Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The AIMIA have a great new data visualisation of the History of the Australian Web. It shows the top sites by year, according to page views, unique visitors and time spent. Visuals are available by category: commercial, government, IT, media, search and social. It's better than a lava lamp.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It makes no sense to make an arbitrary distinction between the digital world and the "real" world. The two are intertwined and I find the interplay fascinating.
Though some (a dwindling number!) would throw their hands up in despair at the negative effects of the internet on old-school socialising, in many ways, online environments fuel offline friendships. The net can help people get to know each other when very "real" factors, such as lack of time, or shyness, threaten to curb their social lives. 1 in 8 couples married in the US last year met online.
Stackd is a new US-based company that helps office workers get to know people from other companies, who work in their building. LifeAt connects people who live in the same building. It may seem preposterous, but with people migrating from different areas, compounded by longer working hours, getting to know your neighbours is no easy feat!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Location based services (LBS) on mobile provide exciting opportunities for advertisers to create highly personalised viral campaigns.
LBS campaigns are not without their bear traps, however, as not everyone wants their exact location to be known - especially to an unknown third party. This means opt-in is even more critical than usual.
Virgin Media Television's campaign Terminate-a-mate used the uncanniness of LBS to its advantage to promote Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The campaign linked the unsettling feeling of being watched to the indefatigable persistence of the Terminator, who will seek you out wherever you are, find and destroy you.
Users were invited to enter a friend's mobile number or email address at the Terminate-a-mate website. If the recipient was willing to share his/her location, that person was sent a link to a mobile video, delivering a warning that a Terminator was nearby. It reminds me of the viral video used to promote Dexter.
Over 9,000 visitors to the Terminate-a-mate website clicked on the 'Terminate now' button to send the text to a friend's phone. The campaign was buzzworthy, with 2,865 recipients passing the message on themselves. The video was viewed 10,971 times, Revolution Magazine reported.
LBS worked a treat in this case, but not all brands set out to unsettle their audiences. Fortunately, there are other ways to use LBS, as mainstream brands are discovering. More on this to follow...
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The games, such as Mob Wars on Facebook and MySpace's Be A Tycoon, appeal across the spectrum of social media users, in other words they're mainstream, attracting large, valuable audiences.
Virtual Currency works through offering people rewards that enable them to have a richer experience in their favourite games. So, for example, in Mob Wars, they would acquire greater energy or weapons. It helps people do what they want, in the environment they want to do it.
Advertisers can offer virtual currency as a reward, in order to get people to do things that benefit their brands. It's like an exchange system. For example, advertisers can offer currency and in exchange, consumers would:
- trial a product
- sign up for more information
- subscribe to a service
- download an application
- take part in a survey
Thus, Virtual Currency facilitates multiple marketing tasks, including, lead generation, distribution, encouraging trial and purchase. Given that consumers are already in social networks, they'll also tell their fellow game players, generating additional "Earned" media.
I'm excited by Virtual Currency. As a way of communicating, it's in keeping with consumers' natural behaviour; it doesn't fight it or try to muscle in. And it takes brands to where the people are, in a natural and helpful way.
For more information, see the presentation below, delivered by Brett Brewer of Adknowledge:
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
In preparation for Movember, Schweppes' new Cool Ridge application helps Facebook users express their inner mo. They can track their mo's progress and get some Mo Bros to join them.
Movember raises awareness of men's health, raising funds to treat prostate cancer and depression - through promoting a moustache revival! It's a great Australian tradition.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
In social media, brands can't afford to do things by halves. Rather than reducing the risk, merely dabbling in social media spells disaster, as Kraft's "Name Me" campaign illustrates.
Kraft fell short on two fronts:
- They were only semi-transparent
- They were only semi-responsive.
This is in contrast to Greenpeace's 2007 name the whale campaign. Greenpeace narrowed down the 11,000 entries to 30 and then instigated a public debate and vote. "Mister Splashy Pants" got over 78% of the vote, Greenpeace reported. No one could deny that fans had spoken and the "best" name won. Fans felt genuinely involved and continued to look after the interests of the endangered humpback whale.
Kraft also fell short in their response times. As negative word of mouth spread online, the company was slow to respond. In social media, a delay of even a few days is tantamount to ignoring consumers.
The old adage goes that "all publicity is good publicity". I'd say that's true only if bad publicity is handled well and mistakes acknowledged. Dell turned Dell Hell into a positive, and is now one of the foremost players in social media, even harvesting consumers' ideas and passions through Ideastorm.
Perhaps it takes a major cock up to convince brands that if you're going to be a success in social media, you have to go the whole hog. Most of the best players in this space, from Dell to Starbucks to Coke, have also been the worst culprits in the past. So perhaps there's hope for Kraft.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Privacy is a thorny and multi-faced issue. Even the concept of privacy is shifting as people increasingly live their lives online.
A recent US study from the Annenberg School for Communication and the Berkeley School of Law suggests that consumers feel they have lost control over their personal information, but this is tempered by a sense that they are, to some degree, protected.
More than two-thirds of respondents felt they had lost control, however, at the same time, they believed businesses usually handled their data well and that they were already protected by current regulations. Most were in favour of regulations being bolstered, with 63% agreeing that there should be a law requiring advertisers to immediately delete information about their Internet activity.
Privacy relates to behavioural advertising online, the merits of which are debated. Different research reports suggest consumers' preference, or distaste for behavioural advertising. Generally and unsurprisingly, consumers are more in favour of targeted offers and discounts than advertising.
My view is that the consumer response very much depends on the context. In some cases, people might feel like they're being stalked - in particular, if the advertising relates to something personal in their lives, such as relationships, or pregnancy. Other behavioural advertising is less emotionally charged and I imagine this is more acceptable, and even considered relevant and useful, for example car or insurance ads targeted at those in the market to buy a car.
Friday, October 9, 2009
A new campaign for Nokia shows how Ovi picture sharing phones get you talking through a bit of customised film, which you can naturally share via Twitter, Facebook and your blog. Make your own here.
The Nokia version is cinematic, if perhaps a tad serious. Simple, funny customised virals, like Elf Yourself and Simpsonize Me are just silly enough to get people participating. (See my earlier post, 4 examples of contagious customised virals.) I'll be interested to see how the Nokia approach fares.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The subject of this year's Man Booker Prize winning novel, by Hilary Mantel, is the relationship of King Henry Tudor and Thomas Cromwell. The judges described it as "a contemporary novel, which happens to be set in the 16th century".
It struck me that the popular TV series The Tudors might have had something to do with it. It's a rollicking good drama, whose characters happen to be the movers and shakers of 16th century England. Thomas Cromwell is a shady character, who features prominently as King Henry's advisor in the second series. He's not the most hyped figure in history, which is perhaps why he inspires curiosity and sparks the imagination.
I'm sure the literati would deny making any connection with the grubby TV genre...but the subconscious is a tricky thing.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I love my music. I always have done, "balls to bone," as the Oracle said. I am intensely irritated by namby pamby musical morons who "like a bit of everything".
Music tells the story of your life. The songs that were your lifeblood as a teenager. The bands you worshipped. The songs you danced to, first loves and last rites, anger and pain and ecstasy and wine. The Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine.
As you travel, your experiences have a musical accompaniment that instantly evokes the time and place and space and feelings. That's why I love this app. It's called rjdj. It creates a personalised musical travelscape that reflects your environment - reacting to speech, the sound of a train, the clink of cutlery. Check it out.