“We’ve got a lot of excitement around those ‘better for you brands’,” Lissette said.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, consumers had been buying healthier snacks. A summary report by Health Focus International found people are also willing to pay more for foods and beverages that are both healthy and indulgent.
Utz’s lineup of healthy snacks includes Veggie Chips, Half Naked Popcorn, and potato chips cooked in olive oil and avocado oil, according to the company’s website.
In the company’s earnings report on Thursday, Utz’s CFO Cary Devore said that the company saw a “significant” increase in new buyers and higher purchase repeat rates over the past year.
This week, Sam’s Club CEO Kathryn McLay told The New York Times in an interview that the retailer’s customers went through phases when they were buying pizza, ice cream, and potato chips during COVID-19. Sam’s Club called those periods “carbs and calories,” she said.
Utz plans to grow sales and reach new customers in 2021 by increasing its digital advertising spend by 60% and potentially more, Lissette told CNBC.
Social media and digital ads do well compared to having one commercial that runs through the year “and realizing it didn’t really give you what you needed,” he added.
White people who are popular on social media tend to make more money than Black stars, according to Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek.
The same is true for when Black influencers have more followers or are doing creative work that’s later appropriated by white people, the report found, citing interviews with dozens of influencers. Sometimes they’re not paid but instead given products from brands.
In one example Bloomberg reported, 22-year-old Sydnee McRae, who is Black, has more than 1 million followers on TikTok, most of whom took interest in her account after she made a “viral” dance video that choreographed a dance to “Captain Hook” by Megan Thee Stallion.
It led to a $700 deal with the Universal Music Group to promote rapper Lil Tecca’s “Out of Love.” A white influencer, Addison Rae Easterling, was paid thousands by Lil Tecca just to emulate it. Easterling has more followers than McRae, totaling more than 78 million, but white influencers with smaller followings typically make $5,000 for dances. McRae is still getting $500.
There are several similar examples highlighted by Black influencers in the report, including McRae, Stacy Thiru (1.4 million TikTok followers), Kenny Knox (843,000 Instagram followers), Jordan Craig (52,000 Instagram followers), Layla Qasim (2.4 million TikTok followers), Dare Ajibare (1 million TikTok followers), and Challan Trishann (915,200 TikTok followers).
The disparity goes against the meritocratic promises of the social media platforms, where supposedly anyone can get famous, and disadvantages Black creators in a market worth $10 billion each year, the report said.
Their accounts are also heavily monitored, with Knox losing a Target gig for using the N-word in a recent video. Other white influencers like Felix Kjellberg appeared to get away with worse, including anti-Semitic jokes, filming dead bodies, and throwing un-masked parties during the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the racial reckoning of 2020, marketers seemed more willing to work with Black influencers and engage in conversations about inequity, the report found. Previously Black creators were told not to post about Black Lives Matter or law enforcement.
In June, Instagram’s product chief said the company was taking a harder look at whether its algorithms held a bias against Black people. About two years prior, an Instagram employee who worked with the influencer partnerships team, resigned over concerns about the disenfranchisement of Black people on the platform.
But creators are skeptical about whether the brands are actually changing their ways, Bloomberg reported.
Interest in Super Bowl related content is down 10% from last year, according to Amobee analysts.
“Recent interest in Super Bowl party-related content has barely risen above where it was throughout 2020, confirming that the much-loved American tradition of Super Bowl parties will be forfeited to maintain social distancing,” Amobee brand analyst Avalon Harder told Insider.
Despite the changes, some Super Bowl ads have already begun to pick up steam online. TV ad measurement company, iSpot tracked engagement around the digital content put out by brands ahead of the Super Bowl and compiled a list of the top 10 brands getting the most buzz on social media.
Many of the commercials that have been trending on the internet focus on nostalgia, whether for old songs, NFL players, or 90’s movies. Other brands captured people’s attention with their focus on social responsibility, as companies like General Motors and Chipotle look to increase sustainability.
Here are some of the brands that have been creating the most buzz, according to iSpot’s data.
The Cheetos commercial packs a punch.
The snack company released three Super Bowl teasers for their Crunch Pop Mix ahead of the big game. The saga follows actor Ashton Kutcher as he investigates the case of the missing Cheetos.
Kutcher searches the house for clues regarding the missing snack, while a revamped version of Shaggy ‘s hit song from the early 2000’s, “It Wasn’t Me” plays in the background.
The video ends with Kutcher’s wife, Mila Kunis, telling her husband Shaggy’s catchphrase – “It wasn’t me,” when he confronts her about the snack.
9. Jimmy John’s
Jimmy John’s ad takes on a mob theme.
The commercial features actor Brad Garrett as Tony Bologavich, a type of sandwhich mob boss, who calls himself the “King of Cold Cuts.”
The mob boss takes on the sandwhich giant with stale bread and cold cuts made out of a science laboratory.
The Doritos ad is star studded.
The commercial features, Hollywood heavy-hitters including Matthew McConaughey, Mindy Kaling, and Jimmy Kimmel.
The advertisement shows Matthew McConaughey as a two-dimensional character, struggling to lead his life until he eats the company’s 3D Crunch Chili Cheese Nachos.
Doritos has long been known for their Super Bowl commercials. The snack company, owned by Frito Lay, has been a part of game day for nearly 15 years.
7. General Motors
GM’s new commercial focuses on their move toward electric vehicles.
The ad features Will Ferrell, Kenan Thompson, and Awkwafina. It follows Ferrell’s antics as he decides to go after Norway for beating the US in electric vehicle sales.
The snack company’s nearly two minute commercial is jam-packed with NFL legends.
The ad “Twas the Night Before Super Bowl,” has football player, Marshawn Lynch narrating the night before the Big Game.
The video shows numerous Super Bowl legends preparing to watch, including Eli and Peyton Manning, as well as Joe Montana, and Deion Sanders.
4. Uber Eats
Uber Eats focuses on nostalgia and is one of the only commercials on the list to touch on the impact of 2020.
The Uber Eats ad stars Wayne and Garth from the 90’s hit “Wayne’s World.” The two characters reflect on the difficulties of 2020.
The video is the first in a series for Uber Eats featuring the two characters.
“High interest in the appearance of Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World in Uber Eats’ upcoming ad further indicates that audiences are especially in need of the familiar and nostalgic during a period of uncertainty in America,” Harder told Insider.
Cheetos’ top commercial focuses on Mila Kunis.
The ad sets up the longer commercial. Kunis gets advice from Shaggy, who tells her to “Just stick to the line I gave you.”
Last summer admist the Black Lives Matter Movement and protests in support of George Floyd, YouTube announced the launch of a multi-year $100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories. More specifically, the fund has supported programs such as 2 Chainz’ “Money Maker Fund” series highlighting HBCU entrepreneurs and Masego’s “Studying Abroad” livestreamed concert series.
Today, the platform is using capital for that effort to create a global grant program for Black creators.
“The painful events of this year have reminded us of the importance of human connection and the need to continue to strengthen human rights around the world. In the midst of uncertainty, creators continue to share stories that might not otherwise be heard while also building online communities,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog post detailing the decision and reflecting on 2020.
The #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021
Per Billboard, the program is kicking off with an inaugural class of 132 individuals spanning musicians and lifestyle vloggers including Kelly Stamps and Jabril Ashe, also known as Jabrils, who share educational videos centered around the emerging gaming, technology, and AI spaces.
The musicians named to the group include Brent Faiyaz, BRS Kash, Fireboy DML, Jean Dawson, Jensen McRae, Jerome Farah, Joy Oladokun, KennyHoopla, Mariah the Scientist, MC Carol, Miiesha, Myke Towers, Péricles, Rael, Rexx Life Raj, Sauti Sol, serpentwithfeet, Sho Madjozi, Tkay Maidza, Urias and Yung Baby Tate.
Each grant recipient will be provided an undisclosed funding amount to be used in support of their channels, and can encompass needs such as editing, lighting or other equipment to amplify and enhance the quality of their content. YouTube will also offer additional resources such as workshops, training and networking opportunities to boost skills and fuel meaning collaborations. “We are not only supporting them in the moment, but this is seed funding that will help them to thrive on the platform long-term,” he added.
Hailing from across the United States, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria, the cohort was selected in part based on their past participation in #YouTubeBlack, a campaign and event series promoting Black creators launched in 2016.
Paving a future for change
“These creators and artists have been doing this work already and are known by their communities, but we’re really excited to invest in them, and we believe that they can and will become household names with this support, shared Malik Ducard, YouTube Vice President of Partners on the #YouTubeBlack community.
In today’s landscape, influencers are themselves a media channel. The budgets put against them shouldn’t just be production-driven but rather emphasize a broader commitment to diverse and authentic stories driven by co-communication and co-creation. For YouTube, this effort is not only beneficial in ensuring these creators have their voices heard, but in allowing the platform to stay true to its goals and values and its commitment to its community.
“This is not a flash-in-the pan Instagram moment. This is about keeping the drum beat of change alive, and in the DNA of our organization,” added Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, reiterating the confidence in the ability of this group to lead and find long-term success through raw passion, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit. “Our expectation is that these artists are going to be significant and important voices and make music even more enjoyable.”
The future of brand-artist collaborations
For brands partnering with music artists – the takeaway here is that social listening requires responsiveness, flexibility, and mindfulness when it comes to integrating culture. People want to be heard, not sold to, and efforts should extend offline. This is only achieved through a full understanding of a new age of partnerships – one where brands have a bigger role to play in artist’s lives and artists are crossing the threshold to become true digital marketers monetizing the whole self.
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