Friday, 13 July 2007

Gizmoz avatars to take centre stage at the MTV music awards

So it seems that the new animated avatar site Gizmoz have teamed up with Taco Bell to create a user generated advertising campaign which will apear in this years MTV Music Awards. Whilst there seems to be no prize money involved, this is a great opertunity to raise the profile of gizmoz at the same time giving Taco Bell an inexpensive advertising avenue that takes the user community under their wing.

The competition goes a little somthing like this. Members of Gizmoz use the sites to create an animated 3d figure based on a photograph of themselves, they then use the animated avatar to create a 30sec add spot for entry into the competition. I was a little sceptical when I first had a play with the Gizmoz technology assuming that it would not work quite as well as the demo clip, but it turns out the technology behind the site actually does quite a good job of compiling a 3d image of ones face and animating it with eyebrow and mouth movements to give life to the figure.

From an advertising point of view its quite a smart move from Taco Bells marketing department. By asking users to create a CGI ad Taco Bell can avoid problems such as shakey camera work, bad lighting, etc and thus ensure the quality (to an extent) of the entries. How well the final ad is received from the television audience doesnt really matter in this case, the true value of the competition is undoubtedly the time the content creators spend thinking about why they like Taco Bell and what they should say to appeal to new consumers.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Is Coke Being The Real Thing? Authentic Marketing?

In the previous post Jake mentioned that we would be keeping an eye on the Diet Coke User Generated Video competition. In his next post, Jake will be doing a comprehensive analysis of the site and competition so far. I just wanted to talk about one thing on this site. Check out some of the comments posted for one of the videos in the competitions;
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this production. i felt the need to quench my thirst with the sparkling joy brought on by these performers
  • The walks/struts also gave this production a sense of attitude which, again is another strength of this masterpiece.
  • This is a clever yet friendly approach to the culture and effects of diet coke , for the young , the old and the funky.
  • A good use of a little bit o cash . A lotto FUN.
  • What is funnier than this ad is all the fake positive comments below. Lame.
  • That was drivel. unoriginal, routine, pointless special effects, unfunny, self riotous stereotyping, a bit cruel and pompous.
  • Ah, am curious, how many of the people who commented were involved with this film? Seems that some felt the need to rate it several times...
  • Well! (pause) bit like an advertisement really...

You can find a truck load of blogs talking about how companies artificially inflate traffic stats, monitor and doctor comment, message boards, spam forums.

The reason to get involved in social media and User Generated Content is to present your brand as Authentic. As consumers, that is a big part of what we are all after. Authenticity - or at least the appearance of AUTHENTICITY. This is the reason why I will pay $100 for U2 concert tickets. Use Google over Yahoo. Travel to see the Mona Lisa instead of a print.

Don't destroy these honest, noble attempts to interact with your customers with old dubious marketing techniques. Don't restrict comments. Don't obviously spam comments and message boards. Don't advertise subvertly. YOU WILL BE FOUND OUT. Because of the way social media, blogs and forums works these days, and the level of sophistication and cynicism of consumers, you will stand out like a fart in an elevator.

(check these couple of great post on authenticity by Seth Godin. here and here)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Can Diet Coke find some love from the Youtube generation?

Diet Coke are dipping their toes into the user generated content arena with a new website showing short films made by local up and coming directors, but can Coke find a place in the hearts of the Youtube generation?

In an era where audiences are embracing the freedom of video on demand, Coke seem to be taking a step backwards in posting one movie each day at the set time of 11am. From what we can gather it seems that Coke are trying to link the morning tea break with their daily video release and this isn't such a bad idea accept for all of those people that take their morning break before 11am. The site is only new so we are yet to see if previous days clips will also be available for viewers to go though at their convenience.

It is interesting to note that Coke have chosen not to dive in the deep end but rather dip their toes into the user generated content pool by keeping control of the videos that appear on their site. This obviously avoids any "negative brand connotation" clips appearing on the site, but many new media marketing experts believe that user generated content initiatives must be totally open, warts and all before users really start getting involved. Companies that enable comments on their corporate blogs run the risk of negative remarks, but part of the appeal of interactive marketing is the company's preparedness to be transparent in interacting with their customers. Those few companies that think they can control their public perception by deleting negative comments soon find themselves berated in dozens of blogs and forums sites.

We will keep an eye on Diet Cokes campaign over the coming weeks and keep you all up to date on this little marketing experiment by one of the worlds biggest companies.

Gen Y Marketing Podcast - Episode 1

So we have been hard at work recording the Gen Y Marketing Podcast of late and its now available for you to listen to here. If feedburner does the job it says it does then it will also be available on iTunes in the comming week or so.

This week on the Gen Y Marketing Podcast we take a look at the following:-

Marketing News this week:-
  • RTA's new ad to target young male drivers
  • 12% of Senior marketers see value in consumer generated content
  • Text my t shirt and the t shirt responds?
  • Greenpeace beams their message to the world
  • 7 eleven joins the Simpsons joke and rebrands to Kwik-e-Mart
Feature Discussion this week:-
  • Ambient Marketing - What works and what doesn't.
Campaign focus:-
  • "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" Ads - preaching to the converted?
  • - making manufacturing sexy?