Diesel Facepark – poking fun at digital culture

As part of Diesel’s global Be Stupid campaign, they’ve come up with quite a cool little experiential event called Facepark, a live event where thousands turned up to create an analog version of Facebook, simulating pretty much everything you can do on Facebook in a physical format, starting with every guest receiving a profile cut-out on arrival that would become your analog wall for the day.

A cool quirky event that is semi social and a bit of fun for the brand. A mini movement against digital.  I like how the brand is poking fun at popular culture and being playful, in this instance, Gen C’s obsession with a digital life.  A very different approach to Levi’s super sious ‘Go Forth’ campaign which i equally admire.

Levi’s Workshop – taking ‘Go Forth’ to the people

Love this new idea from Levi’s. The brand’s heritage is based on being workwear for pioneers. Well, they’ve brought this product truth into the 21st century and the brand will now equip a new generation of pioneers and celebrate creative communities across the  USA by launching the Levi’s Workshops in San Fran.

Each Workshop is designed to focus on a specific craft – the first two being printmaking and photography respectively. The Levi’s Workshops will be multi-use spaces, featuring a functional craft-centric Workshop, community event space and retail storefront.

The Levi’s Workshops will serve as community-based extensions of the ‘Go Forth’ brand idea, paying homage to the principles of hard work and civic engagement. For eight weeks, each workshop will invite the general public to participate in interactive demonstrations, educational programming and events.

Levi’s have done an amazing job of bringing the idea of ‘Go Forth’ to the community literally and tapped into a people’s need to belong to a creative community.  This idea is about creating culture and generates real utility. Well done Levi’s and Sub Rosa.

Levi’s – great new social online shopping experience

Levi’s have just created a great ‘social’ shopping experience, tapping into Facebook’s new ‘like feature’.  They’ve integrated the new “like” feature with every product on the site so you can check out other Facebook peeps and who ‘likes’ what. Tapping into the tribal element, it even pulls in pics of your friends who’ve “liked” the item.

No doubt other retailers will follow suit, but nice to see Levi’s innovating in this space as they are an iconic brand that previously had failed to innovate from a product point of view.

My top 10 posts of ’09

As 2009 draws to a close I thought I’d recap with a list of  the top 10 posts (according to you guys) that gained the most traffic on my blog. It seems the posts you guys tended to navigate towards were those that were about how brands should behave in the new media environment when trying to engage youth in conversationas well as learnings from the world’s best youth brands.

Here are the 10 posts (in terms of site traffic) in  2009 for those that haven’t read them.

1. Nike: We don’t do advertising , we do cool stuff (by far and away the most popular post of the year)

2. Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ – Inspiring Generation Optimism

3. Youth want TRIBAL IDEAS – tips on creating a movement

4. Youth are Cyborgs

5. 10 Principles for engaging Teens

6. 10 Observations on how the best youth brands behave

7. Why Red Bull is the world’s best youth brand

8. Youth marketing is about Culture Creation

9. Experimentation is the new Engagement

10. Brand Ecosystems and Participative Branding Comms Model

My top 5 youth ideas for 2009

Well I’m about to log off tomorrow for 2009, back Jan 6th. It may be a little quiet around here for a while. I’ve got some cool ideas that I’ve been working on the past months that will be breaking in early 2010, so I lookforward to putting them out there and seeing what people think.

 It’s been a great year, I hope you’ve found my insights into youth marketing, planning,  social media and Gen C interesting. In my time off I’m going to be thinking about how I get my book on Youth Tribes going, as it’s such a morphing space, but I’m excited about getting into all the different youth subcultures in Australia and understanding their differences and universal commonalities.

For a bit of fun, here are my  5 favourite youth ideas/content deliveries of 2009:

1. Red Bull Project X – Shaun White Secret Halfpipe (clear winner) – Creating a secreet halfpipe for Shaun White to practice new tricks in…in a word AMAZING. RB are the kings of creating mythology around their brand and deliver the storytelling ina simple yet inspiring way. They know that they are far more than an energy drink brand, they are a youth entertainment media brand. No one ‘creates culture’ like RB.

2. Burger King Whopper Sacrifice – brilliant idea which fucked with the establised codes of culture by getting people to ‘scarifice’ friends to show their love of the Whopper. It’s so brutally simple and engaging. Just when everyone though FB was about adding mates, Crispin turned things on it’s head and made the world go into sacrifice mode.

3. Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ - superb job of creating a new manifesto for Levi’s and making the  ‘Original’ brand position mean something for American youth. This brand idea did a great job of tapping into Generation O (Optimism) which is sweeping across America right now and capturing a relevant mood of global youth.

4. Sprite ‘Reality Remixed’ – Green Eyed World - truly social idea with great follow factor, following the breakout year of a pop hopeful,  Katie –  which in the world of music marketing is absolutely rare…fantastic consumer engagement via the youtube series and Facebook connect interaction, awesome use of technology to make the idea truly social

5. DC Shoes ‘Gymkhana’ videos  – the series of Ken BLock ‘gymkhana’ videos are a youtube phenom, makes the brand feel so authentic and cool when you see KB burning around trailer parks doing tricks in his WRX. DC shoes are smart, they entertain their true believers and the rest flock towards them

Some other cool things that have been quite innovative in engaging youth:

- Fiesta Movement – innovative way to launch a car, try sparking a movement by giving 100 cars away to kids to drive around for a few months…created deep engagement with ‘agents’ and the car was the backdrop to the storytelling. They’re shifting into getting fans to ‘create the 2011′ advertising which worries me, but lets see what happens.

Halo 3 ODST:  - love a great little ARG which sent Canadian gamers on a trasure hunt across Toronto for VIP access to the launch party…they engaged the true believers and the game sold out like hot cakes.

- V Australia 4320LA (Well done Sudeep and Nick K) – smartest use of ‘Twitter’ for a campaign, although the return leg of 4320Sydney wasn’t as engaging.

- Coke Expedition 206 - sheer scale and audacity of the idea of taking 3 20 somethings around the world for a year to spread ‘Happiness’ in 206 countries is cool…whether there is follow factor is yet to be seen

- Gatorade ‘Replay’ – clever doco created by Gatorade in the US..getting two high school football teams from the 90′s who are super fierce rivals to replay a drawn match. Captivating content and an authentic role for product which is rare in branded content these days, without it feeling forced.

Have a great Christmas/Hannukah and Happy New Year  and am hoping one of my ideas make it onto this type of list of innovative youth marketing ideas/programs.

Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ – inspiring Generation ‘O’ (Optimism or Obama)

Wieden & Kennedy Portland have just launched their latest work for Levi’s and I’m impressed, I think it will definitely strike a chord with American youth. American youth want to be proud of being American for a change, and this campaign helps them do that.  I worked a little on the brand at my time at BBH New York and I’m happy to see the brand stand for something ‘bigger’ than just sex appeal and make their heritage mean something.   The campaign has been designed to connect the 150-year-old brand with the youth of today, tapping into the fact that this generation is patriotic about the US and optimistic about life. 

 Doug Sweeny, vice-president for Levi’s brand marketing, said of the young Americans at whom the campaign is aimed: “They’re realists — they understand the challenge. They’re optimistic about the future, they can project forward. We found that really powerful and tried to evoke it in the campaign.”  So, they’re talking to Generation Optimism or Generation Obama (as we like to call it)  who want change, and levi’s is the quintessential American brand who can help reflect a new brighter future for youth. I think this campaign is culturally relevant in todays environment when youth are searching for something/peopel to believe in. I especially like the manifesto piece which sets the tone for this new brand belief. Will be interesting to see how global youth react to it in other Western cultures, but I think the thought of  ‘Go Forth’ is globally relevant despite its obvious US history connotations. Well Done Levi’s.

Levi's 'Go Forth' manifesto....the return of the manifesto, havent seen one like this since Impossible is Nothing

Levi's 'Go Forth' manifesto....the return of the manifesto, havent seen one like this since Impossible is Nothing

Levi's Go Forth outdoor

Levi's Go Forth outdoor

How Nike SB, Red Bull, Grey Goose, Diesel and Burger King made it

Some case studies on how the best brands have had success and failures. A look into Nike SB, Red Bull, Levi’s vs Diesel, Grey Goose vs Absolut and the re-incarnation of Burger King. Some observations on what other brands can learn. The preso is from last year but I never put it on the blog…