Youth Marketing Insights » Social Media http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg Inspiring best in practice youth marketing through sharing of ideas, strategy, trends and conversations about cool stuff Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Augmented Reality – will it make your 2010 plan? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2010/02/04/augmentedreality/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2010/02/04/augmentedreality/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:31:40 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=177 Hello – I’m back, it’s been a long time. Please excuse my absence. I took some time to re-group over the holiday season – and it worked. I am refreshed!

One of my projects as soon as I returned this year was an extensive research project to benchmark best practice online engagement models. Obviously content is king, but good content with no engagement strategy is a shameful waste. Therefore I also analyzed web site designs, tools, social utility applications, widgets, and more. Interesting piece of work that was both broad and very specific at the same time. Ultimately I was able to extract insight in order to interpret the effectiveness and corresponding drivers for success. I am laughing at myself reviewing this intro as it is says so much, and yet so little at the same time…. Anyway, I am only trying to give context to my topic today – Augmented Realty – or more specifically how it is advancing rapidly in both utility and innovation in a way that I have to agree with the many 2010 social web predictions it is the ‘trend’ to watch for.

Quick overview on Augmented Reality (AR). As described by Wikipedia, AR “is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) Computer-generated imagery”. In more concise words, it is the real world with an added virtual layer. Here is an example of an interesting Lego point of sale display which showcases how it works:

While not new in social media or youth marketing, until tail end of the 2009 it was only really championed by early adopters, and certainly was not considered part of a mainstream consumer consciousness. Developers have nailed the cool factor which we know builds credibility with a youth audience, but experience tells us innovation must drive utility and function, and therefore word of mouth appeal, otherwise it can quickly die. I feel this is in a large part due to the time it requires to engage with these new advancements, high barrier of entry needs to deliver high return.

However many argue the barriers are breaking down, the Lego video above is an example as everything you need to experience it is right there at the point of purchase. You might also recall a Dec 2009 AdWeek feature which outlines predictions on how the advancements in GPS-enabled smartphones could propel this technology in 2010. My own prediction is that to really take off a big brand needs to come in and create awareness and educate consumers about the technology….bring in some recent announcements.

To help get us thinking about the possibilities, I have included recent AR examples including some big brand names, to help you decide for yourself if you think this is going to become a major player in marketing – or just another gimmick.

BEATLES AR TOUR
So I think tourism and travel seems to be an obvious functional use for AR. Inevitably once we see one great example, many more grasp the capabilities and the technology takes off. In this case some clever people at AugmentReality were invited to beta test Layar 3.0 for Android and launched The AR Beatles Tour in December. Users can follow the story of the Beatles around London, including the iconic Abbey Road. The pic here shows if you point your enabled-smartphone over the crossing at Abbey Road you can actually see caricatures of Ringo, Paul, John and George – the app suggests to get your friend in and take a photo. The virtual walking tour covers 42 locations, and the next destination only appears after the previous location has been visited (if they haven’t already I think Lonely planet should get onto this….). I should add I am not in London to test this one for myself….but looks cool!

ADIDAS LAUNCHES FIRST AR SNEAKER
Ok, maybe not the most contested race to market, but still newsworthy. The most recent – and highly publicized – example of AR is the new adidas Original sneaker line which unlocks a world of 3-D games (note while I am not associated adidas is a client of my agency in other markets). The say “adidas Originals AR Game Pack is a set of 5 shoes, each printed with an AR code on the tongue. When you hold the code in front of your webcam, you’ll gain access to a virtual version of the adidas Originals Neighborhood. Each month between February and April, we’ll launch a new interactive game within the Neighborhood and your shoe will be the game controller.” What’s interesting about a leading brand getting involved is that it has the resources to also develop the education campaign for new users, which otherwise could be a barrier. Check out the hype video here, which showcases the design style they are going for.

Hallmark Launches Webcam Greetings with Augmented Reality
Hallmark also recently announced the release of webcam greetings, new cards that use augmented reality technology to bring the card to life on a computer screen. The person receiving the card can visit www.hallmark.com/extra and follow the directions to view a 3D animated feature. You can sample the technology on the site as well. Again, the combination of the education campaign and a mix of younger generations encouraging their parents and even grandparents to join the fun might help mainstream awareness.

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Nestea takes Nes-step Online http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/07/07/coca-cola-nestea-ctrl/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/07/07/coca-cola-nestea-ctrl/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2009 01:45:40 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=151

Coca-Cola’s Nestea is the latest brand to launch online-only branded content. As noted in a recent Brandweek article, “[CTRL], which launches on sites such as NBC.com, USANetwork.com, Hulu.com this month, stars Tony Hale of Arrested Development as an office worker with the ability to change everyday reality by drinking Nestea”. The webisdoes will supplement the current Nestea “Liquid Awesomeness” campaign running online, and launches in mid-July. You can read the full interview with Annis Lyles, VP of Media and Interactive for Coca-Cola, North America in Brandweek here which gives some interesting insight.

The strategy seems right to me – empowerment. Adding value and content to youth’s lives. Ms Lyles also noted that it takes more than building the site or posting the videos to draw attention, there is a seeding strategy in place to drive awareness (I hope that seeding strategy doesn’t mean banner ads, by the way). Another tick for success. Furthermore, entertainment as a core youth pillar seems a natural fit for a brand trying new engagement models.

However I do feel there is a major hurdle for any brand moving into a youth space – it can seem hollow. I think this is because youth feel brands need to earn a certain level of credibility that offers this humorous, playful tone for example. Cracking the youth demographic is difficult, if you look at really successful brands like a Boost Mobile or Red Bull, they are ingrained at a really grass roots level. Boost Mobile people are present at local surf events, pick-up basketball games, and the other relevant places their target audiences are – in real life, and online. That level of commitment and authentic interest from a brand is a cultural thing, and if that is not your company’s brand I think it poses significant challenges. Red Bull is a unique company where the marketing runs the organisation, not vice versa.

That said we all have to start somewhere whether trying to find a new audience, or making the jump to an online engagement strategy. It is all a learning process and evolution for us and I am surely not one to criticise brands for making the leap. I look forward to following [CTRL] – sounds like something I would like and yes, I am the target millennial. Anyway maybe some more of my millennial readers (which believe it or not there are quite a few) will check it out as a result as well…

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MySpace: R.I.P or maybe just life support? Thoughts on keeping your brand relevant. http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/24/myspace-rip/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/24/myspace-rip/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2009 04:49:49 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=130

There are many examples of once loved brand giants that maybe were a bit complacent, misjudged impact of new consumer trends and in turn lost relevance with their youth audience. Ahhh, those “fickle” youth…As we know 20/20 hindsight is a bitch…

What stronger case in point is my once beloved MySpace. In 2005 it was darling of the web and a pioneer. Today, literally, it has had to face a remarkable reversal of fortune, marked by announcing that it is conducting its second round of layoffs in a week to a total reduction of nearly 30% of its staff.

From my own account I was loyal to MySpace since early 2004 when I initially joined, but when my friends almost exclusively migrated to Facebook, I found eventually I spent less and less time anywhere else. By 2008 I rarely logged on to MySpace. Over time it appears the site has evolved to become more about discovery – discovery of music, new friends, etc. Perhaps due to the self-branding options. None of things I ever really used it for in the first place. I wonder for how many this is the case?

But this story is larger than me (feign surprise). It is influence that other social networks are begining to have on the world at large which makes MySpace seem to be losing its relevance…fast. To put it in perspective, look at the other social sites and their instrumental role surrounding the recent election and since protests in Iran. Iranian opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousav has been blasting out messages as Facebook posts (see Mashable post here), YouTube has proven to be citizen journalist hot bed for raw footage you weren’t seeing on network news (see another Mashable post here), and Twitter has become a tool of the revolution (see #iranelection trending topic here).…

MySpace on the other hand? Struggling to keep its head above water, and all at a time when social media has never been more powerful.

So where did it go wrong? Well we can be sure that it is oversimplifying the issue to say they are losing relevance to its teen market and so are struggling. There have been major catalysts outside of any consumer facing issues which escalated the process. However stats reveal the user base and page views have declined, and the younger rival Facebook has overtaken. That I would argue is related to its core product/service offering losing its appeal. More concerning for them, in the US where MySpace has reigned supreme, according to recent Habbo research (June, 2009), Facebook continues to grow in popularity up to third place from fifth in 2008. Globally the research also finds YouTube and Facebook already outrank MySpace as teens top Web destinations, MySpace appearing at #4 on the list.

I guess the moral of my story is if you are marketing to a youth audience, never get too comfortable with #1 status. Keep asking yourself how you are going to stay fresh, are you still delivering to your audience’s needs. Try new things. Most importantly LISTEN. It doesn’t take a futurist to to predict what your audience is already asking for.

Lloyd Grove states in a Daily Beast article titled, “MySpace’s Dizzying Fall“, while sure it has been an incredible drop from “hot” to “on life support” for MySpace, it is possible that “neither diagnosis is true”, or perhaps both are. I would like to agree with that and extend – we should never underestimate the opportunity to inject energy into a brand and refresh it back to life. It wouldn’t be the first time innovation and change has brought new life to a fallen giant (Apple’s iPod; Nintendo’s Wii?).

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Tweet, Tweet: New Way to Call the Police? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/19/tweet-tweet-new-way-to-call-the-police/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/19/tweet-tweet-new-way-to-call-the-police/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2009 04:20:43 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=118

On Wednesday morning I attended the Twitter for Business / Twitter for PR presentation, hosted by Glenn Frost of FroComm. The Twitter for Business overview was a 101 tutorial so in my opinion a little elementary for the audience. For many in client services however it is the hot topic of the moment so it was timely. Plus I love Twitter. What I challenge us to focus on however is less how to get engaged on Twitter, but more WHY you should. Not just to have a conversation, we know that by now, but what is the purpose of that conversation, what role will you have? A strategy needs to be clearly articulated. I get that it’s good to try and through trial we learn and grow, but to provide legitimacy to the value of social media we need to be clear on the purpose and outcomes. By nature of the beast these will be different than other traditional efforts, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Which leads to the next part of the conference, Twitter for PR, which I thought was really interesting. A little misleading by name it was a Case Study presented by New South Wales (NSW) Police Public Affairs Director, Strath Gordon. Mr Gordon discussed how they were brand-jacked on Twitter. If you aren’t familiar with the story basically an Australian Social Media agency, Mentally Friendly, set up the Twitter account (@NSW_Police) in the name of the police department. It was an interesting thing to do to get a potential client’s attention, except impersonating a brand – let along the New South Wales police – probably wasn’t the right tone of transparency we try so hard to keep real online. To be fair I read on CNET that Mentally Friendly added that “the intent was never to misrepresent the NSW Police Force, but to create a simple and genuine dialog with which to gauge the public’s response.” Good thing they had a sense of humor about it.

As a result of the fake Twitter ID, the NSW Police decided to launch into Social Media, as have many other law enforcement agencies worldwide. It has proven an incredibly powerful way to communicate and engage with the community. Public safety officials are finding the sites not only speedy, but also a convenient way to distribute alerts, road closings, suspect descriptions, traffic disruptions, explain why police are in a certain neighborhood or to offer crime prevention tips. Others encourage leads on more pressing matters: bomb scares, wildfires and evacuations.

In addition to providing a semi-reliable distribution channel, apparently the police also face issues that brands do as well – how do we humanise our organisation to the public. Take for example the Boston Police Department and its amusing response to a question…

- Boston Police tweet “INJURED OFFICER: Officer from district 4 transported to Beth Israel Hospital, human bite to arm, suspect in custody”

- @willcady responds: “@Boston_Police if that was a zombie bite, would you tell us?”

- Boston Police: “@willcady Yes, absolutely”

Cute, good response. Glad even the ploice get the nature of the medium. I had never really thought about “friendly” communication with police departments before – usually I would only call in an emergency – but hey, why not?

However I do get concerned that in the dive into social media some of the potential issues may have not been worked out. For example, are the police monitoring these communications platforms as another way for people to contact in a case of emergency? Before your respond that’s absurd, and I wouldn’t blame you, note there was a case of a Silicon Valley exec who did just that when someone broke in. Read the story here if you don’t believe me….If you still think it’s absurd, think ahead a little to a time when Twitter is seamlessly integrated within our other communication devices – for some that is already the case – maybe in crisis it becomes hard to decipher between the different apps on your iPhone. If police departments are not monitoring Twitter or other social media channels they create as an emergency channel – how are they educating consumers about the various purposes? Realistically is it safe to rely on general public’s understanding of those distinctions anyway?

Never would I try to stifle the growing engagement of social media for any brand, government body, law enforcement agency or every day person. However, I do hope that we all think strategically and be smart about potential outcomes – not just the positive ones but the risks as well…

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How Social Media Made – and Saved – My Trip http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/03/how-social-media-made-and-saved-my-trip/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/06/03/how-social-media-made-and-saved-my-trip/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2009 01:57:37 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=111

So part 2 of my travel posts, this time I wanted to focus on the role of social media in travel, at least as relevant to my trip (it is my blog after all).

I think this is really interesting trend, WOM recommendations are the most useful when travelling and the interactive nature of social media is escalating access to this sort of information. I found it incredibly useful in the planning of my trip, avoiding tourist traps, booking our “flashpacker” places, and now sharing about my trip with friends.

To put it in context in my recent travels through Vietnam – a vastly developing tourist destination – we found it hard to find information in some of the more traditional outlets – guidebooks, travel outlets and writers, we didn’t even try walking into a travel agent. While of course we had our trusty Lonely Planet, many a backpacker’s bible, from what we could gather it was published in 2007. That is a long time in a country like Vietnam. Restaurants were closed, prices astoundingly higher, places touristed out to the max. While it remained very useful in terms of identifying regions to travel to (and love the sayings in the back…and the “notes” pages, how many card games did we keep track on that?!), we ended up double and then triple checking references through other sources – most notably online (wikitravel, tripadvisor, travel blogs, etc), as well as good old fashioned chats with people we met along the way – on and off line.

Below I have shared a few specific times when Social Media made (and sometimes SAVED) my trip:

  • It’s real time. When we went to Cat Ba Island to go trekking, of course it rained for several days straight so we could not access the trail we had intended. However never fear because one drizzly morning we met a couple of Swedish backpackers who put us on to a blog (cna’t remember the name for the life of me!) that recommended a nice motorbike ride that we could still check out some amazing panorama views. We downloaded the customised map and off we went. Few channels – specifically online and in-person – can have that real time advice.
  • Often disagree with a reviewer. One review (ie in a guidebook or newspaper article) is subjective, that is why I like to read many reviews. On sites such as tripadvisor or Travel Fish (for SE Asia) I found it is easy to discern from tones or content of reviews which you most identify with. To me certain things matter in flashpack hotels – clean bathrooms for one. I don’t care about the continental breakfast – so if someone is banging on about paying a few dollars for brekkie – I skip right on. I felt I knew exactly what I was getting into when I walked into every hotel.
  • Connecting with locals. Social Media has opened our borders far and wide – who knew until I posted my trip to Vietnam I had not 1 but 2 followers that live there! One gave me some great advice for cocktails when landing in Saigon. Another Aussie friend of mine sent me the name of a few tailors in Hoi An from her trip. This I realised only at the end of my planning when I posted status updates that I was leaving….next time I will do this more thoroughly and search by location on social media sites to reach out.
  • Bragging…I mean sharing. And for my final Vietnam Travels post (coming next week), I will provide links to my Flickr pages so I can share with others via my blog, Twitter and friends networks my experiences as well. More to come on this front…..

There has been for quite some time now discussion of how valuable social media channels are in regards to marketing for travel organisations. In fact there are excellent examples such as the power of strategic blogger outreach programs including Tourism Australia who invited The Sartorialist to come play Down Under, promoting the location; activities, weather, etc via Twitter updates (@The_Maldives); or marketing campaigns such as the great example from Tourism Queensland for The Best Job In The World. However what is exciting is some of the advancements in how to monetise this engagement, which seems there is more activity and examples of happening already. It will be interesting when the tools and software can search out the greater web to find people planning or discussing a trip to customise relevant information. Imagine if I post on my Facebook that I’m leaving for Whistler in 3 days and a hotel chain in Canada can monitor my post and follow-up with relevant information on deals and transport when I land, maybe even suggest an dinner reservations? This intelligent targeting really highlights the power and potential to drive revenue through the social web. I know that this is happening now, especially on platforms such as Twitter, take for example Air New Zealand which notifies followers of flight deals (ie @flyairnz) and partner deals. I’m surprised more don’t do this already…..OR maybe the problem is I don’t travel enough….think I have just worked out a way to justify some work trips as “research” :)

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Why being teased as a kid might help brand marketers http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/04/07/why-being-teased-might-help-brand-marketers/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/04/07/why-being-teased-might-help-brand-marketers/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2009 00:13:20 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=100 There are all different types of bullying, some more spiteful and hurtful than others. However some forms of teasing, while at the time of childhood development could be quite damaging, are actually probably more a compliment. This is called impersonation, we all know how the saying goes, it is the biggest form of flattery.

With that in mind, watch this Dove Evolution parody:

While I know the video or remake is not new, I just got this for the first time. It highlights how the central idea offered by Dove in the form of a spreadable video is so powerful and simple, and now so iconic, that others borrow from it to spread their own ideas which live on in the online universe. This video is only one example of the several that have sprouted up in the years since this Dove brand campaign launched in 2006, and it is case in point that the best ideas are those that can be stripped back, appropriated and reworked by a variety of communities. Look beyond the content of the re-make as it does not have to be about the product anymore, if you inspire people to act or to speak you are evolving as a brand. Probably someone is going to come across this clip for the first time (not seeing the Dove Evolution ad), and create a mock of a mock. The cycle of culture creation continues, and deep within the new content lies the heart and soul of the first version….the potential is inspiring actually.

As brand managers we should take the time to grasp this opportunity, and instead of trying to stop or contain the online shenanigans, embrace it. Allow people to have fun and create their own interpretations. It is brave to allow consumers to be brand transmitters as that means we lose control, but it is naïve to think that they aren’t already. This is a modern approach to brand-to-consumer communications that really grasps how it works in real life. I would love to see Dove somehow harnessing and connecting back to the consumer activity, not to control it but to remain in the “conversation” so to speak, build on the momentum.

I’m not inherently a creative person with a big “c” so instead of creating my own video I am going to re-post Dove’s original ad and hope that this discussion inspires someone else who might stumble upon this blog.

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Gen Y Mocks Twitter Users: The walled-gardens of social media http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/04/02/gen-y-mocks-twitter-users/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/04/02/gen-y-mocks-twitter-users/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2009 21:19:18 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=94 This is pretty much truth – not all social media sites are created equal. Well, maybe a bit more accurate to state that not all social media sites were created or used with equality of purpose.

So, that in mind, watch this video from “SuperNews!”, an animated sketch comedy series airing on Current TV. it features some ‘young adults’ battling an addiction to Twitter….the social network Gen Y just doesn’t get.

As you can see by the video, as well as the comments below, Gen Y not into Twitter. As Gen Y love social media and played an important role as facilitators in the growth, it’s obviously not an adoption issue. Recently however many ‘adults’ have also come to crash this at one time exclusive party. In fact Facebook states that it’s fastest growing user base is 50+ women, and the highest percentages of people on Twitter are 30-40somethings. With the exception of the mother who Facebooks her kids to spy a little bit, there is not much cross-generational communication happening online. Why?

Well many tools are used differently by different groups. While some may use Twitter for random status updates (“I am eating dinner with my cat on the couch”, “I just ran into the bar, it said ouch”), most use it for information spreading, personal branding and a whole lot of networking. As the video clearly points out, Twitter is for people ‘who have no friends’, another way to state that it is not about hanging out but participating in open, public dialogue…with no one in particular. On the flip side, research supports the Connected Generation uses social networks more of an extension of what they do offline, that is socialise with their existing group of friends. So these places that ‘adults’ have invaded and are networking…Gen Y not interested.

So varying social networks, varying user groups with varying interests. It turns out that social media is actually just a huge set of walled-gardens. It is important for marketers to keep this in mind. Next time we casually throw out “leveraging social media”, we need to challenge and be challenged on understanding not only the functions of social media sites to distribute information, but the role it plays in users lives as well. Kids don’t want to be friends with brands on Facebook, and branded content on YouTube doesn’t just “go viral” because it is on there….not that I was born understanding this either, but after several years of working with Youth brands in the digital space, it is all becoming a bit clearer.

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What message does fake content reveal to your youth market? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/26/what-message-does-fake-content-reveal-to-your-youth-market/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/26/what-message-does-fake-content-reveal-to-your-youth-market/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2009 00:49:15 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=91 Last week I finished reading the last post of 8-part installment of “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead”, (posted and written by Henry Jenkins, co-founder of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program) discussing the misuse of the term “viral” media. The white paper is a lot to digest, but insightful and I have a background in philosophy so am generally a thinker….should’ve been an analyst. Back to my point, the assertion is to be viral by nature assumes that the consumer is an unwilling host to media distributed by a “producer” (insert marketing rep here). Well when you put it that way…I think it highlights the industry’s reluctance to admit that we (a collective we) have lost power of the message. Let’s face it – we are not clever enough to throw this model of collective culture on its head, so why not continually reinforce terminology that inherently emphasises the producer but does not account for user motivations, so at least we can still sleep at night. NB please excuse if I continue to use the word VIRAL in my marketing efforts….I am not “immune” to this either.

But, the connected generation….they are clever. Not necessarily in a I-got-you sort of way, but in a I-see-through-you sort of way. They aren’t merely hosts to our subliminal messages, they choose to engage and spread the message when they see relevant. Good branded content is as good as good non-branded content. When “fake” content is revealed often the final message is not a positive one, it continues to spread but the message behind it has been distorted. As a brand manager we need to choose carefully what we want our lasting impression to be.

So fast forward — all of this is tossing around in my head when today I got this Mini video from @JamesDuthie. There is a classic line in it, “I get it, we’re in a viral”. I love the openness and transparency of it. YES it’s fake, but who cares?! In fact the fact it is makes it more funny than if it were real. It is soooo 2008 to develop a fake, and while it’s only early 2009 that is how fast we are moving and must adapt. Let’s not forget that from the beginning of internet-time the those who got it could always insert themselves into youth pop-culture by being real. As a general rule I don’t believe in hyping up controversy to sell brands – the phrase “any PR is good PR” is one of the worst things that happened to my industry, oh let’s say ever. As professionals we need to further instill that there is very thin line, if one at all, between brand and corporate reputation.

In summary (love my summaries, don’t I?) – what does this highlight to me? We (again that collective “we”) need to understand more the nature of social media and what makes our messages valuable and “spreadable” not viral, and this means owning up to the power shift the digital media has brought upon us. I thank Gen C for forcing this upon us and brining relationships back to the forefront of our communications mix.

That said, please enjoy the Mini video, courtesy of who other than BMW Mini.

PS love this comment: “It IS REAL !! the cousin of my uncle´s maid said that he heard some guy saying his neighbor´s hot daughter had a boyfriend that used to do this tricks with his car !!!! i swear !”

NB highly recommend the above mentioned paper.

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Don’t Punish Us: grass roots campaign fighting for the rights of our social life http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/11/dont-punish-us/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/03/11/dont-punish-us/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2009 05:47:58 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=54 Oh the power of peer-to-peer movements…I recently came across one I had to share.

I was out over the weekend at a local watering hole in Sydney, waiting in an absurdly long line to get a drink, when I spotted an unusual donation box of some sort. On it was a photo of a girl holding a giant speech bubble that read “Who Says I Can’t Drink Responsibly”.

A bit of background for non-Australian readers. Last year Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated he would “scare the living daylights” out of Australian youth by highlighting the real and dangerous effects of binge drinking. The solution proposed was a $53 million national campaign including TV ads, increases in alcohol-related taxes, as well as a host of measures put in place at bars and nightclubs, including a 2AM lock out.

Gasp, horror many night owls screamed in protest!

Stop right here though, this is not a commentary on binge drinking, this is a post to discuss what happens when an “unimaginative” government initiative (as deemed by the Sydney Morning Herald) collides with the empowered millennials of today.

Back to the beginning of my post. The donation box was collecting funds for a campaign called Don’t Punish Us. This is a non-profit, grass-roots movement established to build ground-swell support in favor of retracting the above mentioned pub and venue restrictions. From what I can read those supporting this movement are not suggesting to turn a blind-eye to the issue, but instead question in rather harsh terms the benefits, or lack thereof, of those that were initiated.

So, you might ask, other than lambasting the government on a public forum (what’s new there?) what to date really has Don’t Punish Us achieved?

Well, quite a lot. Already they have 17,000+ registered as part of the petition, and 18,000+ members joined the Facebook cause. At some stage the sheer volume of supporters will force the NSW government to respond.

However it is not just about numbers as we know, it is how this movement has sparked a conversation via the blog platform that highlights the real impact to me. This group has an opinion and they are holding the government accountable to finding the solutions. And of course they all have an opinion, why wouldn’t they? It is their issue, it effects them both the binge-drinking and in terms of the new restrictions. Why is it an after-thought to engage the target audience, especially when you are trying to effect change among them?

As for Don’t Punish Us, I think this is a great “youth” marketing example for several reasons:

- I like the power of grass roots demonstrated here, it is a bottom-through-to-top strategy, it makes people feel involved.

- I like the fact that it is both on and off line, just like social networks.

- I like that while it is a serious issue, the tone is perfect for the audience, it is entertaining and cheeky.

- I like how it is empowering and relevant – keys to youth marketing success.

- Most importantly, I like how it harnesses conversation and dialogue to effect change.

Moral of the story – if you doubt the impact of youth advocacy and/or social media, then I hope this modern-day story of David with his slingshot working to take down Goliath may make you think.

Oh, and thought it would be fun to post a little artistic irony from a friend (check out the box in the background)….

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Ford Fiesta movement calling for “agents”, but are they agents of change? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/02/24/ford-fiesta-movement/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/2009/02/24/ford-fiesta-movement/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2009 00:11:59 +0000 Meghan Stuyvenberg http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/meghanstuyvenberg/?p=41

Love the new Ford Fiesta campaign (www.fiestamovement.com) – the company is giving away 100 free cars to chosen “agents” as part of an ambassador program. To enter people (I’m assuming as they are targeting “millennials” there are restrictions on who can enter but didn’t come across them as of yet) have to submit a short video on their own YouTube channel (great idea as they will have more reach, one of the entrants has a video with 1.2 million views…). As part of the vid they need to share how big their social network is and what it consists of, might as well be upfront in what Ford is asking of them, right? Once they have the car Ford asks that they blog, tweet and share their experiences with friends…

So let me get this straight – I can submit a video, get a FREE car (already hooked), and write about it on Facebook – sold!

I like it for several reasons – it empowers people to leverage their network versus trying to pull everyone onto the Ford site, it is transparent in its intent – hey blog for us and you may get a free car, and the message is simple hence why there are already 1,500+ entries. It might not solve the world’s problems and give Ford a CSR platform, but I think it is clever and fun, all you have to do is check out a few of the videos to get what I mean.

Not just a pretty face, it is also a strategic business move -  according to Sam De La Garza, Ford’s small car marketing manager (in a recent comment on MarketingDaily), “By the time of the Fiesta’s U.S. launch, Millennials will account for 28% of the country’s driving population (a total of 70 million new drivers). The movement gives [Ford] an opportunity to connect with the group before they have established brand loyalty while appealing to their affinity for social networking and technology.”

So the strategy seems solid, the launch has proven to be successful, now I look forward to following the follow-up. How will this campaign in which they are encouraging direct consumer feedback on their product change either marketing or development? I want to see what Ford does with any constructive feedback (ie is this being used for R&D purposes), and how they will use the platform to turn any potential criticisms into positives. Early days but if they can harness these conversational elements inherent in social media marketing, they could nail it.

And just for fun, wanted to share my fav video of those I watched – Ford, Fiesta (can you believe I actually took the time to watch several, but they were amusing, what can I say?)  – definitely give both of these guys one! And I want an invite to the Ford, Fiesta :)

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