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It’s hard to believe it’s the end of the month (already!), and in this week’s post we bring you a roundup of the marketing stories that had us talking most in January:
— Weeks before all eyes were on the capitol for the Presidential Inauguration (and Michelle’s bangs! and Beyonce’s controversial performance!), consumers watched lawmakers in Washington temporarily suspend the federal debt limit, and stock prices rose, for the most part. But to the surprise of some, Apple, aka “the world’s most valuable company”, saw its stocks continue to falter; Apple stock is down 27 percent since September 2012. Apple competitor Google, however, is enjoying an upswing, confirming consumer interest in technology is anything but predictable. Analysts have linked the upturn for Google, not to mention IBM, to a shift to data analysis and cloud computing. But some critics are saying its high-time Apple offered cheaper alternatives to its high-end goods, especially now that Google is building an experimental wireless network.
— For marketers, data can mean many things and be pulled from myriad forums. Social media strong horse Facebook revealed a new platform two weeks ago that had users as scandalized as ever about online privacy. Facebook’s new Graph Search, which is still in beta, allows for hyper-specific searches; frighteningly, one blogger wrote about successfully searching for “Islamic men interested in men who live in Tehran, Iran, where homosexual relations are prohibited by law and Places where they’ve worked.” In other social media news, new laws are said to protect what employees say online – even if it’s about their employer. Read more here.
— It’s been two weeks since Lance Armstrong admitted to Oprah that he did, in fact, use performance-enhancing drugs throughout his illustrious career. Last week, consumers of his 2000 memoir, in which he denies such drug use, filed a class-action lawsuit in California for his fraudulent claims. The athlete’s been a topic of water-cooler conversation since last October, when reports that he led doping programs brought a swift end to his cycling career, stripped him of seven Tour de France titles, and saw brands Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nike and Trek Bicycles sever sponsorship ties. The folks over at ESPN hit the marketing nail on the head, though, with the assessment that consumers are “conditioned to believe in fairy tales.” In this lay the beginning of a consumer’s relationship to a brand and its sponsors. In our post-Armstrong/T’eo/Woods marketplace, how do brands encourage consumers to believe – and trust – again?
— Perhaps by avoiding athletes altogether and tapping someone like Amy Poelher? After her impressive performance alongside Tina Fey at the Golden Globe Awards, the comedian was tapped to star in Best Buy’s Super Bowl ad, which will be viewed by an estimated 179.1 million viewers this Sunday, up from 172.5 million last year. According to the National Retail Federation, the average Super Bowl fan spends $68.54 on game day preparations. Super Bowl spending is expected to reach nearly $12.3 billion this year.
— Coca Cola, not surprisingly, is taking a new approach to its always-impressive Super Bowl advertizing. Last week, the brand launched via its Facebook page a choose-your-own adventure style campaign, which will run through the Super Bowl then conclude with a post-game spot that takes user participation into account. Risky? Sure. But, more importantly, never dull. Of course, only time will tell how choosy consumers will respond. One thing we do know: they will respond. Consumer involvement wins again.
Did we miss one of your top stories? Let us know in the comment section below, or head over to the Vertical Marketing Network Facebook page to join the conversation.