April 2, 2015Published by: Janey Spratt

The rise of dark brand campaigns


Recently we've been seeing a growing trend in the use of 'dark' marketing and PR campaigns, where brands use private social networks to connect with their audiences. Today, Laura Saggers, the US-based singer-songwriter, is debuting her new single and video on Snapchat. You can view the promo video for the next 24 hours before it vanishes. This kind of marketing goes against the grain, but with the captive audience that can be created with such an approach, it is definitely on the rise, and here are the trends we've been seeing in this space.

1. The rise of brands and talent using Snapchat

As well as Laura Saggers, we’ve been noticing more and more influencers (particularly YouTubers such as Caspar Lee, Tanya Burr and Connor Franta etc.) joining Snapchat to connect with their fans and when we were totting up the social media stats for March’s Battenhall Monthly, we saw that Snapchat has now acquired 100m users. Brands are also beginning to add Snapchat into their content mix and early adopters include; Chiquito, Nars, NBA and Heineken.

2. The rise of brands using messaging apps

We're also noticing the rise of use for private messaging app Whatsapp, who announced this week that they've launched voice calling. This week, Clarks also announced that they'll be launching a 'dark' campaign using the app to add a 'coolness' factor to the brand. There's also some luxury fashion brands such as, Cartier and Diesel are using the app in India to offer a premium and personalised service.

At Battenhall, we use Whatsapp to send out daily news alerts to our subscribers and we use it internally to communicate with each other and our clients everyday, something which is also on the rise across our client base too. As a result, we’re seeing fewer emails and phone calls and for us, it’s a logical way of working.

3. The rise of brands using dating apps

The final trend that’s caught our attention recently (or at least the singles in the office...) is slightly more niche - brands using dating apps for PR and marketing campaigns:

  • Mini and Happn: This Valentine’s Day, dating app Happn ran a competition with Mini offering users the opportunity to match with the Mini profile and win a weekend away for two
  • Ex Machine and Tinder: Movie Ex Machina promoted their movie using Tinder at SXSW this year where users who matched with Ava were soon disappointed to learn that she was in fact a robot
  • Shelter and Tinder: The charity is also using Tinder to try and put an end to the housing crisis where app users can match with ‘Brick 22’ – if you’re lucky enough to match with the lonely brick, it will give you more information about the housing crisis and encourage you to sign their petition.

We're keeping our eyes out for how these private networks are developing but also the different ways that we can experiment and use these networks to engage with brand audiences.

Image credit.

About Battenhall

We look after brand profiles on social media, and we're proudly the world's #1 at what we do. Named The Drum's social media agency of the year for the last three years running. Get in touch! hello@battenhall.com

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