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5 Things Diageo Learned from QR Codes & Personalizable Whiskey Bottles (Video)


Maybe it was a cool idea that didn't quite crack the QR code.

Econsultancy is out with an interesting case study on five things beverage giant Diageo learned from using QR codes to personalize whiskey bottles as part of a Father's Day promotion last year.

The idea: Enable consumers to scan a QR code on the back of whiskey bottles that allowed them to customize a little film tribute to dear old Dad. When the bottle is presented as a Father's Day gift, Dad can scan the code to watch the film. IE, a one-size-fits all bottle becomes a personalized gift.

Indeed, the concept of turning offline products into online experiences and services is something I talk about at length in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND. But in this case, I think it was a nice concept that was undercut by the current state of technology and adoption.

Indeed, the brand isn't saying specifically how successful the effort was, but from the five things they learned about the initiative, one might assume the experiment provided just as many insights about what didn't work as did.

The first two lessons:

1. "Build it and they won't come": Things like this need to be promoted in other channels if you want people to act on it. Just hoping they discover it won't work.

2. "Keep it lightweight and effortless": Most brands overestimate how much information people are willing to give them do create digital engagement. And new forms of digital media need to be easy to understand and use - and "effortless to act upon."

One might guess that not many people tried this, let alone knew it existed. And while it's actually a fun idea - expecting someone to go to all the trouble to scan a label, personalize the video, and then hope Dad (who would sometimes be a grand dad in this scenario) is going to take out his smartphone, activate his QR code reader, and watch the video.

Hey, good luck with that.

Still, this a great idea that could really be interesting in a few years, through technology we probably haven't even thought of yet, that will truly make such experiences effortless.

Kudos to Diageo for the experiment.

I mean, brands using small scale trials to see how - or if - they'll work in order to learn how to better engage consumers?

I'll drink to that.

You can read about all five lessons here.

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Dodge Dart Registry Enlists Family, Friends to Fund Your Car Purchase (Video)


Ready to crowdfund your next car?

Check out the Dodge Dart Registry, where you can customize your new ride, and then get family and friends (and Facebook & Twitter connections) to fund your new car purchase by sponsoring specific parts of your new Dart.

That's one way to dodge paying for it all yourself. Even if it will likely be a tough sell to your social network, familial or otherwise.

Still, kudos to Weiden+Kennedy for the concept, even if "How to Change Buying Cars Forever" may be a little bit of a stretch.

Time will tell just how crowdfunding cars takes off. But if it even gets a modest amount of mileage, one can't help but wonder how this could work in other categories.

I mean, can a home builder-branded registry be far behind?

Get the full scoop here.

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Rio Embedding QR Codes Into Sidewalks (Video)


Call it the QR code from Ipanema.

Yes, it's true: While most Americans haven't got a clue what a QR code is, let alone how to use one, Brazilians have long loved them. So much so that now, they're embedding them in pavement.

Why? To educate tourists on what the city has to offer.

Still, as popular as they are, this seems a little optimistic. The chances of QR codes even being around 10 years from now seem small. And let's face it - there are a lot better things to train one's camera phone on in Rio.

But what do you think: A mobile age twist beachside mosaics? Or a stone-cold bad idea?

Get the full scoop here.

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Move Over, Polar Bears: This Super Bowl, Coke Says 'Game On' (Video)


Responding to social media comments and even other TV commercials in real time is so last year.

For this upcoming Super Bowl, it's all about gamifying the Big Game, as Coca-Cola launches a new campaign in which viewers can help three "teams" vie for a giant bottle of coke.

In a new spot called "Mirage," which launched on Facebook today (video, above), the beverage brand sets the stage with three factions - cowboys, showgirls and badlanders - racing for that Coke. As Ad Age reports, the ad, from Wieden & Kennedy, ends with a cliffhanger. And that's where the socializing begins. Now, viewers can share the video and vote on one of a handful of endings. The more you share, the more content you unlock - including 50,000 coupons for a free 20-ounce Coke.

What's nice is that you can also sabotage the other teams by voting for distractions that slow them down. A spot with the winning team will be shown at the conclusion of the Super Bowl.

Will the effort beat the bears? Hard to tell - that was such a cool, real-time event, where this has the familiar "vote for the ending" feel to it, sabotages notwithstanding.

But what's your take? Will this effort's success be a mirage - or deliver a Coke and a smile?

Get the full scoop here.

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4 Ways B2B Brands Can Consumerize Their Marketing


On the heels of my post yesterday about how we brought one of today's hottest trends in B2C marketing - 3D projection - to a B2B client (video above), I thought I'd share an article Derek Singleton recently wrote for Software Advice's B2B Marketing Mentor.

The piece is focused on four of the main ways B2B companies can "consumerize" their marketing, and it includes a section on gamification, where I talk about a branded game we developed for what is now DELL/SonicWALL that demonstrates just how powerful B2C approaches can be for B2B marketers.

Check out the story here.

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LoopNet 3D Projection Magic (Video)


How are you bringing B2C approaches to your B2B marketing?

Are you doing it at all?

For far too many B2B marketers, there's a view that never the two should meet. But as I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, it's critical that B2B marketers realize business people are just that - people. And their exposure to B2C marketing approaches in their personal lives sets expectations for B2B marketing, whether B2B marketers like it, or not.

That's exactly why we try to bring as much B2C to B2B as we possibly can.

Case in point: Our client LoopNet, the #1 online marketplace for commercial real estate.

Over the last few months, we've launched an integrated campaign for LoopNet that's predicated on a simple, yet powerful message: If your commercial listings aren't advertised on LoopNet, they may as well be invisible. That's because only LoopNet drives traffic to commercial real estate listings like literally no other option can.

Print, direct mail and online advertising developed by Creative i has articulated this theme in compelling, brand consistent fashion.

So when LoopNet decided to fete the luminaries of Los Angeles commercial real estate, I got to thinking: What if we took our message and super-sized it? What if we used a full-motion, building-size canvass to drive home the LoopNet value proposition in an amazing new way?

In short: I wanted to bring 3D projection to our campaign.

So I reached out to Josh Cohen, the CEO of Pearl Media (and its partner Go2 Productions), which has worked on a number of 3D projection mapping experiences for B2C brands like Lexus, Perrier and Chevy Sonic.

I asked him straight up: "Do you think you can make a building in downtown LA go invisible?" He thought about it, and then said: "Yes, I think we can do that."

LatrafficjamThe concept began gaining traction, and eventually became LA Traffic Jam, Presented by LoopNet - a spectacular, VIP event featuring a private concert by TRAIN ("Drive-by") and our 3D projection experience.

Multidimensional direct mail invites featured cool, die-cut guitar bodies, iPods featuring TRAIN music and a call to action to join LoopNet "at the Corner of Epic & Mind-Blowing."

Fans, attendees and participants could join the conversation via mobile & online at the hashtag #looptrafficjam.

And video of the projection was placed on a special landing page and on YouTube. The client even decided to give viewers the ability to share the video via social media for the chance to win a $1250 Fender guitar signed by the band.

The event was last Thursday night - and it was a blast - testament to a client who thrives on innovation and embraces a decidedly B2C approach to blockbuster B2B campaigns.

There's a making-of video in the works that I'll share when it's ready, along with more details of what worked, and what didn't, as client and team analysis comes in.

In the meantime, give it a view - and enter for your own chance to win that signed guitar.

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Evian's 'Live Young' Campaign's Snow-Making Playgrounds for Grownups (Video)


My daughter calls me the biggest 10-year-old on the block. 

Any given weekend will find me throwing footballs, making up new basketball games or organizing hours-long Epic Tag at the neighborhood park. It often surprises me how many parents opt out of the fun.

So while I'm not the core target for Evian (I don't think I would ever let myself be seen carrying an Evian bottle), I can appreciate a new digital outdoor effort from Havas London that involves adult-size playgrounds designed to help grownups discover their inner child. Playing on the swings or toggle a see-saw, and motion activates a reward: Snow, which I take it is rare in London, even in January. 

There is a lot of promotion in London rail stations, digital escalator posters, cross-track projections and a Live Young Facebook page highlighting 31 ways to live young.

Will it expand Evian's appeal to people like me? No. But other than cracking up for a few moments over its dancing babies, it's the most I think I've ever even thought of the brand.

On some level, that's got to be progress, right? 

Read more here.

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Fandango's 2013 Hot List of Most Anticipated Movies (Video)


Which movies are you most excited to see in 2013?

It's definitely the year of the sequel (or is that a sequel to all the other sequels?) - what with "Fast & Furious 6," "Scary Movie 5," "Paranormal Activity 5," "Die Hard 5," "X-Men 6" and many more.

So what are the most eagerly awaited movies of the year? Fandango's out with its Hot List of most anticipated films as indicated by Fandango fans - and top honors goes to "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," a title which seems to speak for the franchise itself.

But I have to side with Fandango's "chief correspondent" Dave Karger.

Like Karger, my can't-wait movie has got to be "Man of Steel" - the much ballyhooed let's-just-pretend-"Superman-Returns"-never-happened movie set to reboot the whole Superman franchise. From Christopher Nolan and the team behind the "Dark Knight" trilogy and "300" director Zack Snyder, it looks, well, super cool.

The film opens June 14 - timed to the 75th anniversary of Action Comics #1 - and is already in promo mode. A countdown on Facebook & Twitter caused a stir last month as participants unlocked a new poster showing Superman under arrest. And the trailer above is already ignited a wave of social media spoofs that are sure to hit superspeed by March.

You can see the rest of Fandango's list here.

But what's your list of most anticipated movies?

Do tell - and don't let any Kryptonite stop you from making it to the movies. 


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Digital Marketing: 5 Top New Year's Resolutions


It's 2013: Do you know what your digital marketing's up to?

Here are five quick resolutions for the new year. Like lots of behaviors, these are practices we know we should keep - like eat less, move more - but rarely do. All of us are guilty of bypassing these common sense rules from time to time.

So if we do just five things this year, let's resolve to:

5. Not Ask How - Ask Why

I said this in a recent post on social media trends for 2013. But it's really true of anything we do. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times at agencies and client-side brands throughout the land: Let's do "X" - insert your digital buzz word du jour here - not because "X" is central to a brand's objectives, but because it's considered cool. But saying "we need a mobile/social/viral strategy is akin to saying "we need a brochure strategy," or a radio strategy, or a signage strategy. These are channels & platforms, not strategies. First figure out what you have to accomplish, then decide which approaches and channels will get you there. It's so simple, yet we all get caught up in coolness from time to time.

4. Know thy customer - and thy channels

On that note, as I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, insight comes before inspiration. Today's most successful digital marekting initiatives typically don't come from a great idea for some hip new experience, or a me-too approach to major trends. Instead, they start with consumer insights culled from painstaking research into who your customers are, what they're all about, how they interact with consumer technologies, and what they want from the brands they know and trust. Just look at the work Unilever's done over the last few years with the Dove brand's "Campaign for Real Beauty" and all its crazy ass work for Axe - including everything from QR code peep holes in bathroom bars to faux "Shower Together" PSAs. These marketers have a firm read on their customers and the channels with which to reach them. In 2013, look for social + mobile + local to be a key to accomplishing this.

3. Always commit multi-plat-fornication

Innovate through as many channels and platforms that make sense for your strategies and audience. It's what MTV calls "multi-plat-fornication." As I show in the book, MINI USA has made an art form of this, using insights on its "fun-tech" loving audience and how they congregate online to use numerous approaches - branded games, especially, but also things like RFID-based key fobs that enable roadside billboards to call out to passing drivers by name - to actually enlist customers to market the cars for them. And Coca-Cola has raised the bar over the last year, with everything from branded iPhone apps to the Polar Bears' social stunt at the Super Bowl to its Kinect-Powered Vending Machine, to a magazine-ad-turned-mobile-stereo-speakers and much, much more. Small wonder the brand has been named "Creative Marketer of the Year" for the 2013 Cannes International Advertising Festival. 

2. Honor traditional as the sizzle to digital's steak

It's heresy these days to point out the obvious. In a fragmented media universe, the channels that still attract any semblance of "mass" are more powerful than ever - with TV being exhibit A. For all our gadgets, we're watching more TV, not less. And whether it's "Walking Dead" or "Dancing with The Stars," TV has communal power like nothing else. As a result, many of today's most innovative integrated campaigns use traditional advertising - old school TV, print, radio, etc - to build awareness and then point consumers to deeper, richer, more meaningful experiences online, or via mobile and other digital platforms. Again, Coca-Cola's Polar Bear stunt at the Super Bowl immediately comes to mind, attracting over 9 million consumers who spent an average of 28 minutes with the brand. And Doritos has effectively done all this in reverse every year, with its Crash The Super Bowl user-generated ad contest - with the chance to work with director Michael Bay at this year's bowl.

1. Never put "buzz" before "business"

Obviously digital marketing is about endless and innovative experimentation. If it were as easy as creating any old viral video, branded game, or mobile app to generate enough buzz to bring in business for our brands, we'd all be rich. For many lifestyle brands, this kind of experimentation is enough - especially in categories where an aura of hipness is a prerequisite for sales success. But while there is obviously a lot of fun and games in all this fun and games, it's important - critical - that we approach digital initiatives with specific objectives in mind (see resolution #5).

As Harley-Davidson's global CMO Mark-Hans Richer puts it to Ad Age, "This is a new gold age for marketers. The shackles are off, and the possibilities are nearly endless. If we aren't conducting radical experiments, trying new ways to engage our targets and adding value to them, then we're not doing our jobs."

But, he adds, "It's not about chasing the buzz; it's about chasing the biz." Marketers who get this formula right - by fueling innovation through substantive consumer insights - weill thrive in the on-demand era.

Those who don't will have to settle for some fun - but ultimately fruitless - experiments.

Here's to a blockbuster 2013 for us all.