December 11, 2008
We’ve made a decision to stop publishing on Marktd. Despite making changes to focus on the creative/marketing ideas sister site of PSFK.com, we are still unhappy with the quantity and quality of the site.
Marktd started life as a subscription site called IF! which offered ideas to marketers about how to promote their products in a fresh, modern way. It was fairly successful and we got a good number of people pay the $25 subscription - but we felt that the subscription stopped it being read by a large group of people. A few months back we decided to stop the subscription and relaunch the site as Marktd. Since then interest in the site hasn’t really picked up. I would suggest that this is because of a number of reasons:
* We just aren’t that interesting in marketing and advertising. Personally it’s been 7 years since I had a full time job in advertising and the longer time goes on, the less interest I have in the field. Combine that apathy with the fact that only one or two of the regular writing team have ever worked in advertising.
* Many of our readers who work in marketing and advertising don’t seem to be that interested in only reading about marketing and advertising.
* When we do find exceptional marketing ideas that we are interested in, they tend to end up on PSFK.com anyway.
* We launched Marktd because IF! just wasn’t good enough. We’re closing Marktd because the site just didn’t meet our standards.
Maybe one day we’ll think about relaunching it - maybe with a sponsoring partner. From today, the Marktd email newsletter and RSS will change to PSFK content. We’re hoping that the existing Marktd readers will get even better creative ideas content as a result.
December 4, 2008
There’s an interesting piece on the Profero site on how companies that have chosen to take digital into their hearts could thrive in the recession:
2009/10 will see the toughest financial period for nearly quarter of a century, but managed correctly brands with an unambiguous, intelligent and coherent digital strategy, the ones that have had the foresight to utilise their digital presence over the last few years to generate a genuine consumer loyalty and create a lasting dialogue, could achieve some relative benefits in the slump and weather the storm better than their purely offline, or less savvy competitors. It’s a big “if”, and it is impossible to say just how things will pan out, but one suspects that the brands that come out of this with the least damage will be the ones who have understood and taken seriously the centrality of digital in twenty-first century life. Those that have chosen to ignore the influence of digital in modern society, whether by accident, an inability to adapt or by design, may just find these tough times just that little bit tougher.
December 1, 2008
Rob Walker over at the NY Times calls attention to an interesting study conducted at the University of Maryland recently, tracking what is being called “incidental brand-consumer encounters.” Essentially, the research was meant to determine what kind of effect, if any, brands have on us in the context of strangers. With all of the advertising bombarding as we walk down the street, the ones with the most impact might not be traditional advertising at all, but rather subtle cues picked up from the people around us holding cans of Coca-Cola or wearing a T-shirts emblazoned with an easily identifiable logo.
In one study, each subject was shown 20 photographs of people in various situations and instructed to focus on facial expressions. Afterward, each subject was offered a bottle of water from a selection of four brands. The experiment had nothing to do with facial expressions and everything to do with which kind of water they chose: the subjects had been divided into groups, based on how many of the photos they viewed incidentally included a bottle of Dasani water. Among those who looked at Dasani-free pictures, about 17 percent chose that brand. But about 40 percent of those who viewed a group of pictures that included 12 with a Dasani presence made the brand their pick. Since subjects who actually noticed the brand in the pictures were eliminated from the results, that spike in popularity evidently came from exposure that the subjects weren’t even aware of. “In essence,” Ferraro says, “we have these brief social encounters fairly regularly, and they may have an impact on our choices.”
Walker uses the Ralph Lauren logo as a telling example of a company’s ability to create a lasting, recognizable logo that has been so seamlessly incorporated into their product line that rather than reaching a level of cluttered ubiquity, has almost been rendered invisible - but not really. And that might be the very reason that it’s so successful. Recognizing this fact perhaps, Ralph Lauren has smartly allowed the iconic image to play its influential role in public, while leaving it absent from their advertising campaigns. An interesting lesson in out-of-box marketing and brand positioning, especially given out turbulent economic times, proving that less is sometimes more.
[via Rob Walker at NY Times]
November 25, 2008
Screens are everywhere—in bars, taxis, movie theaters, living rooms, city streets, in your hand, in front of you right now—and it’s making media increasingly fragmented. Yesterday we talked about how the ad business is being affected by this proliferation of media channels. “We have a story we want to tell, and we use different media channels and different touch points to tell it. We have to rely on the consumer to pull the story together,” said Robert Rasmussen.
However, the mark of a good campaign is not just narrative cohesion between these channels, but truly connecting them in an interactive, engaging way. A new campaign from AT&T taking a big step towards this.
To help promote new quick messaging phones, AT&T has launched AT&T Text Jumbli. Kind of like a digital version of Boggle, players text in words they can make out of letters floating around the screen. The massive multiplayer casual game can be played across multiple platforms–a Facebook app, TVs at thousands of bars and restaurants, movie screens during previews, and even on a billboard in Times Square—and everyone sees the same screen. They are giving away hundreds of Pantech Slate phones to top scorers.
As we (especially advertisers) lament the lack of our shared screen–the TV–perhaps we can look forward to more to collective, shared, engaging experiences like these. Experiences that can happen from anywhere, whether you’re in the middle of New York City or a basement in Duluth.
Check out the AT&T Text Jumbli Facebook page to play
(note: you need to become a fan in order to get yer prizes)
November 21, 2008
The next two Good Ideas Salons to be held will be on the next two Tuesdays.
On Tuesday November 25th, Colin Nagy (PSFK / Attention) will lead a discussion on Good Ideas in Collaboration with Amit Gupta (Jelly / PhotoJojo), Andrew Hoppin (NASA), John Geraci (Outside In / DIY City) and Matt Stinchcomb (Etsy). The PSFK team will start the breakfast briefing with a thought starter from our new book entitled ‘Ask For Help’. Tickets are available here.
On Tuesday December 2nd, we will hold a discussion on Good Ideas in Digital with Chet Gulland (Anomaly, Johanna Beyenbach (Naked), Mike Arauz (Undercurrent), Noah Brier (Barbarian Group. The PSFK team will start the breakfast briefing with a thought starter from our new book entitled ‘Make Histories’. Tickets are available here.
Both events will be held at the Naked Communications offices on Greene Street in SoHo.
November 18, 2008
Stories engage us and, as our attention fragments, that is precisely what advertisers are trying to do. Enter the commercial-as- miniseries. The concept has really taken root in Asia–just search youtube for “SK Telecom” or “LG Telecom” and you’ll get tons of hits from South Korea. The following three commercials illustrate this phenomenon, telling the story of a family separated between the North and the South:
Now we’re going to see more of these story-driven ads in the U.S. thanks to a new studio called Dandelion, which officially launched yesterday. Formed by Epoch Films and Kirt Gunn Associates, the company is “dedicated to creating programming and entertainment sponsored by brands.” It’s almost a return to the “brought-to-you-by” model of early television where content was king, and advertisers just paid the bills. Almost. They do work for brands after all, so what they create is essentially branded serial content, but at a higher quality. Actual professional writers, directors and producers are at the helm, rather than marketing interns with a Flip video camera.
Brands today need to be transparent, accessible, human. This is what consumers relate to. These commercials aim to tap into these same ideals by bringing brands to life and appealing to our emotions. If they succeed, will we soon be TiVoing commercials and skipping the shows?
November 10, 2008
Eschewing the prevailing theory in advertising that one should never mention your competitor’s product, many companies are taking a page out of the political campaign season and going with attack ads or in the parlance of the industry, “comparative advertising” that do just that. The trend towards negative marketing is being attributed to the downturn in the economy, forcing businesses to compete for a smaller pool of consumer dollars.
Although a dangerous proposition with plenty of potential to backfire, agencies tasked with creating these campaigns have found injecting humor to be the best method of ensuring success. Additionally, the charges being leveled against the competition need to be well-researched and not simply anecdotal. Advertisers shouldn’t underestimate the savvy of their customer base by pushing unsubstantiated claims, simply to move a few more units. The risk outweighs the reward in these instances, given the the web’s potential to reach a wide audience if any fallacies are uncovered by the public, thus alienating the very people they were attempting to court. At the same time, a poorly conceived strategy opens the door for the competition, allowing them proper justification to employ undercutting tactics of their own. The real question seems to be how much tit for tat can we collectively stomach before everyone walks away a loser?
“It’s very tactical, it’s very short-term, but today marketers are thinking short-term,” said David Melançon, the chief executive of the Ito Partnership, a brand identity consulting company in New York.
Other examples of negative product pitches include a long-running campaign from Apple that mercilessly mocks the PC operating systems sold by Microsoft; a campaign from the Fox Business Channel cable network, which deridesJim Cramer of CNBC; ads for Burger King that take on other fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s; and a campaign for a new variety of Campbell’s soup, Select Harvest, that berates Progresso for selling soups with ingredients like monosodium glutamate.
[via New York Times]
November 7, 2008
A visually stunning new advert from Nike has come to our attention. The ad was created by Darbotz, an Indonesian artist best known for his monochromatic and intricate style. Though it may not come across in the video, it’s a promotion for a new version of the classic Air Force Ones. The video is supposed to reflect the evolution of the brand and give a taste of the reinterpretation and remixing in the Sportswear division. It was animated by Randy Rais with music by Arianjie. Here’s the video:
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