7.3.06

Mobile media's golden triangle

MS's Origami

OK remember the entry below on MS origami project well here is the leaked video curtsey of YOU Tube, as well here is yet another mobile thing from MS. It seems that MS are trying really hard to do a cross between PSP, a Tablet PC and an iPOD Video. Steady on now MS, stand for one thing or fall for everything, it seems that trying to come up with mobile computing that is a cross between a Swiss Army knife and a SUCK.UK beer opener is perhaps not very wise. The irony is the comments on YOU Tube basically say they like the idea but they want APPLE to do it. Now that's loyalty for ya.

2.3.06

Ad Age's Big Question...

Will advertisers widely embrace having consumers create ads for thier brands? Yes, but it depends on: 1. Enough consumers who are doing it out of passion for their brands e.g. Converse Gallery not out of some monetary incentive. 2. Not for everyone, some advertisers / brands will look plain stupid if they did it. e.g. some soap brand 3. Professionally & strategically produced ads exploit decades of expertise in creating, aspiration, fantasy, image and fine tuning emotive imagery & detail in ads. Consumers just don't have that expertise e.g. how many consumers can make an ad like the one Nick Gordon did for Levis recently in the UK? 4. Just because now they have the 'tools' consumers also need the 'skills' to use them, often consumer made ads are lo-fi and better as virals, I am yet to see anything with the 'polish' of a Playstation ad or an Audi ad. However, The one thing that this emerging trend really offer is the credibility that comes from something produced by 'passionate fans' for their brands - I can see myself doing it for Apple but not for Colgate (although I use both daily) and even then it may lack the polish of the iconic ads that TBWA do for Apple. I think, as a strategist, the question for me is NOT whether it is going to be widely accepted but rather what are the best ways and how do we exploit & harness consumer's ability and potential willingness to co-create ads for their favourite brands? Here are a couple of quick takes: a. Use CGC (consumer generated content) as a 'credibility' exercise in a PR way not in an ad way. The whole point is that they are not creating ads, they are creating film out of love for their brands. b. Use CGC in a viral, fan-based means of communication first, this is something that has to start and spread through the fan heartlands before being broadcast. c. Use CGC as pre-cursor to major campaigns perhaps to deliver anticipation through alternative channels e.g. online d. Use CGC more as entertainment rather than advertising, maybe a 'reality' or 'documentary' genre product if you are going to put it on t.v. e. Use CGC as a destination for audiences to flock to rather than broadcast it at them. Finally, it sounds to me that the industry in general has this fantasy that there is a magic solution to its problems. They grab hold of whatever trend that is passing whether it is internet, CGC or PR and build whole sand castles around it. STOP, and think what is your brand ambition and what is the commercial problem first and only then you can go and look for an innovative way to solve the problem but don't just take whatever the industry thinks is innovative and try and shoe horn that into your problem. Just like people, brands are individual. Some are more individual than others.

Vapour Wear & Hot Steam

'Vapourwear' - is a technique often used by technology companies where they release pre-launch teasers or signals and quite often conflicting information to create, mystery, myth, attention and yep you guessed it 'buzz'. In some cases vapourwear is used to force the competition to play a card that they are not ready to play yet. The origamiproject from Microsoft is the latest example of teasers. They've set up a site where the new product / technology is asking you to guess what it is. With a simple count down clock. My guess is its a wireless type product of some description. But the question is can Microsoft do what Apple does with this marketing tactic, looking at this probably not.