The “Don’t Mess with Texas” Campaign

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Anti-littering street sign

A familiar sight to all Texans.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including our marketing campaigns. If you’ve ever been to our great state, you’ve surely seen bumper stickers, shirts and other memorabilia with the words “Don’t Mess with Texas” stamped on them. Over nearly three decades, this quip has become a defining part of Texas culture.

People around the country know the phrase, especially after President George W. Bush used it a few times during his 2000 presidential run. What is less known is the origins of “Don’t Mess with Texas.” As it turns out, it all began as a stroke of marketing genius.

In 1985, Texas’ roads were littered with, well, litter. It was costing the state $20 million every year to clean the junk up. So they hired marketers Mike Blair and Tim McClure to devise an anti-littering campaign. What they ended up with was an undeniably successful and long-running campaign that would become part of our culture.

Like all successful marketers, Blair and McClure first defined their target audience and sought to understand them. They identified young males and “bubbas in pickup trucks” as the audience. In other words, they were after the stereotypical Texan. It was clear that sweet sayings such as “Keep America Beautiful” were not going to cut it. They needed something with more attitude.

After a difficult pitch to the client, “Don’t Mess with Texas” became the official slogan of the state’s anti-littering campaign. And it has remained the go-to slogan ever since. The success of this campaign can easily be attributed to the fact it aims to change Texans’ behavior while strengthening their attitudes.

Blair said of the campaign, “It was almost as much about the attitude of Texas and Texans at the time, tough-talking, no-nonsense, go-about-our-business, get-things-done kind of attitude that has always been associated with Texans.”

The lesson is clear: know your audience and know them well. It’s not enough to know the demographics of your intended audience. You have to know what drives them and what they love.

If nothing else, Texans are driven by state pride and we love being Texan. Appealing to those sensibilities, Blair and McClure made littering a very un-Texan thing to do. The campaign has not just been successful in its pop culture status; it has actually helped clean up the highways and streets.

Of course, litter remains a problem. The campaign’s official website, www.dontmesswithtexas.org, claims that if every Texan picked up just two pieces of litter every month, we would have completely clean roads in just one year. So, don’t mess with Texas, y’all.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Branding, Pop Culture
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The Marketing Brilliance of Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift is a Marketing Genius

Hater gonna hate.

Haters gonna hate, but Taylor Swift is a marketing genius. Whether you like her music or not, it’s hard to deny this fact. At just 25 years old, she has created a brand with more influence than most marketers dream of having. Better yet, she did it on her terms and remains in complete control of that brand.

The most recent demonstration of her marketing prowess came to us in the form of her ‘Bad Blood’ music video. The pop star leveraged her overwhelming social media influence to create buzz and excitement around the video’s release. No matter what you are marketing or who your target audience is, there are a few things we can all learn from Taylor Swift.

1. Create Anticipation Correctly

10 whole days before the Bad Blood music video was set to release, T-swift began posting teaser images that were styled as movie posters to her social accounts. Each new poster revealed another major celebrity that would be in the video, a great photo of them and a cool code name.

Taylor-Swift-Bad-Blood-Music-Video

Bad Blood promotion poster

And that was it. She revealed almost nothing else about the video. Each new poster created more buzz, hype and – most importantly – questions.

How could she fit so many celebrities in one video? What’s the storyline? Who are the good guys? We need to know, Taylor!

That’s how you create suspense without being annoying. Give them enough to wet their appetites, and then leave them with interesting questions. You can make this technique work for your brand too.

2. Make the Right Friends

Sometimes it’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know. Networking to create lasting relationships is an important part of almost any career. Leveraging those relationships to help your brand can be tricky, but it is effective when done tastefully.

Many of the women featured in the Bad Blood music video are Swift’s famous friends. Each leading lady lent her own talents to the video and seemed to have a lot of fun making it. Swift even said that each actress got to name their own character, which gives the whole thing an authentic vibe.

Two of the celebrities featured, Mariska Hargitay and Ellen Pompeo, are women Swift admires. In fact, Swift named her two cats after these actresses’ famous television characters, Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey. Connecting with people she idolizes and bringing them into her project was also a very smart way to market to different audiences. Which brings us to our next lesson.

3. Cross-Promote to Reach New Audiences

Bringing Hargitay and Pompeo into the video was a good move, and not just because it gave Swift a chance to work with actresses she adores. Both of these women have different audience bases than Swift, whose target audience tends to skew quite young.

But the cross-promotion didn’t stop there. You may have noticed on the poster that the video premiered at the Billboard Music Awards. Honestly, this was a smart move on Billboard’s part, as more people have probably heard of Taylor Swift than this particular award show. However, both parties in this partnership are winners because they both reached a wider audience by linking up.

4. Use Catchy Taglines and Hashtags

“Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes,” was already a hugely popular slogan for Taylor Swift fans before this video was released. Swift, being the marketing genius that she is, leveraged this by making it the tagline of the video. The best part is that this little line can easily get the whole song stuck in your head. It’s catchy, unique and fun to say – everything a tagline should be.

Of course, no good social media campaign is complete without a hashtag. In this case, Swift used #BadBloodMusicVideo in every post regarding the video. As with any effective hashtag, this one is clear and concise.

5. Deliver on Your Promises

The best marketing in the world won’t hold up for long if the end product is much worse than people expected. Think about sub-par movies with amazing trailers. Audiences go into the movie thinking it will be awesome and leave feeling completely underwhelmed. This is what makes managing expectations so important.

Luckily, the Bad Blood music video exceeded expectations. Fans were treated to the visual spectacle they were hoping for. The video broke Vevo’s record for most views in 24 hours and social media was all a buzz about it.

Do you agree that Taylor Swift is a marketing genius? Or do you think she’s all fluff? Let us know.

For more marketing insight, contact Duncan/Day. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or give us a call any time.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Social Media
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Marketing on Reddit Part 2: The Dos and Don...

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Reddit's mascotIn Part 1 of this series, we explored how Reddit is different from other social sharing sites. One of the biggest differences is that users vote on what content should be shown. Of course, it’s always important to create content that users will find value in. But never is that more true than on Reddit, where only users control how many people see your content.

To make marketing on Reddit more difficult, Redditors are particularly Internet savvy, do not appreciate blatant marketing, and can spot spam from a mile away. This may sound like a recipe for disaster, but fear not. By following a few rules, you can successfully market to Redditors. The rewards will be worth the effort.

Prioritize Your Goals

With any social media marketing, your first goal should be to create and foster a community. You achieve this by providing content that is relevant and valuable in some way. Whether the goal is to inform or entertain, your content should provide some value. The secondary goal is to promote your brand and reach more people. And you can only achieve the second goal by fulfilling the first.

This doesn’t change on Reddit. Focus on posting interesting content for the subreddit you’re posting to. Provide for the Redditors, and they will provide for you.

Leave Gimmicks at the Door

The only thing Reddit appreciates more than a cat meme is authenticity. Many users pride themselves in sniffing out fake stories and obvious marketing; that’s not always true on Facebook and other social sites. What works there may be a disaster on Reddit.

So, don’t simply insert your brand into an un-funny meme. Don’t pose as anything other than a representative of your company. Don’t post anything that says, “Like/upvote if you…” – that’s the most sure way of getting downvoted. Just be authentic and produce content you would like to see if you were a consumer.

Find the Right Community

As we discussed in Part 1 of this blog, Reddit is divided into thousands of subreddits. These subreddits are smaller communities devoted to a particular topic. It’s vital that you find the right subreddit for your industry.

For example, if your company makes great fitness gear, you might find success at /r/fitness, /r/loseit and other related subreddits. Sometimes, you can find subreddits based on your target audience. Although Redditors are primarily male, companies that make products exclusively for women can find success on Reddit. They can join the communities at /r/twoxchromosomes and related subreddits.

Local businesses may also want to subscribe to their city’s subreddit, like /r/Dallas. Additionally, businesses should consider subscribing to many of the larger subreddits with more general topics, such as /r/askreddit and /r/TIL – which stands for Today I Learned. This will help you get a feel for Reddit as a whole and may open up some great conversations about your brand.

Become a Lurker

On Reddit, a “lurker” is someone who doesn’t post links, but sometimes does participate in the comment section. Before you get started posting things, just be a lurker for a while. Learn about each subreddit and try to find its unique pulse. When appropriate, comment on posts and reply to other comments. This will boost your “karma,” build credibility, and give you a sense of how to use Reddit to your advantage.

Always Follow the Rules

Reddit has overarching rules on posting and commenting, and each subreddit has their own rules as well. Make sure you know these rules well before commenting or posting anything. If you don’t, your content could be removed and/or you could be banned from specific subreddits.

Conclusion

With all these rules, Reddit might seem like a very scary place indeed. However, it is only so difficult because the users are discerning. This means that if you can successfully grab the attention of Redditors, you can find great success. It’s a double-edged sword, to be sure. And like any good sword, you need practice to wield it correctly.

If you have questions about this or any other marketing topic, please feel free to contact Duncan/Day. We are a Dallas-based agency specializing in branding, design, online marketing, corporate communications, and packaging. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more marketing tips and ideas.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Social Media
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Marketing on Reddit Part 1: What is Reddit?

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(This is the first part of a two-part series exploring marketing possibilities on Reddit.)

Reddit's mascotReddit boasts itself as being “The Front Page of the Internet.” And while that might seem arrogant, it is an accurate slogan for the content sharing site. Many of the images and videos we see go viral on other social media sites are originally posted on Reddit. Since everyone wants their company’s content to go viral, it’s easy to see Reddit’s marketing appeal.

With 7.55 billion page views a month, Reddit is no small player on the social media stage. We should all be pushing our products and services on this site, right? Well, not so fast.

Like many online communities, Reddit has its quirks and rules that can make a marketer’s job difficult. When posting, it’s important that you follow certain etiquette, or ‘reddiquette’ as it’s often called. The first step to successfully marketing on Reddit is to truly understand what it is and how it works.

Subreddits

Reddit is a content sharing site comprised of many smaller communities, called ‘subreddits.’ These micro communities are marked with ‘/r/’ in front of the name. For example, one subreddit for people interested in copywriting is reddit.com/r/copywriting. On Reddit, it is simply referred to as ‘/r/copywriting.’ There are thousands of these sub-communities, so the chances of there being one for your industry are very high.

Getting Started

You can view any of these subreddits without an account, except for a few private communities. However, before you can post anything, vote on content, or subscribe to subreddits, you have to create an account. This requires simply choosing a username and password, and providing an email address. It’s a much simpler process than joining almost any other social networking site.

Once you’ve created an account, you’re officially a ‘redditor,’ and you can begin subscribing to subreddits and participating in the conversations. You will automatically be subscribed to a few default subreddits with more general themes. You can start exploring those to get an idea of how they work, or find more niche communities that fit your needs.

Finding Your Niche

The search bar in the top right corner is going to be your best bet for finding your industry’s subreddits. For example, an advertising agency can search for advertising, design, copywriting, or other topics and find many appropriate subreddits.

Simply hit the ‘subscribe’ button, and you’ll be able to access that subreddit easily and the best content from that community will show up on your home page.

Internet Points

When you log in to Twitter, you see the most recent Tweets from people you follow. Facebook has a complicated algorithm that decides what content gets top priority. But Reddit lets the users decide.

If a piece of content or a comment contributes to the conversation, is fun, or is valuable in some way, you might give it what is called an ‘upvote.’ Content that gains many upvotes in a short time will quickly pass lesser content for the top spot. You can also ‘downvote’ irrelevant content, which will make it appear lower.

This voting system not only determines the placement of content, it also determines a users ‘karma.’ Karma is the accumulation of votes a user has received. Every upvote gives the user one karma point. Every downvote takes away a karma point. These points technically do not matter, but users will look at another user’s karma to determine whether they are spamming, trolling, or actually providing good content.

That’s why it is important to truly become part of the Reddit community before posting anything. But we’ll get into that more in the second part of this blog.

Reddit can be a confusing site at first glance. However, once you dive in and get going, it will become easy to use and understand.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out! You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or just give us a call.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Social Media
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Print Advertising is NOT Dead

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Print isn't dead It’s not difficult to find marketing professionals who will tell you that print advertising is dead. The idea that online marketing killed traditional publishing runs rampant, and it’s easy to see why. Magazines and newspapers around the world are cutting their staff, moving online, or closing their doors entirely. However, despite the seemingly bleak outlook for print, the medium is alive, well, and evolving.

If you look back far enough into the history of media, you will find people who believed television would kill radio. However, radio is still a widely consumed medium that has found new ways to reach audiences. Similarly, many people believed that the Internet would kill television. Yet, we are now in the middle of somewhat of a golden age of television. This goes to show that there will always be gloom-and-doom naysayers, and they won’t always be right. Here are a few reasons this will hold true for print:

1. Only the Most Engaged Readers

Only the Most Engaged Readers

If you are looking to reach a loyal audience who is truly invested in the media they are consuming, look no further than print publications. While many casual newspaper and magazine readers have transitioned to online sources, only the most engaged customers have stuck with traditional outlets. It’s the classic case of quality versus quantity. If quality is what you’re after, don’t leave printed mediums out of your next marketing campaign.

2. Print Advertising Still Has Highest ROI

Return on Investment

Recent studies have shown that print advertising has a higher return on investment than radio, television, and online advertising. Of course, what works best for your company will be dependent on the product and target audience. However, this shows us that print advertising is not dead; it’s not even sick.

 

3. QR Codes are Bridging the Gap

QR Codes

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too. More and more, print advertisements are using QR codes to tie in with online marketing campaigns. This allows you to have a more comprehensive campaign while reaching a wider audience. What’s not to love about that?

 

4. Print is Tangible

Magazines

E-readers have not killed the printed book. Why? Because there is something fundamentally satisfying about holding a piece of printed material in your hand. The same goes for printed advertisements.

Tangible ads stick around longer, too. Think about how many magazines are lying around your doctor’s office, break room, and other waiting areas. I’d venture to guess they aren’t all this month’s issue. Where an online ad disappears as soon as the reader clicks away, the printed ad can stick around for years.

Of course, every ad campaign is unique, and not all of them should involve print in this day and age. However, print can be a viable and important part of many great campaigns. What do you think? Is print advertising dead, or is it just changing?

If you need help deciding what mediums should be part of your next campaign, give Duncan/Day Advertising a call. We pride ourselves in created integrated campaigns that reach the audience you need.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing

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