Social Media Sensation Ken Bone Stars in IZOD's New Commercial
This article has been updated throughout the election.
Absurd statements, leaked emails, inappropriate videos -- this is perhaps one of the most controversial and contentious presidential elections in history, also apparently making it a marketer's dream. By utilizing the absurdities of this campaign, many companies are creating politically-driven marketing efforts to capitalize on the conversation.
Some brands are also getting pulled into the election whether they like it or not: Donald Trump Jr.'s controversial Tweet compared refugees to Skittles, while a leaked recording of Donald Trump revealed his need for a Tic Tac so he can sexually harass women.
As we make our way down the rocky road to election day, we've pulled together 11 companies that have engaged in the political mayhem.
It’s been hard to keep our minds off the election this year -- but thanks to Ken Bone, it’s at least become a bit more bearable to watch.
The overnight social media sensation and “undecided voter” made headlines after his appearance at the second presidential debate in October. People were instantly mesmerized by Bone, who wore a red sweater and asked the candidates about clean energy. From memes to talk shows to sweater sales, now Bone's 15 minutes of fame have led to him to star in IZOD’s commercial, “Ken Bone’s Fifteenth Minute,” released in late October.
While promoting his famous red IZOD sweater in the video, the company and Bone also look to encourage people to get out and vote.
Uber and Lyft
A lack of transportation options won't be a good excuse for many people on Election Day -- several companies are making sure of it.
Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and Maven are offering special discounts and promotions to help get people to their polling places. Uber and Google have teamed up to create an in-app experience that locates a user's polling hub through a Google-generated list, then leads you to your next step of requesting a ride there. If you've never used Uber before, use the promo code "VOTETODAY" to get $20 off your first ride.
Lyft will be offering a 45 percent discount on rides to Detroit voters -- in recognition that we are voting for the 45th president of the U.S. The special promo code "NOVEMBER8TH" is available for new Lyft riders, where they will receive $5 off their first 10 rides.
Zipcar has made available 74 cars for its members to use between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. General Motors' ride sharing company Maven will offer a $5 discount for rides all Tuesday.
People are worried sick over this year's presidential election. Luckily, JetBlue is here to help us abandon our worries -- literally.
Whether you're prepared to celebrate or flee the country after the results of Election Day, JetBlue's two-day flash sale, "Elect a Vacation," features flights for as low as $34.
The flights are one way, so you don't have to worry about coming back!
If you don't know who you're voting for this Election Day, Sony Pictures has a solution for you. Forget about Trump or Clinton -- vote for Frank.
Sony's animated film for adults, Sausage Party, which was released in the summer, is a tale about food items who can't wait to go home with customers. So why is Sausage Party relevant to the 2016 presidential election? Well, we don't really know, and given the tone of this election season, it's particularly bizarre. But like many other companies chiming in this election season, Sony has jumped on the bandwagon.
The film's lead character is a hot dog named "Frank," and Sony is "endorsing" him and the "Sausage Party." In a recent press release the company states: "This November 8th, if you fear the wurst, there is another potential weiner you can consider."
Check out these Sausage Party election day-themed mashup videos. The movie will be available for purchase on -- you guessed it -- Nov. 8.
Tinder's tapping into the political conversation this year, incorporating their "Swipe Right, Swipe Left" model into their new "Swipe the Vote Poll" campaign.
Partnered with Rock the Vote, the companies have come up with a creative and tactful way of educating millennials and encouraging them to vote in this historic election.
On the app, by swiping left or right on hot-button issues, Tinder users will match with a candidate and can see whether that match aligns with who they actually support. Some of the issues will include taxes, immigration, gun control, the Affordable Care Act, free college tuition and minimum wage. After completing the digital poll, U.S. users can locate their closest polling station and share their match on social media.
Who knew learning about politics could be just as fun as online dating?
Donald Trump Jr. posted a controversial tweet comparing refugees to Skittles. The post, which became widespread across the globe, included an image of a bowl of the candy with the words: "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."
After being dragged into the 2016 debacle, Skittles responded to the inappropriate analogy in an emailed statement to The Hollywood Reporter: "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing."
The image in the Skittles post has since been removed from the original Tweet because its photographer and owner, David Kittos, sued the Trump campaign for copyright infringement.
The now-infamous 2005 recording of Donald Trump and TV personality Billy Bush's disgusting conversation about women was unfortunate for Tic Tac, as Trump name dropped the mint company.
The men are heard making suggestive comments about host and Days of our Lives actress Arianne Zucker. Trump tells Bush, "I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her."
In response to the video, Tic Tac tweeted: "Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable."
Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.-- Tic Tac USA (@TicTacUSA) October 8, 2016
Brands such as Tic Tac and Skittles were forced to take steps to safeguard their reputations while being dragged into the dirty election. But that's not the case for Excedrin.
To the contrary, this election has actually played in favor to Excedrin's business -- that is, curing the headaches that these campaigns have induced. The company launched a marketing campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #DebateHeadache. And boy, did it pick up traction -- the clever hashtag was used more than the main debate hashtag #debatenight, Trump supporters' hashtag #BigLeagueTruth and Clinton's #ImWithHer combined, revealed Talkwalker, a social media analytics firm.
With 8.8 million mentions in the final debate, 7 million for the second debate and nearly 13.4 million in the first -- Excedrin marketers hit the campaign on the achy head.
Excedrin was not the only company to capitalize on the 2016 election. Bisquick also chimed in on the silly campaign -- even making one of its own.
The company saw the second presidential debate of one of the most contentious elections of all time as the perfect marketing opportunity. Using the hashtag #PancakesvsWaffles, the company engaged Twitter followers by asking them to tweet their questions (about breakfast only) throughout the event -- adding some humor to all of the ruckus.
After some success from the second debate, Bisquick further pursued its political marketing tactics, creating "America's Breakfast Election '16" campaign and using the hashtags #VotePancakes and #VoteWaffles.
The idea that pancakes are blamed for "flip-flopping" and waffles for "hiding things in their crevices" is used to poke fun at the crazy election. Bisquick has gone so far as to create clever, mud-slinging video ads of two breakfast candidates attacking each other.
Audi took this year's elections as an opportunity to chime in with some of its political viewpoints and advise voters to "choose wisely" -- oh yeah, and promote the new RS7, of course.
The "Duel" commercial is an action-packed minute and a half of two valets competing for Audi's RS7. The spot begins with an unidentified man and woman exhausted and disheveled laying on a ballroom floor. As the story unfolds backwards, a violent duel takes place.
At the end of the ad, the screen turns black and reads: "Beautiful things are worth fighting for. Choose the next driver wisely."
Watch the commercial here.
It's hard to take much of what's been said during the election season seriously -- and Mexican beer brand Tecate couldn't help but poke some fun.
Tecate took a funny and lighthearted approach to Trump's remarks about building a wall on the Mexico-United States border with its commercial, "#TecateBeerWall." Twisting Trump's desire to use said wall as a way to keep foreigners from coming into the country, Tecate's ad does the opposite and uses it as a unifier instead.
In the commercial, a group of friends from California and a group of friends from Mexico meet at the "Tecate Beer Wall," where they socialize, have a few beers and raise their glasses.
Watch the commercial here.
Celebrity Cruises seized the political mayhem as an opportunity with its new marketing campaign, "Sail Beyond Borders."
The 30-second commercial, which aims to encourage people to travel, explore the world and experience other cultures, gets straight to the point. With soft and soothing narration, The commercial pans over beautiful cities and landscapes across the globe while a female voice speaks: "Far from the talk of building walls, far from the threats of keeping people out, far from the rhetoric of fear, is a world of differences -- differences that expand and enrich us."
Watch the full clip here.
Before Trump had officially declared his candidacy, Budweiser launched the "America Is In Your Hands" campaign on May 23 in hopes of engaging in the political conversation. Not only was this goal quickly achieved, but further speculation and discussion was sparked over the marketing ploy, which featured a major redesign of its 12-ounce bottles and cans.
The new design replaces the Budweiser name with "America," and swaps out other text on the products with lyrics from patriotic songs such as "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful." They even went as far to incorporate the U.S. motto "E Pluribus Unum."
When the campaign was announced in early May, the presumptive 2016 Republican nominee took credit for the "America" name change. "They're so impressed with what our country will become that they decided to do this before the fact," he told Fox and Friends over the phone. Within the first 48 hours of the campaign announcement and Trump's interview with Fox, Budweiser received more than a billion impressions on news and social media, according the The New York Times.
Now here's a politically-themed ad campaign that didn't go as planned. As we've seen, lots of brands are using candidates' remarks and actions to boost sales, but frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles may have taken things a little too far.
On the night of the last presidential debate, an email was blasted to 16 Handles subscribers with the subject line "We're Making Fro-Yo Great Again." In the email was an image of a hand reaching for a sugary treat with the copy "Grab 'Em By the Fro-Yo" -- referring to Trump's leaked conversation with Billy Bush where he said: "And when you're a star, they let you do it. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."
The company sent out an apology after public backlash.
We are deeply apologetic, and we will do better. ?? pic.twitter.com/mKL0EuPzdu-- 16 Handles (@16Handles) October 19, 2016
Due to the uncertainty of this year's election, widespread anxiety has swept the nation and it's apparently having an impact on consumers buying ... donuts.
Dunkin' Donuts recently reported that revenue fell short of expectations, and the company's leader is blaming the presidential election.
"I think people are rather fed up listening to all the election stuff," Dunkin' CEO Nigel Travis said in an interview on Thursday. "Uncertainty is not good for our business because franchisees have to invest and they want some certainty to invest."