Since blogging last week about successful examples of branded integration a few things have happened:
- The UK government announced that it’s considering allowing TV product placements for the first time ever;
- The Journal of Marketing released a study stating that product placement is more effective than ever, and hence, we should all expect more of it, and last but not least;
- A few of my loyal friends who read my blog and indulge me by feigning interest in my opinion, took me to bat for my apparent “endorsement” of product placement.
So, here’s my two cents on each of these:
I don’t watch much TV but I do indulge quite heartily in an oversized helping of Food Network from time to time. One thing Food Network has accomplished is integration of a varied portfolio of products/brands into its programming (from consumer packaged goods, to supermarket retailers, to restaurant chains, to film studios’ new releases, to incorporating cause overlays). In some cases it’s a miss – like when the contestants on Top Chef scuttle around a kitchen stocked with products by Glad, which evidently have transfixed some cameraman as he zooms longingly in on the hypnotic yellow packaging of ForceFlex trash bags. In other instances, it’s organic and seems right at home – like when chefs on Next Food Network Star raid the aisles of Whole Foods and compete to have their dish featured on Red Lobster’s menu.
What seems to spell branded integration success – from my scientific and sophisticated couch-side analysis – is relevancy within the program and enhancement of the viewing experience. For example, the McFlurry on NBC’s 30 Rock – while controversial – was a nugget of comedic gold that made the episode more enjoyable for viewers. Subway as an option for Biggest Loser contestants, when not preparing their own meals, makes sense and compels others of us to think more healthfully when eating on-the-go. Bluefly.com’s Project Runway challenge that put designers to the task of creating an eco-friendly dress for the reward of having their creation sold on bluefly’s site upped the ante and had viewers eagerly awaiting the verdict. more
I’ll admit, in the past I’ve not monitored the non-profit space as vigilantly as several other sectors and topics within the sponsorship industry. One reason is probably because I held an ill-conceived misconception that when it came to creativity I wasn’t going to find anything too earth shattering going on there. Well, let me just say the non profit world handed me my butt this week as I spotted two highly creative campaigns integrating two forms of marketing that can be tricky to get a handle on — mobile and guerilla marketing.
UNICEF is upping its technological savvy to appeal to a new generation of donors by adding mobile and web enhancements to its 59th annual Trick-or-Treat campaign (the longest running youth volunteer activity in the U.S.). The mobile element of this campaign incorporates mobile giving via text — phone users text in to donate cash which is billed directly to their phone bill. No muss, no fuss in the form of entering billing info and filling in a variety of personal info fields. UNICEF has also created downloadable activity sheets, fundraising ideas, Halloween party ideas and e-card reminders. These campaign “upgrades” intrigue me not because they consider how a youthful target audience operates (with a cell glued to their hand) — that’s nothing new a million marketers haven’t honed in on before — but because it goes a step further than a text announcement, opt-in or coupon. It connects with a generation being dubbed the most conscious and charitable ever and thinks about how they might want to not just communicate, but also give. Check it out here.
Dear theme parks and sponsors who want to reach families with children:
Moms (and Dads) have a message for you. Whether it’s a season pass to a nearby Six Flags or a pilgrimage to a Disney land or world, parents are online talking about how to take the family to an amusement park without asking for a loan from the kids’ piggy banks. And while they chat, they are laying out a wealth of information about the types of promotions and amenities that would succeed for sponsors and parks alike.
A few examples, of many:
I know many of us have tried to block it out, but I’m going to ask you to remember back to the days when you were locked in a room to take placement tests in middle/junior high school… What I remember most about these tests (besides for the obvious trauma they caused me) were the “scenario” questions meant to gauge one’s “problem solving ability.” You know the drill, it went something like this:
“If New York time is three hours ahead of San Francisco time, what time would it be in New York if a San Francisco clock one hour behind the time shows 4 o’clock?”
If you’re anything like me – a self-admitted indie music snob who looks forward to Tuesdays’ new releases with the patience and control of Manny and A-Rod in a pharmacy – then you probably have noticed that the music industry has been blowing up with new marketing and sponsorship strategies aimed at the indie music community.
Case in point, just this month:
- ReverbNation launched “Sponsored Songs” which is an online distribution program that brings fans free songs from 1,000 artists which will feature sponsor ads alongside the album covers of currently playing tunes on fans computers, mobiles, etc.;
- Billboard Music & Advertising Conference featured a session on moving brand marketers away from major label music towards independent music to connect with consumers who are shifting away from anything mass produced, mass consumed and status quo;
- IDT Media Group and its subsidiary, DiskFaktory launched the Music Sponsorship Network, a system that will link start up musicians with commercial sponsors and feature sponsors’ ads on CD artwork.
It seems like branded entertainment is making as big a splash this month as the shorts and flip flops my fellow Chicagoans are breaking out of their closets. Just as summer tends to bring people out of hibernation to indulge in a little raucous behavior, it seems marketers are taking a hint from this lighter, festive time of year. Whether it’s the dog days of the TV programming season, the increasing shift towards integrated forms of advertising, or a much overdue need for some laughs and creativity, several brands are putting their goods on the line with new campaigns.
Post Grape-Nuts’ “That Takes Grape-Nuts” campaign capitalizes on the brand’s loyal following of male enthusiasts by offering 50 highly original and hilarious webisodes in “The Guy’s Manual” (in case you’re curious, here’s one of my favorites: http://theguysmanual.msn.com/?Category=catID2&Id=a20#/catID6/v8). I’m not a guy, but this campaign works. Not only was I laughing, talking about and passing along videos of this campaign, I bought some Grape-Nuts. Seriously. more
I love my Google G1 phone and I especially like browsing the Android marketplace for new applications (apps). I know I am not alone in this, especially among iPhone users. Recently, IEG’s Jim Andrews posted a blog item discussing the introduction of the “Countdown to Copenhagen” app from the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee, the first bid city to use the technology.
According to Apple, over a billion apps have been downloaded by iPhone and iTouch users. Some of the most popular and entertaining apps are the most inane. I checked out the top paid apps for the iPhone and in the top five are FMyLife Pro and The Moron Test, whose names say it all. My guess is that the novelty of these types of apps will wear off and the ones that stick around are the ones that offer convenience or information. more
Ever found yourself in a relationship where the person you’re seeing has a wonderful quality you adore and over time you come to find that very same quality is what drives you insane about them? Well this seems to be the song and dance digital media properties and sponsors find themselves in when trying to strike common ground and get a deal done.
Those of us digital nerds who keep up with the trials and tribulations of the digital frontier know that monetization models are lagging well behind the technological developments of this space. What we see more often than not is a digital property trying to communicate its value out in the marketplace with little more than media equivalencies to rely on. That said, when a digital property tries to sell “sponsorship” of its platform, the story becomes even more convoluted as sponsors don’t know entirely how to view the opportunity. The drill usually goes something like this: more
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about branding and sponsorship on the Web, social networking, Web content, monetizing Web exposure, etc. This was a hot topic during IEG’s annual conference and continues to be top of mind for me.
Generally, sponsor exposure on the Web is part of a larger sponsorship package and how the sponsor is recognized online is an afterthought, something like a sponsor logo next to a bunch of other sponsor logos. This is a mistake; a property’s Web site is often the first point of contact for your audience and where they develop their first impression of your sponsors. The Web provides a direct link to a sponsor’s products or services and in many cases it is the quickest way to a sale for the sponsor. To top it off, it can be measured and the measurement is fairly easy to obtain. more