Opening the Vault of Brand Strategy

Joe Morden, Bill Morden and Jess Cook put their Bronco business acumen to work for clients. Not pictured: Jess Brattina.

A preview image of a video. Woman standing in front of Faygo Pop display.An iconic brand, a favorite flavor of pop, humor, a social strategy and stellar results. It’s part of the daily routine for the Broncos of TMV Group who are sharing the brand stories of one of their clients, Faygo, with the next generation.

When Faygo was looking for a way to make a big splash for their 110th anniversary, the agency collaborated with the company to bring back Arctic Sun, a Faygo flavor retired in the 90s with a following that has been clamoring for its return since that day.

Seeking to connect with millennial consumers, TMV Group capitalized on the history and quirkiness of the Faygo brand. Using Facebook Live to make the announcement, the 17-minute broadcast featured “Heather from Marketing” opening the Faygo vault to reveal Arctic Sun and an intern who had been trapped inside since the flavor’s disappearance. For the remainder of the broadcast, the pair threw out 90s trivia to the live audience, rewarding correct answers with cases of Arctic Sun.

The video reached more than 145,000 viewers. And Arctic Sun flew off the shelves.

The Team Responsible

Preview of the elements of the Call It Pop campaign displayed on a computer screen.Bill Morden, B.B.A.’74, managing partner

If you’ve seen a truly great car commercial in the last 30 years—think Heartbeat of America, Have You Driven a Ford Lately?, That Thing Gotta Hemi?, Jeep. There’s Only One—Bill was behind it. His work comes with his own creative stamp, which has been honored with Lions, Clios, Effies and other top-shelf awards.

Joe Morden, B.B.A.’06 , managing partner

Joe is responsible for servicing all of TMV’s social media and the majority of the agency’s digital initiatives. He uses his account powers for good to bolster creative, growing the agency with both existing clients and new business.

Jess Cook, B.B.A.’05, executive creative director

Cook brings order to the often-chaotic creative process and has a knack for distilling big ideas into snack-sized stories for any audience. She oversees TMV’s creative department, ensuring the quality of every piece of work.

Jess Brattina, B.B.A.’06, account director

Strategic and business-minded, with impeccable attention to detail, Brattina manages clients’ day-to-day business needs. What her title does not reveal are her project management chops; she has the ability to whip any project into shape.

Preview of the graphic novel elements from the Call It Pop campaign.“When Faygo came to us in 2006, they were losing ground with millennials. Millennial consumers knew of Faygo, had maybe tried it once or twice,” says Joe Morden. “Perhaps their parents drank it. The product was familiar, but it wasn’t relevant. Millennials appreciate brands with a story and authenticity. And they love to see a version of themselves in a brand’s advertising.”

The Faygo Call It Pop campaign similarly relies on engagement. “We saw that people were already having a conversation on social about pop vs. soda, and had been for years,” says Cook. “It was a universal argument, but no brand had taken ownership of it. Knowing it was a place Faygo could authentically play, TMV set out to help Faygo own the conversation with the Call It Pop campaign—a mission to convince everyone across the country to call Faygo ‘pop.’”

The home of the campaign was, where visitors could watch Bostonians and Los Angelenos (who call it soda) try Faygo for the first time and take the pledge to call it pop.

Paid social and online media drove millennial Michiganders to the microsite to engage with content, take the pledge themselves, share their pledge and watch in real-time as more people became a part of the movement.

"Millennials appreciate brands with a story and authenticity. And they love to see a version of themselves in a brand’s advertising.”
—Joe Morden

How can marketing help build a brand culture?

“Many marketers want to sell people on product benefits—this pen writes smoothly … it comes in many colors … it’s only $2.50!—but to get consumers to want to hear you out on those benefits, you have to connect to them emotionally,” says Bill Morden. “People don’t connect emotionally to the way a pen writes. They connect to what it allows them to do—write a heartfelt note to a loved one or the book that’s been in their imagination for years. When you can find that emotional side door, then you can say ‘and, by the way, it also writes smoothly.’”

Gaining brand advocates is what companies strive to do. Those advocates tell their friends, post on social media and even create great content on the brand’s behalf. TMV Group has seen this firsthand with its client Rip It Energy. In two years, the agency went from receiving little user-generated content to receiving more than could possibly be reposted. “We attribute this shift to the fact that we moved the brand’s messaging away from price point and caffeine levels and toward the idea of ‘energy for the everyday warrior,’” says Brattina. “Soon, those working blue collar jobs, the night shift, and members of the military took notice. They had been fans forever, and we were finally acknowledging them emotionally.”

Tips from TMV Group for the everyday marketing warrior

  • Realize that your brand is owned by consumers. They decide which content works best, which messages resonate most, and which images speak loudest.
  • The best marketing recognizes the power of consumer brand advocates and uses information gleaned from consumers to build engaging campaigns. 
  • Look for insights. Do you have a piece of content that you weren’t sure would go over well, which saw huge engagement numbers? That’s gold. Figure out what made it so successful and produce more like it. Let your consumers tell you what they want, and then deliver it. That’s how advocates are born.

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