July 20, 2010
New Lessons from Old Spice
By now, I’m sure you’ve all at least heard of the Old Spice Guy campaign and the immense waves it made this week. It is one for the textbooks – a case study that will be reviewed, recounted and revisited for at least the next year, I’m sure. And with good reason. On every level, it was exemplary of what a digital campaign should be.
It answered all the social media ‘rules’:
- Be engaging
- Be integrated
- Be human
- Be transparent
- Influence the influencers
The campaign, which began with a string of hilarious print and TV ads, moved into digital using YouTube to broadcast personalised video responses to people talking about or to Old Spice across social networks (primarily Twitter, Facebook and YouTube but also across forums like Reddit and Yahoo! Answers). With YouTube as it’s very well-branded ‘homebase’, the campaign took the brand into other spaces with similar, but space-specific, creative treatments, behaviours and tone of voice.
The responses were instantly popular. Hilarious and off-beat, they very rarely spoke about the actual brand or product (unless, somehow, smacking a pinata with a dead fish is somewhere in the Old Spice brand guidelines). The brand became human. It wasn’t Old Spice the brand, it was the Old Spice Guy with (funny) stories. And it was responding personally to us, the users, the ‘dearest and closest internet friends’.
While the Old Spice Man created videos for the ‘average joe’ (and did he ever - he actually even proposed for someone), he also responded to users with high levels of activity, followers and authority (such as Digg founder Kevin Rose and celebritweeters like Alyssa Milano, Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres) which helped the campaign grow exponentially. It brought the level to an accessible user level and found celebrity involvement without the celebrity fee.
Old Spice started by sponsoring a tweet to solidify their space in Twitter’s Top Trends and the campaign was trending across Twitter and the web within hours of the initial tweet (something that would have happened organically, without the sponsored tweet – but still a safe move on Old Spice’s part).
Throughout the campaign, the agency behind it all – Wieden + Kennedy – brilliantly kept an open-door policy about the whole thing, offering up behind-the-scene shots and tell-all explanations of how the process was working.
The campaign is a simple idea, executed well. It hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but it has defined the way we use it.
What’s the big takeaway that B2B marketers can take from this? That thisn't just a B2C case study - it is a case study for B2B, too.
Before this, Old Spice was not an exciting brand. For as long as I have known it, it has been ‘the stuff my dad wears’ (and my Dad really does wear it which he will now claim makes him a trendsetter).
Campaigns like this are what give brands new traction. B2B has long had the reputation of being less fun and creative than the consumer side of our industry. We know that’s not true, so let’s get out the dead fish and started beating the piñata with it!
July 20, 2010 in America The Free, Arts & Creative Stuff, Entertainment/Media, In the News, On Branding, On Video, PR & Marketing, Social Media, United Kingdom, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 19, 2010
The Age Old Debate: 'Form vs. Function'
Which aspect of web development should hold more weight: the design or the functionality?
Are you more inclined to remember a site that is visually exciting or one that gets things done? Well, that depends on the audience, the brand and the intended message.
You are not likely to need your online bank to have pretty bells and flashy whistles, as long as it helps you make informed decisions and secured transactions with the least amount of headache. You don't go to a banking website to be entertained. You go to get things done. Banks (and their web developers) know this. Is it then not part of the design in developing the site to be focused on being functional rather than being a pretty page?
Function or form. Like art or commerce, beauty or brains, maybe 'or' is the problem, not the words on either side. After all, you wouldn't do an ad campaign and ask 'should we make it look nice, or get the messaging right? Likewise, food packaging doesn’t either look nice or contain the product. When comparing design or functionality in the digital world, one is not necessarily better than the other.
Around the office, we came to agree that form often is function (and visa versa), especially in digital comms and advertising. What we typically refer to as ‘design’ over functionality is actually more a form of ‘art’ so the question then boils more down to ‘design vs. art’ rather than ‘design vs. functionality’. A common definition of art is that it is the process of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions. For sites that are used for brand awareness/brand engagement (typically consumer brands), the appeal of appearance is more heavily weighted, with the functional purpose of the site taking second place.
Thinking of digital in terms of traditional media, the term ‘website’ could be the equivalent of the term ‘book’. In which case, how do the different styles of traditional book (eg. brochure, sales leaflet, encyclopedia, art book, etc.) directly relate to the different styles of website? An encyclopedia is designed to function as source of knowledge whereas a brochure or sales leaflet is typically designed to be visually appealing first, informative second. Do you want your brand’s site be a brochure or an encyclopedia?
One specific example which, whilst highly functional has also been very design-led and heavily analyzed to create the successful site it is today. Basecamp is a project management tool used by some major B2B companies and consumer brands (such as Kellogg’s and Warner Bros.). The tool’s straightforwardness makes it extremely user friendly and intuitive whilst remaining very functionally sound and clever.
The objective was to design it in such a manner that the function would overtake the design and make it seamless. This particular example points out how design can make something functional, intuitive and engaging.
Another good case study compares the usability (beyond the visual appeal) of the Apple and Microsoft websites. It’s well worth a look here.
So, function or form is no longer a matter of ‘or’, but ‘and’: Function and form, brains and beauty. AND, the two inseparable words if you intend to maintain a successful business, sell and deliver.
What do you think? Is a website's design its visual appeal or its functional intent?
July 06, 2010
Silicon Valley Japanese Tanabata FestivalSilicon Valley is hosting a Japanese Tanabata Festival tomorrow at the Plug-and-Play Center in Sunnyvale. Tanabata Festivals celebrate the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi whose love was denied when they were turned to Stars (Vega and Altair) separated by the Milky Way. Only allowed to cross the river of stars and meet one night of the year on the seventh night of the seventh month, that night’s reunion now marks a celebration of hopes and dreams fulfilled.
Customarily Tanabata participants write their wishes and dreams on colorful strips of paper called Tanzaku that are attached as decorations to bamboo trees. The Silicon Valley Tanabata Festival will be fostering the hopes and dreams of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, who can tie their wishes to bamboo stalks, which as the fastest growing and among the most versatile of plants, offer a suitable symbol for the aspirations of high-minded entrepreneurs.
July 04, 2010
Groove 8 in From North Carolina Knows Their JazzNorth Carolina-basedGroove 8 (formerly Audioform) performed at San Francisco's Fillmore Jazz Festival this weekend. Jazz, Funk and Rock are in harmony. Have a listen:
July 03, 2010
Dancing in the Streets in Pac HeightsPeople dance in the streets at the San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Festival this weekend.
Fillmore Jazz FestivalFillmore's Jazz Festival is in full play this weekend in San Francisco. A few random shots below including a bunch of swing dancers who showed up to dance up a storm to The Lost Cats.
Also performing was Dave Rocha Quintet, Art Khu, Marcus Shelby Orchestra, Calvin Keys Trio, Brent Kimbrough Band, Pamela Joy Quintet, Bobbie Webb, Native Elements, Bartron Tyler Group and more.
June 20, 2010
Chihuly, Cabs, Chards and MoreI attended a special event for wine club members at Pine Ridge Wineryin Napa Valley this past weekend. They started everyone out with a sheriff's badge and an "incident investigation report" which listed all the wines they had planned for us to taste throughout the afternoon and set us loose.
Stop one was the PRV Gazebo where we sampled the only white wine on the menu for the day: 2009 Sans Barrique Chardonnay. Fermentation for this Chard took place in a steel tank and at a cool temperature for 19 days. Flavors included pear, kiwi and spice. Oak was not a big component.
Local chef on-site (Eric) gave us an extensive overview of their Cabs at the next step, the Estate Garden, where he not only poured but grilled lamp skewers basted in garlic sauce. Bring it on! It was impossible to only have one and their 2006 Epitome Cabernet Sauvignon was one of my favorites of the day.
The soil that this wine came from is all sandstone giving it more structure and less fruit. What was prominent was the chocolate, red cherries and spice based in. Smooth baby smooth.
Tessitura, Italian for "texture", is crafted from choice lots of estate-grown grapes, deftly interwoven for layers of rich and complex flavors. I found this 67% Cab to be chewy and meaty, the added Syrah giving it a nicely balanced taste overall.
It has a purple-ruby hue and in addition to the chocolate and cherry flavors deeply embedded in the wine, I picked up currant and raspberry fruit, peppercorn and nutmeg. This wine would make an excellent companion to a creamy risotto, scallops in gorgonzola sauce and a buttery chicken Kiev.
From there we went barrel tasting - 100% cabernet, and relatively new.....it has only been in the barrels since October 2009. A video of our experience can be found here.
I also sampled the 2006 Andrus Reserve ($110 retail), the 2005 Fortis ($140 retail), the 2006 Stags Leap District Cabernet ($80 retail), the 2006 Onyx ($60 retail) and the 2006 Oakville Cabernet, which they were offering 50% off a case or more, so while it won't blow your socks off, at roughly $37 a bottle with the discount, it was a pretty good deal at that price.
The service was top notch as was their knowledge base. We also managed to see a private secluded area that is designed for private functions, back in the bowels of the cave itself. In the rear, as dark as the setting was, a series of beautifully colored and brightly lit Dale Chihuly pieces of glass sat glowing. His work always adds beauty and warmth to wherever his art is placed and this cave was no exception.
V.E. Long on Mixed Media, Monotypes & AssemblageAt Chandon recently, I not only sampled some fabulous (albeit small) oysters with a medium bodied Pinot Noir (wasn't in for the bubbly), but I also discovered a new artist named V.E. Long.
I was drawn to her work immediately and while I would have normally snatched one up, I felt that the prices were high, particularly for the venue, the general overall location and where she stands on the worldwide recognition scale. So unfortunately I'm 'sans' any of her work but she is worth a look. I really love her use of color, brush strokes and perception of brush strokes.
V.E. (Vicki) studied with Paul Wonner while earning her master's degree and her recent work includes the figure, exotic florals and the "trees" series, all which are depicted in painting and monotype. She is also currently producing assemblages and wood sculpture. Paintings that were being shown at Chandon included a lot of mixed media. My favorite below. Other paintings can be found here.
June 18, 2010
Update on Mayor Bloomberg's Plan for NYC ArtistsThe New York Times reports on the latest of what the Bloomberg administration plans to do about their desire to slash the number of art vendors in New York City parks. I wrote an extensive piece about it in late April when I was in New York and had an opportunity to attend the protest, the hearing and interview a number of artists on-the-ground.
Bloomberg has apparently backed down somewhat from their original plans, but still intends to cut their ranks by more than half. According to the Times, new rules will be released on Friday, which will outline how and where the city will restrict the number of sellers of paintings, photographs, books and sculptures in certain high-traffic areas of four parks.
June 11, 2010
Israel Film Festival: What We Can ExpectLast week at The Israel Conference, I interviewed Meir Feningstein about this year's Israel Film Festival, coming to Los Angeles from October 20 to November 4, 2010 and New York from December 2-16, 2010. They'll also be holding one in Miami in February 8-17, 2011. We learn about some of the highlights and what you can expect. Join us.