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Category Archives: Branded Experience

Orange Balloonacy

So, Orange Ballonacy is back – and this time it’s bigger, better and a whole load more social. Check it out at http://playballoonacy.com

The race starts on 8th November so if you want to add your website to the course or grab yourself a balloon before the race starts, you better do it now!

If you’ve never heard about Balloonacy before, it is a great internet balloon race where thousands of balloonists fly across a course made out of bits of the internet to win heaps of kudos and prizes. Here’s a quick peek of what happened two years ago

…and this time there’s a prize for website owners too! http://www.playballoonacy.com/prizes

Up for it? Head on over to http://playballoonacy.com where you can add your website, grab a balloon and help make Balloonacy an awesome one this year as well!

Good luck to all the racers!

E 😀

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Branded Video Content all the way…

For those who remember, the expression ‘branded content’ was coined in 2001 with the launch of an amazing BMW project called The Hire, a collection of 8 short movies produced by BMW with some of the world’s best directors, starring Clive Owen as the main character and showcasing some of the best qualities of the mighty German cars.

As consumers had begun to be engaged with much more interesting, relevant and definitely longer content, in 2001 this was considered a breakthrough innovation. In 2010, nearly 10 years down the line, this marketing approach is still considered to be one of the best around and who couldn’t say the same with a bunch of new ‘branded content’ making their way into our ‘hearts=brains’ ?

It’s always good to remember what Gary Knight, ex ITV, once said:

The content element must be real, for real people, in the real world. It must never be advertorial, as it then becomes “fictitious” and the franchise is lost. The best starting point is to think about how to create a genuine viewing experience that can adopt true brand-extension positions, both on-and off-air.

The new decade has definitely started with a BANG within this marketing environment as more and more marketeers try and come up with cost-effective ideas; new ways to reach diversified audiences and create content that can be easily integrated within a marketing mix using different channels.

Just thought I’d show you some of the great examples from the last couple of years that I’ve loved, followed by some of the newly-launched ones, as I am really excited about 2010 being the year for branded content.

In the same style of The Hire, towards the end of 2008, Sony Ericsson launched an awards-winning campaign calledWho is Jonny X, a nine-part digital drama series to promote the new line of Xperia phones. Each episode (2 to 3 minutes long) followed Johnny X as he used his X1 mobile phone to try and piece together elements of his life following a kidnap by a gang. For those of you who didn’t see it, you can either watch the whole movie on the official website, or go to their YouTube page to see each single episode.

In 2009, Red Bull decided to create an online series whose target audience of extreme-sports fans could completely-relate-to and entirely-get-addicted-to. For this reason, they decided to launch ‘The Atherthon Project’, an awesome show tracking the exploits of the most famous family in mountain bike history. The series follows British riders Dan, Gee and Rachel Atherton as they compete in the 2009 UCI World Cup Series and the World Championships in Australia. Totally addictive and perfect for their adrenaline-junky-core-audience.

Also last year, Schweppes launched a short movie called ‘SIGNS’ which is one of the videos I simply can’t stop watching. The viral seeding activity was brilliant as no one actually knew that it was a branded project by the Orangina Company. The video has reached around 10 million views since launched and it’s an absolute masterpiece in my honest opinion. It’s quite funny that until the last time I saw the movie, I didn’t realise at the end the ‘Schhhhhh’ sign made by the actress (which kinds gives it away…)

In 2006/07, Orange commissioned a TV show called ‘Orange Playlist‘ to promote the existing Orange Mobile Music Store. The show was broadcasted on ITV every Wednesday featuring different celebrities picking their 10 favourite songs. The show was so successful that it was commissioned for the following year. Orange and their brand entertainment agency Cake also managed to extend their Playlist content into experiential marketing through roadshows touring universities and city centres.

In 2009, Australian ‘uBank launched a rather successful campaign to help consumers understand the tough economic climate with a series of some very ‘tongue-in-cheek’ video-tutorials. Called Money Box the content aims at making the world of finance simple and easy to understand, helping you “make the most of your money right now” (Very ASDA-ish)

2010 has already had an impressive start with branded content….

Devil-worthy fashion brand PRADA has just produced a new short-movie called ‘First Spring’ in collaboration with one of the most established Chinese artists, Yang Fudong. The short clip has been shot beautifully and the awesomeness of the video is very much in the lack of heavy branded material. You don’t see the PRADA logo anywhere during the movie; a well thought technique that will definitely allow the brand to grab consumers’ attention even more.

As Daniel Granatta has already mentioned within Adverblog, ABSOLUT is one of the brands that better understands the concept of branded content. One of their recently launched sites to promote their ‘Rock Edition’ vodka bottle, called “You’re with the band“, is in fact a very good proof of that (this is a documentary made by Danny Clinch on how’s the life of a rock band such as Wolfmother).
However, their latest work is something that looks absolutely exceptional.
In collaboration with ‘Where the Wild Things Are‘ director Spike Jonze, this week Absolut has launched a short-movie at the Sundance Film Festival called ‘I’m Here’. As Contagious magazine reports, this is a wonderfully whimsical tale about two robots living in LA that Jonze says is his first love story.

Jonze says of the collaboration:

Absolut didn’t give me any requirements to make a movie that had anything to do with vodka. They just wanted me to make something that was important to me, and let my imagination take me wherever I wanted’.

All I can say is that the movie seems to be fitting perfectly with the ABSOLUT brand and even more with their latest comms positioning. The investment in such an acclaimed director seems to have already paid off with the 30-minute film being accepted into film festivals globally, including Berlin next month, Turkey and the aforementioned Sundance. (Ref. Contagious)

One last thing to mention for those who really don’t get the difference between ‘Sponsored Content’ and ‘Branded Content’.

Sponsorship is adding a brand’s logo to an already existing event or entertainment property, whereas Branded Content involves coming up with the creative idea together with the brand and the producers. It is an effort of collaboration in order to bring consumers entertainment that they want, in the form that they want it!

Who is gonna be next?

E./


 

Brave Smart Campaigns …

Hey peeps

I hope you are all keeping well. I’m sorry if I haven’t managed to write some more stuff in the past few days but it’s been extremely hectic. I’ve seen some amazing creative and strategically well thought campaigns this month and below you can find some of the ones I personally consider the best.

The first one is the latest by Skype called the Phone Box Experiment. Once again, through an experiential approach to their marketing initiatives, they enable users to understand the real benefits of using Skype to make cheaper international calls. Check the video below to understand what I’m talking about….

I wonder how many people will actually get to call him as you need actual Skype credits to make the call…. which I don’t – I believe that’s also part of the strategy to get first timers to buy credits, no?  The campaign has been put together by The Viral Factory.

The second one I wanted to showcase was the $500 campaign by Opticana by McCann Erickson in Israel.

The campaign is another example of ‘brilliant creative thinking’ and definitely something that I’m sure every person in my industry has thought about at least once…(the meerkat being another genius example playing with keywords) Campaigns like this definitely make you wonder if you really need $150,000 to produce an high-impact national campaign eh?

Last but definitely not least, it’s the experiential AR/Social Game put together by the Canadian MacLaren McCann group for the launch of HALO 3 ODST. The guys developed a very ambitious offline/online experience mainly aimed at geeks and game-addicts. Watch the video below to understand the campaign and see the results.

Generally speaking, the end results are not that impressive at first. However if you start thinking that it was mainly targeting the gaming community of Toronto – I’d have to take my hat off… Thumbs up for taking such a brave step, the agency is definitely proving to be extremely efficient in putting something like this together, as it’s definitely not an easy thing to do (especially the bit where you need to sell it into the client I believe… ?) ;O)

Cheerio folks…

Enzo

 

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The Antwerp Fashion Weekend

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I am terribly excited about this weekend as it sees the first ever ‘Fashion Weekend’ in the city of Antwerp.
I will be joined by 9 fantastic European Fashion bloggers who will be having a fun packed fashion-themed weekend in one of my favourite European cities.

Make sure you check out the newly launched site ‘Shopping in Antwerp‘ – Once in there, click on THE HUNT on the top right corner and you’ll be able to read more about the event and see the bloggers who are taking part.

Also, you can join the conversation and enjoy all the content from the event simply becoming a fan of the Facebook page we’ve put together for the program.

If your ‘forte’ is either fashion, food, diamonds or architecture – Antwerp is definitely the city for you!

Ciao,

Enzo

 

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Be Kind… PIXAR certainly is!

https://i1.wp.com/www.pixar.com/featurefilms/up/images/upfront.jpg

Probably few of you may have seen this already, but I wanted to write a small post about it because things like these rarely happen!

Last week I was reading this post on Jennifer Jones’ Speak Media Blog, and my heart nearly sank. Sometimes brands really know how to behave with their fans and this one is  a truly wonderful and powerful story.

As with Jennifer, I am not posting this to praise how amazing Pixar was in turning such an amazing story in a PR stunt, because they simply didn’t – I just wanted everyone to know about this story because it shows how people (and not brands) are actually willing to listen and do good in this world!

Here’s the story. A beautiful ten year old girl named Colby Curtain has been fighting a rare form of cancer for years. Her family was recently told she didn’t have much time left. After seeing previews for Pixar’s new animated feature, UP, Colby told her parents she just wanted to stay alive long enough to see the movie. Knowing she couldn’t go to the theater and probably wouldn’t make it to see the DVD release, a family friend contacted Pixar and they came through. The animation company flew an employee to the Curtain house with a pre-release DVD and a few stuffed animals from the film. Colby watched the movie with her family and friends…and then she passed away seven hours later. [From Jennifer’s post]

Still today no comment from Pixar whatsoever… wich makes us all believe what an amazing action this was!
It kinda reminds me about a Zappos‘ story. Not sure if anyone remembers this, but Zappos had a very similar situation with one of their existing customers.
Zaz Lamarr meant to return some shoes to Zappos, but her mom passed away and, naturally, she just didn’t have time. Because of this, Zappos arranged to have UPS go pick up her shoes—and then sent her flowers. This is what Zaz then wrote:
“When I came home this last time, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. I was just back and not ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died but that I’d send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn’t have to take the time to do it myself. I was so touched. That’s going against corporate policy. Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is.”

I totally heart Zappos and this was an absolutely briliant story!
Now with Pixar joining the club I wonder if IT REALLY IS time for some more brands to get a wake up call and love those customers withouth whom they wouldnt really exist, eh?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 30, 2009 in Branded Experience

 

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MINI iPhone App – OPENNESS

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I am delighted to announce the launch of the new MINI iPhone application, OPENNESS

The app is part of the latest digital MINI activity to promote the new MINI convertible, Stay Open, and  something completely different from the run-of-the-mill motoring iPhone applications available within the iTunes Store.

Drivers of convertibles are more open to new experiences so the MINI Openness mobile application encourages users to explore the unexplored and try new things. By downloading the application, users will have access to an off-beat guide to the UK’s major cities, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh and over 400 unusual and spontaneous experiences: from getting a Brazilian to attending a Mexican wrestling match with fetish cabaret, joining a literary salon to jumping on a coach to an unknown destination.

Here are a few quick words on what the application does:

  • When launching the app on your iPhone, based on the level of open-mindedness you choose, the app will provide you with the most adventurous things to do, either closer to where you are or in a specific location (the app supports two geo-options: ‘Find My Location’ and ‘Insert Location’)
  • The application also has a built-in Google Maps API, where you can find the venue or the exact location for each single ‘open-minded’ experience
  • If the experience chosen doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can choose amongst many others, simply clicking on NEXT.
  • Also, if you are not really sure on how adventurous you feel, a simple shake of the iPhone will provide you with a random experience.

SUGGESTIONS5

The wider digital campaign, Stay Open, is supported by online banner activity, also centred on openness and spontaneity.

You can download OPENNESS simply clicking here!

Let me know what you think!

 

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BestBuy CSR Wisdom = Social Media

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I am so glad I was made aware of this video today!

What BestBuy has achieved is what majority of brands are struggling to understand and probably not brave enough to embrace. It’s what I call openness:

  • give a chance to everyone in your company to speak up,
  • make everyone within your company a stakeholder,
  • everyone should be involved,
  • let your employees feel they have a high level of impact into your business development

I have posted a link to the video below this paragraph for all of you to go and watch. It’s 30 minutes long, but if you have a bit of time it’s an incredible insight into how brands should adapt their business models to open up to their employees, with the ultimate objective to retain them for as long as possible, make the business a better place for  your customers to come back to, and last but not least, for your own company to constantly develop thanks to the people who make it such a good place…. It’s not rocket science, BUT STILL, I have no idea why only merely few companies have got it right so far!

Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson in conversation with Peter Hirshberg at Google Zeitgeist from peter hirshberg on Vimeo.

I am not anywhere close to being a business consultant, however I humbly reckon it’s part of an overall ‘Corporate Social Responsability’ vision which has a strong potential to let your business stand out from the others.

The only reason why I am giving the spotlight to BestBuy is because what they are doing is exactly what brands should also be doing with their customers!

BestBuy has launched an internal social network for their over 3000 employees across the US by the name of BlueShirtNation, an internal WIKI, a TradeTrending tool and a Product Development Forum. Within these spaces, employees are constantly coming up with new ideas, talking directly to the managers, getting funded by the company to take interesting concepts one step further, connect with each other from different stores etc… allowing a fully personal experience where they can feel meaningful to the company

That is exactly what customers want!

  • They want to feel listened
  • They want to get involved
  • They want to be meaningful to the eyes of your brand

I would be extremely surprised if BestBuy doesnt open such tools to their customers. People could add even more ideas to what BestBuy employees have, it could actually generate even more conversations between employees and consumers to drive better service and more product development.

Also, at the moment they are talking about a mobile device which would allow customers to review their products right there at the moment of consideration/purchase. A custom software would allow reading a product barcode and let you retrieve all the reviews from the BestBuy online community website straight onto your mobile screen.

The ultimate point is : how would your customer feel through such an awesome shopping experience?

I could only say – satisfied? clear about his choice? glad about listening to what other people like him have to say about the product? More willing to buy?

As a brand, if you start engaging with your existing and potential users online, through building and maintaining open and meaningful conversations you might get the same results! Am I right?

Answers on a postcard please!?

E

PS

The slideshare below explains in more details their strategy

 

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