Why I think truth is smart

Why I think truth is smart

I have never smoked cigarettes and never will, so I’ve never needed convincing to not smoke; however, if I did, truth would certainly have convinced me to quit by now. In my opinion, this anti-smoking campaign is extremely effective from an advertising and marketing standpoint.

“truth” is a national anti-tobacco campaign by the Truth Initiative (formerly known as American Legacy Foundation), working towards ending smoking among youth. They’ve been at it since 1999 and they’ve truly adapted with the changing technology and culture over the years. truth commercials have been on air throughout much of my life and I’ve been always been impressed with them all. The most memorable for me was the “Singing Cowboy (2007),” that scarred just about every kid in America at the time. This was obviously when they were still going for the shock and awe effect; it worked.

Today, the organization has evolved to trying to connect with social issues and social trends. The Truth Initiative uses all forms of media outlets and social media platforms to reach today’s teens, Gen Z. The commercial that sparked my interest again to encourage this post is their (relatively) new campaign, #StopProfiling, from ad agency, 72andSunny. I think this ad effectively connects with current social issues in the country, connects it with their cause and connects it to today’s youth. This can be a somewhat tricky sector to break into, as we saw with the Kendall Jenner/Pepsi disaster, but in my opinion, they did it. It works because: 1) it calls out huge corporations for taking advantage of the less fortunate and 2) it’s supported by facts. According to the National Cancer Institute, from 1970 to 2005, there was a major shift in advertising spending from measured media (TV, radio, magazines and billboards) to promotional activities (price discounts). This was a shift from about 18% on promotional activities to almost 100%. This doesn’t look good for “Big Tobacco” when they have been long known for keeping prices low for the lower classes. This particular campaign is causing quite a stir; this tweet gained significantly more engagement than usual, when their average tweet has about 20 retweets and 50 favorites.

A few more campaigns that I thought were effective in connecting with social issues and social trends are:

Hitting us where it really hurts (our wallets)

Our generation’s obsession with our pets, memes and GIFs

Our love of going green

Nice job, Truth Initiative. This millennial doesn’t really need to be convinced not to smoke, but I do appreciate your marketing strategy and trying to make America a little bit healthier.


Wendy’s is savage and Twitterverse loves it

I know I’m not the first person to acknowledge how Wendy’s Twitter account is hilarious, but I wanted to address how I love it as a digital marketing strategy for the company.

Wendy’s understands who Twitter users are and how they utilize it as a platform. While there are Twitter users all over the demographic spectrum, the most active users are the millennial generation and younger. Millennials were the innovators that first made Twitter successful in its launch in 2006 and continue to consider it as one of their favorite platforms. Millennials largely use Twitter to: 1) talk about politics 2) complain about things and 3) share jokes and memes. Wendy’s marketing team has gone with #3 and ran with it. 

The overarching goal of a social media campaign is to create an online community around your brand, where you can facilitate discussion about the brand in a positive light. Nothing gets millennials talking more than a savage fast food company tweeting insults and “clapbacks” about its competitors. This clever use of brand personification makes millennials want to be Wendy’s best friend. This guy even wanted to hookup with Wendy’s, to which they replied “We are literally a restaurant.” 

If you haven’t seen Wendy’s Twitter yet, here’s one of my favorite videos that compiled the best of the best examples of Wendy’s tweets:

Starbucks gets it

Starbucks gets it

If you know anything about me, you know that I am in love with Starbucks. I’m currently typing this post sitting in Starbucks, while sipping my grande caramel iced coffee with cream. You may be silently judging me for supporting a “corporate monster” or being basic, but I can’t help but love the company, from both the coffee lover perspective, as well as from the marketer perspective. In my opinion, Starbucks is crushing the digital marketing game right now. Here’s how:

  1. Every person I know has the Starbucks app on their phone. The app is the company’s best asset right now. Customers can reload their card and pay for their order with their phone in seconds. They’ve mastered the fastest and easiest point of sale system without having to use Apple Pay or other similar third party technologies. The mobile order feature may have its ups and downs logistically, but more often than not, it is an extremely useful tool for customers on the go. It literally saved my life a few times this summer on the way to work when I hit the snooze 3 extra times.
    1. Side note: Gold Card. We all know that a loyalty program is one of the easiest marketing tools to keep customers coming back, but the Gold Card is the best I’ve seen. I’ll be the first person to tell you that I fell for it; hard. I felt like I was the créme de la créme of Starbucks customers when I got that shiny, personalized card in the mail. Now, on the app, you can whip out your digital gold card and be twice as basic and I love it.
  2.  They utilize their social media platforms correctly. There is nothing worse than a business that doesn’t know how to use its social media platforms. Starbucks effectively uses social media to achieve its overall goals of building brand awareness and product promotion. On Twitter, Starbucks frequently tweets original content and retweets a lot from fans. Starbucks uses its Facebook page to post photos and links, as well as respond to its customers in the comments. Its Instagram only features artistic photos and leaves the promotional content in the caption. Their Pinterest features DIYs and recipes on fancy coffees and pastries. Starbucks’ Youtube features both fun videos on coffee recipes, as well informational videos on where they source their beans. They even have a LinkedIn, where they share stories and information on the more corporate side of the company. Check out 1912 Pike, the official Starbucks blog, to learn about the company’s history and more than you ever need to know about coffee! I’m not saying that Starbucks is the only company that knows how to use its social media, but I’m just pointing out that if they weren’t doing it correctly, you’d know and you’d hate them for it.
  3. They create unique campaigns that they know people will like. This is really how Starbucks is setting themselves apart from the rest, as far as digital marketing is concerned. They create fun, engaging campaigns that both promote the brand and make each customer feel special. Everyone loves coffee in general, so the longer Starbucks can keep a customer engaged with their brand, the better. Here are three promotions that are happening right now that customers, like me, are loving!
    1. Did you know that right now you can talk to The Real PSL? To promote the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte, customers can Facebook message PSL! He’s obviously just an automated ChatBot that responds to certain phrases, but it’s just for customer enjoyment and product promotion. It’s simple, yet entertaining!
    2. Make sure you enter your phone number to receive exclusive, early access to the PSL. All you do is enter your phone number and it texts you your very own PSL Fan Pass to show your barista at checkout!
    3. I’m about to win Starbucks for Life, just as soon as I melt that one last magical ice cube that completes my game piece row and then, I’ll be sipping on Starbuck’s coffee until I die. Pro tip: You get 4 free extra ice cubes when you enter your address in the link at the bottom of the page. 🙂


Wildwood Revival knows its audience

Last year, my friend and I discovered an amazing local music festival and immediately fell in love with it. Wildwood Revival features over 20 folk/americana artists each year and takes pride in that it is not “your average music festival.” Artists perform in the cutest barn on Cloverleaf Farm in Arnoldsville, Georgia. I went again this weekend and it was amazing.


This place is always hoppin’. I attended last year and again this year. BOTH years have completely sold out. While they have a relatively limited number of tickets for sale due to the smaller venue space, it can still be hard to get 1,400 people to buy $78 regular admission tickets and $278 VIP tickets when you’re such a small, local event. However, Wildwood Revival knows how to reach its target market and sells out every year.

The usual crowd is mostly mid-20s and 30s hipsters with a few college students (me) and a few older hippies/empty nesters. These demographics are heavy Facebook and Instagram users (if they use social media much at all), so Wildwood Revival makes sure to effectively reach their target market through both of these platforms. While this may seem obvious, they reach them from two angles and then really hook them in on their website.

Wildwood Revival promotes themselves on their brand’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, but also, all 20+ artists heavily promote the event on their accounts, as well. This reaches 20+ times the amount of the target market that are very likely to purchase a ticket. If their favorite artist will be there, as well as 20 other similar artists in the same genre, they’re sure to at least consider it. A regular artist will usually Instagram a picture or tweet once or twice about a show, but at Wildwood Revival, artists will post about it 3-4 times on each of their social media accounts.

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Once a potential customer reaches the website, they’re sold. I want whoever their photographer is for my wedding one day. The photos are gorgeous and really capture how amazing the event is. They highlight all of the artists and food vendors in an organized and aesthetically pleasing way. Almost all of the food vendors offer dishes made with organic, all natural ingredients. They sell reusable cups onsite, so there is not one plastic cup used all three days and it avoids tons of wasted plastic. They have various craft vendors that sell various sustainable products, from recycled metal jewelry to all natural hair care products. Their website highlights all of this, which they KNOW their hipster target market will love.

You may be thinking “Is that it?” It kind of is, but this works for them. Wildwood Revival relies on Facebook and Instagram as far as digital marketing is concerned, but also heavily relies on word of mouth. Their target market loves the fact that they don’t advertise that much and they feel special when they’re one of the lucky ones that finds out about it. Wildwood Revival has 4,362 followers on Instagram, 3,581 likes on Facebook and I’ve told every single person I’ve ever met about it; so overall, it’s an effective method in my opinion. 🙂

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