Thursday, May 21, 2009

when life imitates advertising

T-Mobile's "Dance", the flashmob hit engineered as part of the "Life is for Sharing" campaign running in the U.K. was produced in January and has had over 11 million hits on YouTube. (You can also see it in my post in January). In fact, "Dance" has been so popular that fans, using Facebook, tried to stage a re-enactment as a silent disco using music piped in through headphones. But when over 12,000 people showed up at Liverpool Station, police shut them down for safety reasons.

How does T-mobile top this viral hit?

Well, they staged "Sing", a mass karaoke held in London's Trafalgar Square. Over 13,000 responded to the flyers inviting people to gather. Instead of dancing they sang a number of songs including the Beattle classic "Hey Jude". The event was captured on a huge screen and was recorded by 24 cameras. There were many mobile phone moments including a surprise appearance by Pink.

What next?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blog Shout Out - Red Slice

My good friend, the talented marketing maven Maria Ross at Red Slice is partnering with Heather Nelson of Champion Assistant to put on a complementary teleseminar. The topic is "The Truth About Branding: What it is, What it does and How a Clear Brand Strategy Can Save you Time, Money and Headache". It's geared towards small business and solo-preneurs, and knowing Maria, you're in for a treat. I'm sure she'll share lots of great ideas and hand out practical advice.

Check it out!

Details: Thursday, May 21st at 12 noon Pacific. Everyone who registers will receive an mp3 of the recording! Visit her site here!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Social Media Bullseye

It’s exciting to see how companies are leveraging new channels and new technology to build their brands. Facebook is a platform where marketers are eagerly trying to crack the code on how to leverage the high number of users that visit every day. Currently there are over 200 million active users and Facebook will only increase in importance as a community connection point as their user base grows.

One brand that has been doing a great job leveraging Facebook is Target. They had a great promo interacting with college kids in the Fall called “Dorm Survival Guide” and now they are back on Facebook, this time with a two week giving campaign called “Bullseye Gives”. The premise is that you can vote for your favorite charity amongst a choice of ten groups that Target supports: Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Feeding America, HandsOn Network/Points of Light Institute, Kids In Need, Parent Teacher Association, National Park Foundation, Operation Gratitude, Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®. The “prize” is $3 million which will be split amongst the charities based on the percentage of votes they receive.

This wonderful brand and goodwill building campaign is a brilliant use of crowdsourcing with viral marketing upside for both Target and the charities. Because it’s on Facebook, it will drive huge cachet for the brand as a hip way to get involved. You can post your vote on your profile and encourage others to participate getting more people to join Target's fan base. Savvy charities are also posting links on their website homepages and are reaching out to their followers to join Facebook and vote. The competition is starting to heat up - two days into the campaign, there are 34,000 votes and twelve more days of activity to go until it wraps up on May 25.

So Target isn’t just doing good, but through an innovative use of using social media, they are growing and strengthening their online community whilst building their brand.

note: thanks to Mashable and MyTechOnline for research/info

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Starbucks could learn from Honda

I don’t get it.

Starbucks is fighting all sides to maintain its market share and position as most beloved coffee shop and what does it do? It runs some print ads telling us to “Beware of a cheaper cup of coffee” in one ad . (Now you’re telling me what to think?) In another it reinforces it’s money-back guarantee – "If your coffee isn't perfect, we'll make it over”. (Isn’t that what all good companies should do? Stand behind their product?)

Given all the passion and creativity that built this iconic brand, I’m disappointed that this is all they’ve come up with. Is this meant to reinvigorate the brand?

I’ve always believed in the fundamental principles of branding and marketing - leverage your strengths and points of differentiation. Think about it. Starbucks has built a business by building communities (Howard calls it The Third Place) – just walk into any well run store and you’ll see people engaged in conversation, mom’s meeting other mom’s and chatting about baby health issues, hopeful singles meeting for the first time, girlfriends breaking up with their boyfriends, business conducted over lattes.

Life happens over coffee –

When all the right elements are working, what makes Starbucks special is the unique spark and energy generated by the people who inhabit the cafĂ© – the baristas and the customers. Now more than ever, people need community. People need affirmation, they need a place for renewal, a place to gather and discuss. Think of all the online communities that are springing up. Starbucks is missing a wonderful opportunity to cultivate these emotions and become the heartbeat of the community once again.

So who is doing a good job creating an emotional connection with their advertising? I can’t believe it’s a car company – but it’s a car company. Honda has done a wonderful job of warming the cockles of my heart. I want to join this group of people and converse with them, I want to drive this car and share the values that make up the Honda community.

Starbucks could learn a lot about creative and innovative advertising from Honda. In their ads, they’ve shown how a shared experience can create a community. Take a look and tell me what you think.