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Archive for August, 2009

Blog_CTA_1
Image: Direct Daily

Sad that it actually kind of is. But, I’m glad to be seeing more listening and two-way communication integrated into campaigns. The latest example is from the Chicago Transportation Authority, who came to the wise conclusion that no matter what changes you make, someone’s going to complain about them, so you might as well survey people on what they want beforehand. (People will still whine, but at least they can’t accuse you of not asking).

CTA chose a low-budget, high-visibility tactic: putting a big chalkboard on the pavement and letting anyone jot down their opinions on what improvements CTA should make. Mixed in with the relevant suggestions there was probably a fair share of shout-outs, drawings, political statements, and other randomness – which I think is fine, because the point is that CTA gave people a platform through which to speak freely.

This marketing effort, facilitated by Chicago Now, reminds me of HSBC’s soapbox-in-the-park, part of their “Different Values” campaign. In that case people weren’t asked to talk about the company, but the overall concept of “handing over the mic” was the same. Financial institutions are always going on about how transparent they are, but you rarely see them doing stuff like this. If they went out on a limb and embraced public opinion, both good and bad, I think it would make their messaging much more believable.

/Maija

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I recently learned about a bank marketing campaign targeting high school and college students that is actually great, (a rarity in the world of youth marketing). The effort, dubbed “Don’t Be That Guy“, is by Fifth Third Bank, which operates in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. The basic message is, “don’t be the idiot whose poor spending habits make life miserable for others”, communicated in a very funny and irreverent tone. The campaign is pretty comprehensive, including in-branch and campus signage, apparel, cinema advertising, online advertising, TV spots, print advertising, guerrilla marketing and a scholarship sweepstakes. More importantly, its hilarity makes it incredibly buzzworthy. (Case in point: I already sent it to everyone in my office).

Not that long ago, I was still in college. Had I seen this campaign at the time, I probably would have A) opened an account with Fifth Third because of the scholarship sweepstakes, and B) sent my friends the videos. I’m not sure what guerrilla tactics are going to be incorporated into the campaign, but I think this effort will turn out to be a great example of how traditional and non-traditional marketing can complement each other. Hopefully social media is involved – I can imagine several funny Facebook profile options that would work with this campaign.

Fifth Third Bank is targeting parents as well as teens, hoping that the campaign will spur talks about finances before students leave for college. In addition to marketing, the bank held over 50 educational presentations at high schools last spring. Each presentation started with one of the spots, and then moved on to a related subject. Response to “Don’t Be That Guy” has so far been very positive. Read this article for more information.

Definitely take a moment to watch the other three spots:
The Party
Sound Check
Free Stuff

/Maija

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Hawaii Central Credit Union is holding a couple of fun, buzzworthy competitions as part of their re-branding efforts. The most popular of these is their “Fastest Text Messaging Contest” – first of its kind in the entire state. About 200 participants are anticipated for the preliminaries, and finals will be held at Kahala Mall with the winner receiving $1000. The credit union’s new tagline is “Connect. Inform. Belong”, and I can see how the texting competition supports the “Connect” message, which is a reference to how Hawaii Central CU links businesses and individuals. With such a big prize and hoards of text-happy, mall-going teenagers, I’m sure this promotion will generate plenty of word of mouth.

The credit union is also holding an “Oldest Hawaii Central Credit Union Paraphernalia Contest”, which rewards the pack rats among us. Ancient brochures, newsletters and even statements are all fair game, and the person able to produce the oldest item containing a date wins $500. This should get folks talking – if I lived in Hawaii, I would be asking everyone I knew whether they were members and if they saved old mail. Way to get the conversation going! Can you think of any other buzzworthy competitions that community banks or credit unions have held recently?

/Maija

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As you’ve probably noticed, I read Ad Age pretty frequently. Today was a good short and sweet article about word of mouth marketing, and how it entails a level of familiarity with customers that you don’t need when using traditional media. With straight advertising that reaches out to a mass audience, it’s okay to call your best customers “women with a child under 4”, and group people by the thousands. Word of mouth is about relationship-building, listening and responding to individuals’ opinions, actively asking for feedback, and creating honest referrals. This requires you to know your best customers on a one-by-one basis, (which is, of course, much easier for a small business to do than a multinational company.)

Of course, the issue with all this personalized attention is that it’s time-consuming. Luckily, services like Twitter, Facebook and community forums make it faster and more efficient. This is great if your best customers use social media, but what if they don’t? How do you contact them? How do you even find out who they are? Questions to ponder.

/Maija

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I saw this article on AdAge and my eyes opened up a little wider when I saw FriendFeed and Facebook in the same headline. For those of you who don’t know what FriendFeed is, it is an aggregator of up to 58 social network services including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, SlideShare, Pandora and Amazon. Basically, it allows us to follow someone or something on all of these different services with one overall service. Very cool.

Anyway, apparently it was losing marketers’ attention since Facebook has been adding members right and left. And let’s face it, we marketing folk are going to go where the people are. However, Facebook acquiring FriendFeed allows marketers, or just those who are interested, to search many people’s status updates at once and see what is hot, what is not and what is being talked about the most.

This is a great thing for all marketers and clients alike…just think of all the ways this will allow us to keep a pulse on hot brands and upcoming trends. It is always good to know what the landscape is, in your marketplace or in general, and this could give us another way to do that. Clearly there are still kinks to work out and areas where this partnership can improve, but if all goes well this could be a powerful tool for all of us.

Looks like Facebook is slowly taking over the web…and maybe soon, even the world.

/Alicia

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Blog_PSST_GM230

Do you know what GM’s 230 campaign is all about? Nope, neither do we. The advertising, which sports the number 230 with the zero formed by a winking electrical outlet, let’s us know that some sort of announcement will be made on 8-11, but that’s about it. Connected to the campaign are: a website, a Facebook group, a Flickr page, a YouTube channel, and a blog.

Could it be a promotion of Chevy’s upcoming Volt electrical car, (which everyone already knows about)? For a Buick cross-over SUV plug-in hybrid? For a prototype 230-mpg car? For the demise of mankind?

Who knows. They sure have been hyping it up a lot online and through social media (though the response has been lackluster). I really hope that GM understands that the concept “under promise and over deliver” also applies to viral and word of mouth marketing campaigns, especially right now considering that the company isn’t looking too great in consumers’ eyes. As one blog commenter sarcastically put it, “It’s the number of days until GM declares bankruptcy — again”. Let’s hope this isn’t a ‘Segway situation’, where the announcement doesn’t live up to expectations. I guess we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out!

/Maija

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