30 July 2008

+ Home Made Videos

This post stems from an article suggesting The Gruen Transfer had received over 6,100 user generated submissions on their website. As of the end of the season tonight, I've read it's reached 10,000. If this is true, the guys behind it must be ecstatic.

The question I feel most important here; What is the purpose of user generated content? I'm going to go ahead and suggest the answer would be the interaction with the brand. Or at least should be. If you're going in looking for free advertising you're doing it for the wrong reasons.

The user generated content on The Gruen Transfer's website follows a template. This template allows users to easily make an advertisement in five minutes or so. This is great because it allows the low involvement users to get involved and also means 10,000 entries. A similar concept has been used for Design A Coke.

But this limits the user's creativity. As a result you have 10,000 entries that all look the same and because of that most of them are only viewed a couple of times at most. Most importantly the interaction with the brand is limited. Whilst I understand you need different levels of entry for interaction, I'd much prefer a passionate user who spends two hours interacting with my brand than fifty people who spent five minutes.

A passionate user is likely to then upload it to YouTube. Then they're more likely to send it to their friends. Then they're more likely to check back on it regularly. They're also more likely to create something remarkable not restricted to a template.

Essentially, as with most things, it comes back to Seth Godin's idea of "who" instead of "how many".

26 July 2008

+ A Lecture Worth Watching

Randy Pausch passed away yesterday. His inspirational talk The Last Lecture is based on an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are basically asked, "What wisdom would you impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"

Prior to this presentation, Pausch was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

I hope my Last Lecture can be just one tenth as inspirational as this.

23 July 2008

+ Not So Horrible Television

If you haven't seen Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, it's too late. And that's the reason you will buy it from iTunes or on DVD.

During the Writer's Guild of America Strike, writer and director Joss Whedon developed this mini series. It was to be low budget and circumvent the issues of the strike but professionally done.

Three weeks ago the first fifteen minutes were uploaded. A week later the next fifteen and last week the concluding fifteen were aired. It was free to view with no advertising or sponsorship on the website what so ever.

On Sunday night it was taken down where it is now exclusively on iTunes (for a price) and soon to be on DVD.

The buzz it generated was amazing. There are no statistics on the website hits, but the Facebook fan page has more than 43,000 fans. And in under a month, that is more than remarkable.

I know I'll be buying it on DVD (apparently the Audio Commentary will be a musical in itself). You should too.

Much like the music industry and soon to be the publishing industry, the middle man was cut out. And while they haven't made a cent yet, I expect the profits will be high.

Is this the future of television?

15 July 2008

+ Murky Water On Ice

Small time blogger Jeff Simmermon posted about his experience at a coffee store.The passionate owner has very strict policy on the quality of his coffee and would note serve the customer an expresso on ice.

Boing Boing and Metafilter picked up the story and the original post soon had over 200 comments.

Shortly after, the owner of the coffee store replied. Note the use of "Fuck you, Jeff" and "If you ever show your face at my shop, I'll punch you in your dick."

I don't think there are many brands that could get away with this kind of behaviour. I know my bank couldn't. Neither could my university. But personally, I feel this coffee shop does it and does it well. They may have lost Jeff but they just gained me.

Contracting the size of your market doesn't seem logical. But when you focus entirely on loyal customers and brand evangelists, you can guarantee they will repeat purchase. More often than the guy who just stopped by for a coffee on ice anyway.

Great use of a small business blog too.

11 July 2008

+ I Am Not Digitally Lethargic

Imagine my surprise when I'm lying in bed on a cold rainy night, flicking through July's edition of Marketing Magazine to see my name appear in print.

Alongside social media extraordinaire and good friend Julian Cole, Stanley Johnson throws a casual mention my way in The Youth of Today: Digitally Lethargic?, part of his Around the Blogosphere column.

It might not seem like much, especially to blog about, but as I read it, a light in my head clicked on and I realised this is the career and life I want.

Interestingly, Stan later goes on to talk about a remarkable attempt by a graduate to get a job. I too am currently planning and implementing an idea that will get me a position at an advertising agency. I doubt it will spread like Sam's, but it will get me noticed.

And within two months, I will be working at Leo Burnett Melbourne.

So cheers Stan, I think I owe you a beer or twelve.

10 July 2008

+ In Search Of A Secret

In an attempt to gain market share by Ninemsn over the almighty Google in the search engine market, the Secret Search campaign has been implemented. Every time you make a search you have a chance to win a prize. They range from juggling balls to cash to notebooks.

It will work. Over the next three weeks I think they will see substantial increases in their section of the pie chart. But then the campaign will end and everyone one (myself included) will change their homepage back to Google.

07 July 2008

+ Social Media In One Sentence

Social media... means the customer has never been more right.
Social media... turns mass into grass.
Social media... makes everyone a movie star.
Social media... is like ice cream.
Social media... killed the middleman.

What is or does social media mean to you... in one sentence.

06 July 2008

+ Facebookies

As more so an experiment than an attempt to build my audience, I ran some banner ads on Facebook yesterday. Here are the statistics on ads shown only to people interested in marketing, advertising and blogging in Australia...
Impressions: 9,905
Clicks: 19
Click Thought Rate: 0.19%
Average Cost Per Click: $0.27
Average Cost Per Thousand: $0.51
Spent: $5.07
Whilst I did see a little spike in my daily views, not a single comment was left and as far as I can tell my RSS Feed dropped in subscribers. So a good tool if all you're looking for is views but a hopeless one if you're looking for readers.

02 July 2008

+ Happy Birthday Bronwen

I'm normally fairly good with people's birthday yet I missed a friend's yesterday. I only discovered it today when I opened my diary and realised the reason I forgot is because she doesn't have a Facebook account.

I've come to rely on this tool but also many other aspects of social media. It hasn't just given me more channels to communicate but has now become a main source of information and entertainment.

The way I contact people and stay in touch with them has changed with Facebook. The way I watch my favourite television shows has changed with YouTube, which has also opened up infinite hours of UGC. Similarly, the radio is streamed via podcasts. The daily read of a newspaper has changed with my RSS Subscriptions where I choose what I want to read.

Interestingly, these changes are all free. No wonder Generation Y is so reliant on social media.
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