Tag Archives: Social Media

ChapStick vs. Carmex- A social media competitive assessment

4 Mar

This is my assessment of the way ChapStick, (I chose them in spite of their PR/Social media disaster of last fall) and Carmex are  using  social media as of Spring 2011. As part of an assignment for my Social Media Insights class we were asked to choose an industry and pick 2 companies that compete in that industry that are using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and compare and contrast how each company uses these tools.

I found it interesting that ChapStick doesn’t have a twitter handle at all, but I am impressed with some of the things that they do on their other platforms. Both companies seem to be targeting anyone who is a regular user of the product. A lot of ChapStick’s and Carmex’s content focuses on contests to win free product or on encouraging customers to share their experiences with the product. These brands are trying to build fan loyalty, not create new fans. For ChapStick, the objective seems to be to increase awareness of limited edition flavors by encouraging customers to share their favorites and to introduce them to something new. Since lip balm is a product that you can use multiples of at one time (one is a purse, your car, at your desk, etc), promoting all the different flavors will encourage additional purchases. Carmex’s business objective seems more focused on just pushing Carmex as a whole brand instead of focusing on the individual products as sub-brands. They’re objective seems to be increasing loyalty to Carmex by encouraging customers to visit social media sites for chances to win free product.


In an effort to get more Likes, Carmex is running a “75 years with 750,000 fans Carmex Collection” Giveaway. You have to like the page, submit a form, and then you have the option to publish the giveaway on your FB page.  Carmex also has a graph showing their likes so far and their goal. By giving away a decently large amount of their basic products, they’re obviously targeting people who are committed users of Carmex. I thought it was interesting that they make it optional to share the competition. They are clearly more focused on getting Likes than on getting interaction. It might have been better if they had made the contestants write a post on the Carmex wall telling where and when they use Carmex the most (i.e. When skiing, at the movies, on the train, etc); this would have gotten more discussion going about the brand. I like the idea that they’re tying this to celebrating something, instead of just trying to get likes in general. It makes the campaign feel more genuine and less like a gimmick. When reading some of the Carmex posts on their wall, I got really bored. Most of the posts were either spamming of promoting contests or saying “congratulations to our winners…”  There was nothing really worth looking at (although they did look like some cool contests/prizes). If I were a fan of the page, I might check it fairly regularly to see if there was a contest I could enter, but I would not write on the wall or feel more inclined to purchase the product.

Carmex Facebook contest

On ChapStick’s FB page they are promoting their new limited edition flavors in a variety of ways. They ran a “Send a Kiss” Valentine’s thing that wasn’t really a promotion, but it encouraged fans to interact with the brand.

Chapstick Facebook post

They also occasionally do free giveaways, but it’s not the focus of the page. Most of their posts are great interactive questions to fans. “ChapStick fans always have a backup flavor. What’s your number 2?” or “Name a President and name the ChapStick® that you believe was his favorite, or would have been his favorite! Go!” or  “If ChapSticks® co-mingled, which two flavors would you want to see hook up?” Sometimes the questions have absolutely nothing to do with ChapStick, but they’re hot discussion topics so the fans will spend time on the page talking about them anyways. Recent posts include “What do you think of reality TV–love it or hate it?” “Which celeb has the best looking lips?” (This question had 159 likes and 248 comments) another “Fill in the Blank Friday, you know the drill! It’s Friday night and I’m _______________.” The questions ChapStick posts are almost water cooler topics that people might talk about at work. It makes the brand feel more like a friend posting this on their wall than a company.


Carmex redeems its overzealous contest promotion on its FB page with its Twitter account. On Twitter they interact with fans more, answering questions, responding to complaints, and thanking fans for compliments. They retweet good things fans say (but they do it as RT instead of hitting the button, so it looks like a tweet from Carmex and not the follower). They encouraged fans to interact with the brand via their LeBron James partnership. People tweeted things like “I use @Carmex just like #TeamLeBron. My Terrific Tuesday game depends on it. #TeamCarmex http://bit.ly/vz7FNm” Basically they were only changing what their “game” was that depends on Carmex and including the link to the LeBron/Carmex page. The RTs of these fan tweets are all over the Carmex page near the end of January and into February so it seems like it was a popular trend. Very few tweets from Carmex were unique content that was not a response to someone else or a contest announcement. After being so underwhelmed with their FB page, it was nice to see more involvement with the Twitter handle.

ChapStick has an @ChapStick handle but it’s got a person’s name attached to it, has 35 followers and no tweets. Sad.


Chapstick’s YouTube channel looks impressive at a glance. They have a background with pictures of the different flavors and the same lips image shown above that they’ve got all over their Facebook page. The two pages are cohesive and display the brand nicely. I then noticed that there’s been no activity on the channel for 4 months. Not good.  It looks like last fall they did a “Sing your love for ChapStick” competition so some of the videos from that are posted, but nothing since then. They do have some featured 15-second videos that are set up as interviews on the street asking people “where is your ChapStick now” and “Who is the ChapStick thief in your life.” These are cute, but are obviously staged and a bit commercial-y. There are not very many comments on the channel and none of them are by ChapStick. They do have a referral to their FB page that keeps a real-time count of how many Likes they have.

Chapstick Facebook likes

Carmex’s channel is a little less showy than ChapStick’s. The background is their signature yellow color, but the channel almost looks like a fan and not the company might run it. Their latest activity was back in October, and since they joined in 2006, they have only posted 4 videos; one is a 4-minute tour of their labs, one is an announcement of their new skin-care product. One from 2008 is a 1 ½ minute TV commercial with this copy under it “Do you have a unique Carmex story to share? Why do you think people love Carmex so much? How do you share the tingle? Well, break out your video camera or cell phone (and some Carmex!) and show us your movie making magic. Enter your video (under three minutes) and we’ll reward the most promising up and coming film-makers with $5,000 or other fabulous prizes! Videos will be judged on creativity (“tingliness”), humor, overall appeal and popular vote in case of a tie.”
There doesn’t seem to be much follow-up on the page from that promotion and there’s been nothing like it since then.

Both of these brands have a lot of room for improvement in their social media customer interactions. I applaud them for having YouTube channels, but both of them really need to refocus on making the channels valuable. I am very surprised that ChapStick doesn’t have a Twitter, but at the same time the conversational tone of their Facebook page covers a lot of the same content that a Twitter handle would. Since they focus so much on the visual of each new flavor or difference in product benefit, it makes sense for ChapStick as a brand to focus their attention on FB where they can post pictures that are easy to see than on Twitter.

Carmex redeemed their weak Facebook page with their Twitter handle, but then was very disappointing in their YouTube channel. I’d say that in the end ChapStick wins out, mainly because they seem to be working very hard to provide clever and fresh, relevant content on their Facebook page. I loved the question about “Name a President and what ChapStick flavor they would use.” They weren’t blatantly pushing their brand, but it did encourage fans to stop and really think about the different products they offer. In reading the comments other fans made, I realized that there are some flavors out there that I wasn’t even aware of. So ChapStick wins this contest, but due to their PR/Facebook debacle last fall only by a margin. (They still use the phrase “Be heard on Facebook” but they seem to have learned that they can’t say that and then delete peoples’ comments.)


Chicago Theatre District: Broadway in Chicago “Student Scene” PR Campaign

21 Nov

This is the paper for the group project/final for my intro PR class at DePaul. We got an “A” so I thought I’d share.

BIC Student Scene PowerPoint Presentation

 Chicago Theatre District

PRAD 555 Final Campaign

Broadway In Chicago Student Scene Logo

Alina Blackford, Katie Denton, Lauren Dixon

 Situation Analysis:

Broadway in Chicago was founded in July of 2000 and throughout the past ten years has become one of the largest locations for traveling performances in the country. “Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well over 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Bank of America Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the new Broadway Playhouse.”[1] While Broadway in Chicago reaches a large number of people every year, none of their marketing efforts are geared specifically towards one or even a few target audiences. Broadway in Chicago seems to be trying to reach everyone with their campaigns and out of that target of “everyone,” BIC ignores the thousands of Chicago University students who live and play right next-door.

Subscription purchases are always preferable to theaters than single ticket purchases. Customers purchasing subscriptions commit to a certain number of performances and are more likely to purchase again in the future than single ticket buyers. Theaters aim to make life-long partnerships with subscription buyers, hoping that a feeling of loyalty to and ownership of the theater will keep them from straying to other entertainment sources. BIC has a members club in which subscribers can receive points for performances they attend but offers no additional perks for students, not even student rush tickets. Broadway in Chicago does not manage its own box office but uses Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster records can be accessed for tracking subscription and single ticket purchases.

Broadway in Chicago theaters host touring performances in an array of genres ranging from traditional musical theater, (West Side Story, Marry Poppins, South Pacific) to new modern musicals (The Book of Mormon, Rock of Ages, American Idiot). Broadway in Chicago Theaters are right in the heart of the loop surrounded by a variety of restaurants and nightlife options. Many loop restaurants offer a prix fixe menu where anyone with theater tickets can get an appetizer, dinner, and desert for a set price.

SWOT Analysis


  • BIC presents nationally touring Broadway shows
  • BIC has a wide variety of performances to choose from
  • BIC is the 5th largest tourist attraction in Chicago
  • BIC theaters are surrounded by restaurants and nightlife


  • There is a lack of a target audience in Broadway in Chicago communications.
  • There is a missed opportunity in targeting students and creating discounted programs to encourage their attendance


  • BIC theaters are located in the heart of the Loop near 4 major arts schools
  • There is room to target students at these colleges with an interest in art, but a lower budget
  • Liberal arts students offer a large target audience


  • Chicago is home to a large number of arts organizations that have similar performances at the same time as BIC theaters
  • Chicago has a dynamic nightlife that attracts students on the weekends
  • School theaters offer lower prices to their students than BIC shows


Broadway in Chicago Theaters

  • Oriental Theatre-24 W Randolph St
  • Cadillac Palace Theatre-151 W Randolph St.
  • Bank of America Theatre-18 W Monroe St.
  • Auditorium Theatre-50 E Congress Parkway
  • Broadway Playhouse-175 E. Chestnut Avenue (Water Tower Place)

Loop Schools

Columbia College Chicago- Private Arts and Media College

  • 600 S. Michigan Ave (about 15 minutes away from the theatre district)
  • 11,400 undergraduates and 522 graduate students
  • 2,200 students live in four residence centers – all located steps from our main campus

DePaul University- The Theatre School

  • 135 N. Kenmore Ave (about 20 minutes away from the theatre district)
  • One of America’s oldest and most respected theatre conservatories
  • 330 students (very small program)

DePaul University- Loop Campus

  • DePaul Center 1 E Jackson Blvd (right in heart of theatre district)
  • Upperclassman and graduate loop housing at the University Center (UC).
  • 25,145 students total

○        16,052 undergraduate students, 8,017 graduate students and 1,076 law students.

Roosevelt University

  • 430 S Michigan Ave
  • Home to the Auditorium Theater
  • 3,919 undergraduate students and 2,703 graduate students

SAIC- School of the Art Institute of Chicago

  • 37 South Wabash Avenue (right in the heart of the theatre district)
  • Leader in educating artist and designers
  • In addition to studio courses all students are required to take courses in liberal arts and art/design history, theory, and criticism
  • 3,246 students currently enrolled

Strategic Planning


To generate interest and increase attendance among Chicago students at Broadway in Chicago performances.


To increase subscription purchases by liberal arts students who are more than 21 years old to 1,000 in one year.



○       Students to become regular subscribers to BIC performances and to view BIC as a social event


○       By bringing BIC to the schools and forming relationships with student clubs to further promote student program


○       Through a combination of social and traditional PR techniques to successfully roll out our one-year campaign


Broadway in Chicago Student Scene

We will create the Student Scene to encourage students studying at schools with connections to the Loop to become regular viewers of productions by Broadway in Chicago. A points system will be developed allowing for exclusive member benefits. Once the students graduate, they will have the option to roll over their points to the official Broadway in Chicago Club, encouraging them to become life-long subscribers.

For further encouragement to join the Student Scene, we will position the club and theater as a social scene for this younger generation. We will choose four performances each year, one at each theater, to host a pre or post-performance event for Student Scene members. Students with a pre-determined amount of points will be able to attend the event free of charge; those with no points can pay a small fee to attend. The events will also be multi-tiered benefiting those students with more points. In October we will host a kick-off welcome party for Student Scene members.

Events for the 2011-2012 Season:

The Book of Mormon: Bank of America Theatre, Dates: Begins December 11, 2012

  • Pre-performance cocktail hour with a special introduction by the directors

The Addams Family: Cadillac Palace Theatre, Dates: December 13, 2011 – January 01, 2012

  • Post-performance costume party

American Idiot: Oriental Theatre, Dates: February 07, 2012 – February 19, 2012

  • Post-performance party with Green Day cover band

Bring it On: The Musical Cadillac Palace Theatre. Dates: March 06, 2012 – March 25, 2012

  • Pre-performance party with cast members, the Chicago Bears and the Honey Bears cheerleading squad

University Engagement

We will hire student ambassadors from each university for season-long internships. The students will act as liaisons between Broadway in Chicago and the student population. Their job will be to promote the Student Scene while bringing suggestions and concerns voiced by peers to our team to better the program. Student ambassadors will participate in information tables at competing performances or as a street team. This represents the grassroots portion of our campaign, as the student ambassadors will be required to physically promote the program. Student ambassadors will receive a free membership to the Student Scene and double points for future members referred by them. We will also purchase Student Scene advertisements in PlayBills for University Productions and partner with Marketing professors at these four target schools to incorporate the Student Scene campaign into curriculum.

Traditional Media

Our campaign team will pitch relevant local and university media with features about the kick-off party and following performances, events and benefits. We will pitch entertainment reporters at:

  • Chicago Sun Times
  • Chicago Journal
  • Chicago Reader
  • RedEye
  • The DePaulia
  • The Columbia Chronicle
  • Roosevelt Torch
  • FNewsMagazine (SAIC)

Social Media

Develop a social media campaign around the Student Scene for updates on schedules, productions, events and other news. Social media is an effective outlet with which to reach our defined audience.

  • Facebook page: Members will be invited once they join the Student Scene. Pictures and short video clips will be posted of events and performances, and updates will be listed. The Facebook page will only be open to Student Scene members.
  • Twitter account: The Twitter account will run continuous updates on all BIC performances and events.
  • Blog: Managed by student ambassadors chronicling their experiences as BIC Student Scene interns, the performances they view and events they attend. This will act as another outlet for updates and will also encourage the next round of students to apply to be ambassadors to experience the perks.
  • YouTube channel: Student Scene will post clips from their events

Measuring Success:

Success of this campaign will best be measured over time. In the short-term, BIC can compare ticket sales and subscription sales of young people ages 21-30 before the campaign to the numbers afterwards. All aspects of this campaign will be tracked through Ticketmaster with codes. For example, if a student buys a ticket because another student referred them, the purchaser’s transaction will have a specific code entered into the database, so BIC can tell how many new customers were generated through referrals.

Building lifelong relationships with these students can also be tracked in the long-term through Ticketmaster. Upon graduating from their Loop University, students can be transferred in to the regular BIC Club and their points from the student club will carry over. These BIC Club accounts will be tagged differently in the Ticketmaster system than those of regular adult members and in ten years BIC can track how many active club members originated in this student program.

The success of this campaign can also be measured by the longevity of partnerships with the Universities and student organizations. The goal of generating interest and increasing attendance among Chicago students at Broadway in Chicago performances can easily be measured by using encryptions in the ticketing software to determine why ticket buyers are purchasing. After each season we will host a focus group of Club members to ensure that the club is still meeting their expectations. After the first year, this campaign can be rolled out to include younger students and expand to more schools in the Chicago area.








“Navigating the Interactive Marketplace: Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities”

26 Oct

This evening I attended the “Navigating the Interactive Marketplace”Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities” panel at DePaul and I’m so glad that I did. The event was hosted by the Kellstadt Marketing Center, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) and the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA). The panel consisted of Jennifer Anton-Brand Manager for Miller Genuine Draft, Richard Hren-VP of Customer Insight Group at Razorfish, EJ Schultz, marketing report for Advertising Age, Clive Maclean, CEO at Euro RSCG, and was moderated by Diane Mermigas- adjunct new media professor at DePaul.

As moderator Diane Mermigas had the panelists address three main areas in interactive marketing Social Media: Cracking the Code, How does engagement lead to the transaction?, and Metrics-How do we identify them, apply them, and how do they lead us to the transaction. (As you can see, this was NOT a non-profit based presentation). Sorry but I don’t have quite the energy to break this down into a full discussion post, and I doubt you want to read it as such. I’m just going to write each panelists main points under each area.

Social Media: Cracking the Code

Jennifer Anton: Social Media is all about consumer engagement that is appropriate for your brand. Voice is key in successful social marketing. You have to make sure that the voice you are reaching out to consumers with is appropriate for your brand and is also appropriate for the platform. The voice that you use also has to be unique enough to set you apart from similar brands reaching out to the consumer on that same platform. Example: On a Friday night every beer company posts “Where you are going out tonight? Where’s the party at? etc.” You have to find a creative way to distinguish your brand from them.

Richard Hren: Social Media puts a face on the clique. It allows us to control, and actually have, a conversation. When dealing with brands on social media, participants (re: consumer) of different ages have differing expectations of the results of their engagements. Younger participants who interact more on social media platforms have a lower expectation of getting a response from their involvement with the brand, while older participants, who interact less frequently have a higher expectation of being engaged back.To these points E.J Schultz pointed out some of the obvious pitfalls of social media being that you can’t control the situation or what consumers are saying about you on these platforms

Clive Maclean: We now live in a “Conversation Economy.” It used to be that you wanted your brand to be noticed, now you want it to be talked about. “Conversation is mankind’s natural search engine”. (I love that one). Engagement moves the interaction to become more long-term with higher expectations. Instead of doing 1:1 marketing, we now do 1:1:many-by getting the consumer to engage their own network.

How does your organization go from engagement to the transaction?

Jennifer Anton: You need to make sure you’re not trying to do a “one size fits all” campaign -let people interact how they want to. Examples: Miller has just set up a test relationship with Yelp where when a KBD (Key Beer Drinker) searches under Chicago, any business that sells Miller/Coors products will show up first in the search. Blue Moon has an airport campaign running. If you’re a fan of Blue Moon on Facebook, when you land in any airport that serves Blue Moon (which I guess part of the campaign is that now all of them do), you get a text when you land letting you know where the nearest Blue Moon is (or something to that effect. Since I’m going to Charleston on December 1st, I’ll let you know how it works then).

Richard Hren: What the consumer wants is in the moment. Mobile Devices=the moment. The mobile device will eventually become a preferred payment method.

E.J Schultz: 84% of a brands fans are existing customers. The number of fans that a brand has is not as important as the number of people who are talking about the brand.

Clive Maclean: We need to stop chasing “the next big thing” and focus on getting the basics of marketing down. When the mobile payment device does explode, the money in it won’t come from the payment aspect, but will go to whoever owns the customer interface. Mobile payments are the fight of our lives and the ownership of the data from those transactions will be key.

Metrics of Social Media:

Richard Hren: Basic “click” date (what a customer clicks on) is easy to count, but doesn’t say much. Data on sharing, repeats, etc is better. Focus on what behaviors are indicative of the final sale I.e Does a comment lead to a sale? a Like? a share? Beware of “Data Silos” in your company -where each department (sales team, marketing, etc) has statistics and a certain view of who the customer is, but they are never combined to create the whole image of that customer.

Clive Maclean: Has created a “Customer Engagement Index” that measures how you’re engaged and the spirit of the engagement. It has two dimensions covering the relationship over an 8 part scale ranging from devoted-hatred and then an engagement dimension covering what type of engagement it is. This is tough for me to explain but the link to Clive’s blog about it is available here.

I hope some of this was interesting. There was a bit more flow to the conversation and it was really very well put together, but these were my main take-aways. Just the other day I read a blog post by Martin Weigel-The Head of Planning for Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam titled: “‘Engagement’: Fashionable Yet Bankrupt” which undermined a little what some of the panelists had to say. It was a really long blog post so I won’t go into a discussion here, but you really should read it. I would love to know what these panelists would say in reaction to it.

Some cool social media listening tools

20 Oct

At my Public Relations class on Monday (the one I went to before meeting my ethics friend from the last post), we had a guest lecturer on Social Media in PR. His name is Glen Raines and his business is SocialMediaMoves. If you’re struggling to find ways to get your business into the social media flow, I’d suggest checking him out and attending any presentations he does because he really has some interesting thoughts on the future of social media, and the best practices for promoting businesses with it.

While his presentation was very informative, the best part was the toys! He showed us a few listening tools that companies/organizations can use to track how they’re being talked about on the web (or if they’re even being talked about at all).

The first one I’ll show you is Monitter. Monitter is a Twitter monitoring site (as I hope you would have gotten from the name). FYI if you want to read the screenshot, just click on it.

Monitter Social Media Listening ToolAll you have to do to get started is type in the name of the company/organization and see what’s happening. You can add a column to search for something that might fall under the umbrella of your organization (for example you might look up Kellogs in one column and ‘diet’ in another to see if anyone is tweeting about using Kellogs’ products in their diet plans.) You can let the columns scroll in real-time or pause them to give you a chance to see what people are saying. I tried searching under CSO and then individual performers, such as the Concert Master or first flautist, but came up empty-handed. So CSO if you’re listening, nobody’s talking about your players, maybe you should aim some sort of campaign at them.

Another cool tool we discussed is Social Mention. Social Mention goes more in-depth that Monitter and sort of compiles and reports on the data for you.  You type in the name of your organization and it will show you anything that’s been on the web and will need to be refreshed every so often as new stories come in. Social Mention Social Media Listening Tool

I really think this site is awesome. You can sort the results by date or source and choose how far back you want to go. The little circles before the post will be green, gray, or red depending on if the feedback is positive, neutral, or negative. Strength is the likelihood that the brand is being mentioned in social media, Sentiment is the ratio of positive to negative mentions, Passion measures the likelihood that people talking about your brand will do so repeatedly, and Reach measures range of influence. Notice that on the left side the site also breaks down the number of each type of post and the top keywords and users. Underneath top users it also displays top #hashtags and sources along with the number of posts from each source. At the very top of the screen is the option to screen different types of social media. When I set it just to blogs the results were a little different.

FYI to any PRAD students reading my blog, I totally plan on using these sites for both my PR final campaign project and my Advertising final campaign project on CTA!

Social Mention Social Media Listening Tool

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