Fallon Planning

Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Syke! New Fallon Blog Address Info and Links

Rumours of the death of Fallon Blogging are greatly exaggerated.

Long live Fallon Blog at http://www.fallon.com/fallon-blog/

And add RSS feed address http://www.fallon.com/fallon-blog/feed/atom/

Er, its the first day live(ish) so importing the past into the new is gonna take a sec (sorting the tags for instance and redirecting old links). All of the old content will continue to live here so any hotlinks or embeds you may have made in the past is still live and searchable. But all the past content also lives on new blog, and ALL UPDATES WILL ONLY HAPPEN AT NEW BLOG ADDRESS ABOVE. So if you love our blog flavor, come savor it over at the new pad.

Also, peep the new website http://www.fallon.com/ and cop the new social network app Skimmer http://www.fallon.com/skimmer

Over and out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fallon Brainfood: Fallon Blog Secrets Revealed! (and the death of Fallon Planning Blog)

Its been 2 years since we launched the Fallon Planning Blog and 2 years since Ed Cotton and I did our "Blogging The Agency" presentation at AAAA Planning Conference which tried to assess the value of account planners' blogging.

At the time, questions were just starting to arise about agency bloggers and the role we should be playing on the burgeoning social web. I distinctly remember some big name planners insisting that all this bloggery and twittering was a waste of our time and we should get back our proper surveys and focus groups like a good puppy. Interestingly, not a day goes by that a client isn't asking the Insight dept for a POV on social media. Then, social media was a hobby, now its become the job.

What prompted the Fallon Planning Blog? Fallon Planners were asking a philosophical question: Are we merely our work, or are we our ideas and thinking, too? And if we're ideas and thinking, where does all that get expressed and workshopped beyond our client decks? Younger planners were asking how might they learn and hear from experienced planners beyond the annual conference? Other questions abounded about what effect social media might play on us, our industry, our work, our clients? We were beginning to see the seismic shifts that social computing was having on retail, media consumption, music, creative production, distribution, etc. A partial answer to this conundrum was to participate. We started a blog.

The blog launched with little fanfare (or even official sanction) we simply started and assumed to sort it out as we went.

So years later, what has it gotten us? What have we learned from blogging and Brainfooding and Tweeting and social networking?

Highlights about Fallon Planning Blog
-Over 170,000 pageviews and over 27,406 unique visitors since launch in 2006
-Average 600 RSS subscribers a day
-Ranked #142 on AdAge Power 150 - top media and marketing blogs
-over 12,000 pageviews in Feb 2009, this year may be reaching a tipping point!
-Fallon Worldwide/Fallon Minneapolis receives an average blog mention every 11 days
-Fallon Planning receives an average blog mention every 12 hours

Highlights about Fallon Brainfood:
-over 52,000 total views of Brainfood on Slideshare plus countless live webcam views, blog posts, and Tweets
-over 4600 views of Brainfood in Q109 so far
-28,905 Twitter impressions

So you might wonder why all the reflective tone in this post? It probably sounds like something is ending. And well, it is...or rather, something new is soon to begin. But for now, consider the Fallon Planning Blog experiment successfully ended.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

5 Ways For Brands To Use YouTube

1. In-Video Overlays

This function allows you to advertise in the middle of a video with small pop-ups. This means a coupon button could pop up right after they see the food, or a “buy this on DVD” ad pops up right after the punch line.

Monty Python Channel

Best thing is, it’s working. Monty Python has recently put some of their most popular content on YouTube and with the click-to-buy links under the video. Mashable reports that even though the content is online for free, Monty Python’s DVD sales have skyrocketed 23,000% on Amazon and reached the #2 on Bestseller list.

2. Brand Channels

These homepages can save a lot of money and be more effective. YouTube now offers enough customization you can basically create a microsite for peanuts. Also, users can stay within the YouTube environment without clicking out to get the coupons, games and other goodies.

Nature Valley’s Brand Channel

3. Annotations

Advertisers no longer need to buy banner space around their content on YouTube. They simply place it within their content for free. Annotations are also great because you can change easily without re-editing or re-uploading the video. This means brands can respond quickly to what people are saying by adding their own comments to sections of the video. Another function of these annotations has been a these choose your own adventure video (shown below). Annotations are changing the way we tell brand narratives.

Samsung Instinct

Street Fighter

4. Out of the box experiences

YouTube is willing to work with clients to make the standard video player more dynamic. Take a look at the creative approach Goodby Silverstein & Partners SF took in advertising the Nintendo Wii game Wario Land.

Wario Land

5.Deeper Insight
YouTube’s Insight portion helps you monitor how hot or cold your video is. It generates graphs at what time your audience is leaving or where they go back for another look. It also gives you demographics and info as to where they discovered the video. After looking at hot spots, you could better decide where to add annotations and in-video overlays. You can also understand how long your audience is willing to stick around.

Youtube Insight

Mobile T.V.

As the demand for content everywhere becomes greater, a surge of network and cable television phone "apps" has vitalized. Here are some of the latest.

- TV.com

This application allows you to access channels such as CBS Sports, The CW, and Showtime.

- VH1 Watch and Discuss Live Chat

Chat live while watching your favorite VH1 show. Think of it as a mobile chat room.

- CBS March Madness

CBS recently launched the March Madness app for the tournament. Starting March 19th CBS will be streaming every game live. Since live mobile TV is still in the early stages, it will be interesting to see what happens.

And it's not just for the iPhone any more. Content providers have realized the importance of mobile TV and are making their shows available across numerous mobile platforms (e.g. Android, Blackberry, etc.).

Additionally, with all things new I think there are a few things to consider with this platform. Content owners must embrace mobile as a new medium and craft new experiences that tap the unique characteristics of the mobile environment.

Some ideas that may help mobile TV break through are below.

- Create must-see programming that is only accessible via the phone such as clips that continue a story, possibly using footage that was not shown originally.
- Have interactive experiences that will provide plenty of opportunities for viewers to vote on a show or otherwise give their feedback.
- Don't rely on the 30-minute slot that works in traditional TV; the mobile environment allows for more creative uses of time outside of that format. For example, make a quick TV slot to fill short time gaps - like when waiting for the next bus to arrive. Or longer programs for the distant bus commute out of the city.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Real Life Account Planning

We like strategy and we like to write briefs. We like to look at ads and decide when strategy is bad or good, but how often do we make a real difference?

Here is a guy who made a difference with account planning. Instead of writing a brief he took his observations and research and created a charity, gave homes to 170 homeless people, and gave them back their pride.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Flash Mobs as Optimism Drivers

Book stores that were once filled with books about dreaming and achieving are now filled with books about the end being near and suicide prevention, John McCain's Twitter feed is solely devoted to tearing apart the stimulus package, and I passed a man on the side of the road today holding a sign that says 'The End is Near.' When the best news we have to cling to is Wal-Mart's impressive sales numbers for February of ‘09, is there any optimism left?

Although the optimism quotient is in decline there are still glimpses of hope if you look hard enough. One of those glimpses is the resurgence of flash mobs.

Just a few weeks ago thousands of facebook users mobbed Trafalgar Square and the Liverpool Street Station in London to spontaneously dance.

Three weeks ago Taiwan had their first flash mob where 50 people showed up to participate in an organized pillow fight

and earlier this week a theater group in Scotland organized a flash mob to dance in the town centre.

In each case the flash mob is filled with fun and optimism and manifests joy-crazy happiness is on the faces of the participants. In the case of the dancing London flash mobs they were a reenactment of a T-Mobile commercial.
As the economy continues to suck it is important to hang on to the optimism that helps define America. Any time pure joy can manifest and brighten the day of thousands of people it is a good thing, and something people will appreciate. It’s a generous idea.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fallon Brainfood: "Inspired By Kittens"

Fallon strategic planner Aki Spicer explores the latest social media metrics of the "Kittens Inspired By Kittens" phenomenon (created by Fallon ECD Al Kelly) as well as the 5 actionable lessons we can apply to our brands.

Fallon Brainfood: "Inspired By Kittens" from Aki Spicer on Vimeo.

Invite on Facebook

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Generosity: A Product of an Innovation Economy, not an Efficiency Economy

we've been talking a lot about Generous Brands here at fallon, and a point i've been making about why clients need to embrace Generosity is that this country is moving beyond a business climate driven by supply-side thinking focused on maximizing efficiencies, and into a business climate driven by demand-side thinking focused on innovation, ideas, and offering new forms of value to customers. supply-side brands create communications that serve their own needs, but demand-side brands create communications that serve customers' needs... in other words, they create communications that are Generous.

traditional business consultants like McKinsey are going to be less valuable in the future (a business can only get so lean), and new model innovation consultancies like IDEO are going to be more and more valuable (businesses will always need to create new value for their customers). agencies can learn a lot from the processes and the kind of work these innovation consultancies emphasize as we continue to redefine our role in the future. having worked alongside a couple of these companies, i can say that what they do is a whole lot like what we do, but they're probably packaging and merchandising themselves better than we are (for proof, check out how many times IDEO has been profiled in BusinessWeek over the past few years).

this short businessweek post by design columnist bruce nussbaum makes this point pretty well, using some of obama's initial actions to illustrate. thanks to alyson for pointing me to it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Periodic Table of Social Media Elements Reminds You to Optimze Your Social Media Plan

Rick Liebling has created a Period Table of Social Elements on eyecube that made me get thinking on brands use of social media. I included the image below, and the key can be found in the original post on eyecube.

In his words: Social Media really is a lot like chemistry. There is a huge pool of elements you can choose from and an infinite variety of combinations you can create. Twitter + sharing + commenting will give you a different result than blogging + LinkedIn + Flickr. Then of course there are the active ingredients - the people. A dash of Chris Brogan plus a big helping of David Armano and the whole thing changes again.

Often we are approached by brands and clients saying "I want a Twitter strategy" or "I want to be on Facebook." But not every brand that succeeds on Twitter will succeed on Facebook. @Comcastcares uses Twitter as a tool, but can you find a successful Comcast effort anywhere on MySpace?

As agencies, we need to find the right mix of social elements, and when appropriate, the right hyper-connected people to work with or learn from, to deliver the best possible Social Media Mix to our clients.

This gives a great image of all the different options in a quick-get way of understanding the mixing and matching capabilities of all-things social. You blow up a balloon with CO2 and it sits on the floor. Inflate it with helium and it floats.

Friday, February 20, 2009

iPhone app shelf life is less than 30 days.

New Pinch Media data reveals that "for free applications, only about 20 percent of users return to use the app the first day after they download it, and then it quickly drops off from there. By 30 days out, less than 5 percent are using the app...So there is a very brief window of time to capture people’s attention and potential revenues."

Implications/strategy for branded apps moving forward:

1. Add VALUE (utility, organization, efficiency, entertainment, convenience, etc.) or it instantly becomes nothing.
2. Launch app 30 DAYS OR LESS BEFORE BIG EVENT (new product launch, season premiere, box-office opening, etc...).
3. CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION. Constantly add new content; weekly, monthly, daily...whatever. Giving users a reason to come back.
4. Throw the app to bloggers PR style so they can spread it by WOM; their network.
5. Maybe the app isn't free? People may use it more if they have invested in it.

Article and Slideshare here:

6 Ways to Play Twitter - Winning Strategies for Brands On Twitter

Not a week goes by where someone doesn't ask me to quick-brainstorm a Twitter strategy for their brand. Then I roll my eyes and grimace as I believe most brands probably should not Twitter (because they really aren't willing to deliver on-demand responsiveness - just one among many factors unique to the Twitter platform.).

Nonetheless, here is an easy chart of 6 Ways To Play Twitter. Pin it on your wall if you're considering just how your brand may fit into the conversation on Twitter.

(click to enlarge or get.pdf or get.png)

*All strategies don't fit all brands - do some soul-searching!
**And, yes, some strategies may be combined (like Mortal Combat button combos - "Finish Him!")

***If I'm missing some angles throw 'em at me in the comments (or @akispicer, as I reserve the right to update this chart with better ideas.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eco-Metrics: Part 2

Continuing my previous post on monitoring your energy use or carbon footprint with iPhone and/or Android apps, here are a few more.


Accufuel - Track your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Carticipate - A ride-share app that allows the user to find people in their area to carpool. Think social-carpooling.


PedNav - Helps the user plan their activities efficiently. The app is location aware, so it has the capability of telling the user what is near and of the necessary transportation to get to the suggested destination.


Teradesk - Connects the user to their computers and/or mobile devices and allows them to store files in a digital "cloud" accessible from anywhere, eliminating personal paper trails.


And it's not just the software that is allowing people to be more "efficient." There have been developments in the hardware as well. Here are a couple examples.

Nokia's 3110 Evolve
- The covers are made from over 50% renewable material, has smaller packaging made of 60% recycled content, and the charger uses 94% less energy than the Energy Star requirements.

Motorola's Renew
Recently introduced, the “Renew,” is made using plastic from recycled water bottles and can be completely recycled.

Nokia's Eco Sensor - Equipped with a wearable sensor unit with wrist or neck strap made of solar power cells as its power source, it can analyze your health, environment, and local weather conditions simultaneously. It's still in the "concept" stage, so don't look for it anytime soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Good Enuff" Production Values - A New Model of Social Media Production

Been on a rant recently about a new production option for the social web in face of ubiquitous, cheaper, faster "Good Enuff" technologies like camera phones and laptop editware.

This tech democracy is amplifying how wasteful micro-site development (just make a really hype MySpace page or YouTube Channel with widgeted contents and plow all your budget into savvy media buys) and the overly produced "viral" video is. On YouTube, people probably don't care about our craft. So get to the idea quick(er), cheap(er). Stop pursuing perfect and make it "Good Enuff".

"Good Enuff" isn't just for users, it enables us marketers to shoot more ideas fast(er), cheap(er) instead of rolling all our energies into a single overly produced "perfect" idea that just may fail. So fail fast(er). And fail cheap(er).

At the Social, good ideas are still seen as good ideas as long as production values are "good enuff" (Can they see it? Check? Can they hear it? Good, ship it and see how it fares on YouTube and Digg). And bad ideas aren't made any better on the social web because they were shot expensively (honestly all that gloss goes over the heads of low bandwidth viewers who are skeptical of commercial gloss).

Success at The Social dictates that it is best to fail fast(er) and cheap(er) and Try, Try Again till you strike the right "viral" chord (the more important pursuit).

Below is an interesting user-gen commercial for Trader Joes - shot on a handheld Palm Treo. 212,491 views so far on YouTube.

Target Women Redux

Google Analytics shows that the Target:Women post a few months ago is popular. So let me milk it with another sure-to-be popular post of newer Target:Women episodes from CurrentTV.

Target Women: Diets

Target Women: Online Dating

Target Women: Lessons 2008

Friday, February 13, 2009

What "Kittens, Inspired By Kittens" Teaches Us

The daughter of Fallon's own ECD Al Kelly has confounded much of our agency "viral" science in recent days with her unexpected and cute lil' YouTube vid entitled "Kittens, Inspired By Kittens".

In only a few days "Kittens..." has garnered over 300K views, made boingboing, Cute Overload,trended #3 top shared link last nite on Twitter, YouTube honors now incl #3 - Most Responded (Today) Pets & Animals, #13 - Most Responded (This Week) - Pets & Animals category.

Now, the reason this video is confounding to a strategist at an ad agency: it's all serendipity, folks, no budget, no client, no strategy, no objective intent - just Al Kelly sharing the infectious joy of his 6-year-old girl reading a childrens' book. That's the brief simple and plain. Either she's way smarter than us strategerists, or we're way overthinking it sometimes.

The success of "Kittens..." (and hundreds of goofy vids like it) often flies in the face of much of our well-produced, branded, and strategized factory "virals". So what gives? Is "viral" still just a roll of the dice - particularly for brands? Do we embrace the more-faster-cheaper ethos that drives the users? Do we recruit 6-year-olds to generate ideas for us? Do we get her to replicate the magic - this time for a brand? And it makes me wonder, if we had pitched "Kittens..." to a client would they ever have approved it? And if a client would've approved "Kittens..." would they have added too many brand mandatories that would slow down its "viral" appeal?

I do think we may learn 7 applicable lessons from "Kittens..." to add into our "viral video" toolbox for surefire success:
1) Embrace Silly - stupid is ok, too! (serendipity)
2) Getit?Gotit?Good. - make it a fast, easy "get": a girl reading a childrens book about kittens - got it. (science)
3) Embrace 'Good Enough' - shoot it fast and cheap, poor production value is good enough as long as they see it and hear it. (science)
4) Tap an emotional core that people want to share in spreading - people are immediately on this girl's side, we want to help her succeed at this book report. (serendipity)
5) Add Cute Kid - like Billy Dee Williams always said: "Works every time!"(science)
6) Add Cute Kittens (science)
7) Try, Try Again - rinse and repeat the above - the old broadcast method dictated we shoot one big production a year. The YouTube method says shoot more micro ideas and release them freely to the wild. (serendipity)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Generosity Pays Off For iPhone Game Developer

When the iPhone game ‘Whack'em All’ was hacked, the developer engaged the game’s hacker instead of taking an aggressive stance. The dialogue had a surprising effect. Sales increased 100%, pirates donated money and the game is now available free of charge.

Here is a link to the article:

And here is a video demonstration of the game; if you're curious:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Present Like Steve Jobs

If you haven't seen Steve Jobs present, you're missing out. The link below is one of the best and simplest videos I've seen on how to create great presentations. It takes selections from the MacWorld 2008 presentation and shows you what Jobs did to make it great. There's setting your theme and creating headlines, showing passion and using visuals, making numbers meaningful and what we so too often forget: rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. No matter where you are along the road toward great presentations, this is worth seven minutes of your time.

Notice who's in the intro ad: Eric Ryan from Method (a previous Fallonite).

And, if you haven't explored bnet.com, it's worthwhile, too.

Eco-Metrics: Part 1

Monitor your energy use or carbon footprint with these iPhone and/or Android apps.


MeterRead - Reduce the amount of energy you are using by monitoring it. Keep tabs on your electric meters.

Recycler - Quick access to what kind of plastics can be included in your recycling bin.

Local Reuse - Reuse stuff you no longer want by giving it to others who need it.

GreenMeter - Designed to help you adjust your driving habits in order to reduce CO2 emissions and save you money on gas. App measure forward acceleration, computes engine power and fuel economy, fuel cost, carbon footprint, and oil consumption.


SugarTrip - (coming soon) Helps you avoid traffic jams so you save carbon emissions. Using the GPS unit in the phone, it measures how quickly you’re traveling. Users can plan their trips according to where traffic is located, helping to cut back on pollution by avoiding idling.


Ecorio - Carbon footprint calculator that track your movement. Mode of travel choices include automobile, public transit and bicycle.
- “RIO” Reduce, Inspire, and Offset.

  • “Reduce” suggests carpool options via Zimride, a service that matches up drivers and passengers who wish to use less fuel by traveling together instead of as one.
  • “Inspire” feature offers a Twitter-like social networking to communicate with other Ecorio users. Tapping a user’s profile icon displays their location and how many pounds of emissions they’re responsible for so far.
  • “Offset,” which links to a site that accepts credit cards to purchase offsets from Carbonfund.


And finally, read about how Google is planning to enter the Eco-Metrics arena.

The New Optimism: 'Yes We Can' Advertising Abounds

In this time of crisis/recession/fear, advertising is fostering themes of hope and shiny optimism.

Monday, February 09, 2009

What Gift Would You Buy?

As I was searching for information on the book Wired to Care by Dev Patnaik, I came across this link to an interview with Dev and Business Week. The title is Empathy Loves Company, and it's worth listening to for the couple of minutes. Here's my favorite idea from the interview, which is also written in the book:

Mercedes was trying to market to younger Americans. Some 20-somethings were brought into their offices. Each of the executives were asked to interview one of the 20-something-year-olds for 30 minutes. The interviewee could bring photos or anything else they wanted to share in order for the executive to get to know them better. After the interview, the executive went out and bought a gift for the person they interviewed. The executive was rated on how well the interviewee liked the gift.

How well do you know your customers—whoever they are? Customers aren't found in PowerPoint slides. They're found face-to-face on the street. Do you know your customers well enough to be able to buy them a gift? That gift isn't your product. If you can't figure out what gift they'd like, how can you get to know them better so you can? What would they really want?

More info on the book at: www.wiredtocare.com