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Rogue One: May the Force Still Be with You

1 Dec

Last December, we wrote about the smash holiday sales of Star Wars toys, tied in to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

This year, on December 16, 2016, the latest Star Wars (Rogue One) installment will hit theaters. So, this post takes a look at some of the milestones the series has achieved — and at the new movie.

Here are some pre-Rogue One cumulative data for Star Wars, compiled by Statistics Brain:

  • More than $30 billion of revenue has been generated.
  • The global movie box office has reached $6.25 billion.
  • VHS/DVD/Digital revenues have hit $5.5 billion.
  • TWELVE billion Star Wars toys have been sold.
  • Book sales have exceeded $1.8 billion.
  • $3.5 billion worth of videogames have been sold.

Here are some interesting tidbits about the tie-in blitz (yes, these items are ready for you to buy!) for the upcoming Rogue One, reported by Erik Kain for Forbes [Note: This list is NOT a commercial; that’s why there are no product links. The list is only intended to show the mania surrounding any new Star Wars release.]:

  • LEGO Sets — “LEGO has been at the forefront of all things Star Wars for ages. This year is no different. LEGO has released some truly awesome sets to celebrate the new film.”
  • Rebel U-Wing Fighter — “If you’re looking for something a bit more heroic, look no further than the Rebel U-Wing Fighter. This is a nice twist for Star Wars fans, since we’re all pretty used to X-Wings by now. The set is a bit less complicated than the previous one, with an 8-14 age rating and just 659 pieces.The U-Wing may be the main attraction, but the characters it comes with are awesome.”
  • Video Games — “Star Wars: Battlefront is an online multiplayer shooter that pits the Rebels vs the Empire in maps on planets from across a galaxy far, far away. There’s content from Episode VII like Jakku, and there’s content from the original trilogy, including the moon of Endor. On December 6th, the final DLC pack drops, and it includes content from Rogue One. The Rogue One: Scarif pack will let gamers experience battles on the film’s planet Scarif a full ten days before they can on the big screen.”
  • Books — “Most of the books coming out about Rogue One won’t release until after the movie (because of obvious things like spoilers). Still, here are some options for die-hard Star Wars fans looking for some art and literature tie-ins to Rogue One.
  • Action Figures — “The larger ‘Black’ series figurines are especially great both for kids and collectors. You can get the 6″ Jyn Erso figurine for $12.50, Rogue One pilot Cassian Andor for $15.49; and the sleek Imperial Death Trooper for $15.99.”
  • Figurines — “An alternative to action figures, Funko’s POP figurines are as cute as they are addictive. Be careful when you start buying POP characters, because there always seems to be another one that’s even cuter. In any case, there’s tons of characters from Rogue One to choose from, ranging from a little over $5 to a little over $8.”
  • Razors — “A little off the beaten path of toys, books, and video games, we come to very sharp blades. Razors, to be precise.Gillette has some pretty cool razors available with some Rogue One branding. The boxes are cool because they have some great artwork, but the insides are also pretty neat.”

 

 

2016 China-Based Singles’ Day to Dominate Global Holiday Season

14 Nov

Last year, we wrote about the phenomenally successful 2015 online Chinese Singles’ Day, an annual event scheduled for November 11 that dwarfs Cyber Monday, which occurs on the first Monday after Thanksgiving each year. As reported by The Street: “Singles’ Day is the biggest retail event in the year, beating Cyber Monday and Black Friday.”

What is Single’s Day? As recently described by Lauren Davidson, Emily Allen, and  Ashley Armstrong for the Telegraph:

“Singles Day started as an obscure ‘anti-Valentine’s’ celebration for single people in China back in the 1990s, but it has spawned into the world’s biggest online shopping day. Astute readers will notice that November 11 is written 11.11, or one-one-one-one. Known in China as ‘bare sticks holiday’ because of how it looks numerically, Singles Day began as an anti-Valentine’s Day in the 1990s when students at Nanjing University started celebrating their singledom. It was then adopted by E-commerce giant Alibaba (China’s Amazon equivalent) in 2009; and it is now a day when everyone, regardless of their single status buys themselves gifts.”

“Alibaba chiefs spotted the commercial opportunity in Singles Day back in 2009 and began launching ‘Double 11’ deals just as online shopping was starting to explode. It was also seen as a chance to boost sales in the lull between China’s Golden Week national holiday in October and the Christmas season. When sales almost quadrupled the following year, Alibaba trademarked Singles’ Day. Some of the featured sales center around singledom, such as boyfriend pillows and single travel tickets, but the day has now widened to an all-inclusive shopping holiday.”

Angela Doland, writing for Advertising Age about the 2016 Singles’ Day, notes that:

“Alibaba’s annual online shopping festival started with just 27 merchants taking part. It has grown into the world’s biggest shopping day, and has just smashed its own record, with sellers on its platforms logging nearly $17.8 billion in transactions in 24 hours. Over 11,000 foreign brands joined in [from more than 25 countries], including first-timers Apple, Sephora, Target, Victoria’s Secret, and Maserati.”

“The Chinese Internet giant has created a whole entertainment offering around its shopfest, including a 4-hour live-streamed variety show that drew stars like Scarlett Johansson, Kobe Bryant, and David and Victoria Beckham. That’s a surprising departure from its small-scale start in 2009, when Alibaba latched on to the fact that some Chinese college students were celebrating Nov. 11 as a day for singles, an anti-Valentine’s day. Other E-commerce firms have joined in, including Alibaba’s chief rival JD.com, and much of China shops on Nov. 11. It’s not just for singles anymore.”

How well did the 2016 Single’s Day just do? It has crushed last year’s revenues — going from $14.3 billion in 2015 to $17.8 billion in 2016. Here are a sales curve (reported by BBC News) since online giant Alibaba first embraced Single’s Day in 2009 and a 2016 video from CCTV News.
 
singles-day_-alibaba-breaks-record-sales-total-bbc-news
 

 

When Marketing’s Good, It Can Do GOOD

8 Nov

Cause-related marketing can be inspirational and touch us. Hopefully, it can also make us want to better ourselves and the world.🙂

Consider the annual Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF):

“The WCFF’s mission is to inform, engage, and inspire audiences about the need for and importance of the protection of global biodiversity. The WCFF does this through the annual film festival and biodiversity conference in New York. Also through an education outreach program to college/university campuses. WCFF engages in monthly programs in New York and other cities that include film screenings, business & social networking events, and presentations. People that attend and participate in the WCFF are international wildlife conservationists, filmmakers, photographers, scientists and people across the globe that work toward the preservation of global biodiversity.”

As reported by HubSpot, the 2016 film, was “set to “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables.” It was “created pro bono [free!!] by DDB New York as part of a larger campaign to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and global biodiversity protection. Zombie Studio produced the animation for the spot, which features a cast of uniquely expressive animals and sinister humans.”
 
Will this short film move YOU?

 


 

Social Media and Selfies

2 Nov

The “selfie” phenomenon has gone global and viral in a flash. Millions and millions of people have posted their selfies all over the Web. Surely, you know at least a few people who are selfie fanatics on their social media pages.

One of the most well-known celebrity selfies was taken at the Academy Awards when Ellen DeGeneres hosted. The clip shown below has been viewed more than 4.4 million times at just one YouTube page. It’s pretty funny.
 

 
Marketers are also looking to capitalize on selfies in their advertising. Sometimes, though we have to say, will this really sell the product — while we’re laughing? Here’s one example, involving the “Cinnamon Toast Crunch Selfie Spoon.” And yes, it is a real product, that is sold out (yes, really!); but General Mills still maintains a humorous Web page for the product.
 

 

Monotasking Vs. Multitasking

18 Oct

In today’s high-tech, immersive society, “multitasking” has become B-I-G.  And many people frown on “monotasking.” But is this good? Can you really text and pay attention to your professor simultaneously? (LOL 🙂 )

According to study after study, no we can’t really multitask well. Here are four examples:

12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

Multitasking Is Killing Your Brain

Neuroscientists Say Multitasking Literally Drains the Energy Reserves of Your Brain

Why Humans Are Bad at Multitasking

 

Now consider these observations by Verena von Pfetten (a freelance writer, editor, and consultant with 10 years of digital publishing experience) for the New York Times:

“Stop what you’re doing. Well, keep reading. Just stop everything else that you’re doing. Mute your music. Turn off your television. Put down your sandwich and ignore that text message. While you’re at it, put your phone away entirely. (Unless you’re reading this on your phone. In which case, don’t. But the other rules still apply.) Just read. You are now monotasking.”

“Maybe this doesn’t feel like a big deal. Doing one thing at a time isn’t a new idea. Indeed, multitasking, that bulwark of anemic résumés everywhere, has come under fire in recent years. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that interruptions as brief as two to three seconds — which is to say, less than the amount of time it would take you to toggle from this article to your E-mail and back again — were enough to double the number of errors participants made in an assigned task.”

“Monotasking is a 21st-century term for what your high school English teacher probably just called ‘paying attention.’ As much as people would like to believe otherwise, humans have finite neural resources that are depleted every time we switch between tasks, which, especially for those who work online, can happen upward of 400 times a day, according to a 2016 University of California, Irvine study.”

“The term ‘brain dead’ suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.”

 

Click the image to read more from von Pfetten.

Art by Andy Rash

Art by Andy Rash

 

Here Yesterday, Gone (OR Declining Today)

11 Oct

In the early 2000s, a number of new Web and social sites emerged. Despite a lot of hype, many of them did no hit expectations and/or are not as popular today. Here are some examples of the latter.

As reported by Clinton Nguyen for Business Insider:

“Much of the internet in the early 2000s was defined by Web sites that ushered people into a new age of social media and online entertainment. Take Friendster for example — the massively popular site became a household name before MySpace, and then Facebook overtook both of them as the most popular social network. Friendster is no longer in service, but plenty of the sites that defined the early 2000s are still around, albeit in somewhat different forms. Here’s what they’re doing now.”

  • “MySpace was massively popular in the mid-2000s, before Facebook came out. [It is now a shell of its former self in terms of popularity.] Like Facebook, every user had their own wall, where strangers and friends could post comments. The draw was customization.  MySpace has completely changed since then. The company rebranded and relaunched in 2013, with an emphasis on hitting catering to musicians and record labels. Unlike Facebook, users make “connections,” not friends, and radio stations and music videos are given the spotlight on the site.”
  •  

  • Live Journal was a haven for adolescent blogging in the late 2000s. The site became popular for having both personal blogs (which could be private or public) and “communities” where users could congregate to discuss their fandoms and pop culture obsessions. Today, the site retains much of the same look, including its popular discussion sections and blog layout. The front page now has a spots for promoted posts, which users can purchase by buying tokens with real money. Most of those spots are now occupied by gossip blogs, like ohnotheydidnt.”
  •  

  • “For a while, Xanga was also used as a blogging platform, mostly by high school students, though it faced competition from similar blogging services like LiveJournal and Blogger. It had many of the same features as its competitors: a blogging space, comments section, and a “props” feature (the 2000’s equivalent of a like). Today, user accounts don’t seem to exist on the site, and the homepage displays the development team’s last note, announcing server on Xanga 2.0, though that was posted in February 2015.”
  •  

  • “eBaum’s World became popular for posting viral videos, cartoon animations, and celebrity soundboards. People essentially visited the site for the same reason they’d visit other humor/game sites — to watch crudely animated Flash videos and to play with humorous soundbites cut from interviews. Today, the site publishes user-shared photo galleries and posts with embedded YouTube videos to garner traffic. Most of the videos come with one-sentence descriptions and slightly modified headlines, and photo galleries feature images and captions lifted from unattributed sources.”
  •  

  • “Ask Jeeves was a popular search engine before Google rose to the top. The site provided basic Web searches, but its real selling point was that users could pose questions in natural language (like, “What’s the weather today?” or “Has MSFT stock risen today?” etc). The service was notable for its butler mascot, Jeeves, but he was phased out in 2006 when the service became Ask.com. Jeeves was brought back to Ask.com’s UK site for a brief moment in 2009. But today, he’s absent from all of Ask’s search engine sites.”
  •  

  • “Before Google became the world’s most popular search engine, AltaVista was a leading search engine of choice. The site featured many of the services Google offers now — Web, image, and video search options. It also featured channels with news about entertainment, travel, and more. But when you visit AltaVista today, you’re redirected to Yahoo Search. The site went through a number of hands before it was consolidated into Yahoo Search.”

 
Click on the image to read more from Nguyen.


 

Brands That Millennials Love

4 Oct

As we have noted before, Millennials represent a huge, demanding, and challenging consumer segment for marketers. With that in mind, let’s ask: What brands are doing best among Millennials?

Recently, Moosylvania — a company involved with branding, digital, and experiential (“Digital connectivity has changed the way we interact with one another – people no longer want to consume marketing, they want to participate in brands.”) asked more than 1,5000 Millennials to select their favorite brands. The findings are interesting and some rankings may be surprising!!

In describing the top five companies in the 2016 Moosylvania study, Mallory Schlossberg and Kate Taylor report the following for Business Insider. [Note: In their article, all 100 companies are described.]:

  1. Apple — “has a fanatical following, and many of its customers are Millennials. The company’s iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks, and Apple Watches are wildly popular. The company has a cultish following.”
  2. Target “owns the intersection of style and affordability. It has been giving its kids’ clothing business a makeover to be more stylish. The company also sells gender-neutral room decor and stopped labeling its toys by gender.”
  3. Nike — “When it comes to active wear — and apparel in general — Nike is the go-to brand. Nike has focused on incorporating top-tier technology into its clothing. It helps that it’s a massive retailer.”
  4. Sony — “is ready for innovation, from robots that can interact with humans to its wildly popular PlayStation.”
  5. Samsung — “Galaxy phones and tablets are extremely popular with Millennials. The brand’s Galaxy S6 smartphone received rave reviews. Tech Insider’s Steve Kovach said that Samsung’s designs have eclipsed those of competitor Apple.” [NOTE: The Moosylvania study and these comments preceded the problems that Samsung is now facing due to product safety issues. It’s unlikely that the firm would be ranked so highly today. Right?]

 
Click the image to see the top brands for Millennials, from 100 to 1.
 

Photo by Business Insider / Matt Johnston

 

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