Archive | March, 2013

NASCAR Novela: Coming full-speed to the Hispanic audience

31 Mar

Danica Patrick winning the 2013 Daytona 500 pole is not the only big diversity move happening in NASCAR.

In an AdAge interview (2012) with NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, Phelps outlines five goals for NASCAR to achieve in the next five years:

  1. Build the star power of individual drivers
  2. Increase engagement among children and college-age consumers
  3. Attract a multicultural fan base
  4. Craft more cohesive digital- and social-media strategies
  5. Improve the racetrack experience for fans

Phelps has been driving these efforts (NASCAR pun intended) since 2010. In this Q&A session, Phelps was asked about what NASCAR is doing to attract a multicultural fan base, specifically Hispanics.

“We’ve done some small things. At three of our race tracks we did heavy up-spending in those markets buying media. We had a virtual garage tour in Spanish. The NASCAR website can be viewed in Spanish, as well, but that’s basically just a translation. Looking ahead, we’re in discussions with a Spanish-language outlet to create digital content for us, and we hope to have meaningful content live in 2013.”

Of course, it all starts small. But NASCAR executives know that Spanish garage tour and translated website is not going to seal the deal.  To attract and engage such a large market, NASCAR needs to truly capture the Hispanic audience off the track before they can capture them on it.

Just as stated in Phelps’s response, 2013 is the year for NASCAR to produce meaningful digital content to Hispanics. NASCAR has pursued digital content in one of the most popular forms of Hispanic entertainment: novelas.

¿Qué es una novela?/ What is a novela?

According to Wikipedia, a telenovela is a limited-run serial dramatic programming popular in Latin American, Portuguese, Filipino, Spanish, and American (Spanish language network) television programming. Essentially, a novela is a Spanish soap opera.

A Virtual Racing Experience

Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,’ a drama set in a fictional NASCAR world staring Latina actress Kate Del Castillo, tells a story with equal parts romance and speed. This novela is co-produced by NASCAR and Univision and will debut on Univision’s website this month. In May, ‘Arranque de Pasión’ is scheduled to appear on Univision network television.

Screenshot of

Screenshot of

Sounds like a pretty good gig, right? After all, NASCAR is lacking significant exposure to Hispanics. But why did NASCAR choose a novela to reach this particular audience? Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, who stars as Ela, knows why.

“When you think about it [NASCAR], it’s all about family, and that’s what we like. It’s about spending an entire day at the track. It’s an experience, a whole day for family, and yet it’s very dangerous. It’s very dramatic. I think it’s perfect for us.” -Del Castillo

So, this is the digital media content Phelps was talking about. Hey, I think this might be the perfect element to draw Hispanic attention. Drama, passion, romance, with a racing vibe to capture viewers and make them want to be a part of the NASCAR experience.

Univision knows what they are doing when it comes to producing novelas, and NASCAR is watching over to ensure authenticity and accuracy of the sport.

Speaking of authenticity, here’s the big question: Are there going to be guest appearances from our favorite NASCAR stars? So far, all sources have indicated ‘no.’ Although the majority of the filming was conducted at Homestead-Miami Speedway, don’t get your hopes up for any guest appearances… at least not yet, I imagine this could be an aspect still up for discussion.

An Extra 0.02 Cents

This is exactly what I have been waiting for! I knew I was a Spanish minor for a reason. This is exactly what NASCAR needs: a more diverse demographic.  For a while, I was worried that the multicultural initiative was going to be all talk and no game. I think the novela is a big move and Phelps’s goal #3 is finally coming to fruition.

Look forward to a blog post about the first episode. It will be in Spanish (of course), but I am fluent and will keep all my non-Spanish speaking readers informed!


Sources: NASCAR Hopes To Win Latinos With Telenovela

NASCAR Targets New Audiences, Revs Up Social-Media Strategy


This blog post is a part of a series for Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.


Nike’s New Tiger Woods Facebook Ad: Far From a Hole-In-One

27 Mar

I think Ricky Bobby said it best, “If ya ain’t first, you’re last.” This famous Talladega Nights quote just about sums up the fact that no one likes to lose. But while Ricky Bobby is a fictional character, there are professional athletes out there displaying less than mediocre sportsmanship.

Tiger Woods is back under the spotlight. Ping ponging from one scandal to another, the headlines of Tiger’s promiscuity had finally calmed down, just in time for his golf game to spring back up. This past week, Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which allowed him to return to his N0.1 ranking. Tiger held this ranking for 281 consecutive weeks before his golf game and personal life came to a crashing halt when it was released he was unfaithful (more than once) to his wife, Elin Nordegren. The ‘Tiger Woods Scandal‘ resulted in the loss of major corporate sponsors such as Accenture, AT&T, and Gatorade. Nike continued their relationship with Tiger.

How does Tiger and his loyal sponsor Nike Golf respond to the recent win? By releasing an ad on Facebook that makes a bold statement about winning. Word of mouth created a buzz of negative reviews, so I went online to check it out for myself.

Screenshot by Ashley Bunting

Screenshot by Ashley Bunting

“I’ll Never Buy Another Nike Product”

According to this article on AdAge, Crisis PR expert Mike Paul says that this ad is “brazen” for both bodies to take on when they are in the process of recovering their brands. Mr. Paul was right. The majority of fans are not pleased. Many parents have responded in the general attitude of, “This is poor sportsmanship. Is this is what we are supposed to teach our children? No.” However, some fans, such as the ones clearly noted in the screenshot above, go as far to say that because of the arrogance communicated in this ad, they will never buy another Nike product. 

Nike Golf Spokeswoman Beth Gast replies, “The statement … is a salute to his athletic performance.”

Does ‘Just Do It’ Imply You Must Win To Be Great?

Just Do It. The Nike slogan that the athletic company has built their brand on. This is the message that speaks to individuals hitting the gym for the first time in years because they have finally gained the confidence to put themselves out there. And if you ask me, most importantly, it speaks to the youth to be active. The bottom line is that the ‘Just Do It’ slogan speaks to athletes of all caliber.

photo credit: albyantoniazzi via photopin cc

photo credit: albyantoniazzi via photopin cc

Did you hear that? I think it was the sound of Nike shooting themselves in the foot. Sure, Tiger Woods might be the best golfer in the world. But what does Tiger’s new ‘Winning’ ad say to the average Joe who wears Nike apparel. The ‘Just Do It’ tagline inspires him. He now goes on morning jogs and is headed in the right direction to living a healthier life. To Nike’s dismay, he has never won a trophy in his life. Is he still winning?

What does this message say to Nike consumers? Some could perceive it as even if their personal life plummets, everything is a-okay (cue a thumbs up) as long as you are bringing home the biggest trophy.

The Tiger Woods fan club will stay the same. He has been through tough times (to stay the least) and his loyal fans have stuck by his side. They are thrilled to see him back on his golf game and securing that No. 1 spot. The Nike fan club is the one on the rocks. Nike’s customer base is much more diverse. To many, winning is not everything, as long as you are doing the best that YOU can do.

Me? What do I think? Well, Since You Asked.

In my amateur opinion, ‘Winning Takes Care Of Everything’ completely contradicts the ‘Just Do It’ message. I would even go as far to say that this Tiger ad could make some Nike product users feel bad about themselves because they are not winning.

Trust me, as a competitive athlete since I was 7 years old, I do not believe that “everyone gets a ribbon.” However, Nike’s Facebook ad comes across as arrogant and pompous, rather than tasteful and classy.

Sources: Nike’s Tiger Woods Ad: ‘Winning Takes Care of Everything’

Tiger Woods Facebook Ad Draws Mixed Reactions

Tiger Woods’ Gatorade Sponsorship OVER: Third Major Sponsor To Leave

This blog post is a part of a series of assignments for Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Check Their Transparency

25 Mar

The hottest topic in athletic apparel? Lululemon’s yoga pants. For those of you not familiar with the brand, here is a little background info.

According to Urban Dictionary, here is the most PC definition of Lululemon that I would personally agree with:

“A popular yoga and exercise brand of clothing. Mostly for yoga and dance and running, but also just worn for fashion. Extremely comfy and modified fabrics are used, like LUON for wicking properties and staying dry.”

Why all the buzz over a pair of yoga pants, you might ask? Well, turns out multiple batches of Lululemon’s popular pant were poorly manufactured, in turn, they are see-through. Customers have filed in one-by-one, back to the stores, to return these pants because of the pant’s transparency. This has resulted in a recall in the Luon Pants (and you thought only cars were recalled).

Before you read any further, take a look at this video.

Okay, okay, some of you might find this video a little bit offensive. The jokes about the “yoga pants” shortage, and “I like what it does to my curves, I have to say” quote. Let’s dig a little deeper into this.

My Professional Sales professor’s last words before he dismissed us for Spring Break: “Why do people pay $4.00 for a coffee at Starbucks, instead of paying $1.00 for a coffee at McDonald’s. It is about the experience.” And yes, there is an experience with yoga pants. Upper-middle class and upper class women will pay a Franklin ($100 bones) for  a pair of workout pants because they believe it enhances their workout experience. They want to be beautiful when they are sweating. These are not pants strictly for the gym either. Women will run errands in them or wear them around town as casual-wear because they like the way the pants look, the pants are comfortable, and the brand logo shines on the small of their back all day long.

photo credit: lululemon athletica via photopin cc

photo credit: lululemon athletica via photopin cc

Transparency In the Pants, But Is There Transparency in Lululemon’s Future?

According to Brian Davis’s AdAge article, the Lulu pants scandal may cause a lasting impact on the brand. Clearly, the product recall has raised a lot of questions. Women are now taking a closer look at their yoga pants. When customers are paying such a price, quality is expected. The pants recall is embarrassing for the brand, just as it is embarrassing for customers (pun intended).

However: “Lululemon may have an opportunity to squeeze this lemon into LuluLemonade,” says Brian Davis in his article. This leads us to the fork in the road. By taking immediate action to fix the problem and being honest with customers, customers may respect the brand even more. Everyone makes mistakes, right? Lululemon is in the spotlight now, but it will only be so long before another brand’s scandal steals consumer attention. Davis also predicts that it would not be out of the ordinary to see the misfit pants sold on eBay to yogis who practice yoga in private.

Behind the Brand: Livin’ La Vida LuLu

I do not own any Lululemon, personally I am more of a Nike girl. But I am a runner, swimmer, dancer and outdoor enthusiast, so I decided to do a little more research on the Lulu brand. After reading the FastCompany article, Lululemon’s Cult of Selling, I am a little… unsettled?

What I have gathered is this: Lulu recruits yoga instructors to endorse their brand by wearing it and offering Lulu sponsored yoga classes. Hmm seems logical to me. Almost like celebrity endorsements if the most renowned yoga instructors from Beverly Hills are wearing the brand. This is where things get interesting: Lulu employees are referred to as “educators,” and required to go through intense self-actualization training which requires posting their goals on a public wall and listening to motivational recordings. Lulu sees this as an opportunity for educators to access a “learning library” and attend Landmark Forum seminars.

However, past Lulu employees seem to feel a different way. This FastCompany article had many comments from past [angry] Lulu employees, stating that these “educator” practices are what forced them to quit their job.

Why do I bring up the internal structure of Lulu? Good question!

Interested to see if and how these employee practices will change/modify in the coming months due to the “pants scandal.” Based on what I have read on the company culture, I am predicting a whole make-over for LuLu (inside and out!).

Sources: Lululemon Recalls Luon Pants, Expects Shortage | Video – ABC News

Flipsides: Could Lululemon Come Out Ahead After See-Through Yoga Pants Recall?

Lululemon’s Cult of Selling

This blog post is a part of a series for Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

Name of the Game: Marketing. Rules? Depends on the players.

12 Mar

The “rules” of marketing have been heavily debated. Go ahead and Google “Rules of Marketing” and see what you get. The results are all over the place. There is not one single textbook definition or solid set of principles that every single marketing department and marketing firm adheres by. Personally, I believe it depends on the organization and what works the best for them. After all, each organization has its own target market and distinct strategies. However, in his article Marketing and Communications in Nonprofit Organizations, David Williamson of Georgetown University outlines nine morals that he believes should be closely adhered to in marketing specifically for non-profits.

For the purpose of this blog post, I have zoomed in on three of the nine morals, or guidelines, that Williamson believes are crucial to non-profit marketing success. As my group and I dive into our ABAN research, we are keeping William’s morals in mind as they apply to our client.

Morals In Context: Successes and Failures

Moral: You can’t go far wrong in communications if you stick to the Holy Trinity: Audience. Message. Vehicle.

How does this relate to success non-profit marketing? It is so simple! Let’s start with audience, aka who or what you need to reach. How can they be identified, and are they already aware of the issue? Second, you need a message that motivates the audience. I think this motivating message, which provokes a ‘call-to-action’ can be viewed in two ways. The first is inspiring the audience to act for the first time; the second is capturing them as a life-long supporter. How many times have you given to a charity only once? My point exactly. The last component to this moral is the vehicle, or “the best means of delivering the message to the target audience.”

Okay, I have just thrown three ambiguous nouns at you: audience, message, and vehicle. Essentially, this moral ensures that you are delivering a meaningful message to the right people in the right ways. To better understand this moral, let’s take a closer look at the March of Dimes.

Often times, people believe that effective marketing costs a pretty penny. However, the March of Dimes has proven otherwise, using a multidimensional approach that supports its core mission. According to this Mashable article, blog posts, YouTube videos and Facebook posts have been spreading like wildfire. Why? Because they are telling stories of how a child’s life has been saved. These stories are constantly updated on Twitter. This user-generated content has been supported by the organization and provoked discussion that allows people to tell their stories. The user-generated content has created loyal ambassadors for the brand. March of Dimes supporters have shared their personal stories and stories of other babies (message) with their friends, creating new supporters (audience), via social media technology (vehicle).

March of Dimes Twitter Account

March of Dimes Twitter Account

This example of the March of Dimes directly reflects Holly Stewart’s advice of telling a story. A mistake non-profits management makes is that they dangerously assume that everyone else cares about their cause just as much as they do. Unfortunately, that just is not the case. So, how do I get new supporters’ attention? Tell a story, and make sure you are keeping audience, message and vehicle in the process.  Nothing is more genuine than a story about saving a baby’s life.

“Not very complicated, right? And if it’s as simple as that, then how come marketing consultants continue to earn handsome fees from nonprofits?”

A very valid question, Mr. Williamson.

Moral: Fundraising is often a core component of marketing and communications, but not all fundraising collateral translates into more money raised.

Fundraising for a non-profit can often appear as skeptical. As Williamson states in his article, “… is a healthy skepticism about the demands of fundraising collateral.” Nothing is more annoying that organizations asking for money. Sometimes I ask myself, how do I even know this money is going to the cause? I believe that a tool that can combat this is simple Thank You follow-up emails and Thank You videos.

photo credit: Amber B McN via photopin cc

A Thank You from March of Dimes baby
photo credit: Amber B McN via photopin cc

According to the blog post, Five Common Mistakes Make in their Online Fundraising Campaigns, a Thank You email or Thank You video goes a long way. How often does a simple ‘Thank You’ from a stranger brighten your day? The same applies to supporters. And let’s face it- people want to see the difference they are making with their donation. Show them.  Take a look at the Thank You video from Operation Smile. The organization’s management, doctors, nurses, and patients are all shedding light on how they could not do it without you, the supporters.

Of course, I am sure this video took a little extra time to make. But the returning supporters satisfaction of knowing where their money is going and the supporter appreciation is well worth it. In the words of David Williamson, “the key is to focus on few things that you can do that will have the greatest impact” and “don’t try and save money by cutting corners.” It is not worth it in the long run!

Moral: Your brand defines your organization to the outside world. Take the initiative and define yourself, before one of your enemies tries to define you.

We have taken a look at Operation Smile and March of Dimes, both distinguished non-profits that are following one, if not many more, of Williamson’s recommended morals. What about an example of a non-profit that has failed because it has not followed the morals? Point in case, Madonna’s organization Raising Malawi. This organization was founded in hopes of establishing a school system for impoverished girls in Malawi. According to the New York Times article, Madonna’s Charity Fails in Bid to Finance School, after spending $3.8 million dollars, the organization flopped because of a lack of identity. Madonna’s management style was reportedly below par and supporters in Hollywood, that were supposed to give some pretty big bucks (if ya know what I mean), abandoned the project. Madonna’s former boyfriend, Tracy Anderson, also cost the organization its reputation with expenses for his golf course membership, office space, and a free car and driver for the school’s director. Seems a little silly to spend money on all these things when girls in Malawi are lacking an education.

David Williamson would explain this as “lack of authenticity.” Clearly, Madonna’s charity was a failure. According to Williamson, “regrettably, about the only thing that compels non-profit leaders to pay attention to branding is when something goes spectacularly wrong at high-profile peer organizations.” Despite the fact that Raising Malawi was not a high-profile organization, Madonna is a pop icon and known face, and therefore draws a lot of attention.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that is all we have time for today. But I urge you to Google Williamson’s article and dig into the other six morals. Pretty insightful! Read on, friends.

Bunting, out.

This blog post is a part of a series of assignments of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

Another Look Into Brand Loyalty: featuring Die-Hard NASCAR fans

10 Mar

It is a Sunday afternoon and SURPRISE! I am sitting in front of my television, doing homework at a snail’s pace because I am watching the Kobalt Tools 400 in Vegas. Piddling through FastCompany articles, I came across an article that could not have been a better job at catching my eye: How NASCAR Uses Access to Build the Most Loyal Brand Fans Anywhere. Brand loyalty, a common theme we have been discussing in IMC and NASCAR. Sounds like a great Sunday afternoon read.

Martin’s First Lap (No, not Mark Martin)

Amy Jo Martin, founder and CEO of Digital Royalty, tells of her first NASCAR race, the 2011 Daytona 500. She prefaces the article with all the negative connotations she had of a “monotonous day of left turns and mullets.” Martin does not go into detail about who drove well or who won the race that day, but rather emphasizes the experience. She knew that NASCAR fans were as loyal as they come, but she did not understand why until she experienced a race herself.

To someone who does not follow NASCAR, the sport and the fans are both misunderstood. Martin will first claim and even “swear on her iPhone” that she did not see a single mullet. Take a look at the photo I have attached of NASCAR fans in the Grandstands. There are men, women, boys, and girls. Notice they are all standing. They’re engaged and they look just like me and you.

NASCAR fansphoto credit: mlovitt via photopin cc

photo credit: mlovitt via photopin cc

What she did see was accessibility. Interaction. Passion. It is a different experience than any other professional sport because of the accessibility to the track and the drivers. Drivers take pictures, sign autographs, and interact with fans literally until the second they enter their vehicles.  Fans are allowed to be on the track and capture memories that will last them a lifetime. Each driver interaction entices a fan to want to meet and connect with more drivers. It is a never-ending cycle.

Martin says that personal access is the “entry point for any growing brand.” Personal access? That is exactly what I experienced when I met Kasey Kahne at a Q&A session in Martinsville last April. I was even able to talk to him for a minute about a mutual friend we share, my mentor and NASCAR inspiration, Mr. Phillip Murdock.

Martin recalls fans at the Daytona 500 being called down from the Grandstands to sign the track.  This is essentially the same thing as the Red Socks fans summoned down to Fenway Park to stand on the pitchers mound. But let’s be honest, that does not happen unless you are the lucky winner of hundreds of thousands of fans entered into some kind of contest. For a kid who goes down to the track with his or her parent and signs the pavement, a connection is made, and a lifetime fan is born.

Martin’s Final Lap

Every NASCAR fan has the opportunity to access, connect, and create a relationship. This is easily why fans have a favorite driver who they are loyal to.  This loyalty all starts with first point of access the fan was exposed to.  And despite the fact that NASCAR drivers ride solo, NASCAR fans certainly do not. What Martin learned was that they not only have a connection to the brand and the drivers, but with each other. Let me support that statement by assuring you that every time I have been in the Grandstands, I have made friends. These are people I will never see again, but for three hours, we can enjoy cheering and watching the race with each other. At the end of the day, it was all about the experience.

There are two lessons to be learned here:

  1. Martin concluded her article by writing that with her #GiveNASCARaChance hashtag, she created an audience (that like her) gave NASCAR a chance and tuned in for the first time ever. In one day, Martin was made a believer. “The woman who never had a NASCAR bone in her body,” had gained an appreciation for the sport, no long ignorant to “left turns.”
  2. Brand loyalty all starts with accessibility. My point? There might be a thing or two to learn from NASCAR. Their fan loyalty speaks volumes.

I hope this shed some light for y’all! Thanks for reading to all my non-NASCAR readers.

This blog post is a part of a series of assignments for Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

Source: How NASCAR Uses Access to Build the Most Loyal Brand Fans Anywhere

The Quack is Back

2 Mar

A reality TV show that tells the story of a quirky family in Louisiana is approaching Jersey Shore TV ratings? Tell me more.

Image from Yahoo! TV

Image from Yahoo! TV

According to AdAge columnist Jeanine Poggi, on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013, 8.6 million viewers tuned in at 10/9C to watch the new hit series on A&E, Duck Dynasty. However, this season 3 premier went above and beyond an ordinary TV viewing. In the Duck Dynasty social response lab, analysts were working day and night to engage their audience.

What does this mean? And how did they do that? Great questions. Viewers can watch television through Netflix, Hulu, and DVR (just to name a few options). To counter-act the “I can always watch it later” attitudes of viewers, the social response lab implemented real-time marketing, specifically through the use of Twitter.

By using Twitter to hype up the audience for the season 3 premier, A&E social media managers and strategists engaged their current fans and created a buzz that enticed new viewers to tune in. Essentially, it was all about “in-the-moment” conversations.

The Twitter conversation began hours before the show’s start time. Fans were sending in pictures of themselves in camouflage headbands and fake beards (great material for A&E to use in the future). At 5 pm, A&E began re-tweeting awaiting fans causing even more of a ruckus, and by 6 pm, the Robertson family (the TV starts themselves!) even joined the conversation!

Before the premier, Duck Dynasty had surpassed American Idol mentions on Twitter.  During the show, the tweeting continued. Tweeting was turned into a game and the fans that responded first received a prize. For example, every time Si made a “Hey” reference, the first fan to tweet #Jack was the lucky winner. This occurred often. If you are not familiar with this “Hey,” check out this video! It is good for a laugh or two.

Things started to really heat up when actor James Franco and singer Phillip Phillips started tweeting about Duck Dynasty.

All of the articles we have been reading about customer engagement in Professor Mac’s class, well, it looks like A&E has been reading them too. The fans ate it up. The social media success further reinforces that it is about the experience. Every time their Twitter name scrolls across the bottom of the screen, customers (television viewers) feel a connection to the Duck Dynasty brand. This created a sense of loyalty, and next Wednesday, both long-time and new Duck Dynasty fans will tune in to see episode 2.

What I am trying to convey is that an experience with a product goes far beyond tangible consumer goods. Despite Duck Dynasty being an entertaining show, the viewer engagement really gives them the upper hand. I’m curious to see if the viewer statistics are upheld next week.

For now, Duck Dynasty has claimed the title of “A&E’s most watched telecast of all time.”

And A&E is “Happy, Happy, Happy”

This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University

Source: Inside the Social-Response Lab of A&E’s ‘Duck Dynasty’