Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marshalls Gets New Media

Marshalls is not a brand I typically consider hip or web-savvy, but their newest promotion shows that someone there gets it. To promote The Cube, a new mini-boutique for girls within some Marshalls stores, the company is using as its spokesperson someone who is neither female nor even real.

Kelly, a character created by comedian Liam Sullivan, is the star of many YouTube videos, most notably "Shoes," which is one of the most quoted viral videos among teens. The latest one takes place primarily in a Marshalls store, but the viewer is not hit over the head with the brand; in fact, only by reading the details of the video did I figure out the sponsorship.

This campaign is remarkable for several reasons. One, it shows companies are willing to take risks by using "internet celebrities" as spokespeople. Two, it shows they are willing to take this step in spite of vulgar language and possibly controversial imagery in the Kelly videos. Three, it shows a fantastic integration of social media and real world applications.

It's awesome to see boring brands taking risks like this, and exciting to see where advertising is heading.

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