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Four Seasons Gives A New Meaning To Digital Luxury

17 Jan

When you purchase a Lexus you expect the car to run better than a Toyota.  What makes it a luxury item are the extras; leather interior, seat warmers, people that will make you a cappuccino and drop you off when your car is being serviced.  We demand these things when we pay a little extra, but what about our digital experience?

The Four Seasons has decided to do a digital marketing overhaul and other luxury brands should take note.  Brands like Four Seasons have been building up their trademark for decades.  Businesses like them fear that if they open themselves to the groundswell that they’ll lose some of the equity they’ve built up.

Maybe it’s the opposite.  The Four Seasons will add user-generated reviews, Twitter wine tastings, and the “Have Family Will Travel” blog.  Suddenly they’ve opened a conversation with their customers that other competitors don’t have right now.  That way the Four Seasons can not only fix any internal customer service issues they have, but also figure out how their consumers might compare them to other hotels to help Four Seasons stay ahead of the curve.

My favorite initiative has to be the wine tastings.  It was started two years ago and 14 of the 86 Four Seasons’ hotels participated last year.  You can either go to a wine tasting at participating Four Seasons or you can hop on Twitter and partake from the comfort of your own home.  This way people can feel connected to the brand without actually physically being there.  They’ve found something that their market values, wine tastings, and figured out a way to integrate themselves into that activity.  And they can do all of this from their website.  Genius!

I hope that other luxury brands can take note and overhaul their own digital landscape, because like the product they sell it’s as much about the experience as it is anything else.

-Josh P. Greenberg
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How Video Can Make Your Social Media Campaign Shine

3 Nov

Irish agency Simply Zesty posted a list of “9 Impressive Social Media Campaigns Using Video” recently. They all are certainly impressive as they go well beyond just sending out a tweet or posting an article on Facebook. That being said there was a pair of videos from that list that really stuck out to me.

LIVE INTERACTIVE MURALS

The Canadian tourist board wanted to use social media to promote Canada as a holiday destination for their friends to the south. They could have paid for promoted tweets or started a vacation album on Flickr. You wouldn’t show up on any lists for being impressive if you did that though. Their idea was to install giant interactive murals in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These murals featured streaming tweets and photos from tourists currently in Canada. To take it even a step further people could walk up to them and move the streams or click to enlarge items.

What I love about this campaign isn’t just the interactivity. I’m always a fan of that. I also love the concept of taking the online offline or vice versa. It’s that sort of thinking that took this idea to the next level. Separately, they’re not unique. The online aspect is basically just a search stream, while the offline component would be just another digital poster. Together, and with a little wow factor, they create a buzz worthy campaign.  While the video isn’t the main focus it’s a great complimentary piece.  Even in a high traffic area once the murals are taken down the exposure is over.  Creating a video about the campaign creates great lasting power and earned the Canadian tourist board an extra 50k eyeballs through YouTube alone.

INTERACTIVE ZOMBIE STORY

Does anyone remember those choose your own ending books? I used to love it when they did that with Goosebumps books. I used to always choose the path that would surely kill me so I could cover every possible scenario. New Zealand based pizza parlor Hell Pizza decided to take that choose your own ending style of storytelling and make an interactive Youtube video with it. With the introduction of annotations on Youtube you can watch a video then select what you want to see next given the options. The Hell Pizza film “Deliver Me To Hell” is about a delivery driver who needs to ship his pie without being eaten by zombies!

If you’ve got twenty minutes or so this could be the most entertaining use of them. Once again, props for interactivity. By focusing on building an immersive story (even if it’s pretty silly) you can go beyond brand awareness and affect behavior in the short term. You bond with the characters on your journey to deliver a Hell pizza. It’s funny, engaging, quirky, and highly contagious (see what I did there). If they opened a Hell Pizza near me I’d be first in line. Good marketing shouldn’t go without praise! As of today “Deliver Me To Hell” part 1 has over 5 million views on YouTube.

Make sure to check out the rest of the top 9 here and don’t be afraid to send your own favorite social media or interactive campaigns to Rated JPG.

-Josh P Greenberg
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adiZero Rose 2 Campaign Lets You Run With A Bull

27 Oct

Typically, I tune out celebrity athlete endorsements. In advertising they’re a dime a dozen. You’ve got Troy Aikman and Hulk Hogan telling me to rent TV’s for the “Big Game.” There’s Steve Young and seemingly half the ESPN Sunday football crew trying to get me to go Van Heusen. Dick’s has a ‘who’s hot in their sport this millisecond’ campaign, which is actually pretty entertaining. What none of them do is go beyond the thirty seconds or so they have to vie for our attention.

That’s why I love the adiZero Rose 2 campaign from Adidas. Before I get into anything yes, I am a Bulls fan from Chicago. What I like about this campaign goes beyond nationalism though. Adidas and agency Sid Lee recognize Derrick Rose as a unique personality in sports. According to adidas-group.com “it is the most diverse and all-encompassing glimpse into the brand ever.”

The most visible aspect of the adiZero Rose 2 campaign is “The Bull” commercial where D Rose turns the tables on some matadors in Madrid. If you look closely you can see the Celtics, Heat, and Magic represented as well. This masterfully crafted spot directed by Romain Gavras has a shortened thirty second version and a sixty second version that is worth every second of your time. Also check out all the languages used in the comments section.

Derrick is well known for his philanthropic endeavors aimed at giving back to the community he grew up in. Adidas tapped into that with the Run with D Rose event and by sponsoring the Derrick Rose Renovation Project (along with Powerade, McDonald’s, Skullcandy, Wilson Sporting goods, and the Wasserman Foundation).

Adidas didn’t stop there by any stretch. The main Adidas Facebook page had clues that you could use to solve a puzzle allowing you to play with Derrick in a pick-up game. Then if you slide over to the dedicated basketball page you’ll find more exclusive content including a video where Rose reviews his shoe.

The Derrick Rose/Adidas hook up was a match made in heaven. In Derrick Rose you have a real, personable, and charming brand ambassador who genuinely cares about his community as well as his product. In Adidas/Sid Lee you have a company that’s willing to embrace new media and let their highly paid endorser speak. Cheers to Adidas and Sid Lee.

If you aren’t a Derrick Rose fan or a Bulls fan, does this campaign resonate with you?

Josh P Greenberg
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Sony’s “Michael” Video More Popular Than iPhone 4S

21 Oct

Sony’s Long Live Play marketing campaign and the viral short “Michael” by agency Deutsch tells a story about what would happen if some of their biggest fictional characters all came together for a drink, earning them top honors in this week’s Viral Video Chart on Adage. It edged out the iPhone 4S viral video by three million views.

The video starts out with what looks like a World War Two soldier dropping down from a parachute.  He reconvenes with another one of his troopers before pushing onwards.  The soldiers come upon a castle and enter to find a woman at a check in booth.  They pay a small fee then place their rifles among a bevy of other interesting weaponry.  We go through a wooden door with them into what looks like a bar and a big surprise.  To anyone that has played Playstation games you will immediately recognize that this particular bar is littered with famous characters from the console.  Each character describes some of the trials they’ve been through culminating in a celebration of the one hero they all warship, Michael, an everyman made to represent you the player.

Story telling in advertising is a difficult proposition when you sit down and think about it.  It’s the most effective way to engage your audience during an advertising campaign, but often the most difficult.  In fact, nearly the entire purpose of social media is to invite total strangers to share their own experiences and thoughts, effectively creating one large novel full of short stories.

For more traditional advertising telling a story is a monumental task.  Your first, and largest, obstacle is time.  Even if it’s a viral video the average person would tune out after a few minutes if they weren’t already captivated.  That means you have mere precious little seconds to get your audiences’ attention, hold it, and make them feel something.

Drake from "Drake's Uncharted" and Lightning from "Final Fantasy 13"

As a pretty casual video game player in relative terms this commercial got me extremely excited.  Anytime I get to see my favorite animated sprites come to life outside of their realms, the little geek inside of me bounces around like a Mexican jumping bean on a sugar rush.

The kind fellows at IGN even did a breakdown where they went through the video frame by frame to pull out all of the video game references.  Oh boy, are there plenty of them to go through.  I highly encourage you to check that out if it’s your thing.  Sony and Deutsch do a great job telling an intriguing story that connects to their audience on an emotional level.  I don’t know about the next guy, but it makes me want to pick up the sticks right now!

One thing that had the gamer community kind of irked was that they teased a trailer for this video a week or so before it was launched.  This had people guessing weather or not it was revealing new content or just an advertisement.  Of course it was the latter.

Sony clearly put a lot of effort into this video.  Is it something that resonates with consumers?  Or does the salesmanship at the end ruin the experience?

-Josh P Greenberg
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Dr. Pepper 10 is Almost Everything Miller Light “Man Up” is Not

18 Oct

In my last post I ranted about how horribly dumb and sexist the Miller Light “Man Up” ads were.  This time around I’m going to praise Dr. Pepper for their clever and not nearly as sexist “It’s not for women” advertising campaign.

There is certainly no problem with marketing a product to a particular gender, be it men or women.  We often don’t have a problem with it because either both the product and how it is marketed falls within social norms or the message isn’t very overt.  Dr. Pepper 10 not only bends social norms it doesn’t apologize for it.  Typically diet soda (and most “light” or “diet” products) are marketed to women.  Take this as exhibit A.  So why not target men exclusively?

It might sound like I’m going against what I said with Miller Light, but stick with me here.  The big difference is that women are let in on this joke.  The commercial where an archetypical action movie star goes on a rant about how women don’t like things that men do is great.  Dr. Pepper has firmly planted their tongue in their cheek here.  They poke fun at guys liking stupid action movies that are cliché and full of mindless action. What they’re not doing is addressing a non-existent male identity crisis or mocking women.

Where Dr. Pepper does a great job with the overall attitude of the campaign, they fall pretty flat outside of the traditional television ads.  Their Facebook boasts a “10 Man-ments” section.  (Get it?  Like the 10 commandments.)  Here we get the typical “things that real men don’t do, but actually they do and no one really cares about.”  Take the commandment “Thou shalt not end a comment with a =)” for example.  Since when did emoticons become the symbol of femininity?  While I roll my eyes and sigh at the pitiful attempt to create extra buzz worthy content, I think they’re on the right track here.  Although I must say that I agree with the “man ment” about guys not  “puckering up” in pictures.  Anyone who does that needs to stop.  I don’t think it’s attractive…just saying.

So men, go forth.  Turn on the big game, throw your feet up, feast on greasy meats, and crack open a can of Dr. Pepper 10.  Just remember that when you’re significant other tells you to change the channel, put your feet down, get a napkin, and grab her a DP10, you better listen.

-Josh P Greenberg

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Miller Light Should “Man-Up” and Stop Their Ads

13 Oct

At what point does a company pull the plug on an advertising campaign that no one likes (assuming they’re able to swallow their pride for a minute)?  Is there a point?  I can’t imagine that I’m the only guy who wants to chuck an old leather shoe at the TV every time a Miller Light “Man Up” commercial assaults my intelligence. With them airing during every break on NFL Sunday I’m going to need a hell of a lot of shoes.

Agency DraftFCB did so many things wrong.  When the male identity crisis becomes an epidemic let me know.  Situations such as men being afraid of fish or carrying roller backpacks on camping trips are neither poignant nor clever.  At least with the early adaptations there was some basis for social commentary with skinny jeans and glittery shirts.

The other major problem is that these ads are unbelievably sexist.  If there are any beer companies out there listening WOMEN DRINK BEER TOO.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes, I swear.  Miller Light is saying in their ads that if you don’t drink Miller Light then you’re a woman.  Well, what if you are a woman?  Are they saying you’re butch for drinking their brand?  This is where the company PR man steps in and says “it’s just a joke” except there’s no point where Miller lets women in on this joke.

Really the bottom line is negative reinforcement will never sell me a product, especially when they’re attacking my masculinity like this.  Now every time I see Miller Light I’ll think of them calling me a sissy girl, then I’ll decide to pick up a case of beer that actually tastes good.  (Yes, Miller Light, I care about taste and don’t drink your beer).

What do you think of Miller’s Man-Up ads?  Have they affected your choice of beverage?

Josh P. Greenberg
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LEGO Builds Its Own Social Network: CUUSOO

10 Oct

Everyone can remember a time as a kid when they sat around in the living room or playroom with a box full of those little plastic blocks called LEGOs.  Whether it was building a pirate ship a scale model of the Titanic or even a creation of your own the possibilities seemed endless.

Well now you can turn that idea you had of a fully functional flying White House into real life dollars.  That’s right; you can sell your LEGO creation to the company and earn some cash off the sales.  And the best part is that it’s all social!

It’s called CUUSOO (still no idea what the acronym stands for) and it’s in Beta right now.  Here’s the deal.  After signing up for a free account you can publish any number of your masterpieces.  Designs are submitted by posting a picture of your creation and filling out a sort of bio explaining what the design is and any significant meaning it might have.  Of course that’s only the beginning.  Think of your creation as your profile.  From there you can branch out to peek in at other people’s ideas and give them a nod with a “support.”  To get your project approved you’ll need 10,000 of those (think of them as likes).  LEGO CUUSOO borrows more than just the thumbs up system from Facebook.  You can leave comments on other peoples’ pages, create a group of friends, and even pick up a few followers along the way.

I’ll tell you why I love this campaign so much.  First of all, and most importantly, it’s completely social.  The ability to use their brand to create interaction between other people is just genius.   It goes beyond a Facebook wall where the brand is always involved moderating the conversation.  With CUUSOO,  LEGO has set the ground rules for a forum and left it up to their fans to do the rest.  This hand-off approach takes the corporate agenda completely out of the equation and allows for customers create a community on their own terms instead of feeling like dollar signs.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that there is incentive.  Once you reach the 10,000 supporter line you’ll receive 1% of sales from your creation.  That doesn’t sound like much, but for a company like LEGO any slice of that pie will be worth the time invested.

Even if you’re not interested in making a model there are some really impressive ones that have already been made.  Right now I have to say the SHINKAI 6500 submarine and Love Boat replica are my favorites.  Although, it’s hard to ignore the De Lorean from Back to the Future.  Now I’m wishing I had kept the schematics I had for that boat castle I created in third grade day care!

-Josh P Greenberg
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Ben & Jerry’s Roll Out Their “Schweddy Balls”

23 Sep


“No one can resist my Schweddy balls.”

Ben & Jerry’s is hoping that Alec Baldwin was right when they unveiled their newest flavor this past month.  The Ben & Jerry web site describes “Schweddy Balls” as “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum & loaded with fudge covered rum and malt balls.”  That sure does sound tasty.  You can find “Schweddy Balls” on page three of the flavors menu.

Besides the unappealing visual of sliding Ben & Jerry’s “Schweddy Balls” into my mouth I love the name of this flavor.  Unfortunately, not everyone does.  The American Family Association (cue sighs and eye rolling) says, “The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive.  Not exactly what you want a child asking for at the supermarket.”  I wonder if the AMA felt the same way about “Half Baked”? My guess is not.

What I like about the name is exactly what the AMA doesn’t like.  It’s cheeky, fun, and actually has a story behind it.  Ben & Jerry’s is about a consistent a brand as there is out there.  Their message is “If it’s not fun, then why do it” and they’ve stuck to that message throughout their existence.  In an age where everybody suspects corporate America of hiding something the best way to build brand loyalty is through trust built by consistency.  I personally don’t believe the line between fun and indecent was crossed here.

This isn’t even the first time the ice cream maker has come out with a controversial flavor name.  Brand marketing firm Cone helped launch the “Hubby Hubby” campaign in September of 2009, which celebrated gay marriage.

“Schweddy Balls” might not have nearly the same political affiliations, but it is conceived from the same notion.  Enjoy life and have some fun eating your ice cream.  So I encourage all of you to watch the SNL skit with a bowl full of the freshest “Schweddy Balls” you can find.  Might I also suggest whipped cream?

Do you think the name “Schweddy Balls” is offensive?

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