Gymkhana: the video ad campaign which created a cult following and what made it successful.

What do you get when the co-founder of a well-known company takes a mostly unknown sport, and reinvents it adding a whole new dimension, with a dose of randomness, and posts it on YouTube for the world to see? You get the Gymkhana video ad series! DC shoes co-founder Ken block is also a rally driver who decided to take his love of cars, and his company to a whole new level. By re-creating the sport of Gymkhana to make it interesting and adding an entertaining aspect, the Gymkhana video series has generated millions of views with the highest being Gymkhana 5 at over 82 million views. This has been great publicity for DC shoes, Need for Speed, and in the latest video it generated great publicity for Block’s other brand Hoonigan, as well as all of Block’s racing sponsors. Based on this, it is easy to arrive at the conclusion that the You Tube video series has been a successful marketing campaign for DC shoes, Need for Speed, and Hoonigan.

But what is it that made the video commercials so popular? Well let’s examine it.

First of all perhaps the biggest factor in its success is the fact that they are very unique and creative. It took something which millions of people love (cars) and added something that had not really been done (drifting around random obstacles) and set it in unique locations which most people would not think of. They brought many different elements together into each video in a way that had never been done before and were not afraid to take a big risk. And a big risk it was. While they knew they should get a decent amount of interest based on the popularity of car videos on You Tube, such large scale videos with the intent of selling a product were a big risk. But ultimately one that paid off.

This leads to the next point, it was a very bold move. But, it was a move that launched DC shoes to the next level when combined with their other marketing efforts. They were willing to take the risk and do something that had never been done before, taking unchecked creativity and putting it into a series of video advertisements.

It is also worth making a note that the Gymkhana series was not native advertising. It was simply a series of videos posted to You Tube that anyone could share.

And finally, it was universal. Cars are something that many people from all around the world love. Add explosions on top of that and it created something that many different people with differing interests, from different cultures, and backgrounds could all appreciate.

So what does this mean for you and your business? It means that fun and creativity can pay off in a very big way. It doesn’t have to be nearly to the scale of the Gymkhana series, and you don’t necessarily have to blow things up, but by encompassing some of those elements that made it such a success, you too can create a successful advertising campaign which is truly unique and reaches a vast audience. So no matter what you are selling or promoting, having a strategy that embraces thinking outside the box can pay off, and bring your company to a whole new level! So go ahead, think different, think bold, and don’t be afraid to step outside the safe lines of what has already been done!

Youtube Product Placement: 5 Promotional Youtubers

Youtubers have recently taken over the social media scene. With their hilarious videos, helpful tutorials, and genuine personalities, fans have fallen in love with them. Some have as many as 42 million subscribers. Fans are incredibly loyal and will spend hours at a time watching their videos. So what better way to advertise a product then to partner up with one of the many famous Youtubers? Both the video-maker and the brand benefit from the promotions. Here, I’ve highlighted 5 popular Youtubers who hold sponsorships and use their videos for promotion.

  1. Tyler Oakley for Audible.com

Subscriber count: 7.4 MIL

Tyler has been a longtime partner with audible.com. He promotes the site in a majority of his biweekly videos and offers a special promotion for his viewers to receive their first audiobook free. In order to receive the free audiobook, viewers must connect through Oakley’s personalized link, which can only be found in his video descriptions. This tactic helps to raise his view count and makes him a strong Youtube presence. Both Oakley and Audible benefit from the partnership.

2. Zoella for Rimmel London

Subscriber count: 10 MIL

Zoella is a popular beauty and lifestyle Youtuber. She is known for her incredible makeup tutorials, in which she describes in full detail how to get a certain look using her favorite beauty products. She does, of course, receive most of the beauty products for free in exchange for her promotion of them in her videos. One product that I noticed she very heavily pushed in her most recent tutorial is Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish Liquid Foundation. It is quite obvious that she is being asked to promote the product due to the amount of information she knows about it. Fans are aware of Zoella’s ability to receive free beauty products, so it’s not as though she’s attempting to hide it. She genuinely promotes products, meaning she would never promote a product she did not like, so fans can trust her recommendations.

3. Dan and Phil for Double Stuf Oreo

Subscriber count: 5 MIL

Dan and Phil are a comedy Youtube duo known for their quirky but charming videos. In one particular video made on Dan’s channel, the boys participate in what Oreo calls the “Lick Challenge.” At the beginning of the video, Dan tells us that he received an email, along with an abundance of free Double Stuff Oreos, from the company itself asking him to participate. The inquiry asked him to promote their product on his channel. He ended up making the video, helping out both himself and Oreo. Oreo received a free promotion of its product while Dan and Phil got another hilarious video challenge idea.

4. Bethany Mota for K-Cups and Topshop

Subscriber count: 9 MIL

Bethany Mota is a well-known fashion and lifestyle blogger, as well as a fashion designer for Aeropostale. She often does “Guide To” videos in which she will provide viewers with helpful guide on whatever topic she chooses (Winter, gifts, food, etc.). In these videos, she recommends a number of products to her fans, most of which she has been asked to promote. In her most recent “Winter Guide,” she advertises Keurig K-Cups and a sweater that she received from Topshop. Both Bethany and the brand benefit from the promotions because Bethany can provide her fans with a helpful tips while also driving consumers to the brand.

5. Tyler Oakley for NatureBox

Subscriber count: 7.4 MIL

I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t she already tell us about Tyler Oakley? Indeed I did. However, he is notorious for his shameless product promotions within his videos and I wanted to emphasize this by highlighting one more. Another brand besides audible.com which Tyler offers a promotional deal to viewers is NatureBox. NatureBox is a healthy snack supplier that ships boxes of healthy snacks to your house if you pay a monthly rate. Tyler teamed up with the company to provide fans with 50% off their first month. Once again, the link could only be retrieved by watching one of Tyler’s videos, bringing him viewers as well as bringing NatureBox more customers.

What are Native Ads? Are they Effective?

For the past few years native advertisements have been a hot topic for digital marketers and businesses alike. Across the board companies have to educate themselves with the difference between using native ads vs. banner ads on their websites and/or social media.

The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) defines native advertisements as “a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.” Sounds easy enough right?

Not quite, there a lot more components to native ads than the definition suggests, like any other digital ad there are mobile ads and display ads, and like any other ad one can be more successful than the other.

Moreover you have to make sure that the sponsorship fits your business criteria and your audience’s preferences, meaning you have to keep a close eye on engagement metrics such as CTR’s (click through rates) to measure whether or not your target audience is responding to the ad.

A key component of a successful native ad is keeping close to the rule book before posting anything. When using a native ad you must ALWAYS (yes, always) use the correct language when presenting content these tags include but are not limited to: Sponsored By; Sponsored Post; Presented By; Paid Post; Promoted By; Ad; and Advertisement.

“Advertisers should clearly distinguish advertising, public relations and corporate communications from news and editorial content and entertainment, both online and offline.” (AAFTL – American Advertising Federation Thought Leadership)

As a professional you should always keep these restrictions and facts in mind while taking advantage of the insights and effectiveness of native ads.

So… How can you choose?

In 2013 ShareThrough.com conducted a study with 4,770 people to determine how either one of these work for brands across the board. The following infographic shows their findings:

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Not much has changed since 2013, native ads are still perceived as a 23% higher quality add with 3 times more time and attention from the public says MMA’s Advertising Committee. In addition, audiences around the globe are more used to native advertisements than they ever where.

Native ads became increasingly popular with the “social media explosion” in the early to mid 2000’s. Nowadays seeing a company’s sponsored Tweet, Instagram, Facebook or Tumblr post is considered as normal as any other post on your feed.

Since native ads copy the function and format of the platform upon which they appear, audiences perceive the ads as valuable content instead of “just another ad.”

Taking this into consideration, banner ads should not be taken out of the equation when looking to advertise on social media platforms. Instead you should always weigh your options, while native ads merge better as editorial content banner ads stand out and might be better for special offers and/or deals.

Final verdict? Native ads can by widely successful but you have to keep a close watch on the engagement that they produce and whether or not pairing it with a banner ad can lead to a better qualified advertising campaign.

For more information on how native ads can help your ROI look out for our next blog posts!

Can’t get enough? Check out our post on the best filters for your next Instagram Advertising.

The Top 5 Filters on Instagram for Advertising

Brands are constantly finding new ways to advertise themselves to the public through social media. Photos are the primary way of getting the attention of customers and with Instagram, it has become even easier to do so! But before a brand starts posting to the public, they need to make sure they’ve got the right filter beforehand.

The better set up a company has on their Instagram feed, the more likely they will receive engagement from their fans. The design of Instagram photos have to be engaging, flow together as one unit and pop with color. GAP, Starbucks and Urban Outfitters are perfect examples of Instagram feeds that truly grab your attention and reel you in to double-tap their images.

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A company can curate any content they wish, but if it doesn’t have the right aesthetic and proper filter, their advertising will fail miserably. However, if it picks one or two Instagram filters and sticks with them consistently, their ads will glow like the top of the Chrysler building.

Our team at Post And Promote has identified the top five filters a brand can use to market themselves to a wider audience and make their ads come to life through social media.

For lifestyle shots, white backdrops and extra sunlight or any photo taken outdoors:

  1. Gingham

If you’re going for an all black and white theme but want to keep the brightness up a bit:

2. Moon

For clothing lines and any food photography:

3. Reyes

For photos involving wood, counter tops, inanimate objects, or nature:

4. Slumber

If you’re trying to stay classic and keep your photo pretty simple:

5. Sierra

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While Instagram was the first to originate the “filters”, we find that most brands are using VSCO Cam (a photo editing application) to edit their ads and social media. Chances are most fashion lines and restaurant chains are using professional photos that are photoshopped but if a company is on the rise, they will often head to VSCO to edit their iPhone shots before taking them to Instagram.

Some of the best picks we’ve seen? C1, F2, HB1 and HB2. These filters work well with every type of advertisement ranging from lifestyle, wellness, food, sports and so on. While the app and other photo editing tools like it may cost money, don’t worry! You can always revert to our top 5 filters in the Instagram app itself.

Just remember, keep your advertisements consistent with your color and shape!