Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

Interesting New York Speaker Update: Joel Johnson

In Interesting New York on August 29, 2008 at 9:20 am

Joel’s going to talk about how today’s technology allows one to find out so much about their family history, maybe too much sometimes. Here’s Joel:

Online tools make reclaiming family history exponentially easier. However, the journey into one’s family history often reveals family secrets and lost knowledge that can tell you more about yourself than you may want to know – the good, the bad, the ugly.

Mad Men: DINU via Social Media

In Ideas, Innovation on August 28, 2008 at 4:29 pm

The saga of Mad Men and Twitter continues to grow. Check out this site: We Are Sterling Cooper, which is chronicling the story as it happens. Here’s their manifesto:

Fan fiction. Brand hijacking. Copyright misuse. Sheer devotion. Call it what you will, but we call it the blurred line between content creators and content consumers, and it’s not going away. We’re your biggest fans, your die-hard proponents, and when your show gets cancelled we’ll be among the first to pass around the petition. Talk to us. Befriend us. Engage us. But please, don’t treat us like criminals.

This site exists to catalogue the conversation around AMC’s Mad Men and its fanbase across the social web. But it’s just the beginning. ‘We are Sterling Cooper’ is a rallying cry to brands and fans alike to come together and create together.

This is a casestudy in Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe (DINU) behaviour. I’m sure Henry Jenkins, Grant McCracken and others are seeing this and nodding their heads.

Sticking with the Social Media Theme

In Ideas on August 28, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Somewhat along the lines of being followed on Twitter by TV characters, PSFK has a couple of interesting posts on social media worth checking out:

FriendFeed lets you pose like you’re following someone when you really aren’t.

What exactly to all these Facebook status updates and Twitterings add up to?  Does this Ambient Social Activity provide real benefits? What does all this passively active behaviour mean for brands? (The second link is to Noah Brier).

Mad Men – Twitter Hijinks

In Innovation on August 28, 2008 at 11:53 am
Don and Betty Are Watching You

Don and Betty Are Watching You

By now, you’ve probably seen the various posts about the Mad Men-Twitter hooha. You’ve even seen the posts suggesting you’ve probably already seen the various posts about the Mad Men – Twitter hooha.

Now I can add my only little piece to this marketing meme. After replying to DJ Francis’ post on the subjet, I now am being followed on Twitter by one of the Mad Men characters. DJ then had one too.  Somebody out there is monitoring the online conversations pretty closely and hustling.

Interesting New York Speaker Update: Faris Yakob

In Ideas, Interesting New York on August 28, 2008 at 8:56 am

Here’s another Interesting New York speaker I’m looking forward to, Faris Yakob, whose talk is entitled: Ideas are New Combinations: A history of recombinant culture, from Locke to Linux:  

“Everything is made up of mashed up other things: the philosophy of mash ups from John Locke, cut ups, remixing, jungle music, girl talk, and reality remixing.”

Bad hair day, Faris?

Bad hair day, Faris?

That’s worth the price of admission right there. And any guy with a Facebook avatar like this (on left), well you just know he’s going to be Interesting.

Interesting New York Speaker Update: Noah Brier

In Interesting New York on August 27, 2008 at 1:38 pm

So of course by now you know all about Interesting New York, the event scheduled for Sept. 13 that is sure to be fun, thought provoking and chock full of cool people. Cool people like Noah Brier  (yes, THAT Noah Brier). Here’s what he’s planning on sharing:

“In March I taught myself PHP and I’m pretty sure there’s a few basic ideas of web programming that are worth sharing.”

A typically unassuming and modest proposal from Mr. Brier.  You know that he’s going to be insightful and entertaining. He’s one of more than a dozen bright young things planning on dropping the 411 at Interesting New York. I hope you’ll come and join the fun.

The (Sports Marketing) World is Flat: Capitalizing on the Olympics

In TSMWIF on August 27, 2008 at 9:02 am
Somehow, I don't think "get in shape" is one of his New Year's resolutions

Olympic gold = marketing gold

While the games may be over, for athletes like Michael Phelps – and the people who manage their out of the pool activities – the games are just beginning. For an inside look at how companies like Octagon handle their clients, have a read of this Washington Post story. For further insights on Octagon, don’t forget to check out First Call, the blog of Aubrey Brewis, a member of the WordPress Marketing Bloggers Network (see all WBMN members below right).

When Marketing Bloggers Attack!

In Ideas on August 26, 2008 at 12:18 pm
Look out, it's Peter Kim!

Look out, it's Peter Kim!

Check out the great little give and take between Peter Kim and John Moore of Brand Autopsy. It all kicked off with Dave Balter and his World of Mouth Manual II. Peter called him out for creating an Ego Trap that was enabled by bloggers like Rohit Bhargava, John Jantsch of the influential Duct Tape Marketing and John Moore among others.

Well, let the fireworks begin. Read the comments to Peter’s Anti-Balter Ego Trap post, it’s a who’s who of marketing bloggers: Jeremiah Owyang, John Jantsch defends himself, Adam Singer, Mack Collier from The Viral Garden, and Seth Godin jumped in as well.

For my part, I’m ok with Balter’s tactics for a couple of reasons: First, I think marketing and social media go hand in hand and there is a cooperative vibe where we all help promote each other. That’s cool, especially in the supposedly cut-throat business world. Secondly, Dave earned it by bringing quality and value. If his ideas were weak, would these people have helped? I doubt it.

But I do like to see the spirited debate. There doesn’t always have to be agreement and the industry as a whole moves forward when strategies and tactics are debated in the mareketplace of ideas.

DINU: John McEnroe

In DINU on August 25, 2008 at 11:32 am
Mac on the mic - photo Justin Stephens (NY Times Magazine)

Mac on the mic - photo Justin Stephens (NY Times Magazine)

John McEnroe is a unique American sports icon. Brash and opinionated he was liked and disliked in equal measure during his career. But those rough edges have been his greatest asset over the years. He’s learned to laugh at himself and has developed other interests, from art and music to remaining a fixture in the media, both tennis and non-tennis related.

McEnroe has developed a terrific Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe (DINU) that makes him as relevant today as he wast 30 years ago as he rose to stardom on the court. Players such as Sampras and Borg may have been technically better players, but they did not (or chose not) to develop their brands in a way that engaged the consumer. Not only were they arguably better, but they also had fewer negatives. I don’t think you’d ever hear someone say something bad about Pete Sampras.

But the most compelling stories have tension and contradiction and moral grey areas. That’s what McEnroe has given us for 30 years. Sometimes trying to please everyone isn’t the best answer. Being authentic, even if that means alienating some consumers, is the key to being relevant over the long haul. Catch up with Johnnie Mac in Sunday’s NY Times Magazine.

The (Sports Marketing) World Is Flat: Navigating the Sponsorship Waters

In TSMWIF on August 23, 2008 at 5:18 pm
There are a lot of opportunities for brands at live golf events like The Barclays

There are a lot of opportunities for brands at live golf events like The Barclays

I went to the Barclays golf tournament today, the first time I’ve been to a legitimate pro golf event. It was an interesting experience and provoked a lot of lively conversation with my friend Eelco van der Noll, who works for Momentum, a global marketing agency.

In no particular order, here were some of topics we discussed:

There seemed to be a lot of sponsors of the event, including MasterCard and Gillette (two clients of my agency, Taylor) as well as many brands that we using the tournament as a hospitality opporunity (including another Taylor client, Diageo). There seemed to be a lot of opportunities for branding and it was interesting to see how the different brands utilized the various tournament elements.

I was really intrigued by how close you can be to the competitors during play. At one point, we were no more than 10 feet from Rory Sabbatini as he blasted out of a fairway bunker on 13. We could he every word of his discussion with his caddie and were perfectly place to watch his brilliant shot out of the sand. Unless you’re Jack Nicholson at a Lakers game, or a crazy fan on the side of the road on Alpe d’Huez, I don’t know of many other sporting events where you’re going to be that close to elite level professional athletes. I was really intrigued by this idea – how you could follow one golfer over all 18 holes or hunker down at one hole and watch all the golfers. It’s so different than going to a NASCAR race, NFL or MLB game.  This seems to me to be an area of differentiation that needs to be exploited.

Another interesting observation was the sponsorship of caddies. Sabbatini’s caddy was wearing a Crocs hat, shirt and shoes (Crocs also had a tent on site to introduce some of their new products).  This seemed like a pretty clever move. If a golfer wins a tournament, the shot that often makes the papers and broadcast highlights is the golfer hugging his caddy. You can be in that shot for a lot less by sponsoring the caddy. Eelco raised the point, if you were paying big money to sponsor the golfer, would you also insist that his caddy wear your branded apparel? Interesting question.

Another interesting aspect of this particular tournament is that it is part of the FedEx Cup, the four-tournament end of season Championship that was instituted last year. Eelco and I had several questions here:

  • Does the FedEx Cup help, or hurt, those final four tournaments?
  • Does the Barclays (and the other three tournaments invovled) have any say in the creation of this “playoff” series?
  • What affect would it have on the Barclays if the playoff sponsor were to have a major scandal? Would the Barclays brand be tarnished by association?
  • What if FedEx drops out in a couple of years and Chase or Citi take over the playoff series? Does Barclays have an opportunity to veto, or do they have to move their event to another spot in the calendar?

There was a good deal of “clutter” overall, but also a lot of opportunitites. Live golf seems ripe for a re-thinking as a sponsorship platform. It will be interesting to see which brand or perhaps sports marketing agency will change the game.

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