Lessons from Taylor Swift, the Oscars, and NachoGate


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Maximizing Impact Through Strategic Brand PartnershipS

The power of celebrity influence and strategic brand partnerships has never been more evident than in recent high-profile events and social media phenomena. From Taylor Swift's indirect yet significant presence at the Super Bowl to a weekend win at the Rolex 24 in Daytona and the economic ripple effects of the Oscars, the ability to leverage these moments can catapult brands into the spotlight.

Additionally, the saga of Britney Spears vs. Justin Timberlake and the humorous resolution of NachoGate offer valuable lessons in brand management and the potential of social media to reshape narratives. In this article, Hollywood Branded explores how these events demonstrate the importance of strategic planning, partnership, and engagement in today's fast-paced media landscape.

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The Super Bowl just won big time

Taylor Swift will be the talk of the game, and she’s not even going to be on the field when the Chiefs x 49ers play. We can all look forward to watching the big game in Vegas at Allegiant, in one of the newest stadiums in the league where the stars are sure to shine and the technology to amaze. What WILL Taylor wear and eat is about to fill our social feeds. Oh yay. Pass the chicken tenders.

A Weekend Client Win

Life is great! Last weekend I was in Daytona watching the Roar Before the Rolex 24 for the start of a partnership that debuted on screen for the world to see this weekend. As part of the telecast, Grandmaster and executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer discussed filming his upcoming Brad Pitt starring movie – which was on track racing in a car our agency crafted the partnership with one of Old World Industries’ flagship brands, PEAK. Check out the interview here!

For a week of prep and 24 hours this weekend, the car was on the track, racing in front of millions to see, with fans lined up posting social photos, gaining screen time before the movie has even been released. Need proof product placement can deliver in big ways?  And those partnerships, like this one, can include billions of media impressions.


A big thank you to the BBC World News for including me in your coverage of Oscar-economics! Here's a quick walk through of the litzy world of the Oscars and its ripple effects I discussed on air last Tuesday:

  • Oscars to the Economic Rescue in LA: After the drama of last year's actors' strikes, the Oscars are swooping in like a Hollywood superhero to give Los Angeles a much-needed economic facelift. Think of it as a red carpet rolled out for the city's hotels, restaurants, and limo services. It's showtime for LA's economic comeback!

  • Box Office Bonanza Thanks to Oscar Nods: Here’s the scoop: just getting an Oscar nod is like striking gold for movies. If a film is still playing in theatres and gets that golden nomination, cha-ching! Revenues can jump by 20%-45%. It's like the Midas touch, but for movie tickets. It's why you see a lot of limited time re-releases too.

  • Oscars: The Brand Magnet for Actors: Snag an Oscar, and suddenly, actors become the belle of the branding ball. An Oscar isn't just a trophy; it's a dazzling magnet for lucrative brand deals and sponsorships. Brands love a winner, and Oscar winners are Hollywood royalty.

  • Fashion Frenzy on the Red Carpet: The Oscars red carpet is more than a walk; it's a fashion battlefield! Designers duel to dress the stars, knowing a killer outfit can skyrocket their fame and sales. Remember Lady Gaga's golden gloves or Cate Blanchett's seafoam sensation? Those outfits weren't just pretty; they were gold mines for their designers.

  • The Oscars: A Goldmine for Advertisers: Picture this: the Oscars night is not just a parade of stars; it's a prime-time ad extravaganza! Brands pull out all the stops with glitzy, custom-made ads. From Rolex's cinematic nostalgia to Samsung’s epic celebrity selfie, it's a night where ads shine as brightly as the stars. Lights, camera, advertising action!

Britney Spears vs. Justin Timberlake

In the latest episode of "Pop Music Drama," Britney Spears' fans have gone full-on "Mean Girls" mode on Justin Timberlake. Picture this: Justin, feeling all cool and confident, drops his new single "Selfish" after a five-year musical hibernation. But oh no, Britney's fans said, "Not today, Justin!" They rallied around an old Britney track, also coincidentally named "Selfish," and streamed it like there was no tomorrow. It's like they were saying, "Oops, we did it again, Justin!" The song, a hidden gem from 2011, suddenly found itself strutting up the charts, crashing Justin's solo comeback party.

This masterful trolling traces back to Britney's memoir, "The Woman in Me," where she spills the tea on their rocky relationship. Remember Justin's "Cry Me a River" music video with the Britney lookalike? Yes, she wasn't thrilled about that. And now, her fans are serving a cold dish of stream-warfare revenge. Meanwhile, Justin's probably thinking, "What goes around comes back around," as he watches his ex's decade-old song steal his thunder. Talk about a blast from the past! And as for Britney's fans, they're having a good laugh, feeling like they've just scored a victory in the ancient Britney vs. Justin saga.

Nacho-Gate: Brand Pivot Of The Week

Incident Start: The incident, now known as NachoGate, began on January 22, 2024. Mike Herman (@MuTigerMike), the director of slot operations for the Rio, shared a photo on social media of a disappointing nacho plate he received at the Tavern, a sportsbook restaurant in the newly opened Fontainebleau casino in Las Vegas. The plate, priced at $21, consisted of just six tortilla chips, small condiment jars, and a few cilantro leaves. It was very sad looking.

Social Media Reaction: The post quickly went viral, especially among Las Vegas locals, who criticized the new casino for the underwhelming dish. This led to the creation of the hashtag #nachogate.

Brand Response: In an unusual move, Fontainebleau responded to the criticism by revamping their nacho plate to better justify the $21 price tag, aligning with expectations set by other high-priced nacho offerings in Vegas, such as those with premium toppings at other establishments.

Engagement from Other Brands: Then, other hotels and retaurants started chiming in.

  • Four Queens Casino: This downtown casino showcased its own nacho plates, joining in on the #nachogate discussion.
  • Silverton Casino: Located in southwest Las Vegas, Silverton Casino also contributed to the conversation.
  • Nacho Daddy Restaurant: Not typically active on social media, Nacho Daddy engaged by retweeting multiple mentions related to the incident.

Resolution: Fontainebleau addressed the issue with a social media post featuring an improved nacho plate. They humorously referred to the original plate as an "awkward phase" and announced the nachos had "matured" into a more satisfying dish. This response concluded the NachoGate incident on a positive note. It was funny! The entire thing was actually funny – and the Fontainebleau casino leaned in and won.  Kudos to your social team' sense of humor. 

Outcome: The incident highlights the power of social media in influencing brand actions and the potential for other brands to engage in social trends to promote their offerings. Fontainebleau's swift and humorous response to the criticism helped them pivot from a potentially damaging situation to a positive outcome. The plate of nacho’s Fontainebleau now promotes looks, in fact, incredibly delicious.

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Eager To Learn More?

Discover the secrets behind some of today's most successful marketing strategies with our curated selection of insightful articles. From the undeniable impact of celebrity endorsements to the dynamic world of social media trends, award shows' influence, strategic brand partnerships, and the clever use of humor in marketing, these pieces offer valuable lessons for brands looking to elevate their presence and engagement. Dive into each article to explore how these elements can be harnessed to significantly boost your brand's recognition, sales, and overall market impact.

  • "The Power Of Celebrity Endorsements In Brand Marketing"
    • Discover how celebrity endorsements can significantly boost brand recognition and sales. Read more here
  • "Maximizing Social Media Trends for Brand Engagement"
    • Learn how brands can use social media trends to engage with audiences and drive brand conversation. Read more here
  • "The Impact of Award Shows on Brands and Consumers"
    • Explore the influence of award shows like the Oscars on consumer behavior and brand opportunities. Read more here
  • "Strategies for Successful Brand Partnerships"
    • Gain insights into crafting successful brand partnerships that resonate with consumers. Read more here
  • "Leveraging Humor in Social Media Marketing"
    • Understand how brands can effectively use humor in their social media marketing strategies. Read more here

Want to stay in the know with all things pop culture? Look no further than our Hot in Hollywood newsletter! Each week, we compile a list of the most talked-about moments in the entertainment industry, all for you to enjoy!

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