I was speaking for the Australian interactive media industry body, AIMIA, this week and last week.
The events were their annual 'Future of Digital' seminars in Sydney and also Melbourne.
I did my usual controversy, which seemed to go down reasonably well.
One of the other speakers was Laurie Patton, the Media and Entertainment Exec Director from Telstra.
We chatted before and after and he was a very nice and smart fella.
He nonchalantly dropped this anecdote in his talk but it struck me as being something of an insight that I had not considered before.
Amongst his duties at Telstra Laurie is working with a number of sports stadia in Australia to integrate digital technology into live sporting events, to enhance them in situ.
The remarkable point Laurie made was that stadia owners and operators are cognisant of the sports viewing experience at home becoming more of an 'experience' than attending in real-life.
In an unexpected flip (to these ears at least) viewing at home on TV with connected devices etc offering in running stats, multiple camera angles and replays (and close proximity to the fridge) is potentially more attractive than the schlep to the stadium and is therefore increasingly a challenge to both the stadia and sporting associations.
Good luck to Laurie and his people in solving this conundrum.
On the one hand it's further fuel to the 'TV is not dead and nor is it likely to be dead anytime soon' lobby and also my own pet thought that the media channel that stands to benefit more from the introduction of digital-ness is the humble out-of-home.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I was speaking for the Australian interactive media industry body, AIMIA, this week and last week.
A textbook case of how how to have a viral hit and maximising brand effect.
Using branding and market-based assets throughout (purple Santa and Elves was a nice touch) – tick
Evoking high arousal emotional response (i.e. reason to share) INSPIRATION, EXHILARATION, ASTONISHMENT – tick
Presented in the context of brand use and occasion - tick
Creative device? - 'personal triumph (sort of)' - tick
Probably backed with significant paid promotion and seeding upfront to maximise initial reach - (assumed) tick
Also worth noting: another example of doing something first - a situational or cultural intervention - then advertising what you have done.
Friday, December 06, 2013
This short World Cup 2014 film for Coca-Cola by Ogilvy in Shanghai has almost everything required to be be a viral hit, yet it isn't (yet).
Why should that be?
Here's some clues, from the appliance of science.
In Chapter 4 of 'Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing' by Karen Nelson-Field from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute (the chapter is entitled, 'Not all Fart jokes are Funny') Karen imparts the following.
In the course of her team's extensive research they find no correlations between sharing and the particular creative device used in a film, neither were there links between specific emotions and creative device, but there are relationships between the degree of emotional arousal felt and likelyhood of sharing activity.
They describe this as high arousal emotional response.
The one exception to the rule is when the creative device employed is 'personal triumph' - this shares significantly more even with low arousal emotions.
To get shared, the general lesson is to focus less on which creative device is applied and more on how arousing the creative is. So far so good for Coke and Ogilvy Shanghai, the film has all the ingredients
But that's not the whole story.
Karen and her team challenge the common belief that the key to spreading is in infecting a few adopters in order to reach millions over time.
This is the most available idea of how the diffusion of content occurs.
The evidence however says that this is the opposite of what actually happens.
Apart from a few cherry picked exceptions (the ones that appear in the social media case studies) the diffusion curve is, in fact, negative - after launch the degree of penetration for a video drops after a short period of time.
And, assuming it's compelling content, evokes high arousal emotional response, the single biggest other predictor of online video sharing is it's initial distribution.
According to Karen's research, for the best performing videos the ratio about 8 views to 1 share.
For others that perform reasonably well 24 to 1 is the average.
So to get mass sharing, initial seeding/paid support is key. Assuming the video is good and pulls the tricks above, then it needs to be put in front of as many people as possible in order to spread.
A few 'influencers' will not cut the mustard, most of the time.
One can only assume that little paid promotion has been put behind this terrific little film - a story of personal triumph - or else it would be a viral smash.
Likewise the many other Coca-Cola World Cup films in the series, from around the world, all of which are languishing with very few views and shares in YouTube.
Don't tell me Coca-Cola don't have a few bob to stick behind this great content.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I got hammered by some commenters on Mumbrella for suggesting that the John Lewis Christmas ad, while a stunning piece of content, creativity and all that, is best viewed as an exception rather than a rule in terms of the amount of branding available in the film.
I noted that for most brands - and the challenge of mental availability - it is advisable to introduce distinctive brand assets into their content quicker and more frequently than the John Lewis example.
I stand by my remarks, and offer this by way of an example.
Is this piece of RedBull media any less exciting because of the presence of branding?
Monday, November 25, 2013
The Asch conformity experiments were a series of laboratory experiments by psychologist Solomon Asch in the 1950s.
The various experiments demonstrated the degree to which an individual's own opinions and behaviours can be influenced by those of a majority group
The Asch experiments informed the idea about social proof that we often use in advertising.
8 out of 10 cats and suchlike.
Essentially people will often do things that they see other people are doing.Especially similar others.
One experiment, easily replicable and with predictable results is the one in which one or more direct agents in a public space would point up into the sky, as though there is something to see.
Bystanders, or passive spectators if you prefer - will predictably stop to look up into the sky to see what the other are looking at.
My hunch is that some of this background was influential in the creation of this fantastic bit of digital outdoor created by Ogilvy for British Airways.
Who among us has not gazed up to the heavens at a climbing plane and not thought 'I wonder where that one is off to?'.
And then thought 'Wherever it's going, I wish I was on it'.
The lesson? It's easy to lose sight - amid all the huffing and puffing about what advertising does or does not do - of the simple fact that the fundamental, number one task advertising has to perform is to get noticed in the first place.
Gold Lion in Outdoor.
Friday, November 22, 2013
The latest attempt at a recurring feature in this journal.
Friday's Angels will hopefully be one post every Friday with a handful of links of interest from around the web this week.
This week here's three favourites.
As an entertaining and rewarding nudge to promote exercise (in the context of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia) OlympicChanges installed a very special ticket machine at a Moscow subway station.
Instead of accepting money as payment, the ticket machine only accepted exercise.
Riders receive a free ticket by standing in front of the machine’s camera, and performing 30 squats or lunges.
Sharing fast and slow?
The psychological connection between how we think and how we spread news on social media.
What drives sharing? It’s a mix of attention, emotion, and reaction. Here’s hard data on which news stories took off and which didn’t on social.
Obviously 'Fast and Slow' is a riff on Daniel Kahneman's thinking, and most of the points in this article refer directly to some of those key concepts.
read Sharing Fast and Slow
How to protect yourself from 'prediction addiction'.
I always say 'never make predictions'.
Particularly about the future.
We can't stop second–guessing what's coming next. Our need to gaze into the entrails of the markets – what Jason Zweig, the behavioural finance expert, calls our "prediction addiction" – is hard-wired into our brains.
But the one really predictable thing about our forecasts is that most of them will turn out to be wrong.
read Prediction Addiction
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Richard Rumelt's Good Strategy/Bad Strategy is just so full of sense and nuggets that it would be easy to just quote the whole book.
Such is it's dip-in-and-out-ability, it's handy to have at one's side to be referenced on almost any occasion.
This passage seemed to resonate this week as a kind of slice of agency life...
'One form of bad strategic objectives occurs when there is a scrambled mess of things to accomplish—a “dog’s dinner” of strategic objectives.
A long list of “things to do,” often mislabeled as “strategies” or “objectives,” is not a strategy.
It is just a list of things to do.
Such lists usually grow out of planning meetings in which a wide variety of stakeholders make suggestions as to things they would like to see done.
Rather than focus on a few important items, the group sweeps the whole day’s collection into the “strategic plan.”
Then, in recognition that it is a dog’s dinner, the label “long-term” is added so that none of them need be done today.'
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
As much for myself as for anyone reading this, it's worth - from time to time - to have a quick refresh on the fundamental purpose of branding.
The purpose of branding is to identify the source of any given product or service, and to help us, buyers, make quicker decisions that require less processing/ thought
This is why branding was invented.
This requires the use of things and characteristics that distinguish one brand from other competitors.
First and foremost is, obviously, the brand name itself.
Along with with other distinctive elements of a brand identity.
Coke has the colour red, and the bottle shape, for example.
And taglines - 'Just Do It', 'Think Different' etc.
All of these things help buyers to notice, recognise and remember the brand, in buying situations, and are the most important parts of advertising.
A great creative idea is a great commercial creative idea when it acts as the vehicle to get the brand noticed and remembered.
The more distinctive and salient these ideas are then the more links are made in memory, therefore the easier it is for the brand to be identified and remembered at the right time.
One of the ideas from psychology literature that it's important to recognise and apply in these situations is the idea of the 'availability' heuristic.
Whereby we tend to estimate the likelyhood of events by how easy it is to think of similar examples.
For instance one is statistically far more likely to be killed by a refrigerator falling on top of you than in any act of terrorism, but because examples of terrorism attacks come most easily to mind we fear those more.
In the advertising industry bubble one has no problem in identifying the latest John Lewis Christmas ad, in part, simply because of the availability of the discussion, within the bubble, around the ad this week.
It would be an error, however, to assume that anything approaching the same amount of discussion and dissection has happened in the lives of ordinary people.
However, for John Lewis, to get noticed and remembered by a mass of people in a buying situation would be the ultimate result, and with a huge PR and integrated push around this 'ad-as-event' it looks to have succeeded.
But it is interesting to watch the video below, and notice how little 'branding' ordinary people take away from the ad on first look, and how many other brands they speculate could be the providers of the content before it is finally revealed.
Also recognise how easily this could have been fixed by inserting distinctive branding throughout the spot.
Therein lies the lesson for the rest of us.
That's not to say it's not a great piece of creativity, and without doubt evokes an emotional response, but as commercial creativity it's an exception rather than the rule.
For most brands, even the greatest creativity cannot act as a substitute for establishing the brand name, the source of the product or service, if it doesn't prime the viewer to remember the brand name it fails.
Waiting until 1:57 to reveal is a risk for all but the most compelling content.
I'm being slightly harsh, John Lewis are big enough, popular enough, famous enough - and the JL Christmas ad is an 'event' anticipated by the public - to get a pass (ha!) this time, but we should be mindful not to take this example as case in point or applicable to the majority of our clients.
thanks to Martin Weigel who tweeted the vid.