Message on a Bottle: This example of on-product publishing comes to us from Australia. The magazine iLove is served up on a bottle of spring water and represents the ultimate in multi-tasking for the on the go consumer. This looks more appetizing promising to me than Pringles’ on-chip printing.
Zaadz Thinks Global, Acts Social:Zaadz is a social networking site that wants to change the world. It organizes idealists into one “online oasis” to help each other live better lives. A tall order, so they also have a podcast to help spread the word.
Take note of “MySpace making a difference” as social media helps grassroots efforts become even more powerful. Iconoculture researchers note: “Social networks aren’t just for hooking up, swapping music and finding Friendsters. Online communities have emerged as nuclear, digital platforms for uncommon objectives and earnest pursuits.”
Esthr’s on Flickr: Esther Dyson is posting some great pics to her Flickr account as she swims, flies, rubs elbows with the technorati and even stumbles upon John Cusack chatting up Mena Trott.
Is marketing becoming so competitive and cluttered that we’re willing to risk pissing off our target customers while getting our message to them?
On one hand, the ad surprises consumers and follows a line of unique coffee-related advertising coffee-related advertising we’ve discussed before. It’s creative and gets your attention.
But how many people drinking the coffee are Sephora’s target customers? It’s a mass approach which will initially confuse more than a few people before they’ve had their morning cuppa.
It reminds me of the Orkin television spot (circa 2000) where a bug crawls across the TV screen during a parody ad. It was so realistic there were reports of consumers breaking their TV sets trying to kill the bug.
Maybe the people with broken TV sets need to switch to decaf, but…wtf?! How bad is it getting? As the effectiveness of traditional media wanes is our reluctance towards pissing off consumers deteriorating with it?
Global relief agency Oxfam brings us an interesting case study on social media relations’ ability to raise awareness.
It's raising $35 million to help East Africa deal with a drought-inflicted crisis. Like many non-profits, Oxfam did not have the budget to launch a traditional multinational awareness campaign.
Instead the Gold Group helped Oxfam capitalize on a unique donation from actress Keira Knightley—a Vera Wang dress she wore to the 2006 Oscars. The strategy was to promote the eBay auction of the famous dress to highlight the Oxfam campaign. Vera Wang also displayed the dress in her Madison Avenue flagship store. Jeff Greene answered a few questions from Strategic Public Relations about the project
SPR: How did you decide your online targets? Greene: Gold Group identified major online hubs for entertainment and celebrity gossip and information. Working closely with bloggers and webmasters, we engaged with these online communities. Gold Group also built a landing site for the auction, enabling us to measure traffic.
SPR: What was your social media angle/pitch? Was it different from the offline pitch? What were your target outlets and overall timing with the auction? Greene: Timing is always of the essence when creating a buzz before the start of a campaign, and so is relevancy. Probably the most important thing is to do your research.
In this particular campaign, the auction was first pitched to Keira Knightley fan sites – she has rabid fans in the UK and the U.S. – and some of these sites are highly search-optimized. We found sites the paparazzi check out for tips, which helped us gain a foothold in traditional media before the release was distributed. We also identified the relief boards and blogs that write about such efforts.
For the offline pitch the story was much more about going out to see the dress physically, the novelty of this gorgeous dress in a store window, while the online pitch was more about building a buzz around the auction and driving traffic to Oxfam’s web site.
SPR: Did social input/feedback impact follow-up pitches? I'm assuming the campaign was altered based on feedback or insight from "citizen outlets." Greene: Absolutely. On the social side, when bloggers came back asking for something we tried to accommodate them as much as possible – more details, extra photos. A conversation thread in one of the fan forums helped influence a messaging point that went out in a follow-up release. These are small examples, but taught us to see social media not just as a “target” but a potential collaborator in the conversation.
SPR: How did you track results and mentions social vs. offline? Greene: By doing a lot of Google searches! Seriously, it was a challenge. We tracked certain direct phrases that were used in the official release, for example, but wouldn’t appear in most social mentions (unless they were quoting the whole release verbatim). For a while, we were able to track the hits differential between our landing page and the eBay auction page, until the Associated Press mentioned the landing page. The Keira fans were really helpful in sending us links as they found them. Offline was much easier to track, using US Newswire tools.
SPR: What were the campaign results? How much money was Oxfam hoping to raise? Greene: Oxfam has participated in eBay auctions before, so they know that bidding is unpredictable. They were more concerned with traffic and awareness of Oxfam initiatives in East Africa. The eBay auction of Keira Knightley’s dress brought in nearly $8,000 USD. 79 bidders competed for the gown and 2,500 users watched the final bidding. This set a record for Oxfam according to the UK’s Independent.
Coolhunting on MySpace: PSFK You can wade through 83 million pages of MySpace angst trying to find the next Arctic Monkeys or simply visit SpaceCadetz for “the best of MySpace.” This smart aggregator blog has been in motion since February and its success would seem to hinge on the variety/credibility of authors. But so far it’s not clear as to who is pushing the publish button.