Posts Tagged 'transmedia'

150 not out

Innocent Drinks – those masters of simple marketing – have just released a lovely new piece of activity:

“Hello… My name is Alex Horne and I’m trying to set a World Record to one day be the oldest man in the world. I have been attempting this death-defying feat non-stop for the last 31 years and 7 months and although I’m now getting tired, I am still confident that I can keep going.

So please get behind me, wish me luck and warn me of any imminent dangers. Keep checking this site for regular blog, video and twitter updates and watch me avoid the reaper for another century at least.”

Alex’s video tells more of the story:

Equally mad are his 10 reasons why he believes he’ll succeed in living to be the world’s oldest man:

The whole thing is totally daft, but (I think) that’s pretty much the point.

Overall, it’s a great fit with Innocent’s brand personality, but it doesn’t feel like they’re trying to sell me anything.

Obviously the concept of living to be the world’s oldest person fits well with a brand that promotes a healthy lifestyle, but there’s no overt mention of any Innocent products (at least for now).

Other great elements of this initiative include Alex’s blog:

His twitter page:

And the selection of random bits on the website:

Including this great little competition:

They’re supporting it on their wonderful Facebook page too:

Overall, a lovely bit of fun that successfully deepens my relationship with the brand.

I look forward to seeing how this one evolves.

See for yourselves at Long Live Alex.

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the marketing blend

A few years ago, I went to hear Sasha play at Fabric in London.

It was awe-inspiring.

I’d always admired his DJ sets – the way he managed to move so seamlessly from one track to the next.

But this performance was different.

Until that night, I’d been used to hearing him select a series of great tunes and play them one after the other, with no obvious disharmony or rhythmic mismatch.

But from the very start of that set, it was clear something was different.

I couldn’t tell where one tune began and where it ended.

The mood and power of the set still built and progressed, but the music all blurred together into a dreamy sequence of beats and melodies.

He was playing small bits of different tracks wherever and whenever he chose.

He looped small sections of a record – sometimes just single bars – for minutes at a time, tweaking effects and EQ to build the emotion until the crowd were in a trance.

He was chopping up tunes to create new versions and even new music, right there in the DJ booth.

And suddenly, in one night, my view of DJing changed.

Progressive obsessive

It was like Sasha had put his tunes into a blender, rather than merely putting slices of them next to each other on a plate.

I subsequently discovered that he’d achieved this in large part thanks to new technology – namely Ableton Live and a bespoke Maven controller – but that didn’t change the impact of that set (indeed, I became an instant convert to Ableton, and use it to create my own studio sets)

Sasha had totally changed the game.

DJing was no longer just about beatmatching, or harmonic mixing, or even playing tunes no-one else had.

It was about using everything at the DJ’s disposal to create the perfect musical journey for that club and that crowd.

The records, the turntables, the mixer, the effects… they all became mere means to the single, coherent end of delivering the ultimate club experience.

I think we’re about to witness the same kind of shift in marketing.

Marketers as DJs

Until recently, marketers have been been perfecting the existing paradigm.

We’ve incrementally improved our approach to the 4Ps.

And we’re pretty good at it now: our beatmatching is pretty tight, we know which melodic keys work with which others, and we can navigate the mixer with our eyes closed.

We’ve pretty much mastered the marketing mix, and differentiation now comes down to who has access to the latest or rarest tunes.

But what if we took Sasha’s approach and applied it to marketing?

What if we saw all those marketing Ps as fluid ingredients that we can blend together to create a truly seamless journey?

The Marketing Blend

We’ve recognised the potential of integrated communications for some years now, but few (big) brands succeed in integrating the full spectrum of their marketing activities.

Most still approach each element of the mix separately; aspects such as distribution, pricing, R&D, PR, and sales are often handled by different teams with different agendas, egos, and KPIs.

But maybe that’s missing the magic.

Rather than merely integrating communications across channels, brands could integrate everything they do – the full marketing mix – into a single, holistic approach.

Examples

We’ve seen a few examples of this already.

The Domino’s example from last year was an interesting communication and distribution.

Similarly, this initiative from Gap uses a sales channel to communicate a clearly defined message and inspire immediate action at the same time.

Brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Innocent Smoothies and Nike all seem like they’re blending multiple elements of the mix too.

However, I’m not sure any of them has achieved that totally seamless mix.

Yet.

But it’s only a matter of time…

the fifth dimension

Various forms of technology that once existed solely on the desktop are becoming increasingly interwoven into the broader spectrum of everyday activities.

They bring extra layers of detail, interaction, or entertainment to analogue experiences, allowing technology to come to us, instead of the other way round.

For example, Google Maps mashups and Layar add a richness of detail to physical locations.

Meanwhile, apps like foursquare and Gowalla are taking social network into real-world interactions.

But the possibilities of augmented reality (AR) are the ones I find most exciting.

If we look beyond the novelty that characterised much early AR, and explore instead the ways in which normal, everyday objects can become interfaces that trigger a ‘fifth dimension’ of reality, things get very interesting.

Suddenly, everything can become so much more than it already is.

This has massive potential for every brand in every category around the world – from the simplest to the most complex.

Ever the pioneer, Adidas has been exploring what that might mean for its shoes.

Not content to limit itself to producing hugely popular fashion items, the brand has recognised that its products can deliver even more value through this fifth dimension:

Watch out for an explosion of activity like this from other brands in the coming months.

Many thanks again to Alexander and the whole Cultural Fuel team for sharing yet another gem.

soap operettes

This is a fantastic Nescafé campaign from the late 1980s.

It’s an interesting variation on the leitmotiv approach: evolve a creative concept over time to deliver increased depth and duration of audience engagement:

The same technique was harnessed in the equally wonderful Nicole, Papa work for Renault Clio a few years later.

Such storytelling is a powerful communications proposition that brands can deliver through conventional media like TV.

However, the proliferation of storytelling media like the Web means we now have many more opportunities to engage people than we did in the 1980s; which brand will be the first to refresh this approach and deliver the first epic  transmedia story?

I’d love to see more examples of these brand ‘soap operettes’ – please share any links via the comments section below.

in the flesh

flesh imp bk have it your way

Geb over at Ruby Pseudo shared an interesting perspective on youth marketing recently.

The opening line of the post sums it up:

“Not many brands ‘get’ the youth market; they’re either too in-your-face, or try too hard to be ‘down with the kids’.”

Some brands do get it right though, as demonstrated by a recent partnership between Burger King and a Singaporean fashion brand, Flesh Imp.

Flesh Imp have designed a range of items as part of the tie-up, including some great T-shirts and headwear, and have implemented some engaging in-store activity too.

The result feels very natural: a hint of self-deprecating irony from both brands builds their respective personalities by showing that neither takes itself too seriously.

Nicholas at Flesh Imp gave me a bit of background to the whole collaboration, but it’s probably easiest to let some pictures from the brand’s flickr tell the story instead:

flesh imp bk king playing card T

‘King’ playing card T

flesh imp bk packaging

T-shirts come packed in great ‘take-away’ boxes

flesh imp bk window dressing

The window dressing at the chain’s flagship store

flesh imp bk king T close up

‘King’ T close up

flesh imp bk girls' have it your way

Have it your way…

flesh imp bk cap

Limited edition headwear

flesh imp bk delivering your purchase

Here’s your order

The brand has put together a great Facebook profile that shows more of the collaboration:

flesh imp bk facebook

[click image to enlarge]

The whole tie-up fits nicely with the global BK Studio initiative – something that Flesh Imp have helped the brand with before:

BK isn’t the only multinational brand that Flesh Imp has collaborated with though.

This clip gives a taste of some great work they produced on behalf of Coke Zero, again in Singapore:

They did a great line for the Transformers movie too:

flesh imp 3d transformers

Flesh Imp 3D Transformers T

The magic ingredient that makes all these tie-ups work is authenticity: Flesh Imp manages to find an overlap in relevance between these large brands’ positionings and its own irreverent personality.

There’s a similarity to the Adidas Originals approach:

The difference is that Flesh Imp creates success for partner brands as well as its own, connecting them with a more cynical, younger audience.

As Nicholas pointed out, how many ad agencies could achieve that kind of impact?

As Ruby might say… Nice.

See more on the Flesh Imp tie-ups on their official blog, facebook and flickr sites.

media myopia

media myopia

There’s something very wrong with media planning.

We all seem to agree that things have changed.

However, too few of us are doing anything to really harness that change.

Bizarrely, we seem to be perpetuating an old, broken model.

I’ve seen this dangerous image in far too many places recently:

advertising 1980s vs 2009

Every time I see it, a little piece of me dies.

People think it shows how far we’ve come, but I think it shows the opposite.

I recognise its accuracy – it paints a realistic picture of advertising today – but it’s that very reality that I find so disturbing.

It highlights a ‘menu’ approach that continues to stifle media planning; an apporach that erodes the value we should be adding to our clients’ businesses, and destroys their trust in our work.

It proves that we still see the world from our perspective, instead of planning from our audience’s lives.

The sad fact is that we’re barely scraping the surface of what we could do.

I can’t stress this enough:

anything can be media

So why do we continue to focus on so few channels?

As Neil pointed out earlier this week, many of us blame our inertia on clients who “just don’t get it.”

But really, we are the problem.

So what can we do to fix things?

Firstly, we can adopt a more strategic approach to planning – planning based on the things we want to share, the people we want to share them with, and the lives those people live.

The second point goes much deeper.

The real barrier to making the most of the opportunities at our disposal is a revenue model built on commission.

Fundamentally, that model means that we can only survive if we sell paid media.

But if we are to succeed, we must stop operating as mere brokers, and aggressively push the strategic agenda we know to be correct.

These changes must begin with us.

So, I’m asking for your help.

Do whatever you think it takes: tweet it, share it, write your own version and blog it; even better, do them all.

But above all, let’s do something: it’s high time that we make a real difference, instead of just talking about it.

I believe the channels graphic first appeared in the FT.

blending the 4Ps

domino's doors c-o springwise

The trendspotters over at Springwise featured this great piece of activity from Domino’s Pizza in the Netherlands, developed by agency Indie Amsterdam.

They’ve placed ‘doors’ in parks and on beaches, highlighting the fact that Domino’s will deliver almost anywhere, provided the location is within the catchment area of one of its stores.

These ‘doors’ serve as actual delivery ‘addresses’, expanding the brand’s sales opportunities, but they obviously double as engaging communications too.

They’re a great example of something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently: the convergence of communications and distribution.

In a world where ubiquitous access to brands is becoming increasingly realistic, and where even the boundaries between product offerings and advertising are blurring (Nike’s Run London being a good example of something that fits in both disciplines), the lines of demarcation between the classic 4Ps are blurring.

This is very exciting: for those with creative minds, this evolution into ‘transmedia offerings’ opens up a whole new universe of opportunities.

Expect more on this soon…

Image taken from the Springwise article, with many thanks.