Monday, March 30, 2009

What Happens to a Telus Meerkat When the Campaign is Over?

Telus Mobility is long known for it's cute ads that feature animals from all parts of the world. Their latest campaign has feature Meerkats for the better part of a year.

I've always wondered what happened to these lovely animals once they retired - then I stumbled upon Compare the Meerkat - a UK spokes-critter Aleksandr Orlov. Obviously a Telus meerkat has translated their fame to international markets and have become a huge sensation promoting insurance.

The amazing thing about this is how it seems to have a cult following. You Tube views for their ads are consistently in the 100k range - Aleksandr also has a Facebook Page with over 300k fans and he's on Twitter as well.

This is just a great example of how a company has taken a campaign idea and thought about how it can drive the momentum into various formats - not just the traditional executions. The result is a company that is creating pop culture and not just holding a mirror to it.

I just hope those other Telus critters are so successful.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Media Can Drive Creativity to Unparalleled Levels

Traditional media formats we have become accustomed to have killed any sense of true creative thought and alternative thinking.

The 30 second TV ad, the 22 minute time slot, the full page, four colour newspaper ad (if you are so lucky in these economic times). All these formats have forced creativity into a mold that needs to draw upon known, familiar memories to be effective.

It makes me think of Noam Chomsky's thoughts from Manufacturing Consent. The essence being that the forced concision of today's society makes it impossible to argue a new thought because of the back up required to support it (and the lack of attention to pay attention to the support).

I believe that this has a major effect on the advertising and creative communities. It is much easier to feed up a relatable storyline that is predictable and comfortable than something that is truly groundbreaking. The mold has been set and the people making the decisions want to approve the tried, tested and true. Holding up a mirror to pop culture is more prevalent now than ever before - think of all the recent remakes of movies and TV shows, plus the massive amount of parodies on the web.

New media, new interactivity, and completely unparalleled new distribution opportunities create a whole new way to break the plane of traditional ways to engage people. Multimedia can truly be multiple elements of media all coming together to form a new stories or interactions. We now have the opportunity to completely change the way people consume and interact with entertainment or communications.

More on this topic to come - with practical examples of how to do it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

BMW's Mobile Game - It's Fast... And Creative.

BMW launched a new game to support the launch of it's Z4. Called 'Expressions of Joy', it plants the user behind the wheel of a Z4 where the driver creates artwork by throwing the car into corners.

I posted before about a big miss that Mini had with their game, noting that it had absolutely nothing to do with driving. BMW has a good execution on it's hands - it will create appeal with enthusiasts and likely the highly gaming driven iphone/itouch audiences. The nice part is that even though this is a driving game, it has a nice creative touch by having users create a little piece of artwork.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Build Your Own Space - How Two Marketers Get All 'Engagementy'.

I recently came across two promotions for Comcast and Allstate - both of which gave the user the opportunity to create their own digital space, sort of like the old school sims or slightly-newer school real time strategy games (like halo wars). Although the idea of sims may feel done to death, one of these programs is a clear winner and the other leaves you scratching your head, baffled you just wasted ten minutes.

Comcast allows users to create their own 'Comcastic' appartment in Comcast Town (that isn't language they used, but the can for a small fee). This is the microsite that supports a recent campaign they launched, supported with the following broadcast creative.

The user starts off building their apartment with a phone, internet and tv (the essentials of course), and then you can pimp out your pad with a couch, windows, area rugs and so much more. Once that is done, well, that's it. You can earn some bucks to buy more stuff but there is no real point. I can invite other friends, but I have no idea why I would do this. There is no competiton, there is no ongoing changes or interaction with Comcast town or community of people who've built rooms.

I don't even understand what Comcast is going to do with the information gather from me building my room. They could have at least had me select brands of preference (samsung tvs, ikea couches, etc) so that they could make use that for future promotional or partnership purposes. In my mind, this is a complete waste of time and scores a big fat zero as a marketing tactic (if anyone has other thoughts on what I'm missing - please enlighten me).

Allstate, has a similar program where you can build a playground. Very similar interface (although the Comcast one is more intuitive and works a bit better) but the objective is clear - it is a leveraging program against their cause marketing/sports strategy, leveraging the olympics to build affinity with the local Chicago community to build and olympic-inspired playground, inspired by kids themselves. Quite brilliant as it is a great goodwill effort, ties together both sports and cause marketing and is dead simple.

Clear definable objectives of the marketer translate into a much more cohesive experience for the user. Sometimes, the obvious integration with on offline campaign just doesn't work.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Infomercials. Horrible, Yet Cultural Barometres

I recently read an Ad Joke post about the horrors of infomercials and how they all suck. I can't help but agree, but had to respond with the following comment:

Although 99.9% of infomercials suck, sometimes brilliance is struck. Vince, of ShamWow! fame is nothing short of of a E-List celebrity. His "fame" is being ported over to help sell the SlapChop - where he not only has wonderful one line zingers like "you're gonna love my nuts", but he also provides some light hearted social commentary on the problems with America.

I started thinking about the celebrity that has been created by infomercials - Ron Popeil of 'hair in a can' fame (as well as many other products), the rebirth of George Foreman and Richard Simmons, K-Tel (the brand), Susan Powter, Tony Robbins, and many many more.

Given most infomercials are horrendous creatively and usually air in the worst possible media available - how do so many of these products/people gain such a massive amount of awareness? I think people secretly love watching the train wreck that most of these are - laughing at the horrible production values, trying to imagine themselves using the silly product. Still, I think there is a learning to be had how our newest celeb "Vince" is taking infomercials to a new level with a self-deprecating and almost satirical approach to entertaining people with these ridiculous products.

But these must work or we wouldn't see them on TV. Someone, somewhere is acting now and sending a money order to Pueblo, Colorado.