June 30, 2010

Shift Happens

Great presentation from Aki Spicer, Fallon’s Director of Digital Strategy who conducted a workshop at VCU Brandcenter’s Executive Training Program for account planners.

“The Engagement Opportunity” outlines the evolving role and function of strategic planning in this age of digital and social technologies and proposes a methodology for integrated creative ideation.

No doubt Aki added a lot verbally but there is still a lot of good stuff to get out of this.

View more presentations from akispicer.
June 24, 2010

Digital roars at Cannes Lions

It has been an exciting week at Cannes for anyone who has been slogging away in the digital space for many years. Finally it has taken its true position as the driver of 21st century marketing communications. Digital has extended its reach into direct, promo and activation in an unprecedented way this year. What is clear however, both in the Cyber Lions and the other categories, it is that digital combined with the physical is where the magic happens. Let’s see some of the winners:

A gold winner in Promo and Activation from Ester Stockholm. To help prevent aids they developed a campaign where unique numbers were put on condoms given out. People could then go online to tell their story of how the condom was used. “By printing 100 000 condoms with numbers we gave every condom a story to be told by whoever got lucky with it. Every condom-package contained a uniquely numbered condom and a text that encouraged the recipient to share the condoms fate, by uploading his or her story at the blog kondom08.nu The 100 000 condoms became the message, the media and also the solution”.

Also in Promo & Activation, BBDO New York won gold for their HBO Imagine campaign in the category Best Use of Internet/Online Advertising in a Promotional Campaign. The video speaks for itself – it shows how creative ambition can now be fullfilled online if you have the ideas and the budget to match.

In the Direct category the Grand Prix went to a campaign that could not have been possible without the power of digital. Special Group in Auckland developed a campaign for ORCON Broadband that “created a world-first event, a chance to re-record ‘The Passenger’, live online, with Iggy Pop. Our direct response objective was two-fold: Attract a large enough pool of talented auditions to ensure we could select our virtual band. Maximise the country’s engagement with the auditioning process. The call for auditions went out first to Orcon’s customer base, to its facebook friends, and via online advertising. This was then extended by 15” TVCs and street posters calling for people to Play live with Iggy Pop. Entrants then uploaded auditions directly to a specially built facebook application, where they could be browsed”.

Gold in Direct also went to BBDO and Ester for the two campaigns already featured here. Meanwhile, in the Cyber Lions, the Grand Prix went to the Nike Chalkbot from Wieden + Kennedy featured on this blog a few times and the Volkswagen FUN THEORY campaign from DDB Stockholm.

As they say on their entry, “Volkswagen asked us to create a campaign that would generate interest around BlueMotion Technologies. A series of cars and innovations that help reduce environmental impact without compromising on performance or the joy of driving. Our insight was that VW made it easier to choose an eco car by making them more fun to drive. Our solution was a theory, focusing on the thinking behind the cars; that the easiest way to change human behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do”.

We’re back to sex again, this time with a Gold winner from TBWA Paris in the category Banners and Other Rich Media: Charities, Public Health & Safety, Public Awareness. Rather than just stick with the simple video in a banner, they “took Willy, a young potential stud, in an expandable banner, to deliver the message in an interactive and playful way. Never moralising. Always fun. So, the story line, the actors and the location are the same… now discover a (more) hands on user experience. Don’t be shy, grab Willy (he wont mind) and celebrate happy safe sex.”

Lots of other Gold winners have already won awards this year so they are the obvious (but still worthy) choices. We choose the Moon, IKEA Facebook Showroom, and Monopoly City Streets to name but a few. Check out all the Cyber Lion winners here.

Just a final thought. While I was there I took a look at all the Titanium Integrated entries being shown in various screenings. Socially conscious campaigns driven by social media seem to be the flavour du jour. It all became one big blur. You could have switched brands and never have noticed. In the attempt to be “of the moment” many campaigns came across as being too “try hard” or bandwagon jumping. The real creative challenge is to stand out in all of this white noise. My bet for next year? Social media may be seen by many as “so yesterday” and the baby will be thrown out with the bath water.

June 17, 2010

Google Box

So this is how Google sees the future of TV. Maybe they could hire a few interface designers from Apple because this looks as ugly as hell. Then again, if the rumours are true, Apple could soon be reinventing their own Apple TV so it knocks the sock off this. Meanwhile, Yahoo are also playing in this space and this could mean that web-enabled TV will be the new battle ground for the big players because the mobile war just isn’t enough.

June 16, 2010

AR loves NY

Augmented Reality is becoming more mainstream. This time it is Time Out New York that presents their Augmented Reality Bar Guide. On their site they announce that “Time Out New York has partnered with junaio, the augmented reality browser, to create the first-ever mobile summer-drinking guide. With just a smartphone, you can unlock summer drink specials around town—just by pointing your phone”. Check it out here.

June 15, 2010

YouTube 3D

You may already have seen this 3D video projection for Samsung that happened recently at the historic Beurs van Berlage buildingin Amsterdam. To promote the brand’s new 3D LED TVs, from June 7th, the projection was integrated into the first game-take-over on YouTube, where a seemingly-standard video of the projection is embedded in a YouTube page that cracks while butterflies start flying out of the projection. A video game ensues, in which you rack up points by clicking on the butterflies, and the new dimension of Samsung 3D takes over the page.

If it is still live you can see it here on YouTube.

June 14, 2010

How to write potent webcopy

As regular readers know, I’m going through each chapter in David Ogilvy’s book “Confessions of an Advertising Man” while giving them a digital update. When I came to the chapter “How to write potent copy” I realised that not being a copywriter might put me at a disadvantage. So I called upon my colleague Henk Nieuwenhuis (creative director and copywriter at Ogilvy Amsterdam) and asked if he would be my guest writer. He agreed and below are his words. Thanks Henk!

What’s so interesting about Shakespeare that we still perform his plays? Well, he wrote about things that move people and make us feel alive. Then and today. Things like ambition, desire, friendship, treason, greed, envy, love. He wrote about eternal human truths. Good copywriting should do the same. Because good copy is not about pretty writing, it’s about finding a way to touch people’s hearts and minds.

Does this apply for David Ogilvy too? Does his advice stand the test of time and still hold true in the digital age? Let’s have a closer look at his copy confessions in the chapter of his book titled: ‘How to write potent copy’.

Should you read on?

Ogilvy starts with the headline, as being the most important element in most advertising. Why? Because this is the first moment your reader makes the decision: should I stay or should I go?

Now, of course David talks about ads. But the principle  of starting off with a strong trigger to grab the attention holds true for direct mailings, radio and tv commercials, banners, e-mails and landing pages alike. His motto ‘you can’t bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them’ is the universal underlying truth about writing effective copy for any commercial means.

Back to the headline. On the internet it could be as much as the subject line of your e-mail. Much is written about subject lines, as to how many characters work best or how explanatory it should be.  Because the nice thing about subject lines is, that they can easily be tested. By mailing different subject lines, you see what works better in an instant and for free. And what do we see? That David’s tips also work for the web Check them out:

1.     Interest your audience in your offer. Talk to them directly and put the product or the problem in the copy line. This still makes sense.

2.     Appeal to people’s self-interest. Still valid: what’s in it for me? was, is and will be the eternal question for any commercial message.

3.     Put some news into the headline. He states that the words free and new are the most powerful ones. Still true.

4.     Mark your words. Use emotional ones. And especially for the web: take SEO and spam filters into account .

5.     Include the brand name in your heading. If readers don’t see it already in the sender column where they make the first shift between read or delete.

6.     Write long headlines with the selling promise. True: subject line tests prove that the clearer you are, the more clicks you get.

7.     Make the reader curious.

8.     Don’t write tricky headlines –puns, allusions, obscurities- David says. And he’s right. I once rewrote copy for an online member-get-member promotion that didn’t live up to expectations. I took the fun and wit out and put the promise and explanation. Results went up 5 times.

9.     It is dangerous to use negatives in headlines.

10.  Don’t write blind headlines you only understand when you read the rest of the copy.

Have a chat with a dinner companion

When it comes to writing the body copy, Ogilvy suggests you’re should pretend talking to a woman sitting next to you at a dinner party. Talk to her in simple language. Try to convince with facts. Use your wit. Can you lead her into temptation?

This reminds me of the Dialog Method of the well known direct mail-professor Herr Doctor Siegfried Vögele, the offline equivalent of the usability-guru Jakob Nielsen. Both of them agree with Ogilvy when he states your copy should go straight to the point. Be specific and factual. And don’t be a bore.

Does size matter? Well, people always seem to have been intrigued about length. Even in his days, there was a popular belief that people don’t read long copy. On the internet it’s the same story. Best advice here is to start short, grab the attention and state your case upfront. It’s the inverted pyramid-principle: start by making your point first, than build on it. The deeper you get in the website, the longer your copy can be: now your reader wants to read. He has clicked, hasn’t he? So reward him.

As we come to the ultimate goal of copy, the idea is the same: your copy should be a complete sales pitch for your product. The really fundamental change is the fact that people don’t read from A to Z anymore – although I’m not sure they ever did-, but they hop, skip and jump through the pages and only read what they think is attractive. Online you make the sale in several steps. Can you make every step a relevant one?

David suggests you always include a testimonial. Well, the internet serves us well here, as user generated content is the latest big thing. You don’t even have to include it yourself: they will talk about your brand and product anyway. Using celebrities or giving advice, as David suggests, can help to spread the news online. We even can add the viral effect if testimonials are funny or remarkable in any other way.

His tips on style are also valid today. Don’t be pompous and avoid bombast but write normal plain language. The classic DM copy rule that you are always talking to a 14 year old, applies also for webcopy. Use short words, short sentences, short paragraphs and make your copy personal.

Don’t just entertain. Don’t write copy for copy’s sake. Write to get results.

Week of Tweets #14

Welcome to another edition of my regular roundup of favourite tweets.

Instant advertising… NYTimes: An Ad Engine to Put ‘Mad Men’ Out of Business http://nyti.ms/by4u4L

  • How automated can advertising get? This article covers some new developments in banner advertising.

Great idea… RT @intersphere: Condom brand uses#Chatroulette to create an HIV awareness campaignhttp://bit.ly/a7g4vl

Hope the video below doesn’t offend anyone. No doubt Steve Jobs will stop reading this blog now. Nice way to use fun technology to get a serious message across…

Another one converted 🙂 RT @adage: Bring on Digital: Why I No Longer Consider Myself a Traditionalist: http://bit.ly/9P0ufM

  • Liked this article showing how one “traditional” creative discovered the creative possibilities that digital provides.

RT @PSFK: BMW Brings “Joy” To Singapore With Interactive 3D Building Projection http://su.pr/20cYz5

Interesting… RT @BrandRepublic: Pepsi launches location-based iPhone app with check-in rewards http://fwd4.me/Ra2

  • I’m the king of the castle! Has Foursquare unlocked our inner children or started the next bandwagon? I still believe in location-based marketing but maybe not the version we know right now.

RT @pyesawichjr: Will the future be filled with data displays and 3D holographic objects projected into physical space? http://bit.ly/dyVmBv

  • I love a good futuristic story. This article imagines what things might be like 10 years from now. Oh how we’ll laugh when we look back at Layar (no offence guys).

Sorry, we don’t serve Flash… RT @anguswong: Restaurant replaces menus with iPads.

  • Will this replace waiters? Not really. They’ll just be wiping grease off iPad screens instead.

Now that’s a YouTube channel! RT @leorayman: DDB/Tribal launches Budweiser World Cup/reality show mashup www.BudUnited.com

  • Reality TV continues to be a great way to draw in an audience. This campaign is a great execution of a YouTube-based campaign.

Great article… RT @Razorfish: Digital advertising out; engaging experiences in (via @psfk) http://bit.ly/brIXu3

  • Does advertising work these days? Can we connect more with our audience through “brand-fueled” events and content?

and finally…

I Like!… RT @PSFK: Facebook ‘Like Button’ Goes Physical http://su.pr/2vmUhw

June 11, 2010

Times change

Pretty amazing demo of the new Time magazine for iPad. Nobody will ever be able to say they are “relaxing with a magazine”. It all looks exhausting!

IKEA Play Report

This is a great initiative from IKEA using the power of social media to encourage people to play more with their kids. Check it out here on Facebook.

June 10, 2010

Devil in the details

Another great TED talk from Rory Sutherland about why the small things matter so much.