In the run-up to the all-important online holiday shopping season, much has been made of mobile's ascendancy when it comes to holiday sales. But this year, I think we're going to see some twists, turns and stats that might have seemed counter-intuitive looking forward from this point last year.
In this recent appearance on Jim Blasingame Show (which focuses on SMBs), I talk about some of the developments that may have some marketers shouting, "Ho-ho-ho," while others scream, "No-no-no!"
As it happens, this segment was from mid-October, and I've just been too busy to post. But it may have you re-thinking Holidays past, present and future.
Video continues its victory lap in part two of our look at the top digital marketing trends of Summer 2016 on the Jim Blasingame show.
Here, Jim and I talk about how video plays a central role in a number of this summer's big trends, including the acceleration of influencer marketing and crowdsourced content.
The fact is, even with handy new video production tools, it still takes time and effort to create compelling content. So why not get your most avid fans and influencers to do it for you? Here's how a few leading brands are doing it well.
It's hard not to love this Cyber Grand Prix-winning initiative promoting "El Gordo," an annual holiday lottery in Spain.
While the rest of the industry obsessed over John Lewis' "Man on the Moon" last Christmas, "Justino" quietly went about its business—with a touching animated short about a night watchman at a mannequin factory who never gets to meet his day-timer co-workers. In an attempt to create a bond, he poses mannequins in fun scenarios as a way to greet them each morning. But when he sees news that the company had set up a lottery pool without him—and won—he's heartbroken. You have to see what happens next for yourself.
While brilliant even as just an online video, "Justino" took social sharing a leap further than most such promotions—even John Lewis' acclaimed holiday campaign.
According to Libris, the Spanish national lottery set up social media accounts specific to the #Justino campaign, with content optimized for each channel. In one, viewers could comment on their favorite scenes. In another, they could guess at key elements of the story line. In all, viewers were brought into the story even while becoming viral engines for it.
It was exactly this kind of finely crafted digital storytelling that inspired its Cannes win, according to reports in Ad Age.
Kudos to Leo Burnett Madrid and all involved for a job well done.
The news from Cannes today found campaigns winning big for being particularly offbeat—risky even—with considerable success.
First was word that REI won the Promo & Activation Grand Prix for the "ultimate 'anti-promotion.'" That would be the whole #OptOutside campaign from last November, which involved shutting the store during Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
And the Swedish Tourism Board won the Direct Marketing Grand Prix for 'The Swedish Number,'" which gave prospective tourists the ability to dial a special number to play a kind of chat roulette with a random Swede in order to get the 411 on reasons to visit (see YouTube video above).
According to early reports from Skift, these randomized ambassadors signed up for the chance to talk about everything from the Northern Lights and IKEA, to ABBA and H&M, with total strangers.
According to Ad Age, REI isn't saying how successful the #OptOut initiative was, though sales for the full year were up nearly 10%.
It's a little harder to figure out why the Tourism effort won in the Direct category—it's unclear what made it a direct marketing effort—let alone how much new tourism it inspired.
It'd be hard to quantify that anyway. But in its first day or so, we do know the campaign generated 2,300 calls, mostly from Turkey (68% of the calls, in fact), the US (20%), UK (6%) Germany (2%) and Austria (2%).
And let's face it, it is a great example of an On-Demand Brand. Hell, it made us want to call a random Swede.
I recently read a joke somewhere that when it comes to email marketing, you want to be a puppy dog in a room full of llamas. Because hey, everyone loves puppies and who wants to get spit at by a llama?
In the conclusion of my recent conversation on the Jim Blasingame Show, we talk about striving for relevance and relationship-nurturing in your email marketing.
We also discuss the importance of sending content your customer is interested in, instead of always and exclusively pushing for a sale—or what Jim calls "contribute first, contact second."
Along the way, we have a few laughs about one my current favorite email marketers, weekend clothing brand Chubbies.
Which is why there’s no way I could resist asking Rich Silverstein and other people central to its creation to appear on-camera to share insights on "The Seagate Living Logo"—the world’s first patent-pending corporate brand identity.
(See video at bottom)
NEVER THE SAME LOGO TWICE
Yes, it’s true that brand identities rendered in real time through data visualization have been around for a while now.
But the Seagate Living Logo—launched at CES last January—is the first to have a patent in play for literally taking its shape using live data feeds flowing from public data sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LastFM, Amazon, Getty Images and more.
The idea? To represent the integral role Seagate storage solutions play in storing 40% of the world’s data, and in enabling the data-centric business models of today’s most innovative companies.
INNOVATION IN MOTION
Throughout the last 12 months, new variants have included interactive Living Logos that respond to physical movements through Microsoft Kinect-based technology—allowing you to essentially swim amid social media posts and images.
A standalone Facebook version lets you personalize the experience using your own online images.
And another can be customized in real time using Twitter and Instagram keywords and handles, as well as your own uploaded images, for live business meetings and events.
THE START OF SOMETHING BIG (DATA)
As is typical in social media these days, reaction to the Living Logo there and elsewhere has ranged from the snarky to the sublime.
Yet regardless of where you fall on that score, the Living Logo represents a notable new entry into the annals of corporate branding.
And it seems to have sparked a trend.
Last July, Brazilian telco FS Company launched a dynamic logo that uses code and generative design to reflect the real-time activity on the company’s servers.
And a UK-based design firm called Amaze is now tracking employees’ physical movements and digital activities to drive a “human-powered” living logo using a framework that sounds a lot like Seagate’s.
Which makes sense. Given the fact that Gartner reports nearly 75% of companies plan to invest in big data solutions in the next two years, the Seagate Living Logo surely stands on the cutting edge of what is likely to become a crowded field in the years ahead.
This short video, edited by Seagate’s George Shubin, will give you the inside scoop on the Seagate Living Logo and how it came to be.
(Full disclosure: I've had creative input on the development of the Living Logo, and have worked closely with these and other people working on the project at Seagate, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Pet Gorilla and elsewhere.)
DATA IS BEAUTIFUL: THE STORY BEHIND THE SEAGATE LIVING LOGO
As the marketing world obsesses over Coca-Cola's decision to trade out its hugely popular "Open Happiness" tagline to "Taste the Feeling"(see one of 25 new spots, above), it's been fun revisiting the commotion created over some of its previous slogan changes.
Check out reaction (including my own) to "The Coke Side of Life" in Ad Age a decade ago.
Indeed, whenever Coca-Cola makes marketing changes of this magnitude, it can be a hoot to take stock of its taglines from times past. You usually find some surprises along the way.
A SIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Despite being one of the world's most successful brands, there have certainly been some oddballs in Coca-Cola's advertising oeuvre—who can resist "Enjoy a Glass of Liquid Laughter" (1911), or "Proves a Big Help to Tired Housewives" (1909)?
And then there's that golden oldie: "Coca-Cola: The Great National Temperance Beverage" (1907)—which, we're told, "has none of the ill effects or 'let down' qualities of alcoholic stimulants." Yum.
Some old taglines are just inscrutable—"Same to You" (1940) sounds as if the feeling you're tasting is indignation.
And present-day regulators might have a field day with any tagline that proclaims Coke is "Pure and Healthful" (1904), and "Adds a Refreshing Relish to Every Form of Exercise" (1906), with "The Perfect Blend of Pure Products from Nature" (1923).
To modern audiences, other tags charitably might seem like aspirational positioning in the extreme—such as, "The Ideal Beverage for Discriminating People" (1906), "The Sign of Good Taste" (1957), and "The Best Drink Anyone Can Buy" (1913).
After all, everyone knows the best drink you can buy isn't Coca-Cola. It's Coke Zero.
PAST AS PROLOGUE?
Despite so many antiquated curios from campaigns past, many Coke taglines of yesteryear would be completely at home in the digital age.
Think about it:
In an era of virtual reality, 3D printing and social media poseurs, Coke promises to bring you "The Real Thing" (1948)
Ad skipping technology? "Relax with the Pause that Refreshes" (1947)
The age of Uber and Airbnb? "Share a Coke" (2011)
Group texting, geo-fencing and flash mobs? "Meet Me at the Soda Fountain" (1930)
Personal aerial drones? "Look Up, America!" (1975)
Even online activism and crowd funding fit that all-time favorite, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" (1971).
Yet perhaps it's that texting-and-flash-mob example that hits home most. As it happens, Coke classics seem especially well suited for the mobile revolution—including (among a surprising number of others):
Whether this is all a sign of soda-pop prescience, promotional predestination or pure chance, Coca-Cola remains a venerable brand whose slogans will provide plenty for (pop-) cultural anthropologists to ponder in decades to come.
Will future advertising aficionados still find it as amusing as we do?
What do you want the world to be like when you retire? This Swedish pension firm created this interactive experience that enables you to toggle two versions of life 30 years from now to show how sustainability pays off—for the planet and your financial picture.
These intelligent digital billboards pull in data gathered from social media, traffic updates and weather information to provide tips on getting the best photos to New York City tourists and amateur photographers.
Digital signs developed with DreamWorks Animation enables shoppers at Piccadilly Circus to use their mobile phones to personalize and visualize custom scarves, and display them on a giant screen for all to see before placing a purchase.
Online media planning and optimization solutions provider Marketing Evolution developed this robot that was able to identify attendees at this year’s Association of National Advertisers conference on sight – and engage in conversation about their media plans based on their past spend.
Cult '80s film 'Never-ending Story' inspires this site, which is “powered' by dream data” from five sleeping volunteers in a very abstract effort to highlight this non-profit organization’s efforts to improve the lives of children.
Five different living billboards featured encasements with live bacteria on affixed strips to keep them in place. Over time, the bacteria fed off the environment inside the encasements, and started go grow, forming one of five unique statements to educate consumers about how to avoid becoming ill due to household bacteria. So creepy, it’s (literally) infectious.
You either love the voice that comes out of your GPS navigation device, or hate it. Either way, this app automatically switches to a child’s voice when providing turn-by-turn instructions through areas where there are likely to be kids around, in an effort to cue drivers to drive more cautiously.
It’s (almost) enough to make you love retargeting: This year, online display ads for 3M's Post-It brand sticky notes have proven just that—sticky—by enabling consumers to write themselves notes, reminders and to-do lists right inside the ad units. Through the magic of retargeting—technologies that deliver that same ad to you wherever you go around the Internets, usually to your chagrin—your virtual Post-Its re-appear everywhere you go.
This summer, Netflix came up with an innovative way to promote its 'Sense8' online series, which about eight random people who find themselves connected telepathically. It’s approach? Using brainwaves from eight viewers to create a musical symphony.
Out to demonstrate how quick and transparent its auto price evaluations are, Taiwan-based used car dealer Kagulu rolled out a truck outfitted with cameras and databases to scans cars on the streets and display its value instantly.
Call it "23AndThee": This past Earth Day, Hong Kong-based NGO Cleanup launched a billboard and bus signage campaign in an effort to get people to clean up after themselves in city known for more than its share of litter. DNA evidence on discarded chewing gum, cigarette butts and even a condom was used to by forensic scientists to predict the eye, hair and skin color, as well as the face shape, of litters – and a total of 27 different profiles were established, and then displayed for all to see. Nothing like shame—and the fear of it—to shape behavior!