30 June 2008

+ Blogging As Another

Character blogs just don't work.

At the start of the year a character blog was established to launch a movie. It was a great way to generate a little buzz, especially around the blogosphere. I'm sure they even picked up a few regular readers and maybe a couple of RSS subscriptions.

But it hasn't been touched since April. Movie launches have a lifetime of only a couple of months but blogs carry a long tail. You can't launch a blog and build up an audience to abruptly stop. Blogging and short term strategy just don't go together.

Sure they might put out another post when the DVD is released but their small (but passionate) community will be long dead by then.

Fictional television characters might have it a little eaiser. Dwight Schrute from The Office has his own blog which is immensely popular. But take a look back a few months ago and you will see a massive gap during the Writers Guild of America Strike. You need to pay a writer to maintain a character blog which can't always be done.

So when do they work?

When done in parody and non commercially. The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog is a great example where Daniel Lyons maintained a successful blog for several years until he was revealed in August 2007. He still posts daily under the character and it is as successful as ever.

Marketers shouldn't be using fake blogs for more reasons than just transparency issues.

Unless anyone can prove me wrong with an example?

22 June 2008

+ The Key To Successful Blogging

Shave your head.

Mitch Joel likes to quote "Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone". I think we can add to that "Be Bald".

19 June 2008

+ The Notebook

My brand new notebook. Who said the PC Guy always had to wear a suit?

18 June 2008

+ When Social Networks Attack

17 June 2008

+ It's Not Worth Preaching

Many of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis have Facebook groups. Ones that immediately come to mind are Six Pixels of Separation, Jaffe Juice and Gen Y Marketing Podcast. But what is the point?

The groups all seem dead. Julian Cole says they can be used to promote podcast episodes but I can't help but feel members of this group would already be subscribed.

Similarly, these podcasts usually start or end with the same spiel in each episode. As regular listeners, surely we already know where to find you, how to contact you and have checked out the blog?

This valuable content time and energy is wasted on a few potential new listeners. It seems like an incredibly outdated approach and almost mass media like.

Why waste time preaching to the choir?

16 June 2008

+ Three Overused Letters

<b>, <i> and <u>.

Should be used only sparingly and never all three at a time.

15 June 2008

+ In The Detail

The 2008 MADC Awards were held Friday night and the winner of Ad of the Year was this from Schweppes...

It is a visually stunning commercial. It even has a loose tie in to the brand, which apparently is all you need in this industry.

It shows us how beautifully we can see the world when we we slow down time. I'd now like to direct you to 0:58 in this commercial and watch the bubbles inside the glass. Anyone else see the jump in frames?

Ironically, when slowed down, this commercial isn't so beautiful.

14 June 2008

+ Podcasting Seriously

There is no doubt in my mind that ABC is leading the way in new media of all the television networks.

Not only have they developed excellent websites which allow the viewers to become involved on another medium but they were the first to adopt the concept of podcasting. Whilst it's far easier for them to do so given their non commercial status, this was the first step in what will soon change the way we view television in Australia.

The other commercial networks are tied down a little more with advertising issues. And that is why I would like to commend Network Ten.

They dipped their foot in the water by podcasting one sketch of the successful Thank God You're Here online each week last year. For the entire season it didn't leave the Top 5 Australian Podcasts in iTunes. Interestingly, these five minute segments were book marked with ten second spots.

They've now plunged head first and podcasted the entire show of Good News Week, with similar rankings as Thank God You're Here. Even more interestingly without any spots at all.

Either way this is a positive step forward, albeit a slow one, for new media. Now how long until Nine Network and Channel Seven get on board?

13 June 2008

+ Male Bloggers Beware

I think this video speaks for itself...

+ Go Fuck Yourself

Firstly, my apologies. I didn't mean for that to be such a provocative title but it got your attention, eh?

Where do you stand on swearing in blogs? I don't mean any random swearing but when it is used to show passion or expression.

Does it further add to the fact I'm a Generation Y, 18 year old blogger?

Or does it steal credibility, portray me as unprofessional and ward off potential employers or more importantly readers?

12 June 2008

+ Death By PowerPoint

11 June 2008

+ Times²

1 Times Square is a very profitable building. In an block made famous for its advertising, this address is the number one player. It costs roughly US$300,000 a month to have your sign on this building. In 2000, it was estimated the owner brought in monthly checks of up to US$250,000,000.

The most interesting thing about this building? It's empty and the insides are completely gutted. It brings in more money through advertising than it would having to deal with pesky tenants.

That is a ridiculous amount of money. I would love to see the ROI for brands that use these electronic billboards.

10 June 2008

+ Reality Is Perception

The UN has come together and decided to elect the first ever world leader. Only your vote counts.

Here are your three candidates...
Candidate A
Associates with crooked politicians and consults with an astrologist. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks ten martinis a day.

Candidate B
Kicked out of office twice and usually sleeps until midday. He used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C
Decorated war hero who is also a vegetarian. He doesn't smoke, drinks only an occasional beer and has never cheated on his wife.
Which of these candidates would you choose? Decide and then scroll down without peeking.

Candidate A was Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B was Winston Churchill.
Candidate C was Adolf Hitler.

First impressions are everything. Consumers jump to conclusions. And perception is reality.

09 June 2008

+ Ted's Climate Crisis

You'd be a clown if you weren't subscribed to TED presentations in iTunes. Not only are there some fantastic talks on marketing but nearly every single presentation offers something unique. For anyone ever doing a presentation of your own, there's definitely something to learn.

Here's a great presentation I've watched just now by Al Gore...

When he talked about Kevin Rudd ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, fuck I felt proud to be Australian.

08 June 2008

+ A Guilty Pleasure

This country is in a ridiculous amount of debt.

As a marketer, should I be feeling guilty about this?

07 June 2008

+ Zac Martin Just Plurked

I think if you signed up for Plurk right now you'd still be considered an early adopter. Although there is a lot of buzz going around at the moment so get in fast.

I quite like the concept and it seems to out do Twitter in nearly every way.

The only problem is there are no banner ads. No forms of advertising what so ever. Sure in the short term that's great for me and you but how are they going to pay their costs? This becomes particularly important with their exponentially growing traffic.

Like many social networks, they are going to struggle to monetise the site. And by introducing advertising now, you risk alienating your community.

Where does this leave them in the long term?

06 June 2008

+ Planting The Seed

On occasion I work Reception. In fact I'm actually "working" right now so don't tell anyone.

Part of my role is to sort incoming mail and then delivery it to the correct pigeon holes. Whilst sorting through the legitimate mail I find myself with handfuls and handfuls of tangible spam. Just now, I've thrown out 16 letters from the same organisation to different people who work here. And much much more.

I don't even open the envelopes before turfing them into the recycling bin. I feel like writing to them to say that interruption advertising like this just doesn't work. Especially when you can't even get it through the Receptionist.

I did find one exception a few weeks ago. A small tin arrived which was clearly spam addressed to one of the managers. But I didn't throw it away.

The instructions said to open it and water it daily while keeping it warm. So I took it home that night and thus began a two week relationship with the brand and counting. After a few days a plant sprouted and somehow on one of the leaves were embed the words Thank You. It's still growing today. It's somewhat similar to this.

What a great way to break through the clutter. I'm still interacting with the brand and I even feel like they are a little bit more environmentally friendly than I thought.

I guess the only problem is I took it home and failed to pass it onto the manager. Like the rest of the junk mail, it never got passed the Receptionist even if for a different reason.

05 June 2008

+ 8 Rules To Web 2.0 Logos

1. Use a simple sans serif font but not a standard one because you might be seen to lack typeface skills.

2. Fluorescent colours are good, preferably blue, pink or orange.

3. Everyone uses boxes, so you should too.

4. But if you do, make sure the edges are rounded because that's what all the cool kids are doing.

5. Show customers you are really good with Photoshop and include a reflection.

6. Prove you have a keen eye for design and ensure everything looks as glossy and as shiny as possible.

7. No Web 2.0 logo is complete without a vertical gradient of some sort.

8. Ensure you are going to be the "next big thing" and include the word Beta somewhere in your logo.

03 June 2008

+ Pledge For Passion

Apple users are passionate. Windows users are not. Mozilla Firefox users are passionate. Internet Explorer users are not.

I'll stay away from the almost cliché example of Apple and instead use Firefox.

Mozilla recently announced Firefox 3 will be launched shortly and have decided to involve their powerful consumer following. On what will be Download Day, they will be trying to break the Guinness World Record for the most downloaded software in 24 hours.

You can actually pledge to download the software, where they will then send you a reminder email on the day. A fantastic idea and at the moment they already have 672,214 pledges. Not downloads, but pledges.

I think Internet Explorer might be in trouble. In fact, I wonder how many people would pledge to download their latest version?

02 June 2008

+ A Single Frame

Be sure to check out Marketing Today where Peter, Jules, Simon and myself discuss The Perfect Viral in Episode #64.

During this discussion a point was raised regarding the effective use of preview images on YouTube. Generally a hot female or a cleavage shot tended to give your video a higher view count. I also learnt, that this preview image is selected from the exact middle of your video.

Now take a look at Episode #1 of a fairly quirky series called Zeroes...

If you have a keen eye like myself you might noticed at 1:57 a flicker of a frame. You might also notice that 1:57 is exactly halfway between the video.

The frame is of a blonde cheerleader. The same one as the preview. This user has gone to the effort of placing a frame in the middle of the content just to get a certain preview image.

Interesting. How long do you think until this becomes a common practice?

01 June 2008

+ More Free Ideas

Following on from a previous post, I recently purchased four items from Safeway. The receipt was 34cm long. For four items. 34cm long.

Seth Godin has a good post here showing two companies who could be perceived as being just as wasteful. Or entirely luxurious. Either way, I will never see Safeway as luxurious and such a long receipt only says to me they are not as green as they could be.

Again I recommend you head over to Idea A Day and check out Idea #2842 for another submitted by yours truly.
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
Pigs Don't Fly © Copyright Zac Martin