Volkwagen employees rock the scirocco

Volkswagen Germany just launched a rather unique employee contest: the scirocco song contest. Out of the ca. 100.000 Volkswagen employees, more than 100 opted in take part in the contest and sent in their version of the scirocco song. A Jury put up the best 25 songs for a vote by all web users on a voting microsite.

A pre-produced clip of what these versions could sound like:

So, click here and vote! (There even is a sweepstake!) Sorry my readers from abroad, but the site is in German…

The scirocco song was written by Leslie Mandoki – one of the most successful german producers, in Germany well known through songs like Dschinghis Khan,. But he also worked with internationally known artists like Phil Collins, denNo Angels, Jennifer Rush, Lionel Richie and German rapper Sido.

The Jury consists of Leslie Mandoki, as well as Volkswagen head of PR Stephan Grühsem, head of marketing Jochen Sengpiehl, Felix Magath and starlett Mina.

disclaimer: this is a project of my agency, in which I also take part. So far, I have not blogged about work related projects, because this blog is a hobby of mine. But I wanted this blog to support this particular project and the Volkswagen employees taking part in it…

(PS: yes, I do have a favourit, but I don’t want to influence the vote 😉 )

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So here it is, finally. DRM is dead, I’m glad.

Business Week features an article that says Sony BMG drops DRM. Peere pressure or not, I don’t care, I am just very happy about this. That’s the last Giant of the 4 to drop DRM.

Will Apple now drop their DRM so that I can listen to the songs I purchased (and I did purchase some, indeed!), everywhere I like?

But Sony won’t make their whole collection DRM free:

Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony (SNE) and Bertelsmann, will make at least part of its collection available without so-called digital rights management, or DRM, software some time in the first quarter, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sony apparently noticed, that there can also be positive sides to offering music online:

Sony has been experimenting with DRM-free songs for about six months. The company began giving away DRM-free promotional downloads for recording artists that sell less than 100,000 units, and at least one artist gained mainstream exposure through the effort.

Given that and the Pepsi Promo I blogged about earlier, I think we can savely look forward to 2008 being the year, when the music industry finally awakes and joins the digital era.

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1 billion songs promo in 2008

Pepsi always seems to play the big numbers in their promos. A few years back, they had a lottery for 1 billion dollars with a monkey doing the final draw (so I heard).

Now they started a cooperation with Amazon to offer 1 billion songs in 2008. The details of the promo will be announced during the superbowl. That should be interesting, especially since after the superbowl, there isn’t even a whole year left to give away these mp3s. It means that they will have to give a way more than 3,000,000 songs per day (roughly calculated for 300 days).

Considering the fact that iTunes sold 1.5 billion songs in the last few years, this truly is a big number. And it should resultin in an inflation of the mp3 market, lowering the value of digital songs in general. Don’t you think?

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Another fan created iPod ad

Do you remember the iPod ad the school teacher George Masters produced a few years ago? Well, there is a new fan-created ad, this time by an 19-year old from the midlands in the UK. And while Apple never even made a single statement about the ad Mr. Masters produced in 2004, they now asked their agency TBWA/Chiat/Day to fly the boy to LA and professionally produce the ad.

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At the time of writing this, the ad had been viewed more than 440.000 times, 388 comments, and 569 favourites.

This success is probably also due to the case that big shots like the NY Times, Wired, Gizmodo, and MacRumous picked up on the story… And the fact that „User Generated Content“ has become a rather familiar concept since 2004 – apparently even for „divas“ like Apple.

(But if you ask me: it’s a horrible ad, especially the music!)

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Advertising: Death by Web 2.0?

Andrew Keen is a well known critic of the whole Web 2.0 user generated („communistic“) cult of the amateur that is shaping our media consumption („prosumption“) these days.

Now, on Ad Week, he contributed an Op Ed about Web 2.0 being the death of advertising. It is quite a rant, you’ll be amazed:

Web 2.0 is, in truth, the very worst piece of news for the advertising industry since the birth of mass media. In the short term, the Web 2.0 hysteria marks the end of the golden age of advertising; in the long term, it might even mark the end of advertising itself.

At first I thought he must be joking. And then I looked up his name on Wikipedia – finding out that he must be serious about these things.

Don’t get me wrong – the new media production and consumption setup has changed (and will continue to change) and has had an effect on the advertising business. But instead of complaining about it, we should look at the possibilities and opportunities of the new landscape.

Many of the new technology enabled trends are somewhat user friendly, if not at least user-centric. So why should we not adopt and keep them? Really, there is no time for complaining. It’s a no brainer, that (mostly) bad advertising was first to adopt the new setup. Now we should try to figure out how to continuously create good advertising given the new circumstances.

Let’s not sit there like the music industry (as Andrew Keen writes):

Evidence of the crisis of mass media is depressingly ubiquitous. The recorded music business is in free-fall, the tragic victim of mass digital kleptomania.

There are alternative ways to sell music, Steve Jobs proved it with iTunes. A much more user centric model. Might not yield as high a margin as selling CDs in heavy jewel cases transported across the globe, but that’s the way it goes. Horse carriages were out of fashion at some point, too. Musicians like Madonna and Radiohead seem to get it.

The next couple of quotes are amazing:

What Web 2.0 is doing, compounded by the online consumer’s shrinking attention span and his or her hostility towards the „inauthenticity“ of commercial messages, is radically deflating the value of advertising. […]

As the scarcity of mainstream media is replaced by the abundance of Web 2.0’s user-generated content, advertising itself is being painfully commoditized. […]

No new technology—neither the false dawn of mobile, nor the holy grail of personalized, targeted advertising—is going to save the advertising business now. No, the truth is that advertising can only be saved if we can re-create media scarcity. That means less user-generated content and more professionally created information and entertainment, less technology and more creativity. The advertising community desperately needs more gatekeepers, more professional creative authorities, more so-called media „elites“ who will curate, filter and organize content. That’s the way to re-establish the value of the message. It’s the one commercial antidote to Web 2.0’s radically destructive cultural democracy.

It almost sounds like advertising is a form of art worth protecting for its own good.

Instead, the value of the message should come from relevance, in terms of content, targeting and timing – and of course the creative idea! (This, by the way, has always been the case. But not all advertising in the past has had good content, targeting or timing. Nevermind a creative idea.) A valuable message should still resonate, even when surrounded by a cacophony of user generated clutter.

Only now it is not so easy to spread bad advertising any longer, because the audience has more choices and more control.

What do you think people have thought about bad advertising in the last 50 years? Yes, they fast forwarded, or got a new drink from the fridge, or switched the channel. Or cursed at the TV. Or flicked over to the next page. Bad advertising always existed, and yes, it has always been a pain.

Good advertising, however, has (almost) always found the attention of the audience. And it still does. It has even become a lot easier for the audience to seek and find the content of those campaigns that they’re really interested in. At any time of the day. And it has become much easier to share good advertising, forwarding the content, (clips, emails, site URLs) to their friends.

While Web 2.0 has made it much more difficult for traditional advertising mechanism to work or break through the increasing clutter, there is also a lot of opportunity, new ways for attracting and involving users. Sometimes even beyond what traditional advertising mechanisms are capable of delivering.

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