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Talk Social: 9 June, 2020: Brands show their support for Black Lives Matter and the winners and loosers of launching in a digital world

Millions post black squares for #BlackoutTuesday

In a mark of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, millions around the globe took to social media last Tuesday to post black squares and pause all other online activity.

The #BlackoutTuesday hashtag dominated social media, as musicians, actors, major museums, social media companies and the public all took part.

Outside of social media, UK TV channels and radio stations changed their programmes to mark “Blackout Tuesday”. BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 broadcast moments of reflection and a series of discussions around the movement. Likewise, TV daytime show This Morning briefly went dark, showing a black screen with the words “Black Lives Matter”.

More: here


Brands show their support for Black Lives Matter

As social communities started to post on social media, many brands were quick to follow suit. Messages of solidarity or blank black images to mark #BlackoutTuesday from companies reached an unprecedented global scale.

As you can imagine, this led to a range of reactions from the public. While the majority of people are grateful for brands showing support, others were quick to criticise what they saw as opportunistic bandwagon-jumping. This was especially true where the brand in question was not providing any deeper level of support to relevant causes or even addressing the inequalities in their own industries.

Authenticity is a much overused word in marketing and communications, but #BlackoutTuesday has proved that showing your support for a cause has got to run much deeper than a single social media post. Brands need to show long term commitment whether to Black Lives Matter or any other cause, and if they do not, there will be no shortage of people willing to point this out.

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The winners and losers of launching in a digital world

Throughout lockdown, many brands have opted to postpone or cancel physical launch events for understandable reasons. However, for some, this has presented an opportunity for digital innovation – with varying results.

One successful campaign we enjoyed was Asics’ Virtual Innovation Lab which used VR technology to launch a new shoe range to 100 members of the press at the same time. This was a clever way for Asics to stand out from the crowd and create a buzz without a physical event.

One less successful campaign, but one we can also learn from, was Gusto’s virtual meal stunt. The recipe box start-up had planned an ambitious virtual dinner party with guests including Paloma Faith and David Haye. The event was beset by technical difficulties from the start, showing there were too many ‘out of control’ variables with reliance on multiple elements coming together in one place, remotely.

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Product ads are top-performing non-COVID-19 content

New research has shown that focusing on products is an effective way for brands to emotionally connect with consumers right now.

A study from Ace Metrix has shown that products that can improve domestic life, such as food and cleaning devices, are generating a strong positive response as consumers spend more time in quarantine.

The research looked at hundreds of ads launched since the beginning of lockdown. Of those not specifically about COVID-19, content from brands advertising specific products, including M&Ms and Duracell, were the strongest performers.

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Video marketing in 2020

Video has long been the most engaging content type across all social media platforms. This is more true than ever since the start of the lockdown.

Facebook has noted the number of users watching live content has risen by 50 per cent since January, while high demand for video content has led some platforms, including YouTube and Amazon, to temporarily reduce bit rates to meet the demands in consumption.

For brands looking to engage their audience, communicate brands messaging and sell more products, video is now key more than ever.

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