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.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Social Marketing: Tay Zonday and Dr Pepper

Looks like Dr. Pepper has tapped the star power of Tay Zonday to help promote it's Diet Cherry Chocolate soda...

The appeal of Tay continues to amaze me. When Chocolate Rain first came out I thought most people would tire out on him pretty quickly. But I find myself checking his YouTube channel weekly waiting for the latest video to drop, and continue to be entertained every time. This latest clip- posted yesterday- has already racked up +206,000 hits, so guess I'm not alone.

I particularly love this line in his intro: "The is the Web, and its gonna murder your TV"

Get some of that Cherry Chocolate Rain.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Planning For Good: Live Earth

Planning For Good (PfG) - strategists donating brain power to good causes. 1100+ members strong. Across the globe. In only a few short months, we've successfully briefed Idea Village in New Orleans, and Unicef. Now Live Earth.

Live Earth Brief- Due December 17th

Get the brief @ Facebk and @ blog.

PfG Minneapolis - standby for meeting dates and location info. Sign up for updates, or "friend" me on Facebook and I'll add u to the PfG MPLS United army.

Planners in other cities around the globe may connect with their local cells here.

Panic Button: Made in China

An activist group is pushing for the resignation of a top Consumer Product Safety Commission official for failing to take a stronger stance on toy safety and has created a YouTube video to get its message across.

The Campaign for America’s Future is calling on Nancy Nord to step down as the CPSC’s acting director, largely for her opposition to legislation to strengthen the commission’s oversight on toy safety.

Millions of Chinese-made toys containing excessive levels of lead have been recalled in recent months from a number of toy manufacturers, including Mattel.

The group, which challenges “the big money corporate agenda” by encouraging people to speak up, says the commission is failing to protect children from dangerous toys.

To garner support, the organization created an online video that shows a “toxic” encounter between Mattel-made dolls Barbie and Ken.

“We’re trying to call attention to this,” says Eric Lotke, research director for Campaign for America’s Future. “The message is these toys are unsafe and the government authority, which is duty bound to keep us safe, is failing.”

In the video, Barbie and Ken run into each other at a bar. Their post break-up reunion ends the next morning at the Barbie Dream House. A week later, Barbie begins to complain to Ken that she is “having some symptoms.” When Ken asks what’s wrong, Barbie answers, “It’s…it’s lead poisoning.” It also reminds people that accessories for Barbie dolls were among the millions of imported toys recalled this year because of toxic levels of lead paint or other safety problems.

The group is relying on people to spread word of the video virally. Since its launch last week, the video has been viewed more than 60,000 times. And so far, about 7,000 people have signed the petition.

Reps from the organization plan to deliver the petition to Nord at the end of the week, Lotke said.

via Promo

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How Much "I'm Sorry" Can Actually Mean

There's been a lot of negative shit (and that's just a small taste) on the airline industry in the press recently-- and most of it deservedly so. To be honest, a good experience on a flight is something I consider a luxury these days. If it's on time, the flight attendants don't give me attitude for asking for that second beer, and my luggage gets where it needs to go, I'm ok.

But today I realized maybe I do care. Flying out of Minneapolis on NWA, our plane was delayed for an hour or so- not terrible by airline standards- but still a pain. The pilot took the time to get on the intercom multiple times to give us updates and apologize for the delay.

That in itself wasn't surprising- in fact I'd be pissed if he didn't- but what I did appreciate is that fact that he was standing at the door of the plane as we exited, personally apologizing for the delay rather than delegating the task to the flight crew.

It illustrated for me yet again a point that companies so often ignore- getting their own people on board with the company brand/mission. Maybe I'm giving him too much credit, but the fact that the pilot came out and took the time to apologize raised my views of the airline in general. Having people who stand up and admit when they've messed up, personally extending their apologies to me, was a nice surprise from an industry I didn't expect it from. And seeing an employee who believes his company/brand should be better than that was refreshing.

Now the question is, will I get a similar experience on the way back to uphold my newly found positive sentiment for the company, or will it be shot down? We'll find out soon enough...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Metrics & Measurement from Futures of Entertainment 2

Second Panel Discussion: Metrics & Measurement
This is all about measurements online and in broadcast. Discussion about moving towards qualitative over quantitative research.

Panel Members:
Maury Giles – GSD&M Idea City
Stacey Lynn Schulman – Turner Broadcasting
Bruce Leichtman – Leichtman Research Group

Sam Ford – Project Manager for the Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT

Some opening thoughts from each of the panelists:
Maury: There is a difference between traditional creatives and those that come up from the digital side
Stacey: It is getting harder and harder to predict the upcoming television show hits, now that there are more than just 3 networks (like there were when she started), and so many cable channels.
Bruce: It is imperative to understand the present in order to research and understand the future. Also, focus on the masses, never think about you, or your social graph as representing the mass.

What do you do with new media?

We can’t apply old metrics to new media.

This leads back to the Writers Strike. They are striking about the future – looking at a hockey stick curve telling them that online content will be a huge increase in profit from online viewing. It was added that hockey stick graphs are just visual representations of someone’s opinion. Also, Bruce pointed out that when you look at the total amount of time spent watching (legal) online video, the average per online video user (NOT all online users) is only 6 minutes per month. That is VERY small to be striking over. This idea of online video needs to be viewed as an evolution, not a revolution.

(It should be noted that a lot of online TV viewing is done via illegal downloading, which was not included in this statistic)

Within this debate comes DVRs as another way to watch shows at a different time than when they are aired. What warrants an appointment event vs. non-appointment event? Sporting events, for example, you must watch before you hear the score from the news or a friend, and also you must have the game as a social currency with your friend. Another example is an anticipated event such as High School Musical 2. However, appointment is really just the time between the event airing and you needing to interact with anyone else or watch the news.

What is online success?

How do we define it? Do we continue to measure based on traditional means, such as eyeballs? What about buzz, and looking and viral information and how it travels? You can’t quantify online activity such as pass along viewership and repeat viewership. But clients want TRPs and metrics that they understand. However, if a show isn’t getting the high ratings, or a site isn’t getting a large number of hits, should it be terminated?

Look, for example, at The Office. It started as a small, loyal audience, where much of the viewing took place online. It didn’t get huge ratings, but it didn’t get kicked off the air. Eventually it became more mainstream and popular and now it has great ratings.

How do people make purchase decisions?

Research says that people get a gut reaction when the are exposed to an advertisement, then seek out additional information about the product/service, and finally make a decision about whether or not to purchase the product.

But how to you create an advertisement that will get this gut reaction? And if you do, how do you measure it?

Once again, it is something that is not quantifiable. There is a difference between the metric that you need to monetize and the metric you need to connect. How much does advertising drive sales? If you see an ad for toilet paper on TV, do you immediately run out to the store and purchase it? Or is that just branding? After all, branding DOES work.

So if branding works in traditional media, can it acceptably work in new media? Buzz is not about audience measurement, rather, it is about reputation. And there is a lot to be learned from what other people say about your brand. After all, criticism is not negative, it is important because the people care enough to publicize what is wrong in order to help you get better.

It was noted that there is an increase in consumers brand affinity scores if they got into online spaces to experience the brand vs. not. And online branding has the ability to reach the light TV viewer, who your TV likely passed over, where as the heavy TV viewer likely already caught your ad a few times on air.

Timing is important for ad consumption.

When creating advertisements, it is important to get the consumer at reachable moments, and take into account what people are doing at the time they are consuming the media. For example, at what point does TV play a relevant role in a purchase decision?

Lets look at call-in ads. These run during the day and late at night, but never during prime time. Why? During prime time, the audience is too engaged to engage in call-in ad, they want to be laid back during that time.

A few closing “think abouts:”
Bruce: Think evolution, not revolution. The technology is far ahead of the consumer behavior.

Stacey: Think about how to keep consumers involved without interrupting.

Maury: We need to study qualitatively and through ethnographic research how the consumer engages in the purchase decision making. Also, we should think about benefits of aggregating the budget into small audiences instead of just the masses.

More from Futures of Entertainment 2 at MIT

First Panel Discussion - Mobile Media
Lots of information, but if you are into mobile, it's good stuff. A bit text heavy, and a lack of who-said-what, but the ideas are there from some very smart people.

Panel Members:
Alice Kim – MTV Networks
Marc Davis – Yahoo!
Anmol Madan - MIT Media Lab
Bob Schukai – Turner Broadcasting

Joshua Green, Research Manager of the Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT

Mobile Media

What is so important about mobile media? On a global scale, by 2010, 4 billion people (which is most of who will ever be connected) will be connected to the Internet, most by phone, according to Davis.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is falling way behind in mobile and broadband, and having trouble adapting. According to Schukai, we are 2 years behind Europe and 3-4 years behind Asia, and those are the markets we can learn the most from (specifically Korea, China, Taiwan and India are markets to watch).

What is keeping us so far behind? We are still worried about coverage, while other markets are concerned with speed and service. Also, the consumer behavior isn’t there yet. The biggest barrier is the cost of data on phones. This is where the opportunity for advertisers lies – can advertisers offset this cost to make it more accessible? Mobile platforms are a great way to collect consumer data.

What should advertisers think about when developing mobile content?

The most important thing to remember when thinking about mobile platforms is that we should develop specific content for mobile, not just try to use other media content in a mobile format, for a variety of reasons.

First, we are not at the point yet of having one device that is our phone, computer, and television all in one, so we use each device at different times and for different purposes. Content should be both time and location aware, since this data is available. Think: in the morning you are commuting, in the evening you are at a baseball game. What kind of content is useful in each situation? Historically, carriers have been the aggregators of content, but there is an opportunity for others to come in and do this better.

Second, there is no mouse on most cell phones, which changes how users can view a website (there is an exception with the new iPhone interface). Content must be made to fit the interface.

Third, since the networks in the US are all separate, (unlike Europe, for example) social programs must be based on the core Internet and phone technologies in order to connect users of separate networks (since everyone has friends who use different networks).

Another important thing to think about with mobile media is that the users are not just consuming content with the device, but also producing content, earning the name “pro-sumers.” With still camera and video camera capabilities on GPS enabled phones, there are many new technologies that combine these features. This provides an opportunity for the creation of programs that assist users in producing their own content.

New Technologies:

ZoneTag –
an application built to automatically tag pictures users take on their cell phone using GPS technology. Sites such as Flickr have tag maps showing where pictures are taken.

FireEagle –
An application built to use GPS to allow others to see where a user is geographically. Users can determine who can see where they are, and then how much information they can know (ex: I am in Cambridge vs. I am in building E15 on the MIT campus).

Privacy is an issue with the new technologies, which can hinder development of mobile applications. For example, CNN attempted to partner with an insurance agency to create an emergency weather SMS notification system, based on where the user was located, but it wasn’t well received because people didn’t like the company knowing their location. (This is likely to change as consumer behaviors change, think of social networking, for example. When Microsoft first proposed the idea, it was rejected on account of invasion of privacy. However, a few years later when Friendster, MySpace and Facebook came out, the population was ready).

The Future of Mobile:

Google is attempting to purchase a frequency in the US to introduce the Google phone, which could help move along the progress of mobile in the US. This platform is referred to as “open,” but what does open really mean? It has a bit of a closed meaning, in that it is just another platform to develop on.

Mobile is already changing the way news is reported, with the first video of the London subway bombings and the Virginia Tech shootings coming from mobile devices. These geo, time, and event aware devices will continue to change news.

“Status Casting” is becoming more popular through technologies such as FireEagle and Twitter, allowing people to constantly be updating where they are and when. This will likely lead to people expecting to always know where you are, similar to how people expect to always be able to call your cell phone now. In fact, these technologies that allow you to see where your friends are located are already very popular in Asia.

Video on cell phones can be used to create social broadcasting of self, instead of just creating informational content, news or entertainment. This can change the social media landscape, as people are continuing more and more to live their real lives online. (If people are moving towards living their real lives online, is that why Second Life is becoming old news now?)

There is the possibility to create applications that comprehend user behaviors, such as walking vs. standing still. Also, a phone could recognize your geo location, and with the knowledge of the behavior of people in your contacts list, it could tell you about a restaurant to visit that many of your friends have visited and liked. It creates an opportunity for that restaurant to offer you a deal via SMS to come try it out.

As more devices are given IP addresses, communication from one device to another is allowed, opening up transfer of information between devices. For example, if you are watching TV, the channel could switch over to your mobile phone as you walk away.

Bottom line? Mobile is on the rise, the US is behind, and nobody has quite figured the whole thing out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Documentaries for the snoop in all of us.

It's not new, but the documentary pieces by Louis Theroux are great. I think he banks on an innocent look and a British accent to gain access into some very interesting (and usually closed or secretive) groups...suburban swingers, black supremacists. I'm equally impressed with his ability to ask questions directly and elicit answers that show an honest and human snapshot of these people's lives. Aki thinks they're open because subjects might not realize that folks stateside will be able to watch the videos (thank you Internet)...any other opinions? I suspect that these guys see Theroux as a vehicle to explain (justify?) themselves to the outside world that has a lot of preconceived notions about what they're all about. And true, many of the things they expose about themselves are surprising and thought-provoking, but there's also plenty of reconfirmation of why these people are acting on the fringes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

(not so live) blogging from Futures of Entertainment 2 Conference

Due to the lack of power outlets and pathetic battery life of my iBook, my blogging from the Futures of Entertainment 2 at MIT will be rather delayed.

The day started with opening comments from Henry Jenkins, director of the MIT Program in Comparative Media Studies (CMS), and Joshua Green, research manager for the Convergence Culture Consortium (C3).

The Future of Television:

We watched this video and discussed the present state and future of television because it shows that even in the late 1940's, people were predicting this interactivity in television. Jenkins discussed interactive television not just as clicking a button to be taken into an interactive on-screen experience, but instead as any form of interaction with a television show in the physical world, e.g. the transformation of 7-11's to Kwik E. Mart's as part of the Simpsons campaign. By this definition, the Kwik E. Marts are considered an example of interactive TV because they brought television into the physical world.

Other examples include CSI's involvement in Second Life, the Nintendo Wii (which was referred to as "the most important interface development in gaming") which changes the way that users interact with the screen, and another example is Heroes use of transmedia. 2 key examples from Heroes include the use of 9th Wonder comic books in the show, and a book which is coming out that includes extra backstory and flushes out secondary characters.

Transmedia is a hot topic - the development of content that can be delivered on many mediums is being used by both television shows and advertisers. Case in advertising: The Geiko Cavemen beginning as an advertisement and becoming a sitcom.

The Writers Strike

The writers strike has been a primary topic of discussion at the conference, and there are two writers here from Heroes who spoke last night. A big part of the strike deals with the payment for content delivered over the web. Right now, this is considered promotional content, but many people get episodes of shows by downloading them or watching them in streaming video online. In the same way that music artists get paid every time their song is played, writers want to get paid every time their episode is viewed. This is a challenge because of the debate over online metrics and measurement, which will be discussed later.

Web 2.0:
Ah the daunting topic of Web 2.0... lets skip the talk about definition and get right into some topics.

Politics: The CNN/You-Tube Democratic Debate was new this year, and there won't be a Republican one. Mitt Romney's public refusal caused some new YouTube videos:

Note: Candidates can speak to us using all kinds of cartoons, but refuse to "debate a snowman"

Niche success: The idea that mass media is giving way to niche success is negated by the global popularity Harry Potter, for example.

Grassroots: Soulja Boy. Over a year ago, a 15 year old boy used blogs, social networks and YouTube to encourage people to take his music and creatively use his original music to create content. Term used to describe this: Remixing.

This is an example of what happened:

More to come.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Brainfood: Virtuality

Fallon strategic planners Aki Spicer (Aki Octagon) and Avin Narasimhan (Desi Stoneage) have come back from the future to offer their POV about Virtuality and it’s implications for brands.

One of the hottest debates in marketing circles today is the viability of virtual worlds like Second Life. What are they? What do people do there? Why? What’s in it for me—if anything? We’ve seen companies flooding these worlds, and some are finding it difficult to translate their virtual world presence into real world gains.

The truth is, we traverse virtual dimensions every day without even thinking about it. From financial transactions, to games, to our daily Facebook interactions with friends, Virtuality is a new normal and it impacts many facets of our lives. It is through this lens that we explore what Virtuality means now and in the future, and what our agency needs to know to extract the most from it.

*click to goto Slideshare to view the presentation FULLSCREEN.

Brainfood is an monthly digest of Fallon Planner’s strategic intelligence and bridges the gap between trends, business issues, and actionable opportunities for the agency and clients.

Companion Links:

Toyota Tacoma is the law giver!

Saatchi creatives comment on tacoma WOW spot

Ecology debate in 2L

CSI Episode features 2L integration

Please won't you stop the slaughter?

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery

Our boys over at Fallon London must be enjoying this. The much talked about Cadbury's Gorilla spot latest spoof comes from Wonderbra. Peep both below, judge for your self.

Cadbury original:

Wonderbra spoof:

Thursday, November 08, 2007