Archive | May 2012

Brands & Ideas: What makes great content?

What exactly is ‘content’ and how does it bring a brand to life? Last week the online world oohed and aahed over Prada’s fabulous three-minute film, ‘A Therapy’, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. But do you need Roman Polanski and the world’s chicest red carpet to create something great?

Prada presents ‘A Therapy’

Content is what grows organically from the ideas at the heart of a brand. The film suited Prada as perfectly as Helena Bonham-Carter’s purple fur because it gave form to what Prada already does so well: cerebral decadence, and style with a sense of humour.

This week we look at less cinematic yet equally engaging examples of how an on-message idea can give rise to great content.

Walmart – Get It On The Shelf

Walmart tapped into the entrepreneurial spirit of its American customers with a contest inviting unheralded inventors to submit their products and win the opportunity to sell them in store. The content that emerged was quirky, on-message, and shot entirely by contestants.

The Plate Topper and Snap It Eyeglasses Repair Kit won’t soon be seen on the French Riviera, but the content that emerged fit Walmart better than a designer gown.

Help Remedies – ‘What’s Wrong, U.S.?’

Help Remedies, one of our favourite young brands, takes a more human approach to packaging the medicines that cure our stuffy noses and aching heads. The brand’s recent launch, an interactive state-by-state map of the U.S. showing which remedies are most in demand where, expands on Help’s playful attentiveness to the people and the symptoms behind each package of pills.

An interactive sales map might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘content’, but allowing the ideas that define a brand to flower into something engaging is the cornerstone of content success.

Land Rover – Edible Desert Survival Guide

Great content comes in many forms … and flavours. Land Rover’s newest giveaway, a survival guide handed out to intrepid customers preparing to take their SUVs into the wild, not only explained the basics of wilderness survival but offered an added bonus—an emergency meal. Made from potato-based paper, the entire book can be consumed in a pinch … though drivers might want to pack their own ketchup.

The book, a self-aware stunt perfectly in sync with Land Rover’s fusion of style and utility, got great press and made customers smile. It also offers strong opportunities for user-generated video and digital supplements, demonstrating that great ideas and great content go hand in hand no matter what form they take.

Engaging customers doesn’t take big names and millions of dollars. Every brand is rich with content waiting to come to life. What ideas would you like to see flourish?

 

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The mathematics behind our daily digital lives

This week’s Juiced is dedicated to algorithms, the mathematics behind our daily digital lives. From search engines to politics to entertainment, algorithms are thriving in the data consumers produce. In the midst of a revolution built on the power of the human mind, they’re often the force behind success.

Algorithms: The Ever-Growing, All-Knowing Way of The Future

Given the sheer volume of data that is collected on a daily basis in today’s digital world, there is no better time to be developing algorithms. Innovative algorithmic approaches to sorting information have played a key role in new business models, including Netflix’s recommendations, and are also being applied in politics, allowing candidates to better target voters. But algorithms have also been developed to help understand very different bodies of data, such as Quid’s Occupy Wall Street algorithm, which sorted through 40,000 articles on the subject and visually mapped out how ideas from the initial Occupy Wall Street rally in New York spread to other groups and other parts of the country.

What Your Klout Score Really Means

In 2008, Klout was viewed by most as a gimmick to see how popular they were on Twitter. Three and a half years later, the company is making waves with its scores, calculated through an algorithm with takes in a person’s social media activity and gives them a ranking out of 100. Pushing the concept of brand ambassadors into a new era, companies are pinpointing the socially influential figures in their target audiences and showering them with free gifts in hope of much coveted word of mouth advertising. Do you think letting people have access to so much personal information is worth the freebies?

All-Star Klout-Off

The robot journalist: an apocalypse for the news industry?

METROPOLIS  robot

Serious journalism has long been thought of as a skill, something one has to nurture to be successful, but one that could be dying out with falling sales of newspapers and the rise of free digital content. In another blow to aspiring hacks, news giant Forbes has turned to Narrative Science, a program which uses algorithms to turn data into words, to write some of their articles. These articles will not be winning many awards, but will certainly leave you questioning whether they are written by person or machine. Will this Newspeak journalism satisfy, or do people still covet substantial, thought-provoking reporting?

Who Does Google Think You Are?

There was an understandable uproar recently when Google changed its privacy policy and integrated its many services. The idea that one company could hold such a vast amount of information about individuals was worrying. However Google’s argument holds that it is making users’ lives easier. Advertisers may be able to target us more easily, but in exchange we can find what we are looking for effortlessly, and maybe get an extra discount or two. But how much does Google really know? This article also shows how to find out who Google thinks YOU are. Intrigued?

As algorithms continue to develop there will be many arguments about their role. Is this new use of data an invasion of privacy? Are companies selling information about you that you don’t even remember? Or are we quite happy to have our information passed on, so long as it doesn’t do us any direct harm? Are algorithm-based programs developed enough to compete with human imagination? Are Netflix’s and Spotify’s recommendations better than your friends’ opinions, or are they limiting your discoveries? What do we stand to gain … and at what cost?

Digital content: The new and unusual

In a constantly evolving market it is interesting to see how our favourites brands adapt their messages.  This week we look at physical keepsakes of digital content, redefining what an music album is and handful of unlikely brand and content partnerships.

Content

Frommees

f2 520x313 Frommees: This startup creates physical keepsakes for digital content

In their simplest form a Frommee is a physical keepsake of digital content. Each token has a unique code and once registered, you can add digital content of any kind. You give your Frommee to a friend or leave it somewhere to be found and you can track the travel information from your Frommee on the site. From a brand perspective – how do you think they could use these innovative keepsakes to get their message out to the world?

Kaiser Chiefs – The future is medieval

For their latest album the Kaiser Chiefs wanted to make a big impression. The brand have attempted to re-define the album and offer a more personalised approach. Fans can visit a micro site and choose from among 20 tracks to pick their top 10 to make it onto their album. We were thinking this could work even better if you could add a message and gift to someone.

Retail

The new rival to Groupon

A new service called Wrapp allows people to send their Facebook friends free gift cards of $5-15, to be redeemed with certain brands. H&M and Gap have already joined but why would a brand want to give away free gift cards? One spokeswomen explains that rather than spending money on advertising in the hope it will lead to sales, this approach offers much greater ROI because a gifting a discount to your target audience is much more likely to end in a sale. On to a winner I think.

An unlikely partnership – Coca Cola and Michigan

A brand partnership with little or no association – images of Michigan’s sparkling waters will soon be featured alongside cokes logo to inspire people to experience pure Michigan. Perhaps Atlanta (the home of coke) would have been a more understandable brand vehicle for Coca Cola to attach itself to. Similar to Scotland and Highland which is a great example of win-win brand aligned partnership marketing.

Meet Phil Pace

Here’s an odd little number which definitely had us scratching our heads. What initially appears to be a mini documentary about a bodybuilder, takes you on a journey truly drawing you into his story. I don’t want to spoil the surprise so watch for yourself. Although rather unusual, this guy’s unusual story does have potential to become a mini series.

Content, Digital and Strictly Come Dancing

This week we are using the notion of  “having your fingers in too many pies” –  can this confuse a brands message or objectives? Brands such as Help have been very successful in building an identity a through simple run but hugely effective campaigns. On the other hand we also look at those whose  innovative ideas hinder rather than help the user experience. Stopping the music video to shop for items of clothing almost makes the music video experience pointless.

Digital

Pepsi partners with Twitter to launch ‘Pulse’ digital dashboard

After the launch of global “Live for Now” campaign, Pepsi.com has been completely taken over by ‘Pulse’, a newly launched real-time digital platform that curates fans’ generated content, Twitter posts, Pinterest & Instagr.am pictures. Pepsi’s celebrity ambassadors encourage people to get involved and fans can win prizes. Despite maybe trying too hard to include everything that’s hot at the moment with no cohesive aim, it’s brave to see a brand using their official site to focus on engagement rather than product.

Want to take part in Strictly Come Dancing?

BBC Worldwide are building on the success of the show by creating an online game. Fans can create their own avatar, choose a professional dance partner and compete against other players. Although the game is free to play, there is a micro payments system to get costume upgrades, perhaps deeper tans. The success of Zynga (makers of Farmville) show that online casual gaming is not just for kids.

Music & Advertising

First shoppable music video

http://www.wirewax.com/embed/7000004/000000/

With heavy product placement common to many of the latest music videos, artists are increasingly looking to partner with brands. This example of an interactive music video lets people shop the artists look and is slicker looking than most. It’s important this approach is tonally appropriate for the audience but could be relevant when the content brief has a close tie to product such as tutorials, or an approach One Sony could take to push product through Sony Music artists.

Shazam partners up with ITV for bespoke branded content opportunities

Shazam, the app that recognises a song through a smart phone microphone, has partnered with ITV so viewers can interact with TV ads. Kraft has used it to give people recipes using Philadelphia when they Shazam the TV ad’s soundtrack. Recipes seems a bit boring as most people can google these from their laptop anyway. We think receiving something a little more surprising could be great for brand engagement. An idea for Lynx anyone?

Our favourite new brand

Help your headache

A great example of a brand taking care of their entire comms, from product, packaging all the way through to marketing. Beauty in keeping it simple.

One for the office

Sustainable pedal-powered meeting table

WeBike is the first meeting table that converts human energy into electricity through pedals allowing users to work, exercise and generate electricity at the same time. Working their way to get their phone charged could actually teach people not to take electric energy for granted!