2015 is primed and ready to be a great year for Minnesota Sports…. Or at least two teams. In addition to signing a new manager/coaching staff the Twins re-acquired Torii Hunter. Last week the Timberwolves traded so they could bring back Kevin Garnett. Garnett comes back to the Wolves to lend his experience to young players on a team trying to learn how to win. Hunter comes back to the Twins with exactly the same mission. Garnett is 38. Hunter is 39. Both are multi-time All-Stars. Both were among the best defensive players in their respective leagues. Garnett is a former league MVP, while Hunter received MVP votes in four separate seasons.
Most importantly, both were fan favorites when they were in Minnesota and their teams are hoping they can bring some much needed excitement and success back to the Twin Cities sports scene. I’m not a Timberwolves fan but as a Twins fan I can tell you that they desperately need some fan support right now and to create some excitement. Having not made the playoffs since 2010 and finishing with a below .500 average since then as well they [hopefully] finally hit rock bottom and made some major changes this off season in hiring a new manager and bringing in some new impact players. This is a perfect opportunity for the Twins and Timberwolves to capitalize on the fan excitement on getting these two players back and run a joint advertising campaign. I think something even as simple as putting up a few billboards up around the cities with the two guys shaking hands or something could do wonders for fan sentiment on both teams. I addition to that a humorous commercial would be best to showcase the personalities of these guys and remind the fans of what they’re like. Torii has made some great commercials for the Twins in the past and I have no doubt he’d be up for doing it again.
All in all while I’m not a huge fan on the new Twins manager I’m hopefully that Torii can get the clubhouse going and light a fire under the Twins this year as KG will be trying to do with the Wolves.
I was watching the Golden Globes on Sunday night when this ad came on. I will admit that I was drawn to it and couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. However, I do think I was so mesmerized by the ad because of the children singing. As soon as the ad was done my roommate [A health sciences major] said “There’s no way those are all real. McDonald’s would not say “Pray” on one of their signs”. She said exactly what I was thinking: there’s no way McDonald’s would have their employees crawl on a ladder up to their sign in the middle of a flood and write a pray for us type of message – it is both politically incorrect and beside the point when a town is dealing with a tragedy. While that was my main problem with the ad, internet outrage broke out over some of the other imagery that the signs painted.
The commercial provoked strong reactions, with some saying they were moved by it and others saying it was tacky for a company to use tragic events to polish its image. Most of the national criticism of this ad was because the signs featured references to 9/11, the Boston Bombing and the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster which people find insensitive.
Recently McDonald’s has been trying to refresh their brand after falling sales the past two years. They have been focusing on the “lovin it” part of their “I’m loving it” slogan. A previous ad in this series was a cartoon ad in which long standing enemies like Batman and the Joker and Bears/Packer fans become friends and love each other. This new Signs ad was meant to illustrate the role that “beloved” McDonald’s restaurants play in communities. I think that McDonald’s trying to humanize their huge corporation is a good thing but they should not be doing it by capitalizing on tragedies that are still very fresh wounds for many Americans. Regardless of what your personal opinion of the ad is, McDonald’s can chalk it up to a win as they are getting tons of free publicity from it because everyone is arguing about it.
I am a millennial. We have also been referred to as Generation Y, the We generation, and Echo Boomers. Millennials are the group of Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000s. We have surpassed the baby boomers to become the largest generation in the U.S., representing one-third of the total U.S. population in 2013. We have distinctly different behaviors, values and attitudes from previous generations. These behaviors, values and attitudes are something that marketers need to pay attention to.
First, millennials are the most educated generation to date. About 61 percent of adult Millennials have attended college, whereas only 46 percent of the Baby Boomers did so. Thus, we are savvier than our baby boomer parents and won’t fall prey to marketing media blitzes. We actively tune out and ignore most traditional advertising. If brands want us to adopt their products/services they need to create relationships with us – relationships that are based upon more than just buying and selling. Millennials have the tendency to think we have the power to make brands succeed or fail, and why wouldn’t we? – just look at the Arab Spring movement. We want to engage with brands – 59% of millennials have “liked” a brand on Facebook and 40% subscribe to some sort of brand email. In order to connect with millennials brands need to create compelling and engaging content.
Second, going along with creating compelling content, brands who want to connect with millennials need to be all over social media. Millennials are a group that highly weights our purchasing decisions on the thoughts and shares of our peers. Twenty-five percent of millennials share online shopping content to our social networks; a rate of nearly four times that of the average user. We also share more content in general — twice as much as the average user. We spend the majority of our time on the internet on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Pinterest. Brands need to be on all of these sites and they need to differentiate the content they put out as well. If I follow a brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin I do not want to see the same exact post on all three sites. Brands can (and should) use social media to engage with their consumers. They can create great PR for themselves, and avoid major PR disasters simply by tweeting at consumers.
Lastly, millennials are incredibly mobile. According to Nielsen data in the second-quarter 2014, 85% of Millennials aged 18-24 own devices and 86% aged 25-34 own them, an increase from 77% and 80%, respectively, in second-quarter 2013. We have grown up as the internet has and have always had technology at our fingertips. Brands need to be aware of this and connect with us as much on mobile as with all the other platforms. This means, responsive website design, geo-targeting, and swapping out banner ads for mobile ads.
Check out this quiz to see how “millennial” you are
No time to blog this week due to finals but check out Adweek’s Top 10 ads of 2014. My personal favorite ad was the Budweiser PSA that I wrote about in September but these are pretty great too. Number 10 is super cute and Numero Uno is hilarious. Enjoy!