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DTC cookie brand Deux picks social, OOH to reach Gen Z

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DTC cookie brand Deux picks social, OOH to reach Gen Z

After appearing on “Shark Tank” in 2021, Deux founder Sabeena Ladha wanted to continue the direct-to-consumer plant-based functional foods brand’s momentum from the television show by working with influencers and leaning into social media and out-of-home ads. In doing so, the brand, known for its cookies, is building a community of Gen Z fans.

Ladha came up with the idea for Deux because she was sick of taking tons of vitamins and at the same time was passionate about sweet snacks. The brand’s cookies are made from functional ingredients that help consumers get their vitamins while also satisfying their sweet tooth. Since its founding in 2021, Deux has tapped influencer partnerships, billboards, Instagram and TikTok to get in front of consumers. But the team didn’t want to have an Instagram feed full of cookies, so their focus has been on creating good content that followers would actually care about and ultimately share on their own feeds.

“Shareability is our No. 1 goal. Our No. 2 goal is making people laugh,” Ladha said of the company’s approach to its social content and advertising. With over 80,000 followers combined on Instagram and TikTok, Deux has cultivated its social media presence by collaborating with like-minded brands and influencers. Deux’s collaborations have included brands such as Summer Fridays, Amanda Hirsch from TV show “Not Skinny But Not Fat” and wellness influencers Sweats and the City by Eliz and Dale.

Deux’s content has also included a baking series titled “Hot Guys Who Bake,” with Mike Johnson, a former contestant on “The Bachelorette.” “We create content that entertains. Even when we create campaigns like our OOH billboards (“Honk If You Like It Raw”), we made sure it was super sharable, and it went viral on TikTok. Everything we do — both paid and organic marketing — ladders back up to shareability,” Ladha said.

As part of the brand’s influencer marketing strategy, Deux seeks out influencers who align with the brand ethos. “We gift, send mailers for launches and work deeply with a handful of influencers who are really aligned with the brand in the form of exclusive collaboration flavors or content creation,” said Ladha. For instance, Deux currently has an influencer collaboration with health and wellness influencers Sweats & the City on a s’mores cookie dough flavor. A few of Deux’s other partnerships include fitness influencers Mari Llewellyn and Lauryn Evarts Bosstick (The Skinny Confidential), food blogger Nicole Cogan, actress and singer Alyssa Lynch, and reality tv star Katie Maloney. “Gen Z is hyper-aware of staying healthy enough to enjoy life, as they were most impacted when many pivotal moments of their youth were compromised or canceled when the world shut down,” said Margo Kahnrose, CMO of Skai. “They don’t want to miss out on any more of life’s biggest moments because of health issues.”

It’s unclear how much of Deux’s advertising budget is allocated to its influencer spend and OOH billboards, as Ladha would not share exact figures. According to Kantar data, Deux spent a little over $35,000 so far on advertising efforts in 2022. That said, Ladha did share some insight into how the brand breaks up its budget. “We spend about 20% of our ‘working’ media ad spend on Meta, which is a much lower reliance than most DTC brands. Our influencer spend including gifting makes up about 30%,” she said, commenting on Deux’s influencer spend. 

Working with influential endorsers, transparency around labels and ingredients, clean visuals that stand out on the shelf and online, as well as an ability to utilize the native capabilities of digital and social media will likely help Deux stand out and reach Gen Z consumers, according to analysts. “By targeting a generation that’d grown up with access to more information than any generation before, their approach is tailor made to succeed on their audience’s terms,” said Edward Mclarnon, svp and regional experience strategy lead at creative marketing agency RAPP.

Deux is not the only brand taking to OOH marketing and social media to reach Gen Z. Gut health soda brand Poppi and DTC chocolate vitamin brand Sourse have taken similar approaches to reach that demographic, as Gen Z consumers are more aware of what goes into their bodies.

“The type of full-spectrum wellness being embraced by brands like Deux — where gratification, wellbeing, and even decadence can coexist — is critical to reach Gen Z as they’re getting to a stage of life where they’re beginning to feel less invincible, but they aren’t ready to compromise with their choices,” said Colton Morris, senior planner, insights and action, at Mediahub.

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NASA Says Hurricane Didn’t Hurt Artemis I Hardware, Sets New Launch Window

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NASA Says Hurricane Didn’t Hurt Artemis I Hardware, Sets New Launch Window

NASA’s Artemis I moon mission launch, stalled by Hurricane Ian, has a new target for takeoff. The launch window for step one of NASA’s bold plan to return humans to the lunar surface now opens Nov. 12 and closes Nov. 27, the space agency said Friday. 

The news comes after the pending storm caused NASA to scrub the latest Artemis I Iaunch, which had been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 2. As Hurricane Ian threatened to travel north across Cuba and into Florida, bringing rain and extreme winds to the launch pad’s vicinity, NASA on Monday rolled its monster Space Launch System rocket, and the Orion spacecraft it’ll propel, back indoors to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. 

The hurricane made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, bringing with it a catastrophic storm surge, winds and flooding that left dozens of people dead, caused widespread power outages and ripped buildings from their foundations. Hurricane Ian is “likely to rank among the worst in the nation’s history,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday, adding that it will take “months, years, to rebuild.”

Initial inspections Friday to assess potential impacts of the devastating storm to Artemis I flight hardware showed no damage, NASA said. “Facilities are in good shape with only minor water intrusion identified in a few locations,” the agency said in a statement. 

Next up, teams will complete post-storm recovery operations, which will include further inspections and retests of the flight termination system before a more specific launch date can be set. The new November launch window, NASA said, will also give Kennedy employees time to address what their families and homes need post-storm. 

Artemis I is set to send instruments to lunar orbit to gather vital information for Artemis II, a crewed mission targeted for 2024 that will carry astronauts around the moon and hopefully pave the way for Artemis III in 2025. Astronauts on that high-stakes mission will, if all goes according to plan, put boots on the lunar ground, collect samples and study the water ice that’s been confirmed at the moon’s South Pole. 

The hurricane-related Artemis I rollback follows two other launch delays, the first due to an engine problem and the second because of a hydrogen leak.

Hurricane Ian has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone but is still bringing heavy rains and gusty winds to the Mid-Atlantic region and the New England coast.

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What You Get in McDonalds’ New Happy-Meal-Inspired Box for Adults

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What You Get in McDonalds’ New Happy-Meal-Inspired Box for Adults

You’ve pulled up to McDonald’s as a full-on adult. You absolutely do not need a toy with your meal, right? Joking. Of course you do.

The fast-food chain will soon sell boxed meals geared toward adults, and each one has a cool, odd-looking figurine inside. 

The meal has an odd name — the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box — that’s based on the fashion brand collaborating with McDonald’s on this promotion. 

According to McDonald’s, the box is inspired by the memory of enjoying a Happy Meal as a kid. The outside of the box is multicolored and features the chain’s familiar golden arches. 

The first day you can get a Cactus Plant Flea Market Box will be Monday, Oct. 3. Pricing is set by individual restaurants and may vary, according to McDonald’s. It’ll be available in the drive-thru, in-restaurant, by delivery or on the McDonald’s app, while supplies last.

You can choose between a Big Mac or 10-piece Chicken McNuggets. It will also come with fries and a drink.

Now about those toys. The boxes will pack in one of four figurines. Three of the four appear to be artsy takes on the classic McDonald’s characters Grimace, Hamburglar and Birdie the Early Bird, while the fourth is a little yellow guy sporting a McDonald’s shirt called Cactus Buddy.

In other McD news, Halloween buckets could be returning to the chain this fall. So leave some room in your stomach for a return trip.

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Why companies like iHeartMedia, NBCU rely on homegrown IP to build metaverse engagements

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Why companies like iHeartMedia, NBCU rely on homegrown IP to build metaverse engagements

To avoid potential blowback from a skeptical audience, retailers as well as media and entertainment companies are learning to invest in their homegrown intellectual properties while building virtual brand activations inside Roblox or Fortnite.

Take, for instance, when they get it wrong.

Earlier this week, Walmart launched its own Roblox world — called Walmart Land — and was roundly mocked for it across social media given the announcement’s disjointed brand message and apparent lack of life. In one viral tweet, a Twitter user described a clip of Walmart CMO William White introducing the Roblox space as “one of the saddest videos ever created.”

This video of Walmart’s chief marketing officer on a stage in Roblox talking about its new “Walmart Land” experience is one of the saddest videos ever created. pic.twitter.com/HtIIToShKs

— Zack Zwiezen (@ZwiezenZ) September 26, 2022

To some extent, this sort of criticism is to be expected during the early days of the metaverse.

“Walmart is an iconic brand; when you see them coming into a platform like Roblox, people are going to be 10 times more critical of what is being launched,” said Yonatan Raz-Fridman, CEO of the Roblox developer studio Supersocial.

But Walmart’s size is not its only disadvantage as it dips its toes into Roblox. Although Walmart has a widely recognizable brand, it owns few intellectual properties that users are actually interested in experiencing virtually — a shortcoming reflected by the somewhat cavernous emptiness of Roblox’s Walmart Land.

Provided by NBCUniversal

The success of other recent brand activations is evidence that media and entertainment brands are better equipped to build metaverse spaces that can dodge online skepticism, thanks to their wealth of owned IP.

“They are having to reinvent themselves, to a certain degree, but that is in their DNA,” said Jesse Streb, global svp of technology and engineering at the agency DEPT. “So they have a unique advantage over, say, some kludgy company that sells lumber, or a construction company.”

For example, iHeartMedia’s Roblox and Fortnite spaces were inspired by the mass media corporation’s wealth of popular real-life events, such as the Jingle Ball Tour and iHeartRadio Music Festival, with virtual versions of musicians like Charlie Puth performing pre-recorded concerts that allow real-time audience interaction.

“There’s a strong brand association with the IP, down to a station level — you’re in the New York area, you probably know Z100,” said iHeartMedia evp of business development and partnerships Jess Jerrick. “The same is true for the event IP, or the IP that we now have in the podcasting space, and of course our radio broadcast talent. So there’s no shortage of really strong IP we can bring into these spaces.”

Translating real-life properties into the metaverse is also an enticing prospect for brands that view metaverse platforms as an experimental marketing channel, allowing them to bring tried-and-true IP into their virtual activations instead of designing them from the ground level. This was part of the strategy behind the recent Tonight Show activation in Fortnite Creative, which was designed in collaboration between NBCUniversal and Samsung. “We’re looking at it holistically — how do we find fans in new ways, and use IP that fans love in new ways?” said NBCU president of advertising and client partnerships Mark Markshall.

Since opening on Sept. 14, iHeartLand has already enticed over 1.5 million Roblox users to visit. The company aims to retain that attention with a schedule of virtual programming featuring popular musicians and personalities.

“At our core, we are essentially an influencer network; our broadcast talent are some of the most connected, most engaging influencers at work in media today,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeart Digital Audio Group. “That gives us this sort of superpower, to be able to go into new-ish platforms, like Roblox or Fortnite, because we talk to our listeners through those influencers.”

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