November 30, 2006

Recipe for viral?

Picture%203.pngRolling Rock tells us to grab the low hanging fuit by the proverbial horns and play to the lowest common denominator. Initial commenters on AdRants seem to be raving over the latest YouTube craze involving an ape flying into a pool party and dancing with bikini babes while handing out beer.

Aside from the legal stupidity I mentioned about the lack of age verification for advertising alcohol, this video seems too easy. Seriously, it's not that hard to brainstorm "super awesome cool viral video" ideas for an alcoholic beverage. There were no risks taken. And while, mission accomplished, Rolling Rock played to the masses with an integrated TV and online campaign, the "viral video" didn't even get the beginning snorts of a laugh from others.

So, should viral be an EasyMac recipe to clickthrough success similar to TV, or should risks be attempted? What are your thoughts?

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Blogger slits wrists with RAZR

RazrAd.jpgGawker tickles your craving for a tasty rant by looking back at the Motorola RAZR craze with more hindsight and less dignity.

"Think back, if you will, to October 2004. It was an innocent time, a time when to have a cell phone typically meant one of those Nokia bullets or a Motorola V60 (hey, remember those?), or if you were all fancy, a big-ass Blackberry. We bring this up for one important reason: to trace just how you, and we, got suckered--yes, suckered--into buying possibly the worst phone on the market today, the Motorola RAZR."

Makes me question bloggers like Joel On Software, who seems like he'd go down on a man in a dive bar stall for just another hit of Moto to fill up a RSS feed.

Read the entire rant here.

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November 28, 2006

Motion or motionless?


As the buzz fog dissipates from the launch of the Wii and the PS3, we're left with storytelling from our collective Thanksgivings.

Just getting back from lunch with one of the application developers on my team, we shared our perspectives of the buzz fog. The Wii and PS3 launches seem to invoke a familiar story of The Tortoise and the Hare. While the PS3 garnered a huge spike in buzz with people being trampled and shot just to get their hands on it, their buzz could almost be seens as what killed off a potentially larger demand in the larger audience. PS3 spent so much time and effort to become the foaming on the mouths of gamers, that they also created an elitism that isolated themselves. From the general perspective, Sony spent their efforts promoting the cool games you could play, rather than showing user interaction with the product itself.

Alternatively, the Wii Launched two days after the PS3. Originally, many questioned why, as the buzz cloud was so large around the PS3 that the Wii would surely be swallowed up in the midst of the chaos. Now, post-Thanksgiving, it's clear that the Wii has garnered more offline Word-Of-Mouth than jokes about trytophan. Why? Nintendo made the smart choice in promoting "why they're different", as opposed to PS3's "why they're better". From the commercials, to the stories, the simple, somewhat dorky DDR-style of interaction made the Wii friendly to gamers and first-time-gamers alike. There was no buzz about getting trampled, only buzz about people breaking their TVs by playing with the Wii so much. The developer on my team was sharing stories of his grandparents playing boxing games over the weekend, and how his girlfriend broke two glasses and part of a table from getting so into it.

While the Wii almost appears as something straight out of the 80's in silliness, it has successfully made itself accessible by all audiences. While people are no longer asking about if they saw people getting trampled on the news for the PS3, they are, however, sharing their own personal stories about the Wii. To back up the Word-Of-Mouth and advertising techniques, the Wii out-sold the PS3 on the first day and continues to by a significant amount.

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November 27, 2006

Kate Moss says fuck you to cancer and lingerie

kf21-cover.jpgSeemingly the best show that Kate Moss puts on for everyone is having a cigarette in a lacey pair of panties. Putting that to shame, Moss has reportedly threatened to walk out on a lingerie deal. The other party should take the white-nosed model's threats seriously, as she apparently also pulled the plug on a children's cancer charity. Like garlic to vampires, non-smoking sections seem to be the best way to fend off smug models.

The lingerie company, one of my personal favorites, Agent Provocateur seems to have been messing around in someone else's knicker drawer. Known for asking for 'punishment', perhaps Moss may be better off threatening an over-the-knee tactic.

"Moss reportedly is furious that the company’s owner, Serena Rees, recently ran off with The Clash bassist Paul Simonon, who happens to be married to one of Moss’s friends."

Hybrid design gives men reason to shop


Just in time for the holidays, the No! Shopping Bag Bra makes shopping for dates ever easier. Proving that design really does make our lives better, this hybrid design may just encourage men to enjoy shopping. Converting from a bra to a shopping bag, the No! Shopping Bag Bra by aims to reduce the use of plastic bags.

"The bra — available in red, blue, green, yellow and pink — is made from the Teijin Group’s ECOPET brand of polyester fiber, which has been recycled from plastic bottles through the company’s patented EcoCircle recycling system.

Triumph International Japan has a long history of developing eco-themed bras, with such creations as the Recycle PET Bra (1997), Eco-globe Bra (2004) and Warm Biz Bra (2005)."

Going comando never seemed so environmentally friendly.

(via: Treehugger / Pink Tentacle)

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Squeaky wheel gets the oil

262460837_b1879cc14b_m.jpgPreviously filed in with the various whoring yourself out on the internet to achieve some small amount of success posts, Leah Culver became one of the few that you need not ask, "What ever happened with that?". Miss Princess had grown tiresome with her old laptop and was in need of a new MacBook Pro. As with many of us who are desperate, Leah turned to advertising.

Mike wonders "to what extent the influence and privilege afforded by the hottie elite could be exploited. Free drinks? Getting out of speeding tickets? Sure we like to think that sex sells and honk our little clown horns, but the truth of the matter is that Leah Culver is operating in dimensions we can't even begin to imagine. First, obviously, she's a kick in the ding-ding smokin' hot. Second, she managed to get a free MacBook Pro by selling laser-etched ads on the cover. Third, she sold ads on a fucking MacBook cover!"

(Thanks, Mike!)

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November 25, 2006

Sight for the week's end

starbucks_inhaler.jpgDon't let Timmy play kickball without it.

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November 23, 2006

Happy Tryptophan Day from Shake Well Before Use

Thanks.gifHappy Thanksgiving to those in the States - to the rest, just follow suit like we do for holidays that aren't our own (Cinco de Mayo) and share some drinks over full bellies. If you're feeling a bit crafty with the long weekend ahead, Make offers some festive ideas for the over-achievers in the house.

As with most holidays, the dreams of little boys and girls across the globe must eventually be crushed. Ah, yes, like the tooth fairy, let me divulge in telling you that the Tryptophan fairy doesn't exist either:

"According to popular belief, tryptophan in turkey meat causes drowsiness. Turkey does contain tryptophan, which does have a documented sleep-inducing effect as it is readily converted into serotonin by the body. However, tryptophan is effective only when taken on its own as a free amino acid. Tryptophan in turkey is found as part of a protein, and, in small enough amounts, this mechanism seems unlikely.

A more-likely hypothesis is that the ingestion of large quantities of food, such as at a Thanksgiving feast, means that large quantities of both carbohydrates and branched-chain amino acids are consumed. Like carbohydrates, branched-chain amino acids require insulin to be transduced through the myocyte membranes, which, after a large meal, creates a competition among the amino acids and glucose for insulin, while simultaneously creating tryptophan's reduced competition with other amino acids for the Large Neutral Amino Acid Transporter protein for transduction across the blood-brain barrier. Alcoholic beverage consumption at holiday feasts is likely to compound the effect."

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November 22, 2006

Some coffee for your sugar?

coffeemorning1.jpgSpreading his blog propaganda, Russell Davies' Coffee Mornings have become as viral as drunken photos on MySpace. Unlike said photos, however, Coffee Mornings are a bit more perky and are likely to get you in less trouble with work. Chicago, Toronto, Kansas City, and Sydney recently jumping on the proverbial "send to a friend" button have joined the list.

"I do like this coffee morning business, I love the way all this digital stuff is leading to actual real person connectivity. It's fab." - Russell Davies

Joining the 'fab' as often as my schedule allows, I took up the American Copywriter boys' invite for the last couple of weeks. While probably less leisurely as London's 11:30am arrival time (7:30am kills me), it's still a pleasurable way to ease into the last 8 hours of work before the weekend.

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Holiday birds turn up the heat

victorias-secret-show.jpgAs many gear up for long drives and equally lengthy preparation times, holiday birds sit and simmer. Adding a bit more flame to the fire, these birds require no pre-heating. Oh, Aunt Vicky's, always reminding us what to be thankful for. After a bit of holiday cheer, when the family has left to sleep off their full bellies, cozy up with your laptop and silently click away.

November 21, 2006

Soaking in a digital bubblebath

bubbles.pngBeta-tank enjoys popping pixels with their latest interactive interior. Bubble Screen is an organic display system using air bubbles for pixels. The pixel bubbles are then able to produce imagery and typographic visuals. While not as robust as the wet typography water-curtain, the thinking behind it is still impressive.

"Beta-tank used a highly viscous liquid similar to shampoo in order to obtain a workable refresh rate. To solve other Fluid Dynamics issues Imperial College London was drafted in to create computer analysis for each bubble it travels in space."

via: wmmna

Caution: may pose swallowing hazard

aquapets.jpgPosing as playful playmates, these toys present precarious positions for parents.

"Aquapets are silly interactive pets that love to play with you. Watch them dance. Hear them chirp. Theyll even play a song. Aquapets react to you and their buoyant buddies so let the floating fun begin. Ages 5+".

Consumers who bought this item also bought: The Rabbit - another cuddly interactive pet that aims to please. Always appreciative of cynicism and sarcasm, this comment was worth me clicking 5 stars for:

"Dora is quite the explorer. She brings many hours of fun. Good for both girls and boys.
Seems to be dishwasher safe
." - Reviewer: earachemyeye

While Core77 wonders how such a product gets stamped for approval when it directly resembles a giant trouser snake, I'm somehow not surprised. Not easily forgetting my association with Disney when I meet new people, I'm reminded of the urban legends of Disney that we all grew up to know and love.

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November 20, 2006

Restaurant disappoints eager men, fills up women regardless

babes%20n%20burgers.jpgSeemingly aloof from the outside, this restaurant may attract unwanted attention. Located in West London, Babes N Burgers boasts organic, salt-and-caffeine-free, foods and a children (read: babe?) friendly environment. Showing that sometimes making no statement makes the best statement, Treehugger walked in in hopes of an organic Hooters (where wings wouldn't be the only things natural).

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November 18, 2006

Sight for the week's end

Picture%2017.pngBusiness cards that "grow on you".

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November 17, 2006

Putting the seX back in Xmas

'Tis the season to be gorgeous. While perusing the fern trees or precariously stuffing the Christmas turkey, add a dash of fabulousness to your excursion. Boots, a UK-based shop similar to Walgreens in the States, presents a series of women taking time between the hustle and bustle of the holidays to pleasure themselves. With a flash of leg and vintage pin-up sexiness, who can resist a gorgeous woman to warm you up in time for the holidays?

via: The Hidden Persuader

November 16, 2006

Stupidity encouraged, students stereotyped

Picture%2021.pngSimilar to Virtual Bartender, minus interactive robustness, STA Body Shots invites you to follow the not-so-happy trail to stupidity.

Apparently confident that they understand their audience, STA Travel, a student travel agency, launched a site where you "pick a body" and then "pick a shot", to then watch the first-person camera perspective take the shot while self-obsessed girls either bitch over getting any on their swimsuit or talk about how attractive they find themselves.

Visiting the official website, STA promotes themselves as "helping students & young people experience the world." Additionally, "STA Travel will change the way people think about travel and in doing so will make a positive contribution to the lives of millions." Apparently positive contribution is defined by licking up whipped cream off a belly, resulting in a higher education of learning how you got home that night and why you may need to see a doctor about that "itch".

While the bottom of the site reminds you to "sip, drink, slam, and shoot your alcohol responsibly", the site does not ask for any kind of age verification. Similarly, I wouldn't be surprised if someone is considering this "viral" because it has a send-to-a-friend ala "Send Shot" option.

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Crying over spilled mascara

11.15.06---artadvertisement.jpgInteractive advertising often is made in consideration of the user, while guerilla advertising usually takes into account the location. Max Factor takes a different approach, allowing weather to direct the power of advertising.

Sensitive to rain, this advert turns emo with streaks of running mascara. Leo Burnett is responsible for the public display of make-up meltdowns. Perhaps this could be the beginning of a series... In San Francisco, a billboard could have a line of lipstick spread beyond the lips everytime there's an earthquake.

Good case study for bad Word-Of-Mouth

me_timesSquare2005_1_N.jpgBoing Boing recently reported on Bank of America wrongfully arresting one of their customers. What I find interesting is that Boing Boing is keeping a tally of how much business/money Bank of America is losing due to readers of just their post.

In just 12 hours, $75,000 has been taken from Bank of America and given to their competitors from Boing Boing readers alone. This current event is quickly becoming a good benchmark of metrics for the power of negative Word-Of-Mouth. While this shouldn't be used as a scare tactic for brands entering the blogosphere, this should be presented as why brands should discontinue viewing blogs as just a few kids bitching in a basement.

Previously: November seems to be a bad month for Bank of America with their karaoke session that became as viral as William Hung.

November 15, 2006

T-mobile receives termination fee over termination fee

Untitled-1.pngFeeling robbed over telecom termination fees, an Idaho lawfirm is suing T-mobile. T-mobile, who is infamous for their $200 termination fee, is accused of breaking laws in 13 states.

T-Mobile's fee is the same whether a customer cancels at the start or near the end of a contract, and is applied even if the customer is canceling because of poor service, according to the law firm Greener, Banducci, Shoemaker, the initial plaintiff. The firm is being represented by Boise attorney Curt McKenzie.

Under consumer protection laws the 13 states, if Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile, a U.S. subsidiary of the German company Deutsche Telekom AG, can figure out how much damage it incurs from a broken contract on a case-by-case basis, it can't charge a standard fee, the lawsuit says.

Essentially, if the lawsuit goes through, T-mobile will incur tens of millions of dollars to pay back hundreds of thousands of customers in 13 states. Also, this lawsuit is being seen as a potential flagship for future lawsuits against all U.S. carriers who charge termination fees. With the recent Sony battery recall that continues to grow in money lost, brand slandering may be another devastating outcome of the suit filed today.

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November 14, 2006

Risque' for the runway

-1.jpgClothing immerses in pleasurable visuals to create "high-end erotic fashion photography for the discerning voyeur."

NYC-based Milk Studio Gallery features "Diversity", an exhibition for the U.S. launch of S Magazine. While their heart is in Denmark, "the international full color glossy bi-annual magazine alludes the boundaries of mainstream fashion journals and peers through the gap where superlative fashion photography meets sensual, evocative and unbridled image making - then leaves the door wide open.". Though I rarely throw it out there, some of these are risque' enough for a NSFW tag.

S Magazine's "Diversity" Exhibition Launch Party is set for November 21 @ 8pm at the Milk Studio Gallery.

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One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

296423396_bd6112e336_o.jpgA bit of ass kicking with cleats, Umbro proves its boots can stand up to the test of S&M.

Violent femmes take on toned back-sides, for the "It Hurts" campaign. While any excuse to "innocently" glance at tight leather wrap-arounds is welcome, the photography speaks louder to the act than the shoe. Perhaps Umbro was hoping to garner up the same amount of anticipation for their shoes as some may have before a little S&M play time.

November 13, 2006

I'll have a spot of coffee with my juice

DSC02753_1.jpgLast week I had the pleasure of pausing the craziness of last week's ad:tech by sitting down for a chat with Joseph Jaffe of Jaffe Juice. Over the course of a couple caffeinated cups, we shared backgrounds, current happenings, and a bit of sillyness here and there.

While Jaffe tried to convince me of the wonderous aspects of Second Life (because, let's face it, I think it's total crap), I couldn't help but to sneak glimpses of his unique socks, peeking out from under his otherwise normal suit. As we continued to chat, I began to see that Jaffe was as creative as his socks, and a bit crazy like me in that we both shot out of the gates very early in our lives.

Continuing on the creative chat, he asked about my background and how it led to where I am now. I summarized my beginning in graphic design and viral marketing for raves, and how social media/creative strategy continues to feel like an organic growth of creativity. Instead of focusing creative thinking on designing postcards or websites, creative strategy and social analysis allows for the same kind of thinking to apply to a larger array.

Up until the end, the conversation went smoothly - but Jaffe did not want to let me get off so easily. Asking me to provide a monthly karaoke challenge, I'm now responsible for cheesy music and the occasional interruption of your much loved podcast. Always up for a challenge, I've asked Jaffe to join our friends at Bank of America in his own version culture pollution with a U2 track. Stay tuned, and as always, suggestions are welcome in the comments.

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Milk does a body good

Old-Khaki-03.preview.jpgPrecarious positions promote homegrown pleasure.

Offering self-pleasure techniques for those wanting the thrill of wet tshirt contests from the comfort of their own home, Old Khaki provides an array of visual demonstrations. Agency FoxP2's campaign shows the sexier side of South Africa. Claiming to be an advertising agency that creates mind-blowing symbolic objects that mostly have practical functions, FoxP2's other notable clients include the ever-so symbolic Wonderbra. Suggestion to replace 'practical' with 'recreational' is currently under debate.

November 11, 2006

Sight for the week's end I'm slowly recovering from the not dry-clean-only friendly subways of New York, Mike over at NYC Graffiti Database prefers being dirty.

While offering a lovely outsiders view of last week's drunkeness, NYCGDB usually keeps its sights set to the silent words of the city.

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November 9, 2006

Please, try this at home

Picture%201.pngCue up the feel-good music from the 50's and the throwback to "how to be a good homemaker" and blend it with modern YouTube dubayu-tee-eff moments.

With a pinch of horsepower and a pair of safety glasses, Tom Dickson hosts "Will It Blend?", a series of YouTube vids with balls, sometimes literally. Dickson slices everything from balls to rake handles to marbles. Impressively, this is one viral video that might actually increase sales.

November 8, 2006

Rain Washes Away Sins, Sessions End on Ambiguous Note

Picture%202.pngLike Wash Away Sins Bubblebath, the November rain of New York washed away all the debauchery and chaos from the nights and days before. Sitting, absorbing the awkwardness of New York's LaGuardia Airport, I filtered through the remaining morsels that hadn't been covered off on yet.

Alan Kelly's "Elements of Influence" workshop closed out the end of Tuesday's sessions. Creating his own buzz words by substituting the phrase "playmaking" for strategy, Kelly launched into his science-saturated PowerPoint presentation. Kelly mentioned that he was a son of a cell biologist, and as the presentation continued, it shined through. Kelly spent 5 years writing his book with a heavy social science foundation.

To Kelly, strategies, or "playmaking" seem to be explanations of expired forces. Rather than presenting the steps of strategy, Kelly provided a retro-glance at various successful campaigns. Cataloging political ads to Gap commercials, Kelly explained the strategies behind each from an almost Freudian perspective - explaining their expressive needs. Kelly was a little absorbed into using his own language which may have made the audience grasp harder for the main point. Drawing a tangent from Kelly, my own perspective was that context was truly king when it came to strategies past and present. Overall, it was interesting to look back at prior generation's advertising.

Tuesday evening proved to be a precursor to the rain, already showing signs of energy depletion. Giving up on squeezing in as many parties as possible, and saying no thanks to an event at Scores (which I've been told is a strip joint up here), Steve Hall and I played it low key. On Wednesday, I ventured outside of the advertising bubble to MTV Networks, where I had a quick tour of MTV's interactive and news departments. Sneaking a quick glance at Kurt Loder and John Norris and a beautiful view of New York, I hurried off to the airport to discover my flight was delayed by 4 hours. Originally not wanting to leave ad:tech and New York, I now can't wait to get home as I work away the delayed hours.

Breakthrough Technology Provides Self-Help Session

DSC03087.JPGMore from my coverage at ad:tech New York:

One of Tuesday's many sessions opened with a speckled attendance, as the previous day's energy and excitement took its toll. With just two scheduled panelists, the "Breakthrough Technology: Designing The Future" session played to the after-lunch crowd. Dave Evans from Digital Voodoo gave an anecdotal introduction. Evans explained that this session was about getting lost and finding your way back. Not quite making the nebulous connection between the anecdote and session title, the attendees seemed did their best to understand.

Taking the stage next was Barbara Fittipaldi from the Center for New Futures. With many philosophical statements and aural overlays of the adjacent room's speaker, some of the crowd began to phase out while others continued to listen. Fittipaldi positioned a breakthrough as something that seems difficult, if not impossible, to reach. One of the attendees asked if the session defined a breakthrough as just another word for a goal. Fittipaldi explained that a major part of a "breakthrough" was making the possible, doable, while not being predictible.

Fittipaldi then asked the crowd to couple up and share "breakthroughs" they wanted to accomplish in their work. I chatted with the attendee next to me about his thoughts coming into this session. We both shared an awkward glance and agreed that we both were actually quite content with our work and that there wasn't much we didn't think we couldn't accomplish. He shared with me he was under the impression the session was supposed to be about emerging technologies rather than self help techniques. I agreed and we both scratched our heads wondering exactly how this was supposed to help online marketers. Despite that, the session did drive home the point learning from one's mistakes can help one achieve their goals. While the title was a little misleading, some of the audience did appear to benefit from being able to share their frustrations with close strangers.

November 7, 2006

Culture Pollution Infiltrates Lyrics

Picture%2021.pngOne of the many themes making its way through the grapevine of brands and advertisers this week is the thought of "culture pollution." Originally spoken in reference to barcodes on packaging, the concept of culture pollution can run much deeper.

While you're sitting through meetings this week, wondering how many people around you are "drinking the kool-aid", consider this the alternative of what you could be sitting through instead.

via: The Sherman Foundation (Thanks, Gerald!)

Viral Marketing Sensitive to Nuances, Brands Skimming the Surface

Picture%2018.pngTuesday's "The Intricacies of a Great Viral or Word-of-Mouth Marketing Program" session provided an array of case studies from the client's perspective. The panel consisted of various speakers who provided insight to how a client views a viral or word-of-mouth campaign. With a bit of plugging for WOMMA out of the way, the session began to take form.

Perhaps one of the more well-known viral campaigns presented was that of the Philips Shave Everywhere site that launched to an audience of 1.7+ million viewers to date. Zdenek Kratky, a Brand Manager for Philips Norelco, explained that the project was put in a position where they needed to rely on WOM because of a low budget. They spent one year researching and developing this campaign. Despite listing sales goals in the project's objective, Philips decided to leverage organic word-of-mouth to influence their target audience. Once Kratky presented the site for the session attendees, it was easy to hear why this campaign was a success through the waves of giggles in the room.

Next up was Jason Woodmansee, a VP at Digitaria, who started off by stating "I'm going to talk about a different kind of balls... golf balls." Woodmansee faced a different challenge: How do you enter the market place with a dominent player? He proposed that you do the opposite. By getting the product into influencers' hands and creating brand ambassadors, you're able to build off of that established foundation for a more traditional marketing campaign. The idea of using viral and WOM as a flagship for a marketing campaign has actually been a common one throughout the many sessions at ad:tech this year.

Finally, Gary Spangler from DuPont stated that every brand and company can do viral and WOM. A bit skeptical to that opening statement, I listened more. Spangler is in the manufacturing industry, an industry that is typically under-represented when it comes to brand presence. Throughout his presentation, Spangler seemed a bit untrusting of agencies, stating that they can easily ruin brands if the client doesn't go to them with a game plan and keep them on a leash in so many words. I found it quite interesting that he was open about his skepticism of most agencies while at the same time speaking at an advertising conference. While Spangler laid out the basic framework for WOM, he didn't dive into the "how" or the execution. In fact, there seemed to be a significant link missing in all of the cases studies, as they jumped from the problem to results.

I asked, "Do you feel that you're "stretching it" as a client to tie sales objectives to a viral campaign?" While all of the panelists stated that they didn't let sales objectives drive a viral campaign, I found it quite interesting that when it came time to present results, that they were all in dollar signs. Overall, the impression gained was that brands are treating viral marketing as a pilot still. In these early stages, the panel as well as other brands out there present results in sales. This unit of measure is not dynamic or in depth for results of engagement. While many brands are talking a lot about true engagement and intricacy of viral and WOM, their results and standard measurements do not reflect it. In essence, brands are still skimming the surface of interactive richness possibilities.

Monday Afterthoughts and Afterhours

DSC03012As advertising execs and booth babes alike gingerly walked into the mid-morning sessions today, I couldn't help but try to put the noise of yesterday together. Between the blur of wristbands, hand stamps, martinis, lectures, freebies, and softball questions, Monday was a pinnacle for seeing our industry and its best and worst.

The Monday morning keynote, like some of the lunch food, left a tiny bit to be desired. As Steve pointed out in so many words, some industry luminaries can talk a lot while not saying much of substantial value. With many wide-eyed, hopeful attendees, any panelist that sets out to take a risk by giving specific advice to their audience is a true leader for our industry. Thankfully, most of the panelists and speakers are very intelligent and more than willing to lead by the example if their shared wisdom. A leader is not someone who simply lets people follow - a leader needs to inspire and value and interact with their audience - no less, be willing to learn FROM their audience as well as teach.

Moving into the starry night, clouded by bright lights and martinis, on member of my entourage had a day planner full of ad:tech parties to attend. Obviously needing much energy and courage for the long night ahead, our necessities for comfort lead us to create a rating system of each party. Based off of the 4 things everyone was looking for that evening (well, okay, the more innocent of us), we gave ratings for food, drinks, ambience, and overall cool and unusual things.

Ending the night at the saturated Crobar event, I couldn't help but wonder if our industry during the day mimicks our industry at night. We often chat about if advertising is culture-polluting. While watching some of the geekiest dance moves (keeping in mind my previous life in rave culture) I have ever witnessed, I started to see that our industry's occasional culture pollution might spread beyond the work day.

*Knock Knock Knock* Housekeeping...?

DSC02791.JPGGo away! Oh, not you, just all the people and things that are keeping me from trying to obtain 5 hours of sleep for the last week. Anyway, photos are up and the site is down! Well, okay, not down, but it's obviously in shambles for the moment (especially those of you who insist on still using Internet Explorer - why!?). Obviously a background in design doesn't mean you can solve all problems... cough, like coding for a blog.

Photos from Monday night's ad:tech afterhour debauchery are being put up as we speak. Hang tight and check back for Monday's Afterthoughts and Afterhours and more session recaps.

November 6, 2006

Brands Dip Their Feet in Social Strategy, Superfans

DSC02751.jpgAfter some much needed coffee and the delegate lunch that left a bit to be desired, I meandered my way through the sea of logos, flyers, and marketers to the "Why You Should Create a Corporate Social Media Platform - Incorporating Community, Blogs, Podcasts and WIKIs into Your Customer Interaction" session. Admittedly a bit skeptical about the term corporate, the session provided insight to how brands are viewing social strategy, for better or worse.

Stressing the 3 P's - Participate, Provide, Portable - the panelists offered up their song and dance of case studies. While many of the case studies presented the usual blogs, widgets, and RSS feeds, a few proved that the brands were willing to go the extra mile. Betsey Weber, from TechSmith Corporation stressed the importance of net-meets in order to allow their online strategy to radiate offline engagement as well.

Scott Wilder, an Group Manager at Intuit, a fellow VML client, spoke to the importance of product developers being the public-facing team on discussion boards. In a time where some brands are wanting to jump on the social band wagon, they often begin with a front of marketers and PR people, which more often than not creates friction in online communities. By engaging a brand's product development team in online communities, insight and change become expedited and consumers know that their words are not just heard - they're actionable.

Another major discussion in the session room circled around audience, outside of the mediums. Do brands approach specific mediums because they know there's an existing audience, or because it's right for their audience? The panel gave the impression that brands are still frightened by blogs. While social strategy is progressing at a rapid speed, brands are just dipping their feet into portable content, and other "safe havens" in the blogosphere.

I couldn't help but ask the panel, "Do you think these social strategies are engaging people who aren't already actively seeking out your brand? Or is it just for the superfans?" Wilder and Martin Green, a VP at CNet, explained that brands are starting with their core audience and planning to reach beyond just the superfans. While it's important to be comfortable in the social space as a brand, it seems that many need to go beyond and gain comfort in the quickly and constantly changing social ecosystem.

ad:tech launches, launches

DSC02737.jpgWhile both seem to be a work-in-progress so far, ad:tech New York launches today with a predicted 10,800 attendees. Running around frantically, I will be keeping a photo blog of up-to-date geeky craziness at Flickr, so keep checking back for occasional cleavage and cheesy booths.

Please, if you're reading this, go ahead and update your bookmarks to, as the Blogger site will soon be fading into the horizon. Also, to subscribe to the new site, the feed can be found here.

More to come soon!