The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.
Pokémon Go is the gift that keeps on giving, at least to retailers. After reports of an uptick in mall traffic thanks to rhino-chasing players last week, a new study is pinpointing which specific stores are most likely to benefit from the virtual-meets-real-world phenomenon. Placed, a five-year-old company that provides location-driven analysis, stated in a report that players are 75% more likely to visit Hot Topic and 36% more likely to visit Victoria's Secret. Users of the game are also inclined to drop by Red Robin and Taco Bell, Placed found. But home improvement brands might be missing out. The report said that users are 18% less likely to be at Lowe's or Home Depot.
Jack in the Box is looking to virtual reality to promote its new pub-inspired Jack's Brewhouse Bacon Burger. In a roughly two-minute 360-degree spot, the user is placed at a noisy bar, sandwiched between a chatty blonde woman and a boisterous young man impatiently waiting to be served by the bartender (who turns out to be Jack, the brand's clown mascot, himself). Inspired by David and Goliath's ad campaign, MWWPR spearheaded the VR effort. The experience, for which users need to use their own VR headsets, is available on the Jack in the Box YouTube channel. This model follows the suit of other food brands, like Post's Fruity Pebbles, that are trying to position themselves ahead of the tech curve by developing VR ads.
In other restaurant news, TGI Fridays hopped on the "Hamilton" bandwagon with what it is calling a "Ribolution" summer deal. The chain is offering certain items including racks of ribs for $10 each. The $10 bill, of course, features Alexander Hamilton, who is having a major dose of posthumous fame with "Hamilton" the musical in the spotlight with 11 Tony Awards, among other accolades. The chain's marketing campaign, from Made, leans heavily on the founding father. A TV spot that began airing Monday features friends out for dinner. Sitting with them: a guy dressed like Hamilton, who offers to pay. "At Fridays, we believe that no one should have to duel for a deal on great barbeque," Cindy Syracuse, VP-marketing activation, said in a statement. The chain dubbed Monday, July 18, "National Hamiltons Day" and plans to offer $10 ribs and other deals through Labor Day, Sept. 5. Along with the TV spots, a social video delves into the rise of the man bun.
The Pepto-Bismol "5-Symptom Song & Dance" is back after a decade hiatus in a TV ad and online video dubbed "Country Fried Dancin'" from Publicis. It features the famous-for-Pepto-fans chorus line "nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea." The original ad featuring the jingle and dance aired from 2002 to 2006, ushering in four years of brand growth. And the encore is a part of a mini trend following Procter & Gamble Co.'s revival of the original Mr. Clean jingle last month. The song and dance were "permanently embedded in pop culture" the last time around, said Lisa Tecklenburg, associate brand director-digestive wellness. "In fact a lot of die-hard Pepto-Bismol fans continued to request the comeback time after time in social channels." Indeed, research showed the song ranked just behind the "pink liquid in the bottle" as the second most-recognizable brand asset, she said. So why did it ever go away? "I'm not sure exactly," Ms. Tecklenburg said.
Miller Lite recently put a new twist on one-to-one marketing that had nothing to do with digital.Tbe brew delivered personalized messages to beachgoers using airplane banners at an event in Ft. Lauderdale. One example targeted a man who looked like he was getting a bit too much sun with this message: "Hey Blue Swimsuit: Better
The branded emoji keyboard craze has come to beauty thanks to L'Oreal. "Messaging platforms are becoming the new social, the new home page," said Rachel Weiss, VP-digital innovation and entrepreneurship for L'Oreal USA. But the emoji Unicode "doesn't have a lot of personalized beauty flavor," she said, even though "visual communication is the perfect match for beauty."
L'Oreal Paris tested an emoji keyboard last year and found consumers would like something reflecting "the full breadth of our brands, and all beauty products." Ultimately she expects brands will tap the keyboard for emoji-based promotions, e-commerce and customer service. "We see the future of emoji commerce," Ms. Weiss said. Snaps, which developed the keyboard for L'Oreal, is headed by CEO Vivian Rosenthal, one of the first class of L'Oreal NEXT Generation Award winners for women in digital.
Finally, a couple executive moves:
Bar Louie said Stephanie Hoppe has joined as chief marketing officer. She already has a new product launch under her belt: a Spiked Bulleit Bourbon Burger, which comes with a shot glass of spiked housemade BBQ sauce and is only available to patrons 21 and over, is on the menu through the end of August. Ms. Hoppe was most recently CMO at Lyfe Kitchen.
There's a new top marketer on the couch at Bob's Discount Furniture. The 73-unit retailer has hired Steve Nesle as its first chief marketing officer. Mr. Nesle, who has served as a consultant to Manchester, Conn.-based Bob's for the last 12 months, has formerly worked at Deutsch, DDB, McCann Worldwide and Digitas. He's tasked with revamping Bob's marketing department and expanding its online offerings. Focusing on digital could be a smart strategy—online sales of housewares and home furnishings were $18.7 billion last year and represented 18% of the overall market, according to a recent study from Internet Retailer.
Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli, E.J. Schultz, Victoria Moran, Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl