Monday, 25 March 2013

Augmented Reality & Interactive Advertising

Ads That Come To Life

Interactive advertising reflects the future. Augmented reality (AR) is a great example of an engaging and interactive use of this technology.  Brands that adopt it and create an amazing, memorable customer experience will stand out in our minds and be perceived as industry leaders.  Truly understanding the customer, thinking outside the box and creating a strategy aligned with a company’s vision are the three principal ingredients needed for a successful AR experience.

Take a look at what Coca-Cola did this past January, at the Science Museum in London, when it used AR to create the ultimate customer experience.  They introduced a virtual mama polar bear who looked on as her babies were playing on the ice, and then the ice broke.  It captured our hearts and engaged us in Coca Cola’s and the World Wildlife Foundation’s cause “Get Involved,” that illustrates how important it is for everyone to get involved because when we work together we can do much more about climate change.  It also shows that Coca Cola is more than a soft drink.

Disney used AR when it brought its characters to life in Times Square.  It made for a thrilling experience as Disney characters interacted with people, and everyone could see it on a huge screen.  It was fun, certainly interactive and yes, memorable.

AR was also used in the recent U.S. elections when Obama was able to virtually reach out and high five a voter’s hand, making him seem very accessible.

Augmented reality gets the media talking because it’s innovative and it’s changing the way advertising is perceived.  Ads are no longer talking “at us,” rather they’re interacting in a fun way, and yes, at times, they’re making us involved in great causes.  What brands caught your attention recently?

Monday, 18 March 2013

Media Coverage…What’s it Worth?

Getting your brand or business in the news can be exciting, but how do you maximize its value? Reading about it in a magazine, newspaper, or blog;  watching it on TV or listening to it on the radio   provides instant validation for your brand.  In a recent post by Chris Winfield,  CMO of BlueGlass Interactive, he said “I love Ben Affleck's quote from the movie Boiler Room, “Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn't  f#!*ing have any.”  He went on to say, “I always felt that perfectly relates to companies and press coverage. The ones who don’t get coverage will quickly dismiss it as useless and the ones who regularly get coverage just smile and hope that the others keep thinking that way...”

We agree with Chris because consistent press coverage obtained by PR  builds credibility for brands, and generates new leads, partnerships, and links.  In turn, this will increase traffic to your website and social media sites, improve employee morale and increase sales.  

There’s no doubt about it, PR creates believability and media coverage generated from PR campaigns can really build value for a brand.  But, you need to know what to do with your media coverage once you’ve gotten it.  How do you maximize the benefits of these third party media endorsements?

There are many ways to publicize your publicity..  You can create a “Featured in” section on your website and let everyone read what the media have to say about your brand or project, build a link to your article or post, share it on social media, link to it from your company’s newsletter, and don’t forget its value as a sales tool for your reps and potential investors.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Does Sex Sell ?

Often educated, sometimes career-oriented, married or single, with or without children, young or older, women have something in common. They are the major decision makers when it comes to purchases. In fact, 85% of all consumer purchases are based on women’s decisions - whether it’s healthcare, pharmaceuticals, home purchases, vacations, or even electronics and cars. The last two are particularly surprising, as they are known to be predominantly male markets.

It’s important for businesses to acknowledge women’s influence when creating a marketing strategy.  Sprint, for instance, has shifted its strategy from technology jargon to a lifestyle-focused strategy.  Still, many companies fail to acknowledge this.  Take a look at the automobile industry where, despite the fact that 65% of women account for car purchases, sex is still used to sell cars.

So the question is, does sex really sell to women?

If a brand isn’t selling a sex-related product such as lingerie or condoms, chances are, this type of advertisement will take attention away from the brand, possibly cheapening it.  Media Analyzer survey results show that only 8% of women like ads with sexual themes, compared to 48% of men, and 58% of women believe there is too much sex in advertising.

What don’t women want?

They don’t want to be talked down to, and what appeals to them is not the same as what appeals to men.  Marketers need to acknowledge this. It is shocking that 91% of women still think advertisers don’t understand them, but there’s nothing new about that.  Forty nine years ago, in 1964, David Ogilvy said, “The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.” True then and obviously it hasn’t changed much.


Monday, 25 February 2013

Festival Montréal en Lumière: a 3D Experience

Every year, Festival Montréal en Lumière adds color and warmth to Montreal's cold winter by celebrating both food and the arts.  This year, the festival has been taken to a new level as the organisers wanted Montrealers to explore all of their five senses.

This experience has been made possible because of the support of numerous corporate sponsors. The main sponsor, RBC, has created the RBC Dome that provides a 360 degree experience for its visitors. This project was organized in connection with the RBC Blue Water Project, whose goal is to improve water efficiency and usage in urban areas.

Picture ©Victor Diaz Lamich, Montréal en Lumière 

The RBC Dome is a 20-metre sphere and as visitors step inside, they have a chance to experience a half-hour 360 degree movie, BLOOP, that shows water in all of its states.                                                     

Another sponsor, Provigo, created the Provigo Sphere to delight visitors’ palates with samples of different sweet foods.  Air France sponsored a Ferris wheel that provides a view of the entire festival site. The Milk Urban Slide engages visitors of all ages by providing the ultimate winter activity. Bell’s Interactive Laser  gets guests to create laser drawings that are projected on the wall of a building, in real time.   And, all these experiences are free so everyone can enjoy them.

Many companies are using societal marketing, when choosing projects for corporate sponsorship as a way of changing the perception of their brand by making it seem more socially involved. As more and more companies and brands turn to this type of marketing, it becomes a competitive disadvantage for a corporation not to be part of this trend. These corporate sponsorships also    provide more opportunities for positive media coverage that will portray a more caring brand image.

In RBC’s case, it chose a three-dimensional approach, using utilizing societal marketing to change its image, get involved in the community and refresh the image of its brand. And, they did it all with a giant 3D sphere!

What brand made your festival experience memorable?


Friday, 15 February 2013

Valentine’s Day 2013 edition, how times have changed!

The world has changed in the past few years. Today, considering the unlimited access to all types of information, brands have much more to do to stand out.  They really need to step out of the box, and think big. Some do.

Fifty years ago, buying flowers from a shop was all that you had to do for Valentine’s Day.  Now, expectations are higher.  This year, on-demand car company service Uber introduced “Romance On-Demand”. The slogan is what today’s consumer relates to.  This app allows the user to have a dozen roses along with a customized message delivered to their Valentine in any location in the D.C. area.  A black car will arrive with a chauffeur to deliver flowers.  Now that’s impressive and bound to score lots of points.

This is a great promotion for Uber because the drivers are already on the road, so for this day they will be delivering customers flowers in addition to rides.  They’re having fun and Uber is gaining awareness by delighting customers.  It’s win-win for all!

Uber is not the only company that decided to leverage Valentine's Day.  An American Express survey states that 4 million Americans expect to propose or be proposed to on V-day.   Pizza Hut decided to take that into consideration, by creating a "proposal package" costing over 10K.  It includes everything from an engagement ring, fireworks, limo, flowers, photo and video services, and dinner, pizza of course. This is an exclusive package that will be limited to only ten “soon-to-be-fiancés,” so the experience will definitely be an (almost?) unique one.

If the “proposal package” is a bit too much, you can simply purchase the Pizza Hut Perfume for your loved one. Now you have the option of smelling like fresh baked crust- all day long.  Is that for your Valentine?

Whether this marketing strategy is consistent with Pizza Hut’s overall positioning is debatable, but we know for sure that they can “think outside of the box.”  Uber, on the other hand, has only enhanced their brand and utilized their resources, which didn’t cost a lot but got them great PR.

So, what brand made your Valentine’s Day memorable?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Super Bowl Commercial Leaks - to Do or Not to Do?

Commercials have become an essential part of the Super Bowl experience. For some, the commercials are more important than the game itself. Certainly, for the advertisers who pay $4 million for a 30 second commercial, reach is what they’re after and airtime during the Super Bowl is not enough.

We live in a society ruled by the idea of instant gratification.  Some companies decided to play by that rule and leaked commercials prior to the Super Bowl. On one hand, it drew a lot of media attention and caught many people’s interest before the game. On the other hand, those commercials were not as memorable during the game as the commercials that had never been seen before. The intrigue of the reveal was no longer part of the brand experience.

Something else to consider: if part of the audience chooses to watch the Super Bowl because of the commercials, and 47% of women do, will they have any reason to watch it now?  Leaking commercials seems to be a trend and as brands succumb to this temptation, the dynamics of the Super Bowl as we know it will change.

Perhaps Honda and Coke knew how to do it better. They caught the media and the public’s attention with teasers before the game and they engaged them at the game with their commercials. As a result, they didn’t take away the element of surprise at the Super Bowl.

Who do you think did it best?

Friday, 1 February 2013

How photos can make You more likable and engaging

Visual Marketing is the new trend in 2013 as more and more people turn away from blocks of copy to visuals that tell a story.  Photo sharing tools like Instagram, purchased by Facebook, in April of 2012, have seen a 1,179% increase in six months. That says a lot about using visuals.  Posts on Facebook using photos or other visuals saw 53% more Likes than a post with only a link.  A photo with a comment got 104% more comments than just an average post.

This percentage difference is substantial and emphasizes a huge opportunity for businesses to increase Likes and comments using visuals.  Seeing the larger Facebook photo grabs your attention and increases engagement.  Also, image posts increase interest by EdgeRank, Facebook’s visibility algorithm.  By doing that, your posts to appear more frequently in News Feeds and this increases your visibility too.

See the difference when posting a photo on Facebook compared to posting a link.  The Facebook photo is much more engaging because you can see the photo quickly.  When you just see a link, the photo is much smaller, making it less impactful.

According to Hubspot, there are 19 other reasons why you should include visuals in your marketing strategy.

Visual learning is nothing new.  You might remember the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words!” Today, social media proves it.