Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Twitter hacks ain’t so bad.


First Burger King, then Jeep – last week was HUGE in hacking.

Both accounts seemingly breached by the same outfit (@DFNCTSC – a Twitter account with no tweets; apparently stands for Defonic Team Screenname Club – a collective of hackers once associated with breaching Paris Hilton's T-Mobile account in 2005).
No doubt both will bring up serious concerns over cyber security and corporate protocol around social media. But really, how bad were these two most recent hacks?

@BurgerKing – Mon. 2/18, approx. 12 noon EST.
The hack alleged a takeover by McDonald’s, however in-eloquent. Tweets rambled on for nearly an hour before Burger King/Twitter finally caught on to the act, suspending the account and blocking delivery of new lascivious tweets.

@Jeep – Tue. 2/19, approx. 1pm EST.
Jeep’s hack followed similar suit, intimating a business takeover by Cadillac (nameplate under GM). Again, tweets were far from funny – nonsensical ramblings and obscure drug and gang references. And the folks at Chrysler were “back in the driver’s seat” before the afternoon was out.

So, why is it good?

It doesn’t negatively impact brand value. – Quite the opposite, actually. Members of the twittersphere can immediately recognize a hack, and just like that, disconnect any negative sentiment that may arise from offensive language. Instead, it seems to stimulate a sense of empathy and reality for the account, re-engaging users upon the  legit owner’s return.

It adds followers. – Burger King gained 30k followers; Jeep gained a (more) modest 3k. And isn’t audience growth one of the most important things? Like when celebrities decide to self-destruct in 140 characters or less, people tune in for the drama, but getting ‘em to stay is another story. Again, content is king and the pressure is on to retain new minds.
So, while we’ve established that the brand gets something with their hack, what do we readers get?
Not much.

Is it too much to demand a higher breed of comedy?

More satire, less sass. – Acting like McDonald’s purchased its arch-nemesis is a great concept. But the intimation stopped there and the predators opted for messaging no more thoughtful than that of a novice, self-involved amateur user. Superfluous street slang, cheap drug humor, and poor spelling don’t feel like a McDonald’s run Burger King Satire – and that’s what new followers tuned in to see.

How about a Ronald vs. King Mascot face-off? Maybe a Big Mac/Whooper menu mash-up? Get creative in a way that McDonald’s would NEVER in a real Burger King take-over!

Makes you wish these hacking outfits could add a few über-creative marketers, even comedy writers to the payroll. It would make their reign more entertaining and engaging.

Where should I submit my résumé? :)  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Things are bright and cheery over at The (new) Vitamin Shoppe

What better time of year for a healthcare/supplements store to debut a new look? Q1 is their Christmas!

Customers are flooding in; resolved to live a better life, combating epidemic colds and flu, or perhaps a combination of both.

I’ve always been a GNC loyalist, so pardon the delay in my taking note, but
The Vitamin Shoppe has totally transformed!
An improvement for sure, but given the incumbent, was there ever any doubt?

The previous logo was totally ordinary, which doesn’t pair well with an already terribly generic name.

And it was a name and logo all at once, mounted on a thick, heavy oval of blue and gold. The bloated, italic typography, with its hard edge lines and the useless inclusion of “since 1977” left the mark feeling unnecessarily busy.

Vitamin Shoppe’s new look follows the sweeping trend in clean, simple design.

The Colors

While it retains the heritage colors of blue and gold, it brightens both quite a bit. Increasing yellow’s prominence was a smart move; as it makes the mark feel young, healthy and full of life (and isn’t that why we pop vitamins in the first place?).

…Wait, where else have we seen this color palate?
Did someone have a sale on blue and yellow-gold?
A little too close for comfort, if you ask me. I’d have tweaked the colors a bit more to secure a truly unique identity, (and avoid brand confusion with the Sprawlmart pill aisles).

The Typography

Nothing earth-shattering, thin and simple – but a breath of fresh air! And hey, it does as good a job as any of carrying the word “Shoppe” into this century.

The Shield

Perhaps the most interesting update was the addition of an emblem.

The Vitamin Shoppe’s “V” is bold and impactful. It brings real movement to the brand and is well suited for the hip minimalist approach to product labels, promotional posters and social media avatars. Although not iconic, it strives to be, and will no doubt become sole ambassador of Vitamin Shoppe across the gamut of iOS, windows, and android mobile apps.

Not bad brand evolution.

When it comes to the new look, we give The Vitamin Shoppe a clean bill of health!