Monday, April 30, 2007
From the ever excellent LifeSigns Network:
"Cities can be explored and rediscovered with new way-finding devices and interactive technology. This encourages people to look at their surroundings in new ways.
Design company Electricwig created a unique trail around the small town of Billinghay in Lincolnshire. It includes signage that shares local tales and anecdotes, and zoetropes dotted around the village that act as objects of curiosity for villagers to find while going about their daily lives.
Drop Spots are alternative mailboxes that add an extra layer of interest to city environments. They are hiding places in the public space, where people can leave items for exchange. The Drop Spots website helps hiders and seekers find their nearest spot where goodies may be hiding, or people can create their own Drop Spot in a local nook, where they can leave secret gifts such as a poem, photograph, favourite quote, or mix CD. They then log on to dropspots.org to map and describe the location of their drop spot so that others can find it.
The ‘Little People’ project sees street artist Slinkachu leave tiny hand-painted people across London, making light-hearted comments about society. Figures include a prostitute leaning into a car, a sunbathing man, figures holding ‘golf sale’ signs and even a figure getting cash from a miniature ATM.
The town of Karlsruhe in Germany was recently home to a street art project which enabled artists to communicate anonymously across the city's walls. Artists transformed unsightly utility boxes housing electric and telephone wires into chests of drawers, and adorned the backs of street signs with drawings and stencils. The pieces are created by a group of local artists who don't even know each other: when each new piece appears on the walls around Karlsruhe, other artists post up their own responses to the piece nearby.
Brands are increasingly using hidden public spaces to provoke interest in their products. Sportswear brands such as Adidas and Nike have already used treasure hunts; trainer fans searched the streets of London and New York respectively for clues to win limited-edition trainers. Meanwhile Dr Pepper recently ran a million-dollar treasure hunt in the US, with clues hidden online and in cities around America."
"Sony threw a party with a dead goat. You may have heard. Anyways, as the source of the ALARM was the less-than-credible Daily Mail (or to be precise it's Sunday edition the Mail on Sunday), we figured it was best to get both sides of the story before beheading Sony's PR and feasting on their insides. SCEE just got back to us, and (in summary) had this to say:
# The party was held on March 1, and attended by around twenty European journalists (none from the UK).
# The actual article in the Official PlayStation mag was written by a guy who wasn't in attendance; the piece was done on the basis of the party's invite, "which employed a degree of hyperbole in order to encourage attendance".
# The goat in question had already been killed (ie it wasn't killed at the party), and had been sourced from a local butcher.
# The goat's "entrails" were actually bowls of traditional Greek meat soup. At no stage was anyone allowed to touch the goat, nor did anyone eat or drink anything from inside the goat. After the party, the carcass was returned to the butcher.
# SCEE say that they first saw the photo last Thursday and immediately ordered it to be pulled from the magazine, and on Friday Official PlayStation Mag agreed. The magazine never reached general circulation, but subscribers did receive the issue with the offending picture included.
# SCEE closed by saying: "We are conducting an enquiry to establish the circumstances behind the event in order to ensure this does not happen again. We also apologise to anyone offended by the article in the OPSM."
So the party was held nearly two months ago and twenty journalists were served traditional soup. That doesn't excuse Sony - a dead goat is still a bit off - and it definitely doesn't excuse OPSM, but it's hardly the orgy of decadence the Daily Mail and now other media outlets would have you believe, either.
If you're interested, the full SCEE statement is after the jump."
The event did take place, in Athens on 1st March. Approximately 20 journalists from European countries attended the event from a variety of gaming and lifestyle media - although none were from the UK.
The article in UK Official PlayStation Magazine (OPSM), from which the Mail on Sunday article was sourced, was written by a journalist who did not attend and done on the basis of the invitation for the event, which employed a degree of hyperbole in order to encourage attendance - the journalist chose to take it as fact!
The photograph was one of many supplied to the magazine to provide a balanced view of the event. Unfortunately, the article was sensationalised and focused on a picture that was unrepresentative of the wider event.
When we saw the article for the first time on Thursday of last week we contacted the Publisher of OPSM who accepted that the article was not appropriate for their broad audience. On Friday, before we had received any contact from the media, they agreed to remove the centre page article before the magazine goes on general sale.
The event was a theatrical dramatisation with a Greek mythological theme and, as part of the set dressing, a dead goat was sourced by the production company from a local butcher. Following the mainstream popularity of shows such as 'I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here' a series of challenges were set for the journalists. The 'warm entrails' referred to in the invitation and in the Mail on Sunday article was actually a meat soup, made to a traditional Greek recipe and served to attendees in china bowls direct from the caterers. There was never any question of journalists being able to touch the goat, or indeed eat the soup direct from the body of the goat, as one report has alleged. The goat was returned to the butcher at the end of the event.
We recognise that the use of a dead goat was in poor taste and fell below the high standards of conduct we set ourselves. We are conducting an enquiry to establish the circumstances behind the event in order to ensure this does not happen again. We also apologise to anyone offended by the article in the OPSM (subscription copies were sent out ahead of street date).
Director of Corporate Communications
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe"
How a small launch party made international news and caused a blog storm. It's certainly been talked about...
Friday, April 27, 2007
Back in September last year we blogged about BudTV.
Since then some fascinating, in depth analysis has been done and the results are not good if you work for Bud:
From Nigel Hollis, the Chief Global Analyst for Millward Brown:
"Last week, Madison+Vine reported that “Anheuser-Busch’s fledgling Bud.TV drew 253,000 visitors during its inaugural month.” According to the article, that’s just one-tenth of the audience Anheuser-Busch ultimately hopes to draw. Tony Ponturo, vice president of global media for A-B, reportedly said that the web-based TV network, which Anheuser-Busch spent more than $30 million to develop, is waiting for the “wow factor” to kick in.
With Bud.TV, Anheuser-Busch aims to reach adults between the ages of 21 and 27. In an interview last year with Brad Berens, editor-in-chief at iMedia Connection, Ponturo suggested that the objective of the venture was to follow this group online. Because of the online habits of these young adults, Ponturo said, “we needed to continue to move more of our marketing, and specifically media resources, as we try to reach the consumer, into the digital space.”
Suggesting that Anheuser-Busch has done a good job of connecting with the desired demographic in traditional media, Ponturo said that BudTV “will be using the internet in a way that 21- to 27-year-old consumers will appreciate.”
In producing Bud.TV, Anheuser-Busch needed to clear two big hurdles.
First, they needed to move from being a sponsor of content to being a creator of content. Producing a 30-second TV commercial for the Super Bowl is a light year different from producing a 24/7 online network. As I highlighted in a recent Point of View on branded content, the production of branded content of any sort usually requires specialized help. That does not come cheap, as the $30 million price tag confirms.
The next hurdle is about mindset. Do Anheuser-Busch and its partners really understand what people are looking for online?
The initial traffic report by Madison+Vine suggests not. It also validates many of the initial reviews of the site. Pundits panned the site, not just for its registration process – forced upon A-B by legal requirements – but the content, too. “These sketches are awful. Awful!” reports Burt Helm in a review titled, “Bud.TV: So lame I’m angry.”
Jackson West at newteevee.com suggests that the content can only be described as “forcibly viral by committee.” West goes on to suggest that a lot of money has been spent on “cheap and cheesy” production that is so self-centered and inauthentic that it will turn off the intended target audience.
None of this sounded good to me, but then I wondered if maybe these guys were beer drinkers, or even in the right demographic, so I decided to get some qualitative feedback from people who would qualify as A-B’s target audience.
Unfortunately for Bud.TV, it seems that the pundits were not alone. While money can buy you content, it can’t, apparently, buy you respect.
Of the five males aged 21 to 27 who viewed the site for me, none found the content compelling enough to add it to their destination sites or recommend to friends. So what, according to them, is wrong with Bud.TV?
First, logistics. Apart from the frustrating registration process, viewers found the navigation counter-intuitive (I am glad it wasn’t just me!) and struggled to view the content. Given that ease of navigation is a key element of any successful online property, if this feedback is representative, then Anheuser-Busch needs to address the issue immediately.
Second, content. My impromptu focus group seemed to agree with the pundits. The moderator, Alex, reported that “the content itself did not elicit any response that would merit more visits. A few chuckles here and there, but when I probed to see whether the respondents would come back to watch a new episode, the answer was no. Most people said there was nothing truly original on the Web site. Everything seemed to be a recycled concept to appeal to the younger demographic.” In other words, just the reaction anticipated by Jackson West.
But apart from the reaction to the content, there is a fundamental mismatch between Bud.TV’s presentation style and the interactive experience many younger people are looking for online: it doesn’t offer a sense of discovery or a means of self-expression.
Alex contasts the TV-like presentation of Bud.TV with the freestyle presentation of YouTube. On YouTube, ratings, comments and suggested videos allow users to easily explore the labyrinth of content, finding new and exciting things along the way. It is an active, lean-forward environment where people can share their thoughts and ideas. “Bud.TV, on the other hand, has no central focus and no way to find something new and exciting,” says Alex.
Anheuser-Busch’s agencies have produced some great TV commercials over the years: think “Wassup!” and the frogs. Those executions were ideally suited to engage a lean-back audience watching TV. By contrast, the online environment is only very slowly morphing from a 100% lean-forward medium, where people actively search for content of interest, to one where people may be willing to sit back and watch what’s presented.
To that degree one could argue that Bud.TV may simply be ahead of its time. But on the other hand, bad content has never been in vogue. Contrary to Tony Ponturo’s statement last year, it seems to me that Bud.TV proves that Anheuser-Busch has a long way to go before it will really ” be using the internet in a way that 21- to 27-year-old consumers will appreciate.”
So, do you agree that Anheuser-Busch has missed the mark in this online venture? If so, are they the first to do so? Can you think of any other advertisers who have failed to understand want their target audience wants?"
Millions of people repeat this gesture everyday.
Context is all. It's great when an execution asks consumers to complete the circle.
Labels: hand wash
Pretty powerful stuff this from Forrester:
At the heart of Social Technographics is consumer data that looks at how consumers approach social technologies – not just the adoption of individual technologies. We group consumers into six different categories of participation – and participation at one level may or may not overlap with participation at other levels. We use the metaphor of a ladder to show this, with the rungs at the higher end of the ladder indicating a higher level of participation.
For example, 13% of US online adult consumers are "Creators" meaning that they have posted to a blog, updated a Web page, or uploaded video they created within the last month. I would fall this group because of this blog. I'm also an avid user of services like del.icio.us so would be a "Collector" as well. But I'm not really active on social networking sites – I'm there mostly for professional reasons, not personal ones, so wouldn't be a "Joiner". Lastly, while I enjoy reading environmental blogs like Treehugger, I'm mostly a "Spectator" when it comes to that content area, although I occasionally add a comment here and there.
The value of Social Technographics comes when it's used by companies to create their social strategies. For example, in the report we look at how Social Technographics profiles differ by primary life motivation, site usage, and even PC ownership.
The report also lays out how companies can create strategies using Social Technographics. For example, I've used the "participation ladder" to help figure out which social strategies to deploy first – and also how to encourage users to "climb up", so to speak, from being Spectators to becoming more engaged. It's my belief that not everyone is cut out from the start to be a Creator; nor is everyone inclined to jump with both feet into social networking. Companies seeking to engage customers with these new tools need to understand where their audiences are with this categorization.
Coca-Cola is taking its first steps in the virtual world of Second Life with a contest in which SL members will be invited to “imagine a virtual vending machine with limitless possibilities.” In concert with new-media marketing firm crayon and virtual-world services outfit Millions of Us, Coke is running “an open contest for Second Life residents and the general population to design a virtual experience machine through its Virtual Thirst competition. . . . This contest is not a search for the virtual version of a real-life vending machine that distributes bottles and cans, but the mission to create a portable device for Second Life’s ‘in-world’ digital society that unleashes a refreshing and attention-grabbing experience, on demand.” The contest is to be announced today in an in-world press conference with Coca-Cola execs.
According to a press release, the winner will be selected by an advisory council of SL residents and then will travel to San Francisco, courtesy of Coca-Cola, to collaborate with Millions of Us in turning the concept into virtual reality. The virtual Coke machine will be unveiled at an in-world party and made available for free to SL residents.
One interesting aspect of the competition is that fact that entries can be submitted »within SL«, via YouTube, or at the Virtual Thirst page on MySpace. The entry deadline is 25 May 2007.
A number of companies have been coming into Second Life lately with similar initiatives, hoping to find the killer entertainment app that residents will either keep coming back to or will carry around with them and use. It’s a nice twist to ask residents themselves to design the device. And definitely a great contract for the crayonistas to have. Looks like we’ll see how refreshing the results are sometime this summer. Should be interesting.
From a fascinating blog called Doing Business in an Expanding Reality:
Second Life: A platform for co-creation
Among the types of studies that may be conducted in Second Life, one area that seems particularly promising to us is that of co-creation: Businesses today are aware that they cannot innovate inside laboratories behind closed doors and that innovation will be successful if it is partly conducted by calling on collective creativity (see the book “Fabriquer le Futur 2” (Creating the Future 2, co-written by Pierre Musso, Laurent Ponthou and Eric Seuillet, who is the president of Fabrique du Futur).
These approaches will develop and are precisely a part of the societal trend of the “Participation generation” described by Thierry Maillet in his latest book “la Génération Participation”. Citizen/consumers are increasingly seeking direct dialogue with the brands and expect them to take into account their proposals.
We believe that Second Life is an ideal platform for this process of co-creation, namely because it allows those who wish to do so to provide their creative input to the brands and to present their designs under the form of 3D prototypes. Prototypes that may then be evaluated by other residents…
To activate this co-creative process, the organisation of a competition is amusing, stimulating and well-adapted to Second Life.
Our first experiments in this direction have been very positive. The first competition we launched, a building competition for a Repères showroom, was initially intended to propose an event for our panellists and to test the principle of competitions. The result is exceptional and I invite you to admire the design, presented in the next two snapshots, by Joshua Culdesac and Piper Pitney on the Repères Second Life island.
You will also find more information on this design and its creators on the Repères Second Life site.
The other competitions we have organised so far, have also been conducted experimentally by our panel, and we have found it more interesting and of greater impact to conduct this work for the benefit of partners who do not necessarily have the means to benefit from our services normally.
We are therefore moving towards two types of co-creation processes in SL:
. Operations for the brands, invoiced according to our usual conditions,
. and, for the purposes of communication and events organisation, joint operations with associations whose projects we support, with a sharing of the costs.
From the ever brilliant Adverlab:
"A March 2007 study of 1,085 Second Life avatars by CB News / Reperes found that "brands are still far from having succeeded in exploiting all of their SL potential. For instance no RL brand introduced in SL has succeeded in establishing a strong presence in the minds of residents." The graph above demonstrates the failure of brands to build strong "spontaneous" (unaided?) awareness. K Zero comments that these low levels, especially for the brands with longer history of SL presence, may be due to the high avatar turnover and the influx of the new residents.
The good news: "66% [of the residents] believe that the presence of RL brands has a positive impact on SL", which contradicts an earlier study by Komjuniti that showed that "72% of respondents [...] as being disappointed with the activities of the companies in Second Life."
A similar report by Market Truths shows that 49% percent of residents think that brand presence in SL is a good thing. Surprisingly, however, "of the 21 brands ultimately named (unaided), four do not actually have an official SL presence. They are, however, still getting positive brand impact from their “unofficial” (or perceived) presence." (quoted from SL Communicators).
But do check out the entire report by Reperes -- it has some interesting resident insights about specific campaigns.
[Update a few hours later] Ha, another study on Second Life: The latest poll by Global Market Insite, "found the virtual world of Second Life is a burgeoning market for real-life brands and product promotion. Fifty-six percent of users believe Second Life is a good promotional vehicle. Only 16 percent say they would not be more likely to buy or use a brand that is represented in the Internet-based virtual world."
Importantly although not surprisingly, " 55 percent watch less television since becoming active in Second Life." (press release)"
Labels: Second Life
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Nice. Not created by Publicis Dialog. But quite fun!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Check it out. There are some really intereseting ideas in here.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
From the Fallon Planning Blog:
"Ugh. I won't even begin to try and recap the history on this Jay-Z vs Cristal feud.
But months after boycotting Louis Roederer Cristal, Jay-Z has found a new bubbly to enjoy. According to reports, the rap mogul is close to signing a deal to endorse Ace of Spade, an Armand De Brignac champagne featured in the rapper's video for the song "Show Me What You Got." Jay-Z also mentions Ace of Spade in the hit single and in the video, the rapper is seen opening a brief case during a card game. The brief case contains a bottle of Armand de Brignac, known for its solid gold-plated bottle and Ace of Spades shaped label.
Although the deal isn't official, Armand de Brignac president/CEO Brett Berish welcomed the attention his brand has received from Jay-Z. "Jay-Z has always demonstrated the highest standards and finest taste, and we're honored to see Armand make an appearance in 'Show Me What You Got,'" Berish said.
A Google search nets a lot of press release matter about how Armand de Brignac has been produced for "centuries" and is only now being imported stateside after enjoying success in France. But wait...Armand, who?
Further Google search reveals a story on Gawker, who calls bulls**t.
According to Gawker and HipHopGame, Armand de Brignac is a new stealth brand created by Cattier Champagne, to all appearances exclusively for its cameo in the Jay-Z video (and likely subsequent appearances and distribution in his clubs, etc.). Perhaps the best part: The Cattier bottle and vintage ("Antique Gold") that likely matches the relabeled "Armand de Brignac" sells for around $60 tops. "Armand de Brignac" reputedly goes for $300."
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
From the Polaroid site:
"From a marketing standpoint, the branded photos create a positive impression for the Diageo high-energy brands. “We’ve even had consumers tell us they’ll take the pictures home and put them up on their refrigerator. What better advertising could you ask for, especially since our brand name is prominently displayed on each picture? Proprietors also love this program, because it allows them to collect pictures of regular consumers, which can then be put up on a wall of fame, further enhancing consumer loyalty. I am a firm believer in the Polaroid branded film. It’s a fabulous consumer giveaway, and it definitely reinforces the strategy behind all our high-energy brands. It’s a promotional program that really delivers!” states Cassetta."
To read the rest of the case study click here.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
From UTALK Marketing via Agenda Inc:
Budweiser is to be the first ever brand to appear on the home page of You Tube.
The coup has been secured as part of what is being claimed as potentially the biggest online advertising campaign from an alcohol brand.
In a double whammy, the brand will also be the first to appear on the 'skin' on FHM.COM.
The campaign is to support Budweiser’s for its virtual currency, Bud Bucks. From today, BudBucks.co.uk will go live giving users the chance to bid or buy items on the website, including holidays to the US, premiership football tickets, a Mustang car.
Targeting 18-24 year old, support advertising will take place on mobile networks (Bud Bucks is accessible using WAP) and interactive TV.
Creative has been developed by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R and Tangozebra.
The decision to concentrate on online marketing was taken on the back of research from the brand.
The decision to concentrate on online marketing was taken on the back of research from the brand.
Budweiser discovered that 18-24 years olds spend in excess of 13 hours a week online. This is predominantly where they get their daily intake of news and sport.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Zooppa is an online community site dedicated to hosting and facilitating online user generated content.
Brands use Zooppa to host their brief and then set the creative community loose on the brief. The results are plentiful; amongst the mound of videos is some really interesting work. Rather than read this why not visit the site itself and see for yourself.
It's great to see someone fill the niche that is facilitating user generated content creatition.