Thursday, October 29, 2009

A New Agency, With A New Model

Crowdsourcing has been a hot topic recently. Whether you are for or against crowdsourcing, you can’t deny the impact it is having on the advertising world. That impact has led to the first crowdsource driven agency, Victors & Spoils.

At the core of this agency is the “goal to provide businesses with a better way to solve their marketing, advertising and product-design problems by engaging the world’s most talented creatives.” The agency will consist of in house talent (the overseers) as well as the collaborative talent that will be providing the crowdsourced ideas. You can check out the details on their website and follow them on twitter @victorsnspoils.

Personally, I like the idea of crowdsourcing. I think there are limitations built into it, but at the same time the benefits could outweigh those limitations. I especially like this group’s (Evan Fry, John Winsor and Claudia Batten) adventurous attitude in taking a controversial idea and building an agency around it.

Advertising is an organic being of sorts. It is always changing, learning and growing. Crowdsourcing is a direction that advertising is, if not moving toward, at least showing some interest in. Taking the chance and exploring this direction will undoubtedly lead to some great work. Whether or not it is sustainable is still to be determined. Ultimately only time will tell how this experiment pans out. But I for one can’t wait to see the work that develops and where this idea goes.

What do you think about crowdsourcing? Is this the future of advertising or just a passing fad?


P.S. Where is the account guy crowdsourcing? How come we don’t get any love?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sheer Joy

When I first saw this video it gave me goose bumps. The joy the players are experiencing led me to send out a tweet proclaiming, “This is what college football is all about”. I then went for a run and during my run I realized this moment caught on camera is so much more than a great football moment.

This is a moment that everyone should experience. It reaches beyond sports. It’s a moment shared with your kids when they get an A on a test. It’s a celebration after a promotion or winning an unexpected account. It’s finding those moments in life when you get to be David and slay your Goliath. Most importantly it’s a moment that I don’t see very often outside of the sports world. You see athletes celebrate after they win a big game or a championship. But you never see a group of people in suits jumping up and down.

This could be for any number of reasons. It’s not professional; it’s not practical (being in suits and all), celebrating is childish, the list goes on and on. I think the real reason is very few people care about their career as much as these young men care about football. Maybe if we all cared about our jobs as much as they did, we would celebrate a little more.

So my question to you is, when was the last time you celebrated like the Iowa State Cyclones? Is it appropriate to celebrate like that as an “adult”?


Monday, October 26, 2009

Fear – Motivator or Restrictor?

I recently watched the new Tyson documentary. Besides being an interesting take on a very complex individual, it revealed a side of Tyson I had never seen before. The big theme throughout the film was fear. Early in his career, Tyson used fear as a motivator. He was afraid of being embarrassed. He feared embarrassing himself in front of millions of people by losing a fight. So he used that fear to push himself to train harder.

Later in his career, after his release from jail for a rape conviction, fear changed for him. He was no longer afraid of losing or being embarrassed. He was afraid of being betrayed by those closest to him. He no longer trusted anyone after his (in his mind, false) rape conviction. The fear that once molded him into one of the badest men in the world, now became his demise.

This got me thinking about fear and how it affects everything. Everyone has fears that shape their lives. Fear of commitment, fear of moving to a new city, fear of moving to a new job, fear of taking a risk, fear of not taking a risk; you name it, someone has a fear of it. The thing I find most interesting is the difference between people who use fear as a motivator and people who allow their fears to hold them back.

Fear plays a big roll in business. The good companies seem to use fear as a motivator to try new things. Attacking the competition or going after a new target market, could open your product to a new line of consumers. Going with the new campaign, even though it might alienate a few members of your current customer base, takes a healthy control of fear. And if the new campaign is a total flop, using that fear to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again is key to managing fear in the future.

So my question to you is how do you handle fear? Do you use your personal fear to make you better? Do you use the fears of your clients to make them better?


Monday, October 12, 2009

A Car Dealer Commercial That's Worth Watching

Stevinson Automotive takes the traditional car dealer ad and puts it on its head. They prove a car dealership commercial doesn’t have to scream deals at the consumer to get their point across. Stevinson uses a combination of the three commercials below to inform the consumer of a different car buying experience. One in which you don’t to feel like you are being taken advantage of. One in which you don’t have to dread going to the dealership and dealing with shark like salesmen.

The commercials use humorous situations to convey the main idea that car dealerships don’t have to be scary. They also do a great job of integrating useful brand-building information along with the humor. The commercial above informs the consumer that Stevinson Auto has been around for 47 years. That builds trust with the consumer. If they’ve been around for 47 years they must be doing something right.

The above commercial focuses on used cars and the fact that Stevinson Auto only sells car fax certified used vehicles. Again, trust is developed through the sense of humor and facts within this commercial.

This final commercial does a great job of communicating brand-building elements to the consumer. The use of the “diabolical theme music” and counter points of honesty, allow the consumer to both enjoy the commercial and raises the Stevinson brand in their mind.

In my mind these commercials do a great job both together and separately. They mix humor and important brand building elements to differentiate themselves from the rest of the car dealerships and from the idea of a car dealership in the mind of the consumer.

What do you think about these commercials? What other industries with negative connotations could use an approach like this?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Baked In Follows Its Own Advice

I just finished Baked In by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor and I was thoroughly impressed with the book. Not only does the book bring up a very important subject in the way products are designed, it also follows its own advice by baking in features that will help this book grow and live beyond its pages. It does all of this in a streamlined, no fluff set up that allows the reader to dig into the book, extract useful information and apply it to his or her own situation.

Baking In

The main idea behind Baked In is integrating marketing into the design of your products. This integration allows the product and the marketing to tell the same story. This idea seems simple enough but its something that rarely happens. The book shows real life examples of companies that do a fantastic job of integrating the two, as well as companies that missed this crucial step.

In addition to the real life examples, the book also goes through “28 rules for baking in”. The rule I find most interesting is “Become A Silo Jumper”. To me, this step seems to be the most integral piece to the baking in puzzle and at the same time seems the hardest to achieve. If your company, like most companies, has different departments going about their days without interacting with each other, an integrated product is very hard to develop. At the same time, breaking down those barriers can be very hard and even dangerous to your job. This section gives a good “recipe” on how to jump the “silos” and make your company a true team.

Do As I Say, And As I Do

Remember when your mother would use the famous “do as I say, not as I do” trick on you. Well, this book is following the motto of “do as I say, and as I do”. Not only does it preach baking in, it actually does it. Throughout the book, the authors have included Twitter hash tags to keep the conversation going beyond the book, into the Twiterverse and their blog. This is a great way to bake conversation and word of mouth directly into the book. Instead of having readers from all over the world having haphazard conversations all over the web, the predetermined hash tags and blog allow readers to interact with the book and with each other. This will eventually lead to interesting and thought provoking conversations that will only strengthen the ideas within this book.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The ideas within it make sense for a changing economy and changing consumers. With all of the different avenues that consumers have to research a product today, having a consistent and meaningful message becomes all the more important. This book gives you tools on how to accomplish that very thing.

What did you think about this book? Do you have any Baked In stories to share?

- Dennis

Full Disclosure – I have no affiliation with the author of this book or the publisher.