spreadsheets – meaning anyone can turn their Sheets doc beautiful rainbow colours by simply typing P R I D E into the top cell of the first four columns.

Photo: Pink News

Incidentally, searching for “Pride month” on Google also triggers a colourful customisation, this time a bunting graphic added to the results page header.

What’s nice about each of these features is that Google didn’t scream about them. Subtle yet meaningful touches, found organically by users, will likely get as much attention – if not more – as those highly publicised. Plus they help the brand’s support come across as more genuine.