Best of the week: The Olympics show how media’s changed

The Olympics have come and gone. How many medals did you take home? If there was a meme Olympics, this might get the gold medal:

This Simone Biles clip, called “Simone in Space,” got over 45 million views total and 577,114 likes on Facebook. We dug into how it came to be: Created by Cycle, the meme is part of a series of content pieces the shop has made to prove its mettle. “The kind of people making this content are the kinds of people who watch this content,” said social media editor Josh Davis.

Bonus: It runs no danger of a Rule 40 crackdown, since the footage actually isn’t even from this year’s Olympics. It’s the emotional reaction attached to Biles completing a crazy routine that matters, not really the particular routine, said Laundry Service CEO Jason Stein.

Meanwhile, NBC is getting plenty of flack for its tape-delaying of events for primetime TV. But it appears to have scored a hit on Snapchat, where it turned the keys over to BuzzFeed to produce content. The result: 2.2 billion views and 35 million viewers over two weeks.

From the what-were-they-thinking files
Unfortunately, not all Olympics-related content has been executed quite so well. In order to give visibility to Rio’s upcoming Paralympics, Vogue Brazil used two soap opera stars — Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena — in its “We Are All Paralympians” campaign. Meant to raise awareness of the games, the photo went viral for all the wrong reasons:  The problem, of course, is that the models aren’t Paralympians at all, but were made to look like amputees. For the photo shoot, Pires lost her right arm to Photoshop while Vilhena was given a prosthetic leg.

#SomosTodosParalímpicos: para atrair visibilidade aos Jogos Paralímpicos e ressaltar a relevância dos paratletas brasileiros no panorama do esporte nacional, @cleopires_oficial e Paulo Vilhena (@vilhenap) aceitaram o convite para serem embaixadores do Comitê Paralímpico Brasileiro e estrelam a campanha Somos Todos Paralímpicos. Concebido pelos atores com o apoio do @ocpboficial e dos atletas, com direção criativa de @ccarneiro, fotografia de @andrepassos e beleza de @carolalmeidaprada, o anúncio traz Cleo na pele de @bruninha_alexandre, paratleta do tênis de mesa, e Paulo, de @renatoleite10, da categoria vôlei sentado. Os ingressos estão à venda em Vogue mostra os bastidores do shooting com o quarteto no link da bio. #voguenasparalimpiadas

A post shared by Vogue Brasil (@voguebrasil) on

The internet was not amused, reports this week’s outrage correspondent Yuyu Chen. “It’s cringe-worthy,” said Angie Enger, director of engagement for agency Carrot Creative. “Vogue represents what’s in and good. They should have used the real athletes — rather than models – to show the diversity of beauty.”

Influencers to the rescue?
Also this week, we held the Digiday Content Marketing Summit in Park City, Utah. Brands and agencies gathered to discuss creating content that converts through use of social platforms, in-house production and experimenting with new formats to deliver their messages.

They also dished on challenges. We asked brands what their biggest frustrations with influencer marketing were. And boy did they answer. “Too many folks toss out influencer marketing without really digging into what purpose it should serve within the bigger strategy,” said the vp of digital brand marketing at Fender guitars.

“Our biggest challenge with influencer marketing: Value,” said the global group director, digital communications & social media at Coca-Cola.

“People use them wrong,” said the vp of content & integrated marketing at the Philadelphia 76ers. “They need to be focusing on the organic influencer who is also invested with their brand. People go after a name, not a connection.”

What hath “Serial” wrought?
Gimlet Media, a 2-year-old podcasting network co-founded by public media vets Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, sprinted out of the gate, landing not just direct-response ad buys but a few from top brands including Ford, Lenovo and Spotify. Now, reports Ira Glass superfan Max Willens, Gimlet has busy using a venture round secured last year to expand and gather up as many top shows as possible.

“We want to be the best place to support creative visions,” said Lieber. “The skill set needed to produce arresting audio is in demand.”

Denny's, at your service.
Moon over my hammy, please!

Reach out and touch a brand
Most brands already use Instagram as a social and marketing tool. But now, they’ve started using it for customer service, too.
Instagram has rolled out a “contact” button for businesses, letting customers reach out with their queries directly on the platform. Several brands — including Nordstrom, Benefit, Delta and Denny’s — have already jumped on board. Customers with a question can tap the button, after which they are prompted to call, text or email the brand. Who wouldn’t want to reach out and touch Denny’s?

Digiday’s Tanya Dua reports that agencies think brands would do well to utilize the new feature. “Instagram introducing the ‘contact’ button underscores the importance of social media as a customer service channel,” said Kevin Del Rosario, associate director of social media at Huge.

That is, of course, unless you’re a brand in the throes of a major crisis
Remember Eos, those egg-shell shaped lip balms that seemed to be everywhere a year ago? A string of lawsuits earlier this year claiming the lip balms cause blisters and rashes hobbled the brand. Social media sentiment about the brand — built on the back (and lips) of celebrity endorsements — nosedived. Live by social media, die by social media.

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