For the Peeple

On September 30th, 2015 Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullogh announced their app to the world. It was called ‘Peeple’, and they’d been building it throughout the summer months. Julia Cordray had come to California from Calgary, AB and was determined to build an app in 90 days with her friend. The process was primarily focused on solidifying and validating the concept, and then moving forward with an app development team. During their development summer, the duo produced 12 ‘webisodes’ documenting their process. From conceptualizing the app to validating their idea to actually going into development meetings, Cordray and McCullogh were transparent with their motivations and thoughts during the process.

On September 30th, 2015 the pair was featured in a Washington Post Article. within 24 hours the Peeple app had gone viral and news outlets from around the globe were weighing in on the concept. Far from the positive response Cordray and McCullogh had expected though, internet communities countered with ridicule and anger at the overall idea.

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The idea was simple. Cordray had built two incredibly successful HR and recruiting companies and wanted a tool that would help recruiters to better match potential candidates with jobs. She partnered with McCullogh to create an app to allow verified individuals to rate one another, and to leave comments regarding a user’s character and personality. The underlying thought was that this kind of a tool would create positivity and build people up. Rather than stopping at professional relationships however, the two chose to expand their ratings categories. A user would be able to rate individuals they knew in a professional, personal, or dating relationship. Incorporating on October 24, 2014 and planning to launch exactly one year later, Cordray began fundraising. As they added shareholders and built equity, the ladies also documented their journey and posted webisodes on their YouTube channel. A Facebook page and Twitter account were also used to share milestones in the stages Peeple’s development.

Almost immediately following the backlash Peeple’s founders experienced in the wake of their formal media announcement, comments began being deleted, most of the webisodes were removed from their channel, the app’s social media presence was scrubbed, and the website was taken down. The videos from the official YouTube channel had been downloaded and were made available by a third party, and the website later reappeared with a vague statement regarding an upcoming announcement and a request to look for more information after October 12th. On October 16, 2015 Julia Cordray appeared on the Dr. Phil show to share her side of the story.

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Cordray listened to the backlash and there have been some drastic changes to the functionality of the proposed app. In the initial reports users would have been able to add a new profile to the database with simply a cell phone number, content would not be removed, and only poor ratings would have the opportunity for review before posting. Aside from the questionable ethics of adding a user without an explicit opt-in, the potential for bullying and harassment sparked a powder keg in the media and shows from CBS to local news shows to John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight were all covering the debacle.

While the idea to create a rating system for people isn’t a completely original idea, Peeple’s founders did receive some positive feedback during fundraising. efforts, primarily in connection with the hiring and recruitment potential. Peeple is still going forward, and is currently accepting beta testers on the website, but with significant changes. The app idea may be ill-conceived and naïve, but with a social media strategy and a crisis management plan, the app may have had a fighting chance.


SWOT Analysis:



From a recruitment perspective, an application that offers insight into a candidate’s personality and management style could be extremely beneficial. Cultural fit is one of the more important aspects in determining success of job placement, but is the most difficult to predict. With more data from a variety of sources, fit could be more easily gauged before signing bonuses and stock options were in the mix.



Adding multiple categories to be rated on dilutes the purpose of the app. Various social media platforms exist because of the affordances inherent in each. LinkedIn is used very differently than Facebook because it is geared toward a more professional use case. Peeple should have focused on the career capabilities and avoided personal relationships.

Another weakness in the initial app announcement was the lack of awareness regarding audience perception. During the “Validating the App” webisode the duo did ask for feedback, but disregarded negative feedback from potential investors while celebrating every bit of positive feedback. A healthy campaign is a well informed campaign. Burying your head in the sand as a response to potential headaches is simply a recipe for disaster.

Lack of authenticity and transparency were major issues with Peeple. The app would allow for anyone to post about anyone else, regardless of whether they opted to become a user or notand comments would not be removed. During the early part of October the social media pages for Peeple were removing comments, blocking followers, and harrassing others. The pages then all came down, and comments were locked on the YouTube channel. Rather than acknowledging the issues with the app design, Cordray chose to pivot the app and ignore the previous statements. Instead of owning up to their poor behavior, she immediately began a PR campaign to paint the app as misunderstood. The new version of the app is a watered down and opt-in only positivity app. The new version is no longer helpful for the HR sector, and has turned into a non-event.


The biggest opportunity has already passed, but there is a small chance of harnessing the viral nature of the initial media firestorm. Peeple’s purpose needs to be more solidly defined. Rather than going after multiple user segments, Cordray should focus on professional and industry users. The rating and comments segments could really help in a recruitment setting.

Another opportunity is to apologize. Being authentic and gaining trust begins with owning your mistakes as a company and being transparent as you move to correct them. An open dialog with beta testers about how to improve functionality and address privacy concerns would make a world of difference in their reception.

Threats: Apps already exist that rate people. Focusing on the social segment will just muddy the waters with the exisiting products. The reputation Peeple has gained is unlikely to improve without a total brand rehabilitation project, and so other apps are more likely to be used.

For the Peeple:

The app is still moving ahead. Beta testers are being recruited, and the founders continue to show up in the media from time to time, but the biggest takeaway we can get from this situation is how important a strategy is. Cordray and McCullogh built a solid business plan, they forcasted earnings and worked closely with developers on prototyping the actual app. What they failed to do was think of social media as a vital part of their business rather than just a communications medium. They posted some videos and shared updates with their followers, but did not think about the potential fall out. In the Dr. Phil segment we can see how bewildered Corday is when asked how the team never thought about the bullying potential. A communications strategy and policy is a key element to any start up. Knowing how to respond in any situation, and having thought through the potential for backlash, not only prepares a small business for a situation precisely like this, but also gives an opportunity to review the product and the campaign for potential threats and weaknesses. Crisis management is not only about what you do when there is a problem, it’s about how to avoid a potential crisis in the first place.



Works Cited:

Cordray, Julia. “I Became a Trending Topic for the Wrong Reasons. Here’s Why We Need Peeple, the Positivity App I’m Building.” LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn, 4 Oct. 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2015. <;.


Farivar, Cyrus. “Facing a Strong Backlash, Person-rating App Peeple Seemingly Vanishes.” Editorial. Arstechnica. Condé Nast, 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <;.


Dewey, Caitlin. “Everyone You Know Will Be Able to Rate You on the Terrifying ‘Yelp for People’ — Whether You Want Them to or Not.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 3 Oct. 2015. <;.


Ghoshal, Abhimanyu. “Peeple’s App Has Pivoted and Is Now Completely Pointless.” TNW Network All Stories RSS. The Next Web, Inc, 05 Oct. 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <;.


The Dr. Phil Show. “Creator of Peeple, App That Lets You Rate Other People, Sets Record Straight About Product.” HuffPost Dr. Phil. The Huffington Post, 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2015. <;.


Hern, Alex. “; The Guardian. The Guardian News and Media Ltd, 6 Oct. 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. <;.


Sollosi, Mary. “‘Yelp for People’ App Will Let You ‘rate’ Real-life Human Beings.” Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainment Weekly, 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2015. <;.


Lafferty, Justin. “Peeple App, Described as ‘Yelp for People,’ Won’t Let You Opt Out of Being Reviewed.” SocialTimes. Ad Week, 1 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2015. <;.


Wylie, Melissa. “Peeple’s Pages Are Gone, but App Is Still on the Way.” Upstart Business Journal. American City Business Journals, 6 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2015. <;.


Tannenbaum, Melanie. “How the Peeple App’s Psychological Logic Misses The Mark.” Gizmodo. Gizmodo, 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <;.


Clayton, Sarah. “Change Management Meets Social Media.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Publishing, 10 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <;.


Baraniuk, Chris. “Peeple Sites ‘disappear’ from Web after Backlash over App.” BBC News. BBC News Services, 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2015. <;.


Farivar, Cyrus. “Peeple, the Unreleased App the Internet Loves to Hate, Pushes Forward.” Arstechnica. Condé Nast, 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. <;.


Toshniwal, Ashish. “What To Do — And What To Avoid — When Branding Your App.” The Huffington Post., 19 May 2014. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. <;.


Roy, Jessica. “The Reinvention of Peeple, an App That Doesn’t Even Exist Yet.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. <;.


Warren, Christina. “Widely Loathed Peeple App Mysteriously Goes into Hibernation.” Mashable. Mashable Inc5, 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015. <;.


LaCapria, Kim. “Peeple Bleater.” Snopes. Urban Legends References Page, 1 Oct. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2015. <;.


Fortney, Valerie. “Fortney: Peeple App Creator Stands Firm, in a Bathroom.” Calgary Herald. Postmedia Network Inc, 07 Oct. 2015. Web. 6 Nov. 2015. <;.


“For the Peeple.” Peeple. Peep Inc, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <;.

For the Peeple


Amanda Hobbs

Case Study #2


Planned Parenthood Is an important organization, especially to poor women and teen girls; the organization provides vital health care to the communities it serves, from general preventative care to screening for sexually transmitted infection to, yes, even providing abortions.

PP has a long history of being opposed by anti-choice factions, from politicians to protesters, and during that history, PP has strongly opposed restrictions placed on family planning, women’s reproductive health, and attempts to limit poor women’s access to adequate, affordable health care. I will attempt to abbreviate that history as much as possible by only including the aspects of it that relate to the #StandWIthPP campaign.

PP’s roots date back to 1916 when Margaret Sanger, along with her sister and a friend, opened America’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. At the time this clinic opened, women had few rights; they could not vote, divorce abusive husbands, have bank accounts, or, thanks to Comstock laws, even control how many children they had. Sanger was well aware of the problems caused by unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions, thanks to her years working as a nurse among immigrant families in New York’s Lower East Side. To that end, Sanger founded The Birth Control Review, the first scientific journal devoted to contraceptives, appealed her conviction, which resulted in more a more liberal interpretation of New York’s contraceptive laws, and, in 1923, opened the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in Manhattan with the intent to distribute contraceptives and collect statistics in order to prove not only their safety, but their long term effectiveness. Also in 1923, Sanger incorporated the American Birth Control League, an organization meant to embrace such global issues as world population growth, disarmament, and famine. Eventually, the two organizations would merge and become Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, Inc.

During the 1960s, PP was instrumental in the push for increased access to birth control, the creation and funding of family planning, both domestically and internationally, and was crucial to the development of the birth control pill and intrauterine device. The organization also played a large role in the striking down of state laws banning the use of birth control by married couples, the liberalization of family planning legislation in at least 10 states, and the liberalization of abortion laws in at least 14 states. PP started an international program in 1971, largely funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and, within 15 years, became the largest U.S.-based nongovernmental provider of family planning in developing countries.

During the late 1970s PP and other groups fought against the Hyde Amendment as well as the passing of more restrictions placed on federal funding for abortions, meaning fewer and fewer women are able to get federal assistance for abortions.

In 1984, after the announcement of the ”Mexico City policy,” the International Planned Parenthood Federation has $40 million of federal funding stripped away after refusing to not provide abortion counseling and abortion referrals as part of its international family planning programs. While PP is able to get court orders to continue funding, a joint lawsuit with the United Nations Population Fund fails.

Throughout the Reagan and Bush administrations, PP personnel and patients were frequent targets of violence and harassment; however, FBI Director William Webster refused to consider these attacks acts of terrorism.

The #StandWithPP campaign began after the release of a series of secretly recorded, heavily edited, videos that featured PP executives discussing fetal tissue. When asked about the controversy, a representative from PP told CNN that PP follows federal guidelines, which prevents the sale of human tissues but does allow reimbursement for reasonable costs. Shortly after th

The first hashtag related to PP to come out after the release of the videos was “#ShoutYourAbortion.” This hashtag was started by Lindy West and Amelia Bonow when West tweeted an image of Bonow’s Facebook status.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The campaign to defund PP &quot;relies on the assumption that abortion is to be whispered about.&quot; <a href=””>#ShoutYourAbortion</a&gt; <a href=”″></a></p>&mdash; Lindy West (@thelindywest) <a href=”″>September 19, 2015</a></blockquote>


Predictably, this hashtag was hijacked by anti-choice Twitter users and Steve Brookstein, a former winner of the British show X Factor. This is one of the less gross examples of the hijacking.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The <a href=””>#ShoutYourAbortion</a&gt; hashtag is literally a movement of women who are proud of killing their babies. A new low point for humanity. So sad!</p>&mdash; Mathews Michelle (@TheMathews04) <a href=”″>September 22, 2015</a></blockquote>


.#StandwithPP started after as a replacement for #ShoutYourAbortion when the government was set to vote on cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, and was used as a way to show support for PP and PP president Cecile Richards during the hearing. The hashtag received support from several celebrities, including Ariana Grande, Lena Dunham, and Kerry Washington. Examples of those tweets are located below, but, as a warning, they all have some pretty disgusting replies, so just look at the embedded tweets.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>There has never been a more urgent time to <a href=””>#StandwithPP</a&gt; <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) <a href=”″>July 28, 2015</a></blockquote>


<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”><a href=””>#ProudFeministTweet</a&gt; I stand with <a href=””>@PPFA</a&gt; in the fight against the attacks on women and our repro health freedom. <a href=””>#StandwithPP</a></p>&mdash; kerry washington (@kerrywashington) <a href=”″>August 3, 2015</a></blockquote>


As noted in an article by Beth Kanter, PP was able to reach out almost immediately to it’s extensive network of supporters and allied organizations to start a campaign of tweets, Facebook posts, and letters to Congress; in fact, Kanter cites over 27,000 tweets using the #StandWithPP hashtag within the first couple weeks of the campaign. Kanter also noted that, largely due to past experience with opposition attempting to defund or shutdown PP, the organization was ready to go into action almost as soon as the edited video was released. She listed the following ways PP handled the situation properly:

  1. Prepared – It already had a crisis communication plan in place that it could tailor and put into action quickly; it recognized more attacks were coming and prepared its supporters to brace themselves.
  2. Decisive – It responded quickly (with the facts in hand) and decisively through written and digital channels (email, video, Twitter).
  3. Empathetic – PPFA’s response struck the right tone. It was strong and did not concede wrongdoing but acknowledged that the optics weren’t optimal.
  4. Engaging – Planned Parenthood’s supporters are passionate and ready to act – through Twitter, blog posts, emails to Congress, etc. The group used the power of personal stories to connect with people on the issue.
  5. Connected – PPFA prioritizes building and maintaining strong ties with allies and decision makers willing to stand in support of the organization

Unlike previous Planned Parenthood related hashtags, there wasn’t a lot of evidence of this hashtag being hijacked.




Halo 5: The Multimedia Juggernaut


History of Microsoft:


Microsoft, the current holder and creator of the Halo franchise was created in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Shortly thereafter the two hired Steve Ballmer to help run the company in 1981 and the beginning of the PC era was born. The three created together created MS-DOS, which is the still the base for internal PC commands till this day. From MS-DOS, they used that to create a new system called “Windows” which was released in 1985 as Windows 1.0 and as the first system to have a reasonably navigable GUI which was a massive hit for personal computing. The biggest advancement from there to early computing was with the release of Windows 3.0 five years later as this allowed companies to develop software using the Windows SDK that is still released with copies of Windows today. The most notable consumer release that we would all know was Windows 95 as this is what came in installed on all computers. This release of 95 and the emergence of the internet (as well as Internet explorer) set the stage for modern computing as internet gaming came exploded with games like Warcraft and Diablo. Windows 95 sold millions of copies during the initial release skyrocketing Microsoft into the spotlight as the world’s de facto standard PC operating system producer. The software juggernaut would go on to produce more iterations of windows and a mobile platform that came late to the game but is still the main operating system preference for computer users around the world.


McCann and McCann London:

mccan logo

Responsible for the work on some of the Halo 5 advertisements during the initial #HUNTtheTruth Xbox TV spots Mccan London is an advertisement firm that is based out of London. Formed in 1927 they have been responsible for ads for some of the world’s biggest companies including General Mills, Nature Valley, Fisher-Price, Coca-Cola and more. The London office is one of three Europe based subsidiaries including Paris and Berlin. The parent companies being McCann Erickson and on top of that Interpublic Group being one of the biggest advertising companies in the world. McCann parent is based out of NYC and was formed in 1902. McCann London is also responsible for the current #squadvertiser campaign that started with the release of Halo 5 in October.


Xbox and Halo and Bungie-logo:

              In 2001 Microsoft joined the gaming community with the release of their Xbox gaming console. Critics did not take the release of Xbox seriously saying that Microsoft was late to the game and they’d flounder amidst the sea of games that Sony and Nintendo had already released. What they didn’t account for was the start of one of the biggest video game franchises of all time, Halo. halo_smallOf the 22 titles upon its initial release, Halo: Combat Evolved was the most successful title with almost 5 million copies sold in the United States alone. It was a favorite for LAN parties at the time and the commercial success spawned a worldwide gaming franchise, movies, episodic shorts films (more on that later), animated movies and a plethora of toys. However, Microsoft didn’t own nor produce the Halo franchise in the beginning. The first three Halo titles and a couple spinoffs were created by Bungie Studios (owned by Microsoft at the time) and published by Microsoft. In 2007 Bungie after over seven years of work on the Halo franchise separated from Microsoft due to creativity reasons but Microsoft retained the “Halo” franchise IP and it would be another two years from the last release of a Halo game until Microsoft and its newly formed 343 Industries  would release Halo 4 completely independent from Bungie’s creative wing. Living up to its predecessors, Halo 4 was a critical success that the gaming community and loyalists didn’t expect. Spawning a new trilogy of games for Microsoft the recent release of Halo 5 will keep this franchise rolling along for many more years to come.


Halo 5

Halo-5-Guardians-700x394From the time Microsoft released Halo 4 as the beginning to a new trilogy in the overall franchise promotion for Halo 5 had begun. The speculation alone on how long it would be before the next iteration was already fueling the buzz. One of the media outlets that fueled Halo 4’s release was a series of Youtube episodic shorts detailing the backstories of Master Chief as well as another one of the new trilogy’s main protagonists Lasky. Among being well directed, the videos were a critical point in the promotion and sales of Halo 4. Recognizing this, 343 Industries and renowned director Ridley Scott created another short web series called Halo: Nightfall.Nightfall_poster Serving as a connector to the events between Halo 4 and Halo 5 and an origin story for one of the characters in Halo 5 the trailer alone for being a web series garnered has garnered over two million Youtube views. The actual viewing figures were difficult to track down due to the videos only being viewable in “Halo Channel”, a platform for mobile devices and Xbox. The success of this web series and the Halo 4 web series has spawned talks for a television series that was to be released with Halo 5 but has since been delayed. Upon release it will have connections with Halo 5 and the upcoming Halo 6 and they, like the others will only be available on the “Halo Channel” on mobile devices and Xbox.

Halo Nightfall Episodes



              With all the supplemental content to the Halo franchise giving way to hours of backstory one unique form of promotion that I’ve never witnessed for a game was the use of a podcast series that started before Halo 5 was released and is now being released in episodic seasons. Giving more backstory to the characters in the game and to the other parts of the Halo universe though not directly related to the events in Halo 5 this material spawned the #HUNTtheTRUTH hashtag which has been used in the campaign promotion of Halo 5. The podcasts, which are all about 20 minutes in length use a combination of Soundcloud for the audio and Tumblr for video and imagery supplements. The episodes are meant to be listened to on Tumblr with the visual supplements to help the overall story and you can be notified every time an episode is released. For the more audio oriented person the episodes can be streamed on Soundcloud by themselves or like most podcasts, downloaded for free from iTunes. Since the podcasts were released eight months ago they’ve racked up over a twenty million listens on Soundcloud (combined with the plays from Tumblr) alone and have a huge fan base. The Soundcloud site alone has over 25k followers though I was unable to see where a number of followers on Tumblr was located.

Hunt the Truth Tumblr

Of all the campaigns I’ve encountered this was the first time I’ve seen one used on Tumblr or Soundcloud. With Soundcloud’s declining use due to copyright it was interested they used this versus another outlet. Though combining the download ability on iTunes was a great idea for Apple loyalists. The response to these episodes has been high with users wanting more episodes of the “Hunt the Truth” series after each season is released. What is unique is that this has been the main promotion tool for Halo 5, unlike an overall use across the board of social media sites, and Youtube. While the video series had some pull, it’s been the podcasts that have been consistently used as the base of the campaign. The hashtag is what has appeared plastered all over materials for the game across all the outlets including Facebook and Twitter.

Itunes Podcasts

Souncloud “Hunt the Truth” Episode

The social media aspect of the promotional material has been all over the board with the #HUNTtheTRUTH hashtag appearing all over but most of the tweets and Facebook posts have been linking to the Tumblr podcasts. Other posts promoting the game were just that, general. General posts promoting products that included Halo 5, Halo 5 licensed products, new game content, interactive and YouTube ads or game art. Other posts directed to videos but the main point in promotion in the end all directed to Tumblr.

#Squadvertiser and Halo 5 Release:

              According to Microsoft Halo 5 in combination with its pre-downloads and initial sales has become the most successful digital selling game of all time. Critics across the board have praised Halo 5 for its gameplay value while saying that the single player campaign at times can be a little underwhelming. The multiplayer aspect is now another massive ROI for Halo 5 as well with the addition of microtransactions through the new Requisition System. As of now the microtransactions have totaled over $700k and continue to grow exponentially as the game hasn’t even been out a month yet. In helping this massive multiplayer rush has been the new #squadvertiser multiplayer ad campaign that started upon Halo 5’s October 29th release.


Produced by the London based ad agency McCann London, also responsible for some of Halo 5’s initial “Hunt the Truth” television content, #squadvertiser is the most current campaign focused on uniting Halo 5’s player base. The ads are user generated and then can be posted to a variety of outlets. These have actually taken off more so on social media due to player to player/person to person interaction of the ads looking for other players to join their teams. The most successful ads will reproduced on some external media such as billboards, newspapers and online banners. So far it seems as if this campaign is creating buzz among the multiplayer community but is still too new to see any hard results yet as it is less than a month old. The #squadvertiser campaign is currently running across 10 countries and the site even features a “job board” for those who want to be recruited instead of recruiting their own members. It will be interesting to see where this goes and how much revenue this will generate for the multiplayer via the micropurchased Requisition Packs mentioned above.

Squadvertiser Website

Squadvertiser Tweet By Xbox

Success and Goals

Given the fact the Halo franchise is a billion dollar money maker in the gaming industry it was kind of a given that it would do well. While not all of the titles have done as well as one or the other they all have done well. With Halo 5’s official release on October 29th, 2015 reviews have been massively positive and sales in the first week have totaled over $400 million pushing the Halo franchise to over $5 billion. Time “logged on the game has totaled over 21 million hours of gameplay, including 12 million in the campaign alone.” Halo 5 has also driven Xbox One sales higher than Playstation 4 as of this month and October. Halo 4 and Halo 5 have had the most promotion but other than the $70 million invested in the Nightfall web series I was unable to find a total investment figure. It’s safe to assume that the initial week one sales will trump any investment figures and the continued promotions through the new #squadvertiser campaign and the episodic podcasts will keep the figures going strong for the next year or so into the release of Halo 6. The release of new in game content will also keep the microtransaction sales rolling right along as well. Measured success isn’t just in the figures though, it’s in the continued community interaction.

Most video games are heavily promoted up until a release. Once the product is released there’s a surge of community that over the months after release fizzles out and only the hardcore player base remains. This is the first time that I’ve experienced a player base that is interactive with each other on a level outside of “gaming clan” based comradery. The use of the #squadvertiser is something similar to Destiny’s LFG website looking for players to team up with, yet is first hand promoted by the product instead of some third party independent. I see this being an asset in keeping the Halo 5 community active until the release of Halo 6. With an engaged community that rolls through to another game release, it just means a higher return and less investment later on when the next game campaign starts. Though, I believe it is the high investment from Microsoft and 343 Industries that is one of the reasons the franchise has done so well. People love content, and with a franchise as story and game rich as Halo is it seems that the community cannot get enough and keep begging for more. If they keep doing what they’re doing I see the success of the Halo franchise continuing for years to come.




Sources and Info:
Squadvertiser Hashtag Search

Hunt the Truth Hashtag Search 

Halo Franchise's Twitter Page

Halo Nightfall

Halo 5 Guardians Review

Hunt The Truth Soundcloud for Podcasts
Hunt The Truth Official Tumblr Page Hunt the Truth Apple iTunes Podcasts Info on Squadvertiser More Info on Squadvertiser Squadvertiser Official Page Halo 5 Sales Info Halo 5 Microtransaction Info McCann London!/about
Halo 5: The Multimedia Juggernaut

Pizza & Emoji – A More Perfect Union


A picture is worth a thousand words, but it only takes one emoji to order a pizza. All of this is made possible due to Domino’s Pizza’s new social media campaign that allows users to either tweet or text a pizza emoji, which in turn will order them a pizza. This was created in an effort to reach younger audiences that have primarily adopted a new mode of communication that uses various images to express words and emotions. These new-age hieroglyphics are called emojis, and they are found in almost every facet of modern day communication. Due to their prevalence, it is no surprise that companies are starting to create their own custom emojis.


Before Domino’s, the pizza emoji had little purpose, so the fact that one company can lay claim to a generic pizza icon gives them quite an edge over the competition as customers will now associate the pizza emoji with Domino’s. Another main component of this bold new marketing strategy is that it expedites the pizza ordering process. It is much faster to text an emoji, than to go through the arduous process of finding the phone number of the pizzeria, making the call, and placing the order over the phone. With Domino’s, the customer will need to create an account online with which they can customize their pizza selections and link payment information. Once the account has been established, a hot delicious pizza is one finger-tap away. Furthermore, what makes this campaign even more successful is that whenever people tweet the emoji, they are basically advertising the fact that they will be eating Domino’s Pizza to all of their friends. There is no denying that the Domino’s emoji campaign is highly effective, although it does come with some downsides, predominantly with a television advertisement that was the recipient of mostly negative responses. Also, the ordering system has seen a moderate failure rate as Domino’s attempts to work out all of the kinks.


The Power of Pizza

Brothers Tom and James Monaghan founded Domino’s in 1960[1]. Initially it was only a single location, which was called DomiNiks, a carryover from the previous owner. The business soon expanded to three additional locations, and because the original owner refused to let the other locations keep the DomiNiks name, it was changed to Domino’s Pizza, a suggestion from one of the employees. Currently there are Domino’s in 5,700 cities: 2,800 domestically, and 2,900 internationally. This makes them the #2 pizza chain in the Unites States, and the #1 worldwide. Domino’s claim to fame was that it promised a 30-minute or less pizza delivery. Originally if the pizza didn’t arrive within 30 minutes, the customer would get the pizza for free. However, this caused reckless delivery drivers, so now instead of being a promise, it’s simply a slogan. When it came to the pizza itself, Domino’s was ranked rather poorly. That changed in 2010 when the current CEO, J. Patrick Doyle, was hired. Doyle ensured that the pizza would be rejuvenated, which resulted in a 14% gain in profits for that year. Recently Domino’s has been praised for its excellent use of social media, particular with Twitter, as there is active engagement with an impressive 939,000 followers[2]. The next big step for Domino’s would be the introduction of its innovative emoji ordering system.


The Rise of the Emoji

Emojis are small icons or pictographs that are used to express emotion in digital media. The word emoji comes from two Japanese words: “e” meaning picture, and “moji” which translates to character[3]. Evidently the first emojis were created in 1998 by Japanese coder Shigetaka Kurita, for NTT DoCoMo’s mobile Internet platform[4]. Originally emojis were very rudimentary, being only 12×12 pixels, and featuring very simplistic designs. For the most part, the emoji was mostly seen in Japan for the latter half of the 1990’s, and the early 2000’s. It wouldn’t be until the introduction of Apple’s iPhone that the emoji would break through internationally, and become a worldwide phenomenon. Today emojis are found on almost every operating system, and have become an integral part of the online social sphere. It is reported that six out of ten people use emojis frequently, using on average 30.1 emojis per day[5]. Emojis are so trendy right now that even Sony Pictures is in the process of developing a movie based on the little icons. Furthermore, despite not really being words, Oxford’s Dictionary named the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji Word of The Year for 2015. This came as no accident, since it was found to be the most frequently used emoji beating out the rest by 17%. Pair that with the fact that the use of the word emoji itself has nearly tripled in 2015, and that makes the Oxford decision all the more logical. There is no doubt that the emojis will continue to grow in popularity, especially now that they are being recognized as a useful marketing tool for corporations.



Pizza and Emojis Joining Forces

It was only a matter of time before companies would begin to recognize the immense power of the emoji. Now companies are starting to create their own custom emojis to add to the roster. That is where the second largest pizza chain comes into play. Recognizing the importance of the emoji, Domino’s Pizza took the opportunity to create a system that would make use of the pizza emoji, which would be used to order pizzas. In order to create this new ordering system, Domino’s enlisted the help of the Crispin Porter + Bogusky advertising agency[6]. Once completed, Domino’s began to release “teasers” about the new campaign by sending out numerous cryptic tweets using nothing but the pizza emoji.

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When the system went live on May 20th over 500 people signed up almost instantly, this promptly generated a blitz of media buzz, and user interest. While at first the system was only limited to Twitter, it soon expanded to text messaging, further adding to its potential user base. Along with the new pizza ordering system, Domino’s also launched The homepage of the site touts that 40% of Americans do not know what the various emojis mean. The website then goes on to translate each emoji, however most of it is clearly an advertisement for Domino’s. Going forward it will be interesting to see if Domino’s will be able to maintain a large consumer base, and whether or not other companies will adopt similar systems.


How it Works

To begin the pizza emoji ordering process, one must first go to the website: From there an account must be created where the individual will have to create a “Pizza Profile” that consists of their pizza of choice. Next, Tweet ordering must be enabled, and the person must be following Domino’s on Twitter. Now the pizza can be ordered by tweeting the pizza emoji at Domino’s.

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Finally the user will be sent a direct message, asking them to confirm the order. If all goes well, the pizza will then be on its way to be devoured.

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Similarly this process can also be done via text messaging, with Domino’s promising even more avenues of ordering in the future.


Campaign Goals

 A primary goal of the Domino’s campaign was to try and reach a younger audience. To achieve this Domino’s knew that a large percentage of people on social media platforms were millennials and younger, with the largest demographic on Twitter being in the 18-29 year old range[9]. In addition, Domino’s felt it was likely that the younger demographic would also be more prone to ordering pizza. Domino’s was quick to comprehend the magnitude of emojis that were being used among younger individuals. The next logical step for Domino’s would be to create a marketing campaign that would implement both emojis and social media. Another goal that Dominos hoped to achieve was to make the overall process of ordering pizza simpler and faster. Domino’s is known for its 30-minute pizza delivery, so it came as no surprise that they would want to continue their legacy of efficiency. Overall it appears that Domino’s has been highly successful in these endeavors.




For a marketing campaign to be highly innovated, while also breaking new ground, it must be very strong with what it is trying to accomplish. Domino’s emoji pizza campaign comes loaded with a plethora of strengths. The first one being the fact that Domino’s will now be forever associated with the pizza emoji. This is very powerful as it will aid brand awareness as the pizza emoji is used hundred of thousands of times a day, which in turn escalates the frequency that someone will be exposed to the emoji, thereby increasing the chance an individual would think about Domino’s. Another strength that this campaign has going for it is that literally every time someone uses the emoji to order a pizza, all of their followers will see it. Which is basically free advertising for Domino’s. Furthermore, it is likely that Domino’s will pull in high conversion rates due to the fact that a product is being purchased every time someone partakes in the campaign. Last but not least, one of the most important strengths of this campaign, is that Domino’s was able to siginfically reduce the time it takes to order a pizza. Tweeting or texting an emoji is a simply faster than ordering over the phone. However first-time users will still be required to create a pizza profile, which in itself is a relatively short process. Once everything is set up and ready to go, consumers are able to order their pizza in only five seconds. Much like the campaign as a whole, this is very impressive. (real time emoji tracker)


While relatively low, Domino’s emoji campaign does show signs of potential weaknesses. First and foremost, using the emoji to order pizza is not 100% reliable, and it actually fails a good percentage of the time. This includes individuals not receiving any responses, or having a delayed order[10]. There have even been reports of people not receiving their pizza until three hours later. Secondly, while most of the advertising for the campaign has been successful, one did not fair so well. The commercial in question was titled Sara loves Emoji, and it shows Modern Family actress Sara Hyland texting the pizza emoji to her friend and brother, with them misunderstanding her intentions. She then sends the same emoji to Domino’s, and says: “Domino’s is the only one that gets me”. The main point that this advertisement was trying to convey was that Domino’s was the only one that knew Sara wanted pizza. The commercial completely missed its mark with viewers, as the video currently sits at 174 likes versus 149 dislikes. Most of the comments expressed that the audience felt Hyland’s character was being a spoiled brat and should have just got the pizza herself.



Moving forward Domino’s will need to find more opportunities to extend the reach and longevity of the pizza emoji campaign. To do so, it will need to increase the different ways that customers can order pizza using the emoji. In this regard, Domino’s is already planning to implement the ordering system in other popular electronic devices such as smart watches, and smart televisions. Along the same lines as the devices, Domino’s could also expand to allow orders to be placed through more social media channels such has Instagram, and Pinterest. In addition, to increase the duration of the campaign, Domino’s will need to ensure that the ordering process is streamlined, and operates smoothly.



The biggest threat that Domino’s needs to address is the beleaguered ordering system that continues to have a moderately high failure rate. If other companies are able to create a system that is better at eliciting sales through emojis, there could be the potential risk that Domino’s could lose revenue over it, as well as a good share of their customer base. If Domino’s stays vigilant to these threats, it is likely that they will continue to find success in their campaign.



Emoji pizza ordering is a prime example of what a modern day campaign should entail. It was able to accomplish so much, just based on a simple idea, which was both ingenious and innovative. It is likely that Domino’s has ushered in a new age of marketing though social media, thereby forcing other companies to adopt similar strategies in order to be competitive.


Pizza & Emoji – A More Perfect Union

Wendy’s “Crack the master” Social Media Campaign


Shortened Links


Today’s social world requires a high level of innovation when it comes to getting ahead in the marketplace. Social media affordances like youtube, facebook and twitter can really set a business up for success by getting access to millions of potential customers. Today the discussion is focused on the Wendy’s Social Media Campaign Crack the Masters.  Described best as an interactive click through choose your own adventure Youtube video game.  The campaign was designed by an agency to promote new limited time pulled pork items. For fast food they found a way to engage with the mobile community unlike the competitors. After 2 months and over 3,290,000 views on the first landing video it is easy to think success. Further analyzation will show if it truly was an innovator in social media. More about the history Wendy’s and the Agency VML will demonstrate how the campaign stacks up against indicators internal and external.

Wendys Background

Wendy’s history goes back to 1969 when they opened however as for television they appeared 15 years later. Remember the “Where’s the beef?” lady? She first appeared 1984 in the first Wendy’s TV commercial. Wendy’s later switched to Dave the founder whom appeared in over 800 commercials until he passed of cancer in 2002. Now they are looking use television commercials about sweet, spicy, and smokey to engage with the intended demographic differently unlike before. Today, Wendy’s is the third largest burger fast food chain in the world with more than 6,500 locations. Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers was named after Dave’s daughter Melinda “Wendy” Thomas. The place immediately got the attention of the industry because they provided made to order burgers with fresh meat.

VML Background

Getting the attention of people is the job of creative agency VML. Wendy’s has been using them since 2002. With big names like Colgate-Palmolive, Kellogg, Dell, Microsoft, and Southwest Airlines made a killing by acquiring a diverse portfolio. The experience is one of the strengths of the agency. VML has a great history of strategic planning for their social media campaigns. Dissecting the Wendy’s VML Campaign strengthens our understanding of what the two companies apparent goals if they are on track for success.

Apparent Goals

Chris Corley, group creative director at VML said “We did want to engage our audience in a more interactive way instead of just exposing them passively to video content.” As for Wendy’s it is clear that distinguishing themselves in the ever changing social media game is important.  The fast food joint is utilizing mobile-optimized games to increase awareness of their new product and hopefully increase sales in the process. The agency also mentioned that it wanted to meet the audience where they are on social media because driving them away from the platform may restrict fans participation. All of the campaign goals hold together by reading anything about the the two companies who address the campaign in articles online. (See Source 2 & 6) Wendy’s media channels require some video and linking system to be able to reach the above goals. Youtube, Facebook, and twitter would expose the videos via paid and organic advertising opportunities. Information collected since the campaign’s inception early September shows the experience on Youtube was considered first as a media channel focus.

Media Channel Focus : Youtube

see Appendix A, B, C, D, and E

After research on pulled pork sandwiches at festivals and popular BBQ places, Wendy’s is offering fans to receive the smokey, sweet, and spicy info via several new interactive game on YouTube, designed to offer various characters’ biggest BBQ secrets. Loyal fans may watch the videos on their smartphones and then become unable to resist a visit their nearest Wendy’s location and pick up a pulled pork sandwich. Why is youtube the choice application you ask? The interactive user experience is most apparent on YouTube, because it uses clickable video overlays that other platforms just do not have. Twitter and Facebook are forced to include hyperlinks in the text area of the post, which the user must click to progress the story. And, on some of the combinations, the arrow pointing to the hyperlinked choices gives the viewer a wrong direction to click. Youtube was a primary focus campaigns came after the fact. The agency created it first followed by facebook then twitter respectively.

Apparent Time Frame (Chp 2 Focus)

The apparent time frame follows the product they are pitching to the customer. The BBQ awareness campaign like many others starts strongly and tapers off with time. Social media works uniquely when compared to traditional advertising, and may require diligence before results are achieved. Although a television campaign can utilize a heavy buy early in its media plan to incite near immediate awareness and build momentum, social media are just the opposite according to Tracy Tuten who wrote Social Media Marketing. It can take months for a social media campaign to build awareness (and there are many more that have failed to this). If the plan is going to work, the organization must be patient while the fans interact with the content and the relationship. The overall strength and productivity of the social media model can be well worth the patience and resources needed. Starting with the introductory video getting 319K views in september and almost a month later it increased by 300 percent at million views. The time frame is essential in understanding the effectiveness of BBQ campaign.

Media Channel Focus : Facebook

see Appendix F & G

The Facebook app shows video views with about twice the amount of youtube. Youtube has one million views to the two million views. However, the success is not measurable by this count alone. When analyzing each of the 13 choosable videos we find users never made it to the second video on Facebook. The hyperlink above the video really creates a disconnection unlike Youtube embedded links. How do I know this? By tracking the links on bitly, a dynamic link tracker, seeing the drop in viewers shows that links were less likely to be pressed. One of the weaknesses of the Facebook Channel but its success stands with making sure it was available. We wanted to complement the BBQ Pulled Pork message with a fun digital video experience,” says Mike Bueno, director of digital marketing at Wendy’s, Columbus, OH. “We also know that digital video views are shifting more and more toward mobile, and moreover, that our consumers live on their mobile devices. So delivering the experience in a mobile-centric format was a must.” Wendy’s and VML knew that responding to chatter on Facebook could yield fans in their favor. Facebook helped Wendy’s focus on consumers who were not visiting youtube or twitter.

Media Channel Focus : Twitter

see Appendix H & I

Twitter is known for its 140 character limits but not its interactivity with video. Like the Facebook attempt it utilizes hyperlinking above the video play. Similar problems interacting with Twitter is what hold it at number three spot for engagement. Twitter really is meant to share links and text. The video option works with Twitter interface but we see drops after first video play. Creating the best experience that is consistent across the channels helps us understand why certain companies decide to use specific social outlets. Twenty two thousand was the highest amount of traffic generated with twitter. Eight retweets and 16 favorites on Twitter near the beginning now with numbers only increased by one and 4 respectively. The hashtag was not utilized which is worth mentioning. A majority utilize this feature to organize traffic but VML leaves it out of this campaign.


Lack of Focus : Instagram

If you were to visit the Wendy’s instagram page, no mention of Crack the Master BBQ interactive game. But why? When creating a focus it is apparent that some social media channels had better avenues for video play back. Instagram limits the time and also makes linking to other images or videos nearly impossible. The social media industry is very forgivable when leaving out instagram for this reason alone as long as the campaign focus makes its presence aware.

How are others compare?

Others in fast food have come close to what Wendy’s attempt at interactivity and fan loyalty. The video game industry once had Burger King come to it asking for some help creating a playstation game. This is old news. However, it is probably the closest thing we can connect to Wendy’s Videos. The king created a go kart game. Wendy created a social media game. It is easy to draw similar parallels when taking the companies histories into account. The success is created by the difference of these two campaigns. The social media piece is inherently more easy to share than a Playstation CD. Not to mention you dont need a console. Wendy’s fans are more likely to have a mobile device compared to a gaming console. This capitalizes on this one distinct comparison.

How would you measure success? Indicator external or internal? And did it do its job?

The success is in VML’s social media marketing plan. Studying the Wendy’s case clearly shows its success is in planning because they thoughtfully considered all the strengths and weaknesses. The relationship development in social communities, social publishing, social entertainment, and social commerce. Within each zone are many specific vehicles VML best suited to reach a certain audience. The audience for the Wendy’s promo is discovering CrackTheMasters a few different ways. On Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the brand is running video ads targeted to barbecue-interested users and the Millennial demographic. For instance, to meet the coveted goals and the social media patterns of a target audience that includes college students, the planner may determine that the campaign should include social networking, social publishing, and social games. These zones from Social Media Marketing help us show the relationship with success and where the brand was winning.

Engagement how would measure/observe it…

Social media is designed to drive engagement and increase sales. To measure this with Wendy’s looking at the video views or the number of times a link is clicked is an indicator. Sales is a little harder at this to determine at this point with figures hidden behind corporate policy. The best part of this campaign was the ability to follow the engagement through tools offered by the internet. Youtube gives us a graph showing how the traffic decreases after October 12th. Did engagement drop off? It is hard to tell, but it is likely that the limited time offer has been relinquished after this date. Another mentionable topic is the drop of engagement from the first video to next. In this you-pick story information indicates views at two thousand or so with the second click. VML lost nearly all engagement after the first video which sits at one million plus views. This is true about the other forms of social media in the same comparison. We learn engagement decreases after the first click.  Facebook follows suit when comparing clicks to the bitly links. TV commercials were the most widely broadcast hoping to lead the consumer to finding CracktheMaster social sites to find out secrets from the Barbeque masters. The campaign did reach over 4 million people from the first video. Continued engagement faltered after this giving a number under 10,000 people whom actually did the full click through. This points at failure from the perspective social media goals. One of which was to get the viewer to continue through suggested click areas to help the audience gain more insight about the new menu item and learn BBQ secrets.


Connecting internal indicators and external indicators presents what is in control of the Wendy’s campaign. It is important to learn how this affects whether or not the campaign was successful. Wendy’s social power is creating innovative marketplace competition, an internal indicator of strength. One weakness found that planning did not account for drop of viewers after first video or even would be less likely to click options that were not the top hyperlink. These were controllable from a planner’s perspective. Interactivity in video is still so young with the mobile consumer. Opportunities are external attractive factors that represent reasons the business is likely to prosper. They took the mobile direction attacking all the major social media channels with something they have never seen before. This shows them as leaders in the opportunity conversation. Threats include external factors beyond control that could place the strategy, or the business itself, at risk. Wendy’s has no control over these, but may benefit by having contingency plans to address them if they should occur. One that comes to mind would be comments about the material that could become inappropriate.

At the end of things, Wendy’s and VML have done a great job overall addressing their place as a front leader in marketplace. They are the third best burger joint in America for reasons that have been listed above. If they are going to rise to the cream of the crop, it will happen after learning from this social media campaign. CrackTheMasters was very interactive but did not engage as the campaign’s goals had wanted. While many of the articles and news would boast the good. We have to always start from the foundation of goals and ask a question. Did it work as it was intended, or did we find information that will help us moving forward? Trying new things is innovative and creates outcomes almost always resulting something learned.  The campaigns results show its strength in planning and innovating. If continued, VML and Wendy’s will hold the eyes of the consumer and the loyal fan generating future successes like CrackTheMasters.

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Wendy’s “Crack the master” Social Media Campaign

Good grief! A Case Study Review of the Peanutize Me Social Media Campaign

Peanutize Me 2

The release on November 6, 2015 The Peanuts Movie commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the “A Charlie Brown Christmas” TV special. “The Peanutize Me” campaign was introduced in September to help promote the release of the upcoming movie.

The iconic Peanuts comic was published by more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries 21 languages at its height. The brand itself boasts upwards to $1 billion a year in merchandising, product endorsements, and from syndication of the comic strips. The comic spawned countless shows, miniseries, video games, 45 television specials, five feature films including

The Peanuts Movie releasing November 6, 2015. The Peanuts Movie is the first film to be released since creator Charles M. Schulz, also known as “Sparky,” passed away in 2000. Over the 50 years of hand drawing the “Peanuts” comic Schulz drew nearly 18,000 strips before announcing his last comic which was published just after he passed away on February 12, 2000.

Over the past 30 years,  many movie studios proposed a computer-animated “Peanuts,” but the Schulz family rejected proposals for another movie. Craig Schulz said echoing concerns voiced from fans regarding another installment of the franchise, “We always felt like the risk of doing a film and having it be done poorly was not worth the potential gain.” Both the movie and the social media campaign promoting that movie have a responsibility to the legacy of those iconic characters.


“Peanuts” started as a weekly, one-panel comic series entitled “Li’l Folks” published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press from 1947 until 1950. Schulz approached United Feature Syndicate with a four-panel version of the “Li’l Folks” comic who picked up the comic for syndication in seven newspapers in October of 1950. The title “Li’l Folks” was too close to the names of other comics like “Li’l Abner” so United Feature Syndicate called the comic “Peanuts” referencing a segment of the Howdy Doody TV show called the peanut gallery. Schulz never liked the title stating “It’s totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing — and has no dignity. I think my humor has dignity.” The collections of comics are usually called, “Charlie Brown” or “Snoopy” due to this dislike of the title.

The comic started out much darker and cruel than the cute, loveable characters with which many grew up and came to know. The strip showed a side of the basic selfish desires prevailing in human behavior, which is much easier to identify in children. Readers were comforted as they related to conflict of social interaction of Lucy, Schroeder, Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy.

Born out of the paradoxical nature of the mass culture of the 1950s which left little room for diversity; this alienation helped to create the recurring themes in the “Peanuts” comic. Charlie Brown is best-known for the line “My anxieties have anxieties.” A generation grew up self-identifying themselves as a member of “Peanuts,” but at the core everyone relates to the main protagonist Charlie Brown.

Though the themes have lightened over the years, these ideas maintain as the core philosophy driving “Peanuts” and building a faithful fan following. Presenting the difficulty and how each of the “Peanuts” characters individually coped with the struggle provided the audience with levity, union, and ultimately hope. These character archetypes became relatable and audience identified them as parts of their own identity.

Readers cheered the underdog in Charlie Brown and rooted him on as he again attempted to kick the football just to have Lucy pull it out of the way again. It became predictable, but the narrative held a deeply satisfy familiarity. The familiarity built on a half-a-century comic brand.

The apprehension towards a computer-animated “Peanuts” movie is understandable. Films like The Adventure of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Garfield: The Movie both attempted to update their franchises with live-action and computer-generated releases and were met with disappointed moviegoers and critical rejection alike. With a $76 million budget The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle film released in 2000 grossed $35 million worldwide.

Although in 2004 the Garfield: The Movie can be considered a financial success and even produced a sequel, but the film received generally unfavorable reviews online. The most notable criticism comes from a line in the movie Zombieland from 2009, where Bill Murray plays himself. In Zombieland as he is dying he is asked if he had any regrets and he answers with “Garfield, maybe.”

The Schulzes caution is definitely warranted, but director Steve Martino with 20th Century Fox-owned Blue Sky Studios were able to convince the family they are the dedicated team to bring a faithful animated “Peanuts” movie to the big screen. American animation studio Blue Sky Studios most well-known for the 2002 animated film Ice Age had the vision for making The Peanuts Movie a reality also created the “Peanutize Me” to help promote the film.

Fox Animation executive Ralph Millero had this to say regarding the endeavor of working this project, “It’s about preserving a legacy that has a tremendous history and not screwing it up. We see that kids meet characters today in feature films in the movie theater, so that’s the opportunity. The responsibility is to deliver the experience so that these characters don’t change so that they become a new presentation of what’s been wonderful about them for 50 years.” Millero also worked on another well-received animated film from beloved author and artist, Theodor Seuss Geisel, on the movie, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who.

Unlike many comic artists, Schulz never hired an assistant and crafted every comic himself using only an Esterbrook pen and India ink. The animation team visited The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa and watched 1000 of hours of video trying to capture Schulz’s style. The director Martino even visited Schulz’s childhood home in St. Paul, Minneapolis to help visualize the neighborhood that inspired the comic.

Martino explained that “It’s a little retro in a way, but in today’s world of animation it feels completely fresh. We’re not trying for photorealism or movement where you believe the characters are human. It’s a different palette. This is the most complicated creation, to put something up on the screen that looks so simple. I wanted to find that pen line, the wiggle in Charlie Brown’s smile.” The production team seemed well-tasked to maintain the creativity of the past while faithfully creating a modernly relevant film of the beloved franchise.

The Merchandising brand of “Peanuts” is well established. The “Peanuts” brand makes around $100 million yearly for the Iconix Brand Group, an American brand management company which licenses brands to retailers and manufacturers for apparel, footwear, and accessory. With a well-recognized brand, it is important to build on existing awareness. The Peanuts Movie had to create a campaign to capitalize on an easily recognizable brand. A generation that grew up watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on the holidays, some of whom might have learned to read from the “funny paper” or from the collected works of Schulz’s comics.

With the decline of the newspaper as a primary news media, there is an probably for many to have never seen comics in print and with a younger generation not as familiar with the “Peanuts” brand. This could translate into a missed opportunity to introduce a new age group to the comic’s specific brand of humor and wit. Iconix Chief Executive Neil Cole remarked that “The brand is amazing over 30, but I have a 9-year-old daughter. If we don’t get her to love us, it’s not gonna look good five years from now.”

S.W.O.T. Analysis Table

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats
Brand Recognition Generational Gap Introduce to a new generation Veering off from the core values Charles M. Schulz the original

creative vision

Museum dedicated to the works of Charles M. Schulz In syndication rather than publication Generation X sharing the nostalgia of the brand with millennials and future generations Release of family or child-friendly movies:
* Goosebumps
* Jem and the Holograms
* The Good Dinosaur* Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip* Star War: The Force Awakens
Family dedicated legacy Decline of newspapers as a primary media source Renewed interest in merchandising and interest in reproductions of the comics Oversaturation muddled character representation at core brand
Animated holiday special part of family traditions Childhood cartoons/comics that have attempts to rejuvenate their brand around animated movies Expansion into other media formats: Video games. Possible sequels and new tv series Fails to engage younger generation

The comic brought parents and children together through the years and if done correctly it was a way to capture a nostalgia sentiment and have one generation pass on a legacy on to the next. A medium that bridges the generation gap. Sky Blue Studios created interactive content website, which also works through a mobile application on iPhone, iPad, or Android. Easily allowing users to share their “Peanuts” persona and share their experience through social media sources presents an opportunity to easily improve the brand and product reputation. Identifying social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ where a generation familiar with the  brand are able to share an avatar representation they feel best represents them as a “Peanuts” character.

Users are able to choose from a relatively versatile and more importantly inclusively neutral palette of skin color, facial expressions, hair color, and hair type, as well a wide range of clothing and accessories they feel best options available. The user is able to choose the preset backgrounds and the options were even expanded around the Halloween season to allow users to update their avatars with costumes popularized in the comic and cartoons. The accuracy of the “Peanuts” avatar is not as important a factor because of the stylistic nature of the comic. This links identity and brand in a way that is simple, genuine, and most importantly fun-for-all-ages. This creates an easily relate social media in which to participate. A low-risk, high-reward scenario. Most importantly this social media marketing did not overreach for the hard-sell. Instead, it allowed the user to promote the movie themselves with a cute, stylized representation.

Each image is clearly branded with The Peanuts Movie and each post included the hashtag and familiar default text directly from the source material,


This unifies the online social marketing with the advertising materials easily building awareness of the upcoming movie. I found some difficulty finding celebrities that had directly “Peanutized” themselves, but instead many website, blogs, and individuals created their own renditions of celebrities.

Various blogs, news sources, and individuals engaged in posting their “Peanutized” results including Marie Osmond @therealmarieosmond

The crew of @nbcdfw

A TV podcaster Grant Davis made popular televsion shows into their “Peanuts” equivalent.


A site also ‘Peanutized’ the presidential candidates

Most attempt “Peanutize” individuals thankfully avoided traumatizing their target audience as much as NBC’s Today


The campaign also included an genuine and important human element which is always a positive way to reach an audience, Sky Blue Studios released video interviews on their blog from the crew in August which linked to Facebook videos. The videos included interviews that would normally go as extras on a DVD or Blu Ray, but have been instead released to help promote the movie.

“How Peanuts touched the lives of the Blue Sky Studio’s crew”

“Decorating Blue Sky Studios office”

Interviews with Director Steve Martino

“Blue Sky on how they stayed true to the art”

“The legacy of Charles ‘Sparky’ Schulz”

“Sparky’s Pen”

The honesty in the director’s approach and the individual stories on how Sky Blue Studios crew grew up with the “Peanuts” offers a touch of sincerity. Additionally, Blue Sky Studios also launched which translates typed text into the famous trombone “wah wah” which represents how most the “Peanuts” characters hear adults. The site is fun but is far less engaging.

The sneak peak for the film was released in March of 2014 with the official movie trailer being released on June 17, 2015. The YouTube for the trailer has been viewed 1,200,650 to date. Around mid-September Sky Blue Studios launched, along with the second official trailer. The second trailer has outperformed the previous trailer with 3,091,615 views. This is a good indicationn that the social media campaign of the “Peanutize Me” campaign succeeded in increasing awareness and interest in the upcoming film release.

On Twitter, estimated #peanutized reach 215,229 accounts,
with #peanutize reaching 76,171,
and peanutizeme 28,657

The overall for the #peanutsmovie tag was estimated to have reached accounts 1,646,133

Total engagement overall posts on Instagram reached 2,013,663, which peaked at the release of The Peanuts Movie according to

Tags were much more varied with most people still using #peanutized, and #peanutizedme, but also more individual tags like #peanutizedmyself, #peanutizedcouple, and #peanutizefamily. When compared to the numbers just before the start of the “Peanutize Me” campaign between September 13 until September 19The Peanuts Movie Instagram only had an engagement of 16,730.

According to Facebook had decent engagement with as well, receiving 200,731 likes, and 481,811 shares.

Interestingly enough Google+ had no engagement but 293 pins were added to Pinterest so this is definitely an area of opportunity. Once a social media source was determined to not perform effectively, the focus could be pivoted to a more effective channel has could be identified with additional analysis and tracking to develop a better way to reach a market demographics.

“Peanuts” did engage Snapchat by providing the first sponsored lens with Snoopy dancing across selfies. Using a diverse approach determined by the social media platform is an effective way to reach market segments, and Snapchat is projected to be the third most used social media site amongst millennials.

When compared to movies looking to capitalize on nostalgia in 2015, The Peanuts Movie has far better than Jem and the Holograms As of November 15, 2015 The Peanuts Movie has received positive reviews from critics and has earned over $90 million from the box office, so it seems to be faring at least as well as Goosebumps. Goosebumps has grossed $103 million with a sequel already in the planning stages.

The dedication of the production team to the original creative vision of the Schulz seems to have made a difference on the overall quality of the released animated film and the “Peanutize Me” campaign was exactly the right advertising campaign to reach a target audience that have had an underwhelming animated cinema experiences with movies like Mr. Peabody & Sherman from 2014, or the disappointing The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Similar to previous movies, the cast of voice actors are all children. After reviewing their IMDB pages, most all of the children are relatively unknown with three or fewer projects in each of their filmography. This attention to detail to enrich the legacy of a cherished franchised so far seems to be appreciated by moviegoers. Upcoming family friendly movies like The Good Dinosaur and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip could use the example of The Peanuts Movie of how to create aware and build brand awareness and maintain a positive film reception.

Utilizing engaging mobile apps and a well-planned social media campaign to promote a movie is a great way to maintain interest following the release of movie trailers. Star Wars also introduced an app to engage audiences to maintain the hype around The Force Awakens between the premier of their trailers.

Early this year the term “The Straight Outta Somewhere” popped up on everywhere on social media which helped to successfully promote the Straight Outta Compton movie by harnessing the inclusive power of the internet meme. A multimedia release plan built around informed sentiment analysis allows to plan a budget that can pay off big.

The words of Craig Schulz appropriately frame the hopes for movie and his father’s legacy, “It boils down to a thing my sister [Jill] said. She was talking to my dad a couple days before he died, and he mentioned to her, ‘I hope they remember me.’ He always felt something wasn’t great unless it could last 100 years.”


Boxer, Sarah. “The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy The Atlantic Monthly Group, 1 Nov. 2015.

Web. 16 Nov. 2015. .” The Atlantic 2 Nov. 2015. The Atlantic Monthly Group. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.

Harkel, Dominque. “A Must-See: We Peanutized Our Favorite Pop Stars!” E! Online.

NBCUniversal Cable, 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.


“Iconix Brand Group.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 2 Sept. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.


Keegan, Rebecca. “‘Peanuts’ Movie to Bring Back Charles M. Schulz’s Beloved Characters.” Los

Angeles Times 21 Apr. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

McKinnon, Heather. “Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books Will Release ‘The Complete Peanuts'” The

Seattle Times 15 Feb. 2004. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.

“NBCDFW on Instagram:.” Instagram. 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.


Podger, Pamela. “SAYING GOODBYE / Friends and Family Eulogize Cartoonist Charles

Schulz.” San Francisco Chronicle 20 Feb. 2000. Hearst Communications, Inc. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.

Sager, Jeanne. “What Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Other Politicians Look like as Peanuts

Characters.” SheKnows. SheKnows Media, 21 Sept. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.


“Therealmarieosmond on Instagram:.” Instagram. Repost by Peanutsmovie on Instagram, 28

Sept. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <>.

Vitto, Laura. “Build a Peanuts Self-portrait with ‘Peanutize Me'” Mashable. Mashable Inc., 20

Sept. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.


Wilbut, Dan. “A Guy Used the “Peanutize Me” Site to Ruin All Your Favorite TV Shows.”

Someecards. Someecards, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 1 Nov. 2015.


Good grief! A Case Study Review of the Peanutize Me Social Media Campaign

“What Do You Mean?”

“What Do You Mean?”

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Pop music is a term that comes from “popular.” Derived from rock and roll, it originated in a modern form from the Western world during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, pop music can be found to have more electric elements combining other styles often with a verse-course structure. The term “pop song” was first used in 1926, in the sense of a piece of music having popular appeal. Throughout the development of pop music, most influences have been absorbed from many other genres. It has also made use of technological innovations with improved electronics. By the 1980s, the promotion of pop music became vastly popular by musical television channels like MTV, and VHI. By 2000, three main trends affected pop music. These were declining sales of CDs, high levels of online piracy, and the growth of pop careers launched through televised talent competition shows like America’s Got Talent, and The Voice.

Billboard magazine is an American music magazine with headquarters in New York City. It was first published in 1894, and is considered the oldest trade magazine in the world, specializing in the music industry in 1930. With the development of the jukebox industry during the 1930’s, Billboards hot 100 originated in 1936, and became the music industry standard record chart in the United States for music singles, published weekly. The website features current news, photos, podcasts, and reviews that keep up to date information on the music industry. Chart rankings are based on radio play, online streaming, and album and single sales. Billboard 200 is the record chart rating the 200 highest ranking albums weekly, based on sales in the US. Most music artist strategize marketing plans to maximize their chart’s position. With the inside knowledge on their direct competition, artists will implement different tactics such as the timing of a singles debut to face the weakest competition. Musicians will also deliberately hold out their most marketable songs in order to boost album sales. In June, 2007 the Canadian hot 100 was released as Billboard’s first chart created outside of the United States.  Billboard charts manager Geoff Mayfield announced the premiere of the chart, explaining “the new Billboard Canadian Hot 100 will serve as the definitive measure of Canada’s most popular songs, continuing our magazine’s longstanding tradition of using the most comprehensive resources available to provide the world’s most authoritative music charts.” In 1944, Guy Lombardo was the first Canadian artist to have a number one hit on the US charts, since then many other artists such as Neil Young, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, and Avril Lavigne have also accomplished this. The top pop artists on the U.S. Billboards in 2015 so far to date have been Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Wiz Khalifa, OMI, The Weekend, and Justin Bieber.


Justin Bieber was a small town kid from Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He grew up teaching himself to sing and play guitar. In 2007, when he was twelve years old, his mom posted a few YouTube videos of him singing and playing guitar at home and in a few local talent shows. During this time, no one realized that this would be his first exposure to social media marketing. His mom’s main intent was to be able to share his performance with family members using a social media platform. Browsing YouTube from the US was Scott “Scooter” Braun, from SB Management. He is an American talent manager, and one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of the world,” who also owns two record labels in a joint venture with R&B performer Usher, who just happened to see one of Justin’s uploaded YouTube videos.

YouTube is where Justin’s early fan base started, and continues to attract millions of fans.

After seeing the talent in him, at just thirteen years old, he was signed with SB management and headed to Atlanta to start recording an album with Usher. A few months after his fifteenth birthday his first single, “One Time” was released. This song reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 during the first week, and peaked at number 17 on Billboard Hot 100.The song became platinum and by the time he turned sixteen he launched his first tour as a headliner in the US and Canada, performing for two million fans in less than six months. He is quoted saying “My world got very big, very fast.” In January 2010, his debut album “My World” was released, featuring the song “Baby” which became an international hit, reaching the top ten in several countries, and number three in the US. This song also holds the record as number two of the ten most viewed YouTube videos of all time. With 1,198,437,688 views since its upload date of 02/19/2010 .He has his fan base known as Beliebers, which was one of the top buzzwords of 2010, making him one of the most marketable singers in the World. The album was also number one on the US Billboard 200, making Bieber the youngest solo male artist since Stevie Wonder.  “Justin Bieber Tops Billboard 200 With ‘My World 2.0′”  To promote the album, he appeared on several live television programs and hosted live award shows. He also appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, continuously returning to her show to promote his upcoming albums and songs. In September of 2010, an employee of Twitter reported that Justin accounted for three percent of all traffic on Twitter. Before Facebook bought Instagram, Justin would post a photo that so many fans would “like,” that Instagram’s computers couldn’t keep up and it would lock down the database, destroying the entire infrastructure. Today, Twitter uses Facebooks’ large data centers that are able to keep up with the traffic and prevent what is called, “Bieber Bugs” from happening. In 2011, Justin was ranked number two on Forbes list of best paid celebrities under 30. The success that Justin Bieber has had in his career comes with a lot of good and bad publicity. He has had some arrests, break-ups and other personal things in his life that have unfolded all over social media. His songs have come close to a number one Billboard hit in the US, but never quite making it, topping out at number two.

Social Media Campaigns

Social media can work well in the new music industry, and is used heavily to market a musician. Justin is a good example of using the social media platform YouTube to promote oneself. He is one of the first artists to use social media to achieve superstardom, utilizing all forms of social media to capitalize his success. He has branded himself as a young heartthrob and a teen idol which increases his social media presence. He has over 66.6 million Twitter followers, 36.8 million Instagram, and 57 million Facebook followers, with over 100 million YouTube views. Justin also created the most powerful viral message that Guinness says broke a record. Several social media events around the tour have user generated content with the metrics of the campaign leaving 263 million brand impressions. The essence social media campaign was deemed a clever campaign to help a brand get more social.In the digital era, with album sales becoming less and less important to many artists, metrics such as total YouTube views and number of Facebook likes are important measures of success. The stats below show his current fan base, which changes daily.

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Social media helps spread music around the world, expanding the target market. The “What Do You Mean?” song presents a more mature sound then previous songs he has recorded. This album mixes popular electronic beats along with chorus, making it more appealing for an older target market. Intergrading heavily in the social community of teenagers, Justin has maintained several platforms, as well as a fan forum on his website updating fans. According to his website has had a steady amount of followers with a few spikes. One noticeable spike in August was related to the “What Do You Mean?” campaign. These are some of the examples of his previous successful social media campaigns.

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The most successful campaign to date is the What Do You Mean? campaign that started July 29, 2015. After a two year break, he announced a new album on the Ryan Seacrest show which started a thirty day countdown to his single, “What Do You Mean?” Following his appearance, Scooter Braun had Ryan hold a sign asking the question, and Justin posted it on Instagram.

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The marketing objectives for “What Do You Mean?” was accomplished almost in the first day from all the supporters. It created a lot of buzz engaging many stars, creating a countdown relevant to the feature song release. A surprise element adds excitement and builds anticipation through strategic marketing. The campaign objective was to have one celeb a day post a picture of them holding a sign counting down. The campaign spoke to a desired audience offering a question that was retweeted and reposted to countless fans building conversion rates to the existing traffic. This also increased brand awareness of revamping his music abilities to sound more mature to attract an older demographic. The way the campaign engaged the audience through emotions of a simple question was original and proved to be very successful. The timing of the campaign worked well by using the key aspects of the external environments, with very little competition. Setting the goals to achieve activity metrics was an important part to the timing, achieving successful use of social media’s desire to engage followers. Since the announcement of his album release, One Direction announced their album release on the same day, Nov. 13, 2015. This started a sales race that will continue until Dec. 5. To date, they are about tied, both selling about 450,000 so far, much more then the 300,000 predicted. What Do You Mean?” was well received by music critics, celebrities, and fans. With its catchy phrase, everyone was in suspense wanting to know the answer. Many celebrities supported his countdown campaign by holding a sign themselves, or getting creative and tying it to their pets. Many celebs have held up signs and appeared on Bieber’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds. Ed Sheeran held a sign to his chest while playing  guitar, Tony Hawk skateboarded in a video with 13 days left, and Shaquille O’Neal was called out for misspelling Bieber’s name with 24 days to go.

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The website BBC posted a page listing many of the celebrities’ countdowns.


Justin continued to promote it by making appearances on late night TV as well as The Today Show, making it a part of their commentary. On Aug. 19, the rollout kicked into high gear when Bieber direct messaged lyrics from “What Do You Mean?” to 49 randomly selected Twitter followers. Each message included a clock animation with a different time that corresponded to the lyric’s placement in the song, and Beliebers reposted and collectively pieced together the upcoming single’s lyrics in order. This incorporated branded entertainment by asking his followers to share the content in an interactive experience of socializing and conversing.

The graph below is from Twitter analytics. It shows the month long increase in Twitter followers from Oct. through Nov. he has had leading up to the album release. The social media campaign was from July 30, through Aug. 28.

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On August 30, 2015 Justin performed “What Do You Mean?” for the first time, live at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, where he broke down and cried on stage at the end of his appearance For the first time on September 19, 2015 his single went to number one on the Hot 100 list. It stayed at number one for five weeks, ans is now resting at number five, eleven weeks later. He won another Guinness world record as the youngest male artist to debut at number one.

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He continues to build his social media popularity after the campaign ended. The measurement of success using the beta measuring feature will provide an accurate measurement of overall search interest over time.   On November 11, 2015 Justin appeared on The Ellen show once again, as part of Bieber week to announce his world tour kicking off in Seattle, and coming to Portland on March 13, 2016. On the show, he talked about the album and how grateful he was about it’s acceptance. On a less happy note, he opened up about his recent break up with pop star Selena Gomez, mentioning that a few of his new songs are about her.

Another way he promoted his album was to partner with the ride service Lyft. This was another original campaign idea that has not been done before. During the week of the album release, starting Nov. 12, Lyft will be selling its riders the album for $5.00. When ordering a ride, it offers a select tab for “Bieber Mode.” Justin is surprising some fans with randomly picking Lyft rides to show up on. Using Lyft as a promotional tool is a good marketing strategy for both brands, it is funny to watch video of people’s shocked reactions of having Justin in the front seat..

Another promotion he is doing is offering pre-sale tickets to American Express card members to purchase a day early with reserved seating offers (20). This is also reaching out to a larger audience since most teenagers would not have an American Express account. Many parodies are done as a hilarious imitation of Justin. Here is the most viewed 9,094,723 on YouTube of “What Do You Mean?” parody. Giving the song even more publicity. .


Without a doubt, Justin owes much of his success to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He began with sharing videos on YouTube, and has continued to use it to spread word of his albums and concerts to tens of millions of followers. The young star has earned $108 million over the past two years, and the future is looking bright as a result of the new release and ensuing tour. Justin has set another recent record of 1,854,917 song plays in twenty-four hours, and is arguably the biggest pop star ever launched by YouTube to date. The weeks of teasing his “What Do You Mean?” campaign countdown adds excitement, and the anticipation it built will outweigh the popular ‘surprise release’ trend, which ensured a successful social media campaign. The “What Do You Mean” campaign has been quoted as “so much fun” for Bieber, says Braun, but the pop star’s real prize is the release of his first proper full-length since 2012’s Believe. The final analysis to the success of this campaign that started with a sign and a question, can be accurately measured after the record and concert sales are completed. For example, if the album ‘Purpose’ beats sales of ‘Made in The A.M.’

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  2. “The Quality Of Popular Music Has Declined”. 2012
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  4. Bieber, Justin. 2010 First step 2 forever: My Story
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  7. Stevens, Heidi (December 29, 2010). “Top buzzwords of 2010 – Chicago Tribune”. Chicago Tribune
  8. (“Justin Bieber Tops Billboard 200 With ‘My World 2.0′”. Billboard. e5 Global Media. March 31, 2010)
  9. Justin Bieber Accounts for 3 Percent of All Twitter Traffic”. TV Guide Sept. 8, 2010
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“What Do You Mean?”