Tag Archives: widgets

Take your web presence to the consumer using interactive display advertising

O2 has been using the below ad for a while now, so I’m guessing it must be quite effective, particularly as Orange has a similar ad too. It’s an application form for a free mobile sim card embedded into the Flash advert itself.

There is no landing page conversion because conversions happen in the advert without taking the user away from the page they’re looking at. This is so simple, but to me it’s a hallelujah moment for the industry.

Increasing adverts with creative interactivity and moving away from the need to always drive people to websites can be a good decision. If people are using a website or a social network, they don’t always want to leave that. Think about the purpose of your campaign – do consumers have to go to your website to fulfil that purpose? In O2’s case, the answer was no.

Interactivity is where the power of the internet lies over other forms of display advertising. While I’m not recommending every advert become a form or a microsite within an ad – the web would become a very boring place – it is the best solution for certain campaigns.

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Skittles, famous for 15 days?

Skittles, famous for 15 minutes?

So yes, I’m jumping on a bandwagon and my title should get me on their feed when we announce this blog post on Twitter later today.  And obviously I’m mature enough to refrain from saying that they’re the root of all evil, taste of acid or that the old TV ads where the woman whispered ‘taste the rainbow’ at the end really made my skin crawl.  In fact (just as an aside) any TV ad that includes whispering of any kind immediately makes me want to throw up or cut off my own ears, and that includes ‘sexy’ talking that M&S are so proud of…
 
I decided to write this post because I think it’s been long enough since the initial flurry of media commentary to evaluate what I think is an excellent social media case study, and I’ve been wanting to talk about it for a while. I’m fully aware that I’m just one of thousands who are doing the same, and when IAB marketing director Kieron Matthews wrote about the application a couple of weeks ago, the response to it was incredibly mixed.  The terms ‘creative rip-off’ and ‘strategic failure’ were banded around simply because a similar idea had been executed before… which confuses me slightly.  Does this mean a brand’s own website is a creative rip-off?  And every time a brand launches a group on MySpace, or Facebook, should be criticised because people have been doing it for ages?  Should we disregard banners entirely because my God they are SUCH old news!?  And what about search, people have been doing it for years now, how totally dull!  (‘No’ is the answer to all those previous questions by the way, the IAB loves search and online display advertising, always has and always will!)
 
This constant quest for uncovering the ‘next big thing’, striving to come up with something completely new and conquering online’s unchartered territory is, quite frankly, what may be putting some brands off.  Why does there seem to be so much pressure to try something so creatively mindblowing and technologically advanced that no one has ever dreamt about before, let alone incorprated it into their marketing plans?  For those of us who work in digital 24/7, pushing those boundaries may seem like the only option, but for marketers who need to justify budgets and prove their return on investment in some way, maybe now is not the time to criticise brands who are learning from the work of others and adapting it to suit their own strategic objectives. 
 
And of course there was the big ‘hoo ha’ surrounding the comments people made on the various social media properties, which apparently meant the campaign was not a success.  Shock horror, someone said the word ‘c*nt!’  Because of course, any kind of bad language or negative response simply doesn’t exist in our wonderful little advertising bubble!  In my opinion not moderating or censoring the UGC was the best thing that Skittles could have done, and rather than resulting in a big old public relations mess, actually made them stand out as a brand that is happy to open its eyes and ears to exactly what normal human beings may say to each other from time to time.  Does anyone really believe that a statement such as ‘Hey! I love iced gems, this campaign was great so let’s all buy them!’ posted on some forum or other will actually have any impact whatsoever, whereas ‘Skittles: Eating one at a time or going for the full cheeked, teeth crinkling, power rush sensation?’ and ‘In business bored. William just handed me a skittles wrapper and said it was a fruit flavored condom. I’m worried.’ which I found on Twitter today, are a lot more authentic.
 
My point here is similar to previous points of mine, which is, why can’t we just applaud stuff that’s good!?  The fact is that this recent activity probably had about as much impact as a TV ad would: it made them famous for a while, plus it was more interesting and actually got people involved. The debate about whether it’s worked is ongoing, and some make the point that all these online conversations were about the nitty gritty of execution and inevitable reaction rather than the content itself. But at least there were conversations, which the Skittles brand had sparked and facilitated.  Do I like Skittles?  No, I hate the things, they taste horribly weird and are far too chewy.  But do I respect Skittles as a brand, maybe even like them a bit more? Most definitely.  What will be interesting now is how they sustain this chatter and keep consumers interested in the long-term.
 

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Facebook Connect is VERY important

The internet is a hugely disjointed and messy place. How many logins do you have? How many times do you have to enter payment details? There’s only one ‘you’ so it seems ridiculous that you have to do all the leg work on the internet. Companies try to make processes simpler and Microsoft has done a good job of this with its Live accounts. Likewise for Google. Facebook however, is the first to launch itself head first into joining up the dots outside of its own property.

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Give a little respect get a little

God knows how much the new St Pancras station cost but what a joy it is to arrive at every morning.  The hotel clock tower peering through the ‘shed’, the beautiful restoration, the plethora of eateries and of course Fat Face for a cheeky browse (on the way home of course).  Everything oozes of respect for William Barlow who built it way back in 1863.  I can’t help picturing it full of steam and orderly civilians tipping their bowlers to bid fellow passengers a safe onward journey.  Why the do people think it’s ok to walk the full length of a good old English queue and push in.  Avoiding stereotypes, these are generally Brits, with nothing but rudeness coursing through their veins.  Rarely is there even a reason – e.g. a bun fight for seats, there is nearly always room for everyone.  The other day I did the rather un-British thing of challenger a ‘pusher’ as they are known.  I said, “Excuse me mate, would you like my ticket?”  When asked why, I simply responded by saying, “if you feel you can push in, why don’t you take my ticket as well.”  He puffed his chest and stormed off accusing me of being “f*!king rude.”  I still haven’t quite worked out why, but what I do know is he utterly lacked any form of respect.

Putting a positive spin on this, I think respect is one of the most underrated terms used in marketing today.  You’ll here a client talk about ‘respecting the brand values’ but do we spend enough time respecting consumers?  If someone (consumer) is prepared to give a brand some time whether its watching a TV ad, or writing a review or passing on an email the very least you can do is make the most of their time.

Try this – think of the most famous person you’d like to meet and imagine you have 10 seconds with them.  What would say?  How would you behave?  What would you want to get out of the encounter?  How would it meet you expectations?

Now try the exercise as a brand meeting a consumer.  You’ve got 10 seconds, what would say, how would you behave…………..and so on.  If you can respect that initial period with a consumer it may lead to a longer dialogue.  So often we respect our own craft and don’t consider enough about, am I being respectful of their time, am I wasting it and do I have permission to say what I want to say. 

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Let’s get everyone widgetised by 2010

Although possibly a little late to hop on the bandwagon, I’m currently obsessed with widgets. Not obsessed to the extent that I actually use that many you understand, but in terms of what they represent for the future of advertising – not just online – i think they’re pretty spot on. However there exists a contradiction surrounding the premise behind them, in that making marketing, and indeed your brand, useful, should not really be a new thing. What’s a corporate website if it’s not a useful source of information about your product, service or corporation? What’s a press ad, if not a useful form of communication with numerous readers, inviting them to engage with you further via a unqiue design and persuasive prose? All useful, I would argue, yet manifested in different ways.

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