‘Performative marketing that no one asked for’ – Creative Hits and Misses of the Week

This week’s seen the launch of some top-class campaigns, and some not-so-class too. Altogether, one thing’s abundantly clear: content that’s clever, entertains and is relatable still gets people talking.

HITS

The Super Bowl and Pepsi, The Call

What could possibly make non-American football fans in the UK want to watch the Super Bowl? The answer: the trailer for the halftime show.

In an industry first, the team at Pepsi teamed up with filmmaker F Gary Gray to create the halftime show teaser, featuring Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J Blige and Kendrick Lamar. And if this star-studded line-up isn’t enough to pique your interest, the video itself certainly will be.

In a recent interview, Gray said: “Each time I work with Dre it seems to mark an important moment in entertainment history… As a superfan, I consider it an honor and privilege to authentically build and create this moment with five of the most legendary artists in music history.”

Titled ‘The Call’, the trailer has been shot blockbuster-movie-style and is bursting with hits from the good old hip-hop and R&B days. Dr Dre plays the chess master, calling each of the to unite at Los Angeles artists’ SoFi Stadium. Each artist is called upon in a unique way, fitting perfectly with their style and bringing tons of nostalgia. Finally, they unite to take on the Super Bowl halftime show.

The trailer is cinematic, atmospheric, and it packs a punch. Not surprisingly, social has been buzzing since its release, filling viewers with excitement for what could be the most legendary moment in pop culture history. I’m gutted the show will only be 12 minutes long, but I know they’re going to be an epic 12 minutes.

The IOC’s Winter Olympics film

It’s felt freezing recently, so the heartwarming Winter Olympics teaser certainly caught my attention. To ramp up the excitement, the International Olympic Committee has released a film as part of its ‘Stronger Together’ campaign, which highlights the importance of the relationship between athletes and supporters.

The film is beautifully shot and shows people watching winter sports in real-life settings – from work to school to public transport. Whether the athletes succeed or fail, the film shows the supporters right there with them. How? Through expert mirrored choreography.

Directed by Salomon Ligthelm – a self-taught filmmaker who has won awards worldwide for his work – alongside Uncommon Creative Studio, the video, titled ‘Every Rise, Every Fall, Every Victory – We’re in it Together’, shows the power of the Olympics and its ability to unite people.

The IOC said: “This display of togetherness and the belief of others [em]powers people to believe in themselves; to push through that wall, take that leap – to make the unbelievable happen.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

KP Snacks, Here for the Drama

I’ve been on the edge of my seat, waiting for a brand to react to ‘partygate’, and Butterkist did not disappoint. KP Snacks staged a bold campaign by handing out packs of sweet and salty popcorn to passers-by outside the Downing Street gates. This was perfectly accompanied by a digital ad van displaying the ‘Here for the Drama’ headline. The stunt perfectly inserts itself into the conversation about ongoing controversy at No. 10 and aligns itself to the popular meme of watching drama unfold while eating popcorn. And it didn’t stop there; the campaign was amplified on social with tongue-in-cheek posts. My favourite: “It’s all popping off #GoGrabTheButterkist”.

Katie Hill, assistant brand manager at Butterkist, said: “At Butterkist, we are here to elevate those unmissable moments, which is why we thought it was only right that we support the nation as they watch the drama unfold here in Westminster today, with the perfect popping snack.”

Even better, this campaign has created a strong platform to ‘newsjack’, as updates on the enquiry filter out from Downing Street. I’m definitely here for the drama, so you know I’ll be popping open a bag of Butterkist when the Sue Gray report materialises.

MISS

M&M’s, Ms Green’s change in appearance

Many brands are rethinking their strategy in an attempt to reach a Gen Z audience, but some are doing better than others – and the latest M&M’s rebrand hasn’t quite hit the mark.

In an interesting move, it has taken away Ms Green’s go-go boots and replaced them with trainers, lowered Ms Brown’s heels and slightly smartened the male characters, such as tying Orange’s previously untied shoelaces.

Mars Wrigley announced the changes in a move to make their beloved characters more “current” and “representative of our consumer”, but consumers aren’t happy. Taking to Twitter to voice their outrage, people are slamming M&M’s decision to make Ms Green “less sexy”, and a petition has even been launched to bring back her boots.

While Daily Mail readers think the change is “woke”, Gen Z consumers – the audience the changes were made for – just don’t want it. Sadly, this is an example of performative marketing that no one asked for and totally misses the mark. Now, where are my heels?

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