Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A bigger joke than the kodak guy at AdTech: Freeview

It appears I am "late" in my referencing of AdTech... but after seeing the surge in Twitter usage I am faced with the concern of why everything has to be so immediate? Newspapers were first in the morning with print, now they update 15 times a day online and now they have their own Twitter accounts to update by the second. Is it really that necessary? Is someone waiting for every drip and drop of news?.... Makes me think. Makes me wonder if knowing stuff straight away is really that important.

Anyway...Kodak guy. He was great. Lovely unintentional comedy. No one frowns at that. His detailed talk of traditional retail units, sponsorships of celebrity apprentice (which is bombing now) and golf tournaments was marvellous. Just the type of talk we would have been faced with 3 years ago. The glossing over of a 60 million strong Kodak Gallery website with 4billion photos was the icing on the cake. Of course no one could ask this man who "just didn't get it" a question, but moi.

"There's all this talk of celebrity apprentice and golf. But what about your galleries? What are you doing to grow your business through that channel?"
I have no idea what he said, he still didn't get. But I made the point and it felt good.

Freeview: Needs kick in pants. Pronto.
Our dear friends Freeview - the purveyors of free digital TV, are wielding their sword upon whoever comes in their path. They remind me of those lovely record companies who are completely deluded about the future, grabbing bull of control by the horns with no hope in hell.

Priorities are whack. What you want to do kids? Tell everyone Freeview is love and mungbeans? Then stop acting like the school bully. Get all free and easy like - make proper processes, stop forcing the government to impose stupid rules, think about the future and incorporate online/broadband into the mix. Think where TV is going and it's not saving those free to air channels. In fact, think Star Trek, because we're going to end up one big joint universe with TV for everyone from Krakatoa to Be'er Sheva!

And why oh why is freeview suing that spoof? What's the problem? Everyone knows the cardinal rule of bad online publicity. You want it forgotten, you leave it alone. Because everyone is just waiting with bated breath, for the next stupid thing to come through their twitter stream and your blunder will be promptly forgotten.

This post is dedicated to @StephenConroy. Don't ever leave because you're the only one who makes any sense!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The best online executions all have one thing in common: Tom Foolery

Tom foolery: –noun, plural -er⋅ies.
1. foolish or silly behavior; tomfoolishness.
2. a silly act, matter, or thing.
1. foolishness, silliness, horseplay, monkeyshines; trifling.

Everyone loves to expose their inner hooligan
I don't know why it's taken me so long to articulate this, I am THE hooligan, THE upstart. I love to experiment with almost anything that comes my way and find the way to make it the most fun and the most enjoyable.

And it appears, other people may not go to the same lengths as me, but by-god, they defintely love to let their inner devil run amok online.

Digest this- All the greatest online advertising has spoken to our inner devil, allowing us to be the joker that we always wanted to be without any consequence.

Subservient chicken- how many people tried to get the chicken to do the worst they could think of?

Whopper widget- who didn't contemplate getting rid of that friend who they have no idea why in hell they're on their friend list?

Crash the Wedding crashers trailer and any other 'put your face on this' idea - Who didn't put an ass up there and make the cheeks talk?

They are all gold, and they all work so well. Any execution that doesn't play to the tom foolery in all of us won't be anywhere near as successful. That's why skittles was shit. It began to venture into the tom foolery realm at the expense of the brand. Not a good idea. Of course the brand managers didn't like it, but only they are to blame. They forgot about everyone's love of the smart ass.

The tom foolery bit does have a half life of maximum, 6 months and maybe a forever index where you can access it any time. Other boring things like skittles have a 1/2 a day halflife. But at least tom foolery gets you the fame and talkability you're after, instead of falling by the wayside

Monday, March 9, 2009

Who moved my Twitter?!

Twitter, the darling of the hour. Idolised, grossly over valued and still an enigma. An enigma because no one yet understands the avenue for potential monetisation and why it is taking off so massively.

I admit I love the tweet inspired lingo- tweets, twitteriffic, twitterati, twitdom and of course- the twats. The people who spend their entire lives adding to their Twitter flow. How about you stopped the tweets and actually spent time living life? Remember how to do that?

And my most favourite aspect about it- it's a pared back version of the FB that's gone so so wrong. Too much information, too much of other people's crap. Twitter is simple one liners of info. Not too much but enough to maybe get the important things- like hot links.

But, stop press. Someone took Twitter and made it into the MySpace version. There are pictures and weird links everywhere. I want simple twitter. Do I have the option? Where I don't have to worry about being bombarded by the personal crap of other people's lives. Text is best. Then I can choose to enter into those realms if I so wish.

We're in an age where excitement rallies around anything new. People latch on so tightly, but once the novelty wears off (fast) and the realisation sinks in that it's an adaptation of something else, we lose interest (quick). This is why marketing ideas expire so quickly and once it's done once it's all over. e.g. Skittles and the rest of the Mars clan using Twitter as a marketing device was exciting for 5 minutes and then began to feel like exploitation of the medium. Bear in mind no other brand can ever do the same thing without ridicule and mockery. A slight twist will save them from full embarrassment.

Twitter is in the midst of hitting the masses. Even Mark Zuckerberg made a Twitter account. We're at the point where Twitter feels like a space for us, where we can connect with eachother without the threat of too much exposure or too much information. And just as the Facebook once felt that way, it quickly became a corporation. We lost that intimate connection and it feels like that same sad cloud is coming with the Twitter.

Is it the sign of the new jumping of the shark? When Zuckerberg gets on the bandwagon it's all over?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cough. Cough. Australia has the UGC bug

I'm faced with 3 branded UGC contests and I don't know where to look. My preference is away.

No.1 is my already spoken about Doritos rip-offski. At least there are some new ads in the mix. But maybe they should have spent more money on the measly $20K prize money over the media schedule.

No.2 is the Subway Shuffle thing. WTF? I think i'll leave it there.

No.3 is Carlton Dry with Team Dry. Even after I had seen the ad it took me ages today, to try and remember what beer it was for and find it online. But, they seem to be going for the Zoo mag lovers, which is quite nice. Everyone knows they're a dedicated audience, devoted to T&A.

The big question? What is the objective?
Yes, I understand getting users to create your communications around your brand, spreads your brand awareness. In actuality, not that many viewers are willing to get off their ass and make your ad for you. The statistic is 1% of online users are creators. Then take 1% of your target, that isn't very many.
So the next performance indicator becomes votes. Voting on the best video. And we've seen that you can get a shitload of votes. Which is great, but all that's happening is increasing the frequency of seeing the brand. Is that it? Just an extension of the existing ad campaign with a little bit more involvement? That's a little media 1.0.

What about sales? Is that just a side affect? As the votes and video views increase, more sales just happen? The problem I see is that there is a call to action to make videos and votes, but no impetus or driver to buy the acutal product. Is this a problem for anyone else?

These 3 brands are putting these contests together, apparently for their consumers, which is lovely and so considerate. Thanks for giving them something to do. But what about marketing goals?
I worked on a product where we were aligned with a TV show. We created additional content for the consumer to view and the videos got more views than episodes of the show. Our sales lifted 13% that year, but that was because in the videos there was a direct message to consumers, that you would need the product in order to achieve what you were viewing in our content pieces.

I applaud these companies for dipping their toes into the icy water. It's hard and a huge risk. But if you forget sales and how to get to sales, I see little or no point in activating UGC directives.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Skittles: Clever Alert

Skittle's homepage is a page of Twitter results for anyone who says "Skittles" in a tweet.

Cleverer than you think.

Because I want to say "skittles" in a tweet just so I can see myself on the Skittles homepage. So do lots of other people.
Clever skittles.
Nice way to use the twitter.

Behavioral Targeting To Surpass Search Advertising By 2020

by Mark Walsh: Jeff Hirsch, president and CEO of Audience Science, kicked off the OMMA Behavioral conference in New York Tuesday with a video time capsule featuring 1970s footage of TV announcers promising that people would someday read their morning newspapers on home computers, among other wild claims. With that amusing history lesson in mind, Hirsch went on to make a few bold predictions of his own: that by 2020 behavioral targeting will surpass search in online ad spending, and that online ad dollars overall will eclipse those of TV

Mmm, you joking me?

I highly doubt this. For a few reasons:

1. The internet is a bottomless pit. Ever growing. Never ending. Websites are constantly created, what's the rate? Wired says nine blogs are created every minute. So anything else only goes up from there. And the fastest way to find what you want in the navigable mess? Google! People are getting more efficient, more savvy in their ability to find what they want, when they want it. And they aren't afraid to use more than 3 search terms. Because chances are that someone out there has used that exact same phrase. Spelling mistakes included!

2. Considering that there is ongoing talk that the internet is inevitably going to change to a more secure platform, I believe the dynamic that we now know, will alter. Not hugely, but enough to create a new paradigm. Therefore predictions on the current network are moot.

3. Using a lovely Jetsons example from the 70s is quaint. That bet paid off, but I'm pretty sure this one won't. Behavioural marketing it great, oh so great, but to outspend search?! Don't forget search is also evolving to "search come to me" technologies like Skygrid and alltop. Places that trawl the net for your interested topics and bring the latest to you. Unless behavioural is incorporated into that, I'd say that this Mr Hirsch is dreaming.

Facebook Users Will Have Input On Policies

by Laurie Sullivan: Facebook has invited users to review, comment and cast votes on policy changes to help shape the community. The new policies accompany a set of redrafted documents, the legal agreement between the site and the more than 175 million users worldwide. The move comes after Facebook received backlash last week after it quietly made changes to the site's Terms of Service.

Facebook is now a democracy?

This feels like a reality tv show: a vote is issued to the public to guide the decision of the powers that be, but ultimately there is the disclaimer "judges' elimination decisions may be discussed with the producers and the network". Meaning that the whole concept of allowing users to vote is bogus.

Facebook isn't a democratic country. And the idea of being one is riddled with problems. It's a social network which allows access to other's lives. And in actual daily use, no one gives a crap who owns it, it's about what you can perve on or kill time with. Only when you decide you want to leave will you want to delete all your content. For most people that doesn't even happen. The lazy route of the drop off is the road well travelled.

As long as you can get what you want, no one really gives a crap. It's only when Facebook alerted people to the changes that users were up in arms and that's only because people love drama. Something to talk, complain and bitch about.