Archive for April, 2011

Stardate January 14th 2554 *

Social Notwork?

Following Pepsi’s spectacular social media fail, it’s probably time to stop and think. We used to do that before the age of don’t think just do. When advertising was about sales, not clicks.

Facebook is the current Big Daddy and is a phenomenal advertising channel. But let’s face it (har-har) people are using it to advertise themselves, not Coffeemate. You may even be reading this from the blatant self-promoting link on my fb page.

We used to factor in people’s state of mind during media consumption – in the cinema you have a captive audience; on tv they’re likely to go to the toilet during the break, and so on. Apply that to your personal experience on facebook. People are looking at their mate’s pictures, their mate’s holiday pictures, their mate’s cool links, and their mate’s pictures of lunch. And Boo.

As of today, 1,040,280 people follow Boo. Boo is a cute Pomeranian dog with posts like “I’ve just had a bath” (that post alone got 25,000 ‘likes’, almost half of Pepsi’s total).

I’m sure a million people following Boo are not looking for a deep immersion experience with anyone’s toothpaste brand.

Come on, how often do you look at that stuff on the right-hand side of your fb page? Never, right – it’s shite.
The now tiresome debate has been that social media has been killing traditional creative. But social media or not, creative is still required. If social media were the only way forward, the obsolete component is not creative, but in fact the media company itself.

Am I in danger of sounding ‘old-school’? Well, my 12 year old daughter Minnie, she’s your future consumer. She doesn’t distinguish between traditional and non-traditional media. She’s grown up watching telly and at the same time using facebook on her i-pad. She’s never known a world without either. Don’t try and engage her with channels, but with some content that grabs her attention.

Now in the new media language you can call her a collaborator, a co-creator, an advocate, whatever, but the ultimate goal is usually to get her to buy your product, ie a good old-fashioned consumer.
In spite of Pepsi’s fail, the Internet can still be an effective COMPONENT of a marketing mix. But the Internet at it’s best is essentially a subversive medium, which is why Droga5’s Ecko work is still one of the prime examples of how to market a cool brand, between the standing cats and skateboarding bulldogs. Reality is though, some brands are simply cool, and some are not. Some brands you desire, some you don’t want at all, but need.

I recently got a brief for a pitch where the requirement was to use social media. But hang on a minute, is social media even right for this brand?  That’s as bad as a brief where the requirement is a 30 second tv ad. In the same way as the start point shouldn’t be a 30 second tv spot, it shouldn’t be digital either. The start point should be “what’s the objective, and what do we need to do to reach that”

I can see a client’s motivation – FREE media! But it’s not free is it. The actual media is of course, but Pepsi blew millions of dollars…

So after all these years maybe we finally have the answer to Lord Leverhulme’s famous question – “half of my advertising budget is wasted – I just don’t know which half?”

Blog off.

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