BOO

Okay, so came across another innovative campaign involving a mobile handset manufacturer – this time Sony Ericsson, working with the creative people over at Iris. Brand Republic recently covered all the details – but a nice integrated campaign to generate some awareness for the launch of its latest Walkman phone on the 3 network. A video, where the viewer (who should receive an email inviting them to watch it) watches a relatively haunting (think it could have been dialled up in the fear factor stakes), suddendly finds themselves involved in the story and one step further then recieves a phone call, timed with the video. Nice.

 

As many have already pointed out, the recent Obama “no voter” video may go down as the greatest truly viral marketing video seen to date (at one time I was hearing reports it was going out to over 300,000 people a minute) and certainly will now inspire a wave of similar format videos. Hopefully  it will also inspire further innovations in this area (I’ve already had clients ask for a “video like that”) of greater audience engagement/involvement i.e. like including a name, or as in this case, involving a call to mobile.

 

The Obama video, and this Sony E one, and there are others, offer  a). a great way of capturing valuable audience data (improves the ROI) b). a ready/easy format for them spreading – as friends look to pass on the shock / surprise factor to their network by adding in their friends important contact details required to involve them in the video. It’s then the novel factor of being involved in the video/storyline that makes them truly viral. Obviously this won’t / can’t go on forever and soon this format will jump the shark (once the novelty has worn off) – but this should/will I’m sure only inspire more creativity in this field. What next I wonder ?

 

One of my biggest bugbears, and I know it’s one shared by many, is the client that wants, or the colleague that pitches, a viral video.  As we know this is a result/effect not a tactic. You can obviously try to create something that will be “popular” and if successful then go viral. I still find people/clients don’t always grasp this concept (and most importantly what it takes). Sitting down with them and showing them videos that have gone viral can be a good way of doing this – they’ll soon see that you need to create something that moves people – for someone to pass it on, you need to create a reaction i.e. shock, be totally original, be humorous, be spot on with the zeitgeist etc to really make something fly.

 

Anyway, rather selfishly this post has just given me a reason to link to Brendan’s recent post on some of the best virals ever – great post mate.

 

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It’s not my phone…

I clocked this a few weeks ago. Whether it was just because I work in the mobile industry that I spotted the advert in the Metro and was intrigued enough to want to know more – or whether the advert just worked – I couldn’t tell you. But I did remember the URL and sat down at my desk in the morning wanting to know more about the advert.
If you haven’t seen this, it’s a campaign that’s been running since Oct 15th and I believe is due to run through to and beyond Christmas. A simple format – 3 women, 3 continents, 3 stories – all played out in mobile and social media (with a healthy dose of print and TV spots). At the heart of the campaign is the notion that you can tell so much about someone by looking at their phone.

 

These lives are fictional and Wieden & Kennedy has evidently put together 3,750 pieces of scripted content to tell the tales of these characters online via Facebook and on the campaign site. As you might imagine the campaign is one designed to grow organically, and to recruit people to sign-up as friends with these fictional characters, interact with the script (via text/MMS messages etc) and to help build the stories.  The microsite has already clocked up 3million plus viewers – so the campaign seems to be drawing people in, would be good to see how long it keeps people engaged. One measure, number of Facebook friends, seems particualarly low – with Anna (the London character) just attracting 56 friends so far.
I certainly applaud the campaing for its innovation and bravery – it certainly has the right intentions and takes a more interactive, and engaging approach to such a big campaing. I’m clearly not the target market (female biased to support the launch of Nokia’s Supernova range of phones) and found the tales of the characters quite dull; I just didn’t find them interesting enough to warrant me wanting to come back and see how their stories played out. But as I said I’m not the target market.

 

Ella Fullagar, a 15 year old interviewed in Campaign last week about this body of work, who is target market – seems to agree with me. I quote “It was really boring as you had to repeatedly click through the messages… I don’t think it will appeal to much to  anyone in my age group because it’s so time consuming”.

That being said. I do like the approach and as i’ve said the bravery. Perhaps one step bolder, and actually involving real people in very real and interesting lives, could be a way to make it more interesting/engaging and authentic. In fact, isn’t this really what Obama just managed to do so successfully – real life, real people, real stories all played out across online/mobiles/print/TV and much much more besides…

  

***I do work with Motorola in the UK

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out of hibernation…

Okay, sorry – I’ve had a very long time out of this blogging game, but have decided to finally return. I’ve been an avid voyeur during the past year as opposed to a contributor; partly due to the fact my day job has kept me busy, and secondly as I found I was having less and less to say.

It’s been a busy, but interesting year – client work has been spread across Canon, Motorola, Creative and Microsoft and has seen me shooting videos in Zermatt during July, arranging fashion shoots with Parkour athletes and searching for mobile directors and much more beside. What’s clearly evident has been that this year, more so than any, has seen far more of my work focused on what I’d call the non-traditional PR and taking more of a direct to consumer engagement approach (or at least thinking about this as part of a broader engagement program). It’s been fun, and certainly believe that there’s more to come. If you haven’t heard about public engagement and Richard Edelman’s thoughts on this I really recommend you give it a read.

So, anyway – I’m back (but plan to blog on slightly different things). Hopefully will get the blog back-on-track and no longer take the mantle of the blog with the fastest reducing authority. Oh and as Steve’s post  (recruitment consultants dream list) shows I’m also twittering again – feel free to follow me.

 

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Google: “GMAIL-we just can’t be arsed to finish it?”

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Okay, so that isn’t actually a quote from Google in the title but I do wonder why is GMAIL still in beta?

I happened to notice last night that the product is still branded as beta – why? Is it for some weird tax loophole in the same way that most Greek properties are never quite finished? Or is it some counter to the American liable culture that because it’s beta we still use the product at our ‘own risk’ should information be hacked/lost/whatever…

  Are they really not that confident in the product to still call it finished (it was launched some 3 years ago now and marked a public beta a year ago).  I’m not, by the way, the first one to have this thought.

I wonder, maybe they’re going for some world record attempt for the longest product beta ever….

Does anyone know the answer?

 

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Is Twittering really costing $14 billion in lost productivity? – I say no…

Sorry this is the second Techcrunch article I’ve blogged about in a row now – very lazy I know. I assure you I do read more widely… Anyway, in answer to Mike’s question – Is Twittering really costing $14 billion in lost productivity? – I’m going to have to say no. Whilst the mathematics of Pat and Florian seems to be accurate, I can’t help but think they’ve come at it from the wrong direction,   and one that many businesses also automatically start from. Too often with web apps/social media tools industry automatically assume that they are consumer tools and therefore will automatically erode productivity.  As a result businesses take the hard-line approach and lock-down. An approach I, on the whole, just can’t agree with…

Whilst I’m sure in some cases people do waste away hours repeatedly twittering or grooming friends’ pictures on Facebook, that as many people use these tools positively/responsibly and thereby improve productivity.

How? Well a twitter with my colleagues might be a quicker way of getting an answer to a question than typing them an email and waiting for a response,  or the ability to quickly reach-out to my peers via twitter to obtain an answer to a question or to gauge opinion rather than call/email can be instant in impact… Equally I respect my employer for keeping the tools open and trusting me to use them wisely, in doing so this helps with morale and as a result productivity. Happy people equal productive people.

With regards to my own use of Twitter, whilst I’m not a heavy twitterer-poster at all, I’m certainly a twitter-voyeur and like to monitor the feeds throughout the day. I find it a great supplement to reading as a means to stay informed… In short, just in this one small example I actually believe Twitter improves, rather than erodes,  my productivity…But hey, that’s just me – I know I look at these things through rose tinted spectacles…  

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One of many we’ll see this year…

  

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I’ve just seen on the ever impressive TechCrunch UK, that Next2Friends is officially launching later today… I came across this over the Christmas period when the beta program started but didn’t get around to trialing – I actually didn’t think there were going to be too many people playing with it in the UK to make it worthwhile. It will be interesting to see what noise they make at launch later on number of current users and hopes for different markets. 

Anyway, Mike says it all in his post, but another ‘interesting’ mobile social media network one of many I’m sure we’ll see throughout 2008 (I’m waiting for my beta of Rummble but looks good). Next2Friends combines an online community, with Bluetooth mobiles. The idea being that throughout the day your mobile will record who you’ve walked past, sat next to, maybe even talked to that’s also signed onto the site and has set similar preferences to you i.e. possible friends or probably (as the site seems to be going down this route) potential dating interests. A nice idea, but as Mike points out Bluetooth is still very battery heavy which might put people off and then of course this only really works when enough people in your area are using it (a need for really big marketing push). 

 Anyway, will keep eye out for launch announcements and see what they’ve got planned – certainly one to watch.

 

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Fan Cam?

Happy New Year one and all… Tip of the hat to Drew for his pre-Christmas post on www.Qik.com – a really neat new social media video site that allows you to stream live video from your mobile phone to the web (including directly to your blog/social media site via your Qik page… 

I haven’t played with it (only works with Nokia phones at present) but I like the concept and the feedback from the early adopters online is overwhelmingly positive…  It got me thinking, as camera phones and video capture quality continues to improve on mobiles and connectivity keeps on improving that It might not be all that long until the likes of Sky get worried (and other broadcasters) – I imagine the quality wouldn’t be great today but certainly can see a market for those already shunning traditional TV for YouTube and web videos watching a ‘fans eye’ view of the football match (or any other sporting/music/paid for event for that matter)…

Will we see an age where mobiles are banned from certain events to protect IP/royalties from TV etc? Surely not…

 

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