How Social Media Enhanced the Academy Awards

The 84th annual Academy Awards was a chaotic event to say the least. Between Sacha Baron Cohen dumping “Kim Jong Il’s ashes” on Ryan Seacrest’s designer suit, the cast of “Bridesmaids” presenting their Martin Scorsese drinking game, and J.Lo’s debatable wardrobe malfunction, viewers gave up their regularly scheduled Sunday night programs to see what other vagaries might ensue. While I’d like to congratulate everyone who walked away with an Oscar on Sunday evening (congrats Meryl Streep!), we should also acknowledge one noteworthy contributor to the show’s success that made their “speech” through a different channel…social media!

According to Bluefin Labs, the Hollywood, CA event generated some 3.8 million comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites during its ABC broadcast (compared to last year’s 1 million). This statistic places the Academy Awards just above last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, which produced 3.1 million social media comments. The only award show having received more commentary through social media was this year’s telecast of the Grammy Awards, which had an astounding 13 million comments!

An estimated 57% of the Oscars’ comments were made by women, with the remaining 43% coming from men. Bluefin Labs further analyzed the results to determine that 22% were positive, 16% were negative, and 62% remained neutral.


High-traffic moments occurred somewhat predictably throughout the evening:


1. The most-talked about moment was the Best Picture announcement for the nearly silent film, “The Artist.”

Last year’s Best Picture: An English dude who couldn’t speak. This year’s: A French dude no one could hear.” – Andy Borowitz author/comedian

I am officially announcing that I am re-making THE ARTIST with sound.” – Alec Baldwin actor


2. The second peak of social media commentary took place when crowd-pleasing comedians, Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper presented three awards. Cooper’s mustache created a lot of buzz while fans encouraged The Academy to consider Fey as next year’s host.

Tina Fey should host next year.” – Kelly Oxford writer/famed tweeter

Bradley Cooper is just in from robbing a train. #Oscars” – Hulu online service for ad-sponsored video streaming

3.  Octavia Spencer’s emotional acceptance speech claimed the third most popular spot for social media discussion. Spencer’s comments additionally ranked highest in positivity ratings.

Congratulations to @OctaviaSpencer for her Oscar win! You truly deserve it! God bless!” – Kelly Rowland singer

Yes!!!! Welcome to the family Octavia !! Congrats!!! Amazing!!” – Jennifer Hudson singer/actress

Other unique moments during this year’s Oscars generated additional online discussions, and continues to prove how real-time social media platforms are changing the face of awards show commentary, as well as television watching in general. One such example was the somewhat controversial exposure of Angelina Jolie’s right leg. Viewers immediately shared opinions of Jolie’s wardrobe choice and, almost instantaneously, a Twitter account was created for “AngiesRightLeg.”  The Twitter account currently has close to 35,000 followers and about 30 tweets.

The above statistics and results only reinforce existing research in support of the effectiveness of social media. Clearly, with active individuals across such a broad spectrum, sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. can all assist in amplifying anything – whether that’s celebrity limbs or your brand. Celebrities who utilize social media for public relations’ benefits also have the opportunity to translate the increased popularity of their profiles and pages into potential business success. Advertisements cost $1.7 million per 30-second commercial, but given the popularity of the 2012 award show, it’s likely that this was money well spent.

Were you commenting on the Academy Awards via social media last Sunday?  What was your favorite part of the show?  Do you think social media is changing the face of television commentary? Tweet us @451Heat or share your comments below!

-Katie O’Brien, 451 Marketing Marketing Intern


Katie is a senior at Boston College majoring in Communication.

Thanks for the images:

1. www.gradley.net

2. www.laist.com

3. www.hollywoodreporter.com

4. www.blogcdn.com

5. www.cbswbbav.files.wordpress.com/

6. www.laist.com


Oscar Tweets & Ben & Jerry’s Not-So-Fortune Cookie


Top Story: Oscar Tweets Grow in 2012, but Don’t Come Close to the Grammys

If you were on Twitter during last night’s Oscar Awards, you most likely couldn’t ignore the awards show-related tweets. My tweet stream was moving extraordinarily fast, with chatter about who was wearing what and who was winning what. Social TV tracker Bluefin Labs actually counted the number of tweets related to the Oscars and found 3.44 million of them. That may sound like a lot, and it is, considering last year’s Oscar Awards only garnered 966,000 tweets. But still, when compared to the Grammy Awards, the Oscars fell seriously short.  In fact, they didn’t even come close as this year’s Grammys received 13 million related tweets.

Why were there so many more Grammy-related tweets than there were Oscar tweets? Well, for one thing, the Grammys are a whole lot more casual, the fashion is a lot more fun, and the celebrities are a lot more mainstream. There’s only so much for a teenager to say about The Artist winning Best Picture, but there’s a whole lot they can say about Katy Perry’s hair matching her dress. Even this year’s Super Bowl received 12 million tweets, many likely due to the commercial hype.

So, what were the top Oscar-tweeting topics for 2012? Most were chatting about Meryl Streep’s Best Actress win (and the amazing speech that went along with it) and Jennifer Lopez’s ultra low-cut dress. Yup, these are the things we talk about on Twitter.

But still, such an increase in Oscar Award-related tweets will likely only bring good things to the show in the future. It’s clear proof that people are watching, paying attention, and chatting about anything and everything with their friends. Just not as much as they are the Grammy Awards.


Under The Radar: To Sell, or Not to Sell (iPad 2)

With the iPad 3 announcement looming, retailers are starting to prepare by unloading their inventory. Major retailers like Best Buy ($50 cut) and Meijer ($75 cut) have been cutting prices on the iPad 2 to make room for the iPad 3 in the coming months.

If you are looking to trade in your iPad 2 for a shiny new iPad 3 at launch, you may want to sell now. The closer to the launch of the iPad 3 we get, the less money you will be getting for your sale. Currently, the iPad 2 64GB with 3G can be sold for $360 on Gazelle, but look for those prices to drop fast over the next months.

Or you can donate your outdated iPad to Orangutan Outreach, an organization that provides used iPads to orangutans in captivity.

Still on the fence about getting the new iPad? Here are a few [rumored] reasons why you may want to pick up a 3;

  • Longer battery life
  • Improved camera
  • Better screen resolution (maybe even up to 2048×1536)
  • Siri
  • Improved microphone
  • Quad-core chip processor
  • Tiered offerings (iPad 2s AND iPad 3)

Will you be selling your iPad in preparation for getting the iPad 3?


Around the Hub: Ben & Jerry’s Not-So-Fortune Cookie

New York Knicks point guard and pop-culture phenomenon Jeremy Lin was honored by New England’s own Ben & Jerry’s with what many deemed a controversial ice cream flavor, “Taste the Lin-Sanity.”  Sounds harmless enough, right?  And delicious too – vanilla frozen yogurt, lychee honey swirls, and (wait for it) fortune cookie pieces.

The backlash on social media and in the local and national media were not far behind – many felt that the addition of fortune cookies promoted racist Asian stereotypes, focusing on Lin’s Chinese heritage rather than his basketball skills or Harvard education.

In response to the controversy, Ben & Jerry’s sent out a tweet. Well, sort of.  They sent out five back to back tweets to apologize. For your viewing pleasure, here they are (click image to enlarge):

Way more than the standard 140 characters. Our thoughts:

Pros: They got their whole message out in real time.  It’s all there, they laid it out.
Cons: The message is broken in to five pieces, doesn’t follow Twitter-ettiquette, doesn’t offer follow-up (ie: where is the link to their official statement, which the tweets reflect?)

The Lin flavor was only offered in the company’s Harvard Square location, so damage was limited and the flavor was quickly changed, omitting fortune cookies for more PC waffle cone pieces.  But we have to wonder – did they handle this public relations issue effectively?  Would it have been more effective/tweet-able/search-friendly  to apologize in a standard tweet with a link to their news release?  We think yes.


Under the Radar: New Social Media Tool Will Help Journalists Find Breaking News on Twitter

Last week, we reported that Twitter broke the news of Whitney Houston’s death. And these days, that’s not very surprising to hear. Most major news does seem to be broken over Twitter. But, of course, there’s also a lot of misinformation on Twitter, as well, including lots and lots of celebrity death hoaxes. So, the question is, how can journalists take advantage of Twitter to build their own stories? After all, if a journalist knows a twitter user is a valuable source, they can take the next step to reach out to them and get more information.

Researchers at Rutgers University and Microsoft are currently working on a new software tool that will help journalists see breaking news tweets as they’re happening. Seriously Rapid Source Review (SRSR) will identify credible twitter users using their Twitter profile, as well as discovering tweets with links and photos, filtering out retweets, and selecting mobile tweets. The tool will help journalists make the decision on whether or not someone appears to be a viable source and whether or not they should take the next step in making contact.

We love that journalists are taking Twitter seriously and are determining methods to make it more useful for creating news pieces. SRSR is still in development stages, but we’re sure it will make the lives of journalists a bit easier in this world of social media information saturation.



Let us know what you think about this week’s 451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.


Is the Early Release of Super Bowl Commercials Beneficial?

With the big game on Sunday, it’s almost impossible to go online without seeing something pertaining to the Super Bowl. While I enjoy hearing about the Patriots, one thing that really caught my attention has been all the talk regarding the widely anticipated Super Bowl commercials. I like Super Bowl commercials just as much as the next person, but I was surprised that I am already seeing the full commercials before the game has even happened. Did I miss something? Isn’t the point of paying 3 million dollars so the commercial will have its big debut during the Super Bowl, not weeks before on the internet? Well I really thought about this and tried to figure out the reasoning behind this new marketing strategy. While at first I was rather confused by this approach I do think it can have a positive impact for some companies, but definitely not all.

I just recently saw Chevy’s 2012 Super Bowl ad “Happy Grad,” a simple yet memorable commercial. Although it was posted early on the internet, it is greatly entertaining, which puts Chevy in a good position for when it does air. People are already talking about the commercial, which adds to the anticipation of other viewers. Instead of just being viewed during and after the Super Bowl, Chevy’s ad is being seen before the game has even started. The “Happy Grad” ad has already had 905,921 views on the popular site YouTube. The commercial will have a much longer lifespan than ads that are waiting to air on Super Bowl Sunday. This strategy has also given Chevy the advantage of having a larger return on investment by allowing their commercial to circulate for a longer amount of time on the internet and television. People will constantly be seeing the Chevy brand, giving them more incentive to buy from them. While this is a risky strategy, it works for Chevy because they have a good commercial that viewers find desirable.

While Chevy will most likely see a positive impact from releasing their commercial early, not all companies will get the same outcome. Another 2012 Super Bowl ad done by Lexus is called “The Beast.” Sounds pretty cool, huh? Well don’t let the name fool you because this commercial isn’t that special. When I began watching it, I was pretty interested, but then it became rather predictable and unexciting. I really didn’t find it entertaining and wouldn’t be too excited to see it again during the Super Bowl. While this may be my personal opinion on the ad, I think many people would feel the same way about seeing a commercial in the future that they didn’t even enjoy the first time. For me, now that I have already seen this commercial, I really don’t feel a need to pay attention to it again during the Super Bowl. I think this is a great downside to companies posting commercials that aren’t very entertaining and enjoyable before they are supposed to air. People already know what the ads are like and may not have an interest in them the second time around. Now that this Lexus ad has been around for over a week, people might even be sick of it by the time it actually airs.

YouTube Preview Image

Overall I think it’s a pretty risky strategy to post your Super Bowl commercial before the actual game. You really have no idea how people will react to your ad and once it’s out, it’s out.  Viewers like the element of surprise and seeing Super Bowls ads before the game just doesn’t have that same effect. While some companies like Chevy may see a positive outcome from posting their ad, not all will get the same response. I was really surprised to see this happen this year and while I may understand the reasoning a little better, nothing beats seeing new commercials on Super Bowl Sunday.

Do you think releasing Super Bowl ads early is a good strategy? Will it detract from watching on game day? Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!

Thanks to @bonnielester530 for this week’s post!

Bonnie is a 451 Marketing Marketing Intern. She is a senior at Worcester State University majoring in Business Administration.


5 Tips to Better Optimize Your PPC Budget

Whether you are trying to acquire new customers, generate more leads, or simply sell the product, paid advertising can come to your rescue. The advantage of paid advertising is that people are already searching for your product/service. As opposed to conventional marketing, a paid search audience already has the intent to buy or learn more about your product.

Apart from the benefit of having qualified traffic, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has many other positives. First off, it is easy to start. Setting up your account is simple; you can start off with a budget that you are comfortable spending. Secondly, PPC offers flexibility. You can test out different versions of ad copy, headlines, and call-to-actions. Lastly, paid ads are great way for increasing brand awareness. Even if people don’t click on your ad, just showing up in the search results for your key terms builds trust factor and brand recognition.

However, there are challenges involved in paid advertising. With more marketers turning to PPC advertising, the paid search space is becoming  competitive. More and more brands are fighting for the top ad positions. Because your competitors are bidding on some of the same keywords as you are, this could result in a price war. Keywords which once cost few cents a click now can cost considerably more. This isn’t a problem if you have a large budget to work with. But if you have a limited budget, you need to keep an eye out on your account spend.

So how do you stick to your budget and still get the most out of your PPC ads? Here are 5 tips to better optimize your PPC budget:


1.  Negative Keywords: Negative keywords are search terms that you don’t want your ads to show up for. Look through the search query report and make note of such keywords. Once you’ve identified these keywords, add them to the account. You can add negatives at the ad group, campaign, or account level.


2.  Device Targeting: You can set your ads to show up on desktops/laptops, tablets, mobile devices or on all of these devices. If your website is not mobile ready, users will struggle to read the content on your site. In such a case, it makes sense to exclude the mobile audience and just target your ads to people searching on desktops/laptops and tablets.


3.  Ad Scheduling: Ad scheduling lets you specify certain days of the week when you want your ads to appear. You can also adjust bids for your ads during certain time periods in a day. Review all of your campaigns and see what days and times are best converting. Shut off your ads during the low converting period.


4.  Ad Delivery: Ad delivery determines how quickly your ads are shown each day. You can have the ads show up evenly throughout the day, or you can have them show as quickly as possible. If your campaigns are consistently hitting the daily budget cap, switch the setting to allow your ads the opportunity to appear throughout the entire day.


5.  Bid: Keywords can be very expensive. If you are running on a tight budget, being at the top ad position might as well drain your daily budget in a few clicks. In such cases reduce your bid, be at a lower ad position and use that saved budget in getting more clicks.


These are some quick tips that we’ve found useful in better utilizing the budget. How do you optimize your account spend? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet us @451Heat.

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Tips for a Successful Tablet Marketing Strategy

This past Christmas, my parents surprised me with an iPad2. Being the ever-diligent Communications student, I decided to do a little research on the marketing approaches that can be useful when developing a tablet app for your company or product.

According to an article by TechCrunch, there will be an estimated 90 million tablet users in the U.S by the end of 2014.   Of those tablet owners, approximately 61 million will be using Apple’s iPad.  That offers a sizeable opportunity that cannot be ignored.  Logically, marketing strategies are adapting in order to cater to these devices. 

Image from Pluggd.in

So how can your company create a successful app?

Here are a few tips:

1.  Your app should be easy to use.  The first is fairly obvious, consumers aren’t going to waste their time trying to understand an app that is unnecessarily difficult to navigate.  I’m sure everyone has downloaded and later deleted an app because it wasn’t as simple as it claimed to be.


2.  Your app should be free of charge.  This is an opportunity for your company to build its brand and to gain exposure, not to make money.  Treating your app as a revenue channel will only deter potential consumers from downloading the app.  When I’m browsing the App Store, I filter my results based on those that are free.  I’ve never paid for an app before and don’t plan to start now.


3.  Your app should be compatible with multiple tablets.  While the iPad continues to be the most popular device, you should make sure anyone who wants to download it has that option.  Don’t limit your brand’s exposure by failing to offer it to everyone.


4.  Your app should offer an additional benefit that your website does not.  For example, I have an app called Nike Training Club, which I use to workout when I’m at home.  Nike promotes use of this app by offering to unveil a celebrity workout plan if you use it for a certain amount of time.  The incentive of receiving my childhood idol (no judgment please), Hilary Duff’s, workout was enough to convince me to use the app more often.

 Image from Plugged.in

5.  Your app should be creative.  While this may seem to be a no-brainer, a mobile-marketer article, found that tablets offer a more interactive canvas, which allows creators to be more imaginative in how they connect with consumers.  Therefore users may be more willing to engage with a campaign than they would if it were print advertising or a TV commercial because there’s the added opportunity for interaction.


6.  Your app should take full advantage of the tablet’s capabilities. Tablets offer the functionality of a desktop PC with the mobility of a cell phone.  Magazine and other reader apps are good examples of how to take full advantage of this.  Because the screen is larger than that of a smart phone, consumers are likely drawn to the increased ease of reading.  In addition, the lightweight model allows consumers to bring their entire stock of magazines, books, newspapers, etc. with them without monopolizing any further space.  Apps can also capitalize on the tablet’s capabilities by encouraging direct responses from users through simple feedback channels built-in to the app.


These are some tips that could help promote your brand or product on a tablet.   What are some additional attributes that you look for in an app?  What discourages you from downloading an app?  Which tablet do you have? Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!


-Katie O’Brien, 451 Marketing Marketing Intern
Katie is a senior at Boston College majoring in Communications