When real life simulates virtual life

I couldn’t believe it when I saw it a few minutes ago. Someone actually simulated an incidence in Second life during a real life press conference. Do you remember the time when, during a second life press conference with Anshe Chung, the whole screen was suddenly covered in flying penises?

Well, now there was a similar incidence – however it was in real life (and it was only one flying penis). I was quite astonished at the fact that someone had the guts (balls) to do this. Someone let this thing fly loose during a press conference of Gary Kasparov (before a security guy smacked it to the ground).

Quite funny, isn’t it. Probably much harder to implement than the virtual flying things, but most likely much more provoking…

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5 links for viral and word of mouth marketing

Doing some research regarding viral marketing, I stumbled upon the following 5 posts, here is a summary of each:

  1. 4 myths of viral marketing: it is a replacement for television (most videos won’t get millions of viewers), a viral video is a digital strategy (what happens after the video has been watched?), putting a video on YouTube is a digital strategy (most videos don’t really go viral without some help or trigger), bloggers are just waiting for videos they can write about (because there is so little other information around in this world).
  2. 7 deadly sins of advertising via viral video: Make a white and brown cow (instead of a purple, remarkable cow), pretend you’re not advertising (hoping it doesn’t backfire or gets ignored), spend a fortune on production (instead of a good idea), tell consumer instead of engage them (it’s not an adaptation of a 30 sec. spot), do a video contest because everyone else does (soon enough, it will get ever more difficult to activate consumers to the umpteenth contest), set unrealistic conversion measures (it’s not about conversion anyway, in most cases), throw in the towel and decide to just advertise around viral videos (at least to both in partnership).
  3. Why everyone wants viral video: 57 million Americans watch online video content every day. That’s 19% of the online population. 13% of American adults report they have downloaded or watched video ads! Two out of three viewers ages 18-29 send links to video files, compared with half of Americans age 30 and older. Forty-two percent of the 18-29 year-olds send video links a few times per month or more
  4. Is mass marketing important for viral success: Duncan Watts has modeled the viral phenomenon stating that it is not as contagious as we would like it to be. The circle of influence of superspreaders is far smaller than we thought, which this paper is about, and campaigns are subject to complete randomness, which makes this a channel in need of support of planned (i.e. media supported) advertising. Not true writes Nigel Hollis, saying that the stickiniess factor of the creative is not subject to randomness, as it can be pre-tested in focus groups.
  5. Is word of mouth a discipline or a channel: Discipline: Word of mouth marketing takes belief (based on understanding and knowledge) and discipline. Channel: The media buying companies and some advertising agencies want to see WOM as a channel. Discipline: To deliver on the promise of social media, word of mouth marketing, influencer marketing, conversation marketing – whatever part of WOM you want to emphasize – we need a simple, shared approach to measurement that compares well to what brand managers are used to. Channel: Many ad-based marketers see viral video as the answer to their WOM aspirations. And the conclusion: Word of mouth is a broad discipline like advertising or public relations. It requires technique and methodologies that are particularly relevant to do it well. It is possible to treat it like a channel by tacking on some WOM tactic to a larger advertising program, but it may not pay off in comparison to those more traditional marketing tactics.
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What should brands do about web 2.0?

Brandweek features a good, summarising, article of what brand marketers should take into account when dealing with all stuff „web 2.0“.

The user-generated content upheaval—manifested in blogs, podcasts, videocasts and wikis—is quite real, and so is the revolution of consumer empowerment. But despite the resultant chaos, brand managers simply must learn to maintain a balanced perspective. Yes, the digital media environment is being democratized, but that doesn’t mean that you have to turn the keys to your brand over to the digital inmates of the Web 2.0 asylum.

That is a bit harsh. „Digital inmates of the web 2.0 asylum“! But in a way he’s right. Brands do not have to respond to every web 2.0 challenge, just because someone thinks it could be fun if the brand did. Just like you, yes you, dear reader, wouldn’t just jump of any bridge, just because someone else thinks it’s fun. Brands need to engage with their target audience in a way that is true to their core brand personality. That implies that some brands might actually engage more carefully and less openly than others.

Brands might also take very different approaches in the way the open up the conversation with their target audience. But to some degree, they will all have to:

If you’re to have any hope of maintaining your brand equity in the Web 2.0 world, you must begin by assuming that while your happy customers will remain silent, your critics will be all too happy to denounce you online. So you might as well provide the place for discussion and retain some control of how the dialogue develops. An invitation to the public to air its views need not, however, be a free-for-all. You should take a hard-line on obscenity, vulgarity, hate speech and intolerance. You may even want to curb anonymity to raise the overall civility of the discourse.

Regard this as an opportunity: you never had the chance to learn so much about your customers. Providing an open platform for your customers gives you the ultimate opportunity to learn about the opinions of your target audience – you can even find out about the tonality they prefer, which in turn can help you (or rather your agency) write better advertising pieces.

Engage your customer, ignore the hype and don’t fear the revolution—whether it’s downloaded from iTunes, read from blogs or stolen from YouTube.

Funny! This reminds me of:

  • „The revolution will not be televised“ – Gill Scott Heron
  • „The Television will not be revolutionised“ – (I think it was Joseph Jaffe, who said that in one of his podcasts)

But the quote I find the most useful – and it is also something I keep telling everyone:

there’s also no single ‚right way‘ to manage in the reality of the Web 2.0 world. Be prepared to experiment.

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McDonalds airs „user generated advertising“ spot from youtube

OK, I am echoeing others here, but this one I have to mention – let alone for my own records. You might have seen this video:

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Joe Jaffe found it in 2006 already and I remember thinking back then: what kind of nonsense of „user generated content“ brands will have to deal with in the future. And I was thinking about how brands could properly respond to this kind of stuff. But I never thought about what they did now: it has apparently been sold to McDonalds by their agency Arnold. It just doesn’t say anywhere for how much. Now it constantly runs on US television, probably costing lots of media money…

Joe now feels a bit stale. For one, because he found it already such a long time ago, but also because of the tagline in the beginning which says: „user generated content“.

(hat tip)

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Joost testing new ad formats

Joost is apparently testing new ad formats:

In addition to in-stream 15- and 30-second spots, the company is serving ads in „bug“ format. Bugs are brands that appear as floaters in the corner of the viewing screen. These typically appear shortly after an ad for the floating brand has just aired.

Clicking on the bug opens a new browser window that takes viewers to the product.

Interactive television with the corresponding interactive advertising is already in use by some stations (for example Sky in the UK). You press a button whenever a red dot appears in a corner and then you get further information. But in the case Joost, you can send them deep into the web, onto landing pages, rich media experiences, contact forms, etc. This will clearly change the way TV advertising is perceived and produced!

And there is even an additional benefit:

Ads will largely be targeted to viewers based on personal and demographic data that users entered when they first registered with Joost.

Somehow I don’t think they’ll stick with only personal and demographic data. How about behavioural targetting? Measure and track what they watch and what they have clicked on in the past (and hope that it is still the same person sitting in front of the screen).

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The cult of the amateur

There is an interesting article at the Times Online about the new book „the cult of the amateur“ by Andrew Keen. A cry out against the crowdism of web 2.0 and how it is killing our culture. How user generated content on wikipedia, blogs, youtube, et al results in the crippling of traditional, quality content producing industries.

I don’t agree. I think quality will still prevail. The problem with some of these „quality content producers“ was simply the fact that it wasn’t really good quality. The value for money isn’t right. So it is better to watch much worse content from users for free rather than paying anything for only mediocre content.

I think this whole trend will only result in a market shake out. Providers of really good content will always be able to charge money. They will always enjoy large appreciation. But those providing contents with little added value (e.g. newspapers simply copying news from a press service or TV stations showing low quality TV series) will face a decrease in acceptance.

They also state the example of how the interent has resulted in big problems for the music industry. This I don’t agree with at all. The biggest problem of the music industry is the fact that they have not adapted quick enough. There is lots of potential to leverage the net. Apple with iTunes has proven that there is lots of opportunities!

The internet is making standard market mechanisms more efficient, that’s all.

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