Creativity in Public Relations » youth Creativity, marketing, great ideas, smart thinking, public relations, insights, inspirations, innovations and more. (Formerly known as Ryan's View) Wed, 05 Aug 2009 00:52:54 +0000 en hourly 1 Old Spice Hands Out The Cash Thu, 18 Jun 2009 01:15:51 +0000 Ryan Peal Everyone loves cash – plain and simple.  While some promotions have prizes and trips and the like, Old Spice is launching a new campaign that is all about winning cash.  The campaign – Swaggerize Your Wallet – provides actually lots of ways to win cash, depending upon how much work you want to put into it – which I think is fair enough.  The campaign is connected to Old Spice’s deodorant line, Swagger, with body spray, deodorant, body wash and more focused on 18 to 24 year old guys (who obviously love cash like the rest of us).  This effort follows the hilarious “SwaggerizeMe” campaign that made it easy for people to create fake articles to show up all over the Internet to make them look “as awesome as possible.”

The challenges are all a bit out there and right on target for the challenge 18 to 24 year old target who needs the right motivation to do anything – something too hard or too cheesy can backfire.  You can win $500 by making a cake in the shape of the Swagger logo, eating it with friends in a Swagger way, videotaping the whole thing and hoping the judges pick yours as the winner.  You can win $1,500 by throwing a Swagger product by at least 65MPH and capturing the whole thing with a radar gun.  Or you can win $2,500 with the old classic “hold up an Old Spice Swagger sign at a big sporting event and be caught on TV.”

The campaign site will have new challenges posted every week, with 2 weeks normally given for people to send in entries to compete.  You can just imagine the great photos and videos – solid Old Spice Swagger content – that will start showing up on YouTube and Flickr and of course all over people’s Facebook profiles too, showing up their cake or fastball.

This is one of my new favorite campaigns for a bunch of reasons.  The challenges have the right balance of effort and return – making a cake to win $500, a cake you can eat so it’s like someone paying you to eat which you have to do anyway.  And the challenges all sort of feel like some 21 year old just randomly thought them up, none have to be explained twice.  And of course the product is in the center of every challenge, so as far as product/brand integration, it’s hard to miss that.

Only thing that could improve would be some added social media connections.  I was unable to find a Twitter feed for the campaign – which you’d think would be an easy way to remind people of the new challenges happening each week.  And nothing on Facebook or YouTube either, but maybe once the campaign kicks off and has some content these areas will pop up too.  And didn’t see a lot of blogger conversations yet about the campaign, was thinking there would be a bloggers-only competition to get the blogosphere talking about the campaign too.

The campaign kicks off this week so we’ll see how it goes.  The good news is that because the campaign is over multiple weeks with more challenges coming up, there is an easy opportunity for the Old Spice people to get some feedback and keep coming up with new challenges, looking for those that really hit the mark and get people talking, playing and videotaping.  Watch this space.

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Interview: Virgin Mobile Australia Thu, 28 May 2009 01:20:31 +0000 Ryan Peal My mission to speak with some of the smart marketers around the world today leads me down under to Australia, where I recently had a chance to speak with Chris Jones, head of acquisition marketing at Virgin Mobile Australia.  Chris is responsible for creating awareness of Virgin Mobile products and services, showcasing how they can make someone’s life better.  As with previous guests Chris tackled “5 Big Questions of Creativity.”  Here we go:

1.    Why is creativity important to your brand and business?  We operate in a competitive category where it’s easy to be drawn into price wars with the competition.  As a challenger brand operating with fewer resources we have to leverage the power of our ideas to gain cut through in a very crowded marketplace, and that’s where creativity is a major contributor of our success.  This becomes an even greater priority in light of the recent merger activities in the telco space.

2.    Where do you find creative ideas/thoughts for inspiration?  We look to understand the consumer’s mindset to understand what’s important or relevant to them right now.  With this as a foundation, we then try to generate ideas based on what we believe the consumer is open to accepting or wanting to hear at this point in time.  Listening to the customer in this way creates a platform from which strong ideas can make their way to the fore.

3.    What do you do to encourage/nurture creativity in your business/campaigns?  The pace of our business often makes this a difficult task.  We try to create an environment where employees feel empowered to take ownership of their campaigns.  In addition we really look to our agency partners to push us and push our thinking.  We’re not where we’d like to be with this yet but we’re moving in the right direction.

4.    Can you share an example of a creative campaign that really stuck with you, and why?  I am very impressed with Turkcell, a wireless provider in Turkey and their award winning efforts around gnctrkcll, a 15 million strong youth mobile club.  They’ve created a new revenue stream that adds value for their customers and for brand partners trying to reach their customers through the mobile phone as a platform.  The concept and campaign are very innovative and creative leveraging products & technologies that are widely available (ringback tones & their delivery platform) in a new way that better meets the needs of their consumers.

5.    Can you provide one short phrase or sentence of your definition of creativity:  the application of insights to deliver value for consumers

Virgin Mobile continues to be a force down under, and with Chris and the rest of his team leveraging creativity to its fullest, it’s easy to see why.

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Toyota Turns Up The Volume With “Rock The Space” Mon, 25 May 2009 01:12:17 +0000 Ryan Peal Providing a solid example of why MySpace still has a place in the marketing mix, Toyota unleashes “Rock The Space” – a competition for unsigned bands or solo singers to win fame and fortune in the form of a recording contract and massive exposure on MySpace.

The competition is pretty straight forward; bands submit an original MP3, design a demo tape on the site and submit their music.  In July MySpace Records will select five finalists and then members of MySpace will vote to select the winner.  In a nice twist, the finalists will be given an advertising budget to create and place banner ads on MySpace to help secure votes.  The winner will be announced in September and get premium placement on the MySpace Music Home Page.  The campaign complements Toyota’s ongoing effort on MySpace – “Toyota Tuesdays” – a day when the company gives away free downloads on its MySpace site.

I’m hoping/assuming Toyota has some street teams out and about raising awareness of the competition in bars and clubs where aspiring talent may be performing as well as malls and beaches and concerts where youth will naturally be out and about.  Outreach to music blogs and forums would also help drive awareness and traffic.

There also have been a number of artists that have been discovered on MySpace, including Colbie Caillat and Lily Allen.  It would have been great if Toyota was able to enlist the support of these gals or any of the other discovered talent to leverage in any media relations outreach – providing a credible ambassador for the campaign to highlight the reality of being discovered on MySpace.

Overall a good campaign to check out – simple, to the point, spot on with the audience and a solid incentive to motivate bands/artists hoping to make it big to start by rocking the space.

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Music Lovers Celebrate “We Are Hunted” Sun, 03 May 2009 23:00:28 +0000 Ryan Peal Let’s kick off the week with an amazing example of creative thinking in action that also is extremely simple and will have you wondering why you didn’t think of it first.  Today’s focus:  a new website called “We Are Hunted” that rocks in multiple ways.

As Madonna once sang, “Music makes the people come together” and more and more these days the people all meet up online, searching for their favorite new artists or for up and coming bands, for the music that everyone will be listening to tomorrow (we just want to hear it first).  There are millions and millions of pages online that talk about music and artists and what is hot and what is breaking and it can all be extremely overwhelming, not to mention time consuming.  The amazing people behind We Are Hunted have answered the prayers of music lovers everywhere, providing a simple and fun way to find and celebrate new music all around the world.

The site at its core is an online music chart.  But the creative brilliance of the site is actually its an online music chart that listens to what is happening in online music across blogs, social networks, forums, Twitter and P2P networks to chart the top songs online.

Most of us are used to charts based on number of albums sold or more recently, number of downloads, and the likes of Ryan Seacrest in the US and Kyle & Jackie O in Australia counting down the hits.  Most likely the hits on the radio are ones you’ve heard, and heard, and heard.  Now, with We Are Hunted, we can actually look for music based on online buzz, passion by fans and overall pockets of excitement around the world around new music.  The charts (singles and bands) are updated hourly, as close as real time as you can get (for now).

The site is extremely simple and to the point – simply scroll through visuals of bands and click on links to band sites, fan pages or how to buy their music.  And, thankfully, each song is streamed on the site in its entirety so you can quickly hear what just may be your next favorite song.

Readers of my blog know that I’m a big believer of ideas that are simple but powerful.  A lot of time we think of big, complex campaigns that turn out to have so many moving parts that it’s easy for something to fall down and ruin the whole thing.  Thankfully, efforts like We Are Hunted are alive and well, reminding us to keep it brilliant but simple.  Music to my ears!

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Videos “going viral” latest marketing hope (Beyonce, Trident, Gillette) Tue, 28 Apr 2009 12:44:11 +0000 Ryan Peal Seems like everywhere you look a brand is trying to be connected to the next (or the current) viral video madness that is entertaining the world.  Sometimes brands do it well while sometimes they seem like they are just tagging on and don’t exactly mix in right.  All are just new ways to entertain people enough that hopefully they want to share it with a friend for instant credibility and endorsement (versus straight product advertising focusing on features).  Now its all about driving conversations, talkability and buzz.  And the best part, the ideas for entertaining short videos that could “go viral” can come from anyone – all that is needed are companies willing to experiment and see what happens.

For today’s class we’ll take a look at two different approaches to video entertainment by two different brands (and two different size budgets).  First up, Trident, who recently jumped on the Beyone “Single Ladies” worldwide phenomenon, which shows no signs of stopping.  Recently Trident hired 100 ladies to slip into leotards and hit the strees of London at Picadilly Circus, performing the Beyonce dance number for unsuspecting crowds.  The focus, however, was just getting the content filmed and then posted on YouTube – with some strategic placement on some forums and blogs to drive awareness.  I just one week the video is nearly the magic 1,000,000 views number.  The performance was connected to Trident giving away tickets to an upcoming free Beyonce concert – and has a reference at the end of the video, directing people to visit a campaign site to win tickets.

Next up, some supermen starring in a new Gillette video – the supermen being Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Derek Jeter, all spokespersons for the razor megabrand.  The brand brought the three together, dressed them up in some stylin’ 70’s outfits, dropped some “staying alive” music into the background and away they went.  The success of the video depends on the “look at what they got these big sports heroes to wear” factor, hoping it is enough to get people to tell a friend about it.  The idea doesn’t have the same talkability as Beyonce (just because that one already has a life of its own online) but the brand does a good job at directing people to a campaign website where people can try and win one of 500 free Gillette razors given away every day for 30 days.  You have to enter your name/email/address to enter and you can enter as much as you want (but only one razor per person).

For me I think both are great efforts, driving buzz for both brands and not doing any type of hard sell.  I wish the Trident Beyonce dance would have had some connection to the chewing gum – like all of the dancers putting in a stick of Trident at the beginning of the routine, or blowing a bubble in the middle of it, or some connection back to the brand.  It looks like a classic “sponsorship” instead of creating something new or putting a little twist on it.  It works with regard to being fun enough that people want to pass it along to friends, but think it was a missed opportunity to add something new to it. With regard to Gillette, I wish it just went a bit further on the “on my God” factor to motivate people to watch it again and send it to friends.  It’s fun but, in my opinion, a funny plot twist (beyond the platform shoes) or visual or something could have ensured it was a huge success.

Hats off to the people behind both videos, as the more brands experiment and try new things we all actually win – people get a new kind of entertainment, more free stuff is up for grabs, imaginations get bigger and hopefully boring ads of the past are gone forever – and true brand engagement is here to stay.

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End of week fun, make your own superhero Fri, 20 Mar 2009 19:27:49 +0000 Ryan Peal Someone sent me this site and I just had to share it – the site – The Hero Factory – lets you design your own superhero and it is great fun.  Sometimes your brain needs a little escape from the stress of work and life and needs a little playtime of its own.  This site will ensure your brain has some fun today and may just be the stimulus you need to leap some tall challenges in a single bound.  Once you made your superhero you are sent a great comic book cover that can be used in all sorts of social networking areas.  And, as a bonus, just wait until you get to the site to discover an inspirational song you can’t help but sing along too.

Now don’t be selfish, you can of course create a superhero for a friend or colleague and cause all kinds of trouble. Go Team!

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Year of Free Continues As Arby’s Serves Up “Upset Burgers” Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:21:17 +0000 Ryan Peal What is happening in the world this year?  The economy is on the ropes, companies are going out of business and yet, another company announces that it may be giving away free burgers to every American.  Having 2009 be known as the “year of free” as I noted a few weeks back with Quiznos giving away 1 million free subs continues to be in the cards as Arby’s announces it will be giving away free Arby’s Roastburgers if a sports miracle happens this week as part of the US college basketball championships.  If a bottom of the list team pulls an upset and beats a top of the list team in the opening round of the basketball playoffs then Arby’s will join the growing number of companies using “free” as a marketing strategy for success in 2009.

Denny’s, a nationwide fast food chain in the US, gave away more than 2 million “Grand Slam” breakfasts for free after the Super Bowl.  Last year Taco Bell, another nationwide fast food chain in the US, continued its multiple year tradition of giving away free tacos to the country related to a specific event happening in the baseball World Series.  And as mentioned above, Quiznos gave away 1 million free subs last month too.  And my colleague Meghan, a youth marketing guru, also recently highlighted other free offers popping up across multiple categories.

So, is free a smart business strategy?  For companies with products that they can easily give away, its probably not a bad option. Many of these companies would normally give out coupons for similar offers, but have smartly realised they could package up the offer in something more fun that engages and entertains people and gets people talking.  So buzz generation for low-cost items definitely would seem worth it for some companies. And if you connect the free offer to a once-in-a-million chance (like Arbys) then you may even get the publicity without having to give the goods.

But what if you don’t have products that are inexpensive enough to give away for free?  This is where some added creative thinking is needed.  As I referenced recently when talking about No Doubt’s free music catalog promotion for people who buy a concert ticket, if you look around you probably can find some content that may seem boring or normal to you but if packaged up right, could be something your consumer fans would love to get, and get for free.  Once you start looking for it you’ll be surprised at what you can find that can be offered to build some added brand loyalty with fans who should appreciate it, and think its even better because its free.

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Skittles Changes Entire Website to Social Media Mania Mon, 02 Mar 2009 10:11:09 +0000 Ryan Peal For me this is a big one – a milestone in the Twitterdom and social media in general.  Skittles today ditched its what-you’d-expect website to a twitter-skittles-search website, with a small little popup window with a shortened version of their website with all the regular stuff.  If you are already on Twitter then you know what a Twitter search page is; if you aren’t on Twitter (besides starting) you need to check out the Skittles website to get an idea what a Twitter search page is all about.  It basically shows in real time how Skittles are a part of someone’s day in real-time, when they decide to “tweet” on Twitter about Skittles – i.e., just had a Skittles and I love them so much.

Now the fun part.  Tomorrow the Skittles site may be the wikipedia entry, or the company’s Facebook fan page, or maybe a flickr photo album or Skittles YouTube channel.  Things will be constantly changing and rotating, simply providing a whole new look at Skittles through the social media world.

This is true creative thinking.  Hats off to the people behind the decision to go all-out social media and show how Skittles do naturally add a little bit of fun and color to our lives every day.  I’m betting more brands will do something similar or exactly the same.  Next time you are working hard to get something totally crazy off the drawing board and into reality show someone standing in your way this new site and say “take that!  crazy things can and do happen, now lets make our own brand history.”

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Have Your Facebook and Eat Pizza Hut too Fri, 20 Feb 2009 22:05:23 +0000 Ryan Peal Trying to find examples of brands that have really shined with their entrance on social media networks has led me to one of the best – Pizza Hut on Facebook.  The company launched their own Facebook page a bit over a year ago but this past October things really took off when the company added an application that lets people order Pizza Hut right from Facebook.  The company connected to a specific consumer insight – they love Facebook and are on it for hours.  So Pizza Hut made it really easy for anyone to have their Facebook and eat Pizza Hut too.

Now the company is up to more than 800,000 fans – a massive social media database ready for engaging in the long-term.  The company is now running a “Passport to Italy” contest related to a new product launch.  So running competitions is nothing new but Pizza Hut automatically enters anyone who is in a member of the Pizza Hut Facebook page in the contest – and then of course anyone who joins the page also is entered to win.

And of course a nice indirect result of this Facebook page is the closeness Pizza Hut can have with its fans/customers.  They are encouraged to upload photos and videos, make wall comments and more, so a plethora (love that word) of good insight to tap for future campaigns.

So if you are working with a company who is curious about social media, have them take a look at the Pizza Hut Facebook page.  The company has found a nice balance of knowing when to market and when to entertain their fans, and ensuring they are always giving them a reason to come back to the site and not just be a one-time sign-up fan.

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Cycling Safety Video Scores on Creativity Mon, 16 Feb 2009 11:23:00 +0000 Ryan Peal One of my favorite new sources of inspiration is from the safe cycling campaign from the city of London.  I wrote a few months back about their first campaign video that “went viral” and is a must watch for anyone who loves creative thinking in action.  Now the campaign is back, with another amazing video that points out the importance of keeping an eye on the world around you – espeically when driving.  I’m not going to say anything else about the video as I don’t want to ruin the fun.  So take 45 seconds to see how you do.

The video as always works from obvious reasons – it gets you to think, its makes you want to send it to a friend and it naturally educates you on the true reality of bike safety.  It’s another great example that campaigns don’t need big budgets just big visions and big creative thinking.

Once the video is over click on the more info link to check out the specific details about the campaign.

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