the sally sisson blog


July 27, 2014

Content Marketing With a Side of Bacon

Denny's Content Marketing Campaign

How Denny’s Became a Weirdly Successful Content Marketer

This Fast Company article about Denny’s off-beat content marketing campaign got me thinking. About the power of brand personality, the importance of taking creative risks, and about two eggs over easy, hash browns, rye toast and a side of bacon. Make that Applewood smoked bacon. (Caution: Reading and writing before breakfast may lead to obsessive tendencies.) But seriously, this is a smart, targeted marketing strategy that’s capturing a whole new audience by speaking their language, while still keeping it real with its loyal, long-time customers.

baconDenny’s is serving up fun and engaging material across multiple channels and formats. There are retro Atari video games featuring odd combos of Denny’s items (like hash browns) with Atari game elements (like asteroids) resulting in titles like “Hashteroids” (get it?). Although I’m far from the target audience, I did get a kick out of the web series Always Open with Jason Bateman, Sarah Silverman and Will Arnett dishing with celebrities in a Denny’s booth.

All this talk about food and content also reminded me of one of my favorite content marketing examples of all time : The Waffle Shop (not to be confused with Waffle House, which reminds me of Jim Gaffigan).

Content marketing broadcasting

Waffles With a Side of Content (& Storytelling)

A rooftop storytelling billboard, a TV production studio, live music. What’s not to love?

This is one of my favorite examples ever. So I was happy to see it as the #1 pick in the Content Marketing Institute’s compilation of 100 Content Marketing Examples last year. The story of The Waffle Shop, an independent Pittsburgh restaurant with a wildly creative approach to content marketing, was originally featured in: What if You Sold Waffles with a Side of Content?  by Andrew Davis.

I’m off to make some breakfast so will leave you with this excerpt:

“The Waffle Shop was a neighborhood restaurant that produced and broadcast a live-streaming talk show with its customers and operated a changeable storytelling billboard on its roof. [It} was a public lab that brought together people from all walks of life to engage in dialogue, experimentation and the co-production of culture. [It] functioned as an eatery, a TV production studio, a social catalyst, and a business.

“What’s interesting about [this] experiment is that they leverage a content-centric approach as the centerpiece of their business — it’s not a marketing project or a blog; in fact, the content is one of their products.”

 

 

 

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August 23, 2013

Best University Website Ever?


Monsters University best college website

Could be. This parody of a university website pretty much nails it. Created by clever minds at Pixar (to promote the Monsters U movie), it has all the elements: video testimonials, faculty profiles, an events calendar, even a school store. The only thing missing is a blog feed.

Over the years I’ve done communications, marketing and website work for K-12 schools, universities and education marketing clients, and I’ve spent a lot of time examining competitor websites and enrollment pitches. So when I saw the Monsters University website for the first time I had to laugh at the uncanny resemblance to the real thing.

college admissions videoAnd when I watched the Message from the Dean (see right), I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cringe. Have I scripted something scarily similar? Err…possibly.

I visited the website frequently this year, as I worked on the Monsters U marketing campaign with SubwayKids.com (wearing my copywriting hat). Each time I clicked I discovered another hilarious, spot-on piece of content. Food for thought as we head back to school and gear up for a new season of enrollment marketing. Here’s to fewer clichés and fresher ideas ahead!

Student ID card

Further reading on the Monsters U website and higher education marketing:

Future Comms: Scare Tactics
Go have a look at the site. It’s pretty much THE American university website. In fact, it’s a really good global university website… But what should we, in the Higher Ed community, really take from all this?
1. It’s not a university website. It’s a really good promotion for a multi-million dollar film made by a multi-billion dollar company. It’s just part of an annual ad budget that Adage cited as $2.1b in 2011.

Bob Johnson’s Blog on Higher Education Marketing
What do you get when you assemble every cliché about a higher education website in a single parody? The Monsters University website. Do not miss the intro to Academics with an opening video “Message from the Dean for Prospective Students.”

Sally Sisson Blog: Web Content and the Eternal Home Page Question: How much is too much?
Lessons learned from “Beyond the University Website – The Future of Digital Marketing in Higher Education.”

 

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August 22, 2013

Smart Content Marketing: Engaging kids with games + activities, not plastic toys

content writing games for kidsThe summer blockbuster movie season is coming to an end, and it’s time to switch out content marketing themes and characters for SubwayKids.com. I had a fun time copywriting and developing online content, games and activities for this project, and have even spotted kids using their eco-friendly reusable meal bags—the best part of this entire SUBWAY FRESH FIT FOR KIDS™ meal marketing campaign, in my opinion. Sure beats those plastic Happy Meals toys.

copywriting and content for kids

Copywriting Samples

Here’s a link to samples of downloadable activities I developed:
Monsters University: Content + copywriting for SUBWAY Kids™ + Disney/Pixar

copywriting for children


Blog posts: Web content + copywriting for kids, parents + teachers

For more on copywriting and content development programs I’ve worked on for SubwayKids.com (via the digital brand agency Jack Morton Worldwide), see these blog posts:

Cartoons and Content Marketing: All work and all play
SUBWAY® Restaurants + The Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb

Content Marketing + Cause Marketing: Public relations with a purpose
Random Acts of Fitness for Kids™:  SUBWAY® Restaurants + American Heart Association, Little League® Baseball and Softball, We Can!™ (a National Institutes of Health [NIH] program) and other national partners

Earth Day Interactives:
Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients
SUBWAY® Restaurants + The Nature Conservancy

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