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Three takeaways from Beats by Dre’s #StraightOutta stunt

By Jasper Nathaniel, VP of Business Development and Strategy

August 13, 2015 | 5 min read

N.W.A. dropped 'Straight Outta Compton' in 1988 – but search Instagram for the #StraightOutta hashtag right now and you’ll find more than 170K posts (and counting) that reference the 27-year-old album. What’s more, 90 percent of Instagram users today were eight years old or younger when the group first came onto the scene.

Yet, here we are in 2015 and the “kids” are eating it up. Why? Ahead of tomorrow’s release of the film by the same name, Beats By Dre has rolled out a clever social campaign designed to put everyday people at the center of the promotion. The brand built a simple, easy to use meme-generator, called 'Straight Outta Somewhere' and invited people to fill in the blank with their own content, be it heartfelt or hilarious.

Since launch, the simple stunt has 'blown up the internet' and reaffirmed what’s possible when brands allow their fans to take a more proactive role in the marketing process. Here are three things that marketers can learn from Straight Outta Somewhere’s success:

People are open to playing a more active a role in your brand’s story.

People aren’t jumping at the chance to watch commercials. Today’s consumers don’t take well to passive, one-directional media experiences. They want a piece of the action and a part of the conversation. What does this mean for brands? When it comes to social media, if you provide a seamless way for your brand to enter the existing cultural conversation, consumers will join you.

Marketers can tap into consumers’ willingness to participate by giving them a more active role in their brand storytelling. This can be achieved by inspiring people to share their own experiences via social, as is the case with the #StraightOutta coup and Whirlpool’s successful UGC-centric campaign 'Every day, care' or by inviting people to give ongoing feedback on the brand, its products and its marketing.

Empower content creators with brand guideposts, but leave the creative direction to them.

The idea of relinquishing control over branded content is a terrifying concept for many marketers – and with good reason. We’ve all seen horror stories of hashtag campaigns being hijacked. Remember the time Bill Cosby’s PR team invited Twitter to meme him? It’s prudent and completely OK for marketers to take a step back before embarking on a UGC-driven effort to assess the potential risk given what’s going on with the brand and within culture at-large.

Fortunately, for most marketers, this risk can be mitigated by thoroughly thinking it through and providing the right guide-rails that protect the brand while still respecting the creativity and individuality of fans in social. For example, the #StraightOutta meme-generator provides a clean, branded template for UGC that allows people to customize the image and copy as they see fit. At the same time, offensive language is blocked from the app. (Try typing an F-bomb and you’ll never make it past the letter “C.”)

Never underestimate the collective creativity (and wit) of your fans in social.

In the traditional advertising world, creative directors wouldn’t dream of ceding control of “the big idea” to the very people they aimed to sway in their :30 spots and print ads. Times have changed though, and that’s not to say that creatives are losing their luster. On the contrary, today’s creatives are tasked with coming up with big ideas that have the potential to live on beyond the campaign – to evolve as part of a movement.

Just as marketers should assess all possible risk factors before embarking on UGC-centric campaigns, they should at the same time avoid discounting the extraordinary potential of creative, media-empowered fans in social. The big idea of expanding the tagline “Straight Outta” to other locales was taken to an entirely new level when everyday people injected their own perspectives, experiences and creativity into the meme. The result was a brilliant creative idea in which the sum was far greater than its parts.

As we’ve all heard ad nauseam at this point: brands are less about what marketers say about them, and more about the experiences that everyday people have with them. Marketers wise enough to tap into existing consumer behavior and align their efforts with what people are already doing, such as meme-generating, can break down consumers’ growing wariness toward advertising and create authentic, memorable experiences that push the brand forward.

Jasper Nathaniel is VP of business development & strategy at Crowdtap


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