Meeeeerrry Marketing!

We are four days away from Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Even though turkeys haven’t yet been carved, most brands have already begun their holiday advertisements in full force. 34% of Millennials ages 14-29 plan to start their shopping on Friday, so the merry marketing makes sense. But in a world flooded with commercials, it takes a lot to stick in consumers' minds during the busiest time of year. For distracted Millennial viewers especially, most holiday marketing flows in one ear and out the other, and a simple commercial probably won’t stick in their minds. But smart brands are thinking outside the green and red wrapped box, putting out campaigns that invite interaction, demand attention, and make holiday marketing something to look forward to. Here are three of the early standouts for the merriest marketing of 2013:

1. Kmart Show Your Joe
We said that an ordinary commercial wouldn’t be enough to make Millennials remember a brand’s holiday efforts…but this commercial isn’t so ordinary. Kmart’s Show Your Joe campaign centers around the retailer’s Joe Boxer offerings, and it rings in the season in a way that has actually managed to spark scandal. In it, a row of guys wearing tuxedo tops and boxer bottoms play “Jingle Bells” by swinging their hips and making music with bells we’re left to assume are attached you know where. The video has currently reached over 13 million views on YouTube with comments ranging from high praise to majorly scandalized. But thanks to its viral status, the spot is being discussed everywhere in the media, increasing Kmart’s holiday exposure exponentially. As Adweek put it, “sometimes it’s just better to be on the naughty list,” or as one male Millennial told us, “People haven’t cared about Kmart this much…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

Colleges are giving out more merit-based aid to win over top students. Tuition discount rates have risen to a record 49.1% for first-time, full-time freshman attending private universities, up over 10% from ten years prior—according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. By using data-driven analysis to calculate just how much aid is likely to lure a top student in, colleges are seeing success upping their prestige. However, the practice has also “created a closing of the doors for low-income students,” according to one policy analyst. (WSJ)

Apple is betting that young consumers could bring back magazines via a magazine subscription service. The tech company took a gamble by buying Texture, a subscription service for over 200 titles that’s been dubbed the “Netflix of Magazine Publishing.” The app aggregates articles into a single browsing experience, rather than being separated by title, and pays the included publications. Apple has announced plans to integrate the service into their Apple News app, the latest incarnation of their less-than-successful Newsstand app. (Bloomberg)

Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

“[Allison Raskin] is open about her struggles with mental health, and she is also funny.”—Female, 19, CA

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