Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Heart Smashing $#!&!

I love Sarah.

Sarah is the owner and operator of Sarah's Smash Shack. A charming little retail spot in San Diego that survive of 100% pure experience.

So here's the pitch for this: Day got you down, feel like unwinding or releasing some of that frustration that has built up during the week? Has your company just accomplished a HUGE project and there is a lot of pent up anger still lingering? Just gone through a bad breakup, been fired from your job, or just feel like breaking stuff? Come to Sarah's Smash Shack. Walk in, pick out stuff you want to smash, suit up, and smash that stuff on a huge steel wall! Bring in your own MP3 and you can even smash things rocking to Metallica or Celine Deon.

Yep, that's it. A store where you break things. Like I said, it's 100% pure experience, and that's why I'm using her business for this blog entry.

I found this store on a Cherryflava blog entry a while back. By the way, I am absolutely a Cherryflava fiend and if you don't have them on your reader...do so now.

I have no idea how this will do as a business. Hell, Sarah could be closed for business by now, I have no idea how profitable running this shop and selling dime store ceramic and glass to people is. What I do know is that Sarah could be a hell of a marketer. She understands how important human experience is. She also understands how viral human experience is. When it's good and you have found something that speaks to people, it spreads like a California wildfire.

So here's what us as marketers can learn from Sarah.

1. Human Experience is simple- We humans are pretty smart monkeys, but every last one of our motors run on the same emotional fuel. Of course this is nothing new to marketers/advertising, but its something that most experience marketers can't seem to grasp. At the base of your campaign, stop and figure out what emotion you want the consumer to feel and make sure that line draws directly to how you want people to feel about your brand.

2. Human Experience is contagious- Yep, the world is made up of a ton of different stories that people tell other people all day long. The larger impact you can make on someone's day, the longer it will stay in their head and the more people they're bound to tell. Since blogging and social networks have virtually broken down the walls of sharing, the game has been changed. Now, make sure the experience has enough of an impact and see your message carried through the winds of the internet all over the globe.

3. Humans need to tell your story. You're not human- We would rather the human experience gets shared by the people that experience it. You really don't count, because your a sneaky marketer. umm...let me break this down. Go ahead and tell your perfect story to your boss in a cute powerpoint recap. It's ok, we all have to. At least you'll keep your job and may even move up the ladder...However, if you care about the impact to your market and you want push your message and this experience as far as it can go, you'll want it to come from the horse's mouth. I'm not saying you can't help seed it, but the more naturally your message comes across, the more relevant your brand becomes.

4. It's ok to stack the deck- If you want your message and your experience marketing to take off, it's ok to stack the deck. It's not ok to lie, but it is ok to make sure the people that you want to experience your campaign the most do. It's ok to invite bloggers, press, local connectors, athletes, city officials, etc. However, we don't need to make it obvious. Humans love mystery, make the invitation part of the experience.

The bottom line is that the human experience has been fueling our decisions for a long time and it's been hardwired into our mind. the internet isn't going to make new rules for this, it's just going to cover it in rocket fuel and hand out matches.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Burger King Loses Their Wallet on This One.

You're out for your lunch break and you're walking downtown to grab a quick bite. Your eye catches a dropped wallet in the middle of the street. Depending on your moral standing you either hit the jackpot or you have an opportunity to save the day. A few people are walking by and checking it out, but you end up being the one to finally pick it up. What you find is a bit unexpected.

I've caught a few blogs (HERE, HERE, & HERE) in the last few days bringing focus on a new guerrilla marketing campaign that Burger King has put out in some major cities like Chicago and Orlando. (We never get any love out here in KC.)

The breakdown here is that Burger King is dropping 5000 of their King Wallets all over major cities. The contents include an actual ID of The King himself, a map of local Burger Kings, a joke receipt for pinky rings and most importantly a gift card as well as up to $100 in actual cash. Nice!

This is going to get lots of buzz. After finding the first blog covering this, I noticed that the blogger was giving Burger King a ton of praise being a bit ass kissy and I'll admit, it took me back. My response was a snarky and precise, "So the hell what?" What did they do that was new? This is just text book street marketing right?

After sleeping on it, I figured out what my major malfunction was. I was basically pissed because I didn't think of it first. That tends to happen in our business. We understand the guts of how this marketing works and when we see an old trick, our first instinct is to shrug and roll our eyes. Truth is, itt isn't new. It is text book guerrilla. That's ok and that's why it's working, but their is something else going on.

Bloggers are putting giant speakers on word of mouth and that is what fuels guerrilla.

5 years ago it would have gone down a lot differently. Burger King would have dropped the wallets and the PR dept. would have been chunking out press releases, hoping for a hit on the nightly news or in a local paper or magazine. Marketers would have been happy w/ whatever press they got, and the rest of buzz would have been assumed, but you would never know if your wallets went out to the homeless or to connectors.

Today they can drop the wallets and their PR dept sits back and lets bloggers do their work for them. It's just odds working themselves out. With so many people blogging now, the chance of a blogger picking up a wallet or someone they're close to is pretty damn good, as proven by this stunt. We can see it now in real time. How badass is that?

A few blogs are written, someone tosses one of those blogs to Digg.com and bingo, you got yourself some major coverage! In less than a day, the wallets story has gotten almost 2000 hits on Digg. That puts it on the main pageand that means it's going to hit mainstream.

Bravo Burger King. I dig your style and you've brought faith back into the future of marketing in the tall grass. You weren't innovative, but you were effective. Hell, I'm still pissed I didn't do it myself.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Swedes Know how to Get You Buzz'd...

I found this on Ads of the World today.

Sweden based Agency Le Bureau sent out these bouqets of hemp to promote the show "Weeds" coming to Stockholm. Even though smoking this stuff would just give you a headache, it's still a very fun and rememberable way to get the word out.

Advertising Agency: Le Bureau, Stockholm, Sweden
Art Directors / Copywriters: Jonas Wittenmark, Tobias Carlson
Released: October 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Help Me Wolf Blitzer, You're Holograms are Dope!

Oh CNN, where do you get those wonderful toys?

So I'm putting this entry into the non-traditional marketing bucket as well as brand building. However, a bit of me is just writing this because of the child like glee I experienced watching the elections on CNN not only to see who would win Pennsylvania, but when the newest real time visual tech trick would occur (aka Star Wars moments).

If you thought that 2008 election's one trick pony in this category would be the multitouch technology, where we saw political specialists playing on their big monitors like some new Wii game craze. You and I would have been extremely wrong.

Seems like CNN had a couple of more tricks up their sleeve last night that they were saving for the historic occasion of the 2008 Presidential election. The two that I'm reffering to is the 3D modeling of the Capitol and the seats in the House and Senate as well as the Hologram Interviews that we saw speratically throughout the night.

Both of these were using the same three-deimensional imaging tech produced by Norway-based Visrt and Israil-based SportVu. They weren't actually holograms at all, but just utilized some very sophisticated as well as expensive hi-def cameras hooked up to a league of computers crunching a ton of real time visual data to give the appearance of a solid object.

You might believe that it's nothing we haven't seen a thousand times on movies since "Jurassic Park". The real jump in technology here is that we were seeing things on live television that usually would be done in post with many days or months of work in the back end.

There's plenty of great geek reading on other posts. I don't think it's my place or this blogs to get into the specifics.

The conversation that I want to have is the one about branding and how CNN's utilization of this tech is their purple cow. It's making them special again, setting themselves apart visually as well as technologically from other news channels.

CNN created the 24 hour cable news product, and that may have been the last time they were remarkable. Since then, others have jumped on board and CNN has sunk farther and deeper into the mediocre.

Hopefully they will be using the 2008 election as a jumping board or basis of a new look and feel for their brand. The news business is a brutally fast and competitive market. Other stations are already nipping at their heels, but I believe they still have this in their corner. CNN needs to claim this as their own and continue jumping to the next level quicker than their competitors can rinse and repeat.

Whatever happens, I know that I'll have a fun time watching it unfold.

So what are your thoughts? Do you see it as a fun new way to experience news or did you find it pointless?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Best $44k Spent in This Year's Election.

I just have a real quick entry I have to make before this election is over. I'm going back to the story involving Obama buying advertising on Electronic Art's "Burnout", or at least the online portion of the game.

The $44k bill was just sent to Obama's campaign for the in-game advertising. Yes $44k!!! For the amount of exposure they got for this, it's one of the best deals of the whole campaign. Every major newspaper, news channel, political blog, etc covered this thing. Hell, they could probably scrounge that up by searching the seats on the campaign bus.

So why did it blow up? Let's not kid ourselves, in-game advertising is nothing new and I would question the impact that this had on the gamers themselves. Even if that impact was there, how many people are playing online burnout right now? Honestly, not many.

The story here is the support of Obama's brand. Obama set out very quickly to be the campaign that grabbed on to new media. He was the first on Twitter and the first to get over 100k followers. His online presence was everywhere and he spread his message throughout the internet with ease.

The reason this worked so well is because it was an easy story for the media to tell that supported the personal brand Obama's campaign had already built for him. It was a very easy bridge to cross for writers and journalists everywhere.

To jump off Jason Bedell's blog on "Three Rules of Viral", the story was simple and it was shareable. The missing link here is that it was on the pulse of what people were thinking at the time. It fit seamlessly into the foundations he had already made for his campaign.

For the $44k spent, it was a very smart bet with very little risk. Do things for your brand that supports the personality that you've already built and you'll be rewarded. Try to jump outside of your personality and watch for the backlash from the community. That's probably why we didn't see McCain ads in World of Warcraft.