Tag Archives: YouTube

Is social media changing your world?

We’re in the midst of some rather transformative times. Especially if you happen to live in the Middle East.  Some are crediting Facebook and Twitter as key catalysts that helped to overthrow a 40-year dictatorship in Egypt. This phenomenon has spread throughout the Arab world from Yemen to Bahrain and is currently erupting in Libya. You can follow the revolution on Twitter.

And last year, we witnessed a revolution in Iran from our social media accounts.  Marshall McLuhan believed that all media is transformative – that when you engage it, it changes you. Social media has indeed changed the flow of information to a more democratic forum – especially in more closed societies.

I believe that social media is having an effect on all our relationships. Will it ultimately change the world for the better? I hope so. But one thing I do know is I will not be watching CNN while it happens.

Tips for following events in social media:

  1. Check trending topics on Twitter.
  2. Create a column in Tweetdeck and use it to search a popular hashtag like #libia.
  3. Search YouTube for uploaded mobile video.
  4. Check Facebook for any pages that protesters are posting to.

Don’t assume that people who are not from your country spell the same way you do.  Arabic words, especially, have many translations.

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Copywriter

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Surviving the Social Media Storm

It snowed in Atlanta this week.

To a native Atlantan, that statement deserves a line on its own. Once “Winter Weather Advisory” is heard, people flock to grocery stores to prepare for the worst. An innocent bystander unaware of how much snow was on the horizon may think that Atlanta was about to be hit with enough snow to collapse the Georgia Dome. Instead, we only got 5 inches. But again…

It snowed in Atlanta this week.

And I mention this because snow in Atlanta can be as foreign to Southerners as social media is to marketing executives with little experience online.

Grocery stores are mob scenes before it snows. People don’t know what they need or how much they need; they just know they want it. And the same can be said about social media. Many companies know about social media. They know they want to use it, but they don’t know what, or how, or why. Without a plan or a goal in mind, social media results will just fall flat.

Now that it’s 2011, more and more companies are finding the need to use social media. And yet, some still don’t know why.

My suggestion? Stop thinking about Social Media as MEDIA. It should really be called Online Interaction. Accounts are created to strengthen the communication with customers. Yet, companies are creating accounts without thinking of how to get the most benefit from it. A marketer would never say, “We need to be on TV,” without knowing what kind of ROI would justify spending that much money. Before jumping into the latest fad of Online Interaction, take a minute to map out the purpose for being online, be it to establish dialogue with those already engaged with the brand, or to provide customer service to those seeking it.

And, while trying to figure out the purpose, establish goals for what being online will accomplish. Is there a desire to have comments posted about what is posted? Will there be an opportunity to talk with the consumer in order to establish dialogue? If Web traffic is increased, what should these new visitors do on the company site that will result in a positive return for being online? Let this new online interaction be an open door to further the consumer experience.

Once the purpose and goals are set in place, share it with employees. Let employees talk about it on their own online accounts. If there is a strong purpose with clear goals in place, but poor promotion of the online existence, then results will be weak. This may sound silly, but an online interaction continuously feeds off of, just that, interaction online. And the more that fellow colleagues can develop, the better the results.

Establishing a strong presence online is an ongoing process. Companies cannot create an account and leave it, hoping that friends, followers, and fans will continue to build. This is done through a constant stream of discussion. Once that has been established on the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), explore new ways to connect with the audience. The age of Social Media is only 6-7 years old, so the “right” way for a soft-drink company may not be the best way for a shoe company. By experimenting with different sites (GoWalla, Digg, Flickr, Friendstr, Groupon, etc.) the online interaction may prove even more suitable than Facebook.

Social Media isn’t new, and is always changing. But having a plan, setting goals ahead of time, and letting fellow employees participate will increase the results of social media efforts. And it won’t feel like you’re scrapping around like we do down South due to winter storm warnings.

— Jonathan Ginburg, Sr. Account Executive


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The five stages of social media grief. Or how I learned to stop worrying about the bomb.

In the last couple years, we in advertising and marketing have had to deal with a lot of what could be called destructive change. Part of this has been from the economy, and also a good deal has come from social media.

And as 2010 closes, it’s great to see how far we’ve made it as an industry with integrating social media into our practices. For those of us already there, it’s taken more than a few steps:

The first stage is denial. This denial usually isn’t that social media exists but that it has any relevance at all. People in stage one often say, “I don’t care what anyone had for breakfast.”

The second stage is anger. Most marketing managers feel that they already have enough on their plate; it’s only natural that a new, unwanted burden should, well, piss them off. You’ll hear people in stage two muttering about Facebook or putting expletives in front of the word Twitter.

The third stage is bargaining.  Bargaining often revolves around stakeholders trying to get someone else to handle the burden of responsibility. Hiring an intern often occurs in this stage.

The fourth stage is depression. This is when the responsibility is accepted and the burden of learning is taken on. Mood swings are a regular occurrence in this stage.  One minute, the griever is excited by the possibilities and the next overwhelmed by the sheer size of the space.

The fifth stage is acceptance. Once the learning curve starts to bend down, the depression starts to subside. You can easily recognize when someone is in this stage because this is when they start talking intelligently about integrating Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into marketing plans. Because they can start to see the real benefits of this new form of engagement. This is when the grief ends and magic can finally begin to happen.

If you’re still working your way through these stages, don’t fret, you’ll get there. It’s part of the new marketing landscape, and the sooner we’re able to fully accept it the sooner we’ll reap its rewards.

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Copywriter

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How engagement can fall short

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone; the world is changing. People are receiving up-to-the-minute information as news is happening, rather than wait for the 6 o’clock news. News stations (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) report updates on their websites, and Facebook and Twitter posts have become the definition of “current” events. As technology continues to develop, advertising, too, must learn to reach audiences in new, compelling, and engaging ways.

The digital age is upon us, and with it comes more ways to reach audiences than ever before.  Today, audiences are targeted through social media sites, online banners, search engine optimization, and limited online TV commercials. Even though advertisers have many more venues to reach new customers than ever before, it’s a stretch for some of these media to have a discernable impact. But I came across one such campaign that was so compelling, I had to share it with everyone I could.

This campaign was intriguing, interactive, and engaging enough that I wanted to continue “playing” with it long after my first video finished. But after five minutes, could you tell me what the brand was? You may recognize the product and what it can do, but do you know the brand? (The answer is Tipp-Ex, a brand of correction fluid, owned by BIC, better known in Europe). While the concept of this campaign is incredibly strong, the execution fell just a bit short of turning an engaged audience into a new supply of consumers. And, after all, isn’t the end goal of advertising to sell products?

Here are three steps that Tipp-Ex missed that could have turned the compelling, engaging campaign into one with positive, measurable results:

  1. Continue using the product. Clearly, there are many videos that Tipp-Ex produced for this campaign. Allowing me to “use” the product in order to create a new blank would have had me interacting with the product directly. Repetition would have made me recall the brand next time I’m ordering supplies.
  2. A link to the website. There are more than 6.8 million views (at the time of this posting) to this video, but not a single clickable link to their site. Can you imagine what 6.8 million views would have looked like had they been allowed to visit a microsite or landing page? Then, Tipp-Ex would have had a targeted, active audience on THEIR site, and not just some YouTube link.
  3. A call to action. While I enjoyed interacting with the videos of this campaign, once I was done, I was done. The campaign did not provide an opportunity for me to further my involvement with the brand by offering a call to action. A simple coupon (on this yet-to-be-executed website) that could be printed and taken into any office supply retailer to be redeemed will have me asking for this brand by name next time I’m in need of correction tape.

With these three additional executions to the concept, uninterested Web surfers could have become interactive and engaged audiences and converted into measurable consumers, and perhaps loyal brand stewards.

— Jonathan Ginburg, Senior Account Executive


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Thank you for sharing.

Part of the creative’s job these days is to develop ways to encourage sharing a new campaign. It’s no longer enough to create brilliant creative that connects with the audience. Now, creative needs to be so powerful that it encourages “engagement” and “sharing.”

Is there a formula for creating engaging, shareable creative? No, but there are some guidelines. And they must be followed by more than just the folks in the creative department. In fact, it requires everyone who touches the project to make it happen.

A) Creative must be easy to share. That means unlocking the content and putting Share buttons on it (not on a Web page) so that the components can live beyond the page. This allows the audience to take ownership of the content and share it with their friends the way they actually use the Web.

A video that only lives on a Web page isn’t easily shareable to Facebook aficionados who are used to sharing YouTube videos on their wall. And allowing bloggers to embed your content on their blog gives them partial ownership and will generate more interest than requiring them to post a link and send their readers off their site.

B) Make your strategy relevant. Messages like the “best,” “cheapest,” and the “most value for your money” aren’t going to cut it in the world of social sharing. You have to get on the level of your consumer and stop talking down at them. Relate to them with something that is fun or has emotional meaning, and you’re more likely to find them sharing your message with their peers.

C) Be inclusive and honest. People can smell an aloof fake a mile away. Especially the connectors who are the ones that share content socially.

D) Don’t execute just to the media plan. Get into the minds of consumers and think about their behavior and how they will interact with your campaign.

E) All this isn’t enough if the creative is weak. Last year it might have been, when few marketers were in the social sphere. Now that the novelty of social marketing has worn off, creative must be entertaining and provocative.

What are you doing to make your creative shareable?

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Writer


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A Disaster… In More Ways Than One

With the worst natural disaster in our country’s history now more than 90 days old (and counting), I started thinking about how BP and its major U.S. competitors are using marketing tactics to respond.

It may have taken them longer than many would like, but BP has revamped their entire marketing presence to address what they are doing in the Gulf.  From their television spots to their press releases, website, Twitter and RSS feeds, Facebook and Flickr accounts, and even their YouTube channel, BP is now using all their available outlets to try and keep people informed about what they are doing to stop the leak and repair the damage.

In the old days, if a company had a crisis, they would control the media and the conversation with a traditional PR effort, and their competitors would be silent (e.g., the airline industry after a crash).  But the proliferation of social media (and BP’s slow marketing response) has made it next to impossible for them to control the dialogue and get in front of the conversation.  Consider this:

  • Facebook: “Boycott BP” and “BP Sucks” pages on Facebook have more than a million combined fans, while the real BP Facebook page only has about 34,000.
  • Twitter: There are more than 185,000 followers on the main anti-BP page (BPGlobalPR) on Twitter, while the real page has only 16,800 followers.

Social media can really bite a company in the butt in times of disaster if they don’t have a plan, don’t say the right things, or don’t act quickly enough.

From a competitive standpoint, it surprised me that I haven’t seen any television spots, nor could I find one thing about the disaster on the corporate or brand websites for ExxonMobil, Chevron or Texaco.  Shell was the only brand that even mentioned it on their site, and that was only one buried link to an article that speaks about the support and assets they have been providing to BP.  They also seem to be the only brand heavily promoting the work they are doing to tap into alternative sources of energy.

But, as you can imagine, that hasn’t stopped people from making angry posts about all these brands as well, and even rehashing their prior wrongdoings and mishaps.  BP’s competitors look to be hiding their heads in the sand vs. responding and engaging in the conversation.

What do you think of the marketing response from BP and its competitors?  What would you be doing if you were the CMO of one of these brands?

— Stephen Weinstein, EVP, Director of Account Management


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Shorter attention spans mean longer formats?

TV is dead. We all know that. We’ve been hearing that for years, anyway, so it must be true. As everything goes “digi”, we hear a lot of conventional wisdom talk about attention spans and eye tracking and the ever-measurable click-through.

But as a creative and an instructor at the local ad school, trying both to do right by my clients’ needs, and to guide my students to push past further than today’s business realities allow, I can’t help but notice that what still gets the most “buzz” are conventional pieces that look a lot like TV.

Some clients hear the death knell of TV blowing through the pop biz books, and are relieved. While TV spots give brands the legitimacy and prestige they clamor for, they are also seen as a tremendous drain on the ad budget– which they are. TV costs money. Media costs money. Talent costs money (and I don’t just mean the monkeys in front of the camera). Despite what that guy at the cocktail party in the black turtleneck says, YouTube and Red Cameras do not mean good quality TV gets a whole lot cheaper. Then the obvious question is Why produce TV when Twitter costs literally $0? I’m not going to answer that, because I respect you.

So TV moves to the Web. It gets longer. Or shorter. But mostly longer. (I was shown a study yesterday claiming the ideal length for online video is between 30 and 90 seconds. Content is a little in the grey area, but for optimum ROI, there is apparently a running time.)

This month, the world went crazy for Nike’s World Cup spot. As of Sunday night, in less than three weeks, more than 12 million people had watched it on YouTube alone. I have it on good authority it’s the spot that both the agency and the client are going to put down as their crown jewel for the year. Though personally, as I’m not much of a futbol fan but I am a giant nerd, I’m partial to Adidas’s work that launched last week just in time for kickoff. Both the Nike and Adidas spots are over two minutes, and clearly cost a boatload of money. And I don’t hear anybody complaining about attention spans, and I’ll bet come awards season, we’ll be seeing them again.

Can you do awesome long format video that doesn’t require the expense of David Beckham sitting down with Greedo at George Lucas’s house? Sure. As kinetic and absorbing and “spectacular” as the Nike spot is, I was much more moved by the 12 minutes I spent with Mother’s Docu-sponsory™ (I’m coining that) for Stella beer,  UP THERE.  It’s beautiful, moving, and probably cost what 2 seconds of the Nike spot cost. And it made me thirsty.

Here at Kilgannon, the agency recently produced some long-format work for Manheim. You can see it here, and you can read a much better explanation of it here. We’re pretty proud of it, and we think it’ll pull pretty hard for them. And as I sit here typing this, I’m looking at casting tapes for a TV spot. Yes, an actual TV spot that will run on that black rectangle in your living room. It’s not dead yet.

— Devon Suter, VP, Group Creative Director


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