Old Spice. The campaign that never puts a foot wrong… until now

11 Dec

We all know how the revived Old Spice deoderant brand was revived a few years ago with a post modern funny commercial. I won’t bang on about the great campaigns the team have put together featuring the Old Spice Man’s long rants, but this new campaign caught my eye.

Over Christmas Old Spice is running its Old Spice MANta clause campaign through youtube. 1 man 7 billion gifts. The Old Spice man is using his awesomeness to give a myriad of “gifts” to people, places and things around the world this Christmas season.

This morning I noticed he had gifted AUSTRALIA. I was pretty excited and since I know American’s have warped views of our fine nation I thought I’d check it out.

Yes

Sadly I was correct that Americans don’t know much about us.

I claim this as the first Old Spice fail.


Do you see the fail? WHERE IS TASMANIA? Sure, there aren’t that many people there and yeah, they are probably all related to each other…. but don’t cut our apple growing buddies off the map! Maybe they don’t buy a lot of Old Spice, but it’s mean to kick them off.

Then I saw this. This is the map of the world showing where and how many gifts the Old Spice Man is providing in his video. Suddenly Tasmania is there. YAY! But… hang on… why are we connected to Papua New Guinea… or is that Indonesia? I think they  have all been combined and shoved onto Australia. We love our neighbours up north but they aren’t part of Australia Old Spice!!!

The funniest part about this is that in the video the Old Spice man is raving on about how he used his greatness to separate Australia from the rest of the world millions of years ago…. on a Tuesday.

The Old Spice Man has clearly made a big error. I dare to say it is the first error he has ever made. It’s a pretty classy campaign that has seen some massive pop culture love.

Heck! Imagine if an Aussie company made a similar video about America and said that Canada was part of the grand old USA. We would be killed! It would be front page news and we would no longer be allies.

I’m on a horse.

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The delicate art of a sponsored blog post

22 Oct

The ideal picture. A blogger and a marketing manager working together towards the common goal.

2011, the year that bloggers decided that they wouldn’t make their blogs a hobby any more as e-books, sponsored posts and “how to monetise your blog” discussions spring up. There is nothing wrong with getting paid for blogging efforts if you do a really good job and make your clients (the company paying you, that you agreed to work with) happy. We all like money and blogging takes a lot of time and effort! Honestly.

Recently I have heard some stories from bloggers about companies paying them to write a post and then asking them to change a part of it. I have read the posts they planned to write for the money and can see why the marketing managers asked them to change the post. While some bloggers continue to behave so unprofessionally, marketing managers will over look talented bloggers and offer less remuneration for posts. Yes you are a blogger, work hard and may have a degree of talent and a strong readership… so act as professional as you think you are when dealing with companies.

Bloggers have a distasteful name in many marketing circles due to many behaving unprofessionally. Many bloggers seem to have a knack for tooting their own horns and thinking that they are better than they are, thinking they are entitled to everything for free and for being overly opinionated in life. I’m not being mean, it is a fact that most bloggers don’t have as much pull in the world as they think they do. There are a lot of bloggers out there (heck anyone can open a WordPress site and start typing… that’s what ‘m doing right now!) and the best of the best generally take their blog very seriously and professionally so deserve every success.

Sponsored posts. It’s about the blogger getting what they want and a company getting what they want. Also known as working together for a common goal. The common goal being a marketing message being presented to a bloggers readers by a talented blogger who will be paid for their efforts.

I am a blogger (I also write a beauty blog) and I am in marketing where I have approached bloggers to write posts about my brand and products. I can see both sides of the fence.

So i’m going to give you some pointers on how to think about writing a sponsored blog post from both sides of the fence.

As a blogger

  • Make sure you only accept sponsored posts that you feel meet your target audience or you think you can make work.
  • Do not tear a company/product to shreads. If you try a product/service and it didn’t float your boat or you really didn’t like it you would be best to apologise to your client, thanking them for letting you try the product but it really didn’t work for you. Advise them that you wont be writing a post about it. They will be thankful that you were honest with them and didn’t publish bad remarks all over the internet.
  • Remember the golden rule: Do to others as you would have done to you.
  • “Oh but I am a blogger and it is my job to be honest because it’s what my readers want” (see the golden rule above). Yeah, you can be honest but remember that there is a marketing manager out there who’s job is to get the word out about a product that they think is great. Pretend that someone was writing a review on your grandmother for example. You think your granny is totally cool and bakes the best cookies…. but someone out there just really didn’t like your grandma because maybe she smells a bit funny or the one time she made them cookies but she used the wrong flour so they were hard. You would be super upset if someone wrote a really mean post about dear old Nanna for everyone to read.
  • If you didn’t really like a product but still want to write about it then try and find the positives in the product eg. “This cream made my face break out in spots, but perhaps it would work better for someone who has a different skin type to me. It contains XYZ minerals and smells beautiful”.
  • If you have a problem with the product or service as you are experiencing it DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT take to twitter or Facebook to say how you are having issues with it. You have the brand/pr managers personal email address from speaking to them through your negotiation process so use it. Be professional and email the manager to explain your problem so they can explain and look into the issue for you themselves. Twitter posts tagging the company and telling your readers that you are having an issue is NOT alright when you are in a working professional relationship with a brand.
  • Remember, if a company is paying you (in money or product what ever you are agreeing to) they would like to see their marketing message ring through in your post. You can be yourself, shine your personality through! It’s your blog after all and that’s why the would have chosen you to write a post for them. Just make sure you are covering the key marketing messages in your post to make the company happy and earn your payment. They chose to invest their marketing budget in you rather than a magazine ad or a competition because they can see the value in the blog you have created. Do them proud for choosing you.
  • You should provide the client (the company asking you to to write for them) a copy of the blog before it is published out of courtesy in my opinion. Some bloggers can command $500 per post and for that amount of investment in a single post, the marketing manager is going to make sure their message and investment in you is going to come across well with the message they need to get out. Don’t be offended if they ask you to add a few more details in. Use your personality and writing style to weave the marketing message into your post. BUT again it is your blog and if you feel that they are being unreasonable feel free to pull the plug on the deal. In the same breath, the company also has the right to pull the plug if your post doesn’t meet their expectations.
  • Make sure you say the post is sponsored in your blog for the sake of transparency and your professionalism.
credit: toothpastefordinner.com
As a Marketing Manager
  • You find a great blogger who meets your target demographic, is creative and works really hard to write great posts. Make sure you are offering them a decent reward for their efforts. Some bloggers are happy with a free product and some will accept gift cards or cash. Be generous because honestly, blogging is hard work and if they are decent bloggers they are worth every cent. You are also paying for the pull of their readership. You wouldn’t get an ad in a newspaper for free would you? Some bloggers blog as their full time profession and a jar of face cream does not pay the bills.
  • Provide the blogger with lots of information up front so they know what your expectations are and they can work towards meeting them. deadline, payment, photos, marketing messages that must be covered, where to purchase etc.
  • If you are asking a blogger to write a guest post for you or a sponsored post remember that their blog is their brand. You are engaging them to be with your brand because you see them as a good fit and you would be happy for them to use their personality to discuss your marketing message.
  • If you review their post and find it distasteful or doesn’t give enough of the marketing message politely ask them if they would please submit x y z into the post using their creativity and flair to get your message across. If they are professional they will understand that you are paying them to get your message across.
And there you have a basic guide that I hope makes you think from both sides of the fence about bloggers and marketers. I hope this clears up some issues and gives both sides some insight into each others world.

QR codes use in marketing

8 Oct

QR codes (Quick Reference codes) are becoming more commonly used for marketing purposes.

What are QR codes you ask?

Well QR codes are kind of like a barcode that when scanned with a QR code scanning app on a smart phone will take you direct to a website.

How can I create my own QR code for free?

There are plenty of websites around that can generate a code for you. Here is one called QRSTUFF.

How would you use a QR code?

I have recently seen some interesting examples of the use of the codes:

Business Cards –  These ones are from some Beauty Bloggers. Obviously as a blogger your website is the place that shows off who you are and your personal brand so the QR code is particularly useful in this instance

Expo Bags: Royal and Langnickel are an American company who make make up brushes. They are trying to break into the Australian market and recently attended the Sydney IMATS expo. They are particularly good adopters of QR codes. QR Codes on bags at an expo from Royal and Langnickel make up brushes

How To videos for a product: Each one of Royal and Langnickels brushes has their own QR codes on the packaging. When scanned the code directs you to a video that shows you handy tips on how to use the exact brush you just purchased. Clever!

Competition entry: Again another Royal and Langnickel example. At the expo they had this code up that could be scanned so you could quickly enter their competition. It took you directly to an entry form and made it so simple.

Stickers: Sportsgirl is an Australian young womens fashion chain. They have jumped full force into QR codes this season. This table in the store features QR code stickers that you can take. I assume they would like you to take them and stick them around town on signs, bins, walls etc.

Fashion clothing price tag label: Another Sportsgirl QR code. This time on a limited edition designer outfit.

Signs in store: Sportsgirl in their stores also have signs advertising their limited edition team up with the Antipodium brand.

 

Special Offers and discounts: Lorna Jane is a sportswear store who are placing QR codes on the windows of their stores to provide special offers to customers. They have made a QR code guide for customers on their website. Probably a smart move because most people don’t know what QR codes at this point in time and what makes it more difficult is that iPhones do not have a QR scanner as standard so you have to know to download an app.

 

Reveals: QR codes play a cheeky role in this Victorias Secret campaign which is probably the best use of QR codes that I have seen. I must admit there aren’t a lot of QR codes around at this point in time. I mean, who wouldn’t want to scan that code to see what the lady wants to show you. Men AND women will want to see.


Online Shopping: Watch this video about Tesco supermarket and it’s online shopping arm in Korea. AMAZING. It explains itself and the power of QR codes.

 

Fancy branded QR codes: Louis Vuitton and Disney have created fancy QR codes which allows them to keep up branding and works with a scanner.


So there you have it. QR Codes can be powerful however there are some people who don’t see the point as it’s practically the same as giving someone your website address. QR codes have a variety of uses but at this point in time most people would scan them out of curiosity to see what the link takes you to. The future could hold big things for this new technology.

Note to self: Make my own QR code and stick it on a business card like the other cool kids.

Competitions are costly!

20 Sep

Yes, they sure are!

When you run a competition you may think “oh I have a nice prize to give away that will help with my marketing. I’ll be nice and start a competition that will only cost me my time and the prize and will boost my brand share and followers”. Well, you live in an idealistic world don’t you… and I did to until recently when I began to understand just how costly and involved competitions are.

Competitions are a nice way to help bring attention to your brand I think. Just make sure they are run properly.

Things you must consider when running a competition

  1. The prize
  2. Legal guidelines, terms and conditions, permits
  3. Form creation
  4. Advertising
  5. The winners


The Prize
Lets say you have $20,000 to give away as a prize. Good job to you for having such a nice budget to play with number one. Number two; well I hope you have more money than that to create the rest of the competition.

Legal guidelines, terms and conditions, permits
Unless you work in a big company you wont have a legal counsel at your disposal. You’re going to need one to create your terms and conditions and cover your brands butt if something goes wrong. There are lots of marketing consultancy firms that can create the terms and conditions and apply for permits for you.

Permits are another thing. If your competition is a random draw then you are going to need a permit in most states over a certain prize threshold. So if you are running your competition Australia wide you are up for a few thousand dollars in permit fees.

If your competition is a game of skill then you don’t need a permit if your prize is under a certain value. This can be as simple as asking entrants to answer a question that can be judged. Your terms and conditions must state the judging critera (eg: Q: If you owned a theme park what ride would you create? The answer with the most creativity and sounds fun will be judged as the winner by the panel). Games of skill mean that you may have to browse through thousands of entries to find “the best” answer.

*Please check with your legal advisor before following this guide. This guideline is a few years old and may no longer apply.

*Please check with your legal advisor before following this guide. This guideline is a few years old and may no longer apply.

Form Creation
If you are running a Facebook competition the Facebook guidelines state that you must create an application to handle entries. Thus you technically aren’t supposed to have people posting on your wall with answers. This means that you could be up for $10,000 having a professionally branded Facebook application created for your competition.

Twitter re-tweet competitions are also not as simple as they seem. To draw a winner from a follow and hit retweet style draw you need a permit as that is classed as a random draw. You will need to put a link to some terms and conditions in the tweet so people can read about it too. If you ask someone to re-tweet and then answer a skilful question such as (which one of our products is your favourite and why) then you wont need to buy a permit but you will still need to have terms and conditions made to state how you are judging the competition, how the winners will notified, when they will be drawn etc. A re-tweet competition is also a good way to build twitter followers.

If you are running an online competition you will still need to create professionally branded graphics and perhaps purchase a URL that matches the branding and so people can find it. You get the picture… more money.

Advertising
So you have put all of this money and effort into just wanting to give something away and now you need to advertise to let everyone know that you have a great competition. Gotta get that return on investment! So, add on more money to your budget to maybe run Facebook ads, flyers and other forms of advertising communication. Cross your fingers that you get lots of entries and lots of people learning more about your brand and it’s offerings.

The Winners
You want an honest person who is revved up about your brand, or in your target market to win your competition don’t you? Well, I’ve got news for you. There are people out there who are professional competition entrants. They spend their days trolling the internet looking for competitions to enter just for the thrill of winning and making some money from it potentially. It’s legal, people can do that with their time if they want. But as a marketer I get a bit upset when I see all of my hard work and budget falling into the hands of a professional. I suppose that so long as the competition mechanism drew new brand advocates to your brand then it did its job in the long term…. but you get my point.

And there you have it. As great as competitions can be for your brand, you need to make sure that you can achieve a good return on investment for their cost.
Note to self: Do as many game of skill competitions as possible with a highly valued prize….. which should advertise itself through word of mouth and lower the costs…. maybe.

This is a rough guide of how I see competitions. I may or may not have the details of permits or legal details correct so please consult your legal team and lottery officials. I am not a lawyer or a lottery official.

Yellovator. Yellow Pages turns to Gamification

7 Sep

Last night I attended the incredibly hip launch party in Melbourne’s Hosier Lane for the Smasher Dan Yellow Pages Yellovator game. There was great food, drinks, free button badges, stubbie holders, people in yellow tracksuits like Smashed Dan, guests who looked very “Melbourne” (You can tell I’m from Adelaide since I was wearing the brightest coloured shirt at the party which wasn’t Melbourne’s favourite shade, black) and a cool DJ who took song requests (including Snap-Rhythm is a Dancer… can you tell I requested that?)… but that’s just part of the atmosphere of a launch. The best part of course was the product.

Clemenger has created a game that can be played through stand alone adshells at high traffic areas in Sydney and Melbourne using your smart phone as a controller and the adshell as the screen. Yeah! So you can be waiting for the train and play this game on the ad screen with the rest of the train platform watching you.  Look out for them at Flinders Street Station, Southern Cross Station and South Yarra Station in Melbourne, and Martin Place and Alfred St, Circular Quay in Sydney.

The best part is that you can play it no matter if you have an android phone or an iPhone because you log in to the game through the website http://www.yellovator.com and then type in the code on the adshell to be linked to that particular screen.


COOL HEY?

On top of that you can play it without the ad screens at home on your PC or on certain websites (such as Yahoo and Bigpond) the game will be served up as a side bar ad.

The game:

Basically you are Smasher Dan and you are at the top of an apartment block. At street level are some people with problems that need fixing (yellow pages can help!). You need to drop the phone and hit them without the phone getting stuck on a balcony or landing somewhere else on the street. There are 5 levels and at the end you are prompted to download the Yellow Pages app for your phone.

The game aims to remind people that Yellow Pages is still here in the 21st century and you don’t need to carry a 5 kg book around, it’s all in the palm of your hand. Neato!

The very clever Clemenger created this video of the launch party (which was emailed to me within 12 hours of the party ending. HELLO? Who stayed up all night to make this bad boy? High 5!). It explains more about the Yellovator game and what it aims to do for Yellow Pages.

Yellow pages have come on board with digital solutions a lot more recently which is super important to keep their services vital. They now have social media, advertisement tracking and other marketing options which make digital searches easier. Check out what they are offering HERE in this youtube clip (and notice the Yellovator game side ads there too).

Well there you have it! This is a very clever, novel idea that I think we will be seeing a lot more of in the digitalised market place where smart phones are becoming the norm. Get phone smashing with Yellovator!

What is gamification? Have a read of my previous post explaining it.

Gamification. How can games build your sales

4 Aug

Mc Donalds on Farmville

We all love to play computer games… well I know I do, so what happens when a company makes a game that helps you to remember their brand and makes you feel favourably towards them? This is happening a lot these days.

In around 2003 I was really into the clothing and lifestyle brand Emily The Strange. On their website was a really cool game called Homework hex and I would play it all the time. It’s kind of like checkers. That was the beginning of associating game content with a brand.

These days companies integrate games onto social networking site such as Facebook to encourage users to invite friends to play which increases Facebook fans for the brand and of course grows the brand salience.

Farmville is a cult favourite game on Facebook and Lady Gaga took it over a few months ago with her own areas of the game. McDonalds has also had a virtual presence in Farmville. With over 70 million active Farmville users (that stat sounds crazy high to me) this is a big marketing coup to capture the types of people that I imagine would play Farmville.

Real estate company Century 21 here in Australia has just launched an innovative new game where users are given $1 million to buy and sell real estate in a virtual neighbourhood to become a property mogul. CLICK HERE TO PLAY. It fuses the online world with the real world in a very clever way. When you log your postcode you are helped along in the game by your very own local real estate agent who is in avatar form… but is actually based on the real person. It also integrates properties that are on the market right now and you gain badges for achievements. If you visit a Century 21 open inspection and speak to an agent you can gain extra points for the game. Players can also entice their friends to start playing too.

I think this game would appeal more to women, probably because its kind of like The Sims and I know how much I like The Sims!

I think this is an incredibly smart social media marketing strategy and idea for Century 21 in a growing real estate market where new companies seem to be springing up over night. This game creates good will and a like factor that would encourage players to contact Century 21 and their virtual/real life agent if they needed to buy or sell a house. That’s what real estate is all about right? Creating relationships and trust with vendors so that the real estate agent can make some money! Century 21 hasn’t done a lot of advertising of their brand as far as I am aware and this is a modern and innovative step.

Good job Century 21!

Have you ever been sold to through gamification channels?

Marketing America

4 Jul

Have you noticed the growing number of ad’s advertising American travel destinations recently? Well, ok there are two that I have seen.. but that’s a heck of a lot more than I have ever seen in my life time on Aussie TV.

  • Disneyland
  • California State
With the American dollar being so darn low, America is finally becoming an affordable travel destination for Australians who never before imagined being able to afford travel to “the greatest nation in the world” (as all American’s believe). I remember asking my parents to take me to Disneyland when I was a kid and being told in no uncertain terms that they would never be taking me to Disneyland because America is very expensive.

Well, seems like kids these days may have more of a chance than I did. Thanks failing American economy! What kid isn’t going to harass their family to take them to Disneyland now? I’m guessing that modern kids probably don’t even know who Mickey and Minnie are so this campaign is building the young ones knowledge of the traditional brand too.

Tonight I noticed an ad for the state of California based around Prince William and Kates visit. It states that they are only visiting the state for 3 days so how are they going to see all the best parts?


So good one America for seeing us as a cashed up nation of people that you want to get chummy with. I love America, I lived there for a year so I’m pretty darn happy that the dollar is so low…. just a shame I won’t be able to go back there for a while. Thank God for online shopping if I need some mega cheap clothes, make up or just about anything.

Note to self: Perhaps buy a bunch of USA Dollars while they are dirt cheap and hang on to them for a rainy day in many years time when they may actually be worth something again.

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