The Art of Online Food

The explosion in popularity of online food videos has allowed internet media moguls such as Buzzfeed, to drive online viewership of their video content in a bid to secure more market share of the digital video industry. According to eMarketer estimates, the industry was valued to be $10.3 billion in 2016 and was expected to grow to $12.5 billion by 2017. In 2016, Buzzfeed digital video accounted for nearly half of their $250 million revenue.

During a 15 month span between 2015-2016, Tasty created over 2,000 recipe videos that reached 500 million people a month. The brand presently has over 94,000,000 followers on their main channel on Facebook, not including over 8,000,000 followers on Tasty Vegetarian, and over 22,000,000 followers on the Bein Tasty channel.

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Last September Tasty earned nearly 1.8 billion views with 1.6 billion of those views coming directly from Facebook, according to data from Tubular Labs as reported in Adweek.

Tasty uses concise and shareable video content that allows their videos to receive viral levels of engagement. Part of the reason Tasty has been so successful is due to its understanding of its audience and their ability to customize content, so that it’s aesthetically pleasing and fun to consume. Buzzfeed has formulated the perfect video time and capitalized on the right content to be shared on Facebook.

Watching this content can be addictive, and part of the reason for this is due to the inherent sociability of food. Food is universal, and it can be cross-cultural. We all need to eat and appreciate the art of good tasting food. A large population of people enjoy the discovery of new ingredients and flavors to reinvent something they love.

Buzzfeed’s bite sized morsels allow for their clickbait tactics to ensure shareability, increased brand recognition and website traffic, as well as revenues through offspin products such as the Tasty cookbook which sold 150,000 copies worldwide.

Provided below is a video that summarises some of the key attributes of success that have helped propel the Tasty brand.

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The Necessity of being Vulnerable

Over the reading week in February I experienced the privilege of being selected among a group of 8 students to attend The Gathering– a marketing summit- in Banff, Alberta for three days.

The conference was named by Forbes this year as a marketing conference to check out in 2018. Huge brands were in attendance including the likes of PlayStation, Gatorade, Jack Daniels, and Snickers to name a few.

The Keynote speaker for The Gathering was Brene Brown a pop psychologist whose primary research focuses on human connection.

In her speech, Brene spoke to us about the power of vulnerability and a few things she mentioned truly resonated with me. Those who live life whole-heartedly and experience the most human connection are those who embrace vulnerability. That is to say that they do not see vulnerability as an explicitly negative or positive human condition but rather a necessary state of being to maximize our emotional and mental health.

By not allowing ourselves to be authentic to ourselves and accepting of our imperfections we infect ourselves with shame, and in so doing, unravel human connection. By doing so, we can begin to unknowingly numb our emotions for fear of being unworthy of human connection.

In order to live our lives to the fullest and derive the most meaning from our relationships, we must approach the topic of vulnerability with courage. As Brenee pointed out, courage coming from the Latin word cur means to tell one’s story with their whole heart. We must embrace our imperfections wholeheartedly and take risks when advancing and strengthening our connections with other people.

Do the Dollars Define You?

Every-day people are faced with the choice, or the necessity to spend their money. Money makes the world go round. As innocuous as it sounds, prodigious amounts of monies are spent within seconds of every day across the globe. With this in mind, what drives the insatiable need to have and consume?

During a class field trip to Chapters, our class was challenged to observe the rationale behind everyday consumer behaviour in a hands-on setting. Our task was to pick and observe one target consumer within a specific age range and record our findings on their behavioral responses, and interactions with various consumer products.

For my target consumer, I chose to observe a senior by the name of Elaine.  Elaine appeared to be in her mid-seventies. She was alone and presumably single as she did not wear a wedding ring. She spent a large amount of time in the magazine stands which I took to mean she had free money to spend. Elaine seemed to be a creature of comfort and wore track pants, wide set New Balance shoes, and a bulky sweater.

I was motivated to choose this specific consumer because I felt she had a story to tell. Elaine gravitated to magazines that featured animals; she spent time looking at Easter cards, and plush throw blankets. She carried herself in a very uncomfortable way, and I wanted to know why.

The magazine I purchased- entitled World of Animals–  directly pertains to the ideal self of my target consumer. My target is clearly experiencing the isolating effects of aging and is attempting to compensate by aligning herself with traditional ideals of belonging and self-purpose through her love and care of nature. Elaine aspires to be surrounded by life and to feel connected to nature. She also feels a moral responsibility to be a steward of her environment.

I know Elaine finds the World of Animals magazine interesting because she purchased a copy of it. Although I felt I understood Elaine relatively well by observing her actions from a distance, I was stricken with the degree of empathy she must possess in order to be susceptible to the advertisements within the magazine.panda

The first advertisement I chose to focus on in the magazine was that of a World of Animal’s subscription offer. I believe this advertisement would resonate with my target because it would be financially advantageous for her.

The second advertisement I chose for my target consumer was an ad for Pandas International. I chose this ad because I feel that it directly aligns with Elaine’s core values.

My target consumer falls into the category of a personalised consumer. She seeks meaningful connections and a sense of community  which she experiences through good customer service. I had the opportunity to observe this as she spoke with two different employees who addressed her by name- demonstrating her brand loyalty- as they checked in on her shopping experience. Elaine’s purpose for shopping can be attributed to her desire for interpersonal attractions, as well as the fact that her behaviour also reflects that she could be considered that of a recreational shopper.

It is staggering to learn the amount of information one can learn from simply analysing someones purchasing happens. With a rapidly developing global population, and new emerging market’s, consumer behaviour and its insights will only continue to garner investment by international companies looking to increase their market share.

What do boobs, strollers, and Mars missions have in common?

Over the course of the semester in my advertising class at St. Lawrence College, we have examined the importance of client relationships, creative consistency and the confines of working in particular product columns. Despite the varied needs of clients and their products, thoughtful advertising strategies allow for a greater latitude of creativity as they require a great deal of innovation in order to be successful.

In an article by The Glob and Mail, Canada’s advertising leaders share their thoughts on some of the most successful advertisements of 2016. Among them included ManBoobs4Boobs developed by agency David Buenos Aires in collaboration with their client MACMA Argentina. The advertisement experienced 48 million views online within the first week of its’ launch.  I found this ad played well in a trend that has really been highlighted this past year. The need to go viral. In addition to being informative it made a point to highlight the challenges of associated with censorship of the female nipple in relation to breast cancer awareness and self examination, and the understated fact that men can get breast cancer as well.

Another one of my favourite commercials from the Globe’s selection was The Contour Baby Stroller Test-Ride and the ‘Field Trip to Mars’. Both of which are two very different commercials, but both still found a way, despite being in niche product columns to do something very innovative with their approaches.

Using a humour appeal strategy isn’t always advisable ,and can get old quite quickly, however what I enjoyed most about the test-ride idea was that it added a dimension to the purchasing process, that until now, was probably a very superficial after-thought in the minds of most parents. Especially as they begin covering the corners of their home furniture and aggressively researching the safety ratings of everything from car seats, cribs, and minivans. Was this baby stroller comfortable? Genius!

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The Field trip to Mars brought to life the importance of showing vs. telling, and the incorporation of entertainment rather than specifically targeted messaging. While watching the advertisement, I wasn’t fully aware of what it was about until the end, but I was along for the ride the whole time.

In a world where digital and online interactive advertisements are increasingly becoming the future of advertising. Advertisers need to start vying for consumers attention in ways never needed to before, as mobile advertising and smart phone penetration continue to rise, and staunchly compete with the shrinking attention span of the everyday consumer. The importance of an effective appeal strategy has never been more relevant.

You want me to what? Blog?

Writing takes many forms, but none as undervalued as the everyday blog. Today I will be reflecting upon my own personal writing experiences, and why I think blogging is essential for any aspiring or current marketer.

My first thoughts on blogging were that it was some sort of arcane practice perpetuated by needy emotional teens of the early millennium. Given the undying nature of the internet, I had assumed that all popular blogs were relics of a previously departed era, and that they had been later replaced by present day social media.  If you had asked me six months ago to write a blog my first instinct would have been to laugh, and then to promptly ask you why you were trying to make me into a cliché. Little did I realize, that blogs are more than just alive and well… they were relevant!

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Photo Source

During my time at SLC I have noted that in the field of communications writing succinctly and clearly is the primary focus. For this reason, I am currently challenged to drive my points across as clearly as possible in the shortest possible way. I find this style of writing unnatural, because in my past academic experience we were always focused on expanding and reading beyond the words of a philosophers rather than communicating basic points.

My past experiences as a writer have included article wiring, short stories, essays, and most recently blog posts. I find blog posts to be the most challenging out of all the forms of writing I’ve experienced in the past. The most challenging aspect of blog writing is determining who your audience will be.

I believe that writing in public forum, if done correctly, is a privilege. Most often writers who do so are not only writing to their intended audiences, but are also writing to their peers. Blogging is an essential tool to develop our writing skills, and further enhances our employability. Blogging is an excellent way to add experience to your professional resumes.

I believe that writing in public forum is a challenge to innovate and excite your audience. It can prove that you are a leader in your field by demonstrating you are on the cutting edge of your practice. I look forward to honing my skills on this particular skill set, and encouraging my peer to do the same!

About

My name is Benjamin Lawrence; I am an Advertising Marketing and Communications Management student at St. Lawrence College in Kingston Ontario. Currently, I am studying marketing and communications elements such as creative planning and media buying, direct response and digital advertising, content development, including blogging and video production.

In the past few short months at SLC, a lot has changed for me. Every day I am faced with a new opportunity to meet new people and challenge myself in unique ways. I am consistently balancing getting my assignments handed in on time, planning my meals, or developing my newly emerging personal brand.

St. Lawrence college has equipped me with a hands on approach to identifying and resolving business related problems. I am confident that my time over the next three years will only continue to evolve my abilities in integrated marketing communications, and give me the tools to be successful.