Tag: traditional media

Is Old Spice the best social media campaign ever?

Digital Strategy, Social Media11 Comments

When the Old Spice videos started showing up on social media a couple of weeks ago, I was amongst those who promptly declared it “the best social media campaign ever.

Now that the dust has settled, I thought it was time to revisit my original assertion (I was wrong) and see what impact, if any, the campaign had and we as marketers can learn from it.

It began with traditional media

LOLing at the hundred or so YouTube videos that were created, it’s easy for international audiences especially to forget that the Old Spice campaign first took shape as a very traditional TV ad. Not just any ad, the spot earned top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Lions Grand Prix and went viral.

For this reason it’s a misnomer to call it a pure social media campaign. Without the mainstream awareness and equity built by traditional media, it’s doubtful that we would have cared as much as we did when Old Spice started creating personalised videos responding to Twitter celebs.

Where’s the ROI?

Cynics were quick to point out that despite the attention, the Old Spice ads had failed to translate to sales.

Turns out they were wrong as well with Procter & Gamble (Old Spice’s parent company) recently announcing a 55% increase in sales of Old Spice over the last 3 months and a 107% increase in the last month alone.

The bottom line is the campaign worked and based on the massive growth over the last month, and while we can’t say for sure social media played a role in this.

Extending the brand with social

So if the Old Spice ads as a whole did what they were supposed to and drive sales growth, what did Weiden + Kennedy (the Portland agency behind the campaign) get right with social?

Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback towards the TV ads and the affinity the public felt towards the Old Spice guy, they identified an opportunity to move the campaign beyond traditional media and bring the character to life with social media.

The idea was deliciously simple and surprisingly low-tech considering the buzz it generated. Essentially, it leveraged on a very simple concept “make a series of 30 sec spots” and used social media to make it relevant to the audience. Read Write Web wrote a terrific piece about how the videos were made.

We should be doing this

Well actually, no.

While it’s a foregone conclusion that client’s will soon be asking their agencies for copycat campaigns (Cisco already tried and failed with Cisco Guy), without spending big bucks to build brand equity and a campaign concept that resonates with customers, it’s doubtful that Old Spice’s success can be replicated.

Even then, for social media marketers, the Old Spice campaign failed to leverage all the good stuff inherent in social media: conversation, community, engagement. As great and as innovative as the campaign is, it remains a brilliant traditional media idea that was very smartly repurposed and repackaged for social media.

Hat-tip to Mitch Joel and Joseph Jaffe who I just found out covered this topic in the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation. I only realised this last night while listening to the podcast and well after this post had been written. If you want to hear their thoughts, you can listen here.

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How digital channels have changed the value of news

Digital Strategy4 Comments

The different ways in which we access media has changed the relative importance that we place on different types of news. The news that we find through traditional delivery mechanisms is no longer as relevant as the news that we actively seek out or that finds us on social media.

Traditional media is losing relevance

In the dark ages pre-internet, there was only really one way to consume news – passively. You either read it  (in hard copy), watched it or heard it, and were (generally) at the mercy of your local publisher.

I remember staying up late most nights just to catch a glimpse of the NBA highlights on Sports Tonight which – if you remember Ten’s programming in the late 90s – meant that I had a better chance of finding a chupacabra.

Thankfully, that is no longer the case and we are surrounded by more media and information than we could ever hope to consume. We can now find endless amounts of information about the things that interest us no matter how esoteric our tastes.

We are  no longer passive but active consumers of news.

It matters where it’s from

With so much news content already vying for our attention and our interest, what this means is that where we heard it determines if we are really paying attention to it.

Search, RSS and email, in particular, have flipped news on it’s head. Instead of going to a single or a few sources and hoping to find something of interest, we simply subscribe to the blogs, podcasts, etc. that interest us. That we actively and deliberately subscribe means that we assign it a higher value than something we happen to see in the paper.

This gets taken a little further when social media gets thrown into the mix. The ability to share and recommend means that we are now also exposed to what others in our network think is interesting. Assuming you actually like and respect that person, you are more likely to click on a link that they are sharing than if it were put to you by an anonymous corporation.

In summary, we are gradually paying less and less attention to news that comes to us pre-packaged. While the morning paper or the 6 o’clock news will still be part of our media consumption, it is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the face of more relevant sources such as social media and RSS feeds that directly interest us.

Have new technologies changed the way you find out news? Do you still rely on traditional sources or is the bulk of the news you consume now found online?

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The (Traditional) Media Delusion

Digital Strategy, Social Media10 Comments

If you’ve been following the #socadl hashtag on Twitter the last week or so you would have seen some ranting directed at mainstream journos hating on social media.

The most recent of these came in the Sunday Mail, where tweeting was compared to ‘mind-farting’ and social media is enabling a generation of rudeness and selfishness.

Clearly these are people with no idea about social media and how it works. All they see is what they want to see.

And it’s understandable why.

The power of traditional media is predicated on the fact that the historically, the barriers to entry to become a publisher and thus be heard are insanely high and that being a journalist meant having exclusive access to stories as well as some talent to write. This scarcity meant that you could only find news that the publishers deemed worthy.

The emergence of new technologies including social media, however, has seen this power gradually shift from traditional media publishers to the hands of the people. These tools mean that everybody now has the capacity to be both a publisher and a journalist –  take this blog, for example.

The way we find and access the news has also changed. Instead of waiting for the morning paper or a TV broadcast to tell us the news, we can now find out what is happening anywhere around the world wherever and whenever we want. (More on this in my next post)

This scares the hell out of most traditional media outlets because we no longer rely on them solely to tell us what’s going on. They no longer control the news cycle as it now happens 24/7. In fact, you can expect the number of stories that break on social media to grow.

Traditional media is deluding itself by thinking that social media is irrelevant and/or dangerous. The very fact that these stories are becoming more frequent points to this very fear.

However, the revolution is happening with or without them and if they are to survive they must rethink their attitude toward social media and see it for the opportunity it is to reach out and actually interact with their audience, and not for the negative hype. For every offensive Facebook page, there are a dozen more that are genuinely useful and advance thought and conversation.

That’s right, conversation. Because that’s something traditional media by by being the very definition of broadcaster has very little concept of.

To quote the Cluetrain Manifesto, “markets are conversations”. You only need to look at the furore surrounding the BP and Nestle’s recent disasters to know that social media is where that conversation is happening today.

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3 Digital Trends Every Marketer Needs To Know

Digital Strategy3 Comments

As I wind down my time at Square Holes, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on the digital trends I’ve observed over the past 18 months. While there have been dozens, these are the ones that have the biggest implications for marketers and communicators.

So without further adieu…

  1. Mobile finally takes off. Seriously.
    We’ve been saying this one for a few years now, but this time it really is. In the last 12 months there has been a seismic shift in the role mobile phones play in people’s lives. Driven by falling data prices and the spectacular growth of the smartphone market (seriously, 1 in 3 people I know has either an iPhone or Blackberry with a few Android phones starting to pop up as well) we are becoming less reluctant to use our phones for things other than voice and text. Even the way we use social media is quickly shifting to mobile.

    Quite simply, people are demanding content where and when they want it. With the imminent release of the iPad, how we consume content is about to change forever. Add to this the fact that 40% of Australians would rather lose their wallet than their phone and you can see our changing attitudes.

  2. How we find news has changed.
    In the days pre-social media, if you wanted to find out what was happening in the world you needed to actively seek it out by either reading a newspaper, watching the 6 o’clock news or tuning into a radio news bulletin. Now, the news finds you. Social media and the evolving web has changed how we find out about today’s breaking news stories. We have become less and less reliant on offline and online news outlets, and are instead finding out from within our networks on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Not to say that mainstream news is irrelevant, rather that social media is driving traffic there.

    And just recently, Jon Klein, Presdident of CNN had this to say,
    “The competition I’m really afraid of is social nets. We want to be the most trusted source. But on Facebook, people are depending on their friends as news sources.”

    With stories like the Michael Jackson’s death and the Hudson river plane crash either breaking or finding legs on social media, we’ve only just scratched the surface of where this is headed.

    Huson River Plane Crash

  3. Forget the water cooler. Shared experiences are happening online.
    The internet has transformed how we exchange information with each other. Rather than being reserved solely for times when we are hanging out socially at the backyard BBQ or around the water cooler, we now share what we are feeling, thinking or doing 24/7 on social networks. Instead of making us feel disconnected (as the skeptics predicted), we are in fact more connected now than ever before and with an ever larger network of people to boot!
    Social media has empowered us to share information in ways previously reserved for pundits and the media. We trust the recommendations of our peers over so-called experts and aren’t afraid to let the world know when we have a bad experience. You only need look at awards shows or events like the release of ‘Avatar’ to see how powerful social media can be at making, or breaking, your success. Similarly, brands are also more accountable than ever before and can no longer afford to ignore the conversation e.g. Domino’s, American Airlines, Dell, etc.

What do you think? Do these trends apply to your business? What other digital trends have you observed?

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The Biggest Social Media Mistake Businesses Make

Social Media2 Comments

The biggest mistake businesses make using social media is that they all too easily forget about the ‘social’ part.

Social media is not and should not be used as a pure promotional channel.

The problem is, most businesses treat it the same as they would TV, radio, magazines or newspapers. You can’t treat social media (or any digital channel, for that matter) that way – the audience just isn’t as captive and it’s easy for them to look away if they don’t like what you have to say.

If you spend enough time reading about digital trends and social media, it’s easy to start thinking that everyone knows about this stuff. The truth is that most businesses still have a very old-school marketing mentality and approach any new platform as just another opportunity to spruik their message.

The real value of social media only comes when you are being social.

The strategy most businesses seem to employ is to harvest as many followers as possible and then spam the hell out of them. Not good.

Instead of shouting your message, find a way to be useful to your community of friends and followers. Add real value to your interactions by sharing cool links to stuff they might find interesting as well as to your own great content whether it be funny or actually useful. Simply put, do something beneficial to your community instead of self-serving.

While some self-promotion is tolerated and can even be helpful when it is targeted and timely, too much and you may find that your audience will start to switch off.

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