Friday, January 28, 2011

when community produced content becomes part of the brand story itself

Every brand or company is effectively a living, breathing #transmedia social narrative, whether they like it or not.

And better for them if they like it.

This means you BMW Motorcycles.

So while the innovation department at BMW claim to '..turn spectators into astonished fans' by finding new fangled complex ways to burn their logo onto the eyeballs of unsuspecting strangers in the name of 'engagement' some of the greatest brand-building content development and storytelling is going on right under their nose, created by fans.

A key tenet of any transmedia narrative being community produced content that becomes part of the brand story itself.

This video was compiled by the son of a BMW motorcycle owner, telling his story of how he decided to restore an old 1958 BMW R-50 in tribute to his father.

Here's his description:

This is a photo story of my father's 1958 BMW R50:
Boy meets girl, gets married, buys motorcycle. Rides it for 60,000 miles and has accident when wife is pregnant with 3rd child. (me) Wife orders motorcycle to be taken off road until all her children are grown and on their own. One day when bike is moved to a different storage location, son sits on bike and dreams of being a Jedi Master like his father. Couple grows old together and bike is not ridden for 40 years. Husband is now a grandfather of 7 and married for 50 years, when he dies of a stroke at age 71.
Son looks over the old rotting machine and finds note attached to it from his father to him. Son decides to restore the old 1958 BMW R-50 as a tribute to his father. With the help of many friends, especially Peter Nettesheim, world renowned BMW collector, bike is restored to look even better than it did when it was built in Germany.

He even paid $1000 dollars to Pearl Jam's publishing company in order to use the Eddie Vedder track as his soundtrack.

If BMW have any sense they will be all over this, supporting and amplifying as soon as possible, and Eddie Vedder will be personally handing back a grand to it's creator, and playing guitar for him in his living room.

Thanks to Tommy for pointing to this brandchannel article.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

what the shit is and what the shit isn't part 2

Following last weeks Keith Richards quote around what the shit is and what the shit isn't I've been asked to qualify the statement.

As fortune would have it, a fine contrasting example has arisen which demonstrates.

Like Keith and 60's pop, I also can appreciate the shit even when outside of my genre.

Despite being the digital (sic) guy I can still love traditional brand advertising. If it's the shit, of course.

This new spot for PG Tips, kindly shared by Charlie and Rob is clearly the shit.

Character hooks, repeatable catchphrases (aaah, ta-daah), deep cultural resonance, ritual, authenticity, a thing/behaviour to copy!
Brand marketing 101 as the NEW brand marketing!

Contrast that with this grandiose piece of overblown spectacle wolf in 'viral' sheeps clothing from Heineken.

Jonathan Salem rightly points out on his blog 'Branding intended to prompt conversations about branding isn't much of a strategy'.

So, while one can easily see the advertising creative awards tumbling through the door of the agency, the question begs to be asked...what is this actually about?

Jonathan also points out, and I'm in full agreement, there is nothing Heineken about this film. It could be for any brand. A car, perfume or posh chocolate, you name it.

At the end of a minute and a half we are still none the wiser about what this means or what part of the Heineken story it tells.

Other than they have a lot of money to blow on talking to themselves about their imaginary self.

This simply isn't the shit, although ironically it probably thinks it is.

So there you go.

Monday, January 24, 2011

monday basics #2

As a serial under-earner, albeit in remission, this resonated with me and its inherent uncommon sense makes it this Monday's nugget(s).

The characteristics of the typical underearner, as outlined by The 99percent, channeling Barbara Stanny

Underearners have a high tolerance for low pay.
Underearners consistently accept low-paying jobs or jobs that pay less than they need, usually for the “freedom” it gives them.

Underearners are willing to work for free.
Underearners regularly give away their time, knowledge, and skills for nothing. They’ll work at no charge without thinking twice. Most of the time, it’s so ingrained, they aren’t even conscious they’re doing it.

Underearners are lousy negotiators.
Underearners are reluctant to ask for more, whether it’s to increase their fees or to request a raise. For some, it actually never crosses their minds to ask.

Underearners practice reverse snobbery.
Most of us harbor all kinds of distorted perceptions about money. Underearners, however, tend to have a particularly negative attitude, particularly toward people who have it. Many will tell you they don’t like the rich.

Underearners believe in the nobility of poverty.
At the same time underearners are spurning the wealthy, they are singing their own praises for surviving on so little. Many of them take great pride in barely eking out a living, as if it’s more noble and respectable to be one of the poor. Not only are people with money bad, they think, but so is money itself.

Underearners are subtle self-saboteurs.
Underearners unwittingly throw banana peels in their own path in all sorts of ways, like applying for work they’re not qualified for, creating problems with coworkers, procrastinating or leaving projects unfinished, hopping from one job to another, always stopping just short of reaching their goals.

Underearners are unequivocally codependent.
Underearners will sacrifice personal security and private dreams by putting other people’s needs before their own. Their kids, spouse, job, church, and friends all take precedence over their own needs and priorities.

Underearners live in financial chaos.
They are more likely to be in debt, have smaller savings, fewer (if any) investments, and little idea where their money goes. Underearners often go from crisis to crisis, constantly moving money from one account to another, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, careening hopelessly toward financial disaster.

Friday, January 21, 2011

bird is the word

The Angry Birds phenomenon continues to unfold in Thomas the Tank Engine proportions.

Equal parts transmedia-ification, testament to freeconomics and nail-it-then-scale-it.

From a free (lite) app download, then a pay version - 50, million and counting - to soft toys, board game and now tv show.

For a succinct round up of the story so far and some speculation on what-happens-next see this article on Simon Pullman's blog Transmythology.

Mikael Hed, CEO of creators Rovio Mobile, told Variety.

"When you create brand equity, to do that again would be a difficult task. [Better to] nurture and build around what you have."

Sound advice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

where does the bone go afterwards?

There was some interest the other day over this Facebook app from Greek chocolate brand Lacta.

The app allows people customise a Lacta chocolate wrapper with a name, boy/girlfriend etc, and posting using the wall to wall feature.

While it's reasonably cute, simple to do and shareable and gained Lacta hundreds of thousands of Facebook 'fans' very quickly, I still come back to the same question around Facebook campaigning.

Where does the bone go afterwards?

Campaigns are just campaigns. Unless it leads to something else it's old school straight line thinking. I don't know where the Lacta thing is going to go after this, we'll see.

But many marketers looking at this will be getting excited about the wrong thing.
An addiction to accumulating 'fans' for the sake of it is simply the new churn and burn.
Getting temporary attention and the message out is easy.
Getting people to care is the hard bit.

Yes, it will no doubt result in a short term sales spike, but how is that different from any traditional sales promotion? Fireworks then it all goes dark.

Here's a proper insight for you.

Humans are wired to to take as much interest in others as they believe others are taking in them.

So Lacta have got some people to repeat their campaign line.
It remains to be seen how they will return the goodwill.
Hopefully they will prove me wrong.

Lets see what happens after the campaign viagra wears off.
For the moment this is filed under gimmix.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

one simple metric

In his book, Life, Keith Richards describes how he and Mick initially clicked, in the early days before the Stones even existed as a thing.
He notes that they had almost identical tastes in music (blues, r'n'b) and an almost telepathic understanding, and agreement on which music was right and wrong.

Here he goes..

'...We'd hear a record and go, That's wrong, That's faking, THAT'S real.

It was either that's the shit or that isn't the shit.

No matter what kind of music you were talking about. I really liked some pop music if it was the shit. But there was a definite line of what the shit was and what wasn't the shit. Very strict.'

In the advertising business the whole channel debate is getting so tired now, to the point of being completely boring.

It's not the internet that's killing advertising, it's crappy advertising that's killing itself.

As for the web, well 90% of what passes for social media marketing is the same old crappy digital marketing from 5 or more years ago.

Is it the shit? Or is it not the shit?
Keef is right, there's a definite line.

The question is, can you see where the line is?
That's the skill.

Monday, January 10, 2011

monday basics #1

In which, each Monday of 2011 we will post a nugget of uncommon sense.

Starting with this one...

“Obsessing about your competitors, trying to match or best their offerings, spending time each day wanting to know what they are doing, and/or measuring your company against them—these activities have no great or winning outcome.

Instead you are simply prohibiting your company from finding its own way to be truly meaningful to its Clients, staff and prospects. You block your company from finding its own identity and engaging with the people who pay the bills...
Your competitors have never paid your bills and they never will.”

Howard Mann
, Your Business Brickyard: Getting Back to the Basics to Make Your Business More Fun to Run

Thursday, January 06, 2011

london adland

via Charles and George.

can't be done

The late great Peter Ustinov was always there with a neat one-liner.
This one is no exception.

I'm always wary of 'experts', anyway.

File under 'it works in practice, but does it work in theory?'

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

do something

‘The Path of a Doer’, from The Do Book Co is their pocket do-ing guide, chock full of inspirational nuggets to help you to get meaningful stuff done.

'...helping you to achieve more. To help you understand the ebb and flow of making something happen.'

It's an ideal bookshelf partner to the 37 Signals tome 'Rework', in fact.

They offer a free pdf sample which includes timeless advice like;

TELL THE WORLD WHY YOU ARE DOING IT (even if they don’t get it, tell them anyway).

At a mere 3.50GBP the full book has got to be worth a look.

The brainchild of ex-Howies fella David Hieatt and illustrator Andy Smith, a portion of the proceeds are going towards the further development of their other project - the Do lectures, a TED-esque forum for people who do things to share their story and experience.

'The one thing the Doers of the world Do, apart from Do amazing things, is to inspire the rest of us to go and Do amazing things.'

And any book that credits Dick Dastardly as an inspiration gets my vote.

appointment to tweet part 3

As the journey towards total media convergence continues to pick up momentum, there's news of new investment by Google Ventures into Miso - the twitter/foursquare-esque social tv 'check-in' hybrid that's been picking up traction in the US over the past few months.

Perhaps the most interesting nugget is the news of the introduction of the Miso API.

They say:
'With the the API, TV sites, TV manufacturers, set top boxes, or any developer can access Miso in the same way our applications work today. Developers can develop new apps, integrate ‘check-in’ functionality into their own apps, and much more'.

Bearing in mind that it's been predicted that around 60% of all new TVs will have built-in network connectivity by 2015 and over 70% of these TVs will have an app platform built in, the post-digital future is increasingly looking like total digitality.

Appointment to tweet

Appointment to tweet part 2

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

ninja moped - insert coin

I'm a sucker for a great piece of stop-motion animation.

This one from 8-bit knob-twiddlers Ninja Moped is one of those.

There's some debate from stop-motion purists in the comments on You Tube as to the authenticity of some of the sections but either way it's still pretty cool.

HT to Tommy.

new year: new ROI

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”

A simple equation, and our mantra for 2011.

Thanks to tinybuddha.


Demographics were useful in the age of spray and pray marketing to the mass.
They allowed random messaging to be slightly more relevant by 'targeting' age, gender, ethnicity, and other things like income bracket.

Scatter-gun advertising isn’t nearly as effective as it once was, and now demographics just ain't got that swing.

The internet has been the big disruptor, allowing people to connect and form groups around shared interest on a scale that has never previously been possible in human history.

Santa brought me the DVD of Elvis Costello's Spectacle TV series, in which Elvis has intimate chats with various musical legends. One episode features Tony Bennett, who backs up my argument.

When Elvis asks Tony who he thinks his audience is he replies:
'I'm anti-demographics'.

I remember going to see Tony sing at Edinburgh Castle about 12 years ago, the crowd was an even mix of over 50's, ex-punkers in their mid-30's and teenagers/students.

Figure that one out demographically.

People now demand brands that founded on principles and values.
Something to believe in, not just ever changing campaign lines, tweaked and tickled to fit lazy demographic data.

Tony just sings for anyone who loves swinging jazz numbers and the great american songbook...