Top 10 #RealTimeMarketing Moments from April Fools Day

Well we’ve had the best of in real time marketing from the SuperBowl,Valentines Day and Oscars; last week brands across the world were at it again on trying to generate cultural conversation around weird and wacky April Fools Day pranks. 

 Here are my top 10 real time marketing moments from around the world:

 1. Google Maps Pokemon Challenge

Google Maps goes into recruitment mode with the help of Pokemon to find Pokemon Masters around the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YMD6xELI_k#t=22

2. Headdit: a quirky new way to browse Reddit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqoKxLB8GH8#t=30

3. Dominos Edibox: a world first in snacking innovation

 

(Disclaimer: our Iris London office did this one)Image

4. LELO Dextrus: World’s first vibrator that makes you smart

The left handed orgasm for lovemakers around the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJernQ4gxtA#t=23

 5. Virgin America & NEST’s ‘Total Temperature Control’ give passengers control over their seating temperatures onboard

Sir Richard shows us how to feel a Chicago polar vortex onboard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1nzWY3JFJQ

 6. Rent out your desk on AirBrb: some fun from Airbnb

What could be better than earning money while you work?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0MmNM0a_RU

 7. LEGO offered free shipping by Turtle for one day only on Twitter

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8. King’s College Choir in London offered up helium as a solution to replacing high male voices

Nice to see a religious group getting in on the fun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukDAfF0-8q8

 9. SONY launched #SONYPowerFood to power their products via a new voltaic enzyme

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPRYB_PNWlA

 Last but not least, even the French got in on the fun

10. AirFrance introduced inflight selfies via #SelfintheAir camera

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Overheard at SXSW 2014: 30 Interesting & Influential quotes

 

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 Here’s a little piece I put together earlier in the week for B&T, capturing 30 interesting & influential quotes from around the grounds at SXSW covering an array of topics. 

Once again the Twitterverse has gone into a tail spin as we all look to the latest trends and digital innovations coming out of SXSW Interactive festival in Austin Texas.  

There have been hundreds of speeches over the first three days, and I learned from last year’s experience that it’s impossible to visit or track every interesting keynote or speech. So I’ve attempted to capture the most interesting and potentially influential Tweets of the festival so far to give you a sense of what marketers are getting excited about. From 3D trending cookies, automation, the meaning economy, taser drones, wearable tech, girlpower, messy ideas – there’s lots of interesting perspectives flooding the Twitter stream right now.

1.    ‘Chaotic Moons taser drone delivers 80,000 volts of paralyzing power.’ @Mashable

2.     “At the Oreo Trending Vending Lounge we’re connecting trending moments to the Oreo cookie itself in real time and in real life .”  Bonin Bough,  Mondelez

3.    ‘One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice’. Julian Assange

4.    “Brands need to move their social media from always on to always relevant.’ @richardting R/GA

5.     ‘Creativity is not about keeping clean, it’s about getting in trouble’ @jeffreytambor, Actor

6.     ‘The ability of an entrepreneur to be a good storyteller is critical to their company’s success’ @BenHorowitz, Author ‘The Hard thing about Things’

7.    ’30 years ago it took 30 years to build a brand.  Now it can be almost overnight.’ Ben Lerer, Thrillist

8.    ‘Brands are grappling with privacy. They’re figuring out what’s cool vs. what’s creepy and how to not cross that line.’ @AnnMack JWT

9.    ‘Only 6% of CEOs for startups are women. We are taught early on, that being the boss isn’t very attractive. Join in the fight to disrupt the ‘pink aisle.’ Lyndsey Shepard, GirlPower

10. ‘Participation, Exclusivity and Authenticity are the 3 Characteristics of Successful Design.”  @DBonner, Razorfish

11. “People don’t experience technology. They experience products, spaces, usually one at the time.’  @rodrigoATCG, IDEO

12. ‘The shift in wearable tech: from “connected body” to “engaged humans” – start to understand what motivate users.’ Francois Grouiller, Fred & Farid

13. “Self tracking must feed our intuition, not replace it.” Ben Essen, Iris Worldwide

14. ‘We create 838 miles worth of digital content every 10 minutes.’ Mary Snauffer

15. ‘In the automated world, income will go up for people who work with computers and robots, and down for others.’ Eric Schmidt, Google

16. ‘The more autocratic the country, the more online identities the citizens have.’ David Caygill, Iris Worldwide

17.  “The better the tools one uses, the further you can get.” Stephen Wolfram

18. “Your audience now has their own audience. “Sandra Zuckerburg, Facebook

19. “We were ready to take a risk. It worked.”  Dana Brunelli, House of Cards producer

20. “If you can’t post a picture of it, it didn’t happen” Sam Huston, Jumptank

21. “We forget that our writing systems all started as pictures.” Ben Zimmer, vocabulary.com

22. “Fonts exist to add emotional context to written words.” Ben Zimmer, vocabulary.com

23. “Progressive companies are the ones who say: This journey is 1% finished” Maria Giudice, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design

24. “Good ideas are messy.” Maria Giudice, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design

25. “The next frontier is to make asynchronous communication as seamless as real time conversations.” Stephen Kim, Microsoft / Skype

26. “We have a universal need to be in the places and times that we can’t be in.” Stephen Kim, Microsoft / Skype

27. “Persuasive design aligns your desired outcome with the user’s interest.” Matt Dana, Fullscreen

28. ‘Better to be fired than to create something boring.’ Mike Germano, Carrot

29. ‘Our perception of time is altered by how much new and unusual things we’re experiencing.’  Matt Danzico, BBC

30. ‘Best #iBeacon experiences are those that go back to basics and do Marketing as a Service: Push a Service, not a message.’ Mette Stuhr, Carlsberg

Audience as Characters: the new frontier of #interactivestorytelling

I just wrote an opinion piece for B&T magazine here in Australia on the evolving role consumers are playing in interactive stories. Hope you find it interesting.

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The best brands have always told great stories.  But in the world of real-time social connections, multiple screens and a culture of immediacy, the concept of the brand story is changing.  They’re no longer linear; and they’re no longer told in one sitting. Welcome to the era of interactive storytelling – where audiences become characters influencing the story.

The best brand stories now encourage different levels of participation to achieve maximum impact and scale.  This means designing interactive stories for skimmers (those exposed to the story), dippers (those sharing the story) and divers (those immersing, influencing and advocating the story) is a must for marketers.  Whilst it’s easier to entertain or engage ‘skimmers’, what is interesting is how brands are developing interactive brand stories for the ‘dipper and diver’ audiences –  as these are the most influential groups.

Many brands have experimented with interactive storytelling where the audience becomes the narrator (i.e, Chrysler ‘Steer the Script’, Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’, and many Alternate Reality Games such  ilovebees ARG, The Dark Knight ARG). The other popular strategy has been crowdsourcing the story, where the audience becomes the creator of the whole story. While some brands have done this well (i.e our latest MINI #notnormal campaign in the UK,  Arvo Beers ‘Perfect Lager Project’, Fanta Flavour Lab, The VW People’s Car Project in China, our own digitally customisable London Olympic Mascots) others have missed the mark, (the Raymond Weil’s ‘help design a new watch’ Facebook competition springs to mind) .

But the new frontier for participation branding is putting the audience into the story, as an actual character influencing other characters and the outcome. That is, it’snot just about giving a few people aunique experience (such as the “Best job in the world” campaign) anymore and relying on the online amplification of that (does anyone even remember who won Best Job?), but actually creating multiple stories for the many, democratising the experience so to speak.

To understand this we look to narrative theory – that’s the idea that in any story there are typical characters we identify with – the protagonist, antagonist, foil, mentor, threshold guardian, trickster, minion etc.   If you think about what’s been hot in popular culture, TV dramas such as the Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad (and more recently The Fall, Luther and Game of Thrones) play around with who’s the hero and who’s the villain. While if we look to gaming, we can see evolving storytelling arcs and different role-playing in games such as Bioshock Infinite, Last of Us, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Heavy Rain, Skyrim and Final Fantasy. Narrative theory has even transcended into the music space, with pop band IO ECHO launching an interactive music video ‘Ministry of Love’ that allows audience to control the band through a series of rooms.

So what’s happening at the more ‘creative’ end of interactive storytelling in terms of the role of the audience?

Audience as the protagonist is still the most common approach (e.g. the character ‘Alex’ in Toshiba/Intel’s “The Beauty Inside”), however brands are now playing with more unusual roles – the most famous of those being the audience as foil in Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ and Old Spice’s ‘Man your man could smell like’. The role of audience as mentors to the community is also becoming a useful tool, some interesting examples being ‘Curators of Sweden’ (where Swedes get to manage the countries Twitter account) and Google’s Build with Chrome collaboration with LEGO (disclaimer: I worked on this one).

At Iris, we’ve experimented alot by thinking about audience as threshold guardians of the story, where fans work with each other to inspire or help the protagonist achieve greatness. For example, our recent adidas #hitthewinner Wimbledon Twitter game inspired Andy Murray fans to predict where he would hit a winner during his Wimbledon matches in real time. Fans won prizes if they predicted correctly, but what they were also doing was playing the role of guardians motivating him to Wimbledon glory.

So where’s the white space for brands looking to experiment with new interactive stories? Thinking about audience as sidekick rather than protagonist is an interesting place to start. Imagine audiences feeling like they are working alongside the brand. Also thinking about ‘groups of heroes’ rather than relying on one main protagonist to engage. We know people seek brands that help them belong, so brands with big advocate communities should explore this approach. The real visionary brands will involve audiences as an antagonist or anti hero as they look to create provocative ways for characters to interact and compete with each other.

So yes, the brands with the best stories will always win, however, if you neglect to think about what role your audience plays in influencing the story outcome, you’re missing a massive engagement opportunity.

Digital platform overview: Facebook = ‘Who I am’ VS Instagram = ‘How I see the world’

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There are many points of view online on the different roles of social platforms to consider when developing your social strategy. Clearly there also hundreds of different social & digital platforms, but I thought i’d share a snapshot on consumer uses of some of the main ones, plus mobile & search. Here’s a quick visual to give you a perspective on some of the consumer uses of the major digital platforms, hopefully helping you define how you’d like to use those social platform to create a meaningful relationship with consumers. This was created/built off some work my great colleagues at Iris NYC (thanks Esty :). The key takeout is to ensure you understand different consumer drivers for use of those channels and employ KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) when engaging in these channels. eg: Facebook is primarily about identity creation for the individual (sharing their life, engaging in conversations which build their real and digital identity) whereas Instagram is really about self expression. Different motivations, different brand uses.

SXSW Day 3 highlights: Talking Shoes, feedforward tech and being tip of tongue

Jetlag subsided, now it’s just a case of dealing with hangovers from 6th Street parties, Tex Mex overload and power chord rage as 70,000 people fight to keep the energy bars of their laptops, mobiles and tablets full charged. I’m surprised the lights are still on in the city to be honest.  Day 3 at SXSW was intense; I managed to attend quite a few presentations, some pretty awesome, some quite disappointing.

Here are my highlights from Day 3:

Wearable tech goes motivational: Google’s Talking Shoe

I’ve been waiting for a jaw-dropping piece of tech to brag about on my Facebook wall. Look no further, it’s Google’s Talking shoe, in collaboration with adidas. It’s an experiment to show how wearable tech can tell inspiring stories for people via the web, and to flog its new advertising platform called Art, Copy and Code. It’s tech with a bit of personality e.g.: if you’re running fast it cheers you on.  Using a small computer, accelerometer, pressure sensor, a gyroscope and Bluetooth the kicks tell the person wearing them what they are doing (or aren’t doing) and can relay that information to their smartphone via a speaker in the tongue of the shoe. Another example of wearable technology being somewhat seamlessly introduced into our lives.

Check out this hype vid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcaSwxbRkcE

From Feedback to Feedforward technology

Interesting, yet very academic session called ‘Behaviour Change as Value Proposition’ by Chris Robson explored into the role technology plays in driving behavior change. Obviously a massively diverse topic, but much of the conversation the last few years has been around ‘Feedback’ sensors such as RFID tags and GPS devices providing valuable input to people and brands. The future is all about ‘Feedforward’ technologies intuitively guiding my next option at the point of decision. Chris’ example of going into Subway and Feedforward geo location tech being able to help you decide between cookies or a 12 inch sub by providing calorie info on your mobile in real time.  Google Now is a great example of a Feedforward utility proving real time answer almost preempting a consumer need. Shopper marketers take note as new opportunities emerge to provide intuitive value exchange at the point of purchase that’s.

Top of mind means tip of tongue

Everyone here at a SXSW will claim they’re a bit of a social media guru and know the secret recipe for creating sticky and shareable content. You gotta call BS on a fair few of them. Was refreshing to listen to a Wharton Professor, Jonah Berger talk about his latest book ‘Contagious: why things catch on’ covering the 6 psychological principles for why people share. Sounds obvious, but marketers should focus on the psychology not technology of sharing. Jonah quoted the fact that only 7% of WOM happens online and wanted the word ‘Influencers’ banned, as there was no empirical proof of influencer impact on decision making over the long term. Marketers should focus on the message not the messenger. I’m rather skeptical of this influencer bashing as I’ve seen Influencer strategy work extremely well to increase both reach and engagement, surely all people aren’t created equal in their ability to influence others right?

So the key to contagion or ‘acts of circulation’ as network guru Henry Jenkins calls it?

Making audiences feel like insiders, sharing a secret is key to Social Currency. It’s the first of several “STEPPS” that also include Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories, which, if incorporated, can make any product or idea contagious.

Secondly, if something is ‘top of mind, it’s tip of tongue’. Referring to the need for brands to create trigger cues such as contextual names; Meow Mix cat food, natural associations e.g.: Peanut AND Jelly. Rebecca Black’s appalling YouTube Sensation ‘It’s Friday’ has continued to drive mass views on Fridays due to it’s title and contextual trigger of the word Friday.

Unsurprisingly, high arousal emotions drive people to share: humour, anger, fear, and sympathy. Brands need to create what he calls ‘Trojan Horses’, brand assets that could only be from your brand.  “Trojan Horses carry something along for the ride – the message a brand wants to get across in the middle’.

Fortune favours the Networked Mind

The last talk of the day, ‘The New Serendipity’ had some gold dust in it in regards to brands thinking about innovation. Having a beginners mind, reaching out like a child to meet new friends, learn new things and stop looking in the same places is the key to innovation. It’s kind of like a mantra for SXSW, you’ll come across more innovation in the queues talking to random people you meet. I’ll leave you with this John Perry Barlow wisdom bomb ‘Fortune favours the networked mind’.

So Yes, Google stole the show today with their Talking Shoe, but I did leave the conference inspired and looking for my moment of serendipity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 SXSW 2013 Highlights: Peepculture, Digifrenia & Hacksessions

As I boarded the 26hr flight from Sydney to Austin on Thursday I promised my fellow Aussie SXSW’westers that I’d avoid reporting on buzzwords in my daily B&T posts. It’s Day 2 and I’m about to break that promise. Sorry guys.

SXSW really kicked into gear today, heavyweights like Al Gore hit the keynote stage, but it was actually the smaller presentations that were worth the painful queues.

OK, three thoughts to take out of today: Hacksessions are the new brainstorms, Peepculture not pop culture is where youth are at and brands needing to Design for Digifrenia. Bare with me as I explain.

Hacksessions are the new brainstorms

First off this morning was a fascinating panel talk called ‘Can u hack it’ by Big Spaceship, covering how digital agencies are now tapping into Hacker culture to come up with new ideas/services to business problems. It’s rapid real time prototyping of ideas that break the status quo system. The big question of the session was the difference between 24hr Hacksessions and brainstorms.  The key difference between a Hacksession and a brainstorm is that the former is absolutely focused on the ‘making of something real via rapid prototyping’, rather than abstract thinking on post it notes. Big Spaceship for one, are using Hacksessions as their chemistry sessions in new business pitches. Rather than spend $20k+ and loads of strategy/ creative time, they’ll go into a client for a day and run a Hacksession with a client, taking a team of multi discipline thinkers; coders, designers, strategists to crack a problem. Agencies running 24hr Hackathons for clients with low budgets has also been extremely valuable for making lean budgets work harder. Even Al Gore, in his ‘The Future’ speech said ‘Our (USA) democracy has been hacked’ referring to role of big business in hacking the system. Marketers bring The Hack into your business (it’s not just for geeks) for rapid business problem solving, banish the brainstorm.

From Pop Culture to Peep Culture

My passion for youth marketing and ways brands can connect with digital natives led me to the session on ‘How Peepculture hacked your brain’. Despite being viewed as the ‘Connected’ generation (or GenC as I like to call them), Gen Y and Millennial today are social beings living in a time of ridiculous alienation as ‘checking’ has replaced ‘connecting’. The social revolution has led a shift from pop culture to peep culture, where entertainment is far less scripted and young people are more obsessed with the everyday happenings of their friends entertaining them. Social media is selfish, youth share for themselves, whether it’s for self-expression or self-searching. Yes, it can be overbearing and narcisstic, but every generation has needed self-expression. This one just looks more inward. The other myth that was busted is the thought that young people act willy nilly when it comes to their privacy. Actually, in an era of digital freedom young people crave control of their digitally identities more than ever they just assess the social context very differently to Gen X’ers and Boomers. Brands wanting to connect in ‘Peep Culture’ need to determine the ‘what, how and why’ their audience share in the digital space in order to unlock ways to get their brand in that conversation.

Designing for Digifrenia

Digifrenia was a concept introduced by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff today. Digifrenia or as I Like to call it ‘digitally divided identities’ are being created by all of us. They’re the multiple virtual accounts (on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms) people are created to sustain anonymity and avoid being judged. It’s a phenom that has been rising to the surface these past months as the plethora of connected social platforms we all belong to, put pressure on how we connect with the world. Marketers need to design brand experiences with digifrenia in mind, ensuring they put special focus on content with  context so the social media selection adds value, not overwhelms.

Ok, enough buzzwords for today. Going to try my luck at one of the many SXSW blatantly brand funded parties here in Austin.

 

 

 

Google goes transmedia with new ARG:: #Ingress

Google have just launched there first ARG (Alternate Reality game) called Ingress to be played on Android Smartphones. You have to request an invite to play. It’s a global mind control battle that pits you against others around the world, all via your smartphone. It’s about mind hacking, something called Niantic. Looks super cool and another example of how Google are leading the way when it comes to creating immersive brand experiences that involve consumers across all screens. An amazing participation branding example showcasing the strengths of the Android platform and I can’t wait to get involved