Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Deloitte & Touche published a research study last week that essentially proved that “old media” (their words) still works. As with most research, you can punch holes in this study if you are so inclined, but that’s not really the point. The point is … why are we all so defensive? Traditional media folks are sometimes threatened (as evidenced by the fact that this study even exists) by the tsunami of new media options available to clients today. But it’s not all one sided. New media folks sometimes have a Napoleon complex and don’t trust that they’re getting their “fair share”. Can’t we all just get along?

There’s room for both. We’ve gotten into this mess because it’s basically a zero sum game. Clients’ budgets aren’t increasing (not much, anyway) and there are more options to consider than ever before. Also, there’s research out there that tells us that the channels that we’ve been using in the past aren’t as effective as they once were (declining ratings, circulation losses, etc). Yet media costs continue to rise. These factors make clients want to know what else is out there. They want to know if there’s a better way to reach, engage, and communicate with their current and potential consumers. It’s a natural question. Studies such as the D&T one referenced above make their authors or presenters come off as if they have their head firmly planted in the sand.

I don’t dispute their findings, just the way they are presented. Is traditional media still effective? Of course it is. Is it as effective as it was 20, 15, 10 or even 5 years ago? Probably not. Consumers have changed. The media landscape has changed. I don’t think that anybody would dispute those statements. But to see a study like this makes me think of the band playing on the deck of the Titanic. It doesn’t even acknowledge the elephant in the room.

On the other side of the coin, you have the aforementioned tsumani of new media options. How many of them scale? Are they an adequate replacement for the status quo at this moment in time? Some are, maybe. Many aren’t. Let’s take Second Life as an example. Over the past year, brands have been tripping over themselves to set up a presence in the popular virtual world. Many of those places are ghost towns with a quantity of visitors that you can count on one hand at any particular moment in time. But there are success stories as well. The American Cancer Society held a virtual Relay for Life in SL and raised over $150,000. That’s real money and an amazing success story. But how does it translate to marketing for big brands? That question is largely unanswered. But the only way to get an answer is to experiment. That’s why I don’t throw stones at any of the brands who took a shot in SL. At least they have learnings to act upon. Which is something that they wouldn’t have had if they just dusted off last year’s media plan.

There is no cookie cutter answer. Both camps have warts. Both can also generate positive results for clients. It doesn’t have to be one Vs the other. Now hold my hand and sing … “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony …”

Friday, August 10, 2007

Will It Blend?

I've already blogged about having iPhone envy. Which is what makes this video especially wrong in my eyes!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

D'oh! The marketing behind The Simpsons Movie

My nominee for media plan of the year (so far) is The Simpson’s Movie. The challenge associated with marketing this film was to take a franchise that has been on television every week for 18 years and get people excited to see the movie. The marketing of this film is simply brilliant. By now we’ve probably all heard about the partnership where several 7-Eleven’s across the country converted their stores into Kwik-E-Mart’s, the fictional convenience store from the show. 7-Eleven also changed the name of their signature drink from a Slurpee to a Squishee during the promotion. Kudos to 7-Eleven for such extraordinary risk taking. It paid off big time as they received A LOT of PR mileage out of this. Of course, it was also a homerun for the movie. It was a true win-win partnership.

Another element of the campaign was the competition among 14 Springfields across the country for the right to hold the hometown premiere of the movie. This contest got large groups of people in 14 cities working together to create videos illustrating their enthusiasm for The Simpsons. Consumers then voted for the best video. The competition drew almost 110,000 votes. This was a great example of letting go of your brand and an excellent use of consumer generated content. Springfield, VT won the competition. Their video really got the whole town involved.

A third element of the campaign is the website where consumers can upload their own photo and have it turned into one of the characters from the Movie. It’s a very engaging web site that drew so much traffic that their servers were overloaded at the start of the campaign. A simpsonized photo of me at the Kwik-E-Mart is above.

But you can’t win Media Plan of the Year without results. And the Simpsons Movie has certainly got those. The Simpson’s Movie raked in $71.8 million on opening weekend, blowing away the aggressive $50 million projection of 20th Century Fox. It left all other films saying D'oh!