3 Advertising Lessons from Starbucks, RE2PECT, and TOMS: Why Good Marketing Equals Good Branding

Samantha Pena

September 30, 2014

3 Advertising Lessons from Starbucks, RE2PECT, and TOMS: Why Good Marketing Equals Good Branding

Have you ever read a book so good that the story has stayed with you, even to this day? That’s what good advertising should do: tell a story worth remembering. Because of the staggering amount of businesses out there advertising their products and services, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd, unless you capture their interest with a story.

Here are three advertisements that went viral all because of the brand story they told.  

“Meet me at Starbucks” campaign by Starbucks

“Everyday around the world, millions of people get together at Starbucks. But it’s never been just about the coffee. A celebration of good things that happen.”

That’s how Starbucks’ first ever brand video campaign begins. A 6-minute mini-documentary, “Meet Me at Starbucks” filmed the everyday happenings at 26 Starbucks locations around the world.

The video was about Starbucks, but at the same time, it wasn’t. The video was about regular people who just happen to meet at Starbucks regularly to pursue their passions, share their commonalities, and reconnect with each other. The key is the brand story. 

Lesson learned: Captivating your audience with a story captures customer loyalty

In just two days, the video has already received tons of press attention, because despite the fact that the video was almost 6 minutes long, the story it told was compelling.

Not only did it make you want to keep watching the video but it also wanted you (or at least it did me) to immediately go to Starbucks, grab a latte, and reconnect with an old friend.

With just one video, Starbucks created a community with its customers and positioned itself as the glue to keep this community intact, thus ensuring that customers come back to Starbucks in order to remain part of the community.

“RE2PECT” Campaign by Nike

By now, everyone has heard of Nike’s RE2PECT campaign commemorating Derek Jeter’s final season with the Yankees. Featuring celebrities and people on the street, the video had everyone tipping their hats to Jeter in respect.

Needless to say, the campaign went absolutely viral, garnering over 8 millions views on YouTube, dozens of press attention, and an insane amount of social media engagement.

Not only did it capture the hearts and minds of billions of baseball fans and non-fans alike but it also generated a lot of positive brand buzz and sales for Nike. Especially with Jeter’s classic win during his final game, people are scrambling to the Nike store to buy a product with “RE2PECT” on it so that they can keep a piece of history with them.

Lesson learned: Emotion will sell it better than your product will

Sure, a celebrity endorsement and a huge budget definitely helped fuel the campaign. However, without the emotion that the ad inspired, the video wouldn’t have gone as viral as it did.

Don’t believe me? Think about it. Had the video just been Jeter talking about how awesome his Jordan Brand shoes are and how he’s sad that this is his final season, would you have a) watched it and b) shared it? Probably not.

However, by capitalizing on people’s feelings of admiration, nostalgia, and respect for Jeter in real-time, they effectively aligned their brand with these emotions, ensuring that their product is instantly associated every time someone remembers Jeter.

“One Day without Shoes” Campaign by TOMS

TOMS shoes is a classic example of aligning brand values with business goals. When customers buy one TOMS product, they will give the gift of shoes, sight, or water to one person in need, hence their slogan “One for One.”

Every April, they launch their “One Day without Shoes” campaign, which isa quasi social awareness/marketing campaign that calls on people to go barefoot for one day in order to raise global awareness for children’s health and education.

Lesson learned: Marketing your brand values helps you stand out from your competition

Their entire business venture depends on selling the value of their brand, not the price of their product – and it’s working.

It’s not like TOMS shoes are particularly cheap or one-of-a-kind; they’re just shoes. Yet they’ve generated a lot of profit and press from it solely because their advertising message is so unique.

By integrating their brand culture and values directly into their ads, they send the message that they’re not just selling shoes; they’re selling the lifestyle associated with the shoes, a lifestyle of generosity, of giving back, of making meaning out of your money. And who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Ultimately, good marketing is about your brand

Sure, having a killer website design, a comprehensive search engine marketing campaign, and an active social media presence are all necessary components of successful advertising.

However, showing your customers who you are as a brand and triggering positive brand associations ensure that your brand stays memorable, even after the advertising is done. 

Samantha Pena

This article was published by Samantha Pena.

Samantha Pena is a Content Strategist at Hudson. Her main focus and passion is creating amazing content that is accurate, up-to-date, and (most importantly) interesting. Her main obsessions are social media, trending topics, and anything web-related. When she has the time, she likes to read, write, and travel. Follow her on Twitter.

Find Samantha Pena on .