Strategic Planning Behind Dr Pepper’s Larry Culpepper Campaign

In 2014, Dr Pepper debuted a new brand figure named Larry Culpepper. They recently brought back a revamped Larry Culpepper for the 2016 college football season. He’s a goofy college football fanatic that claims he invented the college football playoffs. Dr Pepper’s Larry Culpepper campaign was likely developed to bring attention to their recent sponsorship of the College Football playoffs. The campaign stretches across a multitude of outlets including traditional TV and radio ads, social media and even a microsite.

Some background information that must have went into the Dr Pepper campaign was an analysis of their competitors. Dr Pepper has two major competitors: Coke and Pepsi. In looking at both Coke and Pepsi’s social media pages, both brands have a strong focus on sports partnerships. Up until recently, Dr Pepper didn’t have a clear online presence, which is a big problem in 2016. Their posting schedule was scattered, a lot of content was sent out with little fan interaction and many posts were generic product photos. With Coke and Pepsi outperforming them year after year, they needed to find a way to improve their presence on social media. I can imagine that after analyzing their competitor’s online repertoire and seeing the large focus on sports, they figured “If we can’t beat em’, join em!”

Some other information that may have been taken into consideration are brands’ successful use of brand mascots. Some examples include the Geico Gecko and Progressive’s Flo. For many people, these mascots are now synonymous with the brands they represent. In 1992, the Energizer battery brand attributed a 7% increase in revenue simply to their brand mascot, the Energizer bunny. This would present Dr Pepper with a way to increase brand recognition and possibly revenue.

After conducting a social media audit, Dr Pepper must have seen that they had room to improve their social media communication program. To develop a campaign, they likely referenced what other brands were doing to increase online presence and brand recognition. They took sports references from industry competitors and successful mascot branding from countless outside brands and combined them into the Larry Culpepper campaign.

Before rolling out the Larry Culpepper campaign, Dr Pepper must have conducted research. The campaign wasn’t only a social media campaign but also included a number of commercial spots on popular sports channels, such as ESPN. Commercials are pricey, so a lot of research must have gone into the development of the campaign.

Dr Pepper must have conducted research on the best outlets for reaching sports fans, since their mascots is a sports fanatic. The Culpepper campaign has touched many outlets, including radio, television, Facebook and Snapchat. One outlet almost completely devoid of the Culpepper campaign is the Dr Pepper Instagram. Dr Pepper must have found that their target audience wasn’t present on Instagram, and decided to save time and money by ignoring the platform.

Another area of research Dr Pepper likely conducted was on their actual audience. Their mascot is a college football fanatic, which coincides with their sponsorship of the college football playoffs. But, why is he a humorous character? Did they conduct research on college football fans and find that their personalities were more susceptible to humorous advertising? Or, perhaps by making their mascot humorous, they were trying to broaden the mascots reach. While Culpepper is a college football fanatic, someone who’s not into sports could still find his antics humorous. Since many mascots become synonymous with the brands they represent, a lot of research must have gone into the development of Larry Culpepper to ensure the audience would like him.

After the campaign, Dr Pepper will be able to conduct more research to determine if their campaign was successful. They can use this to improve the campaign for next year, if they decide to renew it.

In summary, Dr Pepper noticed some problems: Their social media presence was weak, and they needed people to know about their sponsorship of the college football playoffs. They knew that fellow soda brands were using sports to engage fans in the online space. They also saw that so many brands have had success with brand mascots. After conducting a social media audit, a brand mascot based around college football seemed like a viable solution. Before rolling out their campaign, they researched their audience and possible platforms to develop their character and the 2016 campaign plan. At the end of the football season, they can conduct a new social media audit to decide if the campaign was helpful in improving their online presence.

Sources:

Dr Pepper Twitter

Dr Pepper Instagram

Dr Pepper Facebook

Coca Cola Twitter

Pepsi Twitter

Reference For Business

 

 

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Pinterest For Business: An Introduction

Pinterest has self-described itself as “the world’s catalog of ideas”. It allows people all across the world to see, share and build on each others ideas. Pins on the platform are also often linked to outside sites. The Shareaholic 2014 Social Media Traffic Referrals Report showed that across 8 social networking platforms, Pinterest was second, only to Facebook, in driving traffic to other sites (Wong, 2015). This makes Pinterest a great site for sending traffic to a blog or business page. So, how does the site work?

 
Pinterest is a social media site which allows users to save “pins” to themed boards. Pins are laid out in thumbnails, usually featuring a short description underneath. Users organize their pins in their own boards, like virtual corkboards. Fellow users can then follow and save (formerly known as pin) other user’s pins to their own boards.

Here is a screenshot of my Pinterest homepage:

mypinterest

Since I follow boards and save pins about vegan food, DIY and home decor, my front page shows me pins in those categories.

 
Who uses Pinterest?
According to a report by eMarketer, while Pinterest is predominantly women, the company has made it a part of its growth efforts to represent a more even gender split. For now, however, women make up more than 80% of US Pinterest users in 2016 (Pinterest For Marketers: What You Need to Know, 2015).

 
Pew Research reported that in 2014 Pinterest was most popular among younger online users (Duggan, Ellison, Lampe, Lenhart, Madden, 2015). A study by Ahalogy confirmed that 67% of active pinners were under 40 years old. However, Pew found that in 2014, 27% of adults aged 50-64 were using Pinterest. These are higher numbers for this demographic than some other social sites like Twitter and Instagram. (Duggan, et al., 2015)
While the Pinterest audience tends to be dominated by young to middle aged women, women account for the majority of purchasing decisions. So, unless your product is something you feel to be inherently meant for a male audience, Pinterest may serve as an effective addition to your marketing plan.

 
Getting Started on Pinterest as a Business
Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing reported that Pinterest has two different paid advertising options, with one being reserved for high-budget brands (Ng, 2015). The other, available to smaller companies, comes with a number of rules and a seemingly difficult/lengthy approval system. This is not to say that paid ads on Pinterest are a bad idea, but being as it’s such a new marketing tool, it may be scary to put your marketing dollars behind it.
My suggestion is to start by trying to use Pinterest as a free marketing tool. Build a company Pinterest account, add some boards and start pinning yourself. By creating a Pinterest account and starting to understand how the system works, you will be able to decide whether Pinterest seems like a good addition to your marketing plan. It may also give you a chance to see if there’s interest in your product on Pinterest. While it’s clear that a lot of people on Pinterest talk about food, something more niche may or may not have a place.
View the infographic of dos and don’ts for a company-owned Pinterest board below, then read on to see an example of a brand using Pinterest the right way.

infographic
A great example of a business using Pinterest is Whole Foods. The Whole Foods Market Pinterest account has garnered over 300,000 followers and they’ve shared almost 5,000 pins. Whole Foods is a natural food store, so they theme Pinterest boards around natural recipes and beauty products. Still, they managed to make boards about more than just the products they offer, clustering them around holidays and DIY opportunities. They were able to take a popular Pinterest theme, DIY, and fit it in with their brand values. They also share content from a lot of other Pinterest users, so they’re engaging with the community, not just throwing content at them.

wholefoods
The industry knowledge of Pinterest advertising is constantly growing as new brands branch out into the Pinterest advertising world. I can’t wait to see what happens next. For now, I hope you will take a chance and start building your business’s Pinterest page to see if it’s the right platform for you. Remember, it’s free!

Sources:

2016 Pinterest Media Consumption Study. Ahalogy. Retrieved from https://www.ahalogy.com/research/

Duggan, M. Ellison, N. Lampe, C. Lenhart, A. Madden, M. (2015). Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/demographics-of-key-social-networking-platforms-2/

How Pinterest Drives Online Commerce. (2015). Shopify. Retrieved from https://www.shopify.com/infographics/pinterest

Ng, V. (2015). How to Advertise on Pinterest. MCNG Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.mcngmarketing.com/how-to-advertise-on-pinterest/#.V_EXnsm7l5A

Will Pinterest Reach Its Potential in 2015? (2015). EMarketer. Retrieved from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Will-Pinterest-Reach-Its-Potential-2015/1012103

Wong, D. In Q4, Social Media Drove 32.4% of Overall Traffic to Sites [REPORT]. (2015). Shareaholic Reports. Retrieved from https://blog.shareaholic.com/social-media-traffic-trends-01-2015/