Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review - Twitter is not a Strategy by Tom Doctoroff

Tom Doctoroff is CEO of Asia Pacific for JWT.  A couple of years he wrote What Chinese Want, a look at consumer and brand culture in China; now he’s followed it up with  Twitter Is Not a Strategy, a look at how the principles of brand building must not get lost in the age of real time marketing, and bought, owned and earned media.

The book contains some insights form the East, but this one is much more globally focussed, and It’s a good summary of why branding is still important now.  The book is broken down into the principles of how communications work, looking in turn at consumer behaviour, ‘the brand idea’ and engagement ideas, finishing off with a look at new rules for online content.

He looks at a number of communications case studies, including many he likes, like LEGO, Honda, KIT KAT and Oreo,and a few he doesn't, like Dove (he thinks it fails to communicate enough about the brand in its 'empowerment' ads).  He also rightly takes a swipe at some of the poster boys for real time marketing, like Arby’s ‘Pharrell’ stunt, and asks how much it really achieved for the brand.  For a physical book it seems very up to date in terms of many of the case studies that it references, which is very good.

My main criticism would be the title.  I don’t think many are arguing that Twitter is the answer for many brands, but that Twitter should be used as a way of targeting and amplifying campaigns in other media.  As such the title (& use of a version of the Twitter mascot, and the distinctive Twitter blue) seems to be both dismissing Twitter and riding on its coat sales at the same time.  For example the book currently appears in the top 20 Amazon results in books for the keyword ‘Twitter’.

Buy this book if you want a good, up to date primer of how traditional thinking on branding and marketing must still be applied in the social and real-time age.

You can also see Tom discussing the book in the video below

Monday, November 24, 2014

Getting people to pay for it

Contributor by Google is the latest attempt to get people to pay for web content.

People register (currently you can join a waiting list), agree to pay a monthly amount, and then this is split between the participating sites you visit over the course of the month.

In essence it's a new version of Flattr, which was created in 2010 (& is still going), but with the Google version the sites you visit become ad-free, with the ad space replaced by a 'Thank You' message.

It's being labelled as an experiment, but I can see this working given Google's size and power - think of all the sites that get revenue from Google AdWords.  Think also of how much advertising rates have fallen - sites that get 5% of your $3 a month would probably make far more out of you than they would from the ad impressions that you generate.  Other sites (like this blog) would far rather take payment this way than take the teeth whitening and belly flattening ads that plague some corners of the web.

I'm assuming that Google will take a small cut of the fee (nothing wrong with that), and it's interesting that this has been announced in the same month as Music Key, a paid programme (also in beta) to let people have an ad-free version of YouTube.

As time goes on I think the paid model will do well for many sites, specifically (maybe obviously) those that have users willing and able to pay.  The brainier sites perhaps, like Metafilter, that currently has over 3,500 visitors voluntarily funding it.

You could also argue that this could bring about a whole new of clickbait, if it's based on a visit, rather than time spent or a deeper engagement, although people would get wise to this.

One final thought - imagine how valuable Google's list of paid ad-avoiders is going to be - people who both have disposable income and can't easily be reached with standard online ads...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rugby Highlights in a Tweet

A very creative use of Twitter:  Samsung Mobile, sponsor of Sky's international rugby coverage, is using highlights of the games as videos within promoted tweets, just minutes after the action has happened

During the World Cup, and every week during the premiership, fans are tweeting goals as vines (which get taken down due to copyright infringement; this is a good legal alternative.

It's tweeted from the Sky Sports Rugby account, but promoted (& targeted) by Samsung.

Bet no one can afford the rights to do it for the football though!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapchat's Snapcash

Yesterday Snapchat announced a way of transferring money across the platform using Square - logially enough called Snapcash.

It's just for person to person - and Square has allowed this via email or sms for some time - but it feels like another important step in  allowing people to make payments easily on their phones.

So far it's US only, of course.

Snapchat's announcement here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Coca Cola's Spotify Jukebox with Blippar

A promotion from the UK.  'Blipp' any can ok Coke with the promotion, and it opens a Sotify playlist on your phone with 50 current UK hits

A nice partnership between Coke, Spotify & Blippar - full info on the Blippar blog

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Taylor Swift's 1989 #Taylurking

Taylor Swift has just sold the highest number of albums in the US in the first week of release of any artist since 2002, for her album 1989, and all this at a time when teens generally don't buy music.

One contributing factor was how she leveraged her social media channels, including Facebook (70m likes), Twitter (46m followers) and Instagram (13m fillowers).

The cover of 1989 features a Polaroid picture, and fans are allowed to create their own version through this page on her site.  When you do so you have to register with an email address, and effectively join a mailing list.

It can then be shared on social channels, and Taylor (or more likely her social media team) is regularly #Taylurking in channels and tweeting a selection of these pics, and pics of fans holding physical copies of the album.

Superfans have also been encouraged to buy multiple copies - there are different polaroids in the packaging to collect.
At the same time she's taken all her music down from Spotify - you have to buy it to listen to it (although its possible that it will return once the sales have fallen off a bit).

Very smart marketing

Update - Spotify has responded to Taylor Swift removing her songs in good humour, including creating this playlist:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Other Side of Honda

In 2005 the German agency Nordpol won a Gold 'Direct' Lion award at Cannes for a campaign called Channel Hopper that involved two TV ads that were shown simultaneously on two different TV channels, SAT.1 and ProSeiben, at the same time:

"The Grand Prix was taken by German agency Nordpol Hamburg for its internet and TV campaign for the launch of the Renault Modus.

Answering the brief to sell the car's "young at heart" proposition, the agency ran a internet teaser campaign and email to Renault prospects to tell them to when to watch a mystery TV ad, without telling them what product it was for.

The ad was special in that slightly different versions of it were broadcast simultaneously on two different TV channels. The audience was asked to channel hop between the two ads to get the full impact. They were then directed to see the ad's ending on the Modus website and encouraged to register for a test drive.

The judges applauded the campaign for signposting the future of direct marketing."

You can see the case study here (sadly not embeddable)

I have to say that I saw it in 2005, and I've seen it again now, and I'm still baffled as to how it could have been signed off, let alone won any awards (the car does not appear at all).  It seems like a clever media stunt that's looking for a brand to endorse it.

However Honda has just released a new film, The Other Side of Honda, that does something very similar, but much more effectively using YouTube and letting people switch between versions of the film by pressing the R key (the car is the Civic Type R) on their keyboard.  See the trailer below:

See the full interactive version here

The films show two stories with the same actor - one a light family story, the other a much darker thriller.

It's amazingly well done.  Both silent films are engaging in their own right, and being able to switch from one to the other makes it infinitely more engaging.  

You can't see views on this video (you can't embed it either), but I bet it's doing very well!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Targeted Gifs on Posters for Netflix in France

This is a very good case study on the use of targeted outdoor ads for the launch of Netflix in France.

For example targeting messages depending on events, weather, and trends

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