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The Real Costs of Cause Marketing

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Pepsi probably thought it had its timing exactly right. In 2010, the brand skipped its traditional Superbowl ad spot. Instead of spending millions for half-a-minute of audience time, and millions more for images of can-opening and lip-smacking, the brand decided to give money away. Its Pepsi Refresh campaign invited people to vote online for causes to which Pepsi would make financial donations...

How Brands Handle Hashtag Harassment

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It took Dollar General less than a week to fire Mary Gundel. A store manager in Tampa, Florida Gundel was earning $50,000 a year, according to the New York Times, and had received an award for her hard work and dedication just months earlier. What moved her from a “Top 5%” Dollar General employee to a Lyft and Uber driver was a series of posts that Gundel made on TikTok. At the end of March, she...

When Social Media Users Steal Your Marketing Campaign

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In May 2017, Walkers, a British potato chip brand, launched a social media campaign. Fronted by retired soccer player and television personality Gary Lineker, the company invited people to publish their selfies on Twitter with the hashtag #WalkersWave. The selfies would be automatically incorporated into a frame held up by Lineker in a video that also showed a Mexican wave in a soccer stadium. A...

Are the Days of Fast Growth Over?

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The announcement marked the end of an era. It also marked down the value of Facebook by more than $200 billion. For the first time in its history, the social media company announced not a slowdown in user growth but a decline. Daily active users fell from 1.93 billion to 1.929 billion in the last three months of 2021. It was a small drop but big enough to knock 25 percent off the value of the...

Your Zoom Meetings Can Be a Lot More Productive

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Covid might not have done much for workplace gossip but it has created a whole new genre of workplace mishaps. Magazines are now filled with stories of home-based workers getting caught on Zoom meetings with their pants off, cats cutting their connections to major clients, and participants going to the bathroom with the camera on and the door open. Those stories are inevitable. Over the last two...

What It Takes to Be an NFT Artist

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At first, it looked like the biggest art heist in history. As rumors spread that online art marketplace OpenSea had been hacked, the estimated value of the stolen artworks reached as high as $200 million. It was as though someone had broken into Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and walked off with almost the entire gallery. In fact, the raid turned out to be a lot smaller than initial reports...

What Effective Social Responsibility Marketing Needs to Do

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The campaign should have been everything that Keurig needed to stand out and win the coffee company a new, young audience. Nespresso had George Clooney. De’Longhi had Brad Pitt. Keurig would have recyclable coffee pods. All customers had to do after they’d finished making their morning cappuccino, was peel off the silver top, dump out any coffee grounds, and toss the plastic cup into the...

Building Your Substack Newsletter

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In May last year, Andrew Walker, a portfolio manager at Rangeley Capital, and host of the Yet Another Value podcast, made the switch. After several years of blogging, he decided that he’d had enough of the technical problems that came with managing a site on his own. At least once a month, he noted, something on the site would break, requiring a few hours to fix. So he followed the direction of...

The Right Way to Steal Ideas

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The judgment was a long time coming, and it still might not be final. In March 2020, a US appeals court ruled that British rock band Led Zeppelin hadn’t stolen part of their song Stairway to Heaven. Randy Wolfe, a member of Spirit, a Los Angeles band, had claimed that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones had lifted a chord progression in Taurus, a song written by Wolfe...

Why You Invest in the Wrong Projects

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Tech entrepreneurs often dream of producing a new technology that will change the world. They might hope to reinvent the mobile phone as Steve Jobs did when he launched the iPhone. Or they can imagine themselves recreating the motor car as Elon Musk did when he set up Tesla. Or they might fantasize about a whole new space industry (again, Elon Musk.) Most, though, have to settle for an impressive...

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