Digital clock

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

10 Reasons Customers Might Resist Windows 8

Software giant Microsoft is launching the Windows 8 version of its operating system this week, and suffice it to say that it's radically different from Windows 7. The familiar Start button and menu are gone, for example, replaced by a series of large, colorful tiles. And there's a new feature called the "Charm Bar."
Give Microsoft credit for innovation. But will corporate customers rush to embrace the change, or will they resist it at first? Signs point to resistance, according to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Ernest L. Arbuckle professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a leader in the field of change management. "Even in an era where young techies are looking to get the hottest and latest, people are resistant to change," she says.
Microsoft's launch of the new operating system accompanies its launch of a new tablet PC, the Surface RT, which will compete against Apple iPad. And industry observers have noted similarities between Apple's tightly-controlled marketing tactics and Microsoft's marketing campaign for the upcoming OS—Microsoft is even using indie rock music in its Windows 8 advertisements.
But what works for Apple might not work for Microsoft. Alas, when it comes to embracing the latest technology, consumer hardware and corporate software are as different as apples and orang… well, as different as Apples and corporate software. "Software is the method by which people do their work, and if you're requiring a radical change in how they do their work, it's a lot to ask," Kanter says.
"If you're requiring a radical change in how they do their work, it's a lot to ask"
In a September blog post for Harvard Business Review, Kanter discusses 10 of the most common reasons people resist change, in the context of leadership. This week, Kanter sat down with HBS Working Knowledge to discuss how these same reasons might hinder corporate adoption of Windows 8.
1. Loss of Control—Unsolicited change naturally meddles with autonomy, and the world's IT directors and other department heads may not appreciate having a completely different operating system thrust upon them from on high. "People don't like it when they're forced to change their plans, rather than determine the changes they want to make," Kanter says.
2. Excess Uncertainty—"People will often prefer to remain mired in misery than to head toward an unknown," Kanter explains in her blog post.
"There will be questions about Windows 8," Kanter says. "Will it work? Will it help me? Will this require further upgrades as Microsoft fixes the bugs? People might wait until there's more certainty, reasoning that if the current software works well, then why should they change?"
3. Surprise, surprise!—Sudden change almost always faces resistance, Kanter says. To that end, Microsoft has made a point of preparing the public for Windows 8, briefing the press months in advance and even offering downloadable preview version. Still, Kanter wonders, "Has there been sufficient time for the influencers to get used to this and help other people get used to it? And why launch on October 26? There's a lot going on in the world right now."
4. Everything seems different—Drastic change is more uncomfortable than incremental change, Kanter explains. And early reviews indicate that Windows 8 feels like a journey into the unknown. She cites the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, who reports, "even its most devoted users won't recognize the venerable computer operating system in this new incarnation."
Windows 8"Of course all change brings difference, but how many differences can we handle at once?" Kanter asks. "In Windows 8 there's the tile interface, there's no more start button, there's this 'Charm Bar'… These tools may work well, but human psychology says that if it's too different and too jarring, you turn away from it. You don't want to have to think about the tool. You want to think about the job you need to get done."
5. and 6. Loss of face and Concerns about competence—Let alone dealing with a change that wasn't their idea, people don't like it when a change makes them feel incompetent. And some early reviews of Windows 8 indicate that it's not much of an ego booster. In the comments section of a review on, beta-testing computer science teacher 'jabnipnip' vented: "Sure it loads fast, but you lose productivity time just trying to figure out how to do things like print! No joke. Open up a PDF in the native viewer and you have to 'intuitively' know to press ctrl + p to print the file. I can't tell you how many times I've sat there getting angry trying to figure out how to get something done. I'm not an idiot when it comes to computers, but this OS made me feel like one."
"Your software should not make anyone feel like an idiot," Kanter advises.
7. More work—This is an unavoidable biggie. Change generally requires work. That can feel like an irony when it comes to a software upgrade that's advertised as a tool to make work easier. Even the most positive reviews of Windows 8 have acknowledged a steep learning curve, which is likely to induce some chafing among the weary corporate masses.
"We're talking about an incredibly overloaded population of people who don't need more work," Kanter says. "They need something to do the work for them, like Siri."
8. Ripple effects—"Like tossing a pebble into a pond, change creates ripples, reaching distant spots in ever-widening circles," Kanter writes in her HBR blog post.
"Your software should not make anyone feel like an idiot"
There are key ripple effects inherent in adopting a drastically different operating system, she says. Confused individual users are likely to overload the IT department with "how-do-I" requests. Managers may be late for meetings as they try in vain to find their calendars with the new user interface. And so on. Some problematic are more likely than others, but "concern about ripple effects can cause considerable foot-dragging when it comes to change," Kanter says.
9. Past resentments—"Leaders should consider gestures to heal the past before sailing into the future," Kanter writes. "The ghosts of the past are always lying in wait to haunt us."
We have two ghostly words for Microsoft: Windows Vista. It's been nearly six years since the launch of that version of Windows, but harried IT managers may never forget the glitches. (PC World magazine rated Vista the Biggest Disappointment of 2007.) "Microsoft has had problems in the past," Kanter says. "The company tries so hard to do something disruptive, but then all it accomplishes is getting disruptive to users."
10. Sometimes the threat is real—In her blog post, Kanter explains that many people fear change because it can be truly dangerous, posing a threat not only to old ideas but jobs as well. In the case of the Windows 8 launch, there's a threat to Microsoft's competitors-including Apple, Google Inc., and—who could lose market share if the operating system and the new tablet prove successful. "Competitors certainly resist the change," Kanter says. "They are going to do everything they can to try to capitalize on any wary customer and fan the flames of user resistance."
And the dramatic overhaul of the operating system is also a risk for Microsoft, which needs Windows 8 to succeed in order to maintain its own market share, especially among consumers.
"Microsoft has produced a bold innovation in Windows 8, and the company deserves applause," Kanter says. "But its marketplace success will depend on whether users are ready for such a giant leap. Does this big change activate too many classic sources of resistance? That is the question."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Social media follow Hurricane Sandy's destructive path

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are how many Americans are keeping in touch and keeping up with superstorm Sandy. The social media spread news, photos and personal updates.

8:28AM EDT October 30. 2012 - Sandy is a massive storm, poised to bring widespread flooding and billions of dollars in damage to states from North Carolina to Maine.
And it's no slouch when it comes to social media.
In the past day, #Sandy has had more than 4 million mentions by almost 400,000 unique sources on Twitter, says Radian6, which tracks social media use. Mentions of #Sandy have had a potential reach of more than 3 billion Twitter followers, the site says.
"Hurricane Sandy" was the top phrase on Facebook in the USA in the past day, the social media giant says. Other terms in the top 10 include "stay safe," "storm," "East Coast," "my friends" and "prayers."
On the mobile photo sharing site Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, there were 233,000 photos with the hashtag "Sandy," 100,000 under "Hurricanesandy" and 20,000 under "Frankenstorm" as of Monday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.
"There are now 10 pictures per second being posted with the hashtag 'Sandy,' " said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom in an e-mailed statement. "I think this demonstrates how Instagram is quickly becoming a useful tool to see the world as it happens -- especially for important world events like this."
The storm's path -- and the destruction it wrought -- could be followed all day Monday in photos of flooding on the streets of coastal communities in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. People in New Jersey, braced for a direct hit from the storm, photographed themselves in rubber rain gear in thigh-high floodwaters. Photos showed water partially submerged cars, fire hydrants and parking meters.
News spread quickly on the social sites, from the rescue by the Coast Guard of the crewmembers who abandoned the sinking replica ship the HMS Bounty to the collapse of chunks of a building's facade in downtown Manhattan.
Twitter and Facebook became a key method for friends and family to check in on each other and wish those on the East Coast to be safe.
"Sending my thoughts to all in the path of #sandy ... looks pretty bad," read a typical tweet.
Some people posted updates on whether they had power or on the strength of the wind and rain where they were.
"Eerie, flooded streets in Atlantic City, two hours after landfall. No wind and only a light rain falling. #sandynj," wrote one poster, @aubreyjwhalen.
The beginnings of controversy surfaced as people took sides when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blamed Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for not pushing residents harder to evacuate.
Those in the path of the storm could find practical tips, too. FEMA urged its 163,400 Twitter followers to use texts or social media to keep tabs on their friends and relatives because phone lines get clogged during disasters. It used its Twitter feed to tell people to use social media for the latest news on the storm's path and to offer tips such as never drive across water flooding a road.
Not surprisingly, there was a fair share of jokes and parodies. One site hawked blue rubber stiletto heels with flippers in front.
And as photos were shared by the thousands, several fakes made the rounds. One showed the Statue of Liberty with a menacing spiral cloud looming in the distance. Another had a shark swimming in floodwaters. Another purported to show soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns in a driving rain on Monday. The photo, however, was taken in September.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

KEA playing with their friends

IKEA in the UK presents this charming video as part of their “Entertaining” campaign. A group of kids are in perfect synch with a bunch of oversized play friends, from cuddly bear and robot to action figures. Watch the reveal at the end of the spot and don’t miss the ‘Making Of’ which is told and led by a very Scottish ‘Darren, the Bear’.
Client: Ikea
Agency: Mother
Song: “Playin’ With My Friends” by Masters in France

Friday, October 26, 2012

TV Fail Causes Anarchy and World Disorder


Remember all those studies that told us TV rots the brain, causes anxiety, makes you fat and causes a whole host of other problems? Well, perhaps it's the opposite. In this Scholz & Friends-created German commercial for TV provider Saturn, we see the devastation and disaster caused by poor TV reception.
Is TV really this important to us?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

LG’s scary monitors


 LG has decided to use a scary marketing approach to promote its new IPS monitors. To prove how life-like the picture on such monitors can be, they re-fitted the floor of an elevator with nine screens and produced a special effect like the bottom of the elevator was falling apart.
The idea is really cool but, after you finish watching the video, you are left with the feeling that it’s just a fake. Or, at least, this is what I personally felt even before reading the negative comments on Youtube.
Fake or not, the creative idea is good, and video is definitely generating some buzz: over 8.4 million views, almost 27K likes and 3K dislikes. I’m not saying this is going to be another Nike Ronaldinho’s cross barscommercial (I couldn’t find the original multi-million views one on Youtube), but I also think it’s not as bad as Nokia’s fake Lumia ad.
What do you think? Am I too forgiving?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Marketer's Scoop on Instagram and How to Use It


instagramOh good, another social network/website/app thingy. You may have heard some buzz recently over something called Instagram. Or maybe you didn't, because you're now purposefully blocking out all mentions of anything new happening in the social world to maintain your mental health. We're here to break down what Instagram is, let you know without social media buzzwords whether you should care, and if you decide after that section that you do care, we'll tell you the best practices to follow so you can get started smoothly. Sound good? Let's get started.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained almost 15 million users. Currently, it is only available for iPhone devices.

As an inbound marketer, should I care about Instagram?

Not everyone should be on every social network. But here are some reasons that, as a marketer, you should at least keep an eye on Instagram, if not begin participating.
  • There are over 14 million users, growing at a rate of 2 million users per month.
  • Instagram is quickly outgrowing Foursquare, the largest mobile social network.
  • 91% of US citizens have their mobile phone within reach 24/7. 25% of people in the US have totally abandoned their laptops for exclusive use of their mobile device. Mobile apps have been downloaded 10.9 billion times and are expected to peak in 2013. Mobile is huge, and its growth is not stopping.
  • Social media is not just for twenty-somethings; it is part of everyone's daily life. In 2004, it was just for college kids. In 2008, the age of the average user jumped to 33. In 2010, it was up ever further to age 38. Over the holidays, be prepared to help grandma remove Farmville from her account.
  • People love visual content. We're visual creatures, and photos are engaging pieces of content that transcend the boundaries of language.
  • Photos tell stories. Storytelling is crucial to the social success of your content, and the emotions associated with photos carry a lot of weight. HubSpot has been carrying on a caption content using Instagram that literally asks users to tell the story of what's happening in the photos. That kind of engagement is hard to come by in non-visual content.

That's a lot of data that seems to imply I should use Instagram. Is that what you're trying to tell me?

No. What this data means is that Instagram has created something that successfully taps into the mobile and social marketing trend, but that doesn't mean it will inherently help advance everyone's marketing objectives. While the application for service providers is not as easy to see, there does seem to be potential for product-oriented businesses to utilize Instagram.

Creative Ideas for Using Instagram in Marketing

  • Ever seen the show How It's Made? Do your own version on Instagram that shows the process of creating your product and the smiling faces who do it every day.
  • Get feedback on products as they are in beta. Snap a photo of a new interface, and see what suggestions your users have to improve it.
  • Highlight out-of-the-box uses for your products. You can upload photos of a creative way to use your product, or even better, your customers can!
  • Don't have a name for your latest creation? Upload a photo of it to Instagram and have a naming contest! Most creative name wins, and revel in the pre-release buzz that comes along with it.
  • Offer a discount to customers who snap a smiling photo and check in at your storefront.
Will some marketers out there find ways to incorporate it into their mobile and social strategy? Yes. Again, HubSpot has been doing a caption contest with Instagram to which people have responded well. The ROI is not crystal clear, though. The results are more in the realm of "more engagement" and "stronger branding"; very important, but harder to measure. If you're rocking other major social media networks like clockwork and have some time to dedicate to Instagram, go for it. Not doing so, however, will not cripple your inbound marketing.

If I want to try Instagram, what best practices should I follow?

If you've read this far, you think Instagram may be able to improve the inbound marketing strategy of you or someone you love. That's great! Here's what you should look out for to ensure you don't get off to a bumpy start.
1.) Maintain a consistent posting frequency. People should come to expect the same amount of content on a daily or weekly basis if you want to see follower growth.
2.) Care about quality photography. That's the medium in which Instagram operates, so people on there tend to care about it. Focus on posting interesting images with good production value.
3.) Tap user-generated content. This helps increase engagement, feed your content machine, and get more followers.
4.) Integrate your Instagram strategy with other social media networks. You can use hashtags and share images on networks like Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, and Foursquare.
5.) If you think you'll get started on Instagram in the future, snag your username before someone else does.
6.) Engage in the conversations that are going on, both on your account and others. You can do this via likes and comments. You won't increase your follower base by staying in your own little corner!
7.) Tag your location to make it easier for people to find your account when searching for you.
8.) Research what people in your industry are posting by searching relevant #hashtags. This is also a good way to find new people to follow.
9.) Speaking of which, start following people in your industry and interacting with them. You've got to let them know you're out there!
10.) Make use of apps. I know, an app on top of an app; it's insane. But there are some cool apps out there that you may find helpful. Once you get your sea legs with Instagram, browse what apps are out there to make your experience even better. The Beginner's Lens has curated a nice list of Instagram apps to get you started.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coke Awards 'Skyfall' Tickets to Bond-Like...Actors?


Coke Zero, following its lackluster James Bond "Skyfall" tie-in commercial, has crafted an intriguing stunt that requires people to get to a particular train platform in 70 seconds. Sounds easy except for the fact there are plenty of obstacles to overcome on the way to the platform. Some have suggested the people accepting the stunt are actors, not random people. Which, of course, makes perfect sense as Coke's lawyers would certainly have something to say about placing people in harm's way just to win a free ticket to a movie.
That said, it's fun to watch and it's far more interesting than the lame commercial. And, apparently, it's been

European Mainstay Platige Opens Shop In NYC

After more than 15 years of developing groundbreaking VFX and post-production work from its Warsaw bunker, the Oscar- and Emmy-nominated, BAFTA-winning Platige has arrived in the U.S. The newly launched NYC studio extends the reach of the company’s Warsaw headquarters to the US market, and will service all areas of CG, animation, and VFX in advertising, broadcast and film.
“What truly makes Platige stand out from other post houses is the number of artists we have who are self-taught,” said Julian Cade, Managing Director of the NY studio. “Poland’s broadcast market is less than 20 years old and Platige has been around for most of it, so we have naturally attracted a lot of the country’s early innovators and biggest names. We also believe our new Brazilian partnership will add value to our overall operation, as we will be able to offer directors and live action production from this location to help service our clients. Platige maintains a supportive creative environment for our artists that makes us capable of attacking a project at any stage, from concept through completion.”
This unique environment has helped to foster both commercial projects and several short films made by Platige artists, many of which have gone on to enter prestigious film festivals all over the world. As a result, Platige has amassed a varied in-house director base, leading to feature film credits including Melancholia, Antichrist and Essential Killing, as well as commercial work for Kellogg’s, Listerine, Duracell, Orange, Vodafone, Air Wick, Orbit, and Gillette.
Working at the forefront of stereoscopic 3D technology, Platige has produced a wide range of technically innovative commissions. The studio was recently called upon by the Museum of Warsaw to build the world’s first 3D reconstruction of a 2D painting, a stunning rendering of The Battle of Grunwald by Polish artist Jan Matejko.
The Museum of Warsaw also commissioned Platige to create City of Ruins, a 3D rendering of the city of Warsaw in the direct aftermath of World War II. Studying 50,000 still images from a three-year period, Platige artists replicated a low-level aerial flight over the city with an incredibly precise street-by-street reconstruction of the devastation. The result is a film crafted to be deeply powerful, both visually and emotionally.
Platige’s expertise extends well beyond complex 3D commissions. The company specializes in liquids, fur, character animation, stylized animation, and 2D as well, while offering treatments and concept-design services, live-action directors, and art directors.
“Creativity is what has motivated us for 15 years—what continually pushes us to stay on the cusp of technological innovation. This is what has led us to open a shop in the largest and most competitive market in the world, one that we believe will find our creative angle interesting,” said Cannes Gold Lion-winner and Platige NY CD Matt Subieta.
Oscar-nominated Platige director Tomek Baginski has also successfully led Platige into the gaming market with The Witcher, a cinematic spot that helped the eponymous video game to debut at the top of the UKIE Top 40 Entertainment Software Chart. This has led to exciting opportunities from top game firms including Sony and Ubisoft.
“Gaming pushes your skills to the limits and beyond. In that industry, you can really show your skills,” explained Baginski. “But it also involves constant discovery of new techniques and, over the last 5 years, and we have built a core game team which can now handle any challenges.”
The US studio is currently working with a number of New York based clients, and has completed projects for History Channel, Nickelodeon, Listerine, and Braun.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Facebook App ‘Vote With Friends’ Advocated Voting With A Social Twist

Vote With Friends Facbook App
A new Facebook app called Vote With Friends has just been released and its sole purpose is to create voting advocacy among Facebook users and the friends they influence.
The app was created by internet advocacy group Fight For the Future and it allows users to check whether or not their friends on Facebook are registered to vote or whether they have pledge to register. The program also tells users if their friends actually went and voted on election day.
According to Mashable:
“The idea? Take Facebook’s “Poke” concept, and use it to bring a little positive peer pressure into democratic participation”
Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder and co-director of Fight for the Future says of the Vote With Friends app:
“We think [voting] is essential to what makes a vibrant democracy. Especially in the United States, we’re seeing that what your fiends are asking you to do actually affects whether or not you go vote. If that’s a part of voting in America, we should absolutely have the ability to do that online.”
The app uses the Votizen API which is based on public voter data collection.
The hope is that friends will nag one another to vote, thus creating stronger voting numbers. The app could be most beneficial to the Democrats as study’s have shown higher social media use among that group of voters.
You can search for Vote With Friends on Facebook if you want to take part in the advocacy program.

Social Media Goes to School

So many schools nowadays have websites as they represent a really effective way of communicating a message. This brings us to the next step which is Social Media ; schools really do need to get in on the act here. Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are a great way of getting information out quickly.

In The Bleak Midwinter…..

In the harsh winter conditions of 2010, when much of the UK had ground to a halt due to the severe weather, social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter really came into their own.
Millions of people all over the UK used these platforms to get real-time up to date news on transport and work/school. The weather was so intense that it became difficult to make decisions on whether or not a school or workplace would be open the next day.
Schools, local authorities, transport providers and work premises took to the internet to publish the very latest situation reports. People were checking on Facebook or Twitter to see if:
  • Local schools were open for kids
  • Local public transport systems were running
  • Their place of work was open for business
Social Media very quickly became the go-to resource for people organizing their day. This just highlights the potent power of social media and is a great demonstration of how useful it can be for schools.

Not Just An Up To Date News Channel …

While Social Media is great in times of crisis (if you can call British weather a crisis  — personally, I think British weather is a crisis…). However, the time has come for schools to adopt social media as a means of mainstream communication whether there is a crisis or not.
Social Media is a great way for schools to promote parental involvement. Reach out and communicate with all the parents on your register (this will also help to solve the problem of the kids who forget to hand over school handouts to their parents – there really is no excuse any more). Social Media can be used not only to publicize school events, but can be a great help in organizing them. Tweet your needs or post them on your schools Facebook page – get more parents onboard. If you need somebody to organize a cake stall shout out for help on the internet. If you need somebody to face paint at an event, tweet to let everybody know. If you need volunteer parents to go on a school trip, offer it online.

Reach Out And Touch …

Having a great school website is just not enough anymore; you need to reach out using Social Media platforms to broadcast your message to as wide an audience as possible. "Big up" your school: praise your pupils and their achievements. Everything your school has to be proud of, from exam successes to awards and scholarships, all these things can be shared with more people by using social media effectively.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Obama Posted Here

With election season upon us, Chris Thomas and Julia Thomas, partners at the Brooklyn-based design studio Hieronymus, are revisiting 30 Reasons, their popular month-long e-mail and internet poster campaign encouraging voters to reelect President Barack Obama.
Bonnie Siegler.
The project started four years ago during the last presidential elections and ultimately drew over 100,000 views. "But, better than that," the curators note on their website, "President Obama won!""And now that we’re facing a crucial election again, we’ve revived 30 Reasons and asked 30 talented artists and designers to each create one poster describing their reason to reelect President Obama. In another year when the direction of this country seems so fragile, we are hoping that we can contribute with design in some measure. We all have the ability to speak up, to stand up, to impact the course of this country."
The question, of course, is how effective partisan poster campaigns can be when the airwaves are teeming with well-funded 30-second skewers. Look at the collection here and draw your own conclusions.
I know some of our readers do not support the President's candidacy, but as yet the Daily Heller has not seen a similar campaign for Mr. Romney. If one surfaces, we'll cover it here.
Woody Pirtle.
Elizabeth Amorose.
Ted McGrath.

The Sweet Spot for Protest

 Dissent is one of American's most dearly valued constitutional rights. And protest is one of the most common spectator sports. The latest protest to make its mark in New York City is aimed at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fight against sugar-laced drinks—the kind that foster obesity when regularly consumed. The city's health committee hearing to approve or reject Bloomberg's ban on large sodas is convened today.
The New York Times writes:
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery stores or convenience stores.
Bloomberg has taken the big gulp. He wants to curtail the right of retailers to sell, and consumers to buy, sugar-laden drinks. So to counter this, New Yorkers for Beverage Choicesmade up of individuals, businesses, and community organizations, has taken to the streets and airwaves. "We believe New York City residents and visitors should have the right to buy beverages in any size they choose," they say. Of course, the bigger the drink, the more is spent. What's more, sugar begets sugar, which begets fat.
Their campaign poster (above) makes it seem that an unalterable human right—the right to drink from bottles and cups over 16 ounces— is being usurped by a meddling government. But what's to stop someone from buying three 8-ounce bottles (or other mathematical combinations)? The organization says, "If this now, what next?" Perhaps a ban against all foods that will cause harm? Civil liberties notwithstanding, has anyone really objected to the "sell by" labels on perishable foods and drinks? Or the restriction that minors cannot purchase alcohol? This is a nation of many dos and lots of donts, some of which make perfect sense.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Get your game face on Mustang

Pretty interesting new site and social gaming campaign from Ford for the Mustang. The car customizer is the best one I have ever used and the end result is very satisfying. The battles against others should be intense between brand loyal Mustang fans so expect to see a lot of activity here as the more a person interacts/shares/updates the content the more points they get. The one with the most points wins their own custom designed Mustang!! The agency is Team Detroit.

Brands and open conversations

October 16, 2012 at 10:11 by BridgetComments
We see more and more brands starting open conversations and video responses in the social space – reacting and interacting with fans and trending topics.  Bodyform is the latest to pull through with a very well crafted video response that reveals ”the truth” about feminine hygiene advertising.  You can read an article on mashable about the original post that prompted the video from “CEO Caroline Williams”.

Perhaps my favourite detail is the attention given to the YouTUBE description.  In addition to the great craft skills it’s great to see that Bodyform clearly positions this as fiction.  Often it’s the blur between real and fake that makes or breaks these kinds of stunts.
If Facebook had a “love” button, we’d have clicked it. But it doesn’t. So we’ve made you a video instead. Unfortunately Bodyform doesn’t have a CEO. But if it did she’d be called Caroline Williams. And she’d say this.
I’ve seen a couple of other examples of brands and open conversations that are worth sharing.  Samsunghit a home run with a custom designed one-of-a-kind Galaxy S, which came out of a facebook conversation that went viral.

Tide Detergent showed the onion that they could play ball.  Responding to an article on the onion about a “cool new viral video that was blowing up all over the internet” — they turned fiction into reality.  They actually made the fictitious video the onion had dreamt up within 48 hours.
La Redoute picked up a gold PR lion at Cannes this year for fulling assuming the #fail around the naked man in the La Redoute catalogues.
EA sports has to be one of the pioneers in this space with the “Tiger woods walks on water” commercial.  It’s old, but I still love this ad.
Conclusions?  Social intelligence is becoming more and more important for brands to tap into conversations and trends.  The trick is being able to react quick enough before the conversation goes dead.

Coca-Cola Vending Machine Rewards You For Dancing

October 16, 2012 at 11:59 by MichaelComments
Coca-Cola in Korea have created a vending machine that rewards people the more they dance in front of it!
The Coke dance vending machine has Xbox Kinect technology (sensors and webcams) built in which recognises human interaction. Why? Well, people have the chance to impersonate the Korean boy band2PM as close as they can, because the better they dance, the more bottles of Coke they are rewarded with!
What I like the most about this is the innovative use of technology to bring fun (and product) to people in an engaging way. And putting Kinect in a vending machine is smart because you are interacting with the brand, having a good time and getting something free for it at the end.
Would you dance for a bottle of Coke like this guy?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Want to Win the Race to the Bottom? Don't Invest in Tech

Is the advertising industry willing to look at itself and acknowledge that it has a big problem? Can anything reverse what seems like a race to the bottom and allow a rainbow to emerge?
The crisis mirrors what has happened in the newspaper business. Two decades ago, newspapers were profiting by big margins, with no incentive to invest for the future. As technology changed and profit margins shrank, these companies were left with no capacity to invest. So they laid off people. This led to diminished product quality, which contributed to even more lost revenue. Many newspaper companies got entangled in a race to the bottom.
In our industry, the digital revolution has triggered three dangerous trends that, combined, pose a similar life-threatening challenge:
  • The business of managing digital advertising is hugely complex compared with that involved with handling traditional TV, print and radio advertising. The solution for most agencies has been to hire more junior people, which increases expenses, rather than invest in advanced technology that could spark enhanced productivity with fewer staff.
  • The dominant fixed fee-for-service compensation system vs. the traditional commission-based compensation, whereby digital work was paid much higher, has meant that agencies are doing more work for less money. With somewhat larger staffs and little new technology, they have limited resources to handle increasingly complex digital advertising.
  • Digital work gets even more complex with the emergence of search, social, big data, owned media, branded entertainment and other new media. Already stretched-thin teams are required to manage, track, analyze, slice, maximize and handle countless new responsibilities.
The result? There's huge pressure on agencies and employees. It's sapping our industry's lifeblood -- the creative and strategic product -- as limited budgets lead to more junior associates directing accounts with minimal guidance from veteran visionaries, many of whom are too costly to retain.
What's the answer? For savvy agencies, investing in technology is a start. This means using technology to increase efficiencies in workflow and media buying, so that agencies can be free to focus on strategy and ideas. But technology requires capital, and with persistent pressure on profit margins, agencies are reluctant or limited in their ability to invest capital in innovation.
Still, it's a matter of survival. Agencies must invest in technology that will allow them to operate more efficiently. Breakthrough technology is available, often from companies backed by private equity and venture capital.
For instance, Centro, a Chicago-based digital media logistics company where I'm a director, secured $22.5 million to invest in, among other things, automated media-buying software. The global cloud-marketing platform Turn Inc. has raised $20 million to fuel scalability in media planning and accountability for brands and agencies. Mediaocean is attempting to create a global, open and neutral operating system for the advertising business, thus enabling standardization of development and deployment.
A crowd-funding site, LoudSauce, has emerged to help entrepreneurs raise capital for buying media from individual investors by offering stock for sale through third-party intermediaries.
Private investors are banking on ad agencies recognizing that they must become more efficient to survive, and that having their people just do more work isn't the answer. Consider all that Walmart does with new technology -- whether it's bar-code advances or logistics-related software -- to reap additional efficiencies.
Advertising agencies can become more vocal and aggressive in urging their clients, C suites and holding companies to loosen up when it comes to spending and invest in fresh technology that will deliver a rich return on investment. Or they can keep asking more of people already stretched thin.
What's at stake is this: They either win the race to the bottom or look up to clearer skies ahead.

Why Social Media Needs TV and TV Needs Social

Every now and then, we come across a couple seemingly made for each other. Think of Barack and Michelle Obama, Jay-Z and Beyonce, or John Stamos and his array of hair products. Marketers are reaping the benefit of another match made in heaven, and as the industry evolves, these two will change the way each other operate: That's social media and television.
I'm not talking about second screen marketing; I'm referring to social's growing ability to provide what television doesn't, and television's ability to dispel the biggest argument against social. I had an opportunity to speak with social media leads at a few brands that are well versed in both mediums -- Jon Budd of Hyundai, Adam Kmiec of Campbell's Soup and Barbara Liss of Quaker Foods -- and it was clear that the symbiotic relationship between social and TV is on the minds of marketers worldwide.
Consider television's strengths: wide-reaching, immediate impact on sales proven through years of media-mix modeling and a universally accepted data provider. (Yes I just counted Nielsen as a strength; I'll explain later.) Now consider TV's greatest weaknesses: earned media and long-term benefit. Tracking the results of broadcast marketing is like looking at a heart rate monitor; a brand makes a media investment, impressions shoot up (directly proportionate to the dollars spent), and sales increase. Then as soon as dollars are out of the market, conversation and subsequent conversion drop significantly.
This is where social comes in. More and more brands are using social as a megaphone to bolster broadcast campaigns, driving earned media that boosts the heart rate while lowering the cost per impression. Furthermore, since people are always talking online, social can allow a brand to monitor and impact the conversation so that the heart rate never drops down. Therefore, television's short-term benefits seed long-term advocacy, with social serving as the soil. As Barbara Liss put it, "With the advent of social, brands now have strong loyalty-building opportunities to complement the messages on TV. And if done right, TV can enhance conversation."
That's not to say social is without flaws. The focus on social media is often around the oceans of accurate consumer data available, rather than its ability bring together and enhance traditional marketing tactics. Jon Budd suggests that social has been promoted as being measurable rather than as simply a great branding tool. "When digital first started up, it built itself up as being measurable at the bottom of the funnel instead of delivering on brand as broadcast did; measurement was digital's unique selling proposition. Social is falling into that same trap," said Budd.
But while data is one of social's biggest selling points, it may also be one of its greatest downfalls. Adam Kmiec brought up social's lack of data standardization: "Ask how many homes a commercial reached and you'll get one number, from one source. Ask someone how many impressions a social campaign delivered and you might get four different answers. This creates skepticism."
And therein lies my justification for praising Nielsen. Say what you will about its methodology and accuracy, but it's a universally accepted data provider that allows for fair comparisons. That's something social is sorely lacking, and Kmiec isn't the only one to express that. Liss went as far as to say, "There are 100 startups for every metric."
Here's where TV can save social from the data confusion and subsequent skepticism of ROI. Consider social as an amplification tool for a TV-heavy marketing plan and plug it into a media-mix model. While social isn't typically known to drive immediate sales, brands that use social to amplify broadcast activations drive low-cost impressions and increase the brand-relevant conversation. This drives CPI down, and the lift in sales driven by those social impressions can be easily measured by comparing sales data to media dollars spent, both with and without social support.
Several brands are already taking advantage of the complementary nature of the social and TV. Broadcast marketers are starting to create engaging, sharable content to leverage the long-term benefits of social, and social marketers are working more closely with broadcast teams to amplify reach and drive calls to action. As the mediums develop, we'll continue to see a shift in content strategy, and collaborative strategies will pay off for years to come.