Thriving in a new era of brand ambassadors

Marina Teba

7 June 2021

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Although the true origins of social media can be traced back to the 1990s, with platforms such as Six Degrees, we can all agree that Facebook was the true game changer. Since 2005, social relationships have inevitably moved into the digital realm, and social media platforms have become an essential part of our lives. It is therefore not surprising that, from the outset, brands have been trying to carve and shape a niche for themselves in this digital universe as they fight for users’ attention on a daily basis. 

This poses an inevitable dilemma for those of us working in social media advertising: What role do brands play in an ecosystem designed for personal connections? At Good Rebels, we know our main priority must be putting people at the centre of everything, considering their needs, expectations and demands at all times, across all platforms. In other words: give them what they want. 

And let’s be honest: when we are scrolling through Twitter or Instagram at 11 pm (Linkedin is for another time), what we want, in most cases, are memes, jokes and shitposting.

Time, however, works against us. Scheduling an advertising message and having it go through the logical approval process within the brand can mean that, by the time it’s published, the post is already out of date. You might say that long validation processes are inherent to the advertising industry. But those processes don’t work in the fast-paced environment of social media.  One more day and you’re out of date. That meme stopped being funny a week ago.  

In short: adapting the latest social media trends to the values, messages and needs of a brand is often more complicated than it seems, however not impossible. The challenge is to hit the right key. And that’s something we are experts at. 

The solution: beyond traditional celebrities

There’s a secret ingredient that’s helped us fight the algorithm, go viral for Christmas and take the leap from social to TV. So right here and now, we’re revealing our trusty secret for the first time: celebrities and Influencers (with a capital I). But not in the way you’re thinking. 

At this point, we are all aware that brand advocacy as we knew it is approaching its saturation point. Consumers are tired of fake influencers who boast about their new gifted phones, only to post a picture with their usual iPhone a few days later. Users have become increasingly sceptical of an increasingly filtered, staged and misleading social media ‘reality’, which is why 72% of them claim to unfollow influencers engaging in misleading advertising on social media. 

The same is true for traditional brand ambassadors. From George Clooney’s “What else?” for Nespresso to Charlize Theron’s “J’adore Dior”, those iconic partnerships that became part of our collective imagination and worked so well on TV (and other offline channels) aren’t necessarily suited for the digital sphere. It takes more than that to succeed on social media and reach the younger generations. Setting clear campaign objectives and choosing the ideal ambassadors is no longer enough: everything must be combined into the perfect formula.  That’s why, when we’ve worked with celebrities, we’ve done it this way:

Going viral for Christmas, with TV Star Dakota Tárraga

In Christmas 2020, restaurant chain VIPS set us the challenge of developing a digital campaign for one of their most iconic products: pancakes (in Spanish, “tortitas”). For our creative idea, we thought about how, despite being a magical time, Christmas can also turn into a hot mess if all your secret santa presents are lame or your crush doesn’t wish you a happy new year. That’s how we came up with the idea of linking pancakes (“tortitas”) to slaps (“tortas”). 

And if we were going to talk about slaps, we needed to call on reality TV star Dakota Tárraga, who rose to fame after taking part in Hermano Mayor,  a TV show where families of problematic teenagers sought help from a coach to improve their family relationship. Dakota’s aggressive interventions in the show quickly went viral and became a meme. 

At first glance, this might seem like a risky bet, not aligned with the brand’s values. But the truth is, finding a character that connects with the campaign’s “big idea” is the real key to success in this new era of brand ambassadors. Dakota was already a regular on Spanish prime time reality shows, so we asked ourselves: why don’t we bring back the meme? Her most iconic quotes were still part of the collective imagination of Spanish millennials (and of many centennials, too), so we just combined them into a spot. 

The launch of VIPS’ Christmas pancakes was the first step in the company’s new communication roadmap, which aims at connecting with younger audiences through bold actions. Our main objectives were to increase spontaneous brand awareness, as well as improve online impressions and boost engagement rate. And boy, did we succeed: pancake sales skyrocketed, and VIPS sold 30% more units than the previous year. We also went viral, achieving over 100 million impressions and 500K interactions. 

Domino’s Pizza Hot App, with Kiko Rivera

Apps are revolutionising the restaurant and delivery sector, with players such as Uber Eats, Glovo or Deliveroo. In this context, Domino’s Pizza Spain set us the challenge of turning their app into a relational product that became top of mind for consumers.  Domino’s was looking to give their app a fresh look in order to acquire new clients and bring back former ones. 

To achieve such a goal, the app couldn’t just rely on promotions and discounts. It needed a personality of its own. So we developed an action with one of the most popular characters of the moment: Spanish TV Star Kiko Rivera. At the time, the whole country was talking about him, so he was extremely relevant. We developed a spot where a magic mirror reminded him that,  besides his fame, there was something hotter than him: Domino’s “Hot App”. 

The campaign was a success. Usually, when a TV spot works particularly well, we are asked to adapt it to digital formats. This time, however, we did the other way around, going from online to offline: our content, which was originally developed for social media, took the leap to Spanish TV’s prime time. It was also distributed across other platforms such as Twitch or Pluto. 

Besides achieving all the objectives set by the brand —downloads increased by 85%, Domino’s app went up 6 positions in the ranking of most used delivery apps (from #13 to #7, outperforming competitors such as KFC orTelepizza), and its rating improved in the main app marketplaces— our strategy achieved Domino’s Pizza highest brand awareness to date. 

“The catalogue guru”, with actress Yolanda Ramos

In 2020, IKEA celebrated the 70th anniversary of its famous catalogue with big news: for the first time, the brochure would only be distributed online. Retiring their analog catalogue was a huge risk for the brand, so they needed a big campaign that could lift people’s spirits. That’s how “The Catalogue Guru” was born:  a friendly, encouraging face, guiding fans through the discovery of the digital catalogue and dispelling the fears and doubts of the most reluctant. The unique personality and quirky sense of humour of actress Yolanda Ramos allowed us to turn a weakness (the end of IKEA’s paper catalogue) into a strength. 

In short: in 2021,  advocacy strategies have to go one step further in order to be successful. Consumers want stories and want to be part of the conversation. The more memes are involved in the process, the better. This new generation of brand ambassadors has the potential to convey brands’ messages in a credible way while becoming the center of every conversation. At Good Rebels, we have come up with the magic formula to meet both consumers’ expectations and business objectives.