For Marketers, The Game For Winning Super Bowl Audiences Plays On YouTube

By Julian Steinforth, Expedition PR

Frito- Lay’s Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge - www.doritos.com

Frito- Lay’s Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge – www.doritos.com

With more than 111 million viewers glued to the TV, traditionally the Super Bowl has been the launch pad for the year’s most exciting TV ads. But today TV is not the only star of a successful Super Bowl marketing campaign. Weeks prior to the game kick-off, marketers start drumming up excitement and even crowdsource content from audiences for their campaigns on YouTube. While the Super Bowls draws millions of viewers on game day, YouTube engages more than 1 billion unique users each month.  According to ComScore, people are willing to spend 2.7 minutes watching an online video.

Last year Mashable published a YouTube report stating that Super Bowl ads shown before the Big Game generate 600 percent more views. Ads (including teasers) related to the game were viewed more than 66 million times on YouTube prior to Super Bowl Sunday.

Some brands launched campaigns that engaged the audience prior to the game. One example is Frito-Lay’s Doritos brand and its “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign that airs multiple ads that were sourced and selected by fans.

The idea behind Frito- Lay’s Doritos hosted “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge is that fans can submit commercials and the online community votes which spot will be shown during the next Super Bowl. Next to the fan pick a second spot is picked by the company’s marketing board. To be able to vote for one of the spots, users need to connect with their Facebook profile and spread the video on social media. Last year’s popular vote winners – “Goat 4 Sale”, “Fashionista Daddy” and “Road Chip” – were aired during the Super Bowl and got rave reviews by fans and critics alike. Continue reading


Dogfish Accelerator Demo Day Lesson #1: Producing Film and New Media Content Starts With Audience Engagement

By Julian Steinforth, Expedition PR

Last Friday the Dogfish Accelerator Demo Day took place at the Microsoft Technology Center in New York City. For the very first time film production companies pitched their projects to the investment and entertainment community, taking a page from the tech industry playbook.

Dogfish Accelerator Demo Day 2013 in NYC

Dogfish Accelerator Demo Day 2013 in NYC

Inspired by the TechStars model, eight production teams presented 13 films, 3 marketing and distribution platforms, 2 multi channel networks, and ancillary streams of revenue including graphic novels, video games as well as a fashion line to more than 200 investors and media representatives at the Dogfish Accelerator Demo Day. The first cohort of the Dogfish Accelerator program was selected from 440 applications.

Dogfish Accelerator was founded by James Belfer and Michelle Soffen to help indie film producers think like startups. Belfer, who worked on several film productions with his company Dogfish Pictures, realized that the film industry needs to change.

“I experienced firsthand the many challenges the independent film industry faces,” stated Belfer in his opening remarks.  “The real issue isn’t that the times are tough, it’s that you can’t be disruptive without knocking down a few walls. Or without trying new investment and business models, testing new marketing and monetization strategies, or utilizing distribution opportunities across multiple platforms.”

The Dogfish Accelerator program offers seed financing, office space and access to resources to nurture companies that are willing to take the leap with a new model and change the industry.  More than 20 industry mentors, from financing to marketing, support the teams throughout the program and beyond. Continue reading


Innovation and Technology for Social Enterprises

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

Social enterprises and profit are not mutually exclusive anymore. An increasing number of for-profit organizations have been embracing this new paradigm and started incorporating the social enterprise mindset in their operations and strategic objectives. In November, UN’s Social Policy and Development Division (DESA) published a report on Innovation and Technology for Social Development[1].

One of its chapters, authored by Julius O Akinyemi (entrepreneur in residence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Media Laboratory), John Dilyard (Associate Professor, Department of Management and Information Technology, St. Francis College), Dennis Anderson (Professor and Chairman, Department of Management and Information Technology, St. Francis College) and Katja Schroeder (President & Sustainability Consultant, Expedition PR), discusses how today’s generation of social enterprises drive social and economic value.

The authors argue that both not-for-profit and for-profit institutions “understand the social improvement and profits can be complementary”. But the path is not without challenge.

Social enterprises include financing, the right messaging and  misleading measuring the social enterprise’s return.

Even with these challenges, there are opportunities on this change of paradigm that could benefit all the organizations involved, and how innovative technologies are contributing to the construction of a new model of social commitment.

Please click here to read the entire chapter.

[1] United Nations. “Innovation and Technology for Social Development. Lessons Learned”, by Mr. Amine Lamrabat, Expert in Innovation and Technology, UNDESA-DSPD. November 2013.


Sustainability and Financial Reporting in the Age of Transparency

Companies are using integrated online reports to engage stakeholders

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

Sustainability reporting has evolved from a “nice-to have” to “must-have” for Fortune 500 companies, in addition to the obligatory financial reports. While tracking and disclosing sustainability data can be cumbersome, disclosing sustainability information has evolved as welcomed channel to build trust with stakeholders.

According to the report 2012 Corporate/ESG/Sustainability/Responsibility Reporting – Does It Matter?” , published by the New York based Governance & Accountability Institute, “an increasing number of corporate managers and boards are recognizing the many benefits that measuring, managing, and disclosing their strategies and performance on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can have for their companies.”

Stakeholders and consumers are more demanding companies to demonstrate their commitment to socio-economic and environmental causes. The Nielsen study “Global, Socially Conscious Consumer 2012” , a survey that included more than 28,000 online respondent from 56 countries around the world, found the following information:


  • Two thirds (66%) of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society.
  • They prefer to work for these companies (62%)
  • They would invest in these companies (59%).
  • 46% say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from these companies.
    Building trust through transparency

How can existing and potential consumers, employees and investors know about a company’s sustainability commitment ?

Continue reading


Communications Planning 2014: 3 Steps to Start Planning Next Year’s Program

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Fall is here. The leaves are turning. Yearly PR programs are heading into their final quarter and marketers soon will turn the final page in their 2013 play book.  It’s time to start seeding and planting ideas on how to advance next year’s communications programs.

Here are three easy steps to start the planning process.

Conduct an honest review of the past year

Every new plan starts with a critical assessment of what has been achieved in the past year. While achievements deserve recognition, the review should not be a pure exercise of shoulder clapping. Looking at encountered challenges – and even failures – can be tremendous beneficial. The review should include asking questions like:

  1. Were the overall communications goals met? If not, why not?
  2. What communications strategies and channels were the most effective, and why?
  3. Did we expand and strengthen the relationships with key influencers?

Continue reading


To Win Your Film Audience, Think Like a Content Marketer

By Katja Schroeder, President, Expedition PR

 The 51st New York Film Festival is in full swing and today is also the first day of the annual Bushwick Film Festival, we take a look at how film makers and producers can put a spotlight on their movies.


In a recent Seed&Spark #filmcurious Twitter chat the question was raised how people find out about new films. The idea behind was to identify the main information sources that people trust to make the decision about the next movie to watch.

Chat participants, with many of them being filmmakers, referenced Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, as well as trade magazines like Indiewire and Indiewood/Hollywoodn’t as their go-to sources.  Some mentioned using YouTube, Vimeo or Twitter to scout for new indie films. Most agreed that they trust their friends to tell them about a good movie.

Not mentioned during the chat were ticket sites like Fandango and Moviefone. Eager to turn movie browsers into ticker buyers, both sites offer news and trailers about films that are or will be coming soon to theaters. And there is more.

A Google Social Research study from December 2012 concluded that on average moviegoers consult 13 sources before they make a decision about what movie to see. The study said that although the number of movie titles released declined 9% in 2012 vs. 2011, movie searches on Google were up 56% during that time.

Continue reading


The Art of Rallying the Crowd: How Creating an Online Community Helps Crowdfunding Campaigns Succeed

By Emily Kuo, Expedition PR

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular method to raise money, for businesses and individuals alike. According to a study by Massolution, in 2012 alone, crowdfunding raised about US $2.7 billion and funded more than a million projects across the world. This is nearly double the estimated US $1.48 billion that was raised in 2011. Crowdfunding campaigns are becoming more diverse as well, as we see more and more platforms developing across all four of Massolution’s categories of crowdfunding platforms (CFP): equity-based, lending-based, reward-based and donation-based. They’re not just used to fund non-profits and individual products, but also to start small businesses and improve existing ones.

At the same time, the use of social media has also been on the rise. According to a webinar hosted by Aaron Strout, there are more than a billion users on Facebook, 60% of whom log in daily and more than 80% of whom reside outside of the US. Twitter was the fastest growing social network in 2012 with more than 200 million users. 20% of adult internet users in the US are on Twitter. Linkedin has 2 new users sign up per second, and more than 200 million users in 200 different countries. As we move our social lives online, our other habits change as well. Social media isn’t just for keeping updated with friends anymore; we track our favorite TV shows, stores, restaurants, news and more.

Many crowdfunding campaigns have used social media to create a network of supporters of the project. Building this community of donors helps draw in the crowd and rally even more support. Not all campaigns succeed in raising enough money to get funded. Indiegogo saw that in 2012, 64% of campaigns had pitch videos, and of those, the ones with videos that were under 5 minutes were 25% more likely to succeed.  People stop watching pitch videos at 2:20 minutes, according to Emily Best, CEO and Founder of Seed & Spark and one of Indiewire’s 2013 Influencers for Independent Film. This means that any information past that is lost and exemplifies the importance of conciseness. Keep in mind that not all campaigns are able to raise the funds needed, but a consistent social media presence can make or break a successful campaign.

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Social Media: A Social Net in Times of Disaster

By Patricia Martinez, Expedition PR

In February 2010, an earthquake of 8.8 in Richter scale shook Chile. People were in shock and desperately tried to contact their family and friends to see whether they were safe. Phone lines collapsed. After an emergency of such proportions, the only way to keep informed used to be listening to the radio; today people turn to Twitter and Facebook.

The hashtag #Chile was trending within minutes. It was the only way to get information in real time before the traditional media started to share the magnitude of the disaster, including which zones were more affected and how the authorities were planning to manage the situation, etc. In those circumstances, access to timely and accurate information is a matter of life and death. Twitter was the primary tool to locate loved ones, to know what had happened and where, especially for those with relatives out of the country.

Another example for the powerful use of social media is the “Arab Spring”. People used social networks to coordinate gatherings and for sharing information.

Continue reading


What Business Are You Really In? How Dancers Showcase Business Model Transformation

By Tress Fereday, Expedition PR

I’ve been working for Marketing Communications agencies for a minute or two, and have participated in my share of team building, creativity-inspiring activities. The most memorable included cardio kick boxing, disco bowling, a limo ride to a spa, splashing at a water park, and an old-school Field Day with tug-a-war and three-legged race.   The purpose of these events was to inspire and to build the team dynamic to ultimately drive business … and profits, of course.

I had a lot of fun, and it did reenergize me, and my colleagues.  So, when I saw this article about the Trey McIntyre Project, I was intrigued. Not that is was just another unusual motivating event for a business audience (it is that), but that this dance troupe has expanded the notion of what their business is.  According to their founder, “we have a real asset, which is the creative process itself. We’re selling that.”

So, it got me thinking about businesses that stick to their business model and refuse to change where others evolve and transform.

Trains vs. Transportation

So, if you were in the railway business in the last century, things were going well until airplanes, cars, and trucks transformed how people and freight were moved. Today, Amtrak and commuter rails in large metropolitan areas are the only remnants of the glory days of consumer locomotive travel.

In hindsight, we can wonder ‘why were these companies committed to the train business vs. being in the transportation business?’  As economies and technologies changed, new companies rose up to address these new demands.

Sustainable and Advancing Business Models

A company that comes to mind that has continually evolved its business model and approach is Amazon.com.  The company has been around for 18 years, and started as an online bookseller.  Since then they sell pretty much … everything!

I use the site often because of its simplicity and ease-of-use.  I joke that you can buy everything on Amazon, even an elephant!  Now maybe you can’t buy a real elephant, but their inspired entry into e-readers and tablets have set them up for success in the digital media transition.  And, analysts are touting that Amazon is positioning itself for the long-term.

What Business Are You In?

So, if asked “what business are you in” what is your answer?  Metaphorically, are you in the “train” business, or instead are you addressing the “transportation” needs of your industry?

If Amazon had answered solely  ‘the online book business’ year-over-year , things may be wildly different today. While many of the dot coms of the 90’s went bust because of unsustainable business models, Amazon has catapulted from $510,000 in yearly sales in 1995 to $17 billion in 2011.

The story is a quintessential start-up success story with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos starting the company literally in his garage and getting his friends to beta test the site.

If you are in the midst of launching your company or new product, then check out the free eBook compiled by Expedition PR “How to Prepare for Your Next PR Push.”  You’ll learn five steps that can help you get ready to unveil your startup, and perhaps become the next Amazon.

Also, take a moment to view a bio of Jeff Bezos where he laughs a lot!  Because nothing feels better than knowing exactly what business you are in.

And if you are at NY Tech Day today, stop by the Expedition PR booth. We’d love to meet you.