Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My data obsession

Conversations around data have gone from being a regular conversation in my life to almost a daily one.  First party data, 3rd party data, big data, who owns what, where the data points are, what can be fused with what, what can we model, dashboard or derive from data....   Even in the days way back when when I was working at OMD doing hands-on media planning and working with amazing econometricians, like the team that formed BrandScience, I was still further away from data than I am today.  The proliferation of data points in the digital era, the asynchronous nature thereof, and the brain power being harnessed to try and make sense of it all is amazing and challenging at the same time.

All of which was inspired by this infographic via Mashable. Data data everywhere, growing every minute... and one more blog post means I've made a minor contribution for the day before I've even finished my first cup of coffee.

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Coke leverage mobile to share brand love

I just tripped over this neat example of how brands with big global footprints, big ideas (and arguably big budgets to experiment) are leveraging technology across the digital/mobile eco-system to deliver brand experiences.  Coke have revived their original 1970s "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" campaign and given it a digital twist, leveraging mobile advertising, handsets and capability to bring virtual Coke giving to a new generation, beyond some of their various mobile vending "surprise" models.

Driven by (mobile) banners, consumers can send a surprise Coke via text message to a series of locations around the world where specially equipped vending machines can receive and display a gift message sent by text, and capture video footage of the surprise and delight moment to share back with the donor. Nice loop.

Clearly not a massive scale initiative but one which does nonetheless have nice global reach and touchpoints, which lends itself well to Coke's very publically stated ambitions to drive earned media as they increasingly focus on the value of content to their business.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Teaching 5 years olds about Twitter

I tripped over this excellent TEDx presentation this morning... 2 enterprising infant school teachers embracing new technology to equip their charges not just with an understanding of how to use a particular platform, but rather more importantly about how to use the internet responsibly, whilst building their basic literacy and creative skills.  I'm sure there are many parents that would do well to watch and follow their example rather than remaining either ignorant of what their kids are watching / accessing /participating in on the web or are just fearful, often through their own ignorance, of what's going on and feeling swamped and helpless about what to do about it.

The video also talks of some of the parents' and the schools reactions to the initiative and the challenges these two smart teachers have faced.  Well worth the 19 minutes time investment, whether you have kids or not.

We can't change the digitally connected world, we can only embrace and adapt to what is happening, and more importantly society has a responsibility to equip the younger generations with skills to navigate it, which we should be pushing proactively.  Hats off to these two inspiring teachers at Meltham Primary School, great work!

Kids are growing up in a multi-device, multi-platform connected world. Fact. Tablets are growing in penetration fast... it's no longer a world with one device that can only be used in a supervised location. The recent OFCOM report on multi-screen / tv alternative choices refers to many parents being surprised that their kids could access the web on their iPod Touch devices.

iPad's are intuitive devices and incredibly valuable as an on the go entertainment/keep quiet solution - I was in a pub last Sunday sitting next to a table of 3 families, with 5 junior school-ish aged kids all sitting there on a device each (plus one with a book). My parents would never have allowed it, kids do need to learn how to behave in social situations too, but I can see and understand the trade off.

What surprised me more than that scenario though was a conversation earlier in the day with friends who were staying for the weekend with their train-obsessed 4 year old, who whilst we were chatting was happily watching one train video after another on YouTube on the iPad WHICH HAS NO EASY PARENTAL CONTROLS and you can't uninstall the app - sure there's some convoluted workarounds but....  Come on Apple - I was appalled.  The parents had tried hiding the app in folders, but to no avail.. and so they were stumped.. a child happily pressing "related video" train pictures to watch video after video, but no means to ensure that he didn't randomly stumble over something inappropriate.

John Lewis continue strong storytelling theme with Christmas 2012 ad

It's no secret that I've been a big fan of John Lewis's advertising creative since their first big "story" creative in May 2010. I've shared that ad with delegates on training courses I've run all round the world as an example of great content (not just an ad), well executed and distributed.  It's nice to see people harnessing the power of strong story writing, carefully chosen music and strong visual execution to drive brand equity without having to force overt sales/product messages down our throats. Let's face it the world has enough of those already, and it's the emotional pull of the creative combination of those ingredients which makes these ads memorable, shareable and I am sure brand endearing, driving footfall.

Christmas last year saw the release of an ad that evoked a lot of empathy and online buzz...because it was based on a super smart insight... everyone can remember as a child the interminable run up for Christmas, full of excitement and anticipation.

This year, bonfire night put aside for another year (I'm sure I am not alone in being unable to remotely contemplate Christmas until after the 5th November), I spotted yesterday (8th November), this Facebook post from John Lewis teasing the forthcoming release of the Christmas 2012 ad...

Note: 1448 likes, 127 comments so healthy engagement levels both high & low involvement.  This morning at 9am I get a  Channel Subscriber email  (NB) from YouTube announcing the new video going up - so indirectly from John Lewis...

I watched the ad, enjoyed it, watched it again,  shared it on Facebook, saw it immediately re-posted by one of my friends, and then having noticed the #snowmanjourney Twitter hashtag, thought I'd play along, as it appears subsequently have been half the UK this morning (clearly slight exaggeration but I follow a broad spectrum of people on Twitter, some industry / adland, some "normal" personal users, and there's a fair mix of references).  Checking back to the John Lewis Facebook page this morning they've smartly refreshed the header image & icon into Christmas colours / snowman theme to go with the ad. Hardly marketing genius, but the little things are often overlooked. Nicely done.

Extra points also to be awarded for smart ad re-targeting too...  Sorry to demystify folks but it's no co-incidence that this leaderboard banner ad subsequently appeared on something else I was reading first thing.

A search for "John Lewis Christmas Advert 2012"  3 hours after my YouTube email (at which point I was viewer #20 of the ad) shows paid search live (tick!), and 18.7k results indexed already: Not bad for a few hours work, ok, well maybe some prior press release work too... but...


Feeling warm and fuzzy now?  Time to dash off and buy a nice toasty scarf from a retailer never knowingly undersold near you!   Another good example of connected cross-media execution and thinking, from a business that is demonstrating good integration of digital thinking beyond business-structure created silos.

Monday, 5 November 2012

There's NO such thing as a VIRAL

I'm well known for standing on my soap box as I continue my mission to get this complete fallacy stamped out amongst people I work with.  I refuse to take briefs for "virals". No such thing. It is not a noun.

Good pieces of content that are circulated and shared by people of their own free will  (virally) are rarely a phenomenon brought about by pure chance.  They are the result of good insight and creativity, smart execution and distribution and usually supported by a healthy dose of visibility driving measures (normally ads / paid amplifiers).

So case in point... a spoof video (from the creative agency that also brought you the legendary Catvertising video) about armies of paid clickers. It resonated because of my personal crusade on this one so I'm sharing it (voluntarily, no-one paid me to do so, even if the reason I found it was via Unruly Media's twitter feed (a content syndication company), and no doubt they were paid to share it.

Got the point?  It also reminds me of some research work from Starcom US a few years back on CTR (Click Through Rate) on digital ads and how the clicks of a few skew the results assumed to be of the many... Natural Born Clickers. (NB for transparency I frequently work for SMG out of London).