Money & Business

Lunchtime Links: The Most Beautiful Ad Ever?

By / Sep 17, 2013 (YouTube screenshot)

The power and freedom of nontraditional advertising campaigns. Also: how to boost the appeal of your fundraising efforts.

Marketing is an important function of your association. But traditional advertising doesn’t work for everyone. Reaching audiences in creative ways, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Marketing genius: Associations aren’t much for traditional advertising. Given their niche audiences, running an ad in a newspaper or on television isn’t always the best way to reach their members. But, as burrito maker Chipotle showed us recently, ads don’t have to be traditional or mainstream to be effective. Chipotle, which targets millennials and uses natural ingredients from local farms, has steered clear of mainstream marketing—largely out of concern that its audience would see it as too corporate. But that has not stopped the food chain from creating one of the most unique and masterful online advertising campaigns in years. Writing for online blog Gawker, Neetzan Zimmerman describes the ad, which promotes a free iOS game for Chipotle customers through a video posted to YouTube, as possibly “the most beautiful, haunting infomercial you’ll ever see.” It’s certainly entertaining enough, featuring gorgeous computer animation set to a cover of the song “Pure Imagination” (think Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) from singer Fiona Apple. Has your association tried nontraditional advertising as a way to reach members?

Raw emotion: If you’ve ever been in a play or witnessed actors and actresses rehearsing, chances are you’ve heard the director utter those famous words: “Do it again. This time, with feeling.” If new research out of Beihang University in China is any indication, that same direction could apply to your association’s social media campaigns. A recent article in MIT’s Technology Review describes the research, which examines the behaviors of Weibo users, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Researcher Rui Fan and his team found that certain emotions, when embedded in online communications, strongly affect users’ behavior. This is especially true for anger, which tends to spread quickly across social media. But not every emotion has that kind of pull, according to the article. Sadness and disgust, for example, did not spread with nearly the same intensity as anger, though joy was more likely to spread the way anger does. Does your association consider emotion when it creates its social media messaging? Maybe it should.

The big appeal: Asking for money is never easy. But “the ask” is an essential reality for most nonprofits. Writing for the Non-Profit Marketing Blog, Caryn Stein, director of content strategy for Network for Good, highlights “two ways to boost the results of your fundraising appeals.” Stein, who draws her examples from a recent Fundraising is Beautiful podcast on the topic, says frequency and relevancy are the two most important factors. Where frequency is concerned, she says, it’s hard to make too many appeals. “While there is likely a threshold of how many is ‘too many’ for your audience, it’s unlikely that your organization is anywhere close to that point,” she writes. But be careful: Not all appeals are effective. To succeed, they have to be relevant. She offers this advice: “Segment your list into key groups, then personalize your message to fit each.”

What strategies does your organization use to boost the appeal of its fundraising efforts? Tell us in the comments.

Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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