But the brilliance of this campaign is beyond the product itself. Kim has done dozens of product launches in her career, but this marketing move is special. For Kim, it brings everything full circle…
Paris and Kim — The Original Influencers
I’m not sure how familiar you are with the history of Paris and Kim’s iconic friendship, but let’s rewind.
Paris Hilton was the it-girl of the early 2000s. As a young and beautiful hotel heiress, she lived a lavish lifestyle of glitz, glamour, and lots of partying. The paparazzi was fascinated with her, and documented her every move.
Before Kim Kardashian became a household name, she was Paris’ stylist-turned-sidekick. Inevitably, she was photographed out and about with Paris. The public then started to wonder, who is this beautiful brunette hanging out with Paris Hilton?
Side note… this is one of my favorite videos ever.
Fast forward to 2020. Kim Kardashian is one of the most famous people in the world with countless business ventures, brand partnerships, and social media followers. She’s marketed dozens upon dozens of fully integrated product launches in her career.
Most product launches involve months of developing social media posts, writing email campaigns, designing web pages, directing product photoshoots, creating polished videos, pitching to media outlets, and placing advertisements.
But with the release of SKIMs velour tracksuits, Kim channeled inspiration from her early road to stardom and how she marketed herself.
It’s paparazzi photos(along with a little sex tape) that put Kim Kardashian on the map in the 2000s. Without having to spend a dime, she was in every tabloid. So why not tap into this tactic to promote SKIMs?
Kim could have easily announced the velour tracksuits by posing in front of a white backdrop, or outfitting models in every style and color. Instead, she produced photos and video of her and Paris on-the-go, reminiscent of their escapades nearly two decades ago.
They’re seen walking through parking garages, stopping for snacks at a gas station, and driving around in a Range Rover with their bedazzled cell phones — all while comfortably sporting the tracksuits.
As routine as these activities may seem, this is when these two would typically encounter paparazzi. The art direction for the SKIMs campaign recreates that magic.
Even back in the 2000s, every brand wanted a piece of Paris or Kim K. They were influencers before Instagram existed. Did you even grow up in the 2000s if you didn’t beg your parents for a Louis Vuitton bag?
Today, Kim and Paris’ influence is stronger than ever — they just have new tools to exercise it.
That’s Hot — What SKIMs Got Right
Love her or hate her, Kim Kardashian is cashing in on SKIMs. Here are the main takeaways explaining why this campaign made such a big splash.
Why develop a new idea when you can create a remix of what’s worked before? Nostalgia is a surefire way to create an emotional bond with your audience. Develop a campaign that brings them back in time and you’ll immediately make them feel something, which is always the goal.
It’s easy to follow a playbook or do things the way you’ve always done them. Kim deviated from what she typically does for a product launch and made this campaign true to her roots. Look for ways to make your marketing campaigns personal or more authentic to the brand.
When you market a product, you want your audience to envision what life would be like if they had it. SKIMs strategically promoted their velour tracksuits in a relatable setting. Their audience is looking for something cozy, comfortable, and stylish to wear while out running errands, so that’s what they portrayed. Ditch the plain backdrops and show your product out in the world.
Two audiences are better than one. Paris and Kim were a power duo of the 2000s, but seeing them together again in 2020 energized both of their fan bases(and the media!). If it makes sense for your product, find collaborators and influencers to help build trust and spread the word.
We all know that cameras follow Kim and Paris everywhere. They built a connection with their audience by giving them a glimpse behind-the-scenes of this brilliant campaign shoot, while also sharing fun facts from their partying days.
Kim revealed that that iconic Louis Vuitton bags they were photographed with during a 2006 trip to Australia were actually empty. Kim was afraid Paris would ruin the bags, so they were just for show.
The takeaway? Let your audience behind-the-scenes so they can get to know you better.
With 2020 being as crazy as it is, I wouldn’t mind going back to the 2000s. SKIMs velour tracksuits go on sale Wednesday, October 21.
If you grew up in the late’90s and early 2000s, long before Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube, Carson Daly was your gateway to new music.
On September 14, 1998, a little show called Total Request Live (TRL) premiered on MTV. It was a driving force that helped launch the career of a few blonde bombshell likes Britney and Christina, boy bands like BSB and *NSYNC, and rappers like Eminem and Ludacris.
For me, TRL was my daily after-school ritual. I looked forward to exclusive interviews and music video premieres. But the best part was seeing which videos would clinch the number one spot. And in an age when artists were pitted against each other more than ever, the competition got pretty heated.
But TRL really wasn’t about the music. It was about the fans.
The Magic of TRL
Even before social media made two-way communication something you could do in an instant, TRL found a way to put the power in their fans’ hands. The programming was essentially crowdsourced.
The countdown wasn’t carefully curated by music journalists or producers. They left it up to the fans to show up and vote. We were empowered to control the outcome.
MTV invited us into the studio. They let us take over the streets of Times Square. They answered our phone calls and counted our votes. TRL was our chance to feel seen, included, and heard.
This goes beyond simply acknowledging their audience. They made them part of the process, which is a surefire way to strengthen their bond.
How to Emulate the Success of TRL
Aside from the fact that the Backstreet Boys will always be better than *NSYNC, what can we learn from TRL?
If we want to engage with our audience more, we need to apply one of the magic words from TRL’s acronym: REQUEST.
Simply pushing a message won’t activate your fans or customers. Truth be told, sometimes they need a little nudge, and all you have to do is ASK!
Make your communication two-way by presenting them with a request.
You can request your audience to:
Answer a question
Respond to a poll
Ask a question
Complete a survey
Share their opinion
Choose this or that
Enter a contest
Vote for their favorite
Leave a review
Tag a person or brand
Express an idea
This approach is a win-win. Your content gets a boost, and your customer feels included.
Making Social Media‘Social’
If you work in marketing, you’ve probably said this countless times: social media is meant to be‘social.’
Along these lines, I tweeted the following phrase this week which seemed to resonate with my followers:
You get the most out of social media when you use it to start conversation, not post information.
So no, you shouldn’t post your flyer on Instagram.
We’re in this to start genuine conversations with our followers. But that’s not the end of the point I want to make. There’s a difference between interesting conversation and boring conversation.
While you’re following TRL’s framework and requesting that your audience to engage, take a moment to think about what you’re asking. Are you asking a question that is rhetorical, overdone, or too broad?
Social media is cluttered with businesses asking lame questions with posts like
“Happy Friday! Who’s ready for the weekend?”
OF COURSE WE’RE READY FOR THE WEEKEND.
We’re not sitting at our computers anxious to tell businesses how we feel about the weekend. But if you asked us something interesting, we’d be more likely to respond.
For instance, if you’re a local bar with a happy hour special, instead of a post that says“Happy Friday, who’s ready for happy hour?”, you could ask your audience to comment with their go-to happy hour drink.
This starts a REAL conversation, and more importantly, it lets people talk about themselves. Trust me, that’s what your followers want.
Give Your Followers the Answers
The other thing to keep in mind when asking questions on social media is not to make it too difficult. If you’ve gotten your audience to stop their scroll, don’t make them complete a math problem, for lack of a better analogy.
It’s best to ask questions with a finite number of answers, or where something specific can easily come to mind.
That’s why content where your audience chooses this or that, answers multiple choice, or votes is a simple mechanic.
And if you ask an open-ended question, you don’t want it to be so broad your audience can’t quickly think of an answer, and is forced to move on.
We employ system 1 for fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, or unconscious thoughts or decision.
System 2, however, is slow, effortful, calculating, and conscious thinking.
As marketers, we want to make it easy on our audience and present them with opportunities to use system 1 thinking. Calling for system 2 is usually asking too much.
You know what they say… keep it simple, stupid!
Asking for User-Generated-Content
In addition to not making your audience think too hard, you don’t want to make them work too hard either!
Thankfully, social media has made it easier than ever for fans to share their thoughts, photos, or videos. But I’ll end this post with a throwback clip of Britney Spears and Melissa Joan-Hart guest hosting TRL in which they encouraged the audience to FAX THEM UGC to enter a contest.
Fast forward to the 3 minute mark:
If you want your brand to thrive, do whatever you can to reduce friction and make it easier for your audience to engage with you. They’re busy enough, so when you have their attention, make it count.
It’s wild to think that TikTok has become a vehicle for people to discover music. Growing up, I turned to traditional media to fuel my passion for music — radio, print, and television.
One TV show I always gravitated toward was VH1’s Pop-Up Video. Although it only aired from 1996 to 2002, there are so many takeaways from this show that we can apply to content creation today.
If you don’t remember Pop-Up Video, it was a mini music video marathon where fun facts would pop up onto the screen. As you watched, you’d learn various things about the musician, the video production, or other relevant factoids.
Here’s an example from the beloved Spice Girls video for“Wannabe”.
My favorite pop-up reveals some Spice Girls history: each member was hand selected out of 400 women who responded to an ad for a girl group.
A Content Creation Must: Education
The mark of any interesting piece of content is that it serves a purpose. Whether it be to entertain, inspire, connect, or educate, you want to publish content that feeds your audience.
Although the factoids shared on Pop-Up Video are far from academic, they still educate the viewer. These fun facts provide context and insights that make the music video more enjoyable.
From your email campaigns, to social content and YouTube videos, incorporating facts is a surefire way to enhance your content. Here’s why:
Facts illustrate your brand’s WHY.
As Simon Sinek always says, start with why. Sharing facts with your audience can illustrate how your company got started.
For instance, after learning that 14 billion pounds of plastic end up in our oceans each year, two friends took action. Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze created, 4ocean, a company committed to removing plastic from our oceans.
Publish the facts about your industry that inspired you to make a change.
Facts help establish credibility.
What better way to demonstrate you know your stuff than to spill all the facts? When people are in the research phase of the customer journey, they are weighing their options and comparing you to competitors.
One way to instantly build your credibility with facts is to do a myth busting content series. This will educate your audience while you show your expertise.
For example, imagine you are an interior designer. You could debunk a design myth, such as“everything in your house should match.” Then, explain how to pair various colors, patterns, and textures. Better yet, illustrate it with photos and videos.
Facts show your brand’s personality.
Your audience doesn’t choose to work with you solely based on reputation or impressive accolades. Personality is what sets you apart from the competition, especially if you have similar credentials.
Perhaps you’re trying to choose a financial advisor to help you set up a college fund for your small children. A candidate whose“About” page touches on personal details, like the fact that he or she is also a parent, may influence your decision. The other advisors you’re considering may be just as qualified, but you relate to this one more.
Facts boost engagement.
We all know that the purpose of social media is to be social! Positioning your factual content in a trivia-style format is a simple way to open things up for conversation.
You can ask your audience to make a guess about a statistic, fill in the blank, answer true or false, or build intrigue with a“did you know” series.
Facts bring you closer to your audience.
A small fact about you or your company may be what inspires a potential customer to work with you. We like to buy from companies we are proud to support.
Share facts about how your brand gives back to the community. If you are a corporation who has also raised thousands of dollars for charity, let your audience know. These details can be the push you audience needs to hear before conversion.
Facts inspire your audience to share.
In his book Contagious, Jonah Berger says that audiences like to feel smart. When we’re in the know about something, we’re more compelled to share this information with our social circles, both on and off social media.
Going back to Pop-Up Video as an example, facts make for interesting conversation. The next time I’m out and hear a Spice Girls song on the radio, I may feel compelled to mention their backstory, which I learned from Pop-Up Video.
It’s Easy to Face the Facts
Content creators can breathe a sigh of relief because interesting facts are all around us! Rather than banging our heads against the wall to come up with a creative content ideas all the time, all you have to do is a little research.
Start by asking questions and you’ll learn of countless interesting facts to share with your audience.
“You can schaeden your freude all over the celebrity she reputedly sings about, but on the best day of your life you will never inspire a song as great as‘All Too Well.’ Or write one.”
And this is not an unpopular opinion. Every Swiftie knows that“All Too Well” is an absolute masterpiece. It’s on her fourth album, RED, and it happens to be one of her longest songs at 5 minutes and twenty-seven seconds.
From the first line, you cling to her every tragic word. Taylor said she loves screaming the lyrics together with her fans at her shows.
As someone who has always been in awe of Taylor’s writing, I wanted to analyze what makes“All Too Well” her best work. She has over 150 songs in her catalogue, so what’s different about this one?
Storytelling Through Lyrics in“All Too Well”
I recently read a book called How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark, which has an entire chapter about storytelling through song lyrics. It’s fascinating to see how songwriters are able to paint storylines, evoke emotion, and illustrate such vivid details through a single line or verse.
But it was another book that really helped me understand what“All Too Well” gets right.
In Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall, she explains the components that make a great story. One of them is this: great stories ZOOM IN on the details.
A common storytelling mistake is speaking in generalities, which makes our writing too vague. When you zoom in, you drill down to the specifics. This is where the magic happens.
It’s one thing to write a song about love or heartache, but the story escalates when the listener can envision the details — faces, places, objects, and everything in between.
This is the entire premise of“All Too Well”. The title itself speaks to how Taylor remembers specific moments of her relationship“all too well.”
Rumor has it, the song is about Jake Gyllenhaal.
Right from the first verse, Taylor sets the scene and tells us about a scarf she left at Jake’s sister’s house.
I walked through the door with you, the air was cold
But something’bout it felt like home somehow and I
Left my scarf there at your sister’s house
And you still got it in your drawer even now
She could have simply mentioned that she left some of her stuff there, but she zooms in on the scarf. It inspires us to think about what the scarf represents. Why would he keep the scarf? He must miss her, and the memories they made. This simple item now has meaning.
Taylor continues to illustrate objects and moments in the lyrics:
We’re singing in the car, getting lost upstate
Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place
And I can picture it after all these days
‘Cause there we are again on that little town street
You almost ran the red’cause you were looking over me
Wind in my hair, I was there, I remember it all too well
Photo album on the counter, your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-size bed
And your mother’s telling stories’bout you on a tee ball team
You tell me’bout your past, thinking your future was me
‘Cause there we are again in the middle of the night
We dance around the kitchen in the refrigerator light
Down the stairs, I was there, I remember it all too well, yeah
And then, in a heart-wrenching turn of events, Taylor zooms back in on the scarf:
But you keep my old scarf from that very first week
‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me
You can’t get rid of it,’cause you remember it all too well, yeah
Although it may seem like a small detail, the scarf adds so much color and context to this love story. It helps us gain a deeper understanding of the characters and their feelings.
This same logic needs to be applied to your own writing.
You may think no one cares about a scarf, or the minute details of your experiences, but they transform a story from ordinary to extraordinary. Don’t leave them out.
How significant can a small detail be? The Rolling Stone article said Taylor’s scarf should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
A Swift Tip: How to Zoom in on Your Own Storytelling
Whether you’re writing a novel, a song, or the copy for your“About” page, details are powerful.
So how do you pack more of the them into your writing?
It starts with remembering them… all too well.
This is why Taylor Swift has been journaling since she was a teenager. She writes entries about her daily life, which makes every moment and emotion crystal clear.
All of her songs start off as rough drafts in her journal, including“All Too Well.” With the purchase of her latest album, Lover, Taylor included scans of her original entries. As a fan, it was fascinating to see her process, chicken scratch and all.
Take it from one of the best songwriters of our generation: journaling is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your writing and your life.
The Secret to Effective Journaling
Does anyone else have a bunch of empty notebooks lying around?
I admit, I’ve picked up journaling many times in my life, but it never stuck. I’d get super excited, and write every day for a week, then stop.
That all changed when I received a journal as a gift for my 30th birthday. I hadn’t recorded my twenties the way I wanted to(or maybe that’s a good thing!), but my thirties would be different.
Here’s how to make your journaling habit stick:
Get a journal you like.
This is another small detail that makes a big difference. I felt so uninspired to journal in ratty spiral notebooks and composition books.
There are so many beautiful journals that suit your personality and get you in the mood to write. Choose a color, style, and format that you love.
Do it your way.
Most people perceive journaling all wrong. It’s not meant to be stressful — it should actually reduce your stress. But it starts with giving yourself permission to do it your way.
No, you don’t have to write every day.
No, you don’t need long entries.
Yes, you can draw and add stickers and have bulleted lists and do all the things that make it yours.
Set a trigger.
If you really want journaling to be a habit, you need to keep your journal in sight and incorporate it into your routine. Maybe you keep it next to the coffee maker, so you write after you make your morning coffee. Or after you make your bed, you place it on your pillow so you write at the end of the day.
Attach your journal to something else you do every day, so it remains top of mind.
Still not sold on journaling?
Here are some of my favorite quotes that may inspire you:
“Journal what you love, what you hate, what’s in your head, what’s important. Journaling organizes your thoughts; allows you to see things in a concrete way that otherwise you might not see. Focus on what you think you need to find in your art.”-Kay Walkingstick
“A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to become. It is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember, and dream.”-Brad Wilcox
“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life expanding.”-Jen Williamson
“People who keep journals have life twice.”-Jessamyn West
Grumpy cat. Success kid. Condescending Willy Wonka. Memes in our social media feeds have been making us laugh for years, but only recently have brands shifted their strategy to get in on the fun. Memes can take on many forms, but are generally described as humorous images, videos, or pieces of text that communicate something about a cultural trend or social idea.
If you’re not doing mematic marketing (yes, there’s actually a term for this), you’re probably spending time and money arranging photo shoots, hiring influencers, editing video, and creating content that will look flawless in your Instagram feed. And while this is all fine and well, your audience gets bored of polish and perfection all the time. They want to consume authentic content they can relate to — content that sounds like them. This is why memes have become a digital phenomenon, and brands are leveraging this opportunity to connect with consumers.
The same way we gravitate toward people who have a sense of humor, memes help brands build relationships with their followers. Do you have an annoying colleague who never stops talking about themselves? Think of them as a brand who only posts salesy, self-promotional content on social media. How about the co-worker who makes you laugh so hard you spit out your coffee? You can’t get enough of that person! Memes have a special way of bringing you closer to your customers.
Here are seven more reasons why you need to incorporate memes into your social media strategy:
Memes are budget-friendly.
Production is typically a huge part of content creation, but crafting an effective meme doesn’t call for a costly photo or video shoot. An engaging meme simply requires an understanding of your audience, a little sense of humor, and a design that clearly communicates. It can be as easy as popping text onto a plain background, or placing a witty caption above an image.
Here’s an example from popular blow dry salon, DryBar.
You can leverage user-generated content (and it’s free!).
I’m not sure if the customer is always right, but they’re always funny. Tap into the witty things your customers say about your brand to create memes that will resonate with others. This is a simple way to spotlight your followers while also building a community.
SoulCycle takes advantage of post-workout tweets to delight their followers.
Memes demonstrate an understanding of your audience.
The best way to connect with your audience is to show that your brand understands their thoughts and behaviors. Demonstrate this with humor and you’re your customers’ new BFF. Brainstorming, discovering, and writing meme-worthy content is its own form of social listening that will help you keep a pulse on your followers.
No one does this better than Chipotle, who listens to their fanatical, burrito-obsessed customers to inspire new content.
When brands open a social media profile, they have a responsibility to engage with their followers and be, well, social. This can’t be done effectively by posting rigid, self-serving content. Memes are the perfect way for brands to express and fine-tune their voice, personality, and authenticity by switching up the conversation.
Purple, a popular sleep products company, shows their brand personality by admitting that they hit the snooze button, too.
How many times have you stopped scrolling through Instagram to pause at a hilarious meme? Getting a potential customer’s attention is the first part of making a sale, and memes tend to have more thumb-stopping power than your average social media post.
We ignore ads, but connect with content that will bring a smile to our face or make us cackle at our desk. This is because the content sounds like us. And if it sounds like us, it most likely sounds like our friends, so we’re happy to share it. That’s how you build a following.
Urban Decay brilliantly uses memes to highlight and sell their products without having to post an ad.
But perhaps the best part about memes is, you’ll have fun making them.
Rather than banging your head against the wall trying to dream up your next big social campaign, let loose a little. Get your teams together for a laid-back brainstorm session where you check out the latest trending topics or headlines. How can your brand get in on the conversation in a fun way? Browse your customers’ hilarious tweets or reviews. Find inspiration from your co-workers and their daily interactions. There are countless creative opportunities right under your nose.
So take off your marketing hat and simply be human. Laugh along the way. Your job will seem easier, and your followers will love you.
While the coronavirus outbreak has forced us to put our gym memberships on hold, people are transforming their living rooms into gyms. It’s one of the few ways we can get a sweat session in while social distancing.
But I can’t help but chuckle over the fact that seemingly overnight, at-home fitness is back. There is such high demand that dumbbells and other equipment is sold out everywhere.
There have been many at-home fitness trends that have come and go, but the best part about these fads were the commercials.
From the cheesy infomercials, to the flamboyant Spandex leotards, at-home fitness advertisements were unforgettable.
While we’re all cooped up at home, here are some of the fitness trends you probably wish you invested in right about now:
Total Gym (2003)
Considering that Chuck Norris backed the Total Gym, I’m surprised there wasn’t one in every home. When Chuck Norris tells you to buy something, you do it. And supermodel Christie Brinkley is just as influential.
I remember watching this infomercial late at night when there was nothing else on TV — before we had the luxury to choose a different show to watch on Netflix or Hulu.
Thigh Master (1991)
I’m pretty sure every woman from the ’70s to the ’90s wanted to look like Suzanne Somers. And with her Thigh Master, you could at least have gams like hers!
Shake Weight (2009)
The Shake Weight was pretty much the laughing stock of at-home fitness products. Their original 2009 infomercial went viral and amassed over 4 million views. An MSNBC commented saying it was “slightly pornographic.”
Sex sells? In 2010, the Shake Weight generated over $40 million in sales.
Gazelle Glider (2001)
If you thought the Shake Weight commercial was uncomfortable, here’s a clip to remind you just how handsy Tony Little was when demonstrating the Gazelle Glider.
He’s still actively promoting this product and has kept his signature ponytail.
Darrin’s Dance Grooves (2001)
Many families in the 90’s may not have had room in their homes for a Total Gym or Gazelle, but every household definitely had a VCR! That was the only piece of equipment you needed to watch Darrin’s Dance Grooves.
Darrin Henson was the choreographer behind some of our favorite Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and Britney Spears music videos. He won an MTV VMA in 2000 for his Bye Bye Bye choreography, which he teaches on Darrin’s Dance Grooves. Learning a dance was a fun way to born some calories way before TikTok made it cool.
Fun fact: Sportscaster Erin Andrews is featured in the infomercial before she was famous at the 44 second mark.
All I remember about the Bowflex commercials was just how absolutely ripped everybody was. I think the results they showed were too good to be true.
I watched this commercial thinking two things:
That actually looks fun!
If I use this, will I get abs like Britney Spears?
Tae Bo (1998)
Billy Blanks made you feel like you could do anything! Here’s a preview of one of his workouts — I’m sweating just looking at it.