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9 Aug

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Old Spice Changes the Game

14 Jul

By now you’ve probably seen the @OldSpice campaign that has taken the Internet by storm and put advertisers on notice.  From Yahoo! Answers to Reddit to Facebook, Old Spice is reaching their target group by engaging in a new way.  This is potentially game-changing for many reasons, let’s look at a few below:

1.  Videos are shot in one or two takes and released the same day because you have to keep up with a real-time stream. Old Spice released one or two clips every hour – pretty impressive when you consider the production values.  If you’re organized to do it, you can react quickly to take advantage of changes in the external environment.  Can you imagine if Axe had been able to mobilize a response, in real-time, to the Old Spice man?

2.  Clients will have to give up some control.  Putting something online requires a willingness to let it evolve and change.  You simply don’t have time to go through the bureaucratic chain to approve every little detail.  Agencies and their clients need to put their brand in capable hands and trust them to do amazing things.

3.  Targeting influentials, as a stand-alone strategy, isn’t enough.  Influentials can get you started but the real gems of the Old Spice campaign came from the contributions of regular people.  Did you know that one couple is now engaged as a result of Old Spice?  Respond to your customers.  Give them a memorable experience that can be shared for years to come.

Imagine an introspective Don Draper, reminiscing about his childhood in a smoke filled room while sipping a bourbon.  Or the Geico lizard fielding questions about (insert bizarre topic from left field).  What if the characters of Toy Story had appeared on a Youtube talkshow prior to the movie’s release?  The Woot monkey running tech support for a day?  That annoying Fountain Tire guy on a cross-country roadtrip, talking to real customers.  It doesn’t even require a full-day assault.  A seemingly out-of-the-blue video response to a well thought out forum post from the GM of the Calgary Flames would certainly get people talking.  Campaigns that surprise and delight customers are a surefire way to build brand equity.

Other creatives are going to respond to OldSpice.  Their clients will demand it.  In the next few months I expect we’ll see a few copycats but also marketers that took the idea and made it their own –  in a way that fits their strategy.  I eagerly await the latter.

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.

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.