MNI Targeted Media reinvigorates brand with ‘mean tweets’-inspired print and digital campaign to appeal to millennials

MNI Targeted Media campaign

Targeted media is highly necessary in the digital marketing age, but often when these companies talk about what they do and how they do it, it comes out fairly cut and dry.

With its new brand campaign, MNI Targeted Media is trying to change that perception with a creative campaign to reinvigorate its brand that utilizes the ‘mean tweets’ method used by late night host Jimmy Kimmel, along with a multi-media output that uses both digital and traditional media.

MNI Targeted Media is a Time Inc company specializing in multimedia targeted advertising, in more than 40 national magazines, and it partners with top-tier national and local online media brands to deliver targeted online and mobile campaigns. The company has over 50 years of targeted marketing experience with a roster of over 1,200 clients. Still, they needed to make a statement on their own behalf to stand out from the competition.

“We’re really audience strategists. Our go-to market is about delivering up specific audiences and reaching people at the right moment in time and at the right place to complete a desired action from the client…This is kind of our first campaign to promote ourselves, that simultaneously provides a fresh look at our company and the power of our assets – bringing these things together from a B2B perspective,” said Matthew Fanelli, senior vice president, digital, at MNI.

The B2B campaign is aimed to bring a spark of creativity to the business, one that is cross-platform and multi-platform, utilizing the company’s digital, social and print entities to resonate with millennial audiences around those mean tweets.

While not as bitingly vitriolic as the ones celebrities read about themselves on Kimmel, the ‘tweets’ are aimed to help MNI stand out, especially since they will be in some high-profile places where they’ll be seen by potential clients, including in targeted display ads and even cover wraps on People magazine delivered over a four-week period.

Some of those tweets, delivered with Twitter cartoon-style birds, include: “Only my Grandma Fran visits local sites to check the traffic and weather;” and I’ve had gas pains more relevant than what’s on my Twitter feed.”

The campaign was done in house at MNI, overseen by Vicki Brakl, vice president, marketing.

“Vicki’s creative mind ran a little bit wild with something really new and creative for us. It really showcases our digital prowess of top solutions that we utilize. Everything from programmatic, to data match to social to local to our printed publications with a cover wrap, to really cut through the clutter and tie all of these components together. It really enables us to showcase our abilities in a new and creative way, yet we’re doing it for ourselves at this point and be able to roll it out at a higher level to our clients,” said Fanelli.

Why mean tweets?

“I would say that around our office, literally we just find them so funny,” said Brakl. “We wondered, is this going to work? But humor really breaks through. As media planners, we’re also very serious all the time, so we thought, how are we going to make these people chuckle when it shows up at their desk, or they see the ad? What’s really going to be different rather than the rest of the competition that’s going to be serious? We’re hoping that it works.”

Brakl comes from a B2C background at companies like PepsiCo and Omnicom agencies, and she wondered why so much in the targeted media realm had to be so boring all the time?

“These are people. What do you need them to react to in the moment? What resonates up and down an organization, from a 23-year-old media planner who just came out of college to someone who’s a very senior media director? Something from pop culture, we think, is going to appeal to a wide-ranging audience,” she said.

She added that when they are trying to reach a niche audience of media planners and decision makers, they view it from a 360-degree perspective, blurring the line between the personal and professional, especially with everyone being on their devices all the time.

“We decided that doing the social as well as the choice on the title of People magazine was something that really resonates with this audience in terms of pop culture bringing those things together was the intent,” she said.

Added Fanelli: “The ridiculousness that we hear in the space overall, this super-niche target audience – it was a cool way to take that concept that Vicki had and apply that to the digital world to kind of do a tongue-in-cheek, cool thing. I think it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do.”

The campaign rolls out today (September 5) across print (the People covers); Twitter, with profiles like @WhyGoLocal and @NoPainCampaigns with articles that can be explored when clicked through; display ads to reach decision makers; and email follow ups, with hopes that the mean tweets concept will help MNI stand out.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle