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
Last night, we attended Microsoft’s soft launch party for Softwear, the company’s new line of graphic tees designed by hip-hop artist Common and “inspired by the 1980s when both Microsoft and hip-hop really came of age.” The software giant’s foray into fashion is intended to conjure a sense of nostalgic hipness around the brand, while reacting to the “I’m a PC” stereotype made popular by Apple. The shirts, which will hit select stores in the US on Dec 15, incorporate old DOS iconography, geek vernacular, and a retro-futuristic aesthetic into some surprisingly stylish designs. Softwear’s two lines, Classic and Common’s designs, can be previewed at Microsoft’s Softwear site, where viewers can also learn about the impetus and story behind the concept, narrated by Common.
December 2, 2008
Amidst the budget cuts all around, one brand that is actually increasing their ad spend is Adidas. Most of their spending is going to be digital. For their new Adidas Originals initiative - the ‘Celebrate Originality’ campaign which includes 17 celebrities from music, sports and fashion - the brand wants to make sure that they reach as many consumers as possible. From WWD:
While Simon Atkins, business unit director, adidas Originals, North America, declined to reveal how much the company is spending, he said the timing couldn’t be better to roll out the campaign, because “while others are cutting back, we are going to be aggressive in the marketplace,” adding the campaign will celebrate three-stripe’s 60th anniversary. Adidas will begin by running TV commercials, but digital initiatives such as Web home-page takeovers and Facebook will account for more than 50 percent of the spending.
Their partnerships are pretty interesting as well, such as the one with Diesel which explores ‘10 Original Ways to Successfully Waste Your Time’ (!!!!).
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 7, 2008
Companies are taking a lesson from the old adage that sometimes it’s better to give than to receive. Giveaways, often linked to national events that are themselves already in the public conscious, have begun to generate serious buzz within the online sphere. In fact, the mere mention of one of these limited time offers creates noticeable spikes in the amount of times a participating business’ name is searched and that’s before any free transaction even takes place. Add in the increased foot traffic as potential customers flock to stores in the hopes of getting a sample of the featured product or service and the incentive to buy additional items rises as well. An equation that makes a great deal of sense for these companies considering the amount of “free” marketing they’re receiving for such a small initial outlay.
A sample from Tuesday’s election day tie-ins:
On Google Trends, 10 of Google’s top 100 hot search terms are looking for free election swag. Who’s getting all that traffic?
- “Starbucks free coffee” is the 23rd fastest-rising search term of the day and “starbucks election” is 79.
- “Chick Fil A” is number 6 and “chickfila” is number 58 (they’re giving away free chicken sandwiches)
- “Ben and Jerrys” is number 16 (free ice cream)
- “Krispy Kreme locations” is number 25 (free donuts)
- “Shanes Rib Shack” is number 29 (free meal, but only to first 300 customers at “participating stores”)
- And generally, “free stuff for voting” is 17, “free stuff on election day” is 51, and “freebies for voting” is 66
[via Silicon Alley Insider]
The Travel 2.0 blog has an interesting post on Pepsi’s social rebranding. The fact that they’ve changed their logo is now common knowledge - Seth Godin recently blogged about it as well - but it hasn’t been done in a vacuum. Pepsi has actively reached out to 25 of the most influential marketing bloggers, sent them a set of Pepsi cans that captured the brand’s history, as well a set of the new cans and an invitation to join their FriendFeed room to post their comments. FriendFeed, for the uninitiated, is a site that captures all your social activity in one place - so if you are on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, for example, every time you make an update to these sites, the information is updated on FriendFeed. By creating a separate room on the web to record user comments about the rebranding, Pepsi has shown that they are actively listening to consumers and not just dishing out changes without any concern for how it has been accepted.
[image courtesy Greg Verdino's blog]
November 6, 2008
Starting Nov 18, PSFK will be running a series of breakfast discussions in New York City up until the holidays. We aim to host these Good Idea Salons twice a week about different topics that we hope you’ll find inspirational and helpful as you prepare for next year.
Good Idea Salons are part of our Good Ideas initiative - a campaign of positivity in a time when we need a little.
Good Ideas In Mobile - Tuesday, November 18
Good Ideas In Design - Thursday, November 20
Good Ideas in Collaboration - Tuesday, November 25
Good Ideas In Digital - Tuesday, December 2 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Social Media - Thursday, December 4 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Brand Experience - Tuesday, December 9 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Design II - Thursday, December 11 (details to follow)
Good Ideas In Collaboration II - Tuesday, December 16 (details to follow)
Good Ideas For The Future - Thursday, December 18 (details to follow)
The session is really a conversation with a group of about 30-40 readers. For the first 10 minutes, PSFK will present a thought starter then a number of experts will open a discussion and invite the audience to debate for the next 40-50 minutes. Simple. Time: 8.30-9.30am (Doors @8.15am).
November 3, 2008
Japanese design company Muji wants to be clear with the latest message on their website: they are “not a brand.” They simply develop “products with a view towards global consumption of the future.” Curious.
On one hand, their vision is to be commended for offering an intelligent response to unchecked consumerism, where fads and cheaply manufactured goods are too often easily discarded when they go out of style or break. To combat this trend, “MUJI aims to raise the standard of ‘enough’ to the greatest extent possible.” They plan on accomplishing this by creating universal products made with dependable materials and smart designs - a means of fulfilling their customers’ needs without forcing them to compromise on taste.
However, hiding beneath all the rhetorical trappings of enlightenment and collectivism, lies the notion that “if you buy our values then why not buy everything we’re selling in our stores while you’re at it.” An ingenious piece of subliminal marketing that puts lifestyle choices front and center while positioning the desire of owning these ideals as the natural next step.
October 31, 2008
SharedEgg offers some neat data visualization maps that provide a glimpse of the interconnected web of products, brands, and activities that binds us. Based on data collected from constituents of various ’subcultures’, the maps reflect the different labels people have for themselves and others based on what they like, what they consume and how they spend their free time. SharedEgg explains their process:
What we ended up asking of our participants was just to list some of the products, and activities that they are involved with: what music artists they listen to, what movies they watch, what television shows they watch, what websites they might visit, brands they wear, accessories they wear, what electronics they own, and where they have lived.
After we had this information from the participant, we asked them to categorize those products and activities into preset subcultural categories (Bohemian, Casual, Cyber, Nerd, Emo, Gamer, Gangsta, Hardcore, Hippie, Trendy, Indie, F.O.B., Sporty, Preppy, Punk, Rocker, Reggae, Skater). After gathering the information we needed, we had to come up with a taxonomy that would allow this data to be best visualized within Many Eyes Data Visualization Software.
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