Thursday, June 27, 2013

on small innovations

We've discussed the Chindogu effect here before.

Pseudo-innovations that only solve a problem of their own creation.

True innovation solves a real human problem.

Sometimes in a quiet way, but giving you a profound sense of '...of course'.

Curbtxt in it's simplicity does exactly so.

Helping San Francisco neighbours avoid parking problems, and still be nice to each other.

Another thanks to Marketing Futures.

last train to nudgecentral

This one is a nice little behavioural win-win-win triple nudge whammy, rewarding both recycling and a responsible behaviour around drinking at the same time, while also promoting Antarctica beer.

Festival goers in Rio de Janeiro were able to exchange their empty beer cans - rather than leave them in the street - for a free train ticket home via a modified turnstile - The Beer Turnstile - that doubled as a recycling point.

So, for the punters the desired new behaviour is all upside, theres no risk or sense of loss, it doesn't require any thinking and everyone is doing it so it feels like a good idea.

And for Antarctica beer, they become literally the beer of the festival.

HT Springwise via Marketing Futures

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

minimum viable idea

There is a kind of brilliant simplicity in this idea.

It's pared down to the minimum.

You get it almost instantly, and completely in a second.

The budget to help London homeless charity The Passage was $0, so it had to work.

So, would people give more to 'people-like-me'?

Yes. Donations went up 25%.

While necessity was the mother of invention in this example it asks us; how much we can take out and the idea still works rather than how much more complexity do we need to create.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

it's tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time. it's tricky.

For mash get Smash.
Do the Shake'n'Vac, and put the freshness back.
Beans meanz Heinz.
Once you pop you can't stop.
A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play.

Funny how easy it is to remember these lines from the 70's and 80's.

Perhaps it's becoming something of a lost art.

The debate about the future of advertising is often about technology, targeting, cookies and data.

Sadly, snappy rhymes hardly ever comes up.

That's five for starters. Add yours?

Video clip via Dan Pink's blog.

Monday, June 24, 2013

flowers of romance

When designing incentives to encourage a particular action or behaviour it's worth considering that often the most effective incentives show that the company offering the incentive has gone through some extra effort to provide it.

For instance offering a $25 gift voucher for completing a survey requires little effort or thought, but coming round to clean your windows requires the giver to go out of their way a bit, even though the actual monetary value of the incentive may be less.

There's a clip somewhere online where Rory Sutherland gave the following as an example.

Apparently there's been some research indicating that one of the reasons women like to receive flowers from men is precisely because men feel a little bit uncomfortable buying flowers, therefore the act involved some sacrifice on the part of the giver.

Thanks to Rob, who posted this pic earlier, and which seems to tap into that insight nicely.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

football's not a matter of life or death. It's much more important than that.

Whatever the view from outside the ad industry is on the Cannes festival - an overblown self-congratulatory extravagance is a popular take - for those of us within the industry it's a chance to get a broad look at what has been happening in other parts of the world in one big chunk, and evaluate what we do in our respective markets against the best of others.

This year's Promo Grand Prix was awarded to Ogilvy Brazil, Sao Paolo, for their organ donation campaign using football team Sport Club Recife.

As a behavioural economics geek this one obviously appealed as it capitalises on a simple human psychology insight.

Making arrangements to donate one's organs is not at the top of most people's to-do list so by attaching the desired behaviour - carrying a donor card - to something that is at the top of the list; ie supporting your football team (Brazilian football fans are among the most passionate and partizan in the world) then the new behaviour can be achieved more easily, as a nudge, and without all that effortful thinking that we like to avoid.

And, at the same time, it removes one of the biggest barriers to organ donation - getting after the fact next of kin authorisation for the deceased's organs to be used.

Or like Bill Shankly famously observed - 'Football is not a matter of life or death. It's much more important than that.

separation and spillage

At a digital advertising seminar i spoke at last week there was, in my view an unhealthy and disproportionate amount of time spent discussing this notion of last-click attribution.

This is the obsession many marketers have with crediting the 'last click' to the sale in an attempt to quantify channel ROI and such like.

What about all the other habits, touchpoints, encounters and interactions that a customer had prior making a purchase?

The problem (for those who want to measure) is that most of this is unmeasurable in a linear way.

Principally because if there are interactions most of them happen between people.

There's too much spillage.

This idea of spillage came from listening to Wilko Johnson talk about the making of Dr Feelgood's debut album on the BBC 'Mastertapes' podcast.

Wilko describes throwing a tantrum with the studio engineers who wanted to record the band doing their parts separately then mix it together afterwards with multiple guitar overdubs - as is the norm.

But Wilko wanted the band to play together in the same room, as if it were 'live'.

The engineers were worried about separation and spillage.
Spillage being when the sounds of drums, bass and guitars 'spill' into each other.
They wanted it neater and cleaner.

But Wilko recalls having none of it.

“Take me somewhere in this wonderful world of ours where you get separation.

It doesn’t happen.

You walk down the street… you get a lot of spillage. That’s the real universe, man”

Last-click attribution or any other form of single channel ROI measurement strikes me as an attempt at separation - such is the wont of marketers who are purely data driven - when we should be more happy with the spillage that comes from prioritising for creativity.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

the last three feet is the whole nine yards?

This shopper promotion example from Meat Pack, a trainer/shoe store in Guatamala is quite interesting.

The notion of using mobile alerts to deliver coupons or discounts in store has always been riddled with flaws.

Why give real time discounts in store when your customers are already there and possibly ready to buy?

Sure you can potentially increase basket size but it's hard to know whether they might have bought anyway and it's equally hard to contextualise intent.

However delivering a contextual offer when a customer is close to buying with one of your competitors is possibly more interesting.

Meat Pack's 'Hijack' does exactly this.

Hijack tracks a users path round the shopping mall and pings the alert when the customer is in a competitor store that stocks similar products and brands, It starts to get interesting as the app effectively turns on a 'game layer' - the discount offer starts at 100% off and reduces by a percentage point per second as the customers' scarcity bias kicks in and has to leg it to the Meat Pack store to redeem their offer.

While one could argue that in order for the customer to have installed the app they would already be a 'customer' therefore would be inclined to shop with Meat Pack anyway, we should note that even 'loyal' customers are promiscuous - they will be 'loyal' to several brands in any given category - and will still require another prod. While the real point of the intervention is to create a situation which will capture momentary attention of other 'spectators'.

We're almost always more interested in what we see others to be doing.

As more and more of the key challenges for FMCG type brands are taking place in what some commentators describe as the 'zero' moment of truth, we'll see more of these promotions that join-up the physical and the digital and look to activate those system one type responses.

In effect, turning the last three feet into (almost) the whole nine yards.

HT Econsultancy

Thursday, June 06, 2013


'But the worse touristification is the life we moderns have to lead in captivity, during our leisure hours: Friday night opera, scheduled parties, scheduled laughs. Again, golden jail..'

Word of the week, again from Anti-Fragile, with it's roots in 1979.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


This ad for NZ jobsite Trade Me Jobs caught our eye.
There's a little play on the idea of nominative determinism.

A running psychology gag of sorts, early identification is often attributed to Carl Jung who said to have noted the 'quite gross coincidence between a man's name and his peculiarities or profession.'

And Jung kept the gag going by noting the phenomenon among psychologists, including himself:
"Herr Freud (Joy) champions the pleasure principle, Herr Adler (Eagle) the will to power, Herr Jung (Young) the idea of rebirth…"

The spot takes the other tack, a non-determinism vs determinism point of view.
According to Daniel Dennett, this perception detail is somewhat unimportant as the 'outcome' happens either way.

But here's the thought.
What is beyond argument is that in pre-industrial times people were often defined by the work they did rather than the things they possessed. Therefore one's name had a certain social status attached to it.

In simpler times people made their own things, or made things to trade.
A sense of skin in the game perhaps (to evoke a theme from Taleb's Ant-Fragile).

Today however we are all consumers.
We require systems - the mechanics or which are completely outside our own hapless capacity to influence - to be in place in order to meet basic needs like feeding ourselves.

And, in a sense we're defined by how ironic, clever, exotic or otherwise our selection from the available set products to consume tells our story.

So anyway, to clebrate my delight at finding a certain product from home at the local produce store, and in an effort to establish consumption-determinism, I'm changing my name to Yorkshire Tea.