Advertising, Business, Communications, Digital, Marketing, Social Media

Everything is advertising

Jess Greenwood at the recent Circus Festival brilliantly summed up how I feel these days by saying that everything is essentially advertising. Not just a TVC, but every single interaction with a customer should be treated as an opportunity to advertise in the truest sense of the word. A case in point.

Then I came across this interview with Johnny Vulkan of Anomaly where he talks about something I’ve mentioned here before. Marketing isn’t just about the promotion. There are three other forgotten Ps we should be considering as advertising. Promotion has kind of become like crack to brands and agencies, but we are undoubtedly starting to see a shift to the other stuff.

Communications, Digital, Social, Social Media, Social networking

A tale of two buttons – Fan versus Like

So according to this article Facebook is serving 3 Billion ‘Like’ buttons a day. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook did a smart thing launching the like button. It spreads its seed across the web because it’s obviously much easier to like something than it is to be a fan of something. I might admit to the fact that part of me likes prancing about to a bit of Culture Club, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. It requires less commitment.

From friend to friend it works, but from a brand’s point of view I think I kind of preferred fan as a benchmark, it made you work harder. ‘Like’ lowers the standards (which are already often low), resulting in the interaction being weaker and inflating the numbers. I’d go even as far as saying it’s the closet equivalent of some sort of standard volume metric in social.

Agency processes, Behavioural engineering, co-creation, Digital, Digital Lethargy, Fuel Watch, Getup, Guardian, Media, Participation, Planning, Social Media, Strategy, Toohey's

Digital Lethargy

Does digital make us lazy? Have we lost the urge just to do stuff or stand up and speak out for what we believe in? Does digital give us the chance to dabble in something but not actually see it through?

Well there have been a few things lately that have made me think about digital lethargy. The point in which a person’s interest or involvement online isn’t mobilised into something that arguably has a greater influence and/or effect (it’s not a real post unless you have coined a term by the way). Perhaps it is political or merely something more fulfilling personally. Or maybe even a sale.

I criticise myself a lot for being too lazy. I have strong opinions about politics and the environment, but I don’t really do anything about it. I rarely read the paper properly anymore. I use Facebook instead of making an effort to go and visit friends and family. I go on many cool branded sites but rarely buy the product or even think differently about it, at least not consciously. And of course posting too much about things other people have said or done rather the things I have done or think.

Noah and the guys from Zeus Jones have written this and this respectively about how digital habits are manifesting themselves in traditional forms of media consumption/behaviour, which is an interesting concept in itself. Although not related to digital, John Mcure of Reverend and the Makers fame also wrote this in the Guardian that touches on people doing sod all politically. I particularly like this paragraph.

“Yet a deafening silence prevails, save for on soft issues that don’t require our leaders to remove the splinters of middle England’s fences from their derrieres. Bono talking hungry Africans is a safe issue. He’s a man they’re happy to do business with, borrow some cool from. Everyone agrees we should act. Comic Relief, Sport Aid? No brainers. A far cry from the counterculture radicals who so affected our broad thinking during the late 60s or even during the punk era.”

So praise be to god my dying belief in mankind was saved when I went to my first APG event in Sydney and Sam McLean from the not for profit gave us a presentation on how they use digital to mobilise people around specific issues such as the environment or the price of fuel for example.

Now I think Getup is awesome and it is genuinely more than just an online petition site, which lets face it is the most lazy form of activism. It has 280,000 members. People create content for their campaigns for free and people donate money to pay for the media spend and launch it as a TV ad. They even organise ‘Getogethers’ across Australia that do influence policies at varying levels. Getup are a great example of how digital can be used cost effectively to create grassroots interests and participation, but more importantly how they turn that interest into something potent by using ‘old media’.

If you haven’t seen it yet, Getup is responsible for the following movie. And if you want to donate towards the media spend you can do it here.

Now I’m sort of going off course a bit but I will maintain the ramble. The rub for me on this is ‘what does this essentially mean for brands?’ I often hear it said, particularly in the alcohol market, that their respective audiences aren’t online. Which isn’t true, but what is true is why should someone bother to gather, ‘online or offline’, anywhere other than a pub for a bottle of lager? And that is where digital agencies are failing. Why would any self respecting lager drinker bother to jump through these hoops just win a fridge or hear about all of their exciting news via email? Do they really care enough to do what is being asked of them?

This to me is the part that clients want us to answer and is imperative if digital agencies are to play a greater role from a brand leadership perspective. Rather than throwing stats at them that say 21 – 35 year olds lager drinkers now consume x amount of Internet hours compared to TV, therefore we must do something in digital. We must be showing them how we can use digital in a way that is relevant for people’s relationship with that specific brand. How can we snap them out of this lethargy and create communications that are more than just forwarding an email on to a friend, entering a competition or signing up to a petition against global warming? How can we mobilise the masses and not just those who are motivated enough to play with the latest communication just because it’s cool and innovative? Perhaps there is a market for a digital, come experiential, come PR agency?

Communications, Digital, Do the Lambrini, Hellman's, Hellman's Squeezy, Integration, Lambrini, Social Media, Stella Artois

Jumping on the social media brand wagon?

Every brand under the sun seems to be having a stab at social media and doing a good job of integrating it with above the line actvity. Which is a great sign in my opinion. However, it does feel like some are forcing it a touch. I think brands, clients and agencies are under so much pressure to be doing something different they fail to really think about what they want to achieve. It’s almost like the sole objective is to simply do social media and prove we’re doing integration.

The two brands I’ve noticed this week are Hellman’s and Lambrini. Which are nicely produced sites and probably cost a fair few quid – although the guys on the Hellman’s site look like failed cocktail barmen to me! Now I don’t really like to slag things off if I don’t know the objectives, so I do tend to keep an open mind on campaigns like these. For example, you could argue that the equity of a brand would be enhanced even if you’re simply seen to be doing something innovative and involving? Perhaps it’s irrelevant whether or not people are actually involved and following the communication through? If the objective is to create branded entertainment I guess it does the job.

Lee posted this about the new Stella Artois site a couple of weeks ago and I think I agree with him – there is a hell of a lot of brands out there creating web junk. Don’t get me wrong I think the Stella Artois site is actually quite good if you give it a chance. But as Lee said, why bother? Do people really have the time or inclination to film themselves squeezing mayo out of a tube, or learning a Lambrini dance, filming it and uploading it to a site. I’d love to see the web stats for these kind of sites, but as I said, perhaps that’s not the objective. I’m struggling to see how these campaigns are cost effective and produce any kind of results. To be honest, there is more people probably blogging about these campaigns than actually responding to the communication.