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2018 Super Bowl Ads: Match the Celebrity Endorsers

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Five years ago, in an attempt to demonstrate the ridiculousness of including hashtags in Super Bowl commercials, I started creating annual quizzes to test which hasthags were memorable.

Not many were.

Because most hashtags are silly. 

The only acceptable hashtags in advertising are a brand’s name.

Five years later, advertisers have gotten the message. I only counted eight total hashtags shown in Super Bowl ads this year. I couldn’t even make a good quiz.

This year, it seemed like more ads included well-known celebrities than in previous years. So here’s an all-new quiz for you:

Can you match the celebrity with the endorsed brand from its 2018 Super Bowl commercial?

Add This To Your To-Do List
Take the quiz! Add your score to the comments, below.

There’s never a lack of ideas.

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via WikiCommons.

Ten Steps to Take When Your Brand is the Victim of Fake News

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Fake news can strike any brand at any time. It hit ours recently. Consider this a playbook for what to do when fake news hits your brand. 

For clarity, I’m not talking about how to respond to a story in which facts were misinterpreted or taken out of context. I’m not talking about editorials, either. I’m talking about a completely fabricated story that has no basis in fact and is damaging to your brand.

When fake news hits, it will almost certainly spread via Facebook first. Follow the steps below and you’ll make it through as unscathed as possible.
Make sure the fake news story is actually fake. Don’t proceed with the next steps unless it’s truly fake news and has no basis in fact.Draft a brief statement (3-4 sentences) to communicate four things:You are aware of the fake news story It’s truly fake newsYou are working to take down the storyYou are contacting each person who has shared the story online and asking them to remove their postCommunicate to your employees and internal stakeho…

On the Fence: The First Priority of Marketing Communication

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Four years ago, I wrote the definitive list of marketing communication priorities. First on that list:
Utilize your physical location (if you have one).
The piano teacher who owns the fence pictured here is doing this perfectly. Well done.
There’s never a lack of ideas.

#SuperBowl #Hashtags 2017

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For the fourth year in a row, I tracked all ads shown during the Big Game and kept track if an ad showed a hashtag. I do this as a way to convince marketers to stop using silly hashtags — and I think it’s working. Only 25% of ads contained a hashtag this year — the lowest percentage I’ve seen in the last four years. You're welcome, America.
Remember: the best hashtag to use (if you must use one) is simply a brand name.

Let’s see if you can identify these 7 hashtags from Super Bowl LI: Take the quiz now. And leave your score in the comments, below. 
Take the quiz

Five TV Restaurants in Which I Want to Eat in Real Life

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In case you missed it, there’s a real-life pop-up restaurant modeled after “The Max” — the fictional restaurant featured in 90s sitcomSaved by the Bell.What a cool idea, and a great example of a concept playing on both of themost powerful forces in marketing
Taking inspiration fromSaved by the Max, I brainstormed five TV restaurants in which I’d pay to dine in real life:
1. Monk’s Diner — Seinfeld The outside of Monk’s Diner from Seinfeld is real-lifeTom’s Restaurantin New York. However, the inside of the restaurant was shot on a sound stage. WhileHulu built a real-life version of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartmentto promote its deal with the show, nobody has built a replica of the inside of Monk’s Diner. I’d do just about anything for a chance to talk about nothing while eating chicken salad, on rye, untoasted, and drinking a cup of tea.
2. Café Nervosa — Frasier Frasier is one of my favorite shows of all time. While Niles and Frasier spent most of their time at Café Nervosa on the show, fans h…

The Two Most Powerful Forces in Marketing

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Newness and nostalgia.
Could there be more powerful forces in marketing?* And yet they’re polar opposites.
One says, “I’m undefined, different, and exciting. Check me out.”
The other says, “Remember how great I used to make you feel?”
Both are incredibly powerful. It’s quite the accomplishment to go from new to nostalgic. That doesn’t happen by accident. It takes years and years of excellence to get there.
The best brands consistently use both newness and nostalgia to excel. It may seem like an oxymoron, but I think of these forces every time I hear, “the all new Chevrolet” or “new at Disney World.”
It’s a slippery slope, though. Nobody asks, “what’s new at Marshall Fields?” any more.
For established brands, successfully tapping into newness and nostalgia is perhaps our biggest challenge and opportunity as marketers. How will you take advantage of both?
There’s never a lack of ideas.
*”Free” is, of course, even more powerful than both. But free is easy. Free doesn’t last. Any brand can do “fre…

Loyalty Program? You Don’t Need No Stinking Loyalty Program

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Loyalty is a hot topic in many industries, especially the restaurant industry. Starbucks recently overhauled its loyalty program. McDonald's is reportedly about to roll one out. But if your company is considering launching a loyalty program, allow me to make the case that your time and effort are almost certainly better spent elsewhere.

What Is a Loyalty Program?
I'm defining "loyalty program" as a program that rewards customers with freebies for making purchases at a business. 20 years ago, this was often handled with a punch card: "Buy nine scoops of ice cream and get the tenth one free." Today, this is very often handled digitally.

The rise of digital loyalty programs has muddled the definition of a loyalty program. Free rewards are often mixed with other features like online ordering or mobile payment. If you take away only one thing from this post, let it be this:
When it comes to "digital loyalty programs," do not confuse the benefits of added …