I first blogged about P&G's "Like A Girl" campaign for Always back in July, when I found myself wondering if it will be viewed as an imitation of Unilever's long-running "Real Beauty" effort, or in its own right.
The campaign has had its share of critics - including some who point out the video doesn't even mention menstruation.
As I mentioned at the time, I'm personally all for anything that helps boost self-esteem. And while some of the conventions here have been used by Unilever's Dove brand for years, the entry point in this initiative is in many (many) ways even more important than beauty (inner, outer or otherwise). It's about what it means to be a capable, powerful human being.
As readers of my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND know, I'm a huge fan of Unilever's decade-long "Real Beauty" campaign. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for more efforts that collectively champion a change in the entire conversation about how products are marketed to women.
The advertising industry, for one, seems to agree. This month, the campaign - from Leo Burnett Worldwide - won the coveted Grand CLIO Award (which as Slate points out, wasn't without some controversy: Accepting the award, as several female colleagues stood silently in the background, was a man.)
What's your view? A sign of many more such campaigns, from many more brands, to come?
Is Weird Al's social success streak really everything it's made out to be?
Much has been made about how Yankovic has been releasing a new song and video every day for the last several days to build buzz for his latest album, "Mandatory Fun."
Here's the thing: I am not sure I would have heard about it at all, if not for the media coverage.
It's true that "viral" is an outcome, not a strategy. And here, the whole point was indeed to create a multiplier effect by leveraging unpaid media coverage (and its attendant online commentary) to build buzz.
This may just be an example of how this all works. And chances are, there's a lot more going on than just social virility.
That said - I love the video above. Reminds me of what a modern-day "School House Rock" might be like in the digital age.
And hey - who couldn't use a few reminders on avoiding "Word Crimes" in our real-time, online stream-of-consciousness?
I'm intrigued by P&G's new "Like A Girl" campaign for Always - and find myself wondering if it will be viewed an imitation of Unilever's long-running "Real Beauty" effort, or in its own right.
Myself, I'm all for anything that helps boost self-esteem. And while some of the conventions here have been used by Unilever's Dove brand for years, the entry point here is in many (many) ways even more important than beauty (inner and outer). It's about what it means to be a capable, powerful human being.
As readers of my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND know, I'm a huge fan of Unilever's decade-long campaign. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for more efforts that collectively champion a change in the entire conversation about how products are marketed to women.
Count it as a victory for Dove - and kudos to Always for joining a growing chorus. Hopefully a sign of many more such initiatives, from many brands, to come.
Will "Dove: Patches" result in the first real blemish for the "Campaign for Real Beauty"?
Longtime readers know I'm a big fan of the decade-long campaign, having written extensively about the program's efforts to boost women's self-esteem and perceptions of beauty in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.
And I frequently cover updates to the campaign here at GEN WOW – most recently with the outstanding "Beauty Sketches" effort.
But while I know "Real Beauty" has always had detractors, "Patches" is the first time I've actually seen press coverage of a blowback.
The video generated a lot of attention last week for essentially pranking women into believing they were participants in a new research study for a new "beauty patch" that was "developed to enhance the way women perceive their own beauty."
Yes, it really does sound that ridiculous.
But the women featured in the video bought in, and we get to see how their perceptions change while wearing the patch – only to find out that it's a placebo.
As is often the case, the video (from Ogilvy) hits you squarely between the eyes with a poignant reveal - and immediately generated 15 million views across 65 countries.
So why the fallout over a fake patch?
According to Advertising Age, many commentators in both mainstream and social media complained that this particular installment seemed to be more about promoting Dove than women's self-esteem. New York Magazine called it "garbage." And Gawker found more colorful language for it.
I personally didn't find the video too self-serving. In fact, if anything, this is once again the unexpected example of a beauty brand pointing out how preposterous it is to depend on beauty products to make you beautiful.
Real beauty, as the campaign drives home time and again, comes from inside - not a bottle (or a patch). Which is, you have to admit, as counter-intuitive a message as any to come from a brand trying to sell you beauty products.
If I have a problem with the video, it's only in how far-fetched the faux patch scenario is on its face - which for me does indeed call to mind New York Magazine's particular choice of descriptors.
But has Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" really jumped the shark?
Hardly. As Ad Age points out, for all the buzz about negative perceptions, 91% to 92% of social media sentiment is positive.
Haters gonna hate, as they say. But as we've seen in many high-profile social media storms over supposed brand missteps, the snarkier segment of the social media echo chamber may be especially vocal - but that doesn't mean it's persuasive.
So what's your view of "Dove: Patches"?
An unbecoming setup that ends with a beautiful message?
Somebody at Hootsuite really loves "Game of Thrones" (and really, who doesn't?).
Just in time for last night's Season 4 premier, Hootsuite has put out this video of the show's opening sequence re-imagined as the battle between House Facebook, House Twitter and so on, by way of Mashable. I just wish it had the actual show theme music.
You just know somebody's going to do this to the 2016 presidential campaign - especially if Hilary and Jeb both run.
On the heels of word that the video - in which 20 complete strangers are asked to kiss on camera - had gone supernova and hit 11 million views in a matter of hours (it stands at almost 50 million views at last check), the next phase of viral hype cycle began.
And then there's "First Sniff" (top), which takes it to a whole new level.
But some extensions have been more heartfelt: Gen Wow Twitter follower Frederick de Wachter in Belgium sent me this video from a television program called Volt, where his team went out and asked TRUE strangers to kiss on camera. It's hard not to be pulled right in.
But what's your view?
Is "First Kiss" the most overhyped (and most ripe for parody) online video sensation ever? Or is it truly as sweet as it aims to be? (And would you participate if asked to kiss a stranger?)
And which is better? The spoofs and spinoffs, or the real thing?
Pucker up and give us your input - or go ahead and give us the kiss off.
Two more major brands are getting in on the whole prankvertising thing - punking customers for fun and profit.
First, the Head & Shoulders promotion pulls a hidden camera fast one on young men out on a first date with a snow princess, judging from the flakes falling from her head.
From all appearances, the guys acquit themselves well.
Meanwhile, Ronald McDonald's has decided to play mind games on passersby who are asked to snap a photo of a couple. A poster of a Big Mac is carried past them to cause a distraction while the female half of our couple switches places with another person. Will the unsuspecting dupe even notice?
It's only February, so just think of what brave brands will be pulling on people on or around April 1.
Forget parody ad campaigns. Check out this TMZ YouTube video about Dumb Starbucks - which appears to be a parody coffee shop that has sparked a social media sensation. How do you think it will end? And can a Dumb McDonald's be far behind?