Nov 14

Time to make an impression

4 seconds is all it takes.   New research looking at first impressions of e-commerce sites found that users make their mind up about the site within 4 seconds, which is half the time it took in a few years ago.   As connection speed increases, so does people expectations.  No longer are you prepared to wait for a page to load.    And a slow load time does not just colour your perceptions of the website, it changes your perception of the company as a whole.

One complication that I have found is that the visions of an ‘advertising creative’ are far easier to create on a website – Flash can do so much to make it look like a commercial.  But the stark technical issues – that it looks good but is huge, takes a long time to load and then does very little – is something that is a far harder reality to get over.   ‘Static’ pages are still good!   I like this research, more evidence to move the creatives away from doing full flash only sites for everything.

Nov 10

Nike Golf destroys things

Nike Golf have decided that the best way to market their new golf balls is to blast them at objects and film the resulting destruction in slo-mo. Great videos, aimed at convincing people that if only they buy these balls, they will be able to hit them hard enough to do such damage. You can vote on what you want the testers to destroy next – I voted for the Bunny. Bad design in that once I’ve voted, I have to refresh the page entirely to get back and add my name to their mailing list to find out when the next video is released; there’s also no privacy policy on the page, which surprises me considering how they normally are. the videos have not hit Youtube yet, so i can’t show you one, but here’s a shot of an exploding lavalamp.
Nike Golf lavalamp

Thanks to yesbutnobutyes

Nov 07

Chevy Life – more living in cars

There’s obviously something in the air, maybe the high property prices, but, following Nissan, another car manufacturer has decided that their vehicles are perfect to live in.  This time it is Chevy, who are running the Aveo Livin’ Large Campus Challenge‘.  I’m late on this as it finished last week,

The “AVEO Livin’ Large Challenge” is a nationwide program in which two students on eight different campuses are living in the big and roomy interior of a Chevy AVEO from Oct. 30th – Nov. 3rd, competing to see who can “live the largest.”

With only class- and bio-breaks, these students, through Web cams, blogs and a highly visible location, are spending their entire week in full view of their campus peers as well as students across the country.

Who wins is determined by YOU. Watch, Predict, Vote.

They put the teams through a series of challenges, videoed them, got them blogging throughout the week and then got people to vote for the teams via text (not sure if via the site as well).   It’s hitting a lot of the right buttons for a digital interactive campaign here and from appearances, it got some traction.

Looking at the product site, I’m guessing the college student is one of their key targets.  A entry level car (I guess, cars not being my thing really), they hit 7 large potential markets and generate a lot of buzz about the car, (technorati search).   We’ll probably get a few more of these types of campaigns in the next few months, each slightly more outrageous than the last.

Oct 31

IAB – Taking Control of UGC

Bad, bad title. Setting up everyone to believe you can take control of the masses out there. As was acknowledged eventually in the panel conversation, taking control is out of the question but it seems that none of the panel had questioned the title in preparation. Again, this is taken from rapidly scribbled notes.
The panel were:

Stacey: What is an operational defintition of UGC?

John: It means different things to different people. It’s a community environment; it’s not new – message boards, newsgroups are all UGC.

Dean: It’s content, of multiple medias, designed by non-paid professionals or amateurs. ie they are not paid by a company/agency to produce the stuff.

Mary: HP looks at UGC the way dean defines it.

Stacey: Is UGC and consumer control putting pressure on the marketeer?

Mary: Yes. we are not used to giving up control. have to let go and accept that users have a voice. Teams have to change tack from push to pull. It is a different mindset for 90% of the work.

Stacey: Are publishers changing their mindset?

John: Yes. It is a major paradigm shift.You have to deliver something unique, create a reason for the user to engage. It’s collaborative; as a publisher have to tak to clients. It’s more of a challenge, more creative.

Stacey: Could collaborative processes become best practices in the ‘traditional’ properties with Fox, as traditional becomes more digital?

John: At the end of the day digital is the sizzle. TV is still mass. Views it as co-dependents, need to work together to do a collaborative campaign. Fox can provide multiple touchpoints. Publishers have to deliver the platform across the panels.

Dean: Online brings new transparency; marketing is supposed to be about the consumer, online supports this. the good brands will survive the transparency.

Mary: Agrees that we need many channels. Last year HP committed to double online spend year on year. They were at 10%, so far the trend is ontrack. There is definitely a metrics challenge with talking to traditional side and sees problems in trying to bring the two systems together (to make a common standard). Let them be content with their reach and freuqency if that’s what makes them happy. Would love to see traditional become more accountable. But online we say the key metric is engagement and we still can’t explain that in a satisfactory manner to traditional advertisers.

From here on in, there was little clarity between the differences between advertising on UGC sites such as MySpace and UGC as in content that supports (or not) the brand from entities other than paid agencies. Some times a question was answered from both perspectives. There was no pointing out the differences between the two approaches, both of which have advantages and disadvantages, which confused some people, if those sitting next to me were to go by.

Dean: Consumers are in control and that is good as consumers will make the decisions that are good for them and good for the brand.

A straw poll was conducted at this point and only one person admitted to being scared to death over the consumers being in control. I think more should be, it’s going to change a lot of people’s jobs.

John: UGC gives immediate feedback as to where users are connecting with positioning and proposition and allows you to examine the brand. It’s an immediate focus group.

Stacey: What are your top 3 concerns about UGC?

John: Cost! it delivers value (said half tongue in cheek). Trust. Security. Delivery.

Mary: Sees data that says that social networks (ie myspace) don;t trust content/products that advertise in the network environments, There are good examples, but product messages are not the answer; building microsites can take the user out of the network which is also not good. Worried about the learning cost of understanding UGC.

Dean: we have to be interesting. great messages. we have to break through with stuff people want to receive.

Next was an audience Q&A session – a lot of questions.

Q: How do you trust the UGC?

John: you can start by putting your toe in the water, [advertise] in safe places on the network, ie myspace homepage. Start to build up your credibility and trust. Some advertisers only want to be in protected areas. The risk takers are the automotives, fast foods, entertainment/studios.

Q: How far can you go with pulled content (ie can it be more edgier than traditional bought media)

Mary: a brand needs to create content that people want to pull. Create complete messages. As you get to the longtail how can you control? HP is slowly dipping toes in this area. Wants to be more associated with content that is sort of peer reviewed and is not prepared to go to the tail.

John: if innapproapriate content is placed around ads, they can (and have) pulled the ads. It puts pressure on media planners to be careful.

Dean: Kayak launched a TV campaign that was controversial, extended it online by creating an ad tool and asking users to create their own ads. they did moderate and remove things hateful, too sexual but it did go further than normally allowed (on network). It was seen as a way to extend the media buy.

Here, Mary may be doing a service to all us smaller bloggers out’s often about influence, not total reach and just ‘cos we’re out on the tail does not mean we are edgier. But I though only Dean answered the question about can you go more edgy online, or when consumers are choosing to create media or whn advertising next to uncensored stuff. I’ve seen the types of lines that can get cut from ads ‘cos the TV networks don’t like them and was shocked by some of the decisions, what was not allowed in. On line is slightly less restrained and you can stretch the brand, although you always have to remember that users can stretch it far further.

Q: is it really a paradign shift as marketing has always been about engagement and is it just an opportunity shift?

Mary: marketers have to think differently now across the channels.

Stacey: we have had a dialogue before but limited reach. Now we have a dialogue with a channel as consumers are a channel too. Consumers spread the word so this challenges how we engage.

John: it is having a huge impact on the ad infrastructure. The audience is fragmented, you have to customise more. You have to increase badnwidth to address this fragmentation.

Dean: it lets us do it faster, better, cheaper. Has unlocked a creative renaissance (all the tools). it is truly exciting.

Q: If Fox is selling the protected spaces, what % of reach is actually seeing this space?

John: the protected areas reference was about giving advertisers a safe space if they were uncomfirtable. many are moving into the unprotected areas. The home page gets about 15m uniques, about 200m impressions. This is about 25% of the user base.

Q: what happens when UGC heckles the brand?

Dean: that’s life! Not everyone likes the brand. we can’t get crazed about it.

Mary: It’s no longer the email that goes round the company, now everyone can see the problem. But if you are in the right the user community will stand up for you and defend you. If you are credible and stay true, the community will stand up.

Stacey: problems start with this when a brand ‘plays’ at this and does not really let up control.

Q: how much control is too much before you lose credibility?

Dean: You can’t take control and should not. things like Payperpost will backfire and cause problems.

Stacey: If you are just looking at spreading the brand then you are missing the boat. We should do more to learn about how users see the brand. We can’t just count eyeballs.

And there time was up. For me, this was a far better panel than the first one. Some realism that things have to change. But like the morning session, still a lot of confusion about what this means.

Oct 31

IAB – Fran Kelly keynote

Frank Kelly is the CEO of Arnold US and has written a book ‘The Breakaway Brand – How Great Brands Stand Out’. However, I found his talk about using interactive to help build brands extremely frustrating, with multiple asides and exclamation marks in my notes as he said something that I disagreed with or just left me baffled. (I’ll add those in to the notes as I go through). As the person next to me said, he was obviously selling his book but not necessarily giving any real insights into interactive usage. He’s CEO of an agency that has dome some great interactive work but he’s the CEO – I’m not sure that indepth understanding is within his remit. The first half of the talk was about branding in general before moving onto interactive. Again notes are taken as fast as i could, paraphrasing where necessary.
Building Breakaway Brands in an Interactive World

Companies aspire to get their brands to a great place and the book looks at 50 brands that great.

The web is the greatest development in marketing since TV; there’s unbelievable potential but lots of problems. You have to understand it but by focusing on many small details, on building a better heart monitor, we may end up blowing up the hospital.

To be a breakaway brand you have to be in a category of one, you have to be different. Interactive is a growing influence in building a brand. 15% of Arnold employees are digital specialists; for their biggest 20 clients these specialists sit in the service teams, not in a separate team.

You have to understand how the brand is different and then execute to drive the brand away from the competition. Interactive currrently has aound $16billion out of an industry of $300billion so there is a plenty of growth available.

The disaggregated model make sit harder to get a breakaway brand as all elements need to work together. You have to have a core idea against which all activity is executed. A good example would be Dove, Campaign for Real Beauty. The best campaigns often come from such simple insights.

Marketing has moved from building businesses to building brands and is now building communities. The two key elements in any campaign are TV and the web; you need to focus on how they work together, along with all the other channels. (The conference chair later made a comment about how three years ago they were doing sessions about convincing people that the web was an important component so was pleased that a CEO was now saying it was key)

We now move into the core of the talk, where Fran goes through 7 areas where he thinks the web really helps drive brands.

Building Commuity

Interactive is best for this. Three examples his agency has worked on – Royal Caribbean Cruises, Timberland and VW.

This section was the one that most annoyed me. There was no talk about how these sites build community; from the examples and from the text, it seemed to be that building community was equated with building a interactive site that engages people and gets them to spend time on the site. Not encouraging interaction and feedback amongst brand fans and back and forth with the brand which is where I’d put building community.

Driving Results

Examples – Google and Vonage. Both of these have used the web to successfully drive results and drive brands. Google is a $140billion idea and Vonage uses brilliant segmentation to drive targeted advertising.

Google is a web company and of course needs the web to drive the results. Google search was used as the key example that drives the results as opposed to the contextual ads which were the key to driving revenue. Again, the example driven did not illustrate the point enough for me.

Stretching Budgets
Example: Truth funding has reduced from $100m to $25m. !0 years ago 80% of their advertising was on TV, now it is only 20% and they are using the web to drive most of their message and stretch their budget. The site is continuosly changed and updated to keep it fresh

Here’s an example I agree with. The web is great for making more of your budget when it comes to engagement (if you are not necessarily after mass reach) And the site itself looks perfectly targeted, at ‘young, disaffected teeens’. As he says, the teens who are likely to be affected by the ‘talk to your children/talk to your parents’ message are unlikely to actually be the ones the need the message!

Respecting the Channel

examples – two commercials that were used on online programming. You cannot just repurpose the TV ads for this, both the ads were specially created and were effective.

Although this is not a reason why the web is good (which most of the rest are) it is a reason why you need to think differently and cannot just use it as an extension of TV or print but have to think holistically about the whole campaign and how all the parts fit together

Building Loyalty

Examples: and Tracking has shown that people can spend 10-45 mins on thetruth.

Is he measuring engagement and interest or loyalty. The first is about how long someone may stay on your site exploring it; the second is about return rates (for a website at least)? the principle is sound, the explanation is poor.

Brand Modernisation

Example talbots. A classic clothes brand (catalog) that has used the web to improve sales. the web is its fastest growing and most profitable of its biusiness. the web shopper has higher purchase and lower return rates than the catologue shoppers.

He gives a good example of a retailer that has used the web effectively to maintain and grow sales in a world that no longer relies on printed media for its at home purchases. But does this modernise the brand. Does beng on the web mean that a brand is hip and with it? No, it does not, it’s reality of marketing today that you often need to be on the web but being on the web is not a short cut to modernisation.

Disintegration vs Integration

The great brands see all the channels pulled together, it’s part of the whole campaign not treated as something different.

Again agree. But can also see the place where the web is great to try out the outer reaches of the brand message.

And that was the end of the speach. Writing it up I’m still frustrated and annoyed. Kelly is a successful speaker about building brands and building great brands. The book itself is supposed to be good. But he hit all the wrong buttons with me, not really explaingin his points.

One more to go ‘taking control of UGC’. Happily, the panel were more realistic than the title.

Oct 30

7 days in a Nissan Sentra

Nissan have been runing some interesting commercials this week, to promote the new (I assume it is new) Nissan Sentra. Marc Horowitz has blogged his story – it was last week – and explains the rules.

  1. I must live 7 straight days out of my Sentra. I am free to come and go from the Sentra as I please.
  2. I must not return to my apartment at any point during the 7 days.
  3. I must assume my normal day-to-day responsibilities including work and all scheduled client meetings.
  4. I must personally prepare at least 4 meals within the immediate vicinity of my Sentra.
  5. I must go on at least one date. Hopefully more.
  6. I must not let anyone else drive my car for the 7 days.
  7. I must sleep in a different location each night. Once the location is chosen I must not move from it.
  8. I must not set foot outside of my car for any reason from 12am to 5am.
  9. I must host at least 2 social functions in my Sentra. One must be on or after Day 6.
  10. I must maintain the highest standards of personal hygiene.

The last one is curious, as he only thought he needed three pairs of underwear for the week!  Maybe this is why Nissan put a disclaimer on the link to the blog about not necessarily agreeing within everything said 😉
The car industry was mentioned today as one of the areas that is embracing integrated marketing and this is a good example.  I’m not sure where else this is – definitely online ads, not seen it elsewhere, but I like it.

Oct 30

IAB – Total Communications Planning

Today, I spent some time at the IAB ‘Agency Summit’ which looked at interactive advertising. I took notes of a few of the sessions, the first being a look at Total Communications Planning. The panel comprised of:

Bob DeSena, Managing Partner – Director of Active Engagement, Mediaedge:cia
Louis Jones, EVP, Managing Director, Media Contacts
Maria Mandel, Partner, Executive Director – Digital Innovation, OgilvyInteractive
Moderator: Mike Donahue, EVP, AAAA

The notes I took are verbatim or sumarised when the talking came too fast.

Mike: Can I ask the panelists to define TCP?

Maria: It’s a paradigm shift in marketing, moving from a content-centric push channel to a consumer-centric pull channel, where you plan around the user’s day, plan around the touchpoints.

Louis: the definition is still being written and there’s still a way to go. It’s changing all the while. Data and measurement help round out the picture.

Bob: Data is one of the key skills missing in TCP in many agencies. TCP is 21st century marketing and starts with the consumer. It needs a creative core, we run the risk of being too specialised and do not take a holistic view. A new model that needs a new way of thinking.

Mike: Do you think clients have the urgency to change?

Louis: Yes; they are interested in a single voice that resonates through the channels, but in practice this is difficult due to client/agency structures. Marketeers are beginning to change but still a way to go.

Mike: How are digital practictioners coming at TCP?

Maria: Everything is moving digital now; currently 50%, moving towards 80% in a few years. All channels move towards it; it comes down to the fundamentals of marketing.

Mike: How good is the measurement of TCP?

Bob: there’s some, but it’s disparate, oftne proprietary. In the end it all leads to sales but there are no standards – they are being worked on. But this is not a new metric to replace the old but is about understanding that this is a whole new world. We need to move away from transferring the old points of reference (TV/print) to the new one (the first TV was just radio with a camera pointed at it). We need to target better, to move closer to the consumer. the principles of marketing are the same but we need to increase the depth.

Mike: Do companies recognise the importance of opening their data up?

Louis: We keep pushing it, some do. The sales feeds is a key to understanding behaviour.

Mike: Are non-retail clients data driven?

Maria: Yes. Digital allows you to measure more than before. All clients now need/want data and agencies are evolving to match their needs.

Mike: Do you rely on the agency or the client for analytics?

Bob: We have our own specialists and rely on outsourcing much to other third party specialists. The skillsets are not at the clients to manage the databases, to build targeting algorithms and still a long way to go with database mining.

Mike:Are clients organised for TCP?

Maria: We are still trying to figure it out on both sides. There is blurring between the advertising and content model; it is difficult when the creative and the media buyers are separate.

Mike: How do you suggest clients organise?

Louis: you deal with what you have on a case by case basis. Client organisation does impact what you deliver; you have to set objectives/goals and describe the journey and work around the organisation issues.

Mike: should it be an aggregated or disaggregated model?

Maria: A disaggregated model can work if someone from the client pulls it all together but this is often difficult to do so an aggregated model may be easier to get the pull.

Louis: Aggregated is hard to pull off. You need specialists, it’s difficult to do everything. There’s always new things. Pulling it all together is a skill.

Bob: someone has to co-ordinated. Aggregated and disaggregated are just along a spectrum, you have to have a co-ordinator. You have to connect across the channels with the what and the how and organisation can help or hinder but it still has to happen.

My take:

From this (and others) I never got clarity about what type of online marketing they were talking about – is it advertising on others’ sites, using RM data to target users or building their own properties. Despite the talk about pull media, this panel still focused on the client/agency controlled model even if the touchpoints have fractured and the user is slighly more in control about when they see advertising.

The panellist recognised the difficulties involved in both agencies and clients in moving towards a integrated model but no-one had real answers to combine mass with targeting. The lack of measurement and standards is one I face all the time, espcially when combining it with more traditional methods so we do have to challenge some comparisons that are made. No major insights came out of this for me.

Aug 10

Appletiser Diamond Game

Appletiser (from Coca-Cola) have a timewasting game ready for you to play – and if you are lucky you can win a diamond. Based on a cross between Tetris and another desktop game (whose name I never got but I played a lot) you get a chance to play the game and then enter a prize draw for a diamond bracelet. You don’t actually have to play the game – of you start it and then click Quit it takes you to the entry form anyway.


Unlike many sites I’ve seen it does offer an obvious text only method of entering the competions, with out having to use the flash entry form. The text version gives a link which allows you just to email your entry (although it appears their tems and conditions don’t quite allow this)

Aug 09

Tate Collections

I like the new piece of functionality and guidance from the Tate.

Tate has devised a new way of looking at the Displays with a range of themed ‘Collections’. These suggest a number of personal journeys you could take, reflecting different moods and enthusiasms and revealing the extraordinary breadth of work on show.

It gives you some collections set up already but it also allows you to set up your own collection, although currently from a limited selection of art. Choose your favourites, add you commentary and produce your own leaflet to guide you or your friends through the gallery.

There is still work to be done on the selection tool as it stands – you can’t see larger versions of the images, there’s no information available on the work and it won’t let you choose less than 6. You can’t comment on your choices either.

Even with these shortcomings, I like this idea and can see it expanding. Give us the chance to choose more than 6 and let us choose from the whole collection. Let me add written commentary. Furthermore, how about letting us upload our own spoken tours round the choice. Add some voting for the best tours and you increase the community around this – pick a few favourites tours, load them up on your mp3 players, print out the maps and off you go. Nice start – but will it go anywhere?

Aug 09

Mentos, Soda and Stormhoek

Unlike Coca-Cola, Mentos mints have embraced the idea of mixing Mentos with a variety of pops to make fountains of sticky sugar water. They are running a competition to find the best fan video, which gives the rest of us plenty of fun to watch.

But Lloyd has to do it a little different. He’s used Stormhoek wine to produce a wine fountain. There’s a video showing how to do it and the various attempts. I wonder how champagne reacts?

Aug 09

Living in the wrong place – E-Society Digital Rating

University College London have been researching the digital lifestyles of the British population and put them all in a nice handy tool. There are 22 categories, ranging from E-unengaged (groups that do not have access to electronic communications or technologies) to e-experts (every confidence in their abilities to undertake on-line transactions and to make full use of electronic technologies. ) The theory is that the information can be used to help inform future policies on digital access – but of course, they could also be used to drive some advertising 😉

The tool allows you to plug in postcodes and see what the different areas are like. And I think I’m living in the wrong place, as my area comes out as part of the E-Unengaged set – too old to be bothered. It seems to be accurate down the individual postcode, which is a group of around 50-60 houses, so it does reflect reality. I live in an ex-council flat and many of the remaining tenants are elderly.

Aug 01

Honda web only videos

Yesterday, Media Guardian (reg req) ran an article about Honda providing web only videos:

“This is the start of exploring different ways to provide content,” said Rebecca Tickle, the Honda account director at Wieden & Kennedy London.

This follows on from the success of Cog and Choir available. I went to take a look at the new content, but have no idea where it is, as the piece links to the home page of the website only, with no direct link appearing possible. And there’s no pointer to the new stuff. So I’ve no idea whether it’s any good or not. So they are missing a simple trick – if you have publicity about content on your site, please make sure that anyone landing on the site can find it easily.

Jul 27

New Lynx campaign

Lynx (or Axe as it ges under in most of the world) have a new campaign out. Not moving too far away from its core values, the site features lots of scantily clad women in videos and games. It also has the expected (compulsary?) user generated content competition. Load up your video of you (the expectation is that you will be male) dancing in a towel and you can win yourself and 6 of your friends your very own wash down by the promotional girls.

Following on from the You Tube change to their T&Cs, I took a look at the ones for this competition and was surprised to see that by entering you waive all ownership rights, including the right to be be identified as the author, to the work you submit. Looking at other competitions, asks for a licence to publish but recognised you still own the work. The lawyers here are taking a very conservative stance which is contrary many expectations – if I make something, I own it.

I’ve been playing with Bix a little over the last few days and their T&Cs are a lot more reasonable

Subject to:
1. Company’s ownership of any underlying code incorporated into Content that you create with the Software; and
2. Company’s or third parties’ ownership of material on the Site, such as lyrics and music, that may be incorporated in Content you provide to Company,
you retain ownership of the copyright and other intellectual property rights in the Content, including but not limited to your performance.

Here again, they expect you to grant them worldwide rights to use the content, but that enables them to display the content on the site.

Jul 26

Severance Movie game

From today’s viral notifications we have something a movie trailer and a little more. Severance is a UK horror film, sending a team of sales people out on a ‘team building’ event in the wilds when somethign goes a little wrong. I’m sure many people have had to endure the horror of team building events with people they have to work with, but hopefully never this bad. The movie/game site is very straigh forward – info on the movie, a trailer and the game. I think they have borrowed the game from somewhere and reskinned it, as in gameplay it’s basically taking penalty kicks, even it is with a severed head and the idea is to hit the goalkeeper and knock body parts off.

Update: Ana has commented that they didn’t borrow or reskin…even so, I’ve played very similar games and htis one is still fun.


Jul 20

ThatGirlEmily – good idea, bad execution

I like stealth marketing campaigns, viral campaigns, ARGs, what ever you want to call them. When done well, they challenge and engage, provoke comment and get people involved. They are fun. But with this latest one from Court TV, the buzz is there but so are the potential problems.

Behind the scenes we have PR, media buyers, technical teams and the agency people out pretendind they are Emily – ‘she’ was outside Pennn Station in New York yesterday handing out fliers. There’s a thatgirlemilyblog that’s getting linked to, outdoor posters that are getting plenty of notice and comment and probably all other stuff in the works. So far so good. Everything is working out right.

But a few boundaries were overstepped and that could have the wrong implications for the brand and the agency. There’s a hint of astroturfing or just plain stupidness. Emily was out on the blogs and message boards spinning her tale and getting tea and sympathy back. But as with Cillit Bang, it’s not the best thing to be out and about posting as a character in places that don’t expect it. ARGs do this…but a working practice appears to have arisen – there are ways to get attention and not piss people off in the wrong place. ‘Emily’ has hurt some of the people who read and enjoy these boards…not the greatest result.

A second mistake with this campaign – they should have done a little more research and not used an identity that already exists. thatgirlemily already has a presence on message boards and other sites. Her online profile is now messed up with this one and I would not be too pleased at that as the buzz aroud the fake Emily is probably not what the real Emily would like.

I finding myself getting angry at this campaign, most likely a slightly over the top response, but agencies doing these things badly makes it more difficult to get compnaies to even touch these types of campaigns. I strongly beleive they work well when done well. done badly and clumsily like this one means that the whole industry gets tarred with the same brush.

Jul 18

That Girl Emily – viral marketing for something

My friend Keiron sent me a few links (from Fark)to what is, to all appearances, a new viral campaign..for something. Not quite sure what yet, but it’s definitely looks like a campaign. First of all read ThatGirlEmily. She started a blog a few weeks ago and then sudden calamity. A women scorned, swearing a 2 week campaign of vengence on her cheating husband. She has some nice contacts – called in a favour on Saturday night and less than 48 hours later she has billboards up in 2 cities declaring vengeance.

Now Will Thompson has done some digging and gives a rundown as to how you can spot that this is a campaign. Starting off with the perfect spelling and grammar and purple prose. ( I wonder how many client reviews the agency had to go through). And the multiple postings of the same message on different discussion groups, calmly posted 15 minutes apart when she is supposed to be on her way to see a PI. There’s a few other postings that Emily appears to have made as well, including this one, or this talking merrily about her lovely husband at the same time as posting that he is cheating on her on her blog.

And with all the advice that the women on these boards have offered, she’s not gone back and told them about her campaign to get back at her husband? But she is posting comments on other peoples blogs.

It’s at this point I hope I’m completely wrong, that it is not a stealth marketing campaign, that all these pointers are just because she is an extremely gifted writer/editor and very quick at picking up on blogs/message boards and her posts to some of the boards just got delayed in the timing. (because if not, this could severely backfire given the time and concern that is being expressed on the boards where she has posted. I’ve subscribed ‘cos I’m interested in what she’s going to do in the 2 weeks of wrath she promises (interestingly the feed is listed as new yesterday in bloglines).

Update: I’ve got confirmation that this is a campaign for Court TV. (friend of a friend).

And here’s a follow up comment from Smart at Love:

Manipulating forums like this where people actually go for actual help just to sell your products to people already suffering… that’s the lowest of low.

I can’t wait for someone to find and out the scam marketers responsible for this, so we can publish all their REAL personal info on the internet. And billboards.

There are other similar messages on the message boards where Emily has been asking for help and advice.

There’s a billboard up in Chicago as well

Jul 18

London great for start-ups?

“London is a unique market, with a highly developed start-up culture. In the UK, start-ups are more fashionable and sexier and clients are often more inclined to give them their business. In the US, they don’t generally succeed – the size and scale of business is a barrier to entry for start-ups and means the top talent generally believes they will be better off staying with established agency brands.”

Someone thinks the UK is brilliant for startups – a definite change of opinion from previous US/Valley only comments.

Well, it would be if they were talking about technology startups. Instead this is David Jones, EuroRSCG, talking to Campaign magazine about advertising agency startups.

Jul 18

Sony Bravia blog – a missed chance

Updated: they’ve now added moderated comments,and are regularly updating. Thanks Ed for the response.

Via Adweek, I see that Sony have being listening to their consumers (at least one bit has…still not sure about their music/DRM section), seen the enthusiasm for the bouncing balls and are going to let the bloggers follow along the making of their next commercial.

Online viewers will be treated to exclusive content here on this site including video blogs directly from the ad shoot. Bloggers will be supplied with Sony Cyber-shot digital cameras to film themselves, each other and the action straight from the set. Seeing it first, means seeing it here!

Look, they’re even going to to let bloggers on the set, give them tools to film the filming and create online buzz all by themselves.

Now, I admit there’s a nice piece of film on the site about the making of the previous comercial (I always like behind the scene stuff) but isn’t this all a little one way? A select few will be allowed to film (I’m going to hazard a guess that they may have to sign some kind of promise not to diss them too much?). But the rest of us? I can feed back about what I like the site, but only via a set questionnaire. Are they going to share the comments from that? There’s no open comments, no chance to ask questions and challenge them….and no chance to build a relationship and rebuild some potential bridges. Now i could be charitable and say, from previous experience, that the lawyers said no to open comments and they do not have the funding to pay for full time moderation. But with the bashing that Sony have taken in the past in areas – and the great buzz they got over the Bravia ads – surely it’s a missed opportunity to take a small step to an open conversation.