Campaign Trail is our look at some of the best and worst new creative efforts from the marketing world.
Marketing Dive's editors review Lululemon's first campaign targeted at men, Netflix's out-of-home push for "Narcos" and Welch's turning the spotlight on its farmers.
Lululemon challenges masculine stereotypes in first campaign targeted at men
The rundown: Lululemon's been one of the few bright spots in a largely dire retail space this year. One factor that's bolstered the athleisure brand's business is menswear, which executives have recently cited as one of the company's "best-kept secrets."
It might not be much of a secret anymore, however, since Lululemon this week officially launched its first-ever advertising campaign targeted directly at men, reported Ad Age, aiming to build on the momentum of a category that's been surprisingly robust. "Strength to Be," which consists of five 30-second digital video ads and was created with Vice Media's Virtue Worldwide agency, focuses on diverse representations of masculinity, including by profiling the first openly gay boxer, Orlando Cruz. It comes as part of a broader "This is Yoga" push introduced in May and intended to win over more millennial shoppers.
The results: With Strength to Be, Lululemon is meeting a growing demand for advertising that breaks with traditional or otherwise outdated representations of what it means to be a man. The campaign follows a similar effort from Unilever's Axe, which earlier this year rolled out an "Is It Ok For Guys?" platform that challenges notions of toxic masculinity.
Strength to Be might help Lululemon hone in on engaged male fitness enthusiasts who are put off by the hyper-macho messaging that defines a lot of athletic apparel advertising. Some of the socially-conscious spots are available to view on the brand's official YouTube page.
Netflix drops addictive out-of-home push for 'Narcos'
The rundown: Netflix is known for experimenting with interesting ways to generate buzz around a show. Most recently, it plastered coasters and stickers featuring rolled-up dollar bills sprinkled with what's supposed to look like cocaine residue around hotspots that might have been popular places for using the drug in the past, such as bars, nightclubs and public restrooms.
No, it's not a D.A.R.E.-sponsored public service announcement. The stickers flaunt punny one-liners and facts about the Cali Cartel — one featured several lines of a white powder and the quote "The Cali Cartel built a $200 billion empire one line at a time" — to promote season three of the show "Narcos," which follows the rise and fall of the 1990s cocaine kingpins after rival Pablo Escobar's death.
A post shared by Doner (@doner_agency) on Sep 13, 2017 at 12:19pm PDT
The results: The out-of-home effort by agency Doner Los Angeles has hit more than 160 bars and clubs in L.A., Chicago, New York and Miami since Sept. 1, the day season three premiered. It certainly gets creativity points, as the stickers are placed in unassuming locations like the corner of a bathroom sink or atop a hand dryer. They've become so popular that many have gone missing.
This isn't Netflix's first shot at enlisting fact-based ads and statistics to illustrate and promote a show's storyline. Last year, it rolled out a "Narcopedia" Tumblr site for users to explore the history of cocaine and the war on drugs ahead of "Narcos" season two premiere.
Welch's squeezes Big Food with focus on co-op farmers
The rundown: Welch's positions itself as a challenger to large consumer packaged goods brands in a new national campaign, "Farmer Owned. Family Grown.," and relaunched a website developed by agency of record Genuine. In a series of 15- and 30-second unscripted spots, the co-op shares the stories of a few of the more than 900 who own the business and harvest the grapes that go into its products.
The new website featuring farmer family profiles and a new architecture as well as the TV campaign launched on Sept. 12. Streaming radio, digital video, display, paid search and social campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will roll out the week of Sept. 18.
The results: A bit of savvy positioning, the campaign tries to appeal millennial moms who have lost trust in legacy grocery store brands and sensational juice ads targeted at kids by turning the spotlight on four farmer families and the vineyards they own.
"An 'anti-big food' sentiment seems to be growing in popularity, but we've been 'small food' for 150 years," said David Eisen, CMO of Welch's, in a statement about the new campaign.
The valiant effort to position Welch's as different from some of the other brands found on the same grocery stores shelves offers a genuine portrayal of the featured families, reflecting an important marketing trend toward brands embracing authentic storytelling. The result is an "anti-advertising approach," said Chris Pape, founder and executive creative director at Genuine, in the statement.
However, the creative could have gone even further in playing up the farmer angle. Instead, a lot of screen time is given to touting the products' heart healthy benefits and lack of sugar, diluting the impact of the anti-Big Food theme. Also, while the spots are supposedly unscripted, they still look and feel like a heavily storyboarded CPG spot. The brand might have been better served with something more spontaneous and edgier.