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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Politics 2.0: Motivequest Tracks Political Brand Advocacy

MotiveQuest uses online advocacy as a measure to guage Election '08. Contrast this tool against the "expert" polls and let's see in November. At stake here in this experiment is a battle royale between the reliability of classic poll "ask" research versus online anthropology "listen" research. Whatever the outcome in November, it is increasingly clear that planners will need to balance the two measures (what they say in our survey trackers, and what they say on the web) to get a nuanced understanding of how our brands are perceived in the age of conversation/participation.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sign of the (mobile) Times

Great image from NYT. Succintly outlines the opportunity and hazards of the coming age of mobile.

*btw Fallon Brainfood: Mobile 10 trends coming soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Culture Dispatch: "Trouble the Water" Interview

I happened upon a screening of "Trouble the Water" last weekend while in Boston. The documentary follows Kim and Scott Roberts, a husband and wife living in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. Unable to leave the city, Kim takes her camcorder to the streets to document the mood of her neighborhood before the storm and the unfolding disaster as Katrina strikes and the levees fail. The film later follows Kim and her husband as they search for opportunity and a new start in the aftermath of the storm. 

While there is a political undercurrent to the movie, the focus is foremost on the emotional story of survival (the first-hand footage of Katrina is riveting), defiance, and optimism. The movie open in several more theaters this weekend. I encourage you all to go see it. 

After the movie, two of the movie's producers, Carl Deal and T. Woody Richman, answered audience questions about their experience making the film. The third producer, Tia Lessin, was kind enough to chat with me on the phone this week about the film. Planner-relevant excerpts from our conversation:

At what moment did you know you had a big story? 

Just by the nature of what had happened on the ground [post-Katrina], the moral failure of our government, we knew [Hurricane Katrina] was a story of national importance. Later when we screened our film on the big screen, we saw that our story was a big story. The characters and events were emotionally engaging; our goal was to construct a story that was equally compelling. 

The subject matter had the potential to be emotionally draining. How did you avoid burn-out? What propelled you forward?

Who says I'm not burned out? It was tough to make the film with very little support. We've had to battle every step of the way for distribution; it's been a reality check to see how independent film gets made. We wanted to prove that a film like this is commercially viable. We wanted to make a film that has integrity, that isn't pandering to whatever we're told people want to see, just happy stories. Making entertaining films that also have an edge is a challenge. It was difficult to create a film that had a powerful political and emotional center, that was also entertaining, had god music, and a good story arc. 

In the press kit, you state that you "set out to make a dramatic movie, not to deliver information." How did you achieve that?

We knew we needed to put ourselves in an environment for good story cover. You're always casting for characters when you're telling an emotional story. Being an independent production helped. You're always hoping that you're reflecting what's going on around you versus what's in your head or on a production schedule or in the paper. 

I think we tried not to rely on a lot of conventional documentary devices such as talking head interviews with experts, voice-over narration, etc. We tried not to make a "see and say movie," but a compelling emotional story.

Was there anything that surprised you about the experience?

Everything! If you're not going to be surprised, you might as well go home. 

We were surprised not to see New Orleans rebuilt over the years we filmed. We were surprised to see Kim's hidden talents. We were surprised to get a sense for and capture the feel of New Orleans. We were surprised to have captured such a beautiful story and that we were able to get real distribution interest in it! 

Fallon Brainfood: Latin America in the Age of Web 2.0

Fallon strategic planner Aki Spicer presents a micro-serving of Brainfood, with this quick look at Latin America in the Age of Web 2.0. This is a brief overview of social media and mobile trends for the LatAm market (a complex market made up of many countries and varied conditions). This is hardly an exhaustive analysis, it is meant as a intro and primer.

Takeaways from the presentation:
+Connected: Web usage is growing at a fast clip throughout LatAm
+Social: Social networking is experiencing rapid growth in LatAm
+Fragmented: Social networks in LatAm are fragmented and varied by each country - no dominant leader
+Mobilizing: Mobile penetration is exploding - more than broadband. And for many, the web has always been mobile
+Smart: Phones are getting smarter as more people demand functionality
+Shift: Social networking, TV, and purchases will continue to migrate to mobile devices
+Evolve: Cultural mores are evolving, and people are embracing new ways that challenge the traditional institutions
+Participate: The way forward for marketers is to design marketing that adds value to people’s lives and embrace participation

La Caida de Edgar is an example of how ideas spread among people on the social web...

…and savvy brands like Emperador are joining this conversation and participating.

Brainfood is a monthly all-agency lunch conducted by Fallon Planners. Wide-ranging topics explore trends, business issues, and actionable opportunities for our brands.

A deeper dive into La Caida de Edgar phenomenon by Rocketboom

*Some good resources for LatAm and Web 2.0 data and insights include Analytics2.0 and ComScore

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oasis Takes Upcoming Album to Streets (of NYC)

Oasis taught street musicians throughout NYC to play their unreleased songs.

Flickr group links, fans are encouraged to submit their photos here

Social Web Amplifies AIG Advertising Ironies

AIG's ad message irony: a theme of 'Strength to Be There' sparks a campaign pullout. But the social web never forgets as links and WOM spreads virally.

And this blogger received a direct mailer (and topped Digg ranks yesterday) from AIG asking: "If Disaster Strikes, Will You Have The Protection You Need?".

Perhaps marketers will need to audit their brands' vulnerability in a worst case scenario where the product/company can't deliver on the ad message - in a big public way. This, of course, is the eternal bane of advertiser's existence - the nagging worry that "what if my client can't deliver on our big brand idea?"

via AdAge and

Free Hugs


...Imagine if your Brand had done this?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Social Media is the New CRM

Noticed yesterday that Home Depot is now on Twitter and answering questions in the vein of Frank over on ComcastCares...I thought this post was a succinct display of the Generosity, CRM responsiveness, and "added value" derived from HomeDepot's social media efforts.

More models for how brands may upgrade CRM and advance value on the social webs.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Virtuality: Image Metrics' "Emily"

Emily here is explaining why Image Metrics, an animation company, is better than motion capture.

The video's biggest selling point is the fact that Emily isn't a real girl at all, but rather the latest and greatest display of technological advances in CG and animation.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Innov8: The Onion on Product Innovation

At what price our never-ending "forward advancement"? The Onion shows us the future of product innovation: "Domino's Scientists Test Limits Of What Humans Will Eat"

Domino's Scientists Test Limits Of What Humans Will Eat

Monday, September 08, 2008

Community 2.0: Entourage on Whrrl

New social net Whrrl (think Yelp! meets Facebook meets Brightkite/Dodgeball meets Dopplr) is trying to gain groundswell with a nifty collabo with HBO's Entourage. Befriend the crew and get personal guides/recommendations/reviews of LA from the characters like they were "real" people.

More examples(+/-) of social media blurring the lines for "fictional" characters (stay tuned for a Case Study and vid of our own activity with Sci-Fi Network's Eureka TV show.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Feast

"The Feast" on October 16th in NYC will gather 150 of the world's leading creative mavericks, entrepreneurs, revolutionaries, radicals, and innovators together to inspire action to change the world.

A series of inspiring, mind-expanding, and innovative talks that will showcase a look at social innovation from all angles. From design to business to science, our speakers will share a deep look at changing the DNA of their respective industries by harnessing the power of creativity to propel social change. Some confirmed speakers include Dale Jones of PlayPumps International and Tom Szaky of TerraCycle.

Whether you're a social entrepreneur or socially conscious at heart, "The Feast" will provide you with an excellent platform for inspiration, connection, and action.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Twittering the RNC

I am attending the RNC tonight and will be twittering live from the Xcel center. I've never been to a party convention before and am curious to see what it's all about. It should be good ...

Check for a planner's perspective on the convention at:

Web 2.0: Advertus Interuptus

Google released a teaser comic about their latest develops, Google Chrome browser. Besides the fact that I want it (not avail yet) and this mode of Simplexity communications (think CommonCraft) are increasingly necessary in the modern age...

Most intriguing for advertisers are page 23's implications:

I think this page is a really simple metaphor and explainer to clients for just how Web 2.0 has/will continually handicap the classic, long-held interruption model of advertising.

Note other trends of this sort on Facebook such as the new "thumbs up/thumbs down" ad options for voting "irrelevant" or "uninteresting" advertising out of your social life.

As predicted (endlessly) by many of us, WEB 2.0 IS ENABLING PEEPS TO SHUT OUT THE UNWANTED (SPAM) OUT OF OUR LIVES. And the passkey back in won't be in trojan horses and increased noise, but rather: offering up generous value.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Politics 2.0: Sex Ads in Denver Up During DNC

Timeless behavior, perhaps, but now enabled and amplified by social media - CNet says: Sex Ads in Denver Up During DNC

"Ads seeking casual sexual encounters through the Denver Craigslist site increased an average of roughly 70 percent to 80 percent over the same days of the week earlier in August."

The general content is what you might expect. Posts suggested "Here 4 DNC? Come get sexual with me"; "Does the DNC make you hot?"; and "Looking to service a young Democrat."

And CNet offers this fair disclaimer: "mere correlation does not imply causation - other factors could explain this rise in advertisements." True, indeed. And I would also add to this disclaimer that increased ad spending doesn't necessarily mean increased sales resulted, either. Advertisers could, perhaps, have been pitching to an indifferent target base who were far too busy to care. If anyone has ROI research data on this feel free to post your charts. Will keep eyes peeled for RNC comparisons.

via Adlab