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Campaigning With Interactive Social Media Platforms


Social media allows companies to create interactive, in-the-moment and fun campaigns. Companies are engaging their audience and provoking continued dialogue, while also tying these campaigns back to their products. These companies are raising the bar for what consumers can expect from social media campaigns. Companies are utilizing user-generated interactive games, contests, and promotional events to serve consumers, as well as benefit the company. A contest is no longer just “complete a form” to enter, and even billboards are no longer just wall-based stationary advertisements. Instead, companies are spanning multi-platforms and multi-means to get their message across.

Jell-O creatively designed a campaign that connected Twitter with consumer personal sentiment and relied on a specific hashtag as a vital component to their campaign. The concept of “Pudding Face” was established with the call-to-action, “Get Your Pudding Face On.” A billboard located near Times Square, which was called the “Mood Meter” and had a man’s face with a changing smile or frown, was set up to connect to Twitter sentiments in real-time. Whenever the mood turned too sad (meaning the percentage of frown tweets were higher than smiles), Jell-O gave away free pudding coupons to tweeters using #PuddingFace. Consumers felt more connected to the Jell-O brand when Jell-O replied to sad tweeters and gave them free pudding to change their frown to a smile.

jell o pudding face mood meter resized 600

Other companies use the hashtag to promote a business campaign or idea. For example, American Express started a campaign to drive shoppers to small businesses called “Small Business Saturday.” AMEX partnered with Facebook to give the first 10,000 small businesses that registered $100 each in Facebook advertising. The campaign used #SmallBizSaturday on Twitter to remind consumers to shop at local small businesses. Google, Twitter, and FedEx are now among the big businesses that support “Small Business Saturday” and the campaign has acquired over 2.8 million Facebook “Likes” thus far.

Recently launched “Live for Now” global Pepsi campaign utilizes the hashtag, while also calls for consumer action via Twitter. Pepsi, in partnership with Viacom Media Networks, promotes the NOW factor across music and pop culture platforms. Emphasizing the present moment, consumers are encouraged to tweet images with #mtvnow, #countrynow, #playnow, #comedynow to be entered for a chance to win prizes all summer long. Selected consumer tweets are also featured across Viacom’s channels and on their websites. Twitter also will share the campaign and the NOW factor through pop-up concerts and free music downloads based on the trending artists of the week.

Other companies are using innovative strategies that include interactive gaming techniques that engage a captive audience. For example, McDonalds in Sweden used social media to create a game called “Pong” that was constructed on a large-screen billboard. Just by using a smartphone and geo-location information (no app required), one’s phone could be directly connected to the billboard game. After 30 seconds of successful playing, players win a free coupon for a McDonalds food item of choice. Consumers were then asked to redeem their prize at the nearest McDonalds location. This strategy not only marketed the company, but also brought consumers directly into the restaurant to collect a prize. A simple strategy, free food and a fun game can always be a method to bring in a crowd.

MTV has taken the concept of an interactive game even further. They have recently launched a “Teen Wolf” fan-based game/social experience called “The Hunt.” Fans of the series can log into their Facebook accounts and become a member of the show’s high school and participate in activities with characters from the show. With the line of reality and fiction blurred, this innovative social media strategy is very impressive. Like McDonalds’ “Pong” game, a follow-up strategy is implemented to encourage consumers to keep coming back for more (whether it be to redeem a prize or a personalized email reminding one to continue playing the game). “The Hunt” will be one to keep an eye on to see if other companies will mimic and if it becomes a success.

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Whether it is the use of the hashtag or interactive gaming techniques, social media campaigns are becoming more inventive than ever before. Large companies like Pepsi and American Express are catching on, but small businesses can be successful as well. Multi-platform campaigns that use widespread social media tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, can benefit both the consumer and the company: social media at its finest.

What’s your favorite interactive social media campaign? Let us know in the comments!

- Danielle Genet, @daniellegenet

Mindshare 2.0: Crowdsourced Social Media


By now you probably had heard of the term "crowdsourcing" (more fun than outsourcing, less fun than crowdsurfing), but did you see this mindblowing article from Cracked on examples of things crowds do better than experts? I had to reevaluate my opinion of all the dudes who spent most of their time playing "Halo" in their dorm rooms freshman year.

Ok, so we as social marketers may not be fighting pirates or carrying out life-changing scientific research, but there are plenty of ways we, too, can use crowdsourcing to achieve far more than we could on our own. Here are a few examples of crowdsourcing at work in the social media realm.

Support Japan

1) Disguising the usual boring call-to-action within an interactive game can drive increased participation and generate invaluable social exposure for causes and charities. To aid fundraising efforts following the March 2011 tsunami disaster in Japan, game guru Zynga partnered with non-profit Save the Children and integrated user donations into their game interfaces. Were social gamers on board? Well, in approximately 36 hours of launching the donation game features Zynga had raised a cool $1 million. The Zynga campaign even grabbed the attention of Lady Gaga, who personally contributed $1.5 million. Now that's social media for social good.

2) Developing win-win partnerships enables companies and/or individuals to combine their strengths for often a fraction of cost and with many symbiotic benefits. Scenario: You need a creative video that really steps outside what your brand has done before, and you need it in under 2 months and on a tight budget. Answer: have your pick from dozens of entries through PopTent, which hosts your project's assignment and gathers submissions from videographers, animators, and other filmmakers. It's a win-win situation where companies have their selection from truly creative work, and creators can build their portfolios through a focused project while having a shot at getting chosen and - also important - getting paid.

3) Crowdsourcing across multiple platforms boosts your campaign's reach and overall engagement. Upping the ante from inviting fans to create their next donut, Dunkin' Donuts utilized Facebook and Pandora to promote their icy Coolatta drinks. The campaign integrated two popular social media channels by inviting their fans to use Facebook to contribute their favorite summer jam to a Coolatta summer music station featured on Pandora. Dunkin' Donuts' message of "mixology" came through loud and clear on both platforms and held consumer attention by generating conversation about music, summer, and kicking back with a cool drink on a hot day. 

As you can see, the most skillful social marketing taps the collective power and creativity of its followers by appealing to our natural tendencies to play, be creative, and communicate about things we enjoy. The most successful campaigns take this strategy one step further by integrating social sharing into the very framework of the campaign. If it's engagement we're after, crowdsourcing can be surefire way to get folks in on the conversation.

Please feel free to share any other cool uses of crowdsourcing in the comments. And if you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back to FrontierVille.

- Melissa Komadina

Tablet: Toy or laptop-succeeding tool?


describe the imageWith Amazon unveiling its Kindle Fire tablet today and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series garnering more than a few good reviews, the tablet is poised to become an established piece of tech rather than an Apple-only gizmo.  While the iPad started the craze, the success of other (but not all) renditions hints at future price slashes and app-tastic innovations.  Touch screens, intuitive layouts and petite proportions have the digital slates on their way to becoming a household item.

 But what type of household device will it be?  Will it be a work-home hybrid like computers and smartphones that serves both professional and personal purposes?  Or will it lean more toward the unnecessary-but-fun luxury category where e-readers, mp3 players and gaming consoles reside?  The jury is still out to lunch.

In June 57, percent of owners polled by Resolve Market Research reported that they used their tablets to supplant laptop applications, including work-related tasks.  These findings might indicate a laptop-tablet battle for computing supremacy, but another study has come to a very different conclusion.  A survey by Citigroup revealed that of 1,800 polled in the U.S. and U.K., 62 percent would purchase a tablet as a new toy or leisure gadget.  Only 18 percent reported they would use the device for work.

Of course these surveys cannot be arranged into an apples-to-apples comparison— the most glaring distinction being that one polled tablet owners and the other asked would-be consumers.  As more companies, like Amazon, enter the tablet club, the market dynamic will continue to evolve; only time will tell if and how the tablet will fit into the tech ecosystem.  

In the meantime, marketers would be wise to keep an eye on the public’s sentiments.  So far tablet ads have focused on versatility and ease of use, but should iPads, Kindle Fires and Galaxy Tabs become common office tools, those themes will need an upgrade.

On a lighter note, Disney’s upcoming Appmates for Cars points toward the toy (albeit awesome toy) category. Now all I need is an excuse to race Lightning McQueen at the office.

Nicole Duncan

VW’s Theory of Fun


Volkswagen is, as usual, doing things differently and getting some some positive attention for it. 

The Fun Theory   This morning a composer friend of mine posted a video on Facebook of "piano key" stairs.  His post had nothing to do with VW advertising and less to do with marketing in general.  He just found the video interesting because of his relationship with music (I'm sure of this because he posted the Swedish version of the video and he definitely doens't speak their language).
After finishing watching the video, I clicked on the link, expecting to be directed to some sort of music school related experiment site, and was (momentarily) suprised to be directed to a lightly branded VW website proclaiming (once I ticked the UK flag for English):
"This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun
is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it
for yourself, for the environment, or something entirely different, the
only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better."

This mini guerrilla campaign/behavioral experiment is doing exactly that:

The piano installation was created to encourage people to make the healthier choice to take the stairs instead of using an escalator.  The before and after shots of the staircase vs. the escalator prove the trick works.

The next video depicting "The World's Deepest [Trash] Bin," an outdoor public garbage can that makes a cartoonish sound of something falling very very far, had the effect of getting park-goers to not only throw away their own trash, but also to clean up the rest of the park just to hear the falling sound again. 

Next, they promise to come up with a fun way to recycle. 

I say, GO TEAM VOLKSWAGEN (BDB Stockholm)!  This bare bones project of theirs sure is a great example of a lot of good things advertising: marketing as service, combining online and offline, and making a good idea viral by keeping it open-ended and by not shoving a ton of branding down the throats of those who couldn't care less about cars (i.e. my buddy the composer).

Foursquare Without a Ball? Interview(s) with a well-spiced user/competitor…



Going A.D.D. at a Renegade status meeting last week, my mind wandered to foursquare, and how I could use it to enhance my busy social media/party-and-bar-hopping regime.

In case you don’t know what foursquare is (most of my friends don’t), here’s a quick breakdown:

Foursquare is a mobile location-reporting sms service with apps designed for iPhones and smart phones.   Users check in from places they hang out in via text, and if they have the web on their phones, can view their friends’ locations plotted on a map.   Further, foursquare gives users points when they check in to places, as well as badges for late night frequency or for when they do something kooky. This service is local and is offered in 12 US cities so far.

Since I don’t have an iPhone, I hadn’t signed up, figuring that without the GPS mapping enjoyed by foursquare’s iPhone users, playing on a regular mobile would be like trying out a new hairdo on a rainy day.  (It turns out that I'm right about that, but I think I'll stick with it because I'm bound to get a smart phone soon).

But still…I consider foursquare’s iPhone app such a  curious concept that I wanted to write about it.  So, I called up Martina Fugazzotto, my go-to girl for html questions, updates on all things cute and trendy, spontaneous dance/karaoke parties, social media pep-talks, and, more recently, iPhone app demos.  Martina has been involved in the social web since long before most of us merged onto the Information Super Highway, beginning with her early infatuation with and subsequent creation of her own website at the age of 15 (around 10 years ago).  She was happy to discuss my new hot topic.

First, I asked Martina (MF) about Google’s similar, but now defunct sms app, Dodgeball.  Indeed, she had played it in college to find her friends at parties.  However, she quickly grew tired of typing code and threw it out in favor of mass texting.

Second, I brought up Twitter.

 “The whole point of foursquare is that it’s only about being social.  Twitter is more about sharing info and links. Foursquare is straight up letting everyone know what you're doing and who you're with. No one is being coy or pretending that they are responsible or well versed.  It’s just about competing in going out.”

I thought I’d brought up a good topic since my first impression of Twitter was that it was a meet-up tool.  I guess that aspect of its functionality is long gone.  Needless to say, this past weekend I stopped using Twitter to publish my whereabouts.

A few weeks ago, Martina was number one on the foursquare leader board, but got nothing special for it.  There was no badge, nor any mention on the foursquare homepage. 

“Even just a little badge that says, I won for the week of—– would be really cool, but it was still satisfying to know that I really won.  It made me feel cool.”

On foursquare ethics, MF quips, “I don’t cheat.  I never cheat.  I have integrity when it comes to my foursquare, but I think sometimes my ex might pad it a little bit–yeah, he adds a little padding to his check-ins.” 

Clearly her ex is her biggest competitor.

“It’s really a very petty competition.  The reason I first used Dodgeball in college was because I wanted to find out where everyone was at any given time.  What is really cool, though, is that sometimes when you get somewhere and check in, you get recommendations from other people who have checked in there before and left tips on what special to order, or…anything!”

I think this is a great idea.  Imagine the possibilities!  Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai already have.  In fact, they are comparing Foursquare to The Legend of Zelda video game, but are also trying to overcome the zealotry of the highly competitive users (see second interview below) in favor of a more collaborative and experiential application.  The tips should help that, I think.  But foursquare needs more users first! 

So sign up, my friends!  Let’s share even more about where we’ve been and what we’ve done, and leave  tips, so it’s even more exciting to go out!  

>>>MF’s second interview, where her competitive side (and her self-publicized breakup) show. <<<

This morning I noticed Logan, Martina’s ex, had taken over her mayor-hood at Le Gamin in Brooklyn.

Here’s the chat I just had with her about that:

MF: Being a "mayor" of a place is awesome. it means you are IN with that place.  And when someone takes away your mayor-hood, you're like "who is that dude? We should be friends since we both spend a lot of time here.”

KG: except when it’s your ex.

MF: yes. Logan stole a mayor-hood from me this morning, from Le Gamin, a coffee shop in our hood where we used to spend a lot of time. I was pissed. I was like "who is he going there with??"

KG: awwww.  himself, of course!  better be.

MF: Yeah, well. When I saw he took my mayor-hood, I showed up there this morning so I could check in, and he was there.  So we had coffee together basically just because we both wanted to be mayors.  I endured coffee with my ex so that I could be the mayor of Le Gamin.

KG: NO WAY!!  Can I publish that?

MF: You can publish the entire story.
And when I got there, he said "SHIT. Now you're going to check in after me and possibly steal back the mayor-hood."
We are very competitive.

Because this competitiveness is common amongst foursquare users, Dennis Crowley said in the Post that, "If you keep doing the same things over and over again, if you go to the same place several times a week, your points get taken away."

I’d better warn Martina!  But first I think I should get some more friends to play with — preferably some who haven’t dated each other.



If you are a true blue video game fan, you know the significance of tomorrow. Come to think of it, you know what tomorrow is if you’ve been to Burger King or 7 Eleven, drank Mountain Dew or watched NASCAR on tv. Tomorrow is the sale date for one of the most anticipated games this year – Halo 3, which is the conclusion of the Halo trilogy.

Microsoft spent 10 million dollars on advertising for this game, which has generated billions of dollars worth of revenue. If you want to know what the hype is about, check out the Halo 3 Promotional Website here. If the sales are as strong as Microsoft thinks they will be, then Halo will truly be a gift from heaven.

How to bungle a multi-million dollar industry

One of the things I love about working at Chelsea Market is the wide variety of food selections. Now lets say that it’s 1pm and I go down to eat. One restaurant is out of food, one restaurant has each entree worth  $50 and one restaurant has their food served with a coupon for pepto bismol good for up to 3 hours after your meal.  Not very appetizing, is it?

It’s not, but this is your situation in the video game world. X-BOX, in their race to rush their product to the market, finds out that they will lose over 1 billion dollars thanks to being forced to extending their warranty. The cause? A defective hardware base, so now the warranty, which must be extended to guarantee good will among consumers, will eat up much of Microsoft’s profit. That would make Nintendo’s Wii the best choice…if you could find one sometime before Easter of 2009. That would cost them million of dollars worth of game players who would move over to the PS3…if Sony didn’t price themselves out of the market with a $499 tag – and that’s only if you buy the inferior version. By not taking the hit now and making it up on games later, SONY is also losing millions of dollars to a public – like me and a number of people in the office – who would pick one up if they only move the cost down.

It’s one thing to have a great advertising campaign. It’s another thing to deliver on it. Speaking of which, that’s what my solution would be on the food dilemma – call out and delivery. I guess that’s what internet gaming is for.

PS3 Worth Its Weight In Gold – Thanks, Ebay!


$30,000.  A pretty good pay day for a few hours of work.  The job?  Camp outside Best Buy the night before Sony’s Playstation 3 is released, buy the system (if you’re lucky) and hock it on Ebay.

Today, November 17th, 2006, is the day of the PS3.  It’s also the pay day many people have been waiting for.  You see, for some time now people have not been buying video game systems on ‘launch day’ for personal use, but for the sole purpose of re-selling them on Ebay.  It started with the Playstation 2 over six years ago and today a new record has been set. 

This morning, a PS3 sold for over $30,000 on Ebay.  The retail price of this gaming system is $599. Lucky day for the seller. Can I say the same for the buyer?  What drives consumers to such madness?  Ebay has once again proven they are the definitive hype-meter for what is hot in the Holiday season.

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