You are currently browsing the archives for August, 2010.
Viewer discretion advised: No nudity, but obscene language and creepy demonic behavior inside a webcam.
More at Gizmodo.
There was much excitement last week over AdAge’s piece on brands that have built bigger Facebook fan bases than monthly visitors to their websites. Most observers applaud the brands who have taken early initiative to follow their customers into Facebook. If your customers spend their digital time reading, commenting and liking stuff that flows through their Facebook newsfeeds, get yourself into the newsfeed, right?
“For many marketers, their Facebook fan bases have become their largest web presence, outstripping brand sites or e-mail programs either because a brand’s traditional web-based ‘owned media’ is atrophying or because more consumers are migrating to social media.”
James Gross (Federated Media) and Scott Rafer (Feedster, MyBlogLog, Lookery), however, both argue that the race to rack up Facebook fans brings with it a new danger for brands: Namely, the race to sign up fans comes at the expense of creating compelling content assets to distribute to and engage with those fans. First Rafer:
“It’s tough to take brands and their agencies seriously when they complain about their dependence on Google SEM. When they have new options, they make the same old mistake: underinvestment in their own Internet assets. It’s easier for marketing managers and agency account messengers to become dependent on dominant third parties than to fix their own accounting practices and IT organizations.”
Here’s the root problem according to Gross:
“Short term marketing goals along with agency and publisher relationships that create a scooby snack world around results like FB [fan counts].”
In other words, because buying ads to drive up fan counts is easier than executing a content strategy, marketers and their agencies are prioritizing the former. Boosting quantity is easier than delivering quality.
There’s also the issue of the black-box logic that Facebook uses to determine how many of your fans will in fact see your updates — your brand’s story packaged up into Facebook-sized nuggets — in their newsfeeds. Facebook, like any rational company, will put growth of its own businesses ahead of the growth of partners’ projects. What happens, for instance, when Facebook needs to promote a major new product initiative like Places? They might just bump your status updates from your followers’ feeds to make room location updates using Places. From Inside Facebook:
“Reports from Page administrators and data from our PageData service indicate that the launch of Places has decreased the prominence of official Page updates in the news feed. Significant decreases in impressions-per-post and new Likes per day for Pages coincide with the introduction of Places stories. This suggest an alteration has been made to Facebook’s algorithm that determines what users users see in their news feed. We suspect that the weight of Page updates has been decreased while Places stories have been temporarily given a relatively high weight.”
Here’s the impact on Nutella’s fan page:
Starbucks may have nearly 13 million fans of its official Page in Facebook, but those 13 million fans are apparently seeing more updates these days from friends checking in on Facebook Places than status updates from Starbucks.
Fans of Mad Men likely caught the episode last season in which London Fog worked its brand into a plot line — a product placement arrangement of the standard variety. Now Christina Hendricks, the actress who plays Joan Holloway, has been hired by London Fog to appear in ads outside the show.
From Fast Company:
“this is the first time a Mad Men actor has appeared in an ad for a product previously hyped on the show, making for a novel kind of symbiosis. In fact, London Fog was actually first approached by Mad Men last season to work the brand into the show, says Dari Marder, Chief Marketing Officer of the Iconix Brand Group. ‘They went through archive ads, materials and product,’ she says. ‘We were thrilled with how it turned out, the integration was seamless.’ One could say the same thing about the London Fog ads.”
Here’s the Relaunch War Room at 8am Pacific today:
“The majority of Digg’s userbase will likely find the new design refreshing and it very well may gain some traction among users that feel overwhelmed with the real-time news stream or the pontifications in their news feed. Better yet, Digg may attract a whole new audience looking for a place to discover news through curated sources.”
A member of the ChasNote research department challenged my claim earlier today that the concept of a workplace “coffee break” was launched by an ad campaign in the 1950s. The nerve!
Further investigation, however, suggests that we are both partly right. According to NPR, a couple of Buffalo-based factories offered their workers mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks for coffee (in one case it was bring-your-own) in the early 1900s. But it took a TV commercial in the 1950s to give it a name:
“Wherever the coffee break originated, Stamberg says, it may not actually have been called a coffee break until 1952. That year, a Pan-American Coffee Bureau ad campaign urged consumers, ‘Give yourself a Coffee-Break — and Get What Coffee Gives to You.’”
I can’t find the spot from Pan-American Coffee, but this one pretty much gets what coffee gave you back in the 1950s.
With the new Digg rumored to be launching this week, and further rumors that it will allow users to import their social graphs from Facebook, Twitter and others in order to create a personalized My News experience, I’m hoping next year’s Social Media Map won’t represent Digg as that lonely island just north of the United Territories of Wikimedia.
Chiquita Bananas isn’t going to let the crowdsourced advertising-and-label design trend leave it behind. From Rob Walker’s column in the NY Times Sunday Magazine:
“Chiquita set up a Web tool for people to whip up their own sticker drag-and-drop mixes, and an obliging public created more than 25,000 of them in less than five months, according to the company. This enthusiasm has led to a competition — 1,355 entries were submitted over several months, and online voting starts tomorrow at eatachiquita.com to pick 18 designs that will be stuck onto actual bananas.”
Chiquita introduced the blue stickers in 1963 in a stroke Walker calls “a brilliant way to solve the problem of how to apply some version of branded packaging to an item that literally grows on trees.”
I like the new contest, too. Not that it’s especially cutting edge (see Jones Soda’s label contest or HP’s laptop skin contest, both in 2008), but it’s never a bad thing to pull your customers closer to your brand, to let them touch and feel your logo.
The best part about Walker’s column, though, is the quotes he extracts out of the team behind the campaign. Such as:
“The great thing about looking hard at something the brand already owns, no matter how small, is that there is usually a cultural recognition there already. With some application of this value to an idea you have, it creates a familiar association with an unfamiliar dynamic, therefore creating intrigue in the viewer — much like pop art does.”
My favorite entry in the contest so far is this one, the banana as hammock.
I’ll admit it. On Monday, while giving some agency friends a tour of the new Digg, I came across an article on Jersey Shore star Snooki and had to ask who she was. But now that she’s the central figure in suspected plot by luxury brands to get their purses out of her hands, I can’t get enough.
From the NY Observer:
“Here’s the deal: Remember how Snooki, drunk or sober, was never seen without that Coach bag dangling from the crook of her arm? Snooki and her Coach were as synonymous as The Situation and his six-pack. But then the winds of change started blowing on Jersey Shore. Every photograph of Guido-huntin’ Snooki showed her toting a new designer purse. Why the sudden disloyalty? Was she trading up? Was she vomiting into her purses and then randomly replacing them? The answer is much more intriguing.
“Allegedly, the anxious folks at these various luxury houses are all aggressively gifting our gal Snookums with free bags. No surprise, right? But here’s the shocker: They are not sending her their own bags. They are sending her each other’s bags! Competitors’ bags!
“Call it what you will — ‘preemptive product placement’? ‘unbranding’? — either way, it’s brilliant, and it makes total sense. As much as one might adore Miss Snickerdoodle, her ability to inspire dress-alikes among her fans is questionable. The bottom line? Nobody in fashion wants to co-brand with Snooki.”
(Thanks for the tip, NOTCOT!)
Any ChasNote readers members of Russian dating site Mamba?
I asked a friend last week if he knew of any ad marketplaces that accept virtual currency in addition to real money, and he said that Mamba does. Apparently new members start out with some advertising credits in their accounts — to promote themselves — and they can buy more credits with rubles. Any of you know more about how this works?
(Translation by Yahoo’s Babelfish.)