December 5, 2008
We’ve heard a lot of brands wishing to ‘own’ music recently, and we always get a bit, well, annoyed about it, because music belongs to people and persons, not brands. And the only thing brands should be trying to do in terms of music are those bandied-brand words, ‘facilitating’ and ‘enabling’. Ruby Pseudo’s team in the UK did a focus group recently where - in six minutes - the kids named 44 brands they saw as being part of the whole music “thing”, either in a good or an appropriate way.
Our results? The same brands kept coming up. As an overview:
- Network brand 02 was mentioned by over 65% of the respondents. That’ll probably go up too since they’ve brought all the Carling venues (isn’t it a bit like when Reebok brought Thierry Henry and everyone was like, um, he’s a Nike guy?)
- Virgin also occupied front of mind, and was cited by over 45% of the kids.
- Carling (for the time being) took bronze with 35% of respondents calling it out as being appropriately involved with music (Reading Festival and the like)… Diesel was also a runner-up with 25% calling out the denim brand as having a finger in the fat music pie (Diesel New Music Awards).
Overall, the notable brands mentioned in their respective categories:
- Broadcasters: C4, BBC, M&V
- Food & Drinks: Carling, Innocent, Coca Cola, Becks, Red Bull
- Fashion: Nike, Oxfam, Diesel, Adidas
- Network Providers: 02, Virgin, Orange, T Mobile
- Mobile Phone Brands: Sony (25%), Nokia (10%) Samsung (5%)
Some useful quotes from respondents:
‘They had a guitar hero tent at Reading, I thought it was amazing, the best thing they could’ve done. There were like loads of geeks playing and really getting into it and they were giving away free t-shirts and there were competitions.” Libby, 16
“They had a Duracell tent at Reading as well, something about lasting longer, some music tent, can’t really remember.” Jamie, 21
“They made a digital map at Glastonbury so you could navigate around and find the best places to get drunk and listen to music!” Tarik, 18
“As for Orange RockCorps- absolutely love that idea - it has the level of exclusivity that will interest and provoke youth into volunteering- genius.” Leonie, 21
‘Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel…’
“I did the orange RockCorps thing the other day which is so good for people our age who might not be able to afford tickets for gigs or they might be sold out by the time we get the money together. So many people turned up to the community service I went to that they didn’t have enough tools for us!” Jay-Ann, 17
[article originally appearing on Ruby Pseudo Wants a Word]
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 3, 2008
At our Good Ideas in 2009: Digital salon yesterday, much of the conversation surrounded how our online identities are created, both actively - through our own decisions of what we share about ourselves - and passively - through the actions and perceptions of others. Given that we only have control over half of that equation, how do we ensure that the best and brightest portrait of ourselves is seen by the wider community?
Piers posited his “Red Coat, Black Coat” theory back in 2006, which proved to be a harbinger of conversations to come about approaches to online privacy as the internet extends its reach further into our daily activities. At yesterday’s session, two methods became most evident: one centers around greater transparency. By choosing to let every detail out into the public sphere by our own hand, we’re able to send a clear message that says “this is who I am and I’m okay with that.” Of course, this is a bit of a risky proposition, but a more complex picture with all of its strengths and flaws, is certainly a truer one as well.
The other view that operates alongside the above idea of being “free and open,” is to take a more dynamic role participating in the feedback loop. Developing relationships with not only your friends, but your critics as well, promotes conversation and can lead to understanding.
These lessons don’t only apply to our individual profiles anymore either, but speak to the larger identities being developed at the level of corporations and brands too. Building on this platform, we’re witnessing a trend of businesses starting to raise the bar in terms of the amount and type information being provided to the public, while at the same engaging consumers on a more personal basis.
Online retailer Zappos was mentioned during yesterday’s session as one company that has been able to implement this model in a positive way through the context of their social media-styled employee blogs. Other examples that illustrate this new movement include user generated review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp that enable businesses to directly respond to their costumers and GM Facts and Fiction, an attempt by General Motors to dispel rumors about the current state of their company.
As we begin to see successes from the early adopters of this paradigm shift, we expect more companies will jump aboard and participate. This trend can only lead to a richer consumer experience for all involved.
[image via Michael Martin]
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.
The Economist did something interesting in Philadelphia, USA recently. They branded pizza boxes that went out from 20 pizzerias in the city with global statistics of food consumption - like the amount of wheat consumption or cheese imports. Apparently, most of the pizzerias were near universities or colleges, so they had the aim of getting young people interested in the magazine. From Cool Hunting:
While undoubtedly a promotion for the British newsmagazine, the pizza boxes represent a creative, through-provoking method of essentially force-feeding information. Perhaps it’s a subject matter slightly heavier than the average pizza consumer is expecting. Do we need to know that 96.8 percent of American mushroom imports come from Canada? Probably not, but it’s definitely food for thought.
November 7, 2008
Taking a page from their customer friendly food service model, Burger King recently took “Have It Your Way” into the realms of D.I.Y. fashion. A collaboration between 5 designers and artists tasked with reinterpreting elements of Burger King’s icons and logos culminated at an event held in Chicago on October 24th. The gathering invited participants to take part in the studio creation process by silk-screening the final designs onto their own clothing in any combination they chose. Essentially, a clever form of marketing that allowed Burger King to subvert their own image, while at the same time maintaining recognizable aspects familiar to their wider audience. The company has also pushed this idea a step further with Burger King Studio, a site that takes the hands-on experience and introduces it to the online space. Users have the ability to design their own T-shirts using the same details from the out-of-home event with additional levels of customizable options available, promising the uniqueness you want without fear of “getting ink all over yourself.” Additional happenings have already been scheduled for November 7th and 21st.
MySpace and Viacom’s MTV Networks announced a deal that will partner them with Auditude, a technology firm that has developed a means of identifying whether uploaded video clips belong to a particular TV Network by recognizing unique electronic signatures. Auditude approached these two companies with this technology, marketing it as a means of incorporating advertising. Essentially, any content appearing on MySpace belonging to MTV Networks will be tagged, allowing either business the option of inserting ads.
This represents a significant change in attitude for both companies. In the past, MySpace TV, the second largest video site behind YouTube, might have blocked this pirated material completely, while traditionally Viacom has attempted to keep its material from being posted without their permission. It will be interesting to see if viewers will embrace these expanded freedoms even as their rights to commercial-free content are taken away.
“Now the shackles are off our users,” said Jeff Berman, president of marketing and sales at MySpace. “They are fully empowered, and the media companies get to monetize and get all the data from this. They know what is actually being consumed out there and get the benefit of the viral promotion.”
“We’ve been empowering consumers to use our content in new ways for a while now, and allowing uploads of our content has been a goal for us,” said Mika Salmi, president of global digital media at MTV Networks. “MySpace and Auditude were the first partners we found with the right technology, business model and user experience to do it right.”
[via NY Times Bits Blog]
November 4, 2008
As pop-culture and celebrity gossip blogs continue to see increased traffic, particularly with the youth demographic, advertisers’ views on what counts as acceptable have started to change. Given the uneasy economic climate and tightening budgets, it’s become increasingly important for mainstream brands to be mindful of where their ad dollars are going. As a result, following the crowds, even if that means entering non-traditional venues on the web with less respectable material, makes a good deal of sense. Despite the inherent logic of this move, some in the media still question whether this issue has more to do with negligent ad networks than with any real shift in attitude. In either case, it’s always been a challenge for manufacturers to reach a new audience without alienating their loyal base. The takeaway from this seems to be that a quality product or service will go a long towards keeping your customers regardless of the occasional media misstep.
In recent weeks, ads for Days Inn and Samsung have popped up on the blog Egotastic!, known for its photos of underwear-shedding pop stars. Aside from ads for P&G brands, AOL’s considerably more PG-13 TMZ.com has sported banners from Wal-Mart and Verizon. Last Thursday, WWTDD, which revels in disparaging celebrities, carried promotional ads for NBC’s 30 Rock.
Digital buyers report that across several categories—particularly movie studios and products that target younger consumers—brands have come to terms with whatever reservations they might have once had about the content of such sites, as they simply cannot ignore the passionate following the sites have built.
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