Social and the Superbowl, finding the synergy

99904243_c62c3e6cdf_b A few weeks ago an experienced agency veteran told me that "We are all snakeoil salesman".  He was suggested that our discipline is that of selling refreshment by broadcasting that message, even in the absence of a product that actually refreshes.

I beg to disagree.

I could not market snakeoil as anything other than an ironic accessory for hipsters.  Because the media world I live in is not one of broadcast messaging (for the most part).  I live in a world of conversation.  Broadcast messaging has it's place, but in my world, conversations cannot be bought or sold.

Conversations cannot be generated or seeded, they cannot be created by a brand or media property with white space alone.  Conversations can only be inspired, participated in and fostered.  You cannot force me to talk.  You're welcome to join my table.  But if you would like me to share your message, you're going to have to earn my advocacy (for the most part).

There is no 30 second spot equivalent in social media.  There is no easy mass appeal solutions.  There is no superbowl for social media.

Your microsite may have become a Facebook application, your widget may now be an iPhone app, but without cultivating a meaningful presence or relationship, without tying your efforts to a campaign and your campaign to a brand and your brand to a relationship, what have you accomplished?

This weekend, millions of us will watch brands gamble millions of dollars on fantastically overproduced commercials interrupted by what is often a less than exciting football game.  We will sit glued to the screen as Coca Cola releases their newest expression of excitement, Doritos shows off yet another prosumer inspired vision and beer companies attempt to make us laugh by (a) creating comically awkward social situations or (b) utilize animals as actors in non-traditional settings (hilarious, that one always gets me).  We will see 3 million dollar creative gambles.  And as always, most will fall short of their promise, leaving only a few memorable spots that may be discussed in the weeks ahead.

But for mass reach, there is nothing like the Superbowl.

Your 30 second spot in the superbowl is only as meaningful as

(a) it is remarkable and

(b) your follow through you offer the day after.

Would your company, client or brand be better served by investing $3 million on mass eyeballs or $3 million in sustainable relationships, in better customer service, in truly remarkable social responsibility?  And if you are investing in the former, don't you owe it to yourself to invest equally in the latter?

If you need to drive awareness with everyone, make a big splash.  Go for broacast TV (and online video).

But if you want to drive your business in the long term, think beyond the splash.  Earn your marketing.

Because social isn't free, and while it may be intuitive, it sure isn't easy to get going.  Nobody can market snakeoil in this social world.  And no, there is no social Superbowl, no way to buy millions of eyeballs for millions of dollars.

Don't substitute shortcuts for marketing. Use them only when appropriate. 

Don't just broadcast, kickstart and converse.

My my, that guy in mirror IS good looking!

Man_in_the_mirror_5 Here's to you Media Exec!

You know that guy in mirror?  That good looking guy who greets you every morning with a brilliant smile?  My guy looks nothing like the one pictured here, but if I worked in traditional media I would probably have his picture pasted on my mirror, after all, if he's on me mirror, then this is who I truly am. 

This may sound preposterous, but with the aid of some skewed research, this could be true! 

And here's how:

3 easy steps to getting the research results you always wanted:

  • Rather than speaking with anyone outside your own industry, poll those doing exactly the same thing as you.  Wonder of wonders, results will most probably fit those you've predicted.
  • If those outside your immediate circle must be included in the research, only include response options that include your current offerings.
  • If survey questions must be open ended, force study participants to interact in manners far more suggestive and meaningful than their real world counterparts.

So here's to you NBC, for suggesting that users who were asked to focus on commercials in fast forward were similar to real world users who just don't pay attention.  And here's to you OPA for telling us that out of 15 and 30 second preroll and postroll spots, 15 and 30 second spots are the favored ones. 

Hey, do you know what my  favorite number  between 1 and 3 is?  I'll give you a hint:  ask anyone to  tell you what that number it is, and they'll tell you it's 2!  I guess  everyone agrees with me!  We must all be very smart.

Diet Coke and Mentos

Sometimes it pays to build off of the buzz of others. 

Kudos to Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam for putting this together!  Way to take someone else's craze, and build off their hype.  While this may seem "normal", this actually marks a significant evolution in  traditional message flow.  Parodies like the one above serve to highlight a sublime cultural shift from professionally generated mass experiences to prosumer/consumer generated mass experiences.  Early You Tube popular videos were often copyrighted content, parodies of professional videos or mashups of the two.  W+K has embraced the new dynamic by creating a professional parody of UGC!  The river finally flowing upstream.

Lets face it, the explosive marriage of Diet Coke and Mentos has become part of our cultural lexicon.  Diet coke shooting into the air and college kids screaming and running for cover - this is the image that describes where we are as consumers.

Any Thoughts? 

It's no wonder nobody votes anymore

When more votes are cast by clicking, digging and rating online on any given day than there are in a presidential election, what does this say about our society?  It says that we want real power.  We want to be heard.  We want to be part of something great, something significant.  We want to see our votes added to the pile, see how we are changing the world one click at a time. 

Of course we care more about our War in Iraq than Will Ferrel's daughter demanding the rent, yet wehen crunch time comes, we simply don't vote.  Why is this? 

CNN and YouTube are hosting their own new format debate series where the people submit the questions. Jeff Jarvis applauds this effort, and I would like to congratulate him for taking this bold stance.  While the criticisms and critiques of many are true (that this is not truly a democratic process as CNN [and not the community] is choosing the questions to be answered), this nevertheless represents an amazing shift by a traditional media outlet towards recognizing consumer control.  For the first time, people will be empowered with potential participation in a presidential debate. 

But to take this a step further, how much more meaningful would this be if the candidates were to continue this debate on both and YouTube by posting their replies to one another?  Why not include an online video editor in the package and empower users to not only follow the give and take, the ebb and flow of the debate on an ongoing basis, but to insert their own commentary into the news? 
Bringing the people to the table as a prerecorded snapshot of a moment-in-time works only so well, but how much more impactful would this experience be if the debate were truly brought to the people?


On a completely side note, has anyone realized that we  have been calling this The War on Terror, The War on Drugs, The War in Iraq?  Can someone please tell me why the government and mass media have been framing these efforts as abstract absolutes and not personal statements of earnest caring?  I know I certainly care more about MY country, than THE country.