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Cyber Monday Emails Show Why Brands Need a New Content Play [The Weekly Wrap]

This week, we cheer a new opportunity for a fired paint-shop employee/TikTok star (and the clever brand that hired him). We question whether consumers are ready for marketing text messages. And we diagnose what was wrong with most brands’ messaging for Cyber Monday.

The great paint shake-up

WHO: Tony Piloseno and Florida Paints

WHAT: Fired Sherwin-Williams Paint Enthusiast and TikTok Star Joins Rival Firm to Develop New Paints

As a Sherwin-Williams retail store employee, Tony Piloseno garnered a large following on TikTok for showing how he mixes paint colors. His approach married traditional and unique techniques (in one he used blueberries to dye the paint). Yet Sherwin-Williams terminated Tony – in part for posting to TikTok on company time. Tony says he paid for the paint he mixed and had pitched Sherwin-Williams on using his TikTok account to influence Gen Z.

This YouTube compilation gives you a taste of the videos that won over the TikTok crowd:

After he lost his Sherwin-Williams job, Tony had offers from all the major players in the paint market. But he chose to go with a much smaller brand – Florida Paints – where he’ll have his own line of colors named (what else?) @TonesterPaints.

WHERE: @tonesterpaints on TikTok

WHY IT MATTERS: Tony’s story shows how smaller brands can compete for (and win) successful content creators. Tony told AdAge that Don Strube, founder of Florida Paints, “was probably the only one who understood and appreciated” his passion for paint. “We both view it as an art form,” he told the media outlet.

Don had been following Tony’s TikTok account for more than a year and was impressed. The lesson? It pays to pay attention to influential content creators in your industry so you’re ready to pounce when an opportunity presents itself. Another lesson: If your employees are voluntarily creating great content that attracts millions of views, don’t fire them. If their actions are problematic given company policies, figure out a way to help them create the content in a more compliant way.

If your employees voluntarily create great content that attracts millions of views, encourage and help them continue. If you don’t, a competitor might via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: We saw the news about Tony’s firing on BuzzFeed, and Jeremy Bednarski shared it on the #CMWorld Slack channel. As champions of great content, we’re glad to see the new partnership and, along with 1.5 million followers, look forward to Tony’s upcoming mixes.

Marketing by text message: annoyance or smart move?

WHO: Digiday

WHAT: ‘Email Has Become So Cluttered’: Why DTC Brands Plan to Use Texting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday This Year

Brands added texting to their Black Friday outreach mix this year as an alternative to crowded inboxes. But are consumers ready for the switch? As one marketer told the publication, “We make sure that we keep it tight and don’t overcommunicate on text.” Another marketer said their click-through rate for texts is around 70% and conversions are higher than 25%.


WHY IT MATTERS: These findings go against many personal anecdotes and experiences. Liz Mace, who sent in this example, told us it caught her eye “…because, while I agree we’re all inundated with too much email, I personally do NOT want to be texted and inundated with pings/notifications from brands. I would find that very invasive and annoying so I was intrigued to read who these brands thought would be receptive to their messages.”

Keep marketing text messages tight – don’t overcommunicate, says a marketer in @Digiday article shared by @ElizabethMace. But are consumers ready for marketing by SMS? Via @CMIContent #WeeklyWrap Share on X

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: Marketer Liz Mace shared the article with us.

Cyber Monday marketing miss

WHO: Seemingly every brand in the world

WHAT: Emails for Cyber Monday and Black Friday specials


WHERE: Millions of inboxes 

WHY IT MATTERS: B2B and B2C Cyber Monday (and Black Friday) deal emails are ubiquitous. Unfortunately, most, if not all, are strictly transactional – a “great” offer is made in hopes the recipient buys something. If brands want to truly stand out – and foster a relationship beyond a transaction – they should forgo or supplement the sales pitch with valuable, relevant content.

To really stand out in an inbox, supplement sales pitches w/ valuable #content – or forgo them altogether via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrap Share on X

Take the GoDaddy email sent on Cyber Monday pictured above. Imagine if GoDaddy had gone one step further and shared a link to a blog article – 5 Ways to Bring Your Ideas to Life Online. That title aligns exactly with the advertising message. And it provides relevant content to the recipient – whether they’re ready to buy or not. That’s how to build a relationship and stay relevant even if the reader isn’t ready to buy anything yet.

HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED: Like everyone, our team members got buried by an avalanche of Cyber Monday, Small Saturday, and Black Friday emails. Plus, Shane Shaps mentioned in the #CMWorld Slack channel how she turns Cyber Monday into her personal unsubscribe day.

TIP: If your brand sends out holiday sales emails, investigate your unsubscribe rates for those messages.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute