Campaign Trail is our look at some of the best and worst new creative efforts from the marketing world. View past columns in the archives here.
This week saw two alt-comedy auteurs return to lend their weird sensibilities to the brand world, while LG looked to transport "serious TV watchers" to their favorite locales and the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative successfully tapped into the popularity of Facebook cooking shows:
Tim and Eric help anxious sleepers fend off 'Sunday Scaries' for Purple
The rundown: Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, known for Adult Swim series like "Tom Goes to the Mayor" and "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!," returned to the marketing world with a digital video series for direct-to-consumer (DTC) mattress maker Purple, according to the A.V. Club.
In the nearly three-minute debut episode, hosted on both Purple and Tim and Eric's official Facebook pages, the titular "Purple Boys," Quirky (Heidecker) and Geno (Wareheim), discuss how to fend off the "Sunday Scaries," or the anxiety that can keep people up on Sunday night thinking about the work week ahead.
They describe their "zonk strategies" in typical Tim and Eric fashion, with a low budget aesthetic resembling late-night public access programming and off-putting, non-sequitur humor. New episodes of the show will go live every two weeks, per the A.V. Club.
The results: Tim and Eric's style of surreal, often abrasive alt-comedy doesn't seem like the best fit for traditional branding, but that hasn't stopped a handful of companies, including Totino's and now Purple, from tapping into their distinctly weird sensibilities. Purple isn't a traditional brand, to be fair, hailing from a slew of DTC mattress disruptors that have cropped up over the past several years and quickly built out strong e-commerce businesses.
Purple has distinguished its marketing from peers like Casper and Leesa — and frequently gone viral — thanks to oddball Facebook video experiments that "The Purple Boys" fits snugly into. Purple stretching "The Purple Boys" into a video series shows how brands are broadly focusing more on scripted original video content, which is increasingly popular with consumers.
It's interesting that Purple is doubling up on where the video is shared, even within the same platform, with episodes appearing on both the brand and Tim and Eric’s Facebook pages. As of press time, the Tim and Eric post has nearly three times as many views as Purple's. Maybe it's a bigger hit with fans of the duo than people actually in the market for a mattress?
LG rewards Netflix bingers with show-themed viewing experiences
The rundown: LG announced in a press release that it will give dedicated Netflix watchers the opportunity to binge their favorite shows — from the world of their favorite shows. The "B&Binge" campaign is offering two-night stays to watch "The Crown" from a palace in London, "Arrested Development" from a yacht in Los Angeles, and surprise mystery show from a surprise mystery location.
According to LG's website, there will be two winners plus guests for each of the three experiences, totaling at 12 participants. Roundtrip flight, transport from the airport to the experience location and meals will be covered by the brand. Each location also will be outfitted with Easter eggs, show memorabilia, and a 2018 LG OLED 4K TV.
To enter, fans must submit a short essay that proves they are the biggest fan of the respective show. Since very little has been revealed about the mystery show and location, contestants must simply submit a blurb that proves they are the biggest fan of horror. The entries will be judged on three criteria: 50% for passion for the show, 40% for originality and 10% execution. The contest entry, judging and winner announcement periods run from now through October.
The results: "B&Binge" is a part of LG's larger "Serious Watcher" campaign that launched last year. LG surprised fans in 2017 with TV deliveries from Netflix characters including "Orange is the New Black" inmate Lorna Morello, played by Yael Stone, and "Stranger Things" stars Gatten Matarazzo and Noah Schnapp, who play Dustin and Will, respectively.
The latest push continues to target "serious TV watchers," defined as those who watch more than 10 episodes of shows per week and view content from multiple sources. The focus on experiential viewing based on the settings from popular Netflix shows like "The Crown," along with travel sweepstakes component, could be an appealing option to millennial consumers, who are avid viewers of Netflix. In an era where many brands are opting to run such contests via social media, LG sourcing for personal fan essays also feels charmingly old-school.
"B&Binge" rolled out just as Netflix reported surprisingly disappointing subscriber growth in Q2 and saw a subsequent plunge in its stock. Partners like LG, along with shareholders and analysts, are now tasked with determining whether or not the slowdown signals a long-term trend or waning consumer engagement. That said, Netflix's struggles to draw new subscribers doesn't inherently undermine LG's motive to cater to already invested viewers.
Maine lobster board caught viewers with 'Trap to Table' live stream, 4-part video series
The rundown: To kick off lobster season in New England, the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC) launched a video campaign highlighting the industry's farm-to-table approach — or in the case of seafood, "trap to table."
The initiative, developed with agency Weber Shandwick, includes a four-part video series starring four chefs and several real Maine lobstermen hanging out on boats in the Maine Gulf and in kitchens to learn about each other's craft, MLMC told Marketing Dive. The first episode runs around four and a half minutes and shows the stars, such as a former "Food & Wine" editor-in-chief, two chefs and a Chicago restaurateur, baiting and hauling lobster traps and learning about local sustainability measures. After a day out on the water, the tables are turned, and the chefs show the lobstermen what happens after the sea critters are caught and delivered to restaurants.
The remaining three episodes in the series will roll out on Facebook in the coming months, throughout peak Maine lobster season from July to November, and alongside other efforts for the "Trap to Table" initiative. The series launched on July 16 with a live stream cooking demonstration in front of a studio audience in New York City.
The results: Despite its somewhat niche focus, "Trap to Table" has so far drummed up solid viewer interest, with the live stream launch nabbing more than 175,000 real-time views, along with additional hits throughout the week, per MLMC. The live stream strategy, coupled with the shareable short clips on social media, is similar to another effort this week by KFC, where the fried chicken maker hosted a bizarre four-hour Facebook broadcast involving cats.
With the campaign, the MLMC was able to tap into the popularity of live cooking shows, which draw large audiences on TV and also increasingly on social media platforms like Facebook. Publishers such as Tastemade, BuzzFeed’s Tasty and even more legacy networks like the Food Network have seen viral success with their online cooking efforts, and more marketers are giving their own go at the content type. Industry-funded MLMC appears to overall be leveraging similar marketing strategies as major national brands in order to bring to life the Maine lobster industry through the eyes of culinary powerhouses and the men and women catching the seafood.
This tactic lets viewers take a bite out of the industry from multiple perspectives as well, while also driving home the overall mission of promoting Maine lobster consumption with a special microsite that houses lobster facts, how to tell the difference between types of lobsters, how and where to buy the seafood, recipes and the campaign's video content.