All posts by Sarah Miller

5 Brands That Are Taking Advantage of the Pokémon Go Fandom

Sarah

You’re probably tired of hearing about the Pokémon Go hype. Or maybe you aren’t, since you’re a tad obsessed yourself. Either way, we’ve got some news — it’s not going away just yet. In fact, it’s just getting started. And marketers are taking note.

Pokémon Go exploded when it first became available as a mobile game and quickly went viral without big marketing efforts in July 2016. In less than seven days, it surpassed Instagram and Snapchat with over 6 million mentions on social media. The game also generated more downloads and revenue than any other iPhone app after two days of its launch, making it the no. 1 free iPhone app to this day.

With brands everywhere hopping on the Pokémon bandwagon, agencies and marketers are scrambling to create strategies involving augmented reality that will find the same success.

Take a look at five brands with clever Pokémon Go marketing strategies:

1. Stonyfield Yogurt: Targeted Mobile Ads

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Businesses are pretty limited when it comes to advertising on the app’s platform, which means they have to think outside the box if they want to take advantage of the game’s momentum. Stoneyfield, a yogurt brand, teamed up with mobile advertising company Aki Technologies to do just that.

The company began to strategize with Aki Technologies on advertising potentials and developed a mobile campaign with targeted game-themed ads for Pokémon Go players with the tagline “Time to catch a Stonyfield.”

So, how did it work? Stonyfield’s app was served to users within five minutes of visiting a Pokéstop. Since apps aren’t allowed within the Pokémon app, they would appear when the user opened a different app.

Each ad links to a store-locator feature on Stonyfield’s website that finds nearby retailers and stores that sell the brand’s yogurt.

Aki Technologies was able to match location data from 10,000 Pokéstops across the U.S. and uncover which apps are most frequently used by consumers. The data collected will also be able to tell where people are playing the Pokémon Go game in order to run even more advanced campaigns in the future.

 

2. Lyft: Fare Discounts

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With Pokémon drawing millions of players into the streets of America, it’s no wonder why transportation companies would want to find clever ideas to attract players as they go.

Lyft was quick to take advantage of the Pokémon craze, offering 20 percent discounts to Pokémon Goers traveling from spot to spot. The idea behind “Ride to Catch ‘Em All” was simple: Lyft hoped Pokémon Go users  would use its service for their travel needs in the future. The promotional materials appeared on a landing page for Lyft’s website where users sign in, but there was one catch: players had to act fast, since the offer began on July 18 and ended on July 24.

With the game pushing people to explore new destinations in various cities, a Lyft ride can certainly help get them to places quicker and may be more reliable (and safer) than the personal chauffeurs making money offering rides for players roaming the streets.

 

3. T- Mobile: Promotional Programs

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Whoever said catching Pokémon would be free? Gaming all day can quickly eat through that data. That’s where T-Mobile stepped in with a clever offer gamers couldn’t refuse: T-Mobile Tuesdays.

T-Mobile Tuesdays is a promotional program where the company hands out deals and discounts through its app. The weekly freebies include treats, games and now a year of free Pokémon Go data. #Winning.

In its first week, promotion winners also received a free Pokémon Go care package, which included a free Wendy’s Frosty, 50 percent off of certain mobile accessories (including battery packs) and a free Lyft ride up to $15.

 

4. Huge Café: Lures

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Lures are a popular Pokémon Go feature that were designed to increase the chances of a creature encounter wherever you go (for a certain amount of time). Naturally, it was only a moment of time before a business took advantage of it.

Ad agency Huge hopped on the idea. Huge Café, the agency’s own cafe, is located between two very busy PokéStops. The agency placed lures in the area in order to spawn Pokémon to a new location. The result? More traffic and more sales.

The café now even offers phone charging stations and special cards that allow customers to get a free steamed bun if they captured a Pokémon. Free treats and additional battery life? You can’t go wrong there.

5. McDonald’s: Sponsored Locations

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Although Japan had to wait a few more days than everyone else to have Pokémon Go available for download, when the country did get it, it had something that other countries did not: sponsored locations. On July 20th, McDonald’s in Japan was chosen to be the first sponsored location for Pokémon Go.

McDonald’s partnered with Niantic (creator of Pokémon Go) to create a unique ad that players would not typically see in any other game. The team created “gyms” where Pokémon can be battled or trained by users at a specific retail location — a move that could drive traffic and sales.

This move will be something to watch, since it will most likely be replicated in other countries.

Augmented Reality: Something to keep an eye on

 

As Pokémon Go continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see what this means for the future of augmented reality.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out PokeVision to find the best stops nearest you — Buffalo is filled with them.

Want to chat all things Pokémon Go? Tweet us @QuinlanCompany or find us on Facebook.

 

Chasing Awards & Finish Lines: What We’ve Been Up To

Sarah

 

Creating a sitcom, taking home some hardware and running 5KS: it’s been a pretty busy month for Quinlan. You may have heard how we held our season two premiere of Casual Fridays at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts, but that was only the beginning.

Here’s what we’ve been up to.

The 27th Annual Excalibur Awards

Everybody loves winning awards — but it’s pretty cool when it’s something you’ve never accomplished before. This year, we took home a bronze at the 27th Annual PRSA Buffalo Niagara Excalibur Awards, which took place at the Tralf. Our project for our client Apple Rubber: Generating Leads through Apple Rubber’s Ebooks for Oil and Gas, Medical Seals and  Urethane, won under the tactics-online communications category.

We enjoyed a few buzzword-themed cocktails, a delicious buffet and learning about what our PR colleagues have been up to in Buffalo.

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As part of our professional development, employees at Quinlan are encouraged to participate in local organizations. Grace Gerass, our digital content coordinator, and I, have become active members of PRSA, where we joined the PRSSA Liaison Committee — a group that works towards bridging the gap between the professional and student chapters.

As part of my role on the committee, I created the Peak Performer award. This honor encourages graduates to become a member of PRSA’s Buffalo Niagara chapter by paying for their first year of dues. Nick Maxwell and Zach Reese, two ambitious and passionate PR students from Buffalo State College, took home the inaugural award.

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(Left to Right: Zachary Reese, Nicholas Maxwell and Marcene Robinson, PRSSA Chapter Liaison )

A casual Thursday race.

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We took one for the team this past week at the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. This year, Buffalo celebrated its 36th year running with 12,488 runners from over 380 companies.

Twelve Quinlanites signed up and arrived in style with Casual Fridays attire. Our creative team designed t-shirts featuring some of the weirdest quotes from our sitcom as well as blue koozies for those post-run carbs.

After the run, we celebrated with our client, Apple Rubber, at a tent filled with food catered from Charlie the Butcher. Let’s just say we had a great time without having any great times (with the exception of Michael, who put us all to shame).

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What’s coming up?

We’ve had a busy year so far, but summer is just beginning. For our monthly luncheon, we have 716 Food Truck making a visit the last Thursday of June. We’re also releasing our third episode of Casual Fridays on July 1 (trust us – you’ll want to see this one).

We look forward to the advertising events to come this summer. Want to chat? Tweet us @QuinlanCompany.

Weird but Wonderful: Welcome to Season 2 of Casual Fridays

Sarah

We heard you wanted more — and more you shall receive. Quinlan’s original Casual Fridays video series is back with the all new second season you’ve been waiting for. Brace yourselves. It’s about to get weird.

A Night on the Blue Carpet

 

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To get the ball rolling for season two, we invited our friends, family, colleagues and clients to a launch night that was… unique. More than 120 people showed up to support us at UB’s Center for the Arts, where we treated them to an advanced screening of the first three episodes of season two, a photo booth, awesome appetizers and our signature cocktail (or as we like to call it: liquid denim).  

Want to see how it went? Check out our photo gallery.

 

Season Two: A Little Wiser, A Lot Funnier

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What’s new about the show, you ask? For one, we stepped up our production game with cinematographic help from Chris Santucci, art direction from Nikki Styliades and sound expertise from Ryan Howze (you guys rock, never change). We also recruited more of our own agency employees for acting talent. As it turns out, we’re pretty damn good.

With more than half of season one videos rated close to 100 percent in viewer engagement, we knew we had to turn it up a notch for season two.

“Last year we were really focused on injecting humor into thought leadership segment,” Frank Conjerti, Quinlan’s creative director and creator of Casual Fridays says. “This year, the humor took over. We reviewed the detailed video analytics from season one and that influenced our creative decisions for season two. When we took more creative risks, our viewer engagement numbers skyrocketed – that and making a sitcom sounded a lot more fun.”

Season two features eight new episodes that will be released each Friday starting June 17. Check out episode one from season two below.

 
Like what you see? Tweet us at @QuinlanCompany.

Pitch Perfect: The Ultimate Guide to 4 PR Tools You Need to Know

Sarah

Let’s face it– PR professionals work in a chaotic environment. Between event planning, networking with the media, creating client campaigns and crafting the perfect pitch, it’s a wonder how we stay sane.

With the ability of having social media at our fingertips, it may be easy to instantaneously chat up that editor you’ve been following on Twitter or research a new client before you even reach your desk. However, getting lost in the clutter can happen before you know it.

To help you navigate your way through all of the features you have readily available to you, we’ve narrowed down a list of the top four PR tools every pro should have in their toolbox.

1. Mailchimp.

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Distributing press releases to a long, lengthy list of editors can be a grueling process- especially if you plan on picking up the phone to give them a not-so-simple call. Mailchimp was designed to do just that- make life simpler. With real-time analytics, Mailchimp helps make life easy with functions for creating and uploading various media lists, customizing campaigns and press releases and tracking subscribers after sending your work. Best part of all- it’s free!

Pitching your press release on a desktop or on your mobile device is now simple, straight-forward and very effective. Check stats on the go or look at detailed reports after sending out your campaign, the beneficial features are endless and, of course, mobile-friendly. To sign up, visit their website or download the app. Then watch your campaigns reach thousands of people in just one click. You’re welcome.

2. Feedly.

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Feedly is another free tool used as a centralized hub to compile news feeds from various online sources, allowing users to share and organize content with ease. Whether you need to organize your own content or share information with your team, Feedly features a smooth, streamlined process that keeps users engaged (and even offers a private content option for businesses).

When you find an article you want so save, simply use your browser’s Feedly extension to add it to your page. You can then organize it into different categories or share it with your friends and colleagues.

You can also stay updated with alerts when content for a specific topic is published. Fuel your desire for knowledge and add Feedly to your list of tools.

3. Trello.

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Organizing ideas, thoughts and information is becoming pretty hectic in our technology-driven world. Since we’re constantly reading texts, checking social media and multi-tasking, it can be very difficult to organize thoughts and ideas– especially if it involves clients.

That’s where Trello steps in. Trello is a free, simple-yet-efficient tool that allows you to drag and drop ideas on a board just like a brainstorm session and organize them based on your needs. You can easily plan your next PR campaign or create a board that is fully dedicated to creative ideas for future clients. Trello helps bring together even the smallest thoughts that come to mind to create the bigger picture and is a great tool to use with co-workers when working on detailed projects.

4. Hootsuite.

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Social media marketing is a vital part of telling a brand’s story. If you work in marketing or public relations- you may have experienced the chaos that ensues when trying to manage multiple social media accounts for various clients. Fear no more– Hootsuite is your solution.

The free desktop version of Hootsuite allows you to have up to three accounts for platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It also provides detailed analytics to see which tweets are performing best and sends monthly overviews to see how your account performed that month (including follower count and much more). Happy tweeting!

What tools are you using to help your PR game?  Tweet us your thoughts @Quinlancompany

8 Brands that Slay Humor in the Social Media World

Sarah

When is the last time you saw an ad or tweet that resulted in a gut-wrenching laugh? You know- those genuine laughs that you did not expect after watching an advertisement trying to sell potato chips or a new energy drink (yes, we’re talking about Super Bowl 50).

Comedy in advertising and social media isn’t as easy as it looks, but if humor is something that fits your brand,  it can enhance its reputation, trigger emotional responses and increase loyalty with a large audience. Brands that have developed a humorous voice must also choose  social media platforms carefully. Humor in marketing can sometimes be seen as controversial, and may not be the best choice when publishing content on channels such as LinkedIn. However, if used correctly, finding a voice and adding some light-hearted humor can deliver great results to a company.  It’s a process some brands have mastered and some have failed (cue Urban Outfitters Twitter fail of 2012).

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According to Social Media Examiner, having fun with your customers and followers while telling a compelling story is a key component when developing your brand’s voice.  In honor of National Humor Month, we compiled a list of 8 brands that have perfected the art of injecting natural, relevant humor into their social media content and interaction with followers to generate a  lasting impressions on and offline.

1. Taco Bell

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Taco Bell has not only incorporated humor into its  advertisement campaigns, but also its social media strategy. With more than 1 million users following Taco Bell on Twitter, the company wanted to stand out and make an impression along with keeping up the fresh new vibe of the brand. The answer? Amp up the personality on social media and engage in conversations- and it worked.

In 2015, Taco Bell started a #TacoEmojiEngine campaign on Twitter that was created to tell a personalized story with a laugh or two. The objective– users can tweet a taco emoji along with any other emoji to @TacoBell and the Emoji Engine would churn a story with a comedic photo from  Taco Bell’s twitter. Each user received  a charismatic, silly response, but in the end it was the personable tweets that increased engagement.

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The social media team works on crafting funny but relatable tweets that are geared towards a millennial-centric audience. They have developed a sassy, witty and personable voice through their social media campaigns  that have not only helped connect them with a large audience, but also created genuine conversations consistently.

2. Old Spice

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Old Spice, famous for its strong, manly scent deodorants and hygiene products and eye-catching commercials, has used humor in its branding for many years now. Back in 2010, the “Old Spice Guy” emerged in the first advertising campaign titled “Smell like a Man, Man,” creating a witty,  unique persona that was the face of brand and helped the company find its true voice. The persona progressed from the commercials to social media, and it  became a successful approach for  an unexpected  company  to keep up with today’s trends and  catch the eye of many millennials around the world. The key to Old Spice’s social media success with humor? Never stop engaging.(click to tweet)  The company utilized social media platforms such as Twitter for a strategy revolving around conversation- not selling.

According to Creative Guerilla Marketing, “They wanted to literally have a conversation with their customers. By asking them for requests, Old Spice showed that they cared for their customers; they wanted to listen to them, entertain them and connect with them.” click to tweet. With this strategy in mind, humor helped Old Spice start a relationship with  viewers through  quirky commercials, and transitioned that voice into their social media. Twitter is one platform they use wisely and consistently to maintain that level of engagement with their audience.  

(By the way, don’t miss our Casual Fridays episode about humor in branding, Old Spice makes a guest appearance)

Take a look at some clever conversations Old Spice initiated on Twitter, and how they keep it flowing with even the most concerned customers on the internet.  Pure sass, but all class.

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The company has made sure to stay consistent with its voice catering to all different audiences around the world- from  female millennials to sports coaches near and far.

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3. Target

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When you think of Target– what comes to mind? For many, it’s the abundance of modern-style wardrobes, endless options of shoes, and a safe haven fully loaded with daily necessities (which may include Starbucks). Unlike it’s competitors, Target is also known for its friendly return policies, decent prices, and most importantly- options. With that being said, it was interesting to see how Target incorporated a voice on social media during a time of information-overload, and how they used it to their advantage.

For Target, the voice matched the personality. A brand with wit, knowledge and a lot to offer. Therefore, Twitter and Instagram became a hit when the company began engaging more with the audience. With more than 1 million followers, Target’s brand tone remains consistent with a trendy yet light-hearted way to keep people smiling (and laughing). The catch? Many times the brand is incorporating humor and trends with a product they offer in the stores and online. With various social media campaigns such as the #TargetRun, Target uses the ever dreaded hashtag to create conversations on Twitter. Because we all know what happens when you go to Target- you never leave empty handed.

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4. Arby’s

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The fast food industry is doing quite well on social media- whether it be colorful Instagram photos, or just witty comments to fans everywhere. With Twitter being a popular platform where users can ask questions and often hopefully get an answer from the company in return, Arby’s was no stranger.

However, this chain is one example of how a brand took humor to the next level- and it went viral. The famous tweet from 2014 took place shortly after the Grammy Awards, which was trending on various social networks as everyone watched their favorite stars go on the big stage.

Arby’s took advantage of a heated moment when the brand realized Pharrell was wearing something slightly familiar:

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The tweet went viral in minutes- not just because Pharrell was indeed wearing a hat identical to the infamous Arby’s logo- but also because the timing and humor was spot on. It created conversations on and offline and also helped the company gain a larger following.

From that moment forward, Arby’s social media gained a larger audience and had more opportunities to use humor in its voice. According to Arby’s social media manager Josh Martin, at the time before the famous tweet was sent- Arby’s only had “a couple hundred Twitter followers and about 40,000 Facebook fans.”

The infamous tweet resulted in the brand gaining more than 2.5 million Facebook likes and 200,000 Twitter followers. Meanwhile, the whimsical charisma that the brand portrays continues to this day on various social media platforms to engage with fans and keep up with its upbeat, entertaining brand personality.

5. Charmin

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Charmin, yes- the toilet paper company, is another brand that is taking to Twitter to share its voice and create many laughs all while staying true to its values. They took the challenge of creating humorous conversations regarding daily bathroom situations and created a hilarious voice on social media.

The company began a campaign with the hashtag #TweetFromtheSeat – to start relatable conversations with those who are glued to their smartphone and taking part in the action.

The engagement on Twitter was a great success and helped the company engage in conversation without sounding like they were actually selling too much. Although Charmin’s voice on Twitter make for a hilarious conversation, the brand keeps it clean no matter how dirty the situation may be.

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6. Domino’s

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Domino’s pizza isn’t all that’s hot and heavy. The company’s Twitter profile is filled with photos of deliciously cheesy pizza, but it’s witty voice keeps their  1 million-plus followers engaged regularly. They are quick to relate each tweet to their keyword-pizza.

Domino’s target audience- which includes parents, entrepreneurs, millennials, and even younger generations, seemed tricky to handle in simplest terms, but Domino’s has been able to successfully cater to each of those audiences with a simple tweet, photo, or message on social media.

Domino’s trick? Making their tweets about pizza relatable to just about anything.

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7. IHOP

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IHOP has recently rebranded its look to attract a younger audience that consumes its daily information with emojis and social media. The breakfast chain has been known for its pancake specials, but now it’s reaching a younger generation with its hilarious social media presence. According to AdWeek, IHOP found its youthful, teenage voice on social media and one of the first tweets started it all. “Pancakes on fleek,” @IHOP tweeted, which means “these pancakes are on point.” When your food is “on fleek,” your tweets get more love.” From there on out, the brand continued to use winning messages, all relating  to pancakes- stack on stacks.

The company has delved into the social media world with a funny side, inserting its  infamous pancakes into almost every tweet with some “punny” content to follow.  Don’t believe us? Take a look at some hilarious tweets that coincide with the brand’s personality- funny and delicious.

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IHOP’s re-branding was a smooth transition with the help of stabilizing their voice and presence on social media and on print. They are now attracting new audiences and maintaining a high level of engagement on platforms such as Twitter all with the help of adding humor that fit their personality.

8. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese

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When KRAFT Mac & Cheese realized its elbow macaroni had a funny bone, it didn’t take long to transform its voice and personality and embark on a new strategy using social media. The brand took to Twitter to expand its audience and  grow  user engagement with the  brand.

The brand’s social media presence has evolved into photos of elbow macaroni participating  in many interesting events (such as painting) as well as new recipes families can try with the infamous box of macaroni and cheese. To remain consistent, the brand follows these rules of being relatable, informative yet funny on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as their advertisements. The best part of all- KRAFT crafted its own way of promoting the new mac and cheese with healthier ingredients and funnier messages through social media.

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These companies effectively demonstrate how humor can have an authentic, prominent place in a social media content strategy. Crafting the right approach and developing a unique online voice just requires an examination of the brand’s natural and perceived attributes, understanding your followers’ affinity for the brand and creating the messages and responses based on specific themes, current events and ongoing, everyday conversational tone.

We love to laugh at great ads – and ourselves at times. Want to talk humor in social media? We are all ears- tweet us @QuinlanCompany or leave us a comment.

Need help with your social media? Contact us and speak to our experts today.