June 30, 2006 by Colin
“More at eleven” – now this is a tshirt I can get into. From threadless.
June 30, 2006 by Colin
Rock legend, that’s what it draws upon. Comedy gold, that’s its potential. The Kiss Coffeehouse is now open in Myrtle Beach, people! Promoting the unlikely combination of lifestyle beverages and debauched personal lifestyle would be a dream assignment for any agency type. Your creative juices should flow freely when drawing up these marketing materials. The inspiration is evident from the menu, beginning with the Frozen Roccucino and ending with the “assorted cakes, pies and sweets (as priced)”.
Even for a relatively uninspired public relations flack, this is an opportunity for puns, thinly veiled insider jokes and loaded quotes. Unless, of course, you resort to the dreaded exclamation mark. One is acceptable. One exclamation mark plays the same sort of role as Rod Roddy did on The Price is Right: reminding you that being excited and sweaty is preferable to stone bored and still. Two exclamation marks? Your event better involve large cash prizes or superstar wrestlers. Three? Now you’re in Ron Popeil and Mike Levey territory.
“According to Paul Stanley, “The KISS Coffeehouse is our way of providing everyone with the buzz of great, quality treats and coffee filled with enough sugar and caffeine to get the party started, and keep it going!”
Gene Simmons adds, “Every army needs food and drink and the KISS Army is no exception! Even the non-enlisted will find our treats and java rockin’ good!” (news release)
Want more information? Turn to a member of the Kiss Army for a first-person account of the store opening!
June 27, 2006 by Colin
As agencies and consultants rush to establish their online bona fides and publicize their new social media practices, some cautionary words about the behaviour that undermined previous management fads – and the consultancies that tried to capitalize upon them. A study of the 1990s hype behind TQM reveals that inexperienced and bombastic consultants drove experimentation and implementation in the field, but eventually abandoned the specialty, to be replaced by the technical and management experts that had originally championed the idea.
Fifteen years ago, these management fad “fashion surfers” wore power suits, sometimes had a preference for tasselled loafers, carried a Filofax and had never heard of flavoured vodka. They can’t be as easily identified nowadays. Maybe t-shirts from Threadless under the Banana Republic shirts? Suits from H&M? Two MacBooks (white and black) in their carry-on?
What’s certain is that a basic knowledge of design, information management and CSS has never before been leveraged as quickly and as widely. And with as much targeted online promotional copy. In 1995, the competence of your team was demonstrated by the sales of your business book. Today, by the size of your download. (A hint: the more pictures and graphs, the better)
” … As a new management approach gains in popularity, large numbers of generalist consultants, expert at recognizing burgeoning opportunities, jump in to advise firms on implementing the new method, even though these generalists may have little knowledge of its intricacies.
This influx of “fashion surfers,” as one scholar called them, produces many program failures, and the practice that not long before was widely viewed as a virtual panacea gets a bad name. This in turn results in diminished demand, and consultation about the practice becomes mainly the province of experts and specialists, much as it was before the boom set in.
In the words of the study’s authors, Robert J. David of McGill University and David Strang of Cornell University, “These supply-side dynamics…help explain why fashion booms are so fragile.” They also “suggest that fashionable practices can return to their technical roots once the hype is over.” (AOM news release)
There’s the rub for actual bloggers, podcasters and online innovators: if you continue to build expertise in the field, your practice will likely survive.
Original pointer from Business Innovation Insider.
June 26, 2006 by Colin
The screencap of the new For Immediate Release store in Second Life prompted a thought: is there a new business opportunity for retail design and experiential consultants in this new environment? Is there a “butt-brush” factor in the American Apparel store? How exactly can you differentiate between fine North American t-shirts and the lesser quality Vietnamese knock-offs? Is there a future for pashmina in such dynamic online markets?
How exactly will customer service evolve in this sort of environment? Will it parallel the in-person experience (with the real possibility that a disgruntled employee could just go “postal” without RT effects), or will online staff slouch like a real-life American teenager but sound like a 34 year-old engineer from South Asia?
Neville’s got more details on last week’s Second Life marketing meetup (man, that term sounds SO 2002), Mitch has a podcast/Skype conversation recorded on the periphery of the meeting, and the transcript is on Brands in Games, a blog looking at games-based advertising.
While there is a detailed examination of the phenomenon of virtual world marketing in Harvard Business Review, I can just sense the possibilty for buzz marketing, left unfettered to ferment in an environment where most participants already cloak their identity, to go horribly wrong and possibly damage brands.
June 26, 2006 by Colin
Now THAT’S targeted online advertising! YouTube serves up an ad for monster.ca when you call up a video of Stevie Wonder playing the theme song on Sesame Street.
June 25, 2006 by Colin
In the absence of new content, may I point you to the Financial Time’s continuing coverage of Martin Sorrell’s speech earlier this week, which includes this choice quote from a reputable correspondent:
Hat tip to Constantin!
June 22, 2006 by Colin
Martin Sorrell has a few words for you, no matter what profession you work in. Develop web apps that undermine the existing media infrastructure? You may very well be a socialistic anarchist (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). This nugget emerged during a speech to the Newspaper Society earlier this week.
Work in an advertising agency? Work with an advertising agency? Hired an advertising agency? He’s got some words for you as well (video from AdAge) To be honest, this videotaped speech was supposedly written around a random collection of slides provided to Sorrell (at a WPP-organized event during Cannes).
Sorrell’s Newspaper Society speech, from the limited published accounts, also touched upon motivating young creative-types and chastised print media for giving their content away for free. More analysis of the Society speech from Open and Media Influencer.
Brand Republic, however, seems to have singled out the single biggest threat to Sorrell’s agglomeration of media companies:
“He also referred to the threat of global online giants such as Google, which he said seem set on setting up their own electronic media planning and buying exchange, to effectively erode the importance of agencies in the media planning and buying transaction.”
Dammit! Those socialistic anarchists are going to suck out our easy media buying fees!
(In comparing Sorrell to Cuban, I just mean contrarian and iconoclastic, since Sorrell clearly isn’t as strong a web evangelist. They both, however, share an interest in making serious cash off new media)
June 21, 2006 by Colin
JoCoPro – the online effort to create videos for Jonathan Coulton’s quirky songs using images from Flickr. The newest is for Ikea – my favourite multinational design-driven retail-oriented commercial panegyric. (wmv, mp4)
Despite Flickr’s online buzz and general ease of use, it still has less than an eighth of the market share of Photobucket, the largest online photo host. As LeeAnn Prescott at Hitwise points out,
“Photobucket, Slide, and Imageshack are all image hosting sites, and MySpace is their primary source of traffic. In fact, MySpace was responsible for 76% of Slide’s traffic in May 2006, 56% of Photobucket’s traffic, and 50% of Imageshack’s traffic.”
Paul Kedrosky makes a more blunt assessment of these numbers:
“Photobucket’s first place position is just another example of how backending other services — especially doing it without waiting for permission — is where the real leverage is online.”
June 21, 2006 by Colin
PR Week US has jumped on the podcasting bandwagon with some fine offerings, including Elly Trickett’s one-on-one interviews with senior marketing and PR types at P&G, Sunkist and Aflac, as well as a Q&A session with editor Julia Hood.
The recording quality varies from podcast to podcast, but I’m sure that will improve as this important trade pub gets its sea legs working with the medium.
June 20, 2006 by Colin
Last week, I compared the unnumberable threads of social media theory and criticism to the sects found in the movie Life of Brian. This week, word from the NYT that pro-pigeon activist groups in London are fragmenting among similar lines:
“”The real fight is among themselves,” the [London] official continued, comparing the apparent discord within the pigeon group to the picayune disagreements between the Judean People’s Front, the People’s Front of Judea, and the Judean Popular People’s Front in the film “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”
Members of the pigeon group, Save the Trafalgar Square Pigeons, disagree. For starters, they say, the rogue feeders, who sometimes call themselves the Pigeon Action Group, are not part of their operation, but independent operators recklessly taking matters into their own hands.” (New York Times)
The cause of the pigeon brouhaha? “Red Ken” Livingstone, the Mayor of London, is determined to drastically cut the number of pigeons living in Trafalgar Square.
June 19, 2006 by Colin
June 19, 2006 by Colin
A Canadian success story from the latest Association of Alternative Newsweeklies awards – and a touch of homegrown porn.
The Coast, a Halifax weekly, (yay Canada!) took “both first and second place in Editorial Layout, as well as first place in the Illustration and Web site categories (small circulation division). The Coast also earned an Honorable Mention for its Special Section entry.”
I’m a BIG fan of the “holiday planner” cover that won the illustration award. (The second place winner, “confessions of a substitute teacher,” would have been my class. In fact, that’s almost a Mattel Football game the kid is playing in the back row of the illustration.)
Also out this week were judgements on applications for membership in the association. In past years, the comments from the review committee have been scathing at times. This year things were more relaxed.
Yes! Weekly of Greensboro was turned down for association membership due to a number of editorial criticisms and perceived conflicts on the part of management, but this comment from the review committee caught my eye:
“The hometown porn-star story certainly caught everyone’s attention. But it “didn’t have much information at all and even though the adult film star offered to take off her outer clothes … all we see is her in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. That doesn’t seem very edgy. Have more fun!”
Well, as someone’s mama once said, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?
That story is amusing, if only for the insight it offers into the reporter’s active fantasy life:
” … She calls herself RayVeness these days and makes California her home, but this woman grew up just across the city limits in Jamestown before leaving at age 18 to become arguably the biggest adult film actress this area has ever produced. (been doing research, have we?)
She’s pretty in a way one wouldn’t instinctually attribute to an adult film star, with crystalline blue eyes set off nicely by her dark tresses and creamy skin. Her body is voluptuously trim, like a young mother with a strict Pilates regimen. And she’s reserved, thoughtful and wise like any 33-year-old career woman would be after a life of hard-won victories, some unfortunate setbacks and a maybe a few regrets.
Someone’s been mainlining Knots Landing and Desparate Housewives!
June 16, 2006 by Colin
There’s a new player in podcasting in Ottawa – Podcast Producer. As the name belies, this group of experienced TV, radio and communications pros seek to sell podcasting as a technology and a communications tactic. I say sell because their website has very little of the Web 2.0 evangelizing we’ve come to expect from new media companies. In fact, the entire site has a very 1999 feel to it.
Unfortunately, the total site seems like a very poor marketing effort. Most new media sites nowadays have incorporated “white papers” written in-house to demonstrate their understanding of the theory as well as the practice of new media technology. While patently written to pitch their own products and services, these “white papers” do demonstrate that your professed “experts” have done a little thinking about the validity of the technology and the future direction of the industry.
Nothing like that on Podcast Producer.
Even more stunning is the lack of an actual podcast on their site. I cannot understand why anyone would contemplate hiring them as podcasting experts if they haven’t found the time to create one, two or three short marketing podcasts to pitch their wares. Instead, we get the promise that “We have several new podcasts in development that will be premiering over the next two months.” The reaction might as well be: “well, call me when you’ve got it figured out, guys.”
And the blog … Not a sign of original thought after the first introductory post. Every post is a straight cut and paste from a paperware article, with link of course.
Did I mention the website has an address, a phone number and contact form, but no email address? If you’re trying to pitch an online service, shouldn’t you be willing to welcome initial contact by email?
I’ve seen (and heard) the work done by some of the principals in their original professions, and they can likely produce a high quality podcast. As it stands, however, their website appears like they’re just jumping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon – and doing a poor job of it.
It’s mainline old-school marketing for a radical new technology.
A number of Canadian public relations and marketing agencies are investing heavily in the range of social media technologies – not just podcasting – and are working hard to integrate this work into their traditional campaigns. Podcast Producer’s going to have to try harder to develop their own niche in the game – or simply become sub-contractors to their integrated marketing efforts.
Technorati: canadian podcasting
June 15, 2006 by Colin
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be intellectually bitchslapped by a business consultant? Strategy + business now offers the opportunity, laying out in detail how drastically the marketing profession has to change in order to adapt to new media models and technologies.
“… The typical business marketing career has attracted gregarious people who operate comfortably within a familiar professional culture with well-defined techniques. But now marketers must not just select and purchase proven instruments. They must envisage, shape, and develop new tools for designing and engendering more effective consumer connections. This demands openness to experimentation, an inclination toward pioneering, and an ability to integrate marketing with strategy as never before. The new marketing team must do this while honing the number-crunching analytical ability that is needed to justify and fine-tune new strategies.
… The shape of the future of marketing is too novel and too important to be left to traditional marketers. Just as P&G pioneered brand management for the 20th century, now is the time for marketers to reinvent their role — and to shuffle the marketing team to do it.” (strategy+business)
And it goes on and on. Well worth the read.
June 15, 2006 by Colin
“”Hoff-adulation, Right Said Fred, leather shorts, neo-fascism, wurst-worship, moustaches and busty beer-wenches in translucent gypsy tunics: such staples of German life prove definitively that our teutonic brethren are some distance ahead of us Brits on the Po-Mo irony curve. Stop the mockery, we have much to learn” – Ed Wilson.
I’m sure you’ve seen this: David Hasselhoff performing Hooked on a feelin’.