Category Archives: social media

Speaking of Kanye…Introducing Big Baller Brand

Via your classmate Sinisa:

Big Baller Brand (BBB) is a new brand trying to penetrate a competitive apparel market dominated by Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. The brand is inspired by the 3 Ball brothers: Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. Lonzo the most notable brother and oldest at the age of 19 finished his freshmen year at UCLA and has entered the 2017 NBA Draft.

The sports world is forever changed? This might be a bit far-fetched…. I watched some of Lonzo games during his freshman year and he’s definitely good, but will he be a superstar like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? These guys changed the sports world and the game of basketball with their play and even clothing lines, but is Lonzo there yet?

He’s not the consensus #1 projected draft pick, he didn’t take his team to the into the Final 4 of the 2017 NCAA Division 1 March Madness Basketball Tournament, he hasn’t even played a minute in the NBA or scored a point professionally… but his shoe has changed the sports world forever? I guess when you look at the $495 price tag of the ZO2 Prime, it has changed the sports world. There hasn’t even been a pair of Air Jordan’s priced this high in years, making the BBB the most expensive basketball shoes in the market.

When Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all pass on signing Lonzo to an endorsement deal and don’t want anything to do with the BBB prototype shoe what do you do…. You compare your shoe to a Rolls Royce and jack up the price since like a Rolls Royce not everyone has the disposable income to buy a ZO2. “If you can’t afford the ZO2’s you’re NOT a BIG BALLER”

Big Baller Brand has received a lot of buzz on social media, however the over 51,000 likes and re-tweets translated into only 500 pairs of shoes sold in the first week. The brand is looking more like an overpriced version of the Starbury shoe…



“Ummm, NOT Okay, Burger King.”

bk-20170419102456900Google home is a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant, developed as a competitor to Amazon’s Alexa. As with its Google Glass offering, you summon help from Google Assistant with the phrase, “Okay, Google…”

Creatives at Burger King decided to leverage the new technology in an innovative–but ultimately disastrous–campaign. In a 15-second spot, a spokesman says he doesn’t have the time to describe the wonders of the chain’s signature sandwich. Instead, he says, “Okay, Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Google Assistant’s algorithm goes straight to the source: the Whopper’s Wikipedia entry, which Burger King’s marketing team had edited.

The response was swift, with multiple Wikipedia editors calling out the company for breaking its community rules, and consumers editing the pages in a negative light, including:

“The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% medium-sized child with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cyanide, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun.”

According to reports, Google disabled the feature just two hours after the campaign began.

This “social media altercation” is one of many examples of the tension between brands and consumers, and a good illustration of the vigilance with which consumers monitor corporate actions, lashing back as needed.

Was Burger King technologically savvy or just naive? What do you think?

United in a knot

Image by The Red Dress via

Via your classmate Joyce:

That breeze you’re feeling is Pepsi’s sigh of relief. In what’s been called the ultimate “hold my beer” move, United Airlines managed to find itself in an even bigger PR nightmare days after Pepsi launched its controversial ad featuring Kendall Jenner.

To give a brief recap of the United Airlines incident:

  • The airline had overbooked a flight from Chicago to Louisville and were looking for four passengers to volunteer their seats in order to accommodate four of its employees to make a flight.
  • When none of the passengers (who were already seated) wanted to give up their spots, United selected passengers to be removed from the flight.
  • While three of the passengers vacated their spots, David Dao refused to give up his seat. What ensued was airport officers being called onto the plane to physically drag Dao out of his seat. More disturbingly, Dao was injured in the incident resulting in lacerations on his head. And the kicker to this was that this incident was recorded and shared online.
  • Once made available online, the video went viral.
  • But it didn’t stop there. United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz responded to the video in an email sent to employees. In the email, Munoz deflected the blame by stating that United employees followed proper procedures and that Dao was belligerent and had defied airport security officers.
  • Naturally, this email was also shared on social media where people voiced their concern on the tone-deafness of the communication.

I’m sure you know that it’s not uncommon for airlines to overbook their flights. It’s one of the many pain points of flying. I don’t envy the Marketing, Brand and PR departments of airlines. It’s a constant battle of handling customer complaints. But I think the David Dao incident is a really compelling case on how brands and organizations need to be mindful that people (customers and employees) are always watching and we’re at a time when everyone has a camera and video recorder readily available. Gone are the days when someone like Dao can be shuffled aside and provided compensation quietly outside the prying eyes of the public. We live in an age where isolated incidents can have huge reputational and financial repercussions. In the case of United, its stock dropped by 6.3% the day following the incident (

Case in point, organizations need to be extremely careful about how their brand is being represented at all times. It reminds me of the 2010 incident where a TTC transit fare collector was caught napping in the booth (

But the point isn’t the necessity for proper employee training and how they represent the organization’s brand. It’s that brands need to be keenly aware and prepared that eyes are on them all the time. All it takes is one incident, one error or even an event taken out of context to collapse all of the brand equity an organization has worked so hard to attain. Going back to United Airlines, even though it was airport officers who were dragging Dao off the plane, the incident happened on a United Airlines flight and the public immediately links what happened to the brand. Not only that, United didn’t get any sympathy from the public when it was revealed that the four seats were needed for employees. Why should United customers need to accommodate the company’s employees?

Overall, it goes to show how a cell phone and a social media platform can have such a huge impact on a brand’s reputation. This definitely isn’t the first or even the last time United will experience a dent in their reputation. What I hope is that the organization learns from this incident and makes the necessary changes on how they address their customers. At the end of the day, they’re in the service industry and customer service should be their top priority.

A different type of personal branding

You may remember our recent class discussion about experiential marketing campaigns and using social media to create brand buzz. We watched the most recent WestJet Christmas Miracle campaign, and watched as the WestJet employees dashed about delivering mini-miracles.

What you may not know is that your classmate Paige has a cousin who works at WestJet and delivered a mini-miracle right to her! Here’s the shot Paige took and the photo caption for context:

West jet Mini Miracle_Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 7.12.11 PM

“So as I got off the plane last week, I joked to my cousin @reneejosee that I wanted my @westjet Christmas miracle to be a tree for the vacation condo. I was totally shocked and excited when she personally delivered one to Canmore tonight, complete with official WestJet gear and decore! 🎄🎁 #westjetchristmas#westjetmiracle #bestpresentever#merrychristmas” 

How cool is that?

Is Snapchat Useful for Brands?

2-snapcode-to-special-discover-channelA recent article in Fast Company touts the ephemeral nature of Snapchat as a way for brands (and particularly start-ups) to get the attention of new media users.

Is this wishful thinking, or a distinctive way for brands to communicate their messages “for a limited time only”?

I’m the wrong person to ask, as I’ve downloaded but never actually used the app. Let me know what you think (and respond before this message disappears…)



Finger Lickin’…huh?

KFC Finger Licking good

KFC Hong Kong is getting literal about its famous slogan, “It’s finger-lickin’ good!”

The BBC reports that the chain’s agency, Ogilvy and Mather Hong Kong came up with a promotional edible nail polish that tastes (or is intended to taste) like two flavours of the famous fried chicken: original and hot & spicy. The polish is not available commercially; for now, it is only being distributed to media outlets to generate attention.

Is this an effective promotion? Among the considerations the restaurant chain and its agency need to take into account:

  • consumers can’t participate, it was distributed to media only
  • what impact does (or doesn’t) extensive press have? Can the results of this promotion be measured?
  • does it make sense to make a non-edible category temporarily edible? What is the result?
  • what cultural assumptions are taken for granted by the promotion?
  • who is missed in this promotion?

…and what do you make of the video released to Youtube?