Tuesday, March 28

United Airlines and the Banned Leggings

One simple little tweet from an observer set off a fire storm of social media. The problem is that the tweet didn't contain all of the facts...a problem du jour with our news cycles and social media commentary.

In this case, the observer watched two young girls turned away at the gate from a United Airlines flight because they were wearing leggings. So she tweeted about it. United responded pretty quickly.

But neither party at first acknowledged that the girls and their family were flying for free, as part of an employee benefit program. And that said program comes with a dress code to maintain the image of the United brand and its employees. But that part of the story didn't come out in the beginning.

So social media took over.

Now we can argue that the policy makes no sense. But there is a policy in place, as part of the brand guidelines for United. And the employee(s) were simply following policy. And we know for a fact that airline employees are scrutinized for their behavior and adherence to policy.

The problem is that United Airlines didn't get in front of the controversy fast enough to explain the policy, outdated or not.

So social media took over.

There's a lesson to be learned here, well written in this article on Entrepreneur, where I too am quoted. Click here.

United has since gone on to explain itself, although hasn't spoken about revising the dress code to my knowledge. And that's their choice as a brand. But Delta did have something to say:

In the era of social media where anyone's observations can be quickly picked up to become news and a crisis, it's vitally important for brands to not only monitor what's being said but to then proactively communicate with transparency and honesty to avoid damaging their own reputation.

A lesson learned for us all.

What's your experience? JIM

Monday, March 27

Capital One and The Brackets

It's March Madness, and it's mad this year! I was at an airport yesterday and everyone was crowded near the bars to watch the big screens. And there were big screams happening up and down the runway, I can tell you that!

It's made for an interesting season for The Bracket Challenge "presented" by Capital One. The Brackets are big every year, and this year was a big one for the Sponsor. March Madness isn't the only sports gaming sponsorship by Capital One...they've also done Bowl Mania for all of the college football bowls among others.

It's smart engagement beyond a simple advertising sponsorship...Capital One is getting in the game right along with the fans who are banking on their picks winning. All for the bragging rights, as they say.

But the brand is doing more than just The Brackets this year with a campaign series during the games that is picking up all the buzz. Capital One is THE brand of March Madness with "This Is March Madness" featuring some familiar friends.

With multiple executions:

In some pretty funny moments:

This last one even has a blooper reel:

Fabulous engagement and a fabulous brand voice during a very engaging time of year! Best in class at play here!

Well done, Cap One!

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, March 23

Carrefour Italy - Baby Night

If you're going to really connect with your consumers, then you have to show them that you get them and that you get how they live their lives. And show them that you are there to help them in their points of pain.

Which is exactly what Carrefour in Italy did when they started "Baby Night."

Recognizing (and sympathizing) that new parents are often up all night with newborn babies, Carrefour launched a website that's only open from 1:00am - 5:00am. It specifically offers discounts on key baby items, and the discounts get deeper as the night goes on. The later you are up with your baby then the more you save.

Take a look at this video:

So smart; I wish I had thought of it myself! Not to mention that it's probably nearly impossible for these new parents to venture out of the house to go shopping at all.

Truly showing that this brand understands parents' lives, and is committed to somehow making it all easier.


What's your experience?  JIM

Wednesday, March 22

Can't Be Everything to Everybody

You simply can't be everything to everybody, not in marketing anyway.

See what I mean in my article for Entrepreneur.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience?  JIM