Regardless of your political position, Trump has inspired the biggest marketing campaigns of recent — for better or for worse.
Big brands have ridden the coattails of our social climate to either promote their values as a company or on the contrary, take a marketing risk that left them with the shorter end of the stick. As I explore initiatives ranging from Uber to Airbnb, let’s look at the array of politically motivated marketing over the past month. Would you like the good news first or the bad?
Fox’s Fake News Campaign
On the furthest end of the spectrum, 20th Century Fox hurdled all morality barriers to promote their forthcoming movie ‘A Cure for Wellness’. In collaboration with Regency Enterprises, Fox decided to use fake news to garner excitement around their forthcoming horror film via a very controversial digital campaign.
Fox decided to spread fake news on various subjects, most tied to Trump, then distribute these stories to various outlets that all ultimately pointed to the film’s website. The stories cited wild allegations: Supposed Utah bill to jail and publicly shame women who received abortions, a Donald Trump vaccination ban, and a Lady Gaga Super Bowl Muslim tribute. Clicking on the headlines then led readers to a website for “A Cure for Wellness.”
Since the public exposure, Fox has released an apology for its lack of moral conscious but it’s still hard to fully comprehend the thought behind their approach. Ultimately, much more bad press than good has come from their decision to push the limits.
Uber’s #DeleteUber Damage Control
Uber has clearly been facing a lot of heat and rightfully so. In the midst of their (prior) PR disaster, they met the public onslaught with a wave of targeted ads, covering the social media atmosphere. I’ve never seen such an aggressive campaign and it was done with the goal of setting the narrative straight around their political position. The campaign sought to get in front of those who’d left the Uber hive with the intent of communicating their views on Trump’s executive orders barring refugees, immigrants, and others from these 7 majority Muslim countries.
In hopes of winning back public favor, Uber published Instagram and Twitter ads, they also wrote a distinct message for those who submitted to delete their account through the app, Amongst these actions, Uber published an internal memo from their CEO Travis Kalanick and then promoted the post using Facebook’s targeting tool to put it in front of those who had an interest in the ACLU.
Airbnb air’s ‘We Accept’
As most of us know, Airbnb is a well-documented content marketing aficionado, using mostly user generated content to represent the various lifestyles and cultures that their brand houses. During the Superbowl, Airbnb aired an enticing ad that would rule television and digital for weeks to come.
The ad, titled “We Accept,” shows a montage of faces from different nationalities while delivering a direct message about inclusion.
“We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept,” the text reads in part.
In just 6 days, their team was able to put together this rollout for such a prominent ad spot. Tied in with their landing pages and other distribution methods on digital, Airbnb is conquering both their digital footprint and the message that represents Airbnb’s community as a whole. All the while tackling the political events that have heavily impacted Silicon Valley. CEO Brian Chesky even tweeted a reference to the commercial, along with an announcement that the company is aiming to provide short-term housing for 100,000 refugees, and other displaced people over the next five years. Additionally, Airbnb will be donating $4 million to the International Rescue Committee over the next four years.
Nike’s ‘Equality’ Campaign
Much like tech, sports is another industry filled with global talent so Nike produced an ad during the Grammys that represented their stance on equality.
The brand launched the new 90-second spot, from Wieden + Kennedy, that “encourages people to take the fairness and respect they see in sport and translate them off the field,” according to a release.
Mostly for digital purposes but also a campaign they’re pushing heavily through live installments and merchandise, the advertisement sought to show equality should not just be on the court but also in the community. At one point it even read, “ The bond between players should exist between people. Opportunity should be indiscriminate.”
Nike described the initiative of their new campaign as, “is centered on using Nike’s voice and the power of sport to inspire people to take action in their communities.”
The political climate is creating chaos on both ends of the isle and it’s naturally bleed into marketing trends of recent, for better or for worse. How do you feel about these brands’ use of politically driven marketing?