Marketing Minute | October 2022 | SizzleForce Marketing

Creepy Smiles, Imaginary Instagrammers Worth $$$, & More

Welcome to the Marketing Minute, a carefully curated rundown of our favorite things sizzle-worthy in marketing news.  Check out the marketing trends and headlines that made our heads turn this past month…

In this edition: 

  • Forget Kim Kardashian. Meet Miquela. 
  • Beyonce Inspires and Kendrick Advises
  • Is insulting your audience’s intelligence a good marketing strategy? 
  • (Spoiler Alert: No.)
  • Smile: Scary Good Marketing, or… Just Plain Creepy?

Forget Kim Kardashian. Meet Miquela.

Did you ever see the film Simone, in which one of the biggest superstars in the world wasn’t real? She was a digital projection? 

Well, something that we thought would only happen in science-fiction movies is now a reality. Because some of the biggest influencers out there don’t exist in real life. 

Take Lil Miquela. She loves to do all the things living, breathing influencers do. She even shows empathy. Take this quote from an “interview” she took with High Snobiety Magazine: 

I think people feel a little vulnerable in general right now. They have a lot of frustration and need something to target it at, usually it’s something that they don’t understand. So, I try not to let it get to me too much, because it’s a symptom of people trying to digest all of the change happening every day.” 

Sounds very human, doesn’t it? But Lil Miquela is a figment of imagination. A very lucrative one that is making her creators gobs of cash and even scoring deals as the face of brands like PacSun. And she isn’t the only one

Part of her appeal might be her lighthearted self-awareness (scary to use that word about an online AI entity, but there it is): Lil Miquela is very honest about her… roboticy-ness: ”If I don’t have tacos at least once a week, I glitch,” she laments.

Source: lilmiquela Instagram

We can relate to the taco problem. And perhaps that quippy take on a robot relating to humans is the key to her success.

Takeaways: We all love to collectively hate on influencers and influencer culture… but it’s weird how AI influencers leave us somehow feeling sorry for the human ones. 

But this AI thing isn’t going away anytime soon. Yet, at the end of the day, virtual influencers just don’t quite give you the feels… which brings us to the ad coming up next on our SizzleForce Marketing Minute… 

From Artificial Intelligence to the Human Spirit

Moving on from wires and numbers to something harder than steel: the human spirit. Ok, yeah, that might be a little cheesy, but when you’re team human there’s nothing like a positive message about people to bring a smile to your face.

We love it when a company uses its platform to provide an uplifting message.

Gatorade did exactly that in August when they released For Serena, With Love. Their message was spoken by Beyonce and framed in the story of Serena Williams and the many women of color who she has inspired. That message: 

“To always love being you. The whole you. The real you.”

Meanwhile, CashApp took a very different approach that same month as they provided an emboldening message aimed at black entrepreneurs. In  That’s Money  Kendrick Lamar sits between Ray Davio, a billionaire investor, and comedian Exavier TV. The famous rapper serves as a sort of interpreter between the two as they discuss finances, with the final message being:  

“Investing in Yourself. That’s Money.” 

Our takeaway: Using your platform to uplift others is one of the most powerful things we can do as marketers. These are two great examples of how to do exactly that while addressing two very specific audiences. 

Favorite YouTube comment from the Kendrick Lamar video: “Kendrick Lamar my favorite financial advisor and hood translator” 😂

Two different approaches to doing the same thing. 

Smile: Scary Good Marketing, or… Just Plain Creepy?

During my usual Instagram scroll, an image popped up on my feed from the Marketing Brew account that gave me pause. It was a screengrab from a Major League baseball game, but with an intriguing closeup of one of the audience member’s faces. Wearing a neon yellow t-shirt emblazoned with the word “SMILE” the woman’s face features a blinkless stare with an unsettling smile.

Source: marketingbrew Instagram

Now, I have never seen the classic Hitchcock horror film Psycho, but immediately what came to mind was the infamous still of Norman Bates with an equally unnerving grin. 

It was a marketing stunt for a horror movie, Smile. Paramount, the film’s studio, hired actors to smile behind the pitch at two major league baseball games in a brilliant guerilla marketing campaign. The moment went viral across social media, with people tweeting about it A LOT.

Source: Erik Davis Twitter accont

Takeaways: Getting creative with your marketing is KEY. Whether it be The Blair Witch Campaign (which made it seem like the movie was a documentary) or billboards that are inside jokes in LA (featuring real-estate agent billboards that promote the fictional real estate services of the main characters from Santa Clarita Diet as if they were real people), feel free to have fun with your marketing campaigns. 

How to insult people’s intelligence: paper towel edition

Bounty’s most recent ad campaigns have left our team with more questions than answers. Before we go any further, take a look for yourself:

Now, we know Bounty has positioned itself as “The Quicker Picker Upper”… but every time we see one of these commercials, we can’t help but think it would be “quicker to pick up” the iPad or lottery ticket than it is to grab a paper towel and clean up the mess. And we’re not the only ones thinking it…

At the end of the day, we’re all talking about Bounty, so maybe this is a win for them… but we’re not running out the door to go buy their paper towels (and honestly, we feel a little like they’ve underestimated our intelligence here) so if we were Bounty’s marketing team, we’d probably be heading back to the drawing board on this one.

Takeaways: There’s a fine line between clear, simple messaging that equips your audience to solve whatever problem they’re facing, and messaging that leaves them feeling like you think they’re stupid. Both *could* work, but consider which experience you want your audience to have with your brand.

Have these marketing campaigns inspired you to ramp up your own marketing game? If you are not sure where to start or where to put your energy when it comes to marketing, this free quiz can help

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