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Pizza and Privacy


Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released an online video that satirized the potential impact of a pizza delivery service that utilized a large, comprehensive database to process customer orders. Even if you disagree with the content of the video, you've got to tip your hat to the ACLU for this one. If you haven't taken a look at the two- to three-minute video yet, definitely do so. This is the second funniest online video I've seen in some time -- the first is the "This Land Is Your Land" spoof.

The ACLU video is also more than a bit disconcerting -- it takes large databases to ridiculous new heights. And like all good satire, the video contains a good dose of the truth.

I find it a bit ironic that the ACLU chose a pizza delivery service to make its point. According to a recent Associated Press story, the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator has been buying lists culled from pizza delivery services for some time now. They use the lists to track down people in violation of outstanding court judgments or debts. Now I have no idea why a pizza delivery service would want to sell its customer lists for the purpose of bringing those customers to justice. But that's a different story for a different day.

Today's topic is: What does this have to do with the way we market our products? And how do we get consumers to give up some of their personal information so that we can do a better job of selling to them?

If you think this is strictly an issue for direct marketers, think again. If you're collecting, processing or otherwise utilizing data online, then the ACLU video is aimed squarely at your business.

Over the top? Yes. Accurate? Maybe

I remember a "60 Minutes" piece a couple of years ago that featured infoUSA's Vin Gupta showing Mike Wallace -- or whomever -- how easily he could use the infoUSA database to look up someone's address, tell how many kids live in the house, and learn all kinds of additional personal information.

So is it possible that a database like the one seen in the ACLU video could be built? Absolutely. Are we there yet? I guess that depends upon whom you ask. There are certainly technological barriers that would make it difficult for most marketers to implement this type of database. I know of more than one company that is still struggling to get its customer database synced with a Web analytics tool. But I also know of companies such as Cendant who are said to be discussing the possibility of merging their many divisional databases into one large uber database.

I had the opportunity to speak with Jay Stanley at the ACLU. Stanley makes the point that much of the technology around data collection is evolving faster than people are able to react. The ACLU put together the video to highlight what it sees as the inherent risks of living in a database society. Fair enough. The ACLU is certainly free to gaze into a crystal ball and see the privacy glass as empty, full, or in this case, completely shattered.

Databases don't hurt people -- people hurt people

Ok, maybe that's a stretch. But clearly there are ways that data can be beneficial to people, and there are ways to use data that most people would find intrusive. Our goal as marketers should be to define some of the gray areas -- and do so transparently and ethically. In the video, the customer service person was obnoxious. In her hands, a database becomes a weapon. But that doesn't mean that databases are inherently bad.

For example, my local video store has a good deal of my personal information on its database -- including my credit card information and rental history. Providing them with that information allows me to get in and out of the store very quickly. And if I ask the dude at the counter nicely, he'll look at some of the movies I've rented and suggest a good movie for me to rent this time around. That's not creepy. That's really good customer service.

Market your privacy policy

Now more than ever, it's important to position your product as being privacy friendly. It's not simply about doing the right thing anymore. The ACLU is framing the privacy debate in its own way. And there are hundreds of other groups out there who seem ready to pounce on any new technology product, data mining technique or marketing program if they feel there's the slightest chance it might violate consumer privacy. As a result, it's important for responsible marketers to proactively position their products and services as being privacy friendly. It's easy to spot a slam-dunk privacy violation such as the one in the video. However, most of the distinctions that marketers and publishers will need to make over the next few years will be much more subtle.

I'm not taking issue with what the ACLU is doing here. Frankly, I applaud the agency. It's using the pizza video to spread its point of view. I may not entirely agree with that point of view, but they are increasing consumer awareness regarding privacy. They are engaging consumers in the privacy discussion. As marketers, we need to do the same.

Smart marketers and publishers will help consumers understand the privacy value proposition. Consumers need to understand what level of privacy they are being asked to give up, and what value they are getting in exchange. Successful marketers will generate buzz by providing colorful examples of why a product is "useful", "valuable" and "fun." Moreover, they'll explain why the privacy rights they are asking consumers to give up are no big deal, enhancing the perception that the positives outweigh the negatives.

Ask consumers before you launch

I think it's a good idea to conduct a survey prior to launching any technology product with potential privacy implications. The survey can help your company develop an understanding of how consumers will react to the product, and uncover potential issues prior to the product launch. Also, it comes in handy to have objective research stats to insert into marketing materials. I really like the survey that ChoiceStream recently released, and hope that will be a trend.

Similarly, it makes sense to get a sense of your customer perceptions prior to launching an expanded data collection program. Send a survey to your customers. Discuss the subject on a company blog and disseminate the customer feedback to your marketing team. Understand what information customers are comfortable sharing with you. Know what they are looking for in return for sharing their information.
Offer notice and choice

One of the best ways to allay privacy concerns is to provide consumers with notice and choice. If consumers understand what they are giving up, and if they understand that they can opt not to share their personal data, much of the privacy concerns can be mitigated. However, as Stanley correctly points out, "In too many cases, consumers aren't given the choice whether or not to participate in a large database program, and if they are, they aren't given complete information on which to make that choice." Unfortunately, there are still instances in which consumers don't know or understand the privacy value proposition. And this needs to change.

In today's environment, so much of what we do has the potential to create privacy concerns. Companies that learn to navigate these challenges will be in a much better position to receive marketplace acceptance. In many ways, this is a battle for the hearts and minds of the American consumer. And whether you're an advertiser, publisher, technology provider, multi-channel retailer or whatever, if you're not taking part in this discussion, or if you lack transparency, you are placing your company at risk.

Alan Chapell is a consultant focusing on privacy-marketing -- helping companies understand privacy and incorporate consumer perception into product development. He has been in the interactive space for more than seven years with firms such as Jupiter Research, DoubleClick and Cheetahmail. Chapell is the New York Chapter Chairman of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, and he publishes a daily blog on issues of consumer privacy.

Trader Joe's

TJ's not being on social media is in line with its overall marketing philosophy -- the brand doesn't do any traditional advertising either. But social isn't traditional, and there are so many opportunities to connect with your fans and build long-lasting relationships.

Why it should be on social media:

  • TJ's is quirky, and it has a lot of great content to share on social media, such as local specials, "Two Buck Chuck," The Fearless Flyer, products and guides, the sample bar, and recipes using Trader Joe's products. (The company is all about the specialty products, and even has a cookbook just for Trader Joe's items.)

  • TJ's is a much-loved grocery chain. There are tons of people who petition for Trader Joe's to bring stores to specific locations. There are true brand advocates out there that could do incredible marketing for Trader Joe's if it existed on social media.

  • There is a huge opportunity for people to share information about the grocery chain on social media. From recipes, to awesome finds, to recommendations, to experiences in the store, there is a wealth of knowledge that is itching and aching to have a place to live.


As one of the biggest companies in the world, it's also the world's biggest social media holdout. There isn't a Facebook page or a Twitter account for the "love brand." Disclaimer: I do know that Apple has many forums for support and that there are some social presences for Apple applications (like iTunes).

Why it should be on social media:

  • Apple has an incredible amount of fans, some of which have been dubbed "fanboys," which has both positive and negative connotations. Either way, these people are obsessed with everything Apple, meaning that Apple has some serious brand advocates it could be interacting with more personally.

  • Since the beginning of Apple's advertising, specifically the ads featuring a silhouette with just the white ear buds, Apple has been reaching deep into its customers' personalities and personal lives by providing imagery and features that help people live, not just buy its products. Social is a perfect opportunity for Apple to have a place where customers and fans can share their experiences with the products, ask questions to peers, and further Apple's message of personalization.

  • Apple has social embedded into its products. Post this, tweet that, share this. Apple has the opportunity to gain more from engaging its social channels, and in doing so, it will make it easier for customers to share content, stay informed, and get support.

Even when a brand is on social media, that doesn't mean it is using it well or correctly. The following brands made some serious errors and should definitely know better.

Celeb Boutique

(And any other brand that uses hashtags or trends without researching them.)

Celeb Boutique is an online store that lets people dress themselves like their favorite celebrities. The company learned (the hardest way) that it's crucial to look into any trend or hashtag on Twitter before using it -- especially for promotion.

The hashtag, #Aurora, was trending because of a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado that occurred at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," and Celeb Boutique tweeted this message:

The tweet was left up for about an hour before it was taken down and apologies were issued. While Celeb Boutique is, in fact, a U.K.-based brand and was unaware of the tragedy in the U.S., the brand still should have looked at the trend and known better.

Celeb Boutique wasn't the only brand that made a serious mistake surrounding the Aurora shooting. The NRA posted a pro-gun tweet as the mass shooting at the movie theater was unfolding:

The tweet certainly could have been prescheduled. Call it bad timing, but the NRA definitely should have known better.


During the Super Bowl, Toyota launched its "Camry Effect" campaign, which included the creation of 10 Twitter accounts that tweeted at users with a Super Bowl-related hashtag to promote the contest. The tweets came from 10 accounts that were verified by Twitter, making it appear that Twitter was actually endorsing this spam campaign.

A couple of days later, Toyota ended the campaign and apologized for the spamming. The Twitter accounts have now been marked as suspended.

Bottom line? Spam is always spam, and Toyota should have known better.

American Apparel

During Hurricane Sandy, American Apparel launched a (probably well-intended) promotion offering 20 percent off to customers for 36 hours in case they were "bored during the storm."

The email blast featured a map highlighting the Northeastern region of the U.S. -- the region hit the hardest by the tropical cyclone, Hurricane Sandy. The ad instructed people to "Just Enter SANDYSALE at Checkout," clearly targeting online shoppers who were staying indoors seeking refuge from the storm.

As you can imagine, the brand got a great deal of backlash for this promotion. Tweets flowed in from users who were truly offended by the insensitive ad. During a time of tragedy and natural disaster, American Apparel should have known better than to try to intentionally capitalize on the catastrophic time.

We all know mistakes happen on social media, and brands are always in the spotlight when it comes to social faux pas. But the "mistakes" above could have most certainly been avoided had social media best practices (and in some instances, common sense) been put into place. These brands should have known better.

What about the brands that dipped just their little pinky toe into the pool of social media, but never took the full plunge? Social media is a conversation, but too many brands aren't listening or actually engaging with their customers online. They're missing out on the key benefit of social: the two-way, mutual relationship that can lead to advocates, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

According to a Socialbakers study, 90 percent of retailers are active on Twitter, but only 29 percent use it to engage with shoppers. On top of that, only 32 percent of all brands on Twitter respond to questions on Twitter.

This, my friends, is anti-social brand behavior.

Have a presence (if it makes sense for you), follow best practices and common sense, and engage with your customers. Seems pretty simple right? Not to these anti-social brands who should know better.

Lauren Friedman is manager of community engagement at Adobe Systems.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Creative outdoor photo of a young man in silhouette" image via Shutterstock.

Fail No. 3: Looking to fit the category versus the culture

Think about your brand and your consumer. What part of culture do you occupy? Perhaps your brand culture is based on provenance, a mindset, a subculture, or emerging belief system?

This one tends to stump most marketers because it's much easier to figure out where you fit in your category versus your competitors, and much harder (unless of course you're Harley Davidson or Levi's) to figure out where your brand plays a part in culture. But culture goes beyond the Warhol-inspired world of pop culture.

Think of skate culture, men's culture, grunge culture, the culture of the green movement, or even food culture -- each of these represents a smaller cut of society guided by a different belief system with distinct codes and badges.

Brands that figure out where they fit within culture have an advantage over their competitors, as cultural positions are much harder to replicate than product/service emulation. For those who saw the finale of "Mad Men" (spoiler alert), Don Draper was credited with ushering in the most iconic of all cultural plays when he hijacked the counter-culture movement to promote Coca-Cola.

Fail No. 4: Being afraid to upset, anyone

Marketers should ask themselves: Who's going to be offended by our point of view? Is there something about their objection we can leverage or create a dialogue over?

Fear is the death of creativity. And in today's marketing environment, many marketers are afraid to take an honest stand for something -- standing for something at a deep human level that speaks to revered values such as the betterment of employees, human potential, American-made quality, or women's self-confidence. It can make the difference between sounding like a stiff corporation versus being "in it" with your customers.

Without even mentioning the brands they belong with, each of the above represent some of the most powerful marketing of the past decade. Look at one notable example: Dove and its stand for women's self-confidence. There were likely some who didn't want to peek behind the curtain and see full-figured women plastered in their news feeds. Not because they were prudes, but because they're either part of the machine or deep down inside they'd bought into the machine. But here's a tip: Listening to the first person who threw a complaint in Dove's direction offered a unique learning opportunity. By merely digging into what consumers are upset about, one can unlock a treasure trove of ideas that keep the narrative going.

Fail No. 5: Interruptive versus attractive communications

Move from emphasizing interruptive messaging to building attractive and engaging content. Why would someone want to follow you? What is the most attractive aspect of this brand? How can we leverage content to gain more brand value?

Recently I was asked, "Why would someone want to follow your brand (in one or two sentences)?" This was one of the simplest yet most valuable questions I've heard in a long time. It's a pointed question about what value you offer a potential customer. Do you make their lives easier in some way? Do you entertain them? Or maybe you turn them on to new things.

So much of today's marketing is interruptive and assumes people are just waiting to hear from you. Message after message is put out, in a one-way dialogue without listening to what people really want or care about. Think about reversing the priority of your messages, and put more emphasis on the attractive elements of your brand. It could be a personality, providing useful tips or information; heck, even entertainment is a proven model of attraction. When you start here, you realize that the standard your brand has to put on content shifts from persuasion being first and foremost to engagement being paramount. With all of the content out there competing for your customer's attention, it's a sure way to elevate your marketing efforts.

Fail No. 6: Under-valuing the power of creativity

Ask yourself: If we were building our business from the ground up, what solutions would our customers want? How might they want to experience our product or service? Who in (or outside) our competitive set has the opportunity to move into our turf with a better proposition and offer?

Creativity is the new "X factor." We hear it in business, education, and even in political rhetoric. But despite its recent fame in TED Talks and broader culture, it seems that marketers today aren't placing the highest value on it. Think about how many game-changing marketing ideas you've heard recently -- customer programs like Hyundai's Assurance Program, product partnerships like Doritos Locos Tacos, or even Amazon Prime. These were entirely new ideas reigniting or amplifying existing businesses.

The problem with today's marketing is the real creativity is happening in startup culture and in places that aren't hampered by existing business models and business structures. The death knell is most apparent in the retail world, with examples like Dollar Shave Club's subscription model jockeying for a big piece of the men's razor market.

Every industry is susceptible -- that is unless you innovate faster than the disrupters nipping at your heels and make creativity a central part of the entire marketing process, not just your advertising.

In summary, ask more of the basic questions, make sure you're able to answer them clearly and succinctly, and lead your teams, your brand, and your marketing to success when others fail.

Scott Jensen is VP, strategic planning director at RPA.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

"confused young man cover his head" image via iStock.

Make an explainer video

If you don't already have a simple, concise video that introduces potential new customers to your product or service, 2016 is the year to get one. Explainer videos don't have to be big productions. Low budget videos are fine as long as the final product is clever and useful. There are plenty of low-cost production shops out there that do great work for reasonable prices. Just Google some variation of "affordable explainer videos." Stretch your explainer video budget and make it look as good as the big guys by going animated instead of using live action. Companies like Digital Brew specialize in animated explainer videos.

When you're ready to pull the trigger, find a creative production partner and allow them to flex their talent. Recognize that whomever you choose to produce your video (whether it's an outside partner or in-house talent) will be the expert on making videos that are fun to watch. Your job is decide what the video needs to convey. The video's producer is responsible for making it work. In other words, don't murder the creative potential of the video in favor of packing it too full of information. Let your creative people be creative. For some examples of great explainer videos, check out:

Still the reigning champ of live action explainers, Dollar Shave Club:

Padmapper has a funny and informative hand-drawn style animated explainer:

Develop partnerships with local influencers

Think of it as hyperlocal marketing. Or geolocated creative partnerships. Seeking sponsorships with local influencers can often give you a ton of bang for your buck. You might be surprised by the value of what is delivered. Because local influencers often aren't in the marketing business. Instead, they helm passion projects teeming with devoted followers. Their working with sponsors simply helps them stay in business. So you'll probably find local influencers grateful to be given some budget to do what they do best along with the creative freedom to avoid sounding like a corporate shill.

These partnerships don't necessarily need to be part of a large and sweeping influencer campaign, if you are already budgeted for such a strategy. Instead, find a handful of local influencers of mid-range size. Offer them a fair but competitive budget, and see how creative they can get. Unfortunately, there is no programmatic way to accomplish this. You'll have to do your homework and even get to know your targets via social media before deciding if they are a good fit for your brand. But it's often worth the trouble. Because you'll be reaching an audience of people who deeply trust these influencers and who know that any brand partner is fully vetted. So you are building trust by proxy and hopefully gaining new customers along the way.

Sponsor an event where you don't seem to belong

Depending on your brand, there might be a set catalog of events throughout the year where you are expected to make an appearance, be it in an exhibit hall or in some other sponsorship capacity. Your competitors are there, you need to be there. Good. You should definitely do that. But that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about getting a little crazy and showing up at an event where you aren't necessarily an obvious fit. Not an irrelevant fit, mind you. But a non-obvious one. Sell pet supplies? Consider showing up at a gathering of industry-specific business professionals (if they'll have you). You'll stand out, and everyone loves taking home a handful of gourmet pet biscuits to the family pooch after a work trip.

Think creatively about your events budget. And try to expand your presence beyond the expected. A well-known strategy in display advertising is simply being different from the rest in order to stand out, make an impression, and hopefully reach new customers. The same strategy can be applied to event sponsorship. You'll be new and novel, so attendees and press will seek you out -- or at least notice you without your having to do anything special beyond just being there. And you'll make new inroads for business development. Not every event will be a home run for your brand, but discovering with what new industries you can and cannot make an impression can be just as valuable as any exercise in market research or data analysis.

Get charitable

Tie a campaign to a worthy cause. If you are a B2B brand, cause marketing will immediately create shareable stories for your PR department. If your brand is B2C, you'll enjoy the added benefit of customers associating your brand experience with the warm and fuzzy feeling of charity. This can quickly build trust and loyalty. Plus charitable campaigns are going to make you feel good about yourself, your job, and your place in the world. It's important to feel like our lives matter, but sometimes the daily grind can get us down. And, let's face it, marketing can get a little slimy at times. Spearheading a cause-based campaign can keep burnout at bay and make you feel like a better person.

Find a cause that matters to you, your colleagues, and your customers, and make world a better place. Yes, it's just a good thing to do despite the fact that tying charitable campaigns directly to ROI can be challenging. But the halo effect can be impressive, so it's certainly worth exploring.

Try Snapchat, ya whippersnapper

I know you're scared. And maybe you're over 35 and just don't get it. But 2016 will be the year you fall behind in terms of social media if you're not seriously considering your brand's play on the platform. Traditionally, Snapchat has been used as a one-to-one channel where one user sends a pic or a video to another user. Like texting, but with images and drawings. But the poster social platform for young people has been evolving over the past year. Snapchat Discover, a facet of the service that features only 15 brands at a time, is one of the most coveted prizes in media right now. So does your brand have what it takes to make it to Discover? Well...probably not, statistically speaking. But that doesn't mean that you're out of options. Snapchat, like all social platforms, continues to evolve and expand.

Plus, now more than ever, brands are creating Snapchat Stories to share with their followers. If you're unfamiliar with Stories, think of them as mini movies with a narrative of some kind. "What I had for dinner," or "on set with Dwayne Johnson" (you should be so lucky). Stories are an excellent way to reach a younger (for now) demographic with highly targeted and personalized brand messaging.

Drew Hubbard is a social media and content marketing specialist.

On Twitter? Follow Hubbard at @drewhubbard. Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet

"Young businessman looking suspicious" image via iStock.

Show shoppers you know them

More than half (56 percent) of consumers say they expect retailers to use what they know from their past interactions and purchases to personalize gift-giving ideas this year. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26 percent more likely to be opened, and marketers have found a 760 percent increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. Personalized product recommendations can also have a huge impact on your results: 77 percent of customers make additional purchases when presented with product recommendations that match their needs.

Here are product recommendation ideas to consider:

Check your automated email lists (more than) twice

Use email automation to boost purchases and save time. Set a trigger and when that action occurs, a specific email or set of emails will be sent to your subscriber. Some examples of automated emails you can send during the holidays include:

Thanks for purchasing
Once a shopper has purchased, you can use an automated email campaign to compel them to buy again. Suggest items on wish lists, recommend other products that relate to the one they just purchased, or offer special deals if they purchase again within a certain amount of time.

Abandoned cart
Send emails to re-engage shoppers who abandon their online shopping carts. Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, and about 63 percent of it is recoverable by savvy online retailers.

Transactional emails
From purchase receipts to shipping notifications, transactional emails are opened four to eight times more often than traditional emails. Adding cross-sell recommendations to shipping confirmation emails can also increase transaction rates by 20 percent.

Go mobile or get coal

One in four retail purchases was made on a mobile device during the holidays last year. Further, 45 percent of online retail traffic came from smartphones and tablets during the 2014 holiday season, up more than 25 percent from 2013. Here are tips for adopting a "mobile-first" mentality to make sure your emails are effective on any device shoppers are using this holiday season: 

Use a mobile-friendly email template
Preview how your emails appear on different mobile email clients so you know your email looks fantastic in every inbox.

Keep it brief
On a small screen, five or six sentences can look like a novel. Keep your messages short and consumable, linking to more detailed content on your website or blog.

Use buttons instead of text links
If your readers' finger takes up a significant amount of space on the screen, the worst thing you can do is make them try to click a tiny link. Use call-to-action buttons to make it easy for subscribers to click-through.

Entice readers with a short summary of your email
Use the preheader -- the short summary text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox -- to pull your reader in. They'll use this to decide whether or not they should open the email, so use it strategically to maximize the selling power of your email content.

You know that the holidays are high-stakes and that email works to reach consumers. Now it's time to make those things work together. Make sure you're using email marketing effectively during the time of year when shoppers are thinking about compiling their holiday wish lists, making purchases and interacting with their favorite brands.

Kim Stiglitz is director of demand generation and content at Campaign Monitor

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet

"Christmas E-Mail" image via iStock.

Western Union: Helping families share holiday meals digitally

Western Union is the leader in worldwide money transfer services. Once best known for sending telegrams (a service discontinued in 2006), the company is remarkably assertive and adept when it comes to social media.

Among its many digital initiatives was a holiday campaign last year titled "WU Home Cooked," which was focused on delivering family meal time experiences -- rather than money transfers -- to customers far away from home.

The company created a microsite where visitors could share personal stories about food, family and culture. They could join their family members to post treasured recipes and dinner table pictures, along with holiday wishes. Created by Giant Step, the campaign was about making a connection between the brand and its customers via food-related experiences.

It culminated with a pop-up dining room at the Western Union retail location in Times Square. Three customers were surprised with an authentic meal featuring recipes from home shared via video with their far away family members. The company then produced an emotionally charged video chronicling these "Surprise and Delight" meals that has captured nearly 3.5 million views on YouTube.

Western Union's "WU Home Cooked" campaign demonstrates how a decidedly non-culinary brand can leverage food-related passion to tell its story.

IKEA: Using food as metaphor (and furniture as ingredients)

IKEA is the world's largest furniture retailer, and it definitely knows a thing or two about marketing.

To introduce its METOD line of modular kitchen designs in Asia, IKEA and BBH Global developed a delightfully creative video titled "Recipes for Delicious Kitchens" in which a kitchen is literally cooked up using miniature versions of furniture as "ingredients."

The voiceover begins with "Start by measuring the space you want to fill," as we see the chef slice off a section of ruler and drop it into a saucepan as if it's a stick of butter. Next up is a "juicy rack of cabinets," which are cut up and placed in the sizzling pan. Light bulbs are cracked like eggs, nails are sprinkled from a spice jar and other items are tossed in until we hear the chef say "voila," and we see a tiny kitchen served up on a plate.

In the video we're reminded that each item for the kitchen can be found in the IKEA catalogue, which is referenced at the conclusion as "The IKEA Cookbook."

The message that is so cleverly delivered is that IKEA makes it easy and fun for customers to "mix ingredients" to create a customized kitchen that fits their personal taste.

Disney and The Weinstein Company: Serving up branded recipes

Film studios are tapping into the food enthusiast community with content campaigns that generate word-of-mouth, and even score publicity in newspaper food sections.

Such promotions are a natural fit for films in which food plays a starring role. Recent examples include The Weinstein Company's "Burnt" (starring Bradley Cooper), Disney's "The Hundred-Foot Journey" and the Jon Favreau's "Chef." Each of these films tapped BakeSpace.com's online food community and digital publishing platform to create branded recipes and app-based cookbooks (web-based versions can be viewed at "The Official 'Burnt' Movie Cookbook" and "'Chef' the Film Cookbook: Recipes from El Jefe"). 

These types of campaigns provide the site's built-in, very receptive audience of home cooks with content they find highly engaging and useful; foodies love to try new recipes and share them with friends and family.

BakeSpace has also created dozens of recipe-based campaigns for films and TV series that don't have an obvious food tie-in. Recent examples include Disney Pixar's "Inside Out" and Disney's "Tinkerbell Secret of the Wings." The site worked with both projects to develop activations ranging from crowdsourced cookbooks (with recipes submitted by movie fans) to online contests based on culinary themes tied to the storyline and/or lead characters.

Babette Pepaj is founder and CEO of BakeSpace, Inc.

On Twitter? Follow Babette at @BakeSpace and iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

"My lunch looks so delicious" image via iStock Photo.

Chapell & Associates is headed by Alan Chapell. In 1997, Chapell founded the privacy program at Jupiter Research, an internet research firm focusing on the consumer internet economy. During his four and a half years at Jupiter, Chapell also...

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