Home » OPINION » Columns » Todd Smith's Spin Cycle — The 20 most viral ads of 2014

Todd Smith's Spin Cycle — The 20 most viral ads of 2014

We’ve hit December, and have shifted into high holiday gear. The end of the year is always a time of reflections of the past and aspirations of the future. It’s also a good time to contemplate the top PR, marketing, advertising and branding initiatives. One of the first out of the gate is the annual roundup of the most shared advertisements from Unruly Media. And not surprisingly, the year’s biggest global event – the World Cup – produced some of its most-viral ads.

Four spots created around the World Cup make the list, including No. 1 and No. 3. Sandwiched between them at No. 2 was the year’s biggest prank ad. And right behind them at No. 4 was the best-loved Super Bowl ad of the year.

Elsewhere on the list are several female empowerment spots, a Thai tearjerker, a shocking PSA and a beloved Christmas ad. Check out the full list below, and click here for Unruly’s larger report on the video trends of 2014. Counting down from 20:

20. KLM’s “Lost And Found Service” – 670,401 shares

19. P&G’s “Pick Them Back Up” – 688,364 shares

18. BBC’s “God Only Knows” – 725,867 shares

17.  John Lewis’ “Monty the Penquin” – 770,187 shares

16. CoorDown “Dear Future Mom” – 804,082 shares

15. Volkswagen “Eyes on the Road” – 805,766 shares

14. KCKH8 “Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism” – 813,436 shares

13. Disney Frozen “Let It Go Singalong” – 896,324 shares

12. Save the Children “Most Shocking Second a Day Video” – 973,164 shares

11.  Castrol “Footkhana: Neymar Jr. vs. Ken Block” – 1.05 million shares

10. DTAC “The Power of Love” – 1.1 million shares

9. Thai Life Insurance “Unsung Hero” – 1.29 million shares

8. Nike “Winner Stays” – 1.43 million shares

7. Always “Like a Girl” – 1.48 million shares

6.  Wren “First Kiss” – 1.55 million shares

5. American Greetings “World’s Toughest Job” – 1.89 million shares

4. Budweiser “Puppy Love” – 1.98 million shares

3. Nike “The Last Game” – 2.15 million shares

2. Twentieth Century Fox (Devil’s Due): Devil Baby Attack – 2.15 million shares

1. Activia “Shakira – La La La (Brazil 2014) featuring Carlinhos Brown – 5.82 million shares

5 ways to align employees with your brand

A study at Arizona State University conducted research on what they termed “brand confluence.” They hired actors to interact with customers in a way that was highly aligned or purposely misaligned with the attributes of the brand they were selling.

Guess what? Customers’ ratings of the brand – including value for the money, desirability, and even trustworthiness were highly influenced by what the study termed “conceptual fluency” – the ease of processing the brand’s meaning, which is influenced by – you guessed it – brand-aligned employee behavior.

Here’s how the biggest brands do it best, according to marketing specialist Ted Curtin:

1. Top to Bottom Organizational Engagement. Here again is why it’s vital to increase employee engagement. It’s not enough for your marketing team to carry the message of your brand to your audience. From top executives to customer service, employees need to be fully committed to the company’s vision in order to be effective representatives of your company brand.

2. 3-Star Employees Don’t Give 5-Star Service. The company needs to hire with care. Equally importantly, you must treat your employees in the same way you want your employees to treat your customers. A mistreated employee will not turn around and represent your company well.

3. Design to Win. No amount of engagement can overcome policies and structures that are incongruent with your company brand.
Imagine the problem if getting printing assistance or finding a specific office product at Staples wasn’t “Easy?” Or if Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” looked at your laptop’s blue screen and shrugged? What if Nordstrom’s no questions asked return policy were suddenly not honored? The policies and structure of your customer service and sales need to match the promise of the company brand at all times.

4. Consistent Communication. Here again is one of the many virtues of public relations. The attributes of your brand won’t matter if you don’t communicate them effectively to your employees and to the world. Not only must you communicate frequently, but also the message must be consistent. For example, Curtin notes the Geiko Insurance campaigns. The mechanisms for carrying the message may appear to be all over the map – the cute Gecko to, helpless cavemen, to eye balls sitting on stacks of money – but all of these tactics reinforce a consistent message of “a quick and easy way to save 15 percent or more on car insurance.” The messages “hang together” and so the brand promise works.

5. Be a Two-Way Brand. An easy way to increase brand alignment is to be sure you’re listening authentically to your customers and employees at all times. Internally, make it easy and rewarding for your employees to let you know what they think. Outwardly, social media engagement makes it easier than ever before to engage with your customers. They’ll be the first to let you know when your product or support isn’t matching up with the promise you’ve made.

Apple launches massive two-week (RED) campaign

Apple is glowing (RED) for the holidays.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant has launched an unprecedented two-week campaign that involves its app store, retail locations and online store, yet another example of CEO Tim Cook’s push to boost the company’s corporate image.

(RED), the charity started in 2006 by singer Bono with a mission to rid the world of HIV/AIDS, will turn the campaign’s proceeds over to The Global Fund for use in providing antiretroviral treatment to AIDS sufferers primarily in Africa.

“We’ve been involved with (RED) from the beginning and have raised $75 million, but we were convinced there was an opportunity to get people to rediscover this cause,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of software and services, told USA TODAY. “This time, it was about getting developers deeply involved. It couldn’t just be veneer.”

This marks not only another salvo in Apple’s battle to polish its reputation as a company that cares about everything from the environment to gay rights, but also echoes a number of recent high-profile personal donations and corporate campaigns targeting the recent Ebola crisis from companies such as Facebook and Microsoft.

About six months ago, Apple approached 25 top-selling app makers and got them to customize their products with (RED)-tinged tweaks for the effort. For example, Zynga’s CSR Racing fans can buy a red (RED) Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, while Electronic Arts’ FIFA 15 players can compete in a special (RED) tournament.

The campaign, which runs through Dec. 7, will donate all proceeds from purchases of the 25 Apps for (RED) or their in-app upgrades. In addition:

On Nov. 28, the shopping season’s Black Friday, all U.S. Apple stores and online counterparts offered customers buying select products a special edition (RED) gift card, a portion of which goes to The Global Fund

On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Apple donated a portion of all in-store and online purchases to this cause.

“When Apple approached us, we were blown away by the possibility to use our platform to do something this massively good,” says Frank Gibeau, executive vice president of EA Mobile, whose participating apps — FIFA 15 and Sims FreePlay — have tallied 100 million iOS downloads to date.

“It’s inspired us to think about these things,” he adds. “In the coming weeks, we’ll see how our customers respond (to the campaign), and we’ll use that to see what we can do going forward.”

(RED) CEO Deborah Dugan says that “this campaign is certainly something that could cause other companies to step up. And we need to keep the heat on (HIV/AIDS) or we’ll slip back to where we were.”

Merry Mic | C Spire & Salvation Army partner to boost Red Kettle donations 

The Spin Cycle loves it when technology is used to benefit communities and the people they serve. Recently, C Spire – a diversified telecommunications and technology services company – joined forces with The Salvation Army in a new pilot technology initiative that promises to boost donations to the non-profit’s Red Kettle holiday giving campaign in the greater Jackson, Miss. metropolitan area. Consumers now have the option to make credit card donations at up to 20 of the non-profit’s 65 highest volume Red Kettle locations in the Jackson, Miss. metropolitan area – thanks to the availability of smartphones and tablets connected to C Spire’s mobile broadband network and equipped with secure e-readers and swipe technology. It’s the first time ever that the Salvation Army has used credit card readers for the Red Kettle campaign. It’s a great combination of technology and community to spread holiday cheer to needy – and deserving – families. For that, C Spire and The Salvation Army take a holiday-lit Merry Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.



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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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