Category Advertising

Will Facebook’s new Pages be able to turn online marketing into a conversation?

Today Facebook announced Timeline for Pages and held an all day conference for marketers to learn the ins and outs of the new features. Facebook also took the opportunity to re-explain how social is core to social media marketing. They spoke of creating stories and not ads as the key to the new Facebook. They showed examples of how social media should be by showcasing brands like Red Bull, Ben and Jerry’s, and Macy’s (I’m guessing they still get perks for Miracle on 34th Street). They talked to industry leaders who all echoed the social media mantra. Still, it’s going to take some time for it all to sink in.

To this end Facebook presented a number of features in order that should empower those that want to embrace to the social of social media marketing. The Timeline is a huge step in showcasing a brands interactions online. It’s literally their social history. Sure, they can remove posts, but how much are you going to trust a brand that’s been online for years and has nothing to show for it. The Timeline will also feature posts from a user’s friend that mention the brand. This may include negative rants, but this is still to be seen. Lastly, the Timeline is a break from the marketing pages of yesterday (literally) which often featured “like-gated” content so the marketing team could brag about the number of Likes they had.

Other features to support the humanization of pages include the ability for a page (read: brand) to have direct correspondence with individual users, limitations of the types of images that can be used in the hero image (no “like us”, “50% off”, or other promotional type images), and highlighting the user’s friend’s brand related activities (mentioned earlier). They also added the ability for brand posts to be apart of the both the desktop and mobile news feeds (paid service, like Twitter’s promoted Tweets), though this one seems to support the old ad model more than socialization.

So the question is, will Facebook’s new tools along with the reminder that social media is a bi-directional conversation help change those clinging to the broadcast mentality? Will these new tools help champion the social among the social marketers or will they be bastardized to support the old regime?

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Watch the presentations here: http://www.facebook.com/business/fmc

Toyota’s Intellegent Typography Experiment

This is a few years old but still pretty cool. Back in 2009 Toyota teamed up with Please Let Me Design to create this IQ Font (above) as a way to promote their new micro-car.

The idea is simple enough but the execution is really nicely done. The designers (Pierre and Damien) worked with Stef van Campenhoudt (driver) and Zachary Lieberman (software developer, using OpenFrameworks) to track the car’s path as a way to draw each letter. The resulting font is clean, quirky with lots of character and classic details. Even the “making of” (below) is fun to watch.

Xbox App = Pure Brilliance

The Xbox community is pretty rabid and many use the service for way more than just gaming. As such Microsoft just released an app for iOS devices to give access to your account from anywhere. Not only does it increase the value of having a XBox account they slyly put WindowsPhone 7 on your iPhone.

The app itself is build using the Metro framework but it also includes the default nav bar from their OS. So visually other than the status bar at the top of the screen you’re in WP7 land. What a way to introduce the masses to WP7 without them having to give up their iPhones in the process.

Outside the visuals, the app is pretty impressive. From the animated avatar that reacts to your actions (shake phone, poke, etc.), to full access to your account including messaging and setting of beacons. Beacons on their own are a brilliant move, but together Microsoft has a killer marketing tool disguised as an app that you’ll want to use.

Check it out for your self.

Google Adds Multi-Channel Funnels

Last week Google announced analytical support for multi-channel funnels. This means that you can now see the how users actually get to your product beyond the last click.

It’s long been known in the advertising industry that it takes more than a single exposure to an ad for it to be effective. The same is true online but until now there wasn’t a good place to see how a user came to click on your ad, just that they did. As such all the credit for a successful banner went to the one that led directly to the conversion.

Back when I was designing ads for clients it was hard to back them away from a direct response mentality because direct response was the only way they could prove a campaign was successful. So ads explaining the product or why product X was better, were tossed aside for their “buy now” counterparts.

Gladly, I no longer work on banners but the need to know how and why users are doing what they do is just as important to a website/app as it is for a banner. Data on user activity is essential and data like this is priceless for both sides of the ad industry (merchants and content distributors. If you’re making, designing, or selling ads online this is worth looking into.

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Google’s blog post: Introducing Multi-Channel Funnels: discover untapped opportunities in your conversion path

Logorama – more then Oscar worthy

I saw this a few months back, loved it. Last night I happened to flip to the Oscars and caught the animated short category and saw that this was not only nominated but won.  As good as it was I never would have thought it was politically correct enough or wouldn’t be sued to oblivion by all the brand owners of the logos used in the film.  Created by the H5 group out of France, including directors François Alaux & Herve de Crecy.  During their thank you speech they mentioned it too 6 years to make this 6 minute masterpiece.  Followed by the hope to return in 36 years with a full length film.

This is one to be watched multiple times just to soak in all the nuances.  Truly an impressive animation with an excess of personality and sass.

official site

Using Social Media and a Beard

Sites using social media as a cheap method to both promote and host their videos/photos/etc has been done before, Skittles and Boone Oakley are two mentioned here previously.  Celebrities taking jabs at their image is also not new….but using James Lipton and his beard for PSA’s on mobile harassment is pure genius.  The Give It A Ponder campaign, sponsored by LG, is a mix of TV, print and web promotions all revolving around James’ beard and thinking before texting.

The videos (featuring James Lipton) are campy, creepy, funny and to the point.  The imagery and quirkiness leaves a lasting impression and the copy is so Lipton’esque that everything seems normal yet far from it at the same time.

Carlos is Angry

Stephan and Zoe

Tracy and her beard

The print campaign is also humorous though not as powerful and may be confusing as to what it’s actually for.  Still they’re eye catching and well related to the TV/Videos and Web experience.

The Virgin

Peanut Butter Muffin

Junk Drawers

Source:
AdFreak
Bee

Organic/Viral Marketing

Putting Mother Nature to work for your promotional needs is brilliant.  Keeping PETA happy in the mix is even more impressive.  Before I say more…

In case you skipped the video Eichborn, a book publisher, used flies as moving billboards to promote their exhibit space at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  They glued (via a light wax) ultra-light banners to 200 files and set them out into the wilds of the book fair.   Ingenious in so many ways.

Dreams vs. Nightmares

We all dream, but what do they mean?  What makes a dream a nightmare? How do we use dreams in the waking world?  What about dreams of what we want?

Honda visits the idea of dreams and their meanings to our day-to-day through the words and stories of Clive Barker, Deepak Chopra, and various talents within Honda.  It’s something to inspire thought which lies at the backbone of the entire Dream the Impossible series.

Links:
Dreams vs, Nightmares
Honda’s Dream the Impossible

Canned Humor

It’s not often that I notice a banner ad let alone interact with one but this ad for Pringles was well worth my clicks.  The banner was created by Bridge Worldwide and won a 2009 Cannes Cyber Lions Gold.  The concept is simple, provide a silly but catchy image and reward evey interaction with witty copywriting.

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Some Quick Internet Treasures

by Jorge Colombo - The New Yorker - June 2009Not sure how many people have seen this months The New Yorker magazine’s cover (shown on right).  What looks like a water color painting is really an illustration created on his iPhone.  The app is called Brushes along with a companion app that will provide an animation/video of the process.  The New Yorker’s blog offers more details and a video of the illustration being made using the companion app.

GI never had a reason to go to Gatorade‘s website before but the link was sent to me from a designer friend of mine (Neuarmy).  Once going there it was obvious as to why he shared it.  Sporting the new aesthetic of the Gatorade “G” the site takes it to another level of sophistication rather then pure simplification.  It’s an all Flash site boasting lots of black, simplified layouts, vibrant images and large video headers.  Navigation is through the use of large black and white silhouettes for both the products and the athletes.  Which acts as a great accent to a highlighted item and it’s inline videos.  While you may learn more then you ever needed to about Gatorade check out the site for a great sample of extending a brand’s aesthetic across media.

Another gem sent my way from Neuarmy is by Boone Oakley and their use of YouTube for their website.  Ok, so it sounds a bit like Skittles attempt to use Web 2.0 tools to stitch together a web experience…well this isn’t that.  It’s literally their website embedded in humorous and (a touch) twisted little videos.  Very innovative use of such a common medium and a great way for them to show off their conceptual/strategic muscle.  They also feature some great work from that last few years, I’m sure you’ll recognize a few.  Well worth checking out.

Links:
The New Yorker’s blog
Brushes iPhone App for painting
Gatorade
Boone Oakley
Skittles
Neuarmy