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  • The digital citizen 10:00 pm on August 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , creative, experience,   

    Successful adverts: Not just pretty executions 

    It occurred to me recently that it has been a while since an advert made me buy a product. In the meantime, my research among friends and colleagues showed that the most memorable advert recently was “compare the meercat“. Personally I find the advert offensive to my aesthetic and taste; however, when I was looking for home insurance, I instinctively typed “compare the market” in Google, although I have been working closely with many similar sites for my financial client.

    Do-ability of a product works miracles for a brand. Think about it; when was the last time you vacuum cleaned your carpet? I bet you hoovered recently. And do you actually search on Google or do you just Google?

    Here is what I mean. Consumers have seen too many adverts to be inspired by creative. And if we all agree that the creative aspect of an advert is great, this will not necessarily mean that we will go out to buy the product.What will makes consumers try a product is innovation. The questions is though, how do you apply innovation when you have nothing new to say or when your products is good and effecient enough already to need an update?

    Innovation does not have to be a new version of or an updated product. Innovation can also mean a new way of experiencing a product. Bacardi existed for a long time but saw a surge in consumption when the”Bacardi Mojito” campaign was launched. The new way of enjoying Bacardi is innovation and consumers needed an alternative to the outdated Bacardi and Coke.

    Of course not all brands can be do-able and this is ok as long as they can be useful. Nor can they or are expected to create a new user experience with every campaign; DO-ability is rather a long term strategy as repetition of the experience is important for the consumer to make the necessary co-relation between the product and routine.

    Consumer behaviour has changed as people become more educated, with more advanced judgment and most of all busier. Brands will have to invade their daily routine in order to be influential and this can only be done through an innovative experience.

    • bezalel 10:20 pm on August 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      “Innovation can also mean a new way of experiencing a product.” Well, you know this phrase is not in any of the universally praised best sellers about marketing and advertising that decorate our libraries these days… It’s really something different and I think it deserves a creative analysis. Business models make it almost impossible to realise how vitally important this approach towards innovation is. I very much enjoyed the “hoovering” part. ­čÖé

    • Sofia@SoMaFusion 2:37 pm on September 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I suspect that what you are saying here is that advertising can be great and lovely and do amazing things but it can only take you so far if you keep repeating the same thing over and over again and never think of new uses or alterations to your product. I think it’s the same with all comms work – the PR industry is constantly accused of this – presenting and packaging might bring great results but too often we have seen a lot of ‘wolf’ cries and not a whole lot of ‘wolf’. I always wondered if maybe this did not contribute somewhat to consumers’ disillusionment.

  • The digital citizen 11:41 am on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Social Media Campaigns: The good, the bad and the ugly 

    My clients are increasingly asking me if there is space for social media in their campaigns.

    Personally, I am a loud advocate of social media and their importance in getting your brand heard in the age of dialogue we live in. However, I do not think that all of my clients are ready for social media campaigns, as they are not ready to engage with their audience in the way social media require brands to engage.

    Having seen many successful and unsuccessful social media campaigns, 3 broader categories stand out:

    The good:

    This is a social media campaign that has everything you expect it to have. It is built on the foundations of dialogue. The brand listens and responds to the public.

    But the most important thing is that the brand has a clear vision, an understanding of its position among its competitors and is on a mission to monetise on what it does best, developing at the same time and with the help of the public the areas it might be lacking.

    These brands are gaining new fans purely on the basis of being demographic and honest. People like them because they are allowed to participate and contribute to a team effort. As long as the products and services are equally good, if not better than their social media engagements, these brands are on their ways to great successes.


    The bad:

    Quite often in our office, someone, often me, sends an email around about a new social media campaign that seems exciting. Usually I keep a close eye on them but soon disappointment strikes.

    Some brands use social media to brag about how great they and their products are. The use the social platforms to sell and even worst, they measure the success of their campaigns based on conversions the social media campaign drove, rather than on the buzz and brand awareness created as a result .

    Often these brands are so arrogant that they do not engage in a dialogue, unless it is to have an argument with whoever dared challenged their greatness. The outcome of their campaigns is negative buzz around their brand and unfortunately, negative buzz is not reversable.


    The ugly:

    Some brands do everything right apart from one thing; they don’t know how to keep the conversation going.

    Social media require constant engagement. Brands, apart from enterprises, are also experts in their field. A bank for example can increase its social media profile by advising people on their banking issues. A telecoms company could participate in conversations comparing handsets. A video game manufacturer can engage and challenge gamers and so on.

    But the conversation has to keep going. Because brands who have stopped it will find it very hard to regain the trust of the people who engaged with them in the first place, only to find out that this was just a campaign and not an ongoing collaboration between the brand and the consumer.


    So when my clients ask me whether we could launch a social media campaign my answer is always the same: Are you ready to dedicate the necessary time, effort and resource to make this work? Are you ready to commit to an ongoing and evolving relationship with the consumers? If the answer is yes, them I will be more than happy to help you build your social profile.

    • bezalel 1:31 pm on August 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      A coherent and strong view! ­čÖé I tottaly agree. I believe the “bad” are glued to the details and description of the process, rather than the actual results. As for the ugly, a “give to get” mentality plays out with succesfull campaigns.

      People have to be really sure about what their purpose is. They have to be open to feedback and learning from others. Not many people are like that.

      And you should write more. ­čÖé

  • The digital citizen 6:42 pm on August 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , teens   

    Digital Realism: advertising to teens 

    When advertisers get it wrong, they get it very wrong. And this is exactly what is currently happening with many advertisers’ perception on advertising to teenagers.

    The Morgan Stanley report on how teens consume online media, written by a 15 year old Stanley Morgan intern, came as a shock to the online gurus/experts/coaches, who, with the social media boom, had all of a sudden developed and unfounded expertise in teens advertising.

    To a certain extend I understand why the hype. Social media are exciting; advertisers can use them to apply innovation and stand out. Ambitious people tend to be more involved with social media, understanding that this is where the opportunities lie.

    Furthermore, with the standard display advertising response rates decreasing day on day and year on year, it is natural for agencies to try to find new ways to engage with their clients’ prospective customers.

    But there is a problem; social media strategies should reflect the contemporary society, not a futuristic one. A good social media strategist has a keen interest in and understanding of sociology as well as marketing.

    The numbers speak for themselves:

    The Nielsen Study (June ’09) on the myths and realities of teen media trends explodes the common, among social enthusiasts, myths and gives an honest and holistic picture on the teen media consumption. What it basically says is that teens are normal. And as such they should be treated, approached and advertised to.

    This is the harsh (for social gurus) reality; teens are highly dependent individuals, with limited (if any) spending power. They are time poor due to their school commitments and in their free time they are more concerned about building their social, rather than digital, image. Remember yourselves as teens? did you rather be at home or out and about with your friends?

    Teens are not a standalone social group but part of a society with contemporary priorities and needs. And as these priorities and needs change, our strategies should be drafted within the context of the society we currently live in and not the one we would like to be living in.

    Sociological analysis is therefore key to a successful strategy to reach teens. Sociology, and not imagination, will help advertisers identify where teens can be found; when and where they are more likely to listen; and how and when to speak to them. Social media can then be (a central) part of the overall human centric strategy, taking into consideration the target’s actual lifestyle choices.

    It is about time that social media gurus, experts and coaches stopped the preaching and started thinking, for their own sake and that of their clients. It is about time they applied some realism into their strategies.

    Unfounded and unsupported by sociological facts campaigns not only put our clients in danger of great failures but also geopardise the future credibility on social media as an advertising platforms.

    • bezalel 7:07 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I read the report. Initially one is confronted by a strong feeling of certainty: “I know I probably have the wrong view, but it’s not that far from the reality”, I thought. And then one realizes he is, far from it. It’s frightening really. First, because strategies are drawn by “taken for granted” behaviors and second -now, that’s the REALLY scary part- , because everyone in the market knows it. Of course, the Nielsen June 2009 report is no “light courier”. In the report’s introduction, it’s visible to the reader that the media habits of the teenagers, are more taken from granted than argued about in the marketing industry: “Our findings challenge a whole host of assumptions about media habits of this generation (…)”, we read. And then, one assumes (since assumption is clearly a key word here), that advertising runs with ideas that are drawn into doubt. “How teens use media” – “How marketers develop strategies”. ­čÖé No defense here, but I find it the hardest task for a society not to get stuck. The opposite is a real challenge.

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