The New Platform

I am constantly impressed by Rovio's ability to innovate. A long time ago, I wrote a post about what your brand can learn from Angry Birds. Today, Rovio continues to give us reasons to admire them. Most recently the Company announced the launch of a new cartoon series. However, unlike most cartoons, this one won't debut the traditional way ... it will instead debut on the app itself... and wherever that app can be found.



Fast Company has some good coverage of this news, you should give it a quick glance. In the article, there is a quote from the CMO of Rovio that really struck me ..

"If we want to distribute cartoons on Saturday mornings globally, we can do that. We don’t have to talk to 100 broadcasters--we can stick it on our own channels, and it’s there."

Take a second to re-read that.

This quote illustrates the future of both content distribution and content consumption. It may even go so far as to hint at the future of content creation. 

Content needs to add value to a consumer's life. Even if that value just comes in the form of mindless entertainment, it still has to be entertaining enough to be considered valuable by the consumer. Rovio's consumers are already receiving value. By downloading Angry Birds, they have given permission to Rovio to deliver valuable experiences to them. Rovio is now planning on adding even more value to that relationship. The genius of it all is that Rovio is using its own platform to deliver this new value.

How can you create a platform for your brand? What value will you offer on that platform?

Angry Birds is no longer just a game.

It's a platform.

Moment Hacking

During the Superbowl this past weekend, something occurred that caused a real disruption. A disruption to the way the game is played.

Of course, this had nothing to do with Football ... and everything to do with advertising.

Before we get into that, I would like to bring up a concept I came across a long time ago called, 'newsjacking.' I first read about it through the brilliance of Joe Chernov and began to understand how easily it could work into an organization's SEO strategy. If your organization has an active blog, newsjacking is an especially useful tactic. Here's how it's defined:

It’s [newsjacking] the act of redirecting the momentum from breaking news into your company’s favor by injecting a fresh perspective … in real time.

Now, let's return to the Superbowl this past weekend. By now, you have probably heard of and seen these (Warning: They are brilliant): 

A Tide Moment Hack.

A Tide Moment Hack.

An Oero Moment Hack.

An Oero Moment Hack.

These are examples of what I am calling: Moment Hacks.

A Moment Hack occurs when a brand uses a trending topic as its basis to ship a piece of creative work which reinforces a brand's message. 

In order to do this well, brands need to be agile. They need to be willing to take a risk. Let go of the red tape because in this game, speed is absolutely everything. Tide, Oero and even some others seized a very opportune moment and produced something remarkable.

Newsjacking and Moment Hacking are very similar concepts. In my view, Moment Hacking deals with the production specifically of a creative piece of work, it needs to be visual so that it can be easily shared. Moment Hacking can also occur in a much shorter time-frame and even has a shorter life-span because moments/trending topics sometimes don't last long.

In the coming year I am sure we are going to witness many more moments. Let's see how they get hacked.

The blank billboard

Imagine seeing this ...

The billboard of the future

The billboard of the future

Last week, I read an article about the impact that Google Glass might potentially have on advertising and it got me thinking about the picture above.

Google right now does not have plans for advertising on this device; however, this does not mean that the device cannot serve as a potential 'lens' to see ads through.

Here's a future I can imagine:

You're walking down a street and you see a billboard that looks like what's shown above. You may have on some Google Glass eyewear or else you simply take out your smartphone and whip out an app that can help you decode this billboard. The billboard can then be programmed to display a number of things:

1. An ad that is specifically targeted to you - Based on your search history or browsing history or +1s, Google may eventually understand you so well that it can serve you up a highly-targeted location-aware ad. The billboards will know what's around them. When and ad gets served, it can count as an impression so that marketers can keep track of conversion metrics too.

2. Something pre-configured by you - What if Google announced they were going to put these billboards out in the world and gave you the ability to pre-configure the content on them. You could log in to your Google+ account and set up some things that you would ideally like to see on those billboards and that way when you see them out in the wild, they may actually serve up some value to you. E.g. What if you selected a movie genre and said, I would like to see the latest movie trailer for this genre.

The possibilities are only limited by the geniuses that work at Google; therefore, they are practically endless.

A logical consumer will always choose to receive a message of value. This future will essentially make it easy and almost essential for marketers to deliver that value to consumers, exactly when they ask for it.

The day I see a blank billboard ... I'll be excited.

Dear Trevor

Direct marketing campaigns have always fascinated me. They are very expensive and can be very expansive, yet sometimes I fail to see how they bring value to a customer.

Occasionally, one will stand out.

photo 1.JPG

A colleague of mine named Trevor received this neat package in the mail a couple of days ago. As a curious marketer himself, he was very intrigued by the simplicity of the package and decided to see it through ...

photo 2.JPG
Upon sticking the USB dongle into his computer, a little program was executed which brought up an Internet Explorer window with the screen shown above. Trevor was also given a promo code as part of the direct mail package and after entering it in, he was taken to the screen below .. 
photo 3.JPG

Customized, clean and convincing.

What I really like about this piece of marketing is that it turned the usually passive act of consuming a marketing message into an active one. Some people may revolt at that statement because you may argue that we shouldn't spend our days actively consuming marketing messages; however, in this case ... there was actual value in the message.

Notice the box that says 'Trevor's offer' on the top right corner. Trevor actually showed me what this offer was and although it wasn't totally enticing to him at this time, it was still of some value.

Turn passive consumers into active ones by bringing value into their lives - this is what direct marketing should be about.

Actually, that's what all marketing should be about.

6 seconds or less

To share an experience.

On Thursday of last week, Twitter launched a new mobile service called Vine. It is an app for iOS devices at the moment; however, Twitter does have plans to expand it further.

Vine is simple, it allows you to capture and share video footage that lasts 6 seconds or less and then plays it in a continuous loop.

Although the app is only meant for iOS devices, people with other Twitter clients (including the web version) can still be exposed to 'Vines.'

As always, I'm curious about what this means for marketers:

Twitter has forced marketers to think creatively in the space of 140 characters. 120 if you include any kind of link to content. The really interesting thing that Vine has introduced is video. A picture is worth a thousand words. Marketers now have 6 one second pictures strung together with the opportunity to add a caption that can be up to 119-120 characters in length (a Vine link is about 21 characters).

I hope this will result in more storytelling. I hope it will allow brands to become even more human. Share things that allow consumers to relate to brands in new ways.

Time will tell how brands will take to this but for now I'm sure we can expect to feel a little more emotion when looking through our Twitter feeds.

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A lesson in hype building

Dispatch is one of my favourite bands.

They made a lot of music in the late 90's and early 2000's but then took a break until 2011. Now they are back with a new album and have decided to announce a summer tour. Except, unlike any other tour announcement I have seen ... Dispatch decided to do things a little differently ...


Based on the picture, I am sure you can tell how this worked. It initially started with 1000 shares to reveal the first location and then it moved up by small increments to reveal each subsequent location.

Users who visited their website were redirected to a landing page: where they saw the screen above and could start sharing Dispatch's news.

Here's why I love this idea:

  1. It utilizes fans - If you're the band, you have your locations already set so instead of revealing them all at once, why not utilize your existing fan base to spread your news for you!
  2. Valuable content - Fans who share this are inherently benefiting from it because there is a chance that their city could be on the list. If revealed, they can use this valuable information to start planning to see the show.
  3. Landing page design - The page layout is simple, fans of Dispatch just have to use either Twitter or Facebook and just share content from a band that they already love. Let's be honest, they are probably already logged-in to one of those two services already so that makes the sharing even easier.

A great hype building lesson by a great band.

We are no longer consumers

We are creators.


Have you ever heard of a show called Hawaii Five-O? Well ... there's a small chance that you may have actually played a part in creating an episode of this show.

In what I believe to be a first of it's kind, the producers of Hawaii Five-O are going to give viewers the opportunity to dictate how they want a certain episode to end. Viewers will tweet one of three options and then CBS will air the chosen option in real-time.

This blows my mind.

How far away are we from consumers completely crafting a show of their own? It would take is a group of willing actors to say, "Hey Twitterverse, we're going to come up with a series of entire episodes for a show where YOU get to dictate what happens!" In a marketer's terms, leave the content delivery to us and we'll leave the content ... to you!! 

I think this calls for a new term. It's no longer crowdsourcing ... it's crowdcreating.

The poetic dance

Startups, tech behemoths and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) giants are well entrenched in a poetic dance.


Here are a couple of examples that add some credibility to my lofty thought:

1. The Mobile Futures program started by Mondelez - Nine mobile-focused startups have been chosen to augment the marketing strategy for brands such at Trident, Chips Ahoy!, Stride, Oero, Halls and Sour Patch Kids.

2. Samsung's next generation smart fridge -This fridge basically takes care of itself ... and you in the process. It comes with an assortment of useful apps to help you manage your groceries and among other things, Samsung has partnered with Unilever to occasionally promote coupons for Unilever products through the fridge's interface.

What does this poetic dance mean for marketers?

A new kind of marketing innovation.

Technology has reached the point now where it can tell what is about to expire in your fridge. In other words, technology knows when you are at your most vulnerable ... from a marketing standpoint. It has even reached the stage where it can potentially deliver you a coupon at the precise moment at which you need it.

I have a feeling that technology may make consumers more passive about consuming marketing messages. This is simply because consumers will just allow technology to do the work for them. The days of looking through a coupon book will be long gone, coupons will appear in relevant places (such as your mobile phone), when you need them and not a moment sooner.

Marketer's have a chance to innovate here.

If consumer behaviour is evolving to the point where a piece of technology becomes almost like an extra appendage, marketers must then add value to consumers' lives through that appendage. Maybe innovation looks like delivering a relevant coupon when a consumer needs it most, or maybe its teaching children how to be entrepreneurs via a 'run your own Oreo cookie stand' app. Who knows. 

As both a consumer and a marketer, I am very excited to see what new revolutions this poetic dance brings.