Journal Article Discussion: Social Factors in User Perceptions and Responses to Advertising in Online Social Networking Communities

In our journal article, a study was performed to help determine the social factors that help inform responses to advertisements on social media.  In today’s society, a majority of the information we receive comes from social media outlets, and these sites have to tiptoe the line between having advertisements as well as providing an uninterrupted experience […]

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Budweiser #BestBuds

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The Campaign

One of my favorite campaigns that I have seen within this year is the Budweiser “Best Buds” series of commercials.  These commercials have run on television, but were cleverly designed and promoted over social media.  The campaign has been running for quite some time now, and ads have been shown on both the 2014 and 2015 Super Bowl.  This campaign is not only a different taste of beer advertising but it taps into the emotion of a man and his best friend.  The one below is one of my favorites from the series, since the message is clear and makes me tear up. Every. Single. Time.

If you go to the YouTube link, you find that it has been watched over 23 million times, and liked over 60 thousand times. If that isn’t social engagement, I don’t really know what is.

In this particular advertisement, it evokes an emotion that is hard to come by in today’s era.  If an ad makes me tear up, I always consider it a good one – because I hardly tear up for anything.  The thought of a loved one dying is one thing that is hard to evoke, but instead of making it about humans, Budweiser decided to make it about the dog.  Not only is it a perfect twist, but it makes viewers realize what effect it has on our favorite four legged friends.  I think this advertisement really resonates with a lot of people – and that’s why this campaign did so well.

One of my favorite parts of this commercial and campaign is that it promotes safe drinking and driving.  I think everyone this day in age has known someone who has been in a car accident, and furthermore, I’m sure many of those people know someone who has gotten into a drunk driving accident. With the upcoming generation of millennials entering the legal drinking age, we have been taught that drinking and driving is something you should never do.  It’s very encouraging to see a beer company promoting the same thing in a way that reminds you in a lesson that isn’t a high school teacher telling you what not to do.

 

The Target

This Anheuser-Busch campaign, is targeted towards people of the legal drinking age.  However, it is more specifically targeted towards drinkers between the ages of 21-27.  Anheuser-Busch wanted to specifically capture the 21-27 target because this demographic consumes and shares content via the internet; mainly though social sites and news sources.  According to the Anheuser-Busch article, the main purpose of the campaign was to promote responsible drinking and driving.  The campaign voices that it is super important not to drink and drive, but is even more important to have a safe place to stay.  From the YouTube video that was shown, it is clear that that message has been obtained.  From other commercials, like the one below, it is a little harder to tell – but none the less, the campaign is still a strong one.

This YouTube advertisement above generated close to 59 million views and has over 246 thousand likes.  This “Puppy Love” commercial was aired during the Super Bowl XLVIII, which is why it has more views than the other ads.  This last advertisement I will show below, was aired during the Super Bowl XLIX.

“Lost Dog” commercial generated 29 million views with 120 thousand likes. This ad was as a result of the campaign’s success from the prior year.

 

The Strategy

As seen by the ads that I have posted in this article, the strategy of this campaign was to promote safe driving to all alcohol consumers.  The importance of safe drinking is one that has always been promoted by the alcohol industry, but Budweiser took it to a whole new level. Alcohol advertising is actually self-regulated, and no advertising focuses on partying or getting drunk.  Rather, alcohol advertisements focus on the taste and or social aspects of enjoying a beer with friends.

The strategy of this campaign was very smart and well thought out.  As noted before, Anheuser-Busch wanted to advertise to all alcohol consumers, and advertising online was a great way to do so because viewers would tend to see the post during the day and notice it was posted and shared by a friend.  For a discussion that is centered on safe drinking and driving, it is almost better to have a friend share the information, since its saying to a friend “hey, don’t let this happen to you, because if it does, I will be crushed.”  Budweiser, in my eyes, did everything right, they had a goal, they achieved it, and they gained a lot of earned media.  News sources listed Budweiser as having one of the best commercials on the Super Bowl – always something people talk about after the football game. Huffington Post, WGNTV, and AdWeek all promoted Budweiser through earned media.  The advertisement that ran during Super Bowl XLIX had the highest ranking by increase in positive comments according to Venture Beat.

Besides the sharing of the YouTube videos via social media, Budweiser also promoted their brand through other vehicles.  In this tweet below, you can see that Budweiser ran a sweepstakes.

This Tweet alone, which was sent on the 23rd of January 2015, generated 4,373 retweets and 2,950 favorites.

Twitter was not the source Budweiser used, they also got the Vine community involved by getting famous viner Vincent Marcus to create an ad.

Vincent Marcus made this content exclusively for Budweiser, and you know it’s an ad with “#BestBuds Budweiser #ad.”

 

Conclusion

The Budweiser brand went ahead to create content in a way that would engage users – which I think is one of the most important things to do in this time period.  If a brand doesn’t create conversation, how do you really know if you are truly reaching consumers? Budweiser understood their target and they realized how important social media is for promoting their brand.

Budweiser, I think did a phenomenal job with the #BestBuds campaign and while I would love for Budweiser to do another commercial for the 2016 Super Bowl, I doubt it will happen, but hey, it was fun while it lasted.

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Attention Worthy Content

In today’s interconnected world, there is no escaping the 24/7 onslaught of media messages. Illustrating the challenges associated with a global network that is overly saturated with content, Ethan Zuckerman promotes the notion that “our challenge is not access to information; it is the challenge of paying attention” (Rewire, 19). With so many eyeballs viewing […]

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Work for My Attention

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Everywhere I look, there are advertisements being thrown in my face. I see ads when I’m scrolling through Facebook or Intagram. I see them when I read the daily SnapChat magazines. I see them when I flip through actual paper magazines. I glance at marketing ploys when I am driving down the road and huge billboards creep into my peripheral vision. They are on the television, on the sides of buses, in the train station…they are everywhere! Advertisements are inescapable because they constantly bombard us on a daily basis. But, just because these advertisements are visible to me, does that mean that I am truly paying attention to them?

Half of the time when I see an advertisement, I just continue scrolling past it without being phased at all by its content. If someone were to ask me what the ad was marketing, I would not be able to answer without tapping deep into my subconscious, slightly photographic memory. So what does an advertisement have to do to grab my attention and get me to scroll back and really look at it?

First of all, visual intake, I believe, is one of the most important aspects of marketing and advertising. Let’s compare this to picking which slice of pizza to get at the pizza shop. Here I am, at the pizzeria looking at all the pizzas, trying to figure out which one will taste the best. Since I can’t try a sample of each pizza before I pick one, I use my sight to pick the best one. Which one looks like it’ll taste good? Now let’s assume that I’ve never had a slice of pizza before and I have no taste-bud memories to go off. I have to pick the pizza slice that simply looks the most appealing. I also pick the biggest slice because I’m feeling gluttonous.

Original collage

In that same realm, people are drawn in to what is aesthetically pleasing to them and from what they will get the most enjoyment. The use of pictures and visuals in advertisements helps a person to visualize the product in their possession. A description of something without the visual aspect is not always enough to convince someone to engage in this advertisement. Even the use of color schemes and designs can help to attract someone’s attention if there is no picture. For instance, if I saw two advertisements that were essentially marketing the same idea or product, but one was just black text with a white background and the other had interesting font and a simple design with cool color schemes, I would be more drawn to the latter.

Next, the advertisement must be marketing something that I am personally interested in. With the advancement of social media and its growing hand in the marketing industry, it is easier for advertisers to target specific people. For example, I really needed a new pair of shoes for my birthday this summer and I was looking through every shoe website I could find. Then when I logged into Facebook, I noticed that a bunch of the ads on the side of the webpage were for websites like Aldo and Steve Madden, both very popular shoe companies. I actually experimented with this phenomenon while writing this entry. I visited about five different shoe websites and searched “shoe websites” on Google in a matter of about three minutes. I immediately logged into my Facebook account and, there it was, a shoe advertisement. At first I felt a bit weird about this, as if there were little robots spying on me through my computer and tracking my Internet whereabouts. Eventually I came to understand that this marketing strategy is actually pretty brilliant, even though it may freak me out. By keeping tabs on a person’s online activity, marketers can directly cater to his or her specific interests, which will almost guarantee that the advertisement will get attention.

Original screenshot from personal computer

Another way that advertisers get my attention is through representation. If I see an advertisement featuring someone who looks like me or if something that aligns with my identities is being marketed, then I will be more intrigued. For example, advertisements featuring women or people of color will often get my attention because I identify with both of those social groups and what is being marketed may be beneficial or important to me. Marketers can do this on a larger scale by analyzing who uses or engages in what platforms of media in a specific place and at a certain time. These marketers then have a better way of targeting specific groups of people that may benefit from what they are advertising.

 

Another way in which marketers receive attention is by appealing to the general public. Marketers who place their ads on websites, magazines, or Internet articles that have (or will have) high engagement will most likely gain more attention. One example is Time magazine’s reporting on Facebook’s new addition, the “dislike” button. The dislike button has always been a feature that many people wanted on Facebook but was constantly deemed a “no-go” by its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t think the marketers of this article had to try very hard to make this article get attention. The words “dislike button” were definitely enough to grab mine. I think the marketers that chose to place their ads on this page were very smart to do so because so many people are going to be clicking on that article and will see and maybe lend their attention to a few of the several ads on the webpage.

Original screenshot from personal computer

Ultimately, advertisers and marketers have to fight their hardest to get people’s attention. They must try to appeal to people as individuals and as a unit. They must also stay current in order to know what people will be interested in enough to actually pay attention to it. With our ever-evolving culture, advertisers and marketers really have to stay on top of their game to make people stop what their doing and truly look at what they have to offer.

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