Category Archives: marketing

Not another Best Job in the World campaign, but plenty of “buzz”

The Westword Weekly News in Denver, Colorado recently had an open job position for a Medical Pot Reviewer. Many  claim that this was “The REAL Best Job in the World” (sorry Hamilton Island and Ben Southall).  Regardless of your beliefs towards legalized marijuana, the speed and quality of job application responses are both amazing and hilarious.  Especially considering this was never intended to be a campaign.

Marketing Lesson: The right incentive to the right target audience will always get a high response rate.  (sorry, couldn’t resist)


Twitter: The New Travel Planner

I had a particularly good experience recently as my girlfriend and I were starting to plan an upcoming trip to Los Angeles.  She opted for the more conventional method of running a few searches on Google,, and  As expected she got the standard results – a few promotions, some highly rated hotels, and a good selection of price ranges.  Not bad, but nothing you could really trust and act upon without asking around a bit more.

On the other hand, I opted to throw out this tweet to see what would come back.  Within an hour, I received 8 different recommendations coming from a mix of friends and 3rd party services.  By the end of the night, I had 15 different recommendations to choose from all with personal validations or niche customer reviews to back them.

I was particularly impressed with one travel service, Resideo, who reached out to me with the following series of tweets (in order of conversation): quick consultation, staff recommendations, single recommendation, and the soft-sell.  All signs of a well-formulated customer service strategy in social media that picks up on the exact moment of consumer demand.

While it helped that my chosen destination was in a Twitter-crazy market, what I learned was that social media can be (and will be) a very serious player in the travel planning process.  The level of service I received was spectacular compared to the robotic process of searching on travel aggregators and search engines.  The human-touch of customer service has returned to digital, when we once thought it had completely abandoned the internet.

I love the concept that we no longer have to search for products and services, because they will find us.  With the communication tools we have today, we’re not too far off from making that concept a reality.

Free Content Models for Books, Music, Movies and news?

Seth Grossman circulated a link to me this morning saying ” [Here’s] an interesting example of Bought / Owned / Earned  being leveraged – Publishers are paying for placement on Kindle using their owned platform of the books they publish to actually distribute free books that get readers hooked on the author to drive sales of other books by the same author.  All delivered digitally”.

There are strong parallels with the way of the music industry as well. This article by Mike Masnick about free music content is worth a read. From a content perspective we are going to see an increasingly clear picture emerge in the next 12 months on this subject. Some of the emerging [non] business models of the music industry totally negate paid-for content and instead rely purely on revenue generated from live events and merchandising and potential sponsorships. Mike Masnick’s case study on Nine Inch Nails is also worth viewing though can be neatly summarised as:

Connect With Fans (CwF) + Reason To Buy (RtB) = The Business Model ($$)

Interestingly, movies don’t have that luxury as the performance can never be “live”, so while the studios gloated over the failure of the music industry in the past decade, I think the last laugh may yet be on them partly because their whole business model actually depends on their catalogue and the 60% margins they get from the DVD window and the 96% margins from the TV release window. Either way, there are going to be more opportunities for brands to “sponsor and “own” blocks of content from music/bands, books, films and news.

On a slightly separate but related matter here’s a link to “that note” that created some buzz last month from a 15yr old intern at Morgan Stanley who wrote a very clear consumer portrait of media and device usage for his generation. It has interesting reflection on cost sensitivity of teenagers on using various tools (like e.g. twitter – they don’t use it because it eats into their free SMS’s on mobile…); why they still go to cinemas and their attitude towards banners as well as various other pertinent insights.

So what is Rupert Murdoch’s view? If his newspapers are moving towards a paid-for model, how are they going to compete with “free news content”? It’s all very well to argue for the need for News publishers “to delicately perform some kind of cashectomy on digital consumers” but it is hardly news to announce this without elucidating a more refined solution.  In my view the only way he will achieve that is by creating  a lot MORE VALUE for consumers on his newspaper sites beyond news content from additional sources such as film, music and books; by that stage it is arguable whether it is the news content or the additional content that consumers are prepared to pay for.

My two cents worth is that we will move closer to the free content model as demonstrated by Kindle, Masnick and the Morgan Stanley intern than we will to Rupert Murdoch’s simplistic pay-per-play model.

Absolut Drinkspiration, in honor of Friday…

Just got this through from Mike Fung.  We like Absolut’s style.

Everything I need to know about marketing I learned from GTAIV…

GTAIV_LogoWhilst perusing threebillion the other day, I was reminded of a little piece of silliness I wrote up late last year, just after completing Grand Theft Auto IV.  I’d been asked to write a piece on advergaming, but as things tend to do around me, it evolved into something else entirely.  Upon a second read, six months later, I actually think it was still spot on.  If you haven’t played GTAIV, you really should go check it out.  Hopefully this makes sense even if you haven’t.  

Let’s take a look at this little list, here dubbed “Everything I Needed to Know about Marketing I Learned from Grand Theft Auto IV”.

1)    Show value.  Simply put, everything that you CAN do in the game actually MEANS something.  Changing your clothes affects how people view and treat you in the game, women notice the car you drive, and grabbing a bite to eat ups your health.

2)    Social networking isn’t just for fun, it’s a must.  The moment that the character Dwayne called me up after I took him bowling and he offered me thugs to help out on missions whenever I called, I realized the importance of chatting with all of the characters within the game.  Get involved with your consumers! 

3)    Mobile is an essential part of the mix and best used as a connector.  The mobile in GTA connects me to the world around me, facilitates missions, and is not simply a miniature video player.  Similarly, stop thinking of standalone mobile campaigns and start thinking of how mobile can become an integral part of a larger campaign. 

4)    Plan for varying levels of consumer involvement and journeys.  No matter what I decided to do within the game, whether it was to tear around the city stealing as many cars as possible or see how long I could survive with a five star wanted level, it was always easy to jump back into the storyline, and I was always having a good time.  Not every consumer will wish to be 100% involved with your brand, so offer them the option to choose their involvement level.    

5)    Timing is everything.  Calling Kiki up for a date at 3am Monday morning only made her mad, but calling her at 5pm on a Friday got me a date.  Always ensure that your marketing targets the consumer when they’re open to receiving the message. 

6)    Authenticity and transparency are essential.  Quite often within the game you are required to make a choice between doing a dodgy deal for money, extracting revenge, or sparing a person’s life, and the choices you make are not only remembered, but they affect how the citizens of Liberty City deal with you in very real terms.  Treat someone badly or lie to them and they’ll remember it forever. 

7)    Continuously track and optimize.  As much fun as it may be to blow up armored trucks with bazookas, each round costs a princely sum of $5,000, and it just might make more sense to use up those sniper rifle rounds at $100 – especially when the value of a mission is only $4,000?  Clearly, you don’t always need to have a full run of site on Yahoo! to have an effective campaign, no matter how warm and fuzzy it might make your client feel.      

8)    Deliver your message in a consumer centric way.  One of the more straightforward elements of GTA has to be the delivery of mission criteria.  Not only would I get mission instructions within each cinematic sequence with the various game characters, but following each sequence I would get an update on screen explaining exactly where I needed to go, along with a marker placed on the city map showing me graphically how to get there.

9)    Experiment, experiment, experiment!  I don’t think this can be emphasized enough, but the greatest joy you can have in GTA is discovering that random bit of interactivity – be it realizing you can play that arcade machine in the bar or that you can indeed fire your bazooka one-handed around a corner.  Always set aside a percentage of your budget for pure experimentation, without this you simply will not discover exciting new opportunities. 

10)  Sometimes, gratuitous sex and violence works.  What can I say – $500 million in first week sales is a hard thing to argue against.  The moral here is simply push the envelope – and frankly, all press is good press.  

Thoughts?  Any other key lessons that can be learned from this excellent little piece of game design?

Carl’s Jr UGC videos off to a fast start

Following up on our previous post, The New Network Buy, the branded UGC vids for Carl’s Jr’s Portabello Mushroom Burger have hit the Tube-waves.  You can view them all here:

So far the videos have received 3,412,606 views in the first week of launch.  The expected viewership was set at 10 million views and we think they’re well on pace to exceed that.  After all, video responses from the community haven’t even joined in on the fun yet.

YouTube all-star, nigahiga, is leading the way with 1.2 million+ views on his creation.


We appreciate the $1 off coupon on the YouTube branded page as well.  Good for accountability and stuff.

Best Facebook integration yet…

A definite hat tip to Ed Tam up in Shanghai for alerting me to this very cool bit of Facebook integration.  The videogame The Prototype Experience has a nifty little website up that manages to use your profile data in its intro cinematic in a very clever way.  I promise it’s worth clicking, even if the load time is a bit long, and yes, you need to allow Facebook Connect to do its thing.  Seriously, just click.  


Perhaps my only real issue with the entire execution is at the end however, when the site asks for my email address and date of birth?