The Most Exciting Content of Q4 According to Hawke’s Content Superstars

Marketing Strategy

We know great content when we see it. Our Hawke Media Content Team breaks down some of their favorite marketing highlights from this holiday and provides takeaways you can use for your brand.

Brand: Outdoor Voices x ACLU

Product: Giving Tuesday Outdoor Voices ACLU Tee

The Draw: Shopping for a cause on Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday after Black Friday/ Cyber Monday)

Marketing Takeaway: Outdoor voices, an athleisure brand, uses their name as a vehicle for change with the ACLU “Use Your Outdoor Voice” to speak up and show up for what you believe in. 100% of sales from this tee were donated to the ACLU.

Can you give an example?: 

Source: @outdoorvoices

  • Molly, Social Media Manager

Brand: Netflix 

Product: Cult-favorite streaming service takes Twitter 

The Draw: In December, Netflix posed a tweet “what’s something you can say during sex but also when you manage a brand twitter account?” Brands that you probably didn’t even know had Twitter accounts jumped on the bandwagon with hilarious, creative and wildly inappropriate responses. The internet was practically screaming at these responses, siding with their favorite brands and calling out brands with the most original statements. According to NBC News regarding this specific Twitter thread, “social media marketing is no longer simply about advertising a product, but about providing potential customers with content. [Netflix’s thread shows] this kind of engagement is “effective.”

Marketing Takeaway: Capitalize on meme opportunities when you see them – even those that could remotely apply to your brand. This is a great way to get new eyeballs on your brand and insert yourself into threads. From Charmin to Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, the responses flooded Twitter and every brand wanted a piece of the viral pie.  

Can you give an example?: 

Source: @Commentsbycelebs 

  • Lindsey Englander, Project Manager 

Brand: Parade

Product: Sustainable and Inclusive Underwear 

The Draw: The direct-to-consumer brand made waves when it launched in October thanks to a social media strategy that was as inclusive as it was authentic and a business model built by Gen Z-ers (the founders are twentysomething Columbia dropouts) who keenly spotted the downfall of traditionally sexy underwear giants like Victoria’s Secret. The buzz generated by the brand’s line of brightly colored, sustainable, and body-positive underwear was so big that there was a waitlist 70,000 people deep when the site finally went live. Plus, according to an interview with the founders published by the Observer, it scored them $3 million in seed-round funding by the same VC firm that backed luggage giant Away. 

Marketing Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to make your digital footprint colorful and bold from day one. Parade’s Instagram account launched in August, and immediately got to work bringing the inclusive and playful voice of the brand to life, deprioritizing images of their products for a full three weeks. This sparked an organically engaged audience, and created a wealth of fun content for users driven by influencer partnerships, clever alignment with other Gen-Z brands (like Susan Alexandra, another Insta-famous line) through PR, and word-of-mouth giveaways to experience. 

Can you give an example?: 

Source: @parade

  • Phoebe Neuman, Content Editor

Brand: Visa

Product: Visa Credit/Debit Card

The Draw: Once again, Visa capitalizes on both seasonality and social consciousness with their #WhereYouShopMatters holiday campaign. Playing towards the continued emphasis on shopping locally and supporting independent businesses, Visa encourages its users to “show (their) high street some love” with a holiday focused rendition of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”. 

But Visa didn’t stop there! They committed even further to the goodwill by encouraging other businesses to create their own versions of the spot, as well as sponsoring over 150 independent retailers across the UK and geo-targeting ads for them across social media. 

Marketing Takeaway: Capitalizing on holiday sentimentality with a positive message is a no-brainer, but throw in a strong call-to-action, a catchy song, and a message currently resonating with your consumer base and you can really set yourself up for success. Progressive causes + Positive messaging + Direct positive action is a great combo for generating good faith and publicity for brands, especially around the holidays and early New Year. 

Can you give an example?:

  • Robert McNeely, Sr. Copywriter

Brand: Oreos

Product: Cookies

The Draw: Oreo launched its first holiday campaign since 2016 with a 60-second online ad (and a 30-second cut down version airing on TV) that shows an elf, who confirms it’s his first day on the job, shopping for the one thing on Santa’s shopping list: “Oreos for Santa.” He proceeds to the convenience store counter with some sort of orange soft drink, and the clerk tosses the drink and replaces it with a glass of milk. The clerk further continues to show the elf the art of eating Oreos by either twisting them apart or dunking them into the glass of milk. The jolly pair go off on an adventure through the empty shop until Santa and a reindeer get a bit antsy.

In addition to this commercial, Oreos also had a big digital and social push where they shared recipes on their site and sold holiday-themed products such as an ugly sweater. They also brought back some of their discontinued products: peppermint bark and fudge-covered Oreos. 

Marketing Takeaway: Oreos continues its message of “Stay[ing] Playful” with their previous commercial with Wiz Khalifa which aired during the Grammy’s earlier this year. They highlight on the festive spirit of the holidays while appealing to audiences of all ages (those who felt the nostalgia of dipping Oreos into a glass of milk and the younger audience who might not have known about the dream combo). 

However, the main takeaway is that it’s never too late to pivot your marketing strategy. Just make sure you apply the previous learnings to your future campaigns to learn how to make it more successful.

Can you give an example?:

  • David Chon, Director, Content Marketing

Brand: Lego

Product: Overall Lego product 

The Draw: Who doesn’t remembers Tesla’s epic Cybertruck reveal? From it’s awkward geometric shape to the “shatter-proof” windows that shattered not once, but twice on stage. Lego took this opportunity to poke fun at Elon’s blocky Cybertruck product with a tongue-in-cheek tweet of single grey brick on top of two sets of wheels along with the caption “The evolution of the truck is here. Guaranteed shatterproof”.

Brands like Denny’s and Pepsi also jumped on the bandwagon to throw shade at the supposed durability of the Cybertruck as well once Lego posted their tweet.   

Marketing Takeaway: When viewing from the perspective of the outside looking in, brands like Lego and Pepsi can take a seemingly failed PR announcement and make it their own, even when the brand they are poking fun of has nothing to do with their own product/company. It also goes to show that when done correctly, throwing shade doesn’t have to be negative, it can actually work well for both parties.

Additionally, from the perspective of Tesla, this marketing/PR disaster probably worked out better than Elon originally intended. What I mean by this is that the hype and anticipation surrounding the Cybertruck had already reached significant levels long before the actual reveal. Having the “shatter-proof” glass shatter twice, in front of the world watching, added to the hype by generating more headlines, memes, and spin-off content than if the glass never broke in the first place. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for Elon to generate even higher consumer demand by showing that their Cybertruck is not perfect and the team will improve further before the final product is delivered.

Can you give an example?: 

Source(s): Lego Tweet, Denny’s Tweet, Pepsi Tweet

  • Chris Liu, Social Media Manager 

Brand: REI

Campaign: #OptOutside

The Draw: While almost all brands are competing to make revenues during Black Friday, REI decides to close all its brick-and-mortar stores on that specific day. REI empowers the employees to do outdoor activities & give back to nature. REI has been doing an excellent job in building a seamless integrated brand positioning that is reflected throughout all company’s decisions, including in hiring employees and engaging communities that share passions in outdoor adventures and nature.

Marketing Takeaway: To build strong brand equity, you need to stand out from the crowd, dare to be different, and stay true to your values. Brands should have a long term strategy rather than focus only on a seasonal revenue. Businesses can also evaluate if wrestling with other brands to get the foot traffic and offline sales on a single Black Friday worth it. Let e-commerce websites handle sales and revenue-driven campaigns. The role of human resources in the company should be shifted to customer/community engagement. Employees can help put a face on the brand and create a more personal humanized experience.

Can you give an example?:

Source: Website, Facebook

  • Citta Paramita, SEO Strategist

Brand: H&M 

Campaign: Come Together – a H&M Holiday Short Film directed by Wes Anderson

The Draw: For H&M’s holiday campaign the company decided to leverage its popular YouTube page. The holiday video, directed by Wes Anderson, took users through the experience of a train conductor and passengers as they braved through severe weather-related travel delays. With anxious families and disappointed looking children gazing out at the storm, the conductor calls all passengers to the cafeteria car, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland. 

Marketing Takeaway: What works about this particular marketing campaign is its subtlety. The passengers are all wearing H&M apparel which debuts H&M’s winter line but without the hard sell of “buy our new items!” Instead, the company decided to focus on a common story line that can resonate with a lot of families during the holiday season – bad weather and delayed travel. The main takeaway – holiday marketing doesn’t have to be all about your product but instead can be more successful if you focus on telling a story that resonates with your target demographic. 

Can you give an example?:

  • Emma Paye, Content Manager