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Observations from NYC

I have to say… it feels very weird to come back to New York City and start noticing things that I’d have never looked at before I got myself into the crazy world of advertising – I guess it’s common sense!

But anyway let’s give this blog-post a go…

dscf2919First thing that came across my mind is how advertising here seems so much more simple and mainstream, especially the outdoor activity – I know there is Time Square but even such a space seems to be filled with just flashy, huge and very confusing advertising messages… as a brand manager for a specific brand I would think twice about a big placement there (not only for the money :OP ), as much as it gives you huge visibility, the space is too crowded and your message will probably get forgotten immediately. I guess it’s great on the other side for  brands having TOO MUCH money to spend on advertising or looking to reach a massive audience for an awareness campaign or a product launch.

Not surprisingly we have the likes of Coca Cola, GAP and Disney up there … and honestly I need to look at the photos to remember who else was on! This totally proves what I am saying… I remember Nike launched a campaign on the big multi-billboard space few years back for the NIKE I:D service, where people were texting their preferences and their shoes would appear in Time Square … see the video below; this is exactly what brands should be doing in such a cluttered environment: try to be engaging, which is not easy and definitely a huge challenge in a place where people are litterally ‘running around’!

If you look at the picture further down below, this is a poster I’ve seen around many Subway stations and it promotes Christina Aguilera’s new album in partnership with TARGET stores.

In London, we’ve seen many interactive billboards to listen to audio files or watch videos but, from what I remember, you always have to use your phone, download the content and then watch it on the go… well, what you see down here is what I’d call a “non-so-innovative-but-truly-efficient-and-simple” technique to reach your objective.

img_0226

What you do is:

  1. you plug your earphones in the poster,
  2. press the Start button
  3. choose your tracks
  4. and you are all set up to start listening to the ‘dirrrrrrrty’ new songs

I’d say pretty efficient method instead of getting ur mobile, set up your bluetooth, download the content and by the time you are doing this the train is in front of you… :O( – I have to say trains in New York are not as frequent as in London, so I guess this would work even better… I kinda listened to the whole album while waiting for mine (not that I love her… ) !

Last thing is something that I really think about constantly – the fusion of Art and Advertisin

I have to say that recently in our industry we’ve seen few good innovative ideas on this subject. Established artists starting cooperating with brands, companies seeking new talents to be showcased within their advertising campaign, branded art initiatives and so forth….

Well, it’s already happened twice in New York – and I’d love to see more of this – but some outdoor content, which is usually showcased through print or digital, was actually fully painted on the placement.

I’ve firstly seen a whole building wall covered with this gigantic Game advert in Chelsea (I will post the picture asap as I’ve gotta go back and make a picture of it)  and then – see below – I was totally surprised to see a billboard for the new series of DEXTER done with paint, and I am sure you all know the amount of digital and innovative activity Showtime has invested on this program

img_02321

I reckon this is pretty sweet and, in a strange way, very innovative – definitely something which stands out from the mass and very often a crowded advertising space.

I guess this is it for now … I will be back on here soon though, I am sure New York City is holding something else in the sleeves :O)

Cheerio

E

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2008 in advertising

 

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The Digital Mainstream Needs Engaging Interaction

shapeimage_3-4Try to open your Facebook account and look at the number of applications you have installed on your profile. Some Facebook aficionados may have an average number of 50 applications sitting within their pages, often causing some visitors’ computers to crash. Now, try and write down the amount of them you actually use on a daily basis. I suspect the majority of you might have a number from 0 to 5.

Due to my young age, unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to personally experience how every other media has gone through the same process in the past, but time has arrived for our beloved ‘Digital space’ to become as mainstream as the rest.

However, as Lord David Putnam says, there is nothing wrong with being mainstream!

It is all about understanding this environment, taking advantage of the interesting elements surrounding the digital space and creating values for our ideas, developing extraordinary user experiences online.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee once said: “In 1989 one of the main objectives of the Internet was to be a space for sharing information. It seemed evident that it should be a space in which anyone could be creative, to which anyone could contribute”.

Now, in 2008, we still watch TV, we listen to the radio, we read our magazines and, hungry or not, we are constantly ‘fed’ by advertising messages wherever we are. However, we have widgets, blogs, applications and forums where people are being creative, actively interacting with each other, making friends joining communities and sharing interesting information.

The great thing about ‘digital’ was the imminent and satisfying interaction element that came with it and, now more than ever, this is seen as a compulsory element to create successful and valuable ideas.

We cannot listen to a Radio show and talk back to the DJ, if not using email and TXTs; we cannot go through a pile of Marketing magazines to find that great quote by Steve Jobs, but we can use Google to find it and also read what other people think about it. Also, after watching an episode of Skins on Channel4 we cannot get all the fans together to talk about what just happened, however with Facebook not only we can now create such thing but also we can record reactions, evaluate comments, measure interaction and consequently create value for branded initiatives.

So many opportunities have recently risen for brands to take advantage of this Digital space but, always more often, many of them do not seem to get it right, creating a cluttered arena of branded content with not enough thinking behind it.

Very frequently, agencies do seem to have the perfect answer to the toughest brief – be this an outstanding creative idea which can impress ‘the’ client or be this a media strategy employing the ‘coolest’ sites – whatever this is, deploying interaction should always be considered as simply essential if entering the digital space and trying connecting with the right audience.

However, this is not always taken into account…

Digital online advertising was the big revolution when for the first time through a standard ad format brands would measure response and behave accordingly.

This is obviously still happening and, especially with improvements in creative formats and tracking facilities, 21% of the total marketing expenditure online still sits within display advertising.

Although many brands still believe in the power of these formats, with the digital space turning mainstream, they should make themselves fully aware that our audience is bored of being bombarded by advertising messages within an online environment as well.

This is exactly where what I call an ‘Engaging Interaction’ is required

Whenever the interactive element is considered, more than often this is under-estimated!

It is rather simple to generate creative ideas involving an interactive game, an interactive micro-site or an interactive Facebook application, however brands seem to be struggling in considering the ‘engagement’ element when developing such things.

What is the value of an interactive branded game if I am not engaged enough to go back and play with it? The same thing can be said about millions of application on Facebook or on any other social network.

I could make an example here with the Coke Tags Widget.

This widget was developed for users to include their favourite things of all time into a widget branded by Coca Cola to then post on their blogs and social media profiles.

Users would populate this widget and every element would be linked to the correspondent content i.e.. their favourite YouTube videos would click-through to the actual content, their favourite fashion brands listed would click through their official websites and so on…

This is the perfect example of an application which would sits there on your profile without allowing any engagement. What about showing me if other friends love the same fashion brands or are into REM? What about asking me to update the tag for the chance to be connected with more users with the same interests? Or what about including a competition for the best rated Tag owner to win a related price?

It is rather evident that Coke was simply looking for a widget that would sit there on my personal space and be forgotten after a day or two…. I personally created one and never used it again!

This is where many brands are simply making a huge mistake.

Wanting to be part of the Social Media environment and connect with a specific or a mainstream audience does NOT involve creating interactive dull experiences. Users needs to be engaged, they often await for or expect any kind of reward, they want to feel part of the brand through engaging user experiences which ask you to come back for more.

People do and will always talk about things that got them glued to the screen –  and we all know how powerful WOM can be….

I have 89 applications downloaded on my personal Facebook page.

How many do I actually use?

Zero.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2008 in Thought Piece

 

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Ford Fiesta – This is now

I have been meaning to blog about this very good campaign since it’s been out and after we discussed about

it at Profero in one of our recent Sunny Side Up sessions

For the promotion of the new Fiesta, Ford launched this unique European collaborative art project, in which the public are invited to co-create an interesting collection of images that capture the essence of ‘now’. The project’s four stages are:

1. Noah Harris, acclaimed stop motion animation artist (and director of the Fiesta TV ad), has commissioned a series of pieces from some of Europe’s most promising young artists.

2. Art students across Europe were asked to submit works that depicted their own interpretation of ‘now’.

3. The public are now invited to submit their own interpretations of ‘now’ to the This is Now Flickr group.

4. Launched in October, the Fiesta content portal enable visitors to browse the project’s entire collection of images, create a unique mash up that defines ‘now’ for them and share it with the world.

Some of the best art is being used in the pan-European launch campaign for the Ford Fiesta, with images and films from the first stage being used in the TV ad – available below:

The press and outdoor advertising features work from stage two – here’s a couple of examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thisisnow/2870247978/sizes/l/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thisisnow/2869420933/sizes/l/

The whole project is tied together with a blog – http://www.thisisnow.eu/ – where They highlight contributions from the public and provide further context on the project as it evolves. There’s also a Facebook page for the project and a Twitter account here http://www.twitter.com/thisisnow

They are also reaching out to art, design, fashion and photography bloggers from around Europe, asking them to get involved and contribute images. They are offering them the chance to be guest-curator of the This is Now blog so they have a chance to share their own unique interpretation of now with a wider audience…. SCHWEEEEEEETT!

The agencies involved in the project are:

  1. Ogilvy: TV & Print work

  2. Wunderman: Digital & DM

  3. MindShare: Media planning & buying

  4. Burrows: Brochure & POS

  5. We Are Social: Social media strategy and execution, including the project blog

I cannot go without saying that the campaign is definitely creatively challenging and it’s got that ‘something’ charming about it – the execution is simply fantastic with the right amount of thinking behind it!

The fit with their target audience is just perfect – young, funky, arty, free spirited individuals who would simply enjoy driving a young car like Ford Fiesta

Overall they get big thumbs-up from me on such a beautifully produced campaign on every aspect. Special big compliments to the people at We Are Social for the great work produced behind the Social Media aspect of the campaign … very well produced indeed guys!

Will be in touch

Enzo :O)

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2008 in advertising, Social Media

 

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