If social media becomes bad photoshop with tenuous copywriting (aka “real time marketing”) and brands talking to other brands, I quit.
The following is this week’s 10am One Thing that I wrote for the DDB blog.
Tuesday was April Fool’s Day or, as those of us who are immersed in digital culture call it, the worst day on the Internet. Every year it rolls around and every year we dread being fooled (and subsequently publicly shamed) by something is just too good to be true.
This year, AdWeek collected
the best some of the pranks from brands that hit the internet which you can peruse at your pleasure below. Interestingly, Samsung and HTC, and Sam Adams and Stone both released the same pranks with tech-enabled gloves and helium-carbonated beer respectively.
But our favourite was from Bonobos, an apparel manufacturer who created TechStyle, a line of socially connected wearable tech clothing:
As with Real Time Marketing, we believe that for brands, participation does not automatically lead to relevance. Its a tough trick to get April Fool’s Day right, especially when everyone else is trying to do the same. Kudos to those who did get it right but Denny’s, like Oreo at the this year’s Super Bowl, may have done it best by simply not participating at all.
A while back, I wrote about the high school football coach who never punts, who always goes for it on fourth down and who always onside-kicks. He had looked at the game in a different way and was exploiting inefficiencies and insights. This is a similar story of the Houston Rockets’s D-league (developmental) team which has all but eliminated the mid-range jump shot. They only shoot 3’s or go for close-to-the-hoop shots. They’ve recognised that all shots in basketball have a value but that that value is not recognised on the score board. As one of the players says “shooting 33 per cent of 3s is the equivalent of shooting 50 per cent of 2s”.
Hopefully we’ll see more of this sort of different thinking in all sports, particularly if the “b-team” concept takes off in the UK and Premier League teams (like Liverpool) can experiment with different concepts, players, formations and tactics before trying them on the big stage.
At Tribal we’ve been talking a lot about our mission and vision this year. We’ve landed on a certain way that we believe brands should behave and, for me, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fit right into this mold. Not only are they bucking the trend of what it means to be a hip hop act – eschewing commercialism and homophobia – but they are continuously finding new ways to build a story, not just tell one.
This was abundantly clear last night at The Grammys and, while many brands were busy mistaking participation for relevance, they build a new chapter for the story that is the song, Same Love. Rather than simply perform the song, they lived the song. They married, as part of the performance, 33 same sex and traditional couples from all number of ethnic backgrounds. Yes it was a bit of a stunt but having listened to and followed the song for many months, I found it incredibly moving.
We’ve seen more and more famous figures (e.g. Obama) taking to Reddit for AMAs. Why is transparency, lifting the veil on companies, and appearing to have a more direct connection such an important trend right now?
As people, we are relentlessly curious and crave answers from brands as we would from our own friends, families and colleagues.The new mindset is that “if you’re not telling me what I want to know, you have something to hide”. On the other side of things, companies that are acting in a modern, human way and who are being transparent are being rewarded for with consumers’ time, attention and more importantly trust.
What does it say for the changing media landscape, that more and more marketers are looking to direct channels to connect with their customers? Certainly paid media is not going away entirely, but it does seem the old model is changing.
As marketers, we have a lot of new arrows in our quills, now we must learn how to use them properly and effectively – both separately and together. Modern brands are now taking full advantage of four types of media: paid, owned, earned and shared (3rd party sites where companies participate such as reddit or Facebook). The trick is not blindly getting involved in all of these but in knowing what media can do which jobs in solving a business problem.