Campaign Trail is our look at some of the best and worst new creative efforts from the marketing world.
Though the official start of summer isn't for a few weeks, marketers are clearly eager to put consumers in the mindset now. Below, Marketing Dive's editors break down how some brands this week jumped into the season with innovative approaches to mobile gamification, delivery services to relieve millennial stomach pain and Father's Day gag gifts:
Pedigree's game of fetch travels across social platforms
The rundown: Summer weather is generally a good thing, because it means more time to play outside with pets. Unfortunately, not everyone can do that, so Pedigree made an experience for dog owners who are either constantly glued to their phones or otherwise can't step away from their desks, according to Campaign US.
The pet care brand, working with agency BBDO New York, unveiled a campaign this week called "Fetch Across the Internet," which is basically exactly what it sounds like. The game starts on Facebook, where users can move their phone around to follow a dog in a video and then swipe up to access an Instagram slideshow. The last photo in the slideshow links to YouTube, where a video ends with a prompt to open Snapchat. An augmented reality (AR) version of the dog featured in the previous portions of the campaign is waiting and ready to play on the image-sharing app, and users can tap and drag the avatar or enlarge it for optimal virtual ball throwing.
The results: Pedigree, beyond helping ease the minds of pet owners eager to get home and play with their pups, has created a clever cross-platform experience that ties in a number of trendy mobile marketing tactics. Those include interactive Facebook videos where phone movements direct the camera, along with gamification and AR.
While the cross-platform approach certainly has its benefits, and Pedigree and BBDO have worked here to ensure a seamless journey, it's also a fairly linear experience. The number of moving parts in play might also limit personalization for those who would want to, say, customize the dog breed or Snapchat avatar.
Still, the effort underpins Pedigree's continued innovation in the mobile space. In April, the brand also worked with BBDO to craft special Facebook AR masks that supported shelter dog adoption.
Tums offers summertime relief with Twitter-based delivery service
The rundown: Summer food, including barbeque, pizza and treats both fried and frozen, is another highlight of the season, but also has its downsides. Tums hopes to fight the side effects of a summertime diet — namely one marked by heartburn and gas — with its latest product, Chewy Bites with Gas Relief. Accompanying the product launch is a Twitter campaign that will put the TummerTime Relief Kit — a tote bag, a "TUMSbler," which is a food-shaped drink floaty, and a package of Chewy Bites — in the hands of consumers and "their gassiest friends."
For on-demand relief, Tums will be delivering the kits to residents of New York City, Chicago, and Atlanta who tweet @TumsTweets using the hashtags #PassTheTums and #TummerTime (New York deliveries went out on May 30, with Atlanta and Chicago to follow on June 21 and July 12, respectively). Selected participants are receiving the kits along with a tweet that notes, "Relief is on its way! Congrats on deciding to #PassTheTUMS this #TummerTime instead of passing, uh — something else…"
The results: "Millennials are all about their food, especially in the summer. Yet the foods they love don't always love them back, causing heartburn and gas," said Amy Sharon, senior brand manager at Tums, in a statement. Those are broad claims, but they are backed up by data and research.
For millennials, food is a part of their personal brand and an experience, according to Cone Communications, but that isn't without its consequences. Tums notes that millennials have the highest rate of heartburn and gas compared to the general population, citing the Mintel Digestive Health 2017 Report. That makes them a ripe target audience for the marketer's new Chewy Bites product and makes millennial-dominated Twitter the perfect platform for this campaign.
Signing up for the swag giveaway with a tweet and a hashtag presents a relatively low barrier to entry, especially compared to activations that require app downloads or more intrusive actions such as liking and sharing Facebook pages and posts. The delivery portion of the campaign also meets younger consumers' demand for convenience, something direct-to-consumer disruptors have glommed onto. Plus, for this audience, Twitter is the platform where people go to get personal: talking about heartburn and gas is nothing new for users that have the poop emoji on their recently used keyboard.
A.1. Steak Sauce pours meat-scented candles for Father's Day
The rundown: In what seems more like a belated April Fools' joke, steak sauce brand A.1. unveiled in a press release new meat-scented candles. The unusual addition from the Kraft-Heinz condiment line comes just ahead of Father's Day, and A.1. aims to help "break from the boring norm" of gifting things like socks, ties or a mug that says "world's greatest dad."
The limited-edition candles, sold for $15 on a pop-up shop online, come in three scents: original meat, backyard BBQ and classic burger.
The results: While A.1.'s website warns that these "rare" candles may cause immediate hunger, they certainly generated some media chatter, with the news featured in publications like BuzzFeed, Delish, Thrillist and on several local radio stations.
A.1. joins the growing list of brands releasing goofy novelty items to capitalize on holidays, product launches and other closely-watched events. The creation of limited-edition branded merchandise available to purchase online fits into a broader e-commerce trend that marketers have recently latched onto to build awareness, drive organic social media buzz and position themselves as being fun and lighthearted.
In recent months, Starburst rolled out a clothing line to promote the reboot of its All Pink packs of candy, KFC sold an "internet escape pod" for Black Friday and Wendy's created a streetwear collaboration with the designer Don C. for the March Madness basketball tournament.