Archive for May, 2011

Making The Unsocial Social

May 31st, 2011

When A Place Is Not A Place

The New Directions are heading to nationals in NYC on Glee and a group of girls are comically preparing for the wedding of the decade in Bridesmaids. Popping bubble wrap and hitting green lights in row are amongst 1000 pleasures in life described in Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome. Love songs and ballads are penetrating the ears of listeners as British gem, Adele, hits the top on global music charts. Seems like a lot is going on in the entertainment industry, but do we have all the stickers to prove it?

Traditionally, paperbacks in comfy chairs or classic films on the couch while wrapped in blankets accompany rainy days. TV has been a mindless pass time for as long as Bob Barker hosted the Price as Right. Now all the activities that your introverted side associated with have gone online and become social. No need to panic and hide in the closet clutching your weathered collection of Harry Potter, platforms are now available for you to discuss your potion concoctions and Quidditch tactics with other muggles online.

Platforms like GetGlue, Miso and Philo provide viewers with enhanced interaction with their favourite forms of entertainment. This allows networks, publishers and film studios to build relationships with their consumers by rewarding them with stickers or other tangible prizes and encourage further usage. TV studios utilize these platforms to encourage live viewing and consistency as certain episodes unlock other rewards.  GetGlue has evolved into the leader of this booming space with users surpassing 1M and check-ins exceeding 12M. Users can check-in through their website or mobile Apps (available on iPhone and Android, sorry BB users!) to identify that they are watching, reading or listening to items. In doing so, users will receive stickers or badges and sometimes be entered to win tangible prices. Furthermore, there is the option for users to comment and like pieces as they would over crumpets at their book club.

As marketers within the entertainment industry, how can we use this to reach our target audience or even just to have one of those nifty stickers? Networks have already launched successful (and somewhat adhesive) campaigns.

CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Gets Glue’d

For Canadians (like myself), hockey is part of the culture and suits worn by Don Cherry had become socially accepted and respected. CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada teamed up with GetGlue to make exclusive stickers that are available to users when they check in at games. This campaign was launched during game 7 of Montreal vs. Boston with exclusive sports-related stickers. Now onto the semifinals, let’s just hope that Canada comes out strong to make these stickers worth it. Go Canucks!

Miso let’s Viewers Pick ‘Em

Although Donald Trump is a leading business magnate, his luscious blond locks don’t always allow him to make the right decisions on Apprentice. Seeing as reality shows are something that cannot be missed because of the fear of overhearing the outcome during your commute to work the following day. Miso is allowing viewers to participate during the living viewing, to step in and make the decision for Mr. Trump. Unfortunately, this poll will have no bearing on the results of the show but it does encourage user engagement and allows viewers to interact with each other in real time. So, next time you’re watching Dancing with the Stars, log on to Miso and share who you think should move on: Kirstie Alley or the Situation. “None of the above” isn’t an option.

You Again, Philo!

Prior to the premiere of the movie, You Again, Philo launched a campaign offering the chance to win a $500 spa package grand prize among smaller prices like memorabilia and free tickets. To be entered in the draw, users had to check in a minimum of 3 different times to shows that aired a You Again commercial. If the user went on to comment “you again” on any of the qualifying shows they would be entered to win the grand prize. Not bad for a lazy Sunday on the couch.

GetGlue and others have broken ground in a whole new space. They have developed a platform that works like Foursquare but the users don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home. ‘Checking In’ is no longer limited to actual places, but virtual ones too. In doing so, GetGlue has reached an entirely new market, formally known as the couch potatoes and bookworms. Going forward, you should remove the tarnished pins from your old canvas rucksack because it’s all about stickers now!

To Be Realistic About Marketing Is To Augment Reality

May 17th, 2011

As a marketer, have you ever thought that your kismet is lying on the super imposed lines of any Sunday afternoon NFL football game? Probably not (especially if you’re not a sports fan). Well, these first-down lines, not only, provide a more accurate spatial orientation of games for home viewers but they are also the foundation of Augmented Reality (AR). To elaborate, AR directly takes physical real world images, modifies them using computer generated software and creates a whole new world. AR adds elements to the participant’s ordinary life to enhance their experience through means of enjoyment, intrigue and, recently, convenience.

For years, marketing and advertising agencies have strained themselves trying to isolate the most effective, meaningful and lasting image to sell their product. Now, brands are able to visually and audibly foster experiences to which their consumers can be a part of. As AR is within its infancy stage, there are no limitations to form of communication it embodies. Whether it’s an experience like walking around the top of Toronto’s CN tower or a product like a Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma! giftcard. Through its dynamism, AR has already showcased services, goods and entertainment, which have shifted reality from relatively normal to bigger, cooler and more fake.

Services

By employing GPS software in mobile devices, companies are able to target exact locations to specify their message to that geographic region.

eBay Classified

eBay partnered with AR platform Junaio to launch an app that displays all nearby classified ads. The app allows you to filter the listings with keywords to avoid clutter in busy areas. The ads appear on your screen as you change your phones direction and take it one step further to dial the number posted to set up an appointment. Something as daunting as apartment hunting is made simple by this app, all you do is hold your phone to the building of your dreams and then sign a lease!

Wikitude World Browser

This app scans your surroundings using the camera and GPS sensors in your mobile device to provide all points of interest nearby and tags them on your screen for easy navigation. The app goes one step further to provide you with the Wikipedia information you need to know about those locations. Therefore with World Browser, you have the capacity to know anything about everything anywhere in the world.

Goods

Product advertisements are becoming invisible to consumers as they are blocked by clutter. By experimenting with AR, brands are able to bring their product to the consumer and allow them to sample the product in their own space.

Ray-Ban Virtual Mirror

Ray-Ban collaborated with FittingBox to develop the technology behind the virtual mirror. They use landmarks like nose, ears and eyes to place the products in real time. This takes online shopping to a new level allowing customers to virtually try the product on before deciding to purchase it. Another great opportunity to determine if the black Wayfarers are too Risky Business with your hair cut.

Hallmark Gift Cards

Nothing says ‘cheesy’ like a Hallmark gift card. But Hallmark is making the recipients of their gift cards say ‘cheese’ by bringing their cards to life through AR.  After the purchase of a gift card, the recipient can log on to the website display the card on webcam and become part of the animated party. This adds an interactive element to gift cards that has never been seen before. Hallmark identified that most people enjoy a party, especially those receiving condolences cards, so they are hosting one and invited everyone to it through AR.

Entertainment

Companies have been using forms of AR for years now to make games and simulations feel more realistic. Previously, they have brought the users into their games, but now they are incorporating games into real life.

Disney MotionBeam

The MotionBeam project is developing new character interaction through projection controlled by gesturing of hand held devices. The projections can be applied by linking them to physical attributes in the environment that become part of the game. Although this project is still in the works, Disney has identified that they would like to incorporate this projector into cell phones to turn the real world into a playground. As if life isn’t already crazy enough without Captain Hook.

Augmented Reality is field that should be considered by marketers globally as consumers are actively seeking brands and, in some cases, trying them on. As for being location based, AR will add a digital overlay to real world experiences and give a different perspective on life as the consumer relocates. It may add background information about places like Times Square or Union Station, or give customer reviews on products during shopping trips through WalMart or even act as a distraction from a boring keynote speaker. Whatever its uses will be, AR has the ability to change the world as we see it. Or, in the least, will add computer-generated pieces to it.

Fashion & Foursquare

May 10th, 2011

Moving from Sears catalogues being delivered in the mail to email blasts being sent directly to your handheld, the fashion industry has evolved into one of the fastest moving industries in the market. As soon as a trend becomes popular it is already obsolete in the eyes of any style maven. To ordinary folk keeping up to date on  “what’s hot” in the fashion world is a daunting task and can be extremely costly. To marketers, this is a budding segment that needs immediate attention and wit to overcome the already overbearing noise.

While fashion is moving fast, technology is moving faster. Major retailers, such as BestBuy and Macy’s, have teamed up with companies like Shopkick Inc. to deploy location-based Smartphone Apps. The Apps utilize cell phones location capabilities to target customers within a designated area around their retail store. The App will send them promotions; coupons or other marketing offers which will appeal to the customer when they are in the position to buy.  As BestBuy and Macy’s are tracking their customers, Gap Stylemixer is building wardrobes, Ralph Lauren is designing customized rugby shirts and Chanel is showcasing their fashion show all on the mobile platform. Shop ‘til you drop is the past. Shop ‘til your cell phone dies is the present.

Location-based apps are successfully communicating with consumers and are a “hot” trend within the marketing world. Ultimately, the surplus of Apps depreciates any given brand’s cool factor. Like every trend, they become overdone and fall into the “everyone is doing it” category similar to what was seen with bell-bottom jeans in the 70’s. Unsurprisingly enough as fashionistas are always one step ahead, icons such as Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo and Diesel have taken location-based marketing to the next level, or as some could say, the next runway.

Marc Jacobs in NYC Fashion Week

Marc Jacobs has embraced social media and digital technology to develop marketing ideas that go against the traditional marketing employed by other fashion brands.

Prior to fashion week in NYC, Marc teamed up with FourSquare to develop a “Fashion Victim” badge that enthusiasts acquired after “checking-in” to Marc Jacob locations throughout the Big Apple and other states.  Randomly four individuals who unlocked the badge in New York were invited to the Marc Jacobs fashion show. In doing so, both Marc Jacobs and FourSquare became the subject of chatter for days leading up to the show.

Jimmy Choo’s CatchAChoo

Jimmy Choo launched the CatchAChoo event in London via Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare to connect the digital world to the real world by inviting shoe fanatics to participate in the game. All they had to do was follow the clues posted online by a representative and approach them and say “I’ve been following you.” The winner gets a free pair of trainers and bragging rights to the remaining cyber losers.

Be Stupid with Diesel

Originally, Diesel worked with Iced Media (digital marketing agency) to develop a successful online campaign called “Be Stupid” which encouraged individuals to upload photos via Twitter, Facebook and Flckr. Decidedly, Diesel teamed up with FourSquare to drive their online traffic into their retail locations by allowing customers to “check-in” and receive a prize. Additionally, customers will receive a sticker with the Be Stupid slogan on it that they are encouraged to bring home, photograph and email for a chance to win bigger, better and more stupid prizes.

These campaigns were initial forays into the capabilities of location-based marketing. Although FourSquare is America’s Next Top Model, similar platforms, such as SCVNGR, Gowalla, and Goldrun, are climbing the ranks and developing unique opportunities for brands to reach (and wardrobe) their consumers. But with every marketing fad, Louis Vitton comes up with a new bag. Keep your fingers busy on those sites and eventually you will “check- in” at the right time!