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Extending the OldSpice Campaign

28 Jul

Old Spice has a hit on their hands with the “man your man could smell like” campaign.  It’s a tough repositioning gambit they’re running but hey – nobody said it was going to be easy.

When you’ve got a great idea, you need to run with it.  So says author Luke Sullivan in the Advertising Bible “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This.”  Sullivan spends a great deal of time talking about the changing marketing paradigm.  It used to be when you needed to sell something you turned to TV, print and radio.  Now we have marketers capable of crafting intricate campaigns across new mediums.  Even foreheads aren’t immune to the imprint of guerrilla marketing.

Sullivan is an advocate for starting with the big idea (not TV or print but an idea).  I’m a fan of this method as well.  It’s easy to pluck the core out and transfer it across mediums.

With Old Spice we saw an idea that worked well on TV so they moved online using the same concept as a launching point.  The response was incredible.  Now is the time to leverage that momentum.  Keep pushing forward using the same idea.  It still has plenty of life left.

A simple suggestion: Add manly advice underneath the cap of OldSpice containers similar to Jones Cola.  It doesn’t sound revolutionary but it doesn’t have to be.  It builds on the established base set-up by the existing campaign and contributes in its own way by continuing the meme and encouraging repurchase.  Maybe 1/7 could use a link to a video message as well.  And while this may be normal and boring with soft drinks, it’s new to OldSpice’s product category.  Besides – can you think of any reason NOT to?

In what other ways would you expand the OldSpice campaign?  Try to move beyond traditional media and push the product into new realms with your response.

Inception Marketing

21 Jul

*Spoilers below.  Use extreme caution if you haven’t seen Inception yet.*

I read a post the other day titled Inception Marketing – timely, yes.  Maybe a bit exploitative?  Probably – it’s part of the game.  But accurate and thought provoking?  Definitely.

As with all good cinema, Inception has something to teach us about life.  Sounds melodramatic but it’s true.  I read a fantastic post – unfortunately, I’ve lost the link – about how the movie could be interpreted as one large analogy to the movie business.  Architects are directors, dreamers the audience, etc., etc…dreams can be cathartic, more real than reality and impact the real world – just like movies.  But I want to focus on something different in this post because the essay already covered that topic in detail.  If you find the link, please, post it in the comments.

Inception is about the power of an idea.  In the words of Cobbs – “the most resilient of viruses”.  The trouble is, you can’t just insert a fully formed idea, you can only use it’s most basic form and allow it to grow on it’s own.  So there’s a bit of an art to it.  If you’re too obvious, the target’s mind recognizes a foreign intruder and puts up walls.  Nolan (the director) uses the movie as a medium to talk about making movies.  His point is that you can’t be too blatant, you need to trust the audience to interpret for themselves.  The same can be said for marketing.  And just like marketing, the better you know your customer, the higher your chances of success.

Look at Starbucks.  They never explicitly say that drinking your daily latte makes you hip, upscale and trendy.  They provide the cues – atmosphere, barristas, music selection, wifi, location, etc – and you, the customer, make the final statement.  You say that Starbucks is an upscale brand.  That positioning is more powerful because you arrived at it on your own.  Yes, Starbucks planted the seed but you connected the dots.

Their’s a parallel to social dynamics too.  Trying too hard to be ‘cool’ in high school made you (or others) look like a poser.  If you have to say it, the magic is lost.

Leave the blatant, over-the-top statements for late night TV.  Use some subtlety and tact and your communications will be far more powerful and persuasive.

An Idea for Blizzard (Starcraft 2)

8 Jul

Hey all!  As promised, I will be focusing more on extraordinary marketing ideas for the next little while and we’ll see how that works out.  If people continue to enjoy it (traffic the last couple days of days has blown me away) then I’ll keep the idea mill churning away.  Make sure to take a second and leave a comment if this is the kind of thing you want to see more of.

Today’s marketing idea is simple.  It’s a nice change from the more complicated Molson campaign I recommended the other day.  The reason why it’s so simple is because it uses digital tools to reach a large audience.  Technology continues to connect people in new and surprising ways.

It’s also personally relevant.  I’ve enjoyed the games Blizzard produces and their uncompromising attention to detail for many years.  Real Time Strategy has such  elaborate, intricate gameplay and I feel that it often gets overlooked in this age of First Person Shooters and twitch gaming.  Starcraft 2 has the potential to reverse this trend.

If I were in the shoes of a top dog at Activision Blizzard…with an awesome product about to be released, legions of loyal fans who also happen to be extremely tech savvy and a blockbuster franchise…well, I would be looking into purchasing one of Twitter’s new Promoted Trends for the launch of Starcraft 2 (set for July 27).

I’ve blogged previously concerning the incredible opportunity Promoted Trends provide for marketers and advertisers.  The value of this new medium is twofold:

1.  It encourages users to chime in and join the conversation.  Anyone who’s been to an awkward dinner party can relate, sometimes just getting a conversation started is a chore.  Once started, however, conversation tends to be self-fueling.  Promoted Trends on Twitter incorporate a promoted tweet that starts the party.  Like the first brave soul on the dance floor, they set the tone.  Next comes a waterfall of thoughts, opinions and shared experiences where everybody gets a turn in the spotlight.

2.  Promoted Trends encourage authentic communication.  When somebody tweets their undying love for Starcraft 2, you know that there is actually a person out there who loves Starcraft 2 and wanted to share that with the world.  This sounds obvious but it isn’t always true.  So it stands out amongst the advertising hubris.  For example, television commercials are notorious for rousing suspicion with too-good-to-be-true claims.  Corporate websites that highlight customer feedback face a similar problem – what’s to stop them from picking only the best comments?  Worse still, they could edit the results to make themselves look better or falsify the information entirely.  Twitter, on the other hand, shows everything.  Good or bad, it all gets lumped into the same conversation.  This way you know that guy who loves Starcraft 2 is genuine.

Hopefully we see Starcraft 2 promoted as a trend on release day if not shortly after.  It would be an extraordinary way to spread word to the masses.  Sure, it might trend either way but Blizzard would be better off being proactive as trending topics can be wildly unpredictable.

You have a passionate fanbase Blizzard; give them a forum in which they can share their passion and they will gladly go to work for you.  Others will see these actions and will want to be part of it as well.

Re: The Sugar Cane Machine (Godin)

30 Jun

“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. ” – Ghandi

For anyone who doesn’t read Seth Godin’s blog (you should), here is what he posted today:

A small island grows sugar cane. Many people harvest it, and one guy owns the machine that can process the cane and turn it into juice.

Who wins?

The guy with the machine, of course. It gives him leverage, and since he’s the only one, he can pay the pickers whatever he likes–people will either sell it to him or stop picking. No fun being the cane picker. He can also charge whatever he likes to the people who need the cane juice, because without him, there’s no juice. No fun being a baker or cook.

But now, a second machine comes to the island, and then three more. There are five processors.

Who wins?

Certainly not the guy with the first machine. He has competitors for the cane. He can optimize and work on efficiency, but pretty soon he’s going to be in a price war for his raw materials (and a price war for the finished product.) Not so much fun to be the factory owner.

And then! And then one cane processor starts creating a series of collectible containers, starts interacting with his customers and providing them with custom blends, starts offering long-term contracts and benefits to his biggest customers, and yes, even begins to pay his growers more if they’re willing to bring him particularly sweet and organic materials, on time. In short, he becomes a master of the art of processing and marketing cane. He earns permission, he treats different customers differently and he refuses to act like a faceless factory…

Who are you?

-Seth Godin, The sugar cane machine

I want to take a different approach in responding to this.  You see, last semester I was in a Marketing Creativity & Innovation course and for our final project, each group was given a social problem to tackle.  My group was assigned the issue of Fair Trade or rather, the continued practice of unfair trade and exploitation in the third world.

The scope of this type of project was obviously huge, so our professor encouraged us to begin with a high level analysis and then work towards narrowing our scope to something manageable.  This search eventually led our group to the problems with unfairly traded Shea Butter.  To condense a semester’s worth of research, basically the situation is as follows: shea nuts grow in abundance on shea treas that grow in a small region of Western Africa.  The oil from the nuts can be extracted and refined in a time-consuming process that creates shea butter, which is then used in cosmetics and (less publicly but in larger quantities) in the manufacturing process for chocolate.

Shea butter, like the cane juice in Seth’s story, is where the real value is found.  The problem is, because the process is time consuming and labour intensive, and chocolate manufacturers (by far the majority of shea butter users) require large quantities, that third party multinationals step in to buy all the nuts from workers in Western Africa and refine them into butter.

By now you should be reminded of Seth’s story, so let’s draw the parallels:  The African people are both the harvesters and the guy with the first machine – and its not a very efficient machine at that – losing their profits to the second, more efficient machine.  Unfortunately, like the cane pickers, they need to sell even if the prices are very low so that they can gain some value.

So how can this story have a happy ending?  Chocolate manufacturers need to step up like the final cane processor in Seth’s story.  As wielders of significant influence and purveyors of public opinion, they need to take responsibility for their suppliers to ensure that a fair price is paid to African producers.

How do we solve the problem of Fair Trade?  We demand better from our favourite brands.  We make the cost of ignoring the problem or redirecting blame too high to continue ignoring.


To Infinity…and Beyond! #toystory3

25 Jun

#toystory is back.Cliche title, I know, but sometimes you just have to.

#toystory3, the first ever promoted trend on Twitter is still going strong, allowing thousands (more like millions?) of fans to chime in with their thoughts. How long will it stay up?

This is a fantastic use of new mediums to allow for increased consumer engagement. Everybody wants their chance in the limelight, and with #toystory3 they get to share their opinion (in 140 characters or less) in front of the world.

Following in Disney/Pixar’s footsteps, Coca Cola garnered 86 MILLION impressions for their purchase after the USA/England game. At a rumored price of “tens of thousands of dollars” (source: mashable) this is an incredible return on investment.

Even if the price does go up, this is a huge chance for marketers to reach and interact with their fans where they hang out.  Even with the considerable buzz this is getting, it probably deserves more.

Better than Facebook Pages

This is bigger than any advertising solutions currently available on Facebook. It allows for true and honest expression. Yes you get some bad, but the authenticity of the positive reactions gives them stopping power.  Somebody tweeting that Toy Story 3 left them in tears holds the same kind of weight as a recommendation from a friend.  Furthermore, with only 10 trending topics, the promoted trend has next to nothing in the form of clutter to break through.  The situation elsewhere is quite different.  Twitter could easily drive up the price for this kind of exclusivity. In essence, what Twitter is providing in their promoted trends is a packaged product that encapsulates the revolution social networking and the Internet have had on communication over the past five years.

Customer Acceptance

Of course the big question will be whether customer’s accept this new type of trend. So far, the majority seem to be embracing it, with plenty of tweets and happy customers.  (of course this is easier when the product is good)  This will be key for Twitter moving forward.  Companies will pay to engage with an eager audience, an apathetic one isn’t worth nearly as much.