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Oct 16, 2020    Burn Book

Toying With What’s Old, To See What’s New


If you’ve ever read any of our company blogs titled, “People Don’t Believe My Boss Exists,” you’d know that Rock Candy Media Austin prides itself on a couple of things in particular as a top naming firm.

Not only do we make a point of keeping things real and unfiltered with our team and our clients, but we acknowledge that the key to success is in active experimentation and learning. What’s a brand marketing strategy without brand new ideation and the road bumps that come with it?

If you want overused templates that work just fine, Rock Candy Media isn’t the growth hacking agency for you. That’s why we say we should never be anyone’s first agency.

The forecast for our office is only ever brain storm.

So in that same vein, we want to explore some wild possibilities that could be the next great disruptive advertising hack.

We’ll start with an example: Alfred Coffee’s cup sleeves. The little pieces of cardboard at a relatively small coffee chain that blew up with brands like Nike, Disney, Kylie Cosmetics, Netflix, and more (here’s the backstory if you need it, but I’ll give you the gist below).

The variables that brought success:

— Alfred’s brand strategy: A mod interior of the shop that boasted trendy vibes while staying relatively boutique in business growth, AKA, a coffee shop that was 100% Instagrammable without necessarily feeling like every IG user and influencer has already done it.

— Advertiser freedom: Smart, branded, modern designs for the cup sleeves, AKA, the advertiser had full control over what they put on the sleeve as long as it was sleek and fun (fitting in with the coffee shop brand itself to an extent).

— Location: Alfred coffee is in influencer, social media, and word-of-mouth hub Los Angeles.

— Usability: The cup sleeves, in perfect advertising spot LA, were essentially walking billboards. Often walking and Instagramming billboards. Cheap, too.

— Diversity: No long contracts with any one corporation/brand, thus no Alfred-goers feeling rammed over the head with product placements every time they need caffeine.

All of this added together, and you see that Alfred bred not only authenticity in themselves, but in the brands that wanted to partner with them.

We’re not sure anyone could have guessed that coffee cup sleeves, in a small coffee shop chain, would have garnered such notoriety, even in LA. And we’re not sure there’s any prediction to be done there anymore (except maybe that they’ll be called to confirm the sleeves are sustainably sourced or compostable, if they’re truly marketing to Zillennials and Gen Z).

To ideate towards the next big campaign, borne of popular culture and taking advantage of the variables listed above (without replicating something already done), let’s play a guessing game.

Where do you see the next off-the-wall campaign headed? What’s next?

VSCO girls’ scrunchies might make a comeback in the category influencer realm? Will there be some long-forgotten nostalgia like Club Penguin making an appearance, like making those customizable penguins the next wave of profile avatars on TikTok? Maybe the next big subscription box will be one of those Clue-inspired mystery role play games, but connectable to a streaming service in order to play with friends in quarantine.

The marketing campaign ideation game is as unpredictable and wide in variety as the product and startup game is. The backbone of any of it, though, is that true authenticity…

Life in brand building is a lot like 2020: unlearning and learning again.

…Authenticity in where you came from, authenticity in how you operate, authenticity in everything you stand for — that’s how the ideas end up selling. That, paired with a brand strategy team that never filters their words and only has fun doing what’s never been done before? That sounds unstoppable. Maybe the brands we’ve worked with will have time to tell you themselves, if you don’t want to take our word for it.

In short, our forever-brainstorming office is one that likes weird ideas and unexpected methods, like what Alfred pulled off. Finding newness in the old. Discovering emerging trends by toying with forgotten practices. Predicting culture by making a name for yourself outside of it. Setting trends by doing something anti-template.

Let Your Curiosity Take Control