Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Obama Continues Great Online Campaign Strategies

It's no secret that in the 2008 presidential election broke some records. One of them was the amount of grass roots fund raising and social media campaigning that Obama's campaign pioneered. Its success was, no doubt, a huge factor in his successful run for president.

Since 2008, politicians from the local to the national level have embraced social media and online marketing with the same fervor. You would now be a fool to run for even local office without an active and relevant Twitter account and Facebook page. Which brings us the 2012 presidential election and an interesting question:

How is Obama going to top that?

More specifically, now that every Republican nominee will use similar tactics, how is Obama's campaign going to stand out as different? His unique, cutting edge way of campaigning was such a large part of how he got into office and raised millions of dollars in $5 increments, one wonders how he'll top that. How he'll continue to get that kind of attention and support now that the idealist 'Hope' fervor and marketing differentiation that helped carry his first campaign is gone.

I was surprised and interested to see one of his new tactics emerge already:

Donate for a chance to dine with the president.

How cool is that? For any amount of donation, you can put your name in the hat to dine with the President. Its a standard sweepstakes, but twisted such that it fits campaign goals.

I find this to be a great tactic for a few reasons. First, if you're a liberal and an Obama fan it's your chance to schmooze with the President, get your ideas heard first hand like the top end campaign donors do—but at a much more affordable price. Even if you're an independent, someone not sure if they're going to vote for Obama let alone donate, it still seems to be a tempting offer. For $5 I can see a few otherwise non-donors dropping a few bucks for the chance to be heard first hand by the President. And finally, it's just pretty cool to meet the President, even if you don't agree with his politics. Tack the shear fact that, love him or hate him, Obama will go down in history books for being the first black President of the U.S. and it's quite an offer.

What do you think? Is a tactic like this going to up the amount of donations to the campaign? Or is it just a cheesy ploy?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time Magazine Reaches Out ... To Gamers?

Time Magazine is doing an interesting cross promotion with video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 by lending it's iconic cover template for a faux cover claiming 'World Stands On The Brink' while Wall Street smolders in the background. Time apparently even helped art direct the cover.

Time says that it's involved in the cross promotion in order to reach a new demographic of customers, while critics have a hard time seeing it really reach gamers and in the meantime it dilutes the brand image. I think Time isn't far off in how their trying to reach a new demographic—the usage of the magazine is appropriate and similar to how it's used in say, product placement in a movie for example. I don't think this treatment necessarily dilutes the brand image any more than that would. If anything, it's reminding them of Time's iconic place in the realm of news magazines.

But there is a catch—if Time is looking for growth in magazine subscriptions and not just awareness we have a problem. Why? Because I don't think too many gamers are the types to buy paper news magazines. They're much more likely to get that news online and given the constant dialogue about the best way for newspapers and magazines will be able to monetize their online operations as print declines. But that's another story...

American Express's Social To Mainstream Media?

American Express is running an interesting commercial highlighting customer's tweets about how they spent their customer rewards. It's a fun, feel good campaign though I would have loved to see it even more a couple of years ago. American Express is not the first to do a campaign like this, but they are still relatively few and far between. I also thought this one was pretty well executed. Check it out:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Check In To Space

I had heard, in the infancy of Foursquare, that you could check in to outer space. I looked for it on my Foursquare app, thinking it might be one of those global check ins—because, you know, Earth is in space, right?—but I couldn't find it. Apparently I needed to be in a space ship—or a 7-Eleven.

Yep, you heard me. 7-Eleven is offering you the opportunity to check in to space at a 7-Eleven store. And they're giving you the opportunity to win a space experience! Okay, well a Zero-gravity flight at any rate. You're more apt to win free tickets to the movie Super 8, for which they are offering this cross promotion.

Yes, it's a bit hokey, but fun nonetheless. I'd stop by a 7-Eleven just to have that on my Foursquare history, would you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Everything's Better With Bacon

If you work in advertising or design you're bound to be familiar with 'greek' copy. It's that nonsensical string of words designers use as placeholder text to show where copy would go before the it's actually written. It's meant to be there as filler so one does not get caught up in the specifics of what's being said and can concentrate on looking at the overall design and concept. The typical stuff goes something like this:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipscing elit, sed diam nonnumy eiusmod tempor incidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquam erat volupat. Ut enim ad minimum veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamcorper suscipit lab oris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Surprisingly, that copy is actually broken latin that translate roughly into Cicero's On the Boundaries of Goods and Evils. Not that anyone actually reads it. There are dozens on Lorem Ipsum generator sites on the web that will give you a whatever amount of the placeholder text for you to copy and paste into your layouts.

Enter the Bacon Ipsum Generator. Essentially it does the same thing as a traditional Lorem Ipsum generators, but it uses only cuts of meat for the words. So instead of the copy show above, you might get something more like this:
Boudin sirloin pastrami, tenderloin meatloaf bresaola brisket pig meatball tongue. Biltong bresaola ham hock, tongue tri-tip turkey brisket meatball meatloaf jerky corned beef drumstick. Flank pork tri-tip, jowl tongue shankle short loin hamburger headcheese strip steak venison boudin ribeye andouille t-bone.
How fun is that? We've all seen Lorem ipsum enough times to recite the first few lines from memory (I'm not joking) so a little shake up of the old routine is more than welcome—especially when it includes bacon. Yum!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cool QR Code Ads

The advertising world is becoming overrun with QR codes and they are usually used pretty poorly. Love them or hate them, QR codes do sometimes serve a valuable purpose—if your audience is technologically savvy smart phone users and if you want to drive them to a website that might be cumbersome to type into those smart phones. Most QR code uses don't fit those criteria, most of the time it seems like ads with QR codes fall into the "so we can say we did it" reasoning.
But if you're going to go that route, at least make the ad about the QR code. And make it cool. Like these fun QR code ads I ran across on Ads of the World a couple days ago. Otherwise you easily fall into the realm of marketers that have suddenly discovered they can scan ugly bar codes with their phones. How novel.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Creative PSA Turned Viral Ad

The Alamo Theater in Austin created quite and internet stir this week as one of it's in-house PSA announcements went viral on the web. The local movie theater chain apparently has a history of amusing PSA announcements, reminding patrons to be respectful of others in the theater by not using their phones or talking loudly. One set even featured the former governor of Texas!

Their latest home grown effort, however, has captured the web since it features a rather amusing rant from a patron kicked out of their theater for texting during a movie.

At one point in the rant, the offender notes that she was not aware that she could not text in the theater and that she has 'texted in ALL the other movie theaters in Austin and no one ever gave a @#&!' which offers up the question—why aren't more theaters kicking people out for this? Clearly, some people don't realize texting during a movie is just as taboo as chatting on your cellphone and based on the popularity of this PSA, more patrons prefer their movies sans texters. Honestly, this PSA makes me want to go to an Alamo movie theater and I'd gladly patronize any other theater that takes an equally tough stance on texters and talkers. If you can't be separated from your phone for a couple hours (besides potentially seeking help for that), just wait for the DVD please.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is Audi Copying Chrysler?

It seems a tad hard to believe, but a new video (no advertisement, according to Audi spokespeople) airing in Europe has a pretty distinct inspirational vibe from the recent 'Imported From Detroit' Chrysler Super Bowl commercial.

I came across this European ad because Eminem is actually suing Audi for illegal use of his copyrighted music (if you notice, a minimally revised version of 8 Mile guitar tracks play in the background of the Audi commercial), not because it's being accused as a rip off (though it kind of is). Honestly, if they'd not used Eminem's guitar track it would feel less like a rip off and they wouldn't be in legal hot water right now.

On that note, I have to ask both Audi and their agency, 'What were you thinking?' Audi's response has been that this is not an advertisement and it's not running in the US (and that this doesn't involve Audi of America). Other than the target audience perhaps not realizing it's the rip off that it is, how is that helping your case? You used a well known music track illegally, and semi-copied rival car company's Super Bowl commercial. Shame on Audi and shame on their agency (I'm not actually sure who produced this).

On the flip side, major kudos to Chrysler for producing such a kick ass spot that a luxury German brand is imitating it.

Here's the Chrysler ad if you want to compare:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Emotionally Intelligent Signage

Big blue monsters holding stop signs are the new wave of traffic signage? In an intriguing new campaign to urge drivers to slow down, a few municipalities are trying a different tactic—traffic signs designed by children.

The signs are intended to emotionally reach drivers to remind them that their speed affects child safety and to break up the monotony of the signs drivers typically see. The idea is to encourage empathy on the part of the viewer, make them feel a little uneasy about going fast and hopefully get them to slow down and drive safer.

The idea was pioneered in Newton, Massachusetts back in 2008, where it was a hit, and has now expanded into Bayside, Wisconsin. It's an interesting approach and much better than the other 'slow down' campaign we blogged about last year. We'll have to see how well it works.