Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ice-Cold Marketing: 7 Things Flash Point Learned from the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Flash Point Communications CEO Scott Empringham gets chilly for a cause!

You’ve seen it dominate your social media news feeds. You probably even participated in it. By now, you might even be tired of seeing yet another news feed acquaintance douse themselves in the name of a good cause – correction, a great cause; $94.3 million in donations have flooded the ALS Association to raise money to fight Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

$94.3 million raised in less than three month’s time? 


Compare that to the $1.7 million raised during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 16)!  Every marketer wants the recipe to virality. The world may never know the secret sauce, but marketers can take a few ingredients from the #IceBucketChallenge social media phenomenon and apply them to future campaigns as this one goes down into history.

1. The Importance of Highly Shareable Content

There’s no doubt about it that online users like video content. The trick here is keeping it short.  An average Ice Bucket Challenge video is 1.23 minutes. Remember the Harlem Shake, the last viral video sensation to rock your news feeds? Those averaged 2.46 minutes. According to Google Trends, the rally-cry behind the former has proved to be more popular in terms of searches than the latter. Get this: the Challenge has generated 1 billion YouTube views - surpassing the Harlem Shakes that shook 2013. The message is clear: keep it interesting, keep it under three minutes.

2. The Benefit of Being Socially Conscious

It doesn’t take an analytics genius to see the difference between the two fads. In fact, the Ice Bucket Challenge is the first behemoth viral sensation with a clear-cut goal to raise money for a non-profit to reach this caliber. People want to show others that they are good. By creating a video that their friends will see, they can show off their penchant for good works. Plus it’s fun. A few friends of ours even have said that there’s a sense of accomplishment after completing the Challenge. There’s something in it for them. This creates a feeling of collectivity, which has driven many organizations to adopt similar strategies in the past (think Livestrong bracelets). Hop aboard the good works bandwagon; instant gratification ensues. 

3. The Value of an Effective CTA

There’s no doubt about the opening line of every ALS Ice Bucket video. When a user challenges someone else, the message is clear: dump freezing water on your head in 24 hours or donate $100. It gets better. Most users challenge 3 or more friends to pick up the bucket. The sharing rate suddenly becomes exponential. Even soaking wet participants donated money to ALS. That’s proof of a highly effective call to action if we’ve ever seen one. 

4. The Necessity for a Time Limit 

This one’s straightforward. As mentioned with the CTA, the Challenge is set for a 24-hour time limit. Either do it or donate.

5. The Power of Shock Value

This point leapfrogs off of the what’s-in-it-for-me point. ALS did not ask people to film an intimate interview or take footage of volunteers at a charity event. Although touching, there’s something more compelling and thrilling about seeing a fully clothed individual dump a bucket of water over their head to someone who might not be familiar with the organization. It’s even better when it’s your CEO. Let's talk about the medium. Ice-cold water is shocking, temporary, and makes the participant look ridiculous. It’s perfect.

6. The Advantage of Influencers 

How many celebrities did you see take on the Challenge? We saw everyone from Bill Gates and Britney Spears to entire NFL teams participate. We’ll come back to Bill in a second. Having influencers like celebrities hop on your cause is incredibly valuable. Their fan base will catch wind of your campaign at a much higher rate than if you went at it alone. No celebrities on hand? Bloggers, vloggers, and other agencies are great places to start sharing your content.

7. The Merit in Customization 

Back to Bill. We saw many Ice Bucketeers put their own spin on the Challenge. After watching a few videos, maybe you wanted to make yours even better. Mr. Gates did just that. He built a whole Rube Goldberg machine to dump the bucket. This is one example of many creative stabs at the Challenge. Why does this enhance your campaign? We’re in the 21st century of self-esteem where a user’s "likes" and video views measures their perceived popularity. People are more enticed to share something they’re proud of, personally invested in, and even competitive with. 

It’s not even over yet, and there isn’t a control group to compare it to, but there you have it - a quasi case study on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It's easy to see that the success of the Challenge is attributed to many moving parts and not one de-facto reason. A final question remains. How will you apply these 7 lessons learned from the Challenge to your social media marketing strategy? Leave a note in the comments below!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Meet Eric Davies, the Newest Addition to the Flash Point New Business Team!

Eric Davies, Business Development Director for Flash Point Communications

As a native Detroiter and avid sports enthusiast, it’s no surprise Eric Davies was on skates before he could walk. His passion for competition extends off the ice; where he has shown an unyielding spirit for helping brands, from large to small, stand out from the crowd. 

Eric comes from a long line of advertising Mad Men and has over 20 years of experience leading teams in brand and retail advertising, strategic planning, and media sales. Resourceful and gutsy, his unique energy has made him popular with both clients and colleagues alike. His career began at Young and Rubicam on the Lincoln-Mercury Dealer account. Eric then moved to the Lincoln brand team where he helped shape one of the most successful launches in Ford history, the first full-sized luxury SUV, the Lincoln Navigator. 

Hollywood was next. At Frankel & Co. Eric helped develop the strategic approach behind the Oldsmobile Intrigue launch, which included: a multi-city X-Files Expo tour and product placement in The X-Files movie (General Motor’s first, exclusive product placement agreement in a major motion picture). 

After a long career with traditional agencies, Eric entered media sales working for BusinessWeek, Time Inc. then CBS, providing digital and print solutions for numerous blue chip clients, including: Lincoln, Ford, Chevrolet and Jeep to name a few. 

Eric’s focus now is 100% digital. 

As the Business Development Director for Flash Point Communications, Eric leads a growing team of ‘happy hybrids’ as they deliver creative and results-focused client solutions. From social media campaigns and mobile applications to online advertising and fully integrated campaigns, every project is designed to help brands build meaningful connections with their audiences. 

When he’s off the clock (and not on the ice) Eric can be found with his wife Shannon watching their talented children compete in lacrosse, gymnastics, and cheerleading.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Meet the New Fall 2014 Flash Point Interns!

Welcome to Flash Point, Cameron and Crystal! 

Cameron is a student at Chapman University majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and minoring in Economics and Graphic Design. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, his hobbies include photography, motorcycling, soccer (football), and cars.

Crystal is currently in her senior year at Cal State Fullerton and majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She loves being around friends and family and being outdoors whether it's at the beach, hiking, or just sitting at the park. However, she can forget the outside world exists when she is reading a good book or having a Netflix marathon session. She is excited to see how Flash Point continues to be innovative in digital marketing and be a part of helping make all the magic happen.

If you're interested in Flash Point's internship program, please email your resume to our Talent Nurturer, Masha Empringham:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Flash Point Turns Ford Fusion Energi Adventure Campaign into Millennial Magic

COSTA MESA, California, August 25, 2014 - The 2013 Ford Fusion Energi Adventure, produced by Flash Point Communications, really got the attention of Millennials. Ford and Flash Point have two national Telly Awards to prove it.

The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid can travel up to 620 miles on a single charge and tank of gas. So the Fusion Energi Adventure, the brainchild of Tom Grill, U.S. Western Ford Market Area Sales and Marketing Manager, asked Millennials to submit videos describing where they would go on their own 620-mile adventure.

“The Ford Fusion Energi is the perfect vehicle for a social media campaign like this,” said Grill. “Our goal was to take the biggest innovation of this vehicle and have our contestants explain how they would use this benefit in a real world situation. The end result was over 2,000 authentic stories telling of what people would do with a vehicle that gets exceptional gas mileage.”

At the conclusion of the campaign, 55% of all Ford Fusion Energi sales nationally occurred in the U.S. Western Ford Marketing Area.

Other metrics back up the success of the campaign. In only three months, the promotion generated over 2,200 video submissions, many recorded by Flash Point-produced video recording kiosks that traveled with the Fusion Energi to casting call-themed events.

The Flash Point microsite received over 164,000 visits. Videos were watched over 142,000 times. Over 7,300 visitors registered on the site. Social media blogs and posts generated over 22 million impressions.

“You need to be good at several things to engage Millennials,” said Scott Empringham, CEO of Flash Point Communications. “You have to know what messaging is buzz-worthy, and Tom’s idea was great. Then you have to blast that messaging on a very organic level, all while managing the digital platforms, video submission platforms, managing events, and integrating with the dealers.”

“The average visitor to our microsite stayed for over four minutes,” continued Empringham. “Thirty-second commercials are great. But we’re getting Millennials for over four minutes. That’s phenomenal.”

Flash Point also syndicated the promotion across 18 Ford dealer groups and 26 Ford dealership Facebook pages. As sales leads came in, Flash Point delivered leads to dealers in real time.

Flash Point’s two Telly Awards this year follow another Telly Award-winning Millennial campaign, last year’s Gimme The Gig. The Telly Awards honor the very best in film and video as judged by a prestigious panel of over 500 industry professionals.

Grand Prize winner of the Fusion Energi Adventure, Justine Ferrari, won a 2013 Ford Fusion Energi as well as a 620-mile road trip throughout California that was documented in her very own reality TV pilot. When the pilot aired for the second time in San Francisco, it actually won its time slot in the A.C. Neilson ratings.

Ford Fusion Energi Adventure Winner, Justine Ferrari

“We produced this show in-house for less than we spend for the production of a single 30-second TV spot and now we have a great, authentic story that is living online,” said Grill. “Our contest winners Justine and Cassie did a great job in telling their story over a fairly hectic three-day period.”

For over fourteen years, Flash Point Communications has been a leading innovator in social and digital media. Based in Costa Mesa, California, Flash Point serves many of the globe’s most respected automotive brands from four offices nationwide. For more information, go to

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Flash Point NewsFlash! Fresh-Squeezed Social Media News, Updates, and How-Tos

Take a look at what's buzzing in social media this week. From growth in Facebook's mobile ad revenue to nailing video content into your social media marketing strategy, there's something newsworthy for everyone. If you find any of these updates particularly juicy, leave us a note in the comments below!

Ring-Ring: 62% of Facebook’s
Ad Revenue is Mobile

We know that marketers are the David to Facebook’s advertising Goliath, but with the fear that Facebook’s user growth might peak or advertisers might guard their wallets more fiercely, Facebook is looking outside of its bubble. Take a look at the newly resurrected mobile ad network and a quick comparison between desktop and mobile ad revenue to rest your worries and pique your interests here.

Come to the Dark Side;
We Have Content Marketing

How do you expand your reach online and engage audiences without bombarding them with ads? Cultivate shareable content with engagement apps. Check out these 5 ways to invite your followers into your content marketing.

Social Media Gone Paleo

We all know that a social media diet for your company has to be balanced. We’ve probably come across similar advice before, but have we ever been encouraged to “eat?” Chew on this.

How to Nail Video Content into
Your Social Media Strategy

100 million people watch videos online everyday. How can we catch ‘em all? We can try by studying our audience’s viewing behavior. A quick rule of thumb: the younger the audience, the shorter the footage (think YouTube versus Vine). Read more about it.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Take a look at this week's breaking social media news! We're going to cover Facebook updates, Twitter tips, and a new Pinterest rollout in this edition. Which update are you looking forward to the most? Leave us a note in the comments below.

Facebook Gives Users Opt-Out 
Option for Targeted Ads
 – And Trust Us, It’s Not Bad

The social network giant is updating the way users can learn why they’re seeing ads on their feed, including giving the option to opt out of such targeting. Now our ads will be more relevant to users! Learn more here

Love in the Time of Twitter:
Building Lasting Professional Relationships

Twitter is an indispensable tool for keeping in touch with clients, but how do you keep them interested once you grow your following? Find out why you should be tweeting on weekends and more.

Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em 
With Great Content and More


Facebook is always changing their algorithm, and not always for the better. Find out the 8 ways to beat Facebook’s algorithm and adapt your business strategy to keep up - because it’s hard out there for a marketer.

Putting the Interest Back into Pinterest

Pinterest’s mobile Guided Search feature is coming to a desktop near you! This feature generates more specific queries and better search results than Pinners have previously experienced. Expect to see the rollout next week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Flash Point Kickstarts Dodge Promotion Featuring Mötley Crüe

COSTA MESA, California, May 15, 2014—Dodge has selected Flash Point Communications to launch a high-profile, nationwide social media promotion starring legendary heavy metal band, Mötley Crüe, for their farewell tour.

Aptly named the Chance To Be Bad Giveaway, the promotion integrates digital and social media from Mötley Crüe, Dodge and participating Dodge dealers, and delivers in-market leads to dealers in real time.

“Flash Point’s retail and marketing platform gets all the dealers on the same page,” said Randy Ortiz, Head of Advertising, Dodge Brand. “As a result, the lead generation has just been terrific.”

“We’re taking a nationally funded promotion to a hyper-local level,” said Scott Empringham, CEO of Flash Point. “In fact, we built-out custom programming to offer our client’s allotted concert tickets exclusively to in-market prospects as a reward for a test drive.

“In addition, everyone who wants to enter also has to watch a product video,” said Empringham. “We are all about driving traffic and sales.”

Those who register to win can earn five additional chances when they share their custom links with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. Fans who like and comment during a weekly wall contest can also win a package of Mötley Crüe collector’s items.

One Grand Prize winner will win a new 2015 Dodge Charger or Dodge Challenger. One First Place winner will win a VIP Mötley Crüe tour experience including an all-expenses-paid trip to a select tour city, two backstage passes for a concert, a meet and greet with the band, plus exclusive band merchandise.  There are also fifty runner-up prizes.

The Chance To Be Bad Giveaway launched on April 17. Entries must be received by July 1, 2014. Mötley Crüe’s farewell tour begins July 2 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

For over fourteen years, Flash Point Communications has been a leading innovator in social and digital media. Based in Costa Mesa, California, Flash Point serves many of the globe’s most respected automotive brands from four offices nationwide. For more information, go to