It’s the biggest buzzword in marketing today—but also the most over-hyped.

Indeed, for all the promise of “content marketing,” it’s not as easy as it seems. In a recent poll, a full 43% of B2B marketers, for instance, cite content marketing as an effective tactic for lead generation. But 43% also say it's also one of the most difficult.

It's also not always as effective as you might believe. According to eMarketer, developing the right content for the right audience is a major factor in why content marketing efforts fail to get desired results.

Indeed, despite today’s emphasis on all things digital, 84% of marketers develop old-school print brochures as #1 in their lead generation efforts.

Not that that's bad. Print does have a place as a delivery mechanism for some forms of content marketing—if anything, it's gained more cache in the digital age. But it's just one of many.


In this recent appearance on the The Jim Blasingame Show, I attempt to demystify content marketing.

Here in part one, I share five of the most effective types of content today, starting with the kind of video content consumers spend 6 billion hours per month viewing—and the kind up-and-coming-brands like Poo Pourri and BetaBrand (above) are using to break into the big time.

Some of the other top content forms will obvious to you, others maybe less so. Either way, any conversation with Jim means you’re going to have some fun along the way.

Of course, since Jim’s show is targeted to SMBs, our conversation is focused more on marketers who hope to gain traction in the marketplace without big-brand budgets.

But as you'll hear, whether it's big brand or small, one thing is clear: For all the time and money spent developing content to draw in prospects, a growing number of marketers are realizing they most overcome one cold, hard fact: Nobody anywhere is waiting around for your content.

This audio Q&A might help you find new ways to change that.



(approx. 6:16)


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Farewell Q&A with NY Times Ad Columnist Stuart Elliott (Concl): Uncertainty Certain

Can someone who has never worked in advertising really cover it?

Or is it even better that way?

In the conclusion of my recent "exit interview" with legendary New York Times ad industry columnist Stuart Elliott, we discuss what it was like to cover such a idiosyncratic industry without much first-hand experience in the business. 

How did being one step removed hinder - or help?

As Elliott says goodbye to the Times, we'll get his views on that topic.

And we'll try one last time to get his predictions for what's next in the world of advertising. His response is worth noting even for those of us who do work in this crazy, wonderful industry.


(Approx: 3:29)

Listen to Part One here: What I Saw at the Revolution

Listen to Part Two here: The Rise & Risks of Content Marketing

Listen to Part Three here: Change is (On) the Air


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A (Very Near) Future Where We Implant Our Phones, Instead of Carrying Them (Video)


It may sound crazy, but it's not.

Stealing a page from Netflix and others, BitTorrent is joining the original video content brigade with Children of the Machine, according to Motherboard.

Set eleven years in the future, the series looks at what happens when everyday life is shaped by ubiquitous augmented reality via communications devices that we don't carry around on our persons, but rather imbed within our skin.

That'll never happen, right? Don't count on it.

In my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I talk to scenario planner Peter Schwartz, founder of the Global Business Network and SVP of Strategic Planning for Salesforce.com, about how mobile will evolve in the decade ahead. Schwartz is the guy Hollywood calls when they want to know what the future looks like, based on extrapolating from current trends.

In Schwartz's eyes, we are indeed likely to see mobile phones imbedded into our skin in the next several years. By 2030, we won't really be talking about actual metallic or plastic materials, either.

"They'll be just subcutaneous organic material forming an organic circuit that is a cell phone," he tells me in the book. And this won't be just a hands-free, voice-enabled technology either. Instead of speaking "Call home" to start a call - you'll think it. And finding your way around town or to that great Chinese restaurant people have been buzzing about will require a simple thought, as well. (Check out a source interview with Schwartz for the book, here.)

Of course, all of this convenience will be balanced with another effect. Though the video indicates otherwise, in a world where you can no longer get lost, you won't really be able to hide, either.

Read more, here.

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McDonald's Brings its Own Game to AR at World Cup (Video)


Giraffas isn't the own restaurant with an AR game for World Cup. Now, Cannes' newly minted 'Marketer of the Year' is in the game, too.

Love the app (and the spot). But are you McLovin' Cannes' choice? If not, what brand would you give the nod to?


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AR + Infrared = New Interface for Wearables (Vision Video)


I'm digging this vision video from augmented reality player Metaio, which foresees a world where thermal heat scanning wearables enable users turn any surface into an interactive touch screen interface.

Think of the implications for communications, and then think further. Gaming, mixed reality movies and shows, layered brand experiences. Entire environments and cross-reality social media, activated and annotated by a simple touch.

How can your brand lead the way?

Read more, here.


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Augmented Reality Turns Fast Food Trays into Virtual Soccer Game (Video)


Are you ready for some (of that other kind of) football?

This branded augmented reality game from Brazil-based fast fooder Giraffas looks like a kick. It turns food trays into AR soccer (or "football") fields. Using an app on your iPhone, you can flick the ball at an onscreen goal keeper to see if you can score.

Best of all, players can chide competitors through social media.

Hey, if you're flying down to Brazil for FIFA World Cup 2014 next month, you're going to need to eat sometime, right?

Read more, here.



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New Marvel Comics Augmented Reality Superhero Costumes Come With Super Powers (Video)


Okay, we're going to get our geek on here for a sec.

We actually tend to be more DC comics than Marvel Comics. Well, DC for comics and TV, Marvel for movies - but we digress. Either way, it's hard not to dig these new cosplay outfits - called Marvel Morphsuits - that are powered by Zappar and enable super powers to come to life when viewed through a mobile device.

Our own two cents: The app should come with video capture so kids (or let's face it, grownups) could make their own sfx-driven movies. 

Still: Great idea - and sure to cause a stir at Comic-Con this summer.

Read more, here. 


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Watch All 5 Finalists in Doritos' 'Crash the Super Bowl 2014' Consumer-Created Ad Contest

FinalistsDoritos has revealed the five finalists in its annual "Crash the Super Bowl" consumer-created ad contest.

At stake: The chance to have your ad shown during the Super Bowl, $1 million in cash and the opportunity to work on the set of "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

From January 4 through 29, consumers can vote on which spots should make the Super Bowl, at doritos.com.

The five finalists, in alphabetical order by creator's last name:

Doritos Time Machine by Ryan Andersen, Scottsdale, Arizona


"Office Thief" by Chris Capel, Valencia, California


 "The Cowboy Kid" by Amber Gill, Ladera Ranch, California


"Breakroom Ostrich" by Eric Haviv, Atlanta, Georgia


"Finger Cleaner" by Thomas Noakes, Sydney, Australia


It is worth pointing out that this year marks the first time Doritos has opened the competition to the entire world, instead of just the United States. That makes Noakes the first non-US citizen to vie for the chance to have his spot shown during what is by far America's #1 sporting event.

But what's your verdict? Which would get your vote?

And what the hell is "Ultron"?

Read more here.


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Top 10 Best in Mobile Marketing 2013 (Video)


GenWowAwards-2013Who had some serious mobile mojo this past year?

One of the best signs for the future of mobile marketing comes in the fact that so many of our favorites appear on a number of other lists of GEN WOW winners for 2013 - indicating a level of integration we had not yet seen in the evolution of what is obviously the most measurable, personal and direct link to consumers ever created.

It's also worth noting that none of these have much to do with anything called "mobile advertising" of the "Oh, look, Facebook has mobile ads now" variety.

Most, in fact, involve highly engaging experiences involving games, helpful information or actual utilities.

Our purely subjective favorites of the year include:

10. (Tie) Stride Gum: Chew the Future Mobile Game

Sure, the promotional video is going to make your skin crawl. But this branded game from Stride and W+K does seems like a fun way to have your game and chew it, too. That's because the game uses your iPhone camera to detect your mouth movements to control the onscreen hero, Ace (bonus points for including the ability to share images of your crazy jaw action to share on social media.) Let's just hope the flavor lasts long enough to win during gameplay, though. Otherwise, the whole adventure may leave a, er, bad taste in your mouth. 

10. (Tie) Lexus: AR Print Ad

This year, Lexus was pushing the limits again - just in time for this year's big SI Swimsuit Issue. There was that 3D projection mapping experience on an LA Hotel a while back. And last October, the brand brought a print ad to life with the help of a handy iPad. This time out, Lexus went a bit simpler, keying into QR codes - the scanning of which reveals models hidden in SI print ads for the new IS. And as you'll see in our list of Top 10 Best in in Digital Out-of-Home 2013, it was also just the opening act in an integrated camapaign that included Sport Illustrated's first-ever 3D projection mapping experience on the facade at Caesar's Las Vegas (the development of which comes from Go2 Productions, the same team that worked on our 3D projection experience for a recent client event featuring a private concert by TRAIN).

9. (Tie) Nivea: Print Ad Charges Your Mobile Phone Via Solar

Okay, not technically mobile marketing, but print in the service of mobile. Here, NIVEA has found a way to let you keep enjoying those summer rays - without having to worry about your mobile phone going dead. This print ad from GiovanniDraftFCB in Brazil is just the latest example of print meeting digital for some very cool results (see recent Fanta-flavored, iPod-amping print ads for a few more).

9. (Tie) Samsung: Skip Ahead

As an Apple devotee, it pains me to say that Samsung's marketing in the mobile wars is increasingly impressive (and scathing) - especially the ads mocking iPhone fans waiting in long lines for the next iPhone. And in 2013, this effort from BBDO New Zealand raises the bar. Galaxy fans could skip ahead by tweeting. Brilliant. And you won't believe the results.

 8. Disney: Infinity Action! Mobile AR App

What JJ Abrams did for "Star Trek" and "Mission Impossible" with the ActionFX app, Disney's doing with its treasure trove of characters via its new Infinity Action! app. As a tie-in with its new Infinity game, this app allows you to create short videos using a host of popular Disney characters and 30 different animations and props, that they can then share on their soc-nets. Kids (and a fair number of parents) are certain to love this - and it's a great way to turn advertising into a participatory experience.

7. Chipotle: Scarecrow

It's looking like Chipotle has scored big with a new mobile campaign centered on YouTube video and mobile game.  As Venture Beat reports, Chipotle and Moonbot Studios produced an animated film and mobile game as part of its overall "Food with Integrity" campaign. Here's the thing: As a branding initiative, it's generating boffo results. In its first two weeks, the YouTube video saw 6.5 million views. And within four days of the mobile game's release on the App Store, it was downloaded 250,000 times, making it the top 15 free iOS apps in the U.S.

6. RSA Insurance: Touch Screen Print Ad Offers Instant Car Insurance Quotes

What are the Geico lizard or old Mayhem going to make of this? More importantly, what might they do with it? An insurance company called RSA in the Middle East has created an interactive print ad that enables readers to ask for a quote, no mobile phone or other consumer device required, though the quote comes back via the reader's mobile phone (which obviously provides the brand with contact information it could use for follow up communications). As part of the brand's "Easy as Ever" promise, the medium is quite literally the message - an innovative "wow" moment that directly delivers on the brand's positioning.

5. Dutch Boy: Paintlist App

Paintlist is bringing new color to your playlist. 

The app, launched by Dutch Boy Paints, uses songs stored on your phone or the phone's microphone to identify a song, and then analyzes it to suggest several color palettes based on things like tempo and beat. 

As you might expect, fast, upbeat music favored by many millennials results in recommendations for vibrant colors - and slow, dramatic music results in more muted tones. 

4. (Tie) Haagen-Dazs: Mini Augmented Reality Concerto (YouTube Video, Above)

It might be the ultimate ice cream topping: This augmented reality concerto lasts just long enough for the ice cream to soften up just right. A very nice branding moment for connecting with certain customer segments.

4. (Tie) Domino's: Dance Fest Pizza Box AR

In fact, the whole package-top motif took off big time this year. In one GEN WOW-winning effort from Domino's Japan, an iPhone app featuring a hugely popular, yet completely make-believe, virtual music star named Hatsune Miku, enables you to point your phone at a pizza box and enjoy a special, augmented reality performance from Miku.

3. Huggies: Dad's Pregnant, Too

Call it Father's Day, come early. This device, synced to Mom's belly, is sure to result in a powerful moment for Dad. And it's a blockbuster way to cement the Huggies brand into these new parents' minds. Maybe every expectant father should do this.

2. Hell's Kitchen: Pizza Box Top AR Game

We've lost count of how many of our lists include this GEN WOW winner from a New Zealand-based pizza chain called Hell Pizza. its very cool augmented reality game continues the package-top trend this year, and pits pizza fans against (what else) zombies straight from, well, Hell. Righteous.

1. Smart Communications: TXT Books for Kids

Call it text books by texting. This year, DDB Manila and telecom company Smart Communications won the Mobile Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival with an effort that seems like the perfect mix of cause + commerce.

Agree with our list? What made yours? Share - and let's discuss what it all means as we look ahead to 2014 and beyond.


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Top 10 Best Digital Out-of-Home 2013 (Video)


GenWowAwards-2013This year, we're doing things a little differently when it comes to digital outdoor. 

In truth, our Top 10 Best Marketing Pranks would qualify as out-of-home, too. Indeed, they would dominate our list. So we've given them their own category this year, and left the out-of-home category to everything else.

Which is good, because we saw a lot of innovation in this category in 2013, our favorites of which we share with you here. Enjoy!

10. Domino's Pizza: Drone Delivery

It's called the DomiCopter. And long before Jeff Bezos struck PR gold with his concept for Amazon deliveries via drone, Domino's was actually prototyping it. A little slice of heaven? Maybe it's the whole pie.

9. Melbourne Tourism: The Remote Control Tourist (tie)

Talk about armchair travel: This initiative enabled you control a person outfitted with audio video tech who will do what you ask him to do so you can tour Melbourne before you actually go - vicariously taking in the sites and sounds you want to experience.

9. BMW 3D Projection Mapping Racing Game (tie)

The Ultimate Driving Machine recently used projection mapping to launch a social racing game designed to promote the new 1 Series automobile in South Africa. Players driving via a Galaxy tablet, and their scores are posted on a real-time Facebook leader board and shared with friends. And the best drivers in each location in which the game was hosted won prizes. Game on.

8. DLKW: Project Colour (tie)

Project Colour from ad agency DLKW is designed to help students in school think creatively. And it's just one awesome (and heartwarming) way this real-time technology can be used. It also happens to be just one example of how social media sometimes doesn't require others to log into a social platform in order to participate.

8. Coca-Cola: Pop-Up City Park (tie)

Like so many of our lists this year, Coca-Cola scored big in this category by building on the success of its Happiness Vending Machines, Happiness Trucks, Happiness Drive-in Theaters - here with a simple, end-of-the-season park that let some grateful city dwellers hang onto those last few hours of summer.

7. Star Trek: Drones Over London

Long before Jeff Bezos...Oh, you get the picture. Here it's a fun, if illogical, way to promote 'Star Trek: Into Darkness' by having drones form the Starfleet insignia in the skies over London.

6. Coca-Cola: Personalized Billboards

In my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I look at how MINI created similar experiences to this using RFID chips in driver key fobs. Here, Coca-Cola accomplishes it via geofencing. While it's not as compelling - the user would need to download an app to experience this - the concept is fun and makes otherwise prosaic advertising supremely personal.

5. Molson Beer Fridge

Only true Canadians drink Molson Canadian. But they're going to have to prove it, first. The "beer fridge" traveled around cities throughout Europe - but could only be opened by scanning a Canadian passport. Which is only fitting for a brand whose tagline is "I am Canadian." Though for those without the appropriate papers, it's probably a bit coquettish, too. Maybe not the best way to get others to sample your beer. But it is, however, an outstanding way to cement your brand with the home team. And as Adweek points out, it sure beats the ad agency whose beer fridge only opened when everyone had done their time sheets. Now that's cruel, eh?

4. Lexus/Sports Illustrated: 3D Projection Mapping at Caesars Las Vegas

This year, SI took the whole Strip thing to a whole new level - with a little help from Lexus. On the heels of the duo's QR code-enabled interactive print ad, the brands used Caesars Las Vegas as the canvas for a rip-roaring 3D projection mapping experience last night, featuring models from this year's big Swimsuit Edition.  There are lots of things for fans of the annual issue to like - including building-size views of Kate Upton and her fellow SI models - with 3D elements, no less.

3. Qualcomm: Best Bus Station Ever

In an initiative promoting Qualcomm's mobile solutions, this bus stop ad invites you to respond via mobile to experience the unexpected - including all manner of entertainment, and even a ride in a Lamborghini to your destination. In some respects, it's just the latest sign that outdoor may well be the new TV - not in reach, but in branded experiences that pack punch.

2. San Pellegrino: 3 Minutes in Italy

San Pellegrino may have one-upped Melbourne with this Avatar-in-Taormina experience - enabling you to control a robot on the streets of Sicily. Take in the sights. Chat up the locals. Your face even appears on the android's monitor. At first glance, robots may feel a bit off-brand, until you see how this works. I mean, who wouldn't enjoy a few minutes in Italy during a hectic day. Of course, switch out the R2D2 body and replace it with a Ferrari, and then I'd really feel amore.

1. Coca-Cola: Small World Machines

There has long been a belief that popular culture breaks down barriers - the idea that engagement always trumps disengagement. That was true when it came to the Soviet Union. That's true when it comes to China. And to the extent than popular culture includes consumer products (it includes music, movies and fashion, so why not CPG?), Coca-Cola has always been at the forefront of cashing in on any peace dividend it could help create.

Bonus Favorite: LoopNet LA Traffic Jam


Okay, one moment of shameless self promotion here. We created this 3D projection mapping experience as part of a special event for our client LoopNet, and included a live concert by the band TRAIN, as part of a four-month integrated communications campaign that was awarded "Best of Show" at the International Summit Creative Awards (see a 2-minute video case study, here). The LA event itself was managed by Pearl Media, and the 3D animation was produced by Go2 Productions - the same team behind the Lexus/Sports Illustrated projection experience above. As you'll see in the case study, the results of this integrated campaign were astonishing. Which makes it our personal, purely-biased bonus favorite for the year.


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