With a focus and background in social media and influencer marketing, Joe Cox and Megan Zander discuss the surprises that came out of this year’s SXSW and the future of creator and influencer marketin…Read More
In this episode, Demian Ross and Joe Cox dig deeper into the impact of vertical video and IGTV, what brands can learn from IHOP changing their name, and how to decide if throwing shade on social is not a tactic you should copy.
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Demian Ross: Hey, guess what? It's our first episode of Explicit Content podcast, and we are the social media edition of this, which is kind of cool. And I'm Demian Ross, and I've got Joe Cox on the phone as well. It's not actually a phone. You're on a mic.
Joe Cox: Yeah. But it feels right to say phone. And yeah, I'm here and I'm pretty pumped about it. So ...
Demian Ross: I just dated myself 'cause that's literally how people would call in
Joe Cox: Right, yeah.
Demian Ross: 'Cause they'd have to call in on the phone.
Joe Cox: Love you, love your show. It's a first time caller, long time listener. Hi.
Demian Ross: Yep, that's it. You got it.
Joe Cox: It's my favorite.
Demian Ross: So Joe and I didn't know each other before our producer Jeff put us in contact and thought we would be a pretty good group to talk about all things kind of social media. And we had the opportunity to hang out just a few weeks ago in Wichita, which was awesome to hang out with Joe for the afternoon and the day getting to know each other before we actually went live with this.
And we've been going back and forth talking about what we want this podcast to be about. I don't think either one of us would say we are social media experts or gurus or anything like that. Would you agree with that, Joe?
Joe Cox: I am a licensed guru, but yeah, totally. No, no. You're totally right. It's not an art form. It changes every single day. And anybody telling you they know everything about what social media is or what it's about is probably not telling you the truth.
Demian Ross: And the thing about we ... what I really liked was our early conversations between Joe and I were we talked about just being human online, whether it's a brand yourself, which is odd that we'd have to tell a human to be human in social media, but a brand, a company in your marketing.
And we felt like, you know what, that's actually really good kind of niche play for us within the podcast is rather than coming to you and being like, "Guess what, guys? You can add music into your stories now," we would come out with you with what's really kind of making a difference and making an impact from people and brands. And so I think that's where we're going ... that's where this ship is going to go. But we'll see as we start figuring it out what really works. But I think that's where we're going to kind of hone in on.
Joe Cox: Yeah. And to your point, Explicit Content, it can mean a lot of things but to me how this whole thing started with social media was technology allowing and connecting everyone and creating a dialogue between people. And then brands just came on board with that. But that's really ... And I think what we're both saying is that's where the magic is and it's still where the impact is. And don't confuse social media advertising or don't confuse a lot of the other things for going on with what really was the big insight and everything at the core of this big idea of social. And this is our attempt to get back to that and to see things through that lens of human first.
Demian Ross: Yeah, I think it's really the point of, in regards to relationships, I think when you meet someone that you've only known through social media, when you meet them in person there's that feeling. And there's also that same feeling when you have someone that's been in your life and you're reconnecting with them on social media. And I feel like that was obviously the draw for so many of us when it came to social media.
And somehow, we've kind of lost of our in that. We've lost that's the important of it. So for me, for those of you who don't know, I travel the country full-time, I live in a fifth wheel trailer. So I'm that guy that they were like, "You're going to live in a van down by the river." That was the goal. Saturday Night Live didn't scare me. I was like, "That sounds awesome."
Joe Cox: That's me.
Demian Ross: "I'm just going to have a bigger van." And I do look a little like Chris Farley without a beard, so it works out. But I feel like for me, social media plays a really important part of staying connected in kind of a legitimate way with people just because I'm always moving and I really ... it's done something different in the last year than social media was before. And I just feel like I want to get back to that kind of core conversation in and around just being human online, whether again brand or person. Just be human. And we're not seeing enough of that.
Joe Cox: Yeah. And we want to be able to kind of celebrate and curate that for you, the listener, to be able to spot those things in the wild and to be able to articulate the reasons why they're powerful, why they're impactful, and why they are going to work for a brand and/or marketer.
And then me, me. I'm Joe Cox. I am the founder of Pop Marketer. And really, the business is finding that kind of integration between brands and pop culture. And that's just thinking of this as more culture than it is advertising and thinking of things in a more content-based way that is things and communication that people want and choose to spend time with than to think about the method that we've been going on for the last hundred years or so, which is more interruptive where we can kind of pay to kind of slot ourselves and message in front of something that somebody really wants to pay attention to.
So for me, I do this and the reason I'm so excited about doing this with you, Demian, is I feel like we're in a really big golden age for being able to make stuff that people actually want to pay attention to and things that people ... are actually valuable to people. And it's a really awesome time for creativity and not anything to be scared of, yet I see a lot of marketers out there that are really confused and don't know which direction to go so don't really know why they're doing the things that they're doing. And the hope is to be able to get back to that and to give back to marketers and help them kind of see the way and to get away all the buzz words and all the bullshit and all the things that a marketer is dealing with on a day to day basis and help you zone into the thing that was really important all along, which is this one on one human interaction.
Demian Ross: Without a doubt. And I want to go on the record saying that I think the over under was that I would cuss first on the show and so I think a lot of people just lost some money right there, Joe, by you dropping the bullshit first.
Joe Cox: I think we have ... yeah, there's going to be a lot of cussing. Not a lot, just very smart placed.
Demian Ross: Without a doubt.
Joe Cox: This is Explicit Content.
Demian Ross: Exactly. And that was the only rap CDs I bought. If it didn't have that sticker, I wasn't buying it. And that's where I think Jeff, again our producer, Enterprise marketer, that's where he sold me. When he was telling me, I was like, "Oh, bro. I'm all in." And it wasn't like, "Oh, I get to cuss every other word." It was that I get it, I'm in.
Joe Cox: I'm made for this.
Demian Ross: So for me, real quick too, just so you know my background. I currently work for Social Media Examiner. More, I work for Social Media Marketing World. For those of you who don't know, they are the ones that put that on. I'm a sales guy through and through, and I'm a marketer kind of through. And I work on the expo side of that event, getting the vendors and the sponsors for the event. So it's a great gig for me 'cause I travel to different events throughout the year and I'm obviously very kind of embedded in the social media marketing space. And it's been quite a ride for me, and I started with them just about two years ago, October of 2016.
But I had been to all of the previous Social Media Marketing Worlds so I was drinking the Kool-Aid way before I jumped on, which is a really good place to be when you're in sales, to already really like a brand and use a brand before you start selling the brand.
Joe Cox: Truth.
Demian Ross: And then personally, I'm a father to four kids. They're all grown, 27 to 17. They don't need dad anymore, thank God, 'cause I just don't know if I'd be able to help them. And yeah, that's a good kind of nutshell of where I'm at professionally and personally. And I've always wanted to do a podcast. I've always been told I should do a podcast.
And for whatever reason, going back to this whole press the damn button kind of a thing, I just never did it. I never got it together. And I'm really, really excited to do it. And then obviously have a team like we have behind us, really helping us do it is phenomenal. So the show is going to be so good. This show's not going to be very good.
Joe Cox: Right.
Demian Ross: But episode ... Come back on episode 12. It's going to be so good by then when me and Joe work all this stuff out and figure each other out. It's going to be amazing. You're going to love it.
Joe Cox: But thanks for coming on this journey with us. That's really important to us. And send us your email and we'll send you money.
Demian Ross: Without a doubt.
Joe Cox: Yeah. And then we can edit this in in a bit, but I'm just going to go through ... I went through Pop Marketer, but I wanted to say, "Hey, here's my background and shit." So I'll do that now.
So for me, I'm recently coming out of a decade of working inside agency as well as on the brand side, building teams, social strategy, content strategy, communications, all that. Worked with brands Red Bull, Coca Cola, Hershey. My bread and butter is larger CPG brands, right? So really have worked a long time helping them navigate kind of the new marketing ecosystem that they have to deal with this connected consumer that can talk back to them for the first time ever. And it's taken a long time. It's been a decade of them really trying to get what that means. And unfortunately, or fortunately for us in the world of helping marketers out, that it hadn't quite stuck yet.
So for me, this is a really great sounding board where now I'm not really attached to those brands or to an agency and I can really speak the truth openly. And that feels really good, and I'm looking forward to being able to share those point of views without having to have ... watching what I say for brands or for an agency that I work with.
Demian Ross: Nice.
Joe Cox: And I live here in Kansas City. It's a house, unfortunately without wheels. It's just a boring house that just sits there all the time. But I'm lucky.
Demian Ross: That's so weird.
Joe Cox: It's not nearly as cool, but I'm working on it. I'm lucky enough to share it with an awesome, supportive wife that lets me build a podcast studio in the basement and quit my job and tell her I'm going to talk about pop culture and social media for a living and try to make money off of it.
And then I also ... I have a four year-old, so she's going to be out of the house any time.
Demian Ross: Good luck with that, bro.
Joe Cox: Right? I'm training her. She's a four year old, and her name's Poppy. And then if you put the math together on that, yes, I named my child Poppy Cox on purpose because you can. And we gave her a few more names in case she didn't like it, but I think it's going to stick.
Demian Ross: Yeah. My parents named me after the devil and The Omen basically, and I didn't get a backup name. 'Cause my middle name's Elias, which is, like, I'm not trying to be a Greek god, even though, hello, I kind of look like a Greek god. No, I'm just kidding.
Joe Cox: It's so true. And then the funny thing, the time that they named you that the movie was going on, so there was some ... That wasn't [crosstalk 00: 12: 33]
Demian Ross: In their defense, it was five years later. Five years later.
Joe Cox: Five years later.
Demian Ross: I was born in '71. The movie came out in '76. So I had five years when that wasn't a problem, and then all of a sudden.
Joe Cox: Okay, great.
Demian Ross: So they weren't that terrible.
Joe Cox: Okay. That's awesome. That's good to know.
Demian Ross: They did spell it really stupid, D-E-M-I-A-N. Which again, let's go back to social media. Growing up, that was terrible way to spell my name. It just made it, "Is it Demian [phoenetic Dee-me-an 00: 12: 55]? Is it ..." It's just Demian. But once social media came out, nobody had anything Demian. And I wasn't even thinking ahead of time. I could probably be at Demian everything if I would have just jumped on it, but everything had to be professional, had to be first name and last name. And so I grabbed every at Demian Ross. But at least it's not Steve Smith 127 on everything, 'cause there's so many Steve Smiths.
So I give them credit for that. At least they spelled it so messed up that I have everything I want in regards to social media being exactly the way it is. And if something else new comes out, nobody's getting Demian Ross. Now, everyone will that I just said that.
Joe Cox: It's covered.
Demian Ross: And they'll sell it to me.
Joe Cox: Before this goes out, you're going to need to ... we'll go through everything together.
Demian Ross: I will. I have to get on SnapChat now it sounds like, just to protect it.
Joe Cox: Yeah. And yeah, I have friends that actually do searches before they named their kid. And then when the kid was born, bought the URL and was like, "Well, I give this to my child as a gift when they're old enough for their own URL." And it's cute because the internet [crosstalk 00: 14: 01]'
Demian Ross: I bought you a moon star. Here it is.
Joe Cox: At that time, AI has completely taken over and there will be no need for URLs. It will be all in our heads.
Demian Ross: I agree.
Joe Cox: That's something I'm working on in the basement. All right
Demian Ross: All right. So let's get into some human social stuff. What do you want to talk about, Joe?
Joe Cox: I thought we're taking a really janky stab at some outline of how the show should go, and out of that you and I have been kind of talking about different things in the news. And anybody out there that wants to follow this, they can check us out on ... Sorry, we can edit this. What is the app? Oh.
Anybody that wants to follow us can follow what we're reading on Flipboard, so if you're a user of Flipboard you can check out Explicit Content podcast on Flipboard. And it's a curated look at the stuff that we're reading and looking at to talk about during the podcast so you can see the stuff we're reading before we talk about it.
And I thought a couple of things that we could talk about, first one being the release and now a few weeks to kind of breathe it in, IGTV with Instagram. So is it something that you've tried out? Is it something that you have tried and have you put any content on there yourself, Demian? And how do you think brands are going to deal with it?
Demian Ross: Yeah. I'm still kind of at a little bit of loss for our ... And again, when I hear things like, "This is going to be the YouTube buster," I'm like, "Really? No." So I have a little series that I do. I make a video every day. And I started putting some of them on IG, even though I'm recording that in 16 by 9, not 9 by 16. And so when I put it on IG stories, it's just my face right in front of you. So I feel like immediately I'm like, "Oh, wow. I've got to do this in two separate types of content. I have to create content that I want to go on YouTube and now I have to create content that I want to go into either IG stories or IGTV."
I feel like, I will just say this, I feel like IGTV is their way of removing video from the timeline. I feel like that's coming. That's just a Demian Ross gut. I just feel like they want to get back to the simplicity of photos and so they're trying to create this other avenue for videos. 'Cause again too, with my videos, a lot of them go over a minute and I just, "Oh, do I post it there? 'Cause it's getting cut off and you have to go into my bio and do it."
Demian Ross: So I'm not consuming any IGTV and I don't believe in case studies of one, but there's something about horizontal ... or is it vertical? Sorry, vertical video that I just ... maybe I'm too old school, that it's not my thing. I don't mind moving my camera to the side.
Joe Cox: I think that's a great point. So for those that don't know, what they're doing is they're forcing the vertical video for the content creators. So whenever you're putting anything on IGTV, no matter what, it's going to be forced into a vertical look, right? And what they say is the science behind it is that nobody flips their phone over to see it horizontally, which I completely agree with. Nobody flips their phone. But I watch horizontal video by not flipping my phone in my feed. It takes up less space in my feed.
But that's the science that they put behind it, and that's what Instagram behind it to say, "Hey, no one is moving this so let's make it for the medium," which I get. And for me, I think that for them it's a playground. Whether it can be a YouTube bust or whatever, really it was a play just to try to get--
YouTube bust or whatever, really it was a play just to try to get content creators because I really think they're seeing that taking those content creators and getting them over and getting that content onto Instagram is going to be something that they really have to do in the next couple years and they want to make sure they get a good footing inside that.
So, I mean, I've watched it. I'm not following. I really got more out of it when I was looking at the timeline. That is, the popular stuff. So what it does is it has different feeds. One of those feeds is the people you follow. So I didn't have a ton of great content inside of that. And I did. I saw a lot of it kind of janky because like you said, even the content creators and even brands are really kind of trying to fit this vertical by putting horizontal inside of it.
So they're kind of ... you're watching an experiment happen right now. But it does mean that these content creators are going to have to do all of our editing. It does mean like, you're going to kind of have to shoot differently or think about things a lot differently because that being said, there is a big difference to kind of the look and feel whenever you're doing that vertical, even head and shoulder stuff, versus the horizontal.
So anyway, I got more out of it when I was looking at the popular stuff. So then I started to say, oh, I get it. My thought on it is I don't get it yet. I'm sure there's a reason. I'm sure in a room they were all ... there was a lot of conversation about it. I don't get why it's not more integrated with stories.
I mean, because stories to me is really been catching on and has, has been proven itself to really put a dent in Snapchat. And so that seemed to be where the gas and the fuel was and to make it its own completely separate thing didn't feel like the best user experience in the world. I'm sure there's some reason to keep it separated and maybe they see that time when it comes together, but it's not something I am just going to over and over again, and as a user I'd love to see the info and the data to see if people are really going back to it time and time again. You know, right now.
Demian Ross: Yeah, I'm going to go back. Historically, when Instagram went up for sale and Facebook bought it, I was really pissed off because I really wish Google would have bought it because I felt like we would have had a platform that would be running trailers to then take you to YouTube videos.
Like, I really felt like they've missed. If they were selling it for a billion, Google should have just said we'll give you $2 billion. Like Google, you messed up on that one.
For me, I feel like what we're going to see with IGTV is getting back to my point, that videos were removed from the timeline and it'll probably be some sort of ... Because they're doing like that preview art, like that'll be something, you know, even to your point that maybe you'll be in the timeline, you click that and then you'll go into IGTV, which will be interesting, but again, it's going to a vertical which is just something that I have to learn as a creator, like creating stuff in vertical.
I have seen some really cool stories that have been created, obviously where they're taking their DSLR and they're turning it sideways and they're recording everything and then they're edited and they're posting it and it's just coming out phenomenal.
So, I know that's possible. It's just, you know, it's going to have to be its own specific piece for sure. But I do agree with you too that I feel like it's like its own app in a way where it's like I have to like move out of it and I would rather see it in stories.
I will say this, if I've ever clicked on your Instagram live, that was on accident because they're not watching your Instagram live. Again, that's use case study of one, don't stop your Instagram lives because Demian doesn't watch them, but I do feel like that is where the miss is, too. I agree with you completely that it's weird that it's not connected to stories. It's weird that it's not connected to the timeline. And then my last thing with Instagram is like, I don't understand why we don't have spaces when we're writing, you know, basically the content in and around our stories or I can't put a space in there.
What's the problem there? Why did the description not be able to have a space? I don't get it. So, if you don't know what I mean when you're just writing a long paragraph and you want to have a little indent and go to the next, you can't do that. You have to figure out some sort of weird workaround. Makes no sense.
But yeah, I think for creators it's going to be ... you're going to have to start thinking about how you're creating things and again, is the science behind, do you think, does IG get feedback from iPhones and other phones where it's like people were watching this video and they never turned their phone to the side because there's no reason to turn your phone to a side in Instagram? Like, there's no reason to go horizontal.
And I would rather hear from like YouTube the app, when I watch YouTube on my phone it obviously will play, you know, a smaller version in a vertical. I will flip it horizontal. So I see the full video and I get that YouTube could probably get that science back where it's like, no, 95% of the people don't turn their phone sideways, but an Instagram, how are they getting that feedback? That's where I'm like how do they get that science?
Joe Cox: They're probably getting it through ... This is where the giant of what they are and say they can take that from Facebook and what they've learned from Facebook video and third party as well. But you're right. I get what they're saying because I don't flip a lot, but if I'm doing YouTube or if I'm doing Netflix, it's not really something I think about. I think what it does is it causes conversation. What I do appreciate about the company for very much so is that they're not afraid to put something out there that is not complete.
And it's frankly ... it's not complete, right? They came out with their own app. It's not extremely interesting. There's no way to search for anything. It's a minimum viable product. And they get it out fast. They learn from people that are using it and conversations. Probably not this one. They're not going to probably listen to this one. But they're taking in and they'll build from what stuff they learn.
So, you know, I dig doing something new and it's not outside of their realm. They're going to go after their competition and they've proven themselves very clearly to be able to copy exactly the things that made Snapchat very special and take that in with stories and people are using it. Instagram is growing faster than any other platform out there and Facebook is seeing it as people aging out of Facebook, which is a scary thing for them.
They see Instagram as a huge hope and something that may even overpass Facebook and not too a distant of a future. So they have a lot. They have a lot into it. And I think that's where they see this spreading. So my question to you is, where do you see, do you see brands? Well, what do you see brands being able to do with IGTV? Have you seen any content yet from brands and do you think it's an opportunity and what would that be?
Demian Ross: Yeah. Again, I think it's a bad question to ask a guy that doesn't like to watch stuff vertically. I just feel like the space is weird for me, but I'm going to try to think about like, I don't watch a lot of brand stuff anyways outside of vertical or horizontal, so I think, you know, back to the creator space, it's going to have to be ...I don't know, it just feels squeezed.
You know what I mean? Like, that's the only thing I can think of is that either you have to be so far back. It's just a weird ... and I get that maybe that's just how kids are doing it and we're building all this stuff for the younger generation. You yourself said you don't really flip your screen, so I just don't think it's there yet at all. I agree with you 100%. I feel like it kinda got launched a little early. They just want to be able to say hey, we have this and this is where we're coming.
I do think there needs to be another creator space. I really do. I think YouTube is having a ton of problems and people want to be able to do this, they want to be able to create, and they want to get paid for creating.
And I feel like, you know, YouTube's getting really kind of saturated in that and there's weird stuff going on and they're not being very open about it, so I think there's a good play here, but you're going to have to figure out how to convince me how you took a product that was so simple and amazing and now you've basically, to your point, you made it a platform I don't use.
You've made a Snapchat and it's like, so I don't get that. Like why would you, why would you take something that was so unique and different and really just simple, I mean, just minimalistic and now you've made it where it's got every bell and whistle and all these different areas. And that's the hard part. Like, I'm creating videos and I'm like, do I create it for YouTube?
Do I create it for Facebook? Do I create it natively? Do I put it on Instagram even though it only gets a minute? Do I put it in IGTV? Now it's all cropped weird. Do I put it on Twitter and only get 200, what is it? 240 seconds. Which there's another question,
If you've made it 140 seconds and it used to be a 140 characters. Now that it's 280 characters, how come it's not 280 seconds? How come Twitter isn't changing that? Side note?.
That's the weirdness of it for me is that I feel like brands that have done stories well that'll keep it under a minute might do well on HDTV or IGTV. Sorry, it's not Home and Garden. I was watching Flip It right now. So good. I love that they're not married anymore but they pretend to be married still.
So I think brands can do some cool like extended stories because stories 15 seconds like when I talk to my friends and we're talking about stories, I feel like it's stories and live for me, again, Damien Ross seems very lazy because it's content that goes away.
I mean, granted you can highlight it and keep it, but really a story goes away. Live is, you know, there's no editing really involved and you can just make all kinds of mistakes and nobody really cares and it, and I always make the joke that the reason people go live is the fajitas at the restaurant, you know, everyone's seeing and getting a notice that, oh look, steamy hot plate of something's coming. I'd better click on that. And so people are still addicted to that part of Live, which is all going to get monetized soon anyways. You'll never get a Live Alert unless you're paying for it.
So I think brands have an opportunity here. They just need to do it. It's got to be really on point. And to your point, I've said twice now because I have a perfect limited vocabulary, they have checked it out.
Joe Cox: I have seventh grade. And that's where I think the explicit content comes from, is our combined words are in the 50s, somewhere 50 to 58. I think, it's fine.
Demian Ross: Yeah. We're a solid sixth, seventh grade combined. We're good. Yeah. You're never gonna have to Google something we say. So just know that. You'll be fine.
I think brands have an interesting opportunity but it's going to have to be really creative, really fun. And they've got to find a way to just not have it seemed cramped, which is weird. I feel like it's really cramped.
Joe Cox: Well, two things. The cramp thing. This is a thing ... like the video team at the agency I just came from, which is Barclays, which has a killer video team, there is a debate and it is causing a lot of conversation. There's great debate on vertical versus horizontal. They hate vertical. They just hate it as an art form. And whenever you say cramped, that never heard it before, but it's that and it's like you said, it's more highly personal. There's just, I mean it's right in the ... it's the whole face. So for you and I, you know, that's, I mean you could get like one third of your beard inside that space, but it is a debate and it is causing a lot of conversation on that. So if it comes out of it, I mean, people decide.
So that's interesting. And the second thing with brands using it? Here's what will happen. Tons of brands are going to do it, because we have learned now that the shiny thing is going to be followed. And you can get a lot of headlines pretty quickly as a brand by just trying something out really quickly and first.
And I'm sure Instagram's done some deals with some big top brands to be able to make content. Now, barely any of those anybody's going to really see or give a shit about. But I do think there's a huge opportunity for, for publishers, for real content. You know, I would love to see Red Bull content longer form. I'd love to see ... National Geographic is killer, right? They're just killer in this long form. They're the first ones in Instagram that would take up like paragraphs of content inside of, you know, the portion that you can kind of write about the picture and really actually tell about the thing that's going on and tell a story about this beautiful picture that they're taking.
So, I see a huge opportunity there. If you're a brand, just skip it and take it as an opportunity to do something really cool with a content creator. Like, see this opportunity for what it is. It's really for the content creator. So just don't go there. Don't go there unless you're a brand that's already known for kick ass content.
Demian Ross: Smart play, smart play.
Joe Cox: So honestly if you go for it? Go for it. But go and find yourself a content creator that's already got the audience and you can do a cool partnership with. So, if I were a brand that's the way I would go with IGTV.
I mean, we'll see and we'll talk about it, I'm sure again, once somebody does something crazy on there.
Demian Ross: Yeah, it feels very like Facebook Watch to me, like right now, like where that was just going to be, oh my gosh, it's going to be amazing! And it's just been [brrrrng 00: 32: 15]. I mean, the only thing I think I've seen on there is the Ball Family, like you know, and then you know, that's really it. I don't know if that's done fantastic for Facebook.
They haven't released it to all these different creators yet. It's still really ... And that's interesting that Facebook took that approach with Watch, but didn't take that approach with IGTV where, you know, it just came out, rolled out for everyone where Watch is still something that's very, you know, exclusive for certain brands and creators, which is interesting.
Joe Cox: And they're playing around with it. I bet they are. But it is true to your point, they're wanting to take on Google. Right? They feel like Google is probably not working as quickly as it can and it can be disrupt in how they are working with ... specifically with content creators, and that the market is so big for content creators that there is enough space that people want to jump into these, you know, the creators themselves can get a lot out of jumping from know into different channels, if they can have more ownership there. Especially channels that have, yeah, when we're measuring in the billions or hundreds of millions, like that's a lot of opportunity.
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Joe Cox: So the next, the next topic that ... it's kind of dead, but it got brought back. So I thought it was worth it, is IHOP and IHOB. And the reason to talk about it is just one of these great examples of what we're talking about when it say what are you really trying to say?
Are you saying something meaningful and impactful, or are you just ... or is it just kind of more noise that gets more people talking during a day, which kind of hints to have kind of my feelings about it. But IHOP had come out, with the message that they were going to change the name of their restaurants to IHOB which stands for International House of Burgers because they really wanted you to try those juicy, delicious burgers.
And not their pancakes because, you know, carbs. But I saw the search, there was an article that showed the search of pancakes over time. And yeah, the business is not like ... when you're named after something that less and less people are eating, you have a problem and I get that problem. But they'd come out and said they're going to change their name and then it blew up all over the internet.
And really blew up through social and specifically through competitor social channels.
Demian Ross: Without a doubt. So for me, so obviously I was kind of in the space. There wasn't a lot of people that were talking about it ahead of time and I feel like it might've been just heavy in the marketer kind of space where it's like that was getting shared. Like, my personal friends that are outside of the space, I didn't see them being like, hey, did you hear that IHOP's changing the name to IHOB?.
And so the marketer's like, what is your guess? And I guessed, and you guys look, this is the one word I've kept from Washington, so don't kill me is I guessed breakfast. I know I'm supposed to say brek-fest, but it's just breakfast. And the reason I said that was because I felt like, you know, like we're flipping everything you know about, you know ... I just put a marketing hat on. We're flipping everything you know about breakfast and that's why it's becoming B. And to your point where it's like, we're more than just pancakes.
And to your point, where it's like, we're more than just pancakes. 'Cause there's a pancake place in Orange County, where I was originally kind of set up shop before I took off, and that's really all it was. There wasn't really a lot of assortment outside of that. And then this place has really everything, you can go there for lunch and dinner if you want to, if you don't like yourself. And I really thought they were going to do that, maybe brunch, maybe bacon, just something cool in and around. And when I heard, and I remember even saying somewhere, and someone called it out, where I was like, "It better not be like burgers, because they can't even do pancakes right. How are they going to get my ... " And there's such a competitive space, I mean it's funny, I feel like this is a conversation where leaving from IGTV to [inaudible 00: 36: 43] it's such a competitive space.
The burger space I feel is so much more competitive than the breakfast space. And that's where I feel a lot of the social comebacks were, Burger King changed their name to Pancake King and it's like, that kind of stuff to me was like, I really feel like you have this really great niche. And I get that, the carb situation. I get that people don't want to spend, for a family of four, 60 bucks and they really ate something that they could have made for like $8 if they just would have stayed home, blah, blah, blah. But that's where I feel the miss was. And then also, for me, the miss is really trying to make it sound like they were changing their name. We all knew it was a time-sensitive campaign, but they tried to make it sound like they were really going to change their name.
And I happened to, I mean just in my driving, I was driving through Utah, and they were building an IHOP and it had an IHOP sign. And this is two days before they were going to change. And I'm like, "Really? They're going to build it? It's not even close to being done, it's still got another month probably, but they've already put the IHOP sign even though they're changing their name?" So that's where I feel like they really ... Overall, they had such a great opportunity. And I think you and I talked about this, where I feel like they probably went to an agency, and maybe they went into the agency and it was like, "You guys, we gotta do something about our lunch, it's bombing, we're just getting our asses handed to us. We can't compete with the Five Guys, the In-N-Outs, the Fatburgers. We need that lunch hour, what can we do?"
And I think an agency had this really cool flip the P to a B, and I almost feel like it was probably geared towards more of a, "Let's let everyone know that we're changing everything. We're adding fresh ingredients, our pancakes are made to order," whatever it is. And then they were like, "No, no, no, no, no." Someone within IHOP was like, "Oh no, no, no. You know what we should do? Yeah, I'd love to flip the P to the B, but let's make it burgers." And it wasn't even on the agency's side. And obviously I don't have an inside tell, but I just have dealt with ... I've been on both sides. I've been on the agency side and I've been the director of marketing for a company and I've seen both sides, how that happens. But I just was ... It was such a wah, wah, wah, once they said it was burgers. I was just like, "Really?"
Joe Cox: Well yeah, and I'd say that you hit it right. That was what came out afterwards. Probably before, maybe the last four days or so, it came out that, "Oh, all that attention we got, all the stuff that was in every ... " I mean, it was in news cycle, I saw it in the morning news. Which is, honestly, the morning news is a weird spot that I use when I wake up in the morning to see what the public really is saying. And you're right, when you said, "Hey, is this just what marketers are talking about?" That we have to be super, super careful about. Because whenever we are in our marketer bubble, and we talk to marketers and we read marketer stuff, it is very easy to get into that and say, "Oh this was a giant success." But it didn't even get out. And in this, it did, it was a great headline that reached the people that they wanted it to. But it only did that whenever the other competitors started trolling.
Demian Ross: Oh yeah.
Joe Cox: I mean as other competitors started trolling, that's what put the fuel on it. And that's why it's an interesting conversation, because the only reason anybody really cared was when Wendy's threw some sass at them. And then Burger King, everybody was kind of making fun of them through these social accounts. And that brought enough tension to get it into the news cycle, right? And then burn a big enough fire. But then it came out, like you're saying, that it was all, it was just a shtick. It was all just a thing to grab some quick attention, and we weren't really going to change names. And you're right, operationally, I've worked with a ton of ... I'm sure it was a rough week for them.
Demian Ross: Oh and it must have killed sales too. Because now they're, what, they launched the 60-cent pancake, whatever that is, that they're doing right now. "We're back to pancakes and we rolled the prices back." I mean because let's break it down, from a ... Well let's say it's A, B, and C. The A is, did we get the noise out and people are talking? Yes. They did a really good job. I just wish they would have added a temporary fix, "For the month of, whatever this was, for the month of July we're going to change our name to IHOB." And then, "We'll tell you why, guess why." But, "For the whole month of July our name is IHOB," and my dot com, and all that kind of stuff.
The B part is, does it actually get interacted with? And it did, but to your point, I feel like some other people came in. I mean Wendy's, that's a funny thing that's going on now too with these brands, where everyone is trying to throw shade. Because Wendy is, she's phenomenal at it, and obviously their team is so good at it. And I feel like that's now ... 'Cause I used to pitch that all the time, "Let's be funny," and, "No, no, no, we're selling mattresses, there's nothing funny about selling mattresses." I'm like, "No, we can make it funny, we've got great stories, let's make it funny. It's your bed, it's funny." They had nothing to do with it. And I feel like Wendy's has really kind of made it where now you can be funny and sassy. 'Cause they killed it, they just, hey, you can't make pancakes right? You expect to make burgers-
Joe Cox: I think they murdered it. I think they murdered it so bad that nobody else can do that. They kind of own it, so stop.
Demian Ross: Oh, without a doubt. Yeah, that's what I think too, I agree with that.
Joe Cox: Find something else. They are the troll, they are the social troll. Agree with it or not, they own it and they do it extremely well. So hey, other people and other brands, and I've seen it in rooms, CMOs, don't say, "Hey let's be Wendy's," because Wendy's is Wendy's and they have that.
Demian Ross: Yeah I think the only worse thing than saying, "Let's be Wendy's," is, "Let's be Apple where people line up to buy our stuff." Yeah, never going to happen. No one is going to line up to buy your stuff.
Joe Cox: It used to be Oreo, that was Oreo. Remember that Super Bowl lights out thing? Let's do that.
Demian Ross: Right, right.
Joe Cox: Let's do that.
Demian Ross: Let's do that, that'll be great. Well I will say that, this isn't to do with IHOP, but my favorite Wendy's burn, shade, fire, whatever you want to call it, was Chick-fil-A saying, "There's nothing better than a spicy chicken sandwich on a Friday," and Wendy's said, "Except for one of ours on a Sunday." That to me is so good.
Joe Cox: That's magic. That's a writer.
Demian Ross: It's so good. It is, it's so good.
Joe Cox: It's comical.
Demian Ross: It's so good. And it's like, they just really burn where it's like that's ... And I do, I'll give IHOP credit 'cause one of their tweets was, "Hey Wendy's, we didn't want to start beef with you." And I was like, "Hey that's funny, that was good." And I wonder, I think you know I talked about this, I wonder what goes through, how much of this has to get through legal. Can we really make fun of IHOP? And I go back, something I didn't mention, the name IHOP wasn't their idea. That was us as consumers. We didn't want to say, "International House of Pancakes," it was just too long. We started referring it to as IHOP and then they changed their signs. It's like, at some point, it probably will be a Micky D's because nobody says Mcdonalds. Everyone is just like, "You want to go to Micky D's?" And that's the funny thing too, it's like hey, we named you IHOP and now you're trying to tell us you're going to change it to something else?
Joe Cox: Not cool.
Demian Ross: So then, the C part to me was, it's always sales. Marketing is sales. So I can see someone in the B to agencies, "Look at all the traffic we drove, all the correspondence, all the talks. Look at all the likes, the shares, blah, blah, blah." And it's like, we sold 6% more burgers than we normally do without the advertising. So it's the sales part of it. But I think it just exposed them to a lot of stuff too, 'cause people, I think people think like me, where I a year and a half ago took my son and two of his friends to IHOP and literally, we spent about 60 bucks. I mean, these kids are trying to eat, we're playing basketball and all that kind of stuff, and they spent the weekend with me. And then the next day I said, "Hey I'm going to take you to this little hole in the wall." I mean, true breakfast place that opens 6: 00 am to like 12: 00 and then it's closed. And these guys couldn't finish their plates and it was like 30 bucks. And it was like, I just don't get how these chains are winning in this.
But again, you're pancakes, why are you trying to ... And this goes back to me, and I know I'm really rambling, I'm sorry. But I remember Quiznos with their heated sandwiches and then Subway was like, "We're going to start heating our sandwiches." And I was like, "Screw you Subway. That wasn't your idea." That's what Quiznos was famous for. And I refused to buy a heated Subway sandwich forever 'cause I just felt like it was ... It's no different than IG doing the Snapchat where it's just like, "Oh, someone else came up with an idea and you just stole it and added it to your brand?" That's BS, but that's America.
Joe Cox: Yeah, I mean, from this episode you can get that Subway is the Facebook of sandwich makers. And that IG TV is the fajitas of ... Those are my favorite. So we'll find the title of the show somewhere within fajitas or-
Demian Ross: And I can say right now, we're never getting sponsored by IHOP, Subway, or any Mexican restaurant that serves fajitas. I've ruined that for us right now already.
Joe Cox: No, no. It's out. And that's okay, that's our right. That's part of being real, is all about ... And I, I mean, I came from this side, so we've had our own battle before with Wendy's, with the rap battle with Wingstop and Wendy's. And let me tell you, the person at IHOP, whenever Wendy's, they see the tweet come up with Wendy's, that was a rough, rough day. You have to really earn your ... A bead of sweat is coming down the forehead whenever you see that Wendy's has responded and you're going to have to talk back and try to outwit them. They're really good and you have to have some really good people that are able to spar, know how to spar.
Joe Cox: So that, it's interesting. If I see this in win a bunch of awards, which I guarantee I will 'cause it's going to be seen as a big marketing success, I want to see the data behind it to your point. I don't know if it sold burgers. I'm one of those believers that brand is a memory and it's a personalized memory to each person on the thing or experience they had last. And it's not just, news isn't just good no matter what. And I don't know if it brought out middle America to try those burgers. I don't know.
Demian Ross: I don't know anyone that's had them, and I've asked a lot of people, "Has anyone tried the burger?" And I think I saw one person post that they went. And they took a picture of it, it was terrible looking. And you could still get it with a side of pancakes. That's the shit that made me laugh, where it's like, "Wait, what? It's a burger with a side of pancakes?"
Joe Cox: That I didn't know. I'll be right back.
Demian Ross: Yeah.
Joe Cox: But shout out to Waffle House. Shout out to Waffle House. So we may be able to bring them in as a sponsor. That would be ...
Demian Ross: I've never stopped at a Waffle House, in all my journeys yet, believe it or not.
Joe Cox: That would be great. They're an incredibly interesting brand. We're not going to get into it right now. But there's a podcast, I'll probably put in the show notes, that goes into 20 things you did not know about Waffle House. And each one of them was more fascinating than the last.
Demian Ross: Nice. Now I'm interested.
Joe Cox: And now I'm thinking about a Waffle House sleeve tattoo. But I'm just drawing it.
Demian Ross: There you go.
Joe Cox: I'm not committed quite yet.
Speaker 1: Here is Unsolicited Advice from Andrew Davis.
Andrew Davis: Good morning. It is time for another episode of Unsolicited Advice where every week I dish out some marketing advice to an unsuspecting target. This week, we are dealing with [inaudible 00: 48: 39] Yeah, let's get started. I can't figure out how to close this thing.
Let's write a letter. Dear zero second popup people, comma, I just got here, exclamation point. So no, period, I don't want to subscribe, period. Open parenthesis, and FYI, comma, I can't find the button to close your annoying popup, period, close parenthesis. So I'm leaving, period. That tweet you composed was compelling enough to click, period. The headline looked good, comma, and I'm interested in reading your stuff, period. But why would I commit to getting your, quote, weekly roundup, end quote, email before I've even consumed your content, question mark. Maybe you should give me a chance to see that compelling article your popup is hiding, question mark.
The truth is, you have to earn my trust to get my email address, period. Instead of building my confidence, comma, your annoying popup is instantly undermining it, period. Imagine if you walked into my office and before you have an opportunity to shake my hand or introduce yourself, I ask you for your credit card. Would you give it to me, question mark. I don't think so, period. Your popup is no different, period. Heres the deal, colon, how about you let me read that article, question mark. Then, and only then, invite me to sign up. Whether you wanted it or not, comma, Andrew Davis. Hashtag Unsolicited Advice.
Well my friends, there you have it, my letter to the zero second popup people is going out today. And guess what? It is going out priority mail. That's right, I'm not wasting any time with this one because it is annoying the crap out of me. Well, there we go. If you've got a popup on your website, I hope that you give people a chance to consume your content before you invite them to subscribe or download or whatever it is. I'm going to go head off to the mailbox and send out this priority mail letter to the zero second popup people of the world. I hope you have a great weekend. [inaudible 00: 51: 18]
Joe Cox: All right, that's it for our first episode of Explicit Content Podcast, the social media edition. And I'm Joe Cox.
Demian Ross: I'm Demian Ross.
Joe Cox: And we'll see you next time.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Explicit Content Podcast. For more information check out enterprisemarketer.com.
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