Could your brand
benefit from the right
boycott? We can help
Sometimes your enemies do the nicest
things for you.
Take, for instance, the website One
Million Moms, which the American Family
Association (AFA) launched for mothers
who are “fed up with the filth many
segments of our society, especially the
entertainment media, are throwing at our
children.” One of the current calls to action
at OneMillionMoms.com: “Please send Ben
Outrage over an SNL-themed ice
cream flavor lead to more media
coverage—and possibly higher sales.
& Jerry’s public-relations manager,
Sean Greenwood, an email letter
requesting that no additional Schweddy
Balls ice cream be distributed.”
I bet a lot of people didn’t even know
Ben & Jerry’s has a new ice-cream flavor
inspired by a classic “Saturday Night Live”
skit staring Alec Baldwin as bakery owner
Pete Schweddy, who enthuses about his
shop’s signature treat (“No one can resist
my Schweddy Balls”) on “Delicious Dish,” a
parody of an ultra-low-key NPR cooking
show. But thanks to widespread media
coverage of this irresistible story—
OneMillionMoms.com pans “the vulgar
new flavor” for turning “something as
innocent as ice cream into something
repulsive”—now everybody knows about
Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls. Good luck
finding it in stock at your local supermarket.
Or consider Glenn Beck’s recent take on
the latest Levi’s “Go Forth” commercial,
which he says “glorifies revolution.” (It
shows scenes of urban unrest juxtaposed
with partying kids while a gravelly voiced
announcer reads the Charles Bukowski
poem “The Laughing Heart”: “Your life is
your life/ don’t let it be clubbed into dank
submission...”) “Never again, Levi’s, will you
get a dime from me,” Beck declared on his
show in a soundbite that ricocheted across
the media. “I won’t wear your stupid red
tab.” You could practically hear the
Champagne corks popping at Levi’s
headquarters in San Francisco.
Do you wish youcould get this kind of
“bad” publicity for your product or service?
Email Ad Age media columnist Simon
Dumenco at email@example.com.
Do you have something to say? Send letters and corrections to
firstname.lastname@example.org or to Advertising Age, Viewpoint, 711 Third Ave., New York,
NY 10017. Please limit letters to 250 words
In battle between social
and mainstream, hybrid
media will be the winner
Social-media marketing is getting boring—at
least by itself. It still largely sits in a silo and
therefore fails to realize its full potential.
Need proof? Put down your Kindle and
head to your local bookstore. There you will
find volumes on the topic, many of which
read like get-rich-quick schemes. That’s a
sure sign of trouble.
What many fail to see is that the dirty
little secret of social media, according to a
study by researchers at HP, is that most
conversations are driven by media outlets,
not individuals. However, not all media are
There’s an emerging class of media
brands that are smart, scrappy and
unmatched in their digital DNA. Call them
hybrids. They’re digitally native and
entrepreneurial. They use social and search
to their fullest, yet many of them have a
traditional ad-sales network that resembles
their legacy-laced brethren. Hence the
In a world with too much content and not
enough time, hybrids are the future of
media. They’re a planet of quick, agile ants
that’s challenging the apes for dominance.
It’s where marketers will increasingly focus
their time, energy and
money with a mix of
paid and earned
doesn’t mean the
media stalwarts or
social networks will
fade, mind you, but this
is the breakout group
Hybrid media are
only because they take
chances, but also
because they have
followings. They’re both trusted and
disruptive. And that’s a recipe for success.
The category is comprised of three distinct
groups: aggregators and curators,
personality-driven blogs and incubated
Aggregators and curators are platforms
that help us filter and remix the news from a
wide array of sources. Some are automated.
Others we program ourselves or allow the
crowd to do the heavy lifting for us. They
include mobile-centric platforms such as
Flipboard and Pulse, controversial
revolutionaries such as Demand Media and
curated roll-ups such as Summify, Storify
VentureBeat, Politico, GigaOm and Sports
Blog Nation—tend to be vertical in nature.
What separates them from others,
however, is that their editorial roster is
packed with personalities who have
hugely loyal followings because of their
expertise and voice in a given area.
Personalities come and go like free agents
in baseball, but readers still tend to be
very loyal to the team.
content, even on
mastered the art
time and with the right words and visuals to
impregnate search engines and social
networks just as they are, well, ovulating
Hybrid media brands aren’t standing
still. FlipBoard, for example, is forming
content partnerships with brands.
Meanwhile, vertical blogs such as Business
Insider are branching out into natural
adjacencies like sports, where there are
overlapping demographics and interests.
Still, this is the time for marketers to
overweigh on hybrid media. The payoff is
not only visibility within these individual
properties but in the reverberating ripples
they cast across search engines and social
Rather than trying to cross the ocean in
your own sailboat, to scale in social, it might
be better instead to be a stowaway on
someone else’s ship. And that’s why this
writer is long on hybrids.
Steve Rubel is exec VP-global strategy and
insights for Edelman.