Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MySpace Marketing

Interesting article over on iMediaConnection by editor Nanette Marcus on a few examples of marketing on MySpace. Five that work and one that does not. It is not an in-depth kind of piece, but provides a glimpse at what is going on with some visuals.

I see the attraction and potential target market/audience for Nike and Cingular Sounds. The others I am not so sure about.

Wal-Mart is the lone example of a MySpace loser cited for The Hub - School Your Way.

Ok, first off, in my day "school my way" meant spending quality time at the video arcade / pool hall across the street playing Frogger and Defender (I hope my Mom does not read this post).

Second, in one of the videos on The Hub, schoolboy sk8tr Luke tells us to "be yourself" and "don't conform". Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't conformity the only way to do business with Wal-Mart?

Can you imagine Luke all grown up as a potential supplier... "but Mr. Wal Mart Buyer, we just want to be ourselves, do we really have to conform to what Wal-Mart says to do business with you nice folks? That's precisely the moment when Luke hears "Ah, you're the kid from that video, we had good chuckle with that one. Life ain't like that son. Thanks for your time, NEXT!"

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The Economist and The Financial Times get new media

Two traditional print staples, The Economist and The Financial Times continue to impress with the attention they are paying to the changing landscape of media, advertising and communications.

Obviously, they are not the only examples out there. However, they certainly stand out in my mind as taking the dialogue to an audience that needs to understand the foundation of the powerful change and it's macro implications.

One of the best pieces that uncovered much of what is going on re: web, social media, digital distribution and the role of content was way, way back in The Economist April 22, 2006 edition (wow, it already seems like ages ago - I was not blogging then or I would have been sure to mention it). It featured a comprehensive and impressive focus on New Media with a special section titled "A Survey of New Media". It was really a terrific analysis.

My point is that, as influential print publications (meaning those publications that are read by those who sit atop the corporate machines that basically run the world's economy) report about the story that those in the know (like you and I) already know, the notion that this is all hype or conjecture fades fast.

Most importantly, as mainstream "traditional" authorities, they reinforce the authenticity of what is happening for those who are not on the front lines. These are not fluff pieces or mentions that simply pay lip-service. They are going deep into the subject matter in a way that is in-front of the change, not merely playing catch-up, demonstrating themselves to be keen observers.

Call it what you want but when Coke goes straight to YouTube (or Google) with an ad, it is no longer a game of speculation from the sidelines. This is the real thing.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Toronto dinner mob was a hit

It was something alright. They even had to bring in a few extra chairs to accommodate the crowd. For marketers reading this post, the conversion ratio for this event is without a doubt Cannes '07 material.

Last evening worked out to be quite an enjoyable impromptu event. A fun gathering of interesting people (on a moments notice I may add) yielding lots of great conversations. Some new people and some familiar faces - a great mix representing advertising & marketing, public relations, agencies, client-siders, industry experts and even an angel investor. Somehow there just did not seem to be enough time to chat with everyone. So, we will have to do it again sometime soon!

I hope all those who attended had as good a time as I did. Thanks to Michael L., Leesa B., Terry F., Ed L., Scott K., Luca D., Andrew G., Stuart M., Kathryn L., Jay A., Goody G., Mona S. Sulemaan A., Parth S., ( I hope I did not miss anyone - I feel like I am missing one person - I will amend this post if I have). UPDATE: Laurie Dillion was sitting right across from me the whole night - sorry for the omission!)

And, hats off to Mitch Joel of Twist Image for the spur of the moment idea. My role was very easy in securing a location in the nick of time to help make it all happen. (Full disclosure, we work together as client / agency on behalf of Scotiabank.)

One last point. I am usually quite adept at thinking up names for things. Quirky funny little things, like "This one time, at BarCamp" (btw t-shirt sample here - update here). I often have an interesting (yet useless) ability to tap into the smart-ass side of myself that thinks I can write copy (blame it on reading too many MAD Magazine's "Snappy answers to Stupid Questions" in my youth). Yet, I am stumped. We promised Ed Lee we would not call them geek dinners anymore and but, all I came up with is "dinner mob".

Any suggestions for a better name? Leesa has tagged it the "un-geek" dinner. That may be a little too close to home still.

Inside PR # 22 has a Client Side co-host this week

I had a wonderful opportunity to co-host Inside PR Episode #22 and the episode is now live.

Inside PR is a great home-grown Canadian podcast hosted by Terry Fallis and David Jones that discusses the evolving world of social media and communications on a weekly basis.

A few weeks back when I was on holiday, I received an email from Terry asking if I would like to co-host Inside PR. I jumped at the opportunity becasue I think they are great guys with a great podcast. It was a no-brainer.

I really enjoyed doing the show and want to thank Terry and David for allowing me to co-host. Maybe they'll ask me back one day!

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Join the Toronto Geek Dinner - TUESDAY NIGHT - AUG 29

Mitch Joel just sent me a note about a Geek Dinner in Toronto he is organizing on the spur of the moment.

Here the info from his blog at Twist Image just posted:

"Toronto Geek Dinner Set For Next Tuesday – Care To Join?

I have to be in Toronto on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. I was speaking to Michael Seaton over at The Client Side and Scotiabank, and we had discussed dinner on Tuesday night (August 29th, 2006). Then, it hit me: Geek Dinner.

Geek Dinner Toronto is set for Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 at 6:30 pm (location TBC – but we’re looking at a spot downtown – any suggestions?).

Let’s make this an amazing night of great conversation, laughs and good times (I’ll definitely be recording for Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast and, if you’re a Podcaster or Blogger, feel free to do the same).

Please let me know if you would like join us.

Each person will be responsible for their own bill (although, I'm sure some people will buy some rounds, etc...)

I hope to see you Tuesday night in Toronto"

We will both be posting details on the event location once numbers are know. Let Mitch know if you interested in joining us. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Improve ... I mean Improv... at Home Depot

I'm not sure even how to classify this video I found on YouTube : Slo-Mo Home Depot: Agents Talk. Something between flash mobs (although not quite) and the Twilight Zone (although not quite). Nonetheless interesting and moronic at the same time.

Improv Everywhere are behind these weird and wacky pranks. I really liked the Best Buy prank where about 80 "agents" showed up at the midtown Manhattan Best Buy location, all wearing blue polo shirts and khakis.

Excuse me, do you work here? What about you? And that guy over there? That's it, I'm going to Circut City!

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Friday, August 25, 2006 takes a bow and pulls out of Subway pitch

Please, let this be done already. Oh, wait a minute, Adweek just confirmed it is.

My guess is that thinks they simply can't win the Subway business. Was it all a stunt with the conclusion know from the start? Who competes for business like that - excusing themselves when they should not have been competing in the first place?

Now the speculation over a real or imagined conflict begins. American Copywriter is bang on as usual with the simple question: "WTF?"

When we roll, we..., well, we... hey what do we do? Oh right, we kind of just go away. Brave Sir Robin ran away.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Supa Size My Ride

Bill Green over at Makethelogobigger points us to a huge time-waster of a site called giantmonster. It is full of neat stuff like this wonderful looking vehicle that is just begging for the Maaco man to show up with a bazooka.

Think back to high school, hanging out with your friends infront of the main entrance after class is over. Now, imagine your Dad pulling up in the Mickey D's wagon, horn-a-honkin' and waving you on over.

All your friends are so jealous, wishing it was them being picked up in the freakmobile. Talk about a walk of shame and a ride of shamer!

Hey, how come that girl who's mom is named Wendy is looking so nervous?

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Snakes on the brain - when marketing works but the product does not

Everyone has Snakes on a Plane on the brain. I usually try to refrain from jumping in with my commentary on items like this but, I have five observations after the opening weekend.

First, it was not a number one with a bullet. It was more like number one with a rascal. The reason it squeaked into the number one spot is because it was released on Thursday evening and the shmeany $1.4 million that was booked on Thursday night put SOAP just ahead of new Will Ferrel “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” .

Second, after the reviews came in, it turns out that SOAP is just another B movie - not even good one at that. So, can this flick sustain another $15 million over next weekend? Nope. I'd bet it's more likely that you could actually get on a plane with a python in your carry-on carrying a beverage than to see this cinematic gem do the same thing at the box office next weekend. At the end of the day, the product itself failed to deliver - end of story.

Third, it was still a big huge success. Why? There is no fleeping way that this movie would ever have opened at #1 without the web. Never ever never ever never.... ever. This is an amazing feat. Without the attention from the blogosphere, consumer generated content and the conversations via social media, this film would likely have raked in $1.4 million for the entire weekend.

Fourth, let's all slip on our reality caps for a minute and ask ourselves if we really believe the film could have measured up to the buzz and word-of-mouth hype that was generated? Ok, good, I thought so.

And, my fifth and final observation; I predict a Halloween / Thanksgiving DVD and pay-per-view release that will do very. This time, without all the pre-release sensationalism.

Here is a snipet from CNN:
“The Internet buzz over “Snakes on a Plane” turned out to be nothing to hiss about. The high-flying thriller preceded by months of unprecedented Web buildup technically debuted as the No. 1 movie, but with a modest $15.25 million opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Distributor New Line Cinema included $1.4 million that “Snakes on a Plane” raked in during 10 p.m. screenings Thursday to get a head start on the weekend. Without those revenues, the movie’s weekend total would be $13.85 million, putting it just behind “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” which took in $14.1 million in its third weekend. […] New Line’s Tuckerman said “Snakes on a Plane” would turn in a solid profit but that he did not know why the movie failed to live up to its Internet hype. ‘I think people were more excited about the marketing than the actual movie,’ said Dergarabedian of Exhibitor Relations. ‘New Line did not set out to create this Internet buzz. That’s actually a marketer’s dream, but when marketing translates into awareness but does not inspire people to get out from behind their computers and into the theater, that’s a problem.’” (CNN)

I found the above CNN quote on Adverb - shout out to Dallas Ad Monkey Mack Simpson who has a interesting blog that I enjoy quite a bit.

Ok, now everybody sing along....
"oh when the snakes,
go marching in,
oh when the snakes go marching in..."

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Canadian Marketing Blog has a new look and new home

A project near and dear to my heart that I was very proud to be a part of helping to lead and launch recently was the Canadian Marketing Association Blog aka Canadian Marketing Blog. Launched around the same time that I began The Client Side, it was hosted at blogger as a temporary home.

That was then, this is now. Please take a look at the new Canadian Marketing Blog , I think it looks great and we are all proud of the final product.

Shout out to my partners-in-crime on this initiative: Sandra Singer of the CMA and, Mitch Joel of Twist Image (and the team at Twist Image who made it look so dang nice!).

I have to say I think it is really cool to see blogging embraced by a major association like the CMA. And, even cooler to see the level of participation and interaction that it has generated in the past three months since it was launched.

It looks so good now that I may be forced to revise The Client Side. I love a good make work project!

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

I am sorry, it was too painful

I'm back home as of a few hours ago and the shakes are beginning to subside. Fifteen days of sucky dial-up Internet was not as much fun as you may think. I was thrown back to the land before time when waiting for simple text to paint the screen was king. Seems so pre-historic. Thus, blogging was too painful to manage so I opted for a clean break.

Made me think about how we ever managed to live in a 28.8 world?

I realized a hard-truth; access is not enough anymore. We have all become spoiled broadband brats and do not even try to make excuses for our need-for-speed addictions.

Remember when just getting on the grid was the reward? What was once so liberating has just become annoying when the pipeline does not deliver on our demand for instant gratification.

My vacation? Lots of fabulous family time all around. True R & R. And, like every vacation it was not long enough. However, I am glad to be back and connected to the world at a speed where the information is waiting for me, and I am not waiting for it.

BTW - I will not be reachable for the next 72 hours as I catch up on all my podcasts & blogs.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rap Ringtone sets new record - we are how we ring.

Chamillionaire has sold 3 million ringtones, and counting, of the song Ridin’. Cha Ching Chamillionaire. Parent company, Universal Music Group, could not be prouder at $2.50 a download. Yes, that is $7.5 million dollars worth of rings to be heard near you. Most likely they will interrupt a movie, meal or other gathering. They will not likely interrupt a keynoter at a business conference or any lawn bowling tournements for that matter, but here’s hoping ; )

There was a time not too long ago when technology itself told a story about who we were as individuals. Being the first kid on the block with an Atari or Intellivision meant something. The first to have a computer, microwave oven, cell-phone or VCR etc. really spoke to an individual’s individuality - simply possessing new gadgetry defined who you were. Things are much different now.

In today’s world it is the ability for consumers (especially younger ones) to personalize devices and gadgets to fit who they are- that is the big thing. Be it wallpaper, emoticoms, ringtunes, fonts, custom feeds etc., the way we express who we are as individuals is embedded in how we customize our most used - even prized - possessions. We really are how we ring.

This is simply expressive evolution. Comparable to when I had a KISS Army patch sewn onto my jean jacket and expressed myself on my sleeve (yes, I am that old and geeky). Is this any different then when when we put stickers on textbooks in high school? There is no doubt if I had a cell phone in 1977 that Detroit Rock City would have been loaded up.

Now, Chamillionaire will not be downloaded by me - ever. That fact alone may serve the “Cham-brand” quite well because there is nothing worse for a rapper’s street-cred than some white-bread Joe with a couple of kids who's trying to look all gangsta with a hardcore ring. All wrong.

I’ll close out today with my prediction that ringtones are where Chris Anderson’s Long Tail could really take hold. Crazy amounts of unique/niche content that is low cost and readily accessible for anyone to use to express themselves. And, I don’t think we are even close to a tipping point with ringtones and the like.

However, I am certain that if I ever hear the Ray Conniff Singers ringing on a cell phone, I will know two things right away; a) the long tail theory has fully matured and, b) one of my grandparents has managed to annoy me from the heavens.

So, how do you ring dawg?

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Friday, August 04, 2006

AIMS brings Shel Holtz to Toronto - Sept 20

For Immediate Release.... (sorry, could not resist that one) : AIMS -- The Association of Internet Marketing and Sales has secured Shel Holtz for an AIMS event in Toronto on September 20.

Shel is half of the podcasting powerhouse "For Immediate Release" with Neville Hobson. They are the leading voice in podcastig and true pioneers within the genre. They are one of my personal favorite listens, packed full of great info and insights. Shel and Neville are podcasting workaholics, FIR is currently at episode 160.

A geek dinner is in the works too (likely night before the event on September 19). Check out AIMS blog in the next few days for more details. NOTE: Registration will begin sometime next week.

Hold the date for Shel Holtz at AIMS - September 20 It is going to be great - don't miss it. Tell all your friends.

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Hear my question answered by Seth Godin on Across the Sound

Joseph Jaffe just posted the "Celebrity SethMatch", an interview with marketing guru Seth Godin recorded earlier today.

I sent in an audio question for Seth asking "what one technology, idea or innovation have you seen over the past year that will change the world of marketing forever?"

To paraphrase Seth's answer to my question, he reinforced that as mass adversting and marketing is dead, and we are living in the world of a segment of "one". The web has helped to create easily identifiable consumers where any individual has the power to stand-up and be counted, to interact and leave a trail right back to themselves. Technological breakthoughs are tracking everthing and that is the fundamental reason why the bananas are beside the milk at WalMart .

Seth also said that advertising won't go away, and spoke about how conusmers now have powers they may not even realize when they vote with their wallets, or vote with their blog posts, or vote with their feet. Basically, we are all spoiled brats and are the most demanding consumers ever. Wow, it would seem that although I have never met Seth, he really does know all about me!

Listen to the Sethfest on Across the Sound.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Text, Audio & Video

Something I heard recently on Ad Age's "Why it Matters" podcast got me thinking.

Most advertising and marketing has been organized and planned around print, TV and radio. It has been this way forever.

However, as traditional marketing and advertising gets it's new marketing and media makeover, perhaps it is time to look at how things are structured from an organizational standpoint. Perhaps it is time we addressed keeping pace with change and truly capitalizing on it by changing our marketing DNA.

What if the model shifted to simplify the current silo-driven approach? What if we looked at the merits of an approach around Text, Audio and Video? Text as it relates to anything readable, be it digital or physical. Audio as it relates to anything you can hear via radio, podcast or other source. And, video represented in broadcast, online, videogames or other potential form of playback.

Instead of adapting a TV spot to online, or a print ad to a banner or landing page, concepts could truly break free of their "channel shackles" and be built-up on the strength of the core idea. This ties in nicely with one of my previous posts titled "Hub and spokes".

So, if the decline of traditional channels is making us rethink nearly everything, why not look at the organizational structures that were originally built to support this now decaying model? There are overtones of Kevin Robert's SISMO in all this (although I have yet to read SISMO so I am just hazarding a guess here). But, I think it would be worth a healthy debate to see if it is adaptable or not.

My new "meme" is the power of collaboration versus integration. Could this all be related to how/why collaboration is so much more important than integration? My take is that collaborative marketing invents ideas with the whole picture in mind while integration tends to force a square peg fit into a round hole most of the time. That being said, I'll save more on that "meme" for another post or podcast.

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