Business

R.I.P. Farfar

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It is often said that all good things must come to an end.  Following ten years of incredible work, the Swedish agency Farfar shut its doors…and ironically enough, they closed up shop on the very day that they won yet another award.

I just  learned of the sad loss of Farfar, and in order to properly honor this groundbreaking agency I’ve prepared a tribute showcasing 3 of their best and most indelible campaigns:

“Heidies 15 MB of Fame” (2007)

Let’s begin by turning up the temperature a little bit with this provocative and astounding campaign that Farfar put together for Diesel. The recipe is actually quite simple: Put two hot girls in a hotel room with an equally hot (and mostly naked!) guy. Then stand back and let them do all kinds of crazy stuff. And then show everything online. And to make it even more tantilizing, give the trio control of Diesel’s official website, and allow them to transform the site into a personal blog and live-chat. Not innovative enough? Well, this went down way back in the day in 2007. In Internet years, this is like “the Dark Ages.”

Here is the video case-study:Bjorn Borg (2007)

Let’s keep the heat turned up, shall we? Here is another Farfar campaign from 2007 that uses sexy people to maximum effect, except this time they mix in a some humor. To boost the Swedish lingerie brand Bjorn Borg, the agency chose to make fun of the universal blond-Swedish stereotype. The result is an amusing story involving fake company employees sharing their crazy ideas of how to change the world using the “power of underwear”. Unfortunately, I found very little online about this great campaign, so below are two videos, one presenting the general concept of the campaign and the other bringing to life one of the um, “creative” (shall we say) concepts.

This is the concept video for the campaign, which presents the office, the characters and the general story:

Here is the video of the first “mission” promoted by the “power of underwear”: Peace on Earth:

 

The World’s Biggest Signpost (2010)

Finally, let’s jump ahead to 2010. Farfar was able to count Nokia as a regular client for many years and several great campaign came out of their relationship. However one stands apart from the rest: “The World’s Biggest Signpost”. Designed to generate interest in Nokia’s navigation products, it featured a 50m high SMS-controlled signpost displaying people’s favorite places around the world. This brilliant idea received tons of awards, including the one mentioned in the beginning of this post.

Here is the video case-study:

The No Story of Forbes

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Cover of "Cry Baby (Director's Cut)"

Cover of Cry Baby (Director's Cut)

Come on, this is perfectly ok:

The technology was of interest to a number of acquirers, including Zappos.com which tried to buy it, and Kumar rounded up a group of angels for its first funding–a $500,000 angel round in August/September 2009.

The only problem—another start-up, Like.com, was doing something similar. Modista’s technology was better, according to Kumar….. But Like.com had a patent on product applications of computer vision. Like.com, which was well-funded with $47 million in venture backing, filed a lawsuit against Modista the day before its funding was going to close. (Like.com was later acquired by Google in August 2010, showing the value of the idea.)…The lawsuit caused investors including Kumar to drop out, for fear of dealing with an expensive lawsuit that could cost more than they had even planned to invest. Because Modista had no money to defend the suit in court, the company later shut down.

So where is the news here? Companies are built to win, not to be nice.

iPad and the (Bleak) Future of Publishing

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eMediaVitals, website geared toward publishers going digital, and FIPP digital content partner,  invited me to write a column about digital media, platforms and business models.
The first article describes  why Jobs is not the knight in a shining armor for publishers, and why technology is not the answer to the challenges the industry is facing.
Would love to hear your thoughts.

You can find it here.

Email Marketing + Social Web = Bliss

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Take a look at this diagram:

North American marketers see major improvements when integrating email marketing and social media efforts. This is another proof that the power of digital marketing lies in channel integration, and not in short term campaigns. As social web marketing requires an ongoing nurturing of branded online assets (brand’s Facebook page, Twitter account, on so on), the biggest advantages are for those who combine different channels to utilize these assets.
This information also sheds light on the expected announcement of Facebook Mail today. My friend Yaniv Golan have some interesting thoughts about this move.

In a world were marketing ROI becomes critical for brands success, the combination of strong branding tools with direct marketing tools provide major advantages to the ones who use them well.

Does Like Make Us Stupid?

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like
Image by debaird™ via Flickr

In a world of likes, what is the value of engagement?
Facebook made “like” easy. Just a click. No comments, no attachment, no real interaction. Just a click.
So why do we constantly value our campaigns and social activities by this low effort measurement?
It might be that we don’t have enough tools to really understand the value and quality of our social web marketing activities.
But it might be because it is easier to count likes and fans than get to the bottom of these new tools and platforms.
And maybe it’s because we are working too hard to be cool and “social” and “new” that we forget that social marketing is at the end of the day a part of digital marketing – which in turn suppose to provide clear business value.
Engagement doesn’t matter if it doesn’t grow the business. Likes are useless if they don’t help the company to grow by either lowering costs, increasing revenues, or increasing customer satisfaction.
Digital marketers have a huge responsibility – we are ahead of the curve for most of our clients. We should always remember that at the end of the day we need to justify our retainer and project fees, with proper increase in revenues – or achievement of a clear business goal.

So, what’s the business value of Like?

Affiliate Marketing, Brands and Social Media

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A lot of exciting things happened recently, and can’t wait to tell you all about it. However they affected our blog updates, and we are now getting back to speed with that too…
The incentives of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an important tool in online marketer toolbox. Companies big and small use this method to reach new audiences effectively. The principle is simple – Company A provides incentives to everyone online to promote their product. Usually a cut of the deal is paid to the affiliate. Companies such as Amazon provide dedicated links and widgets for these partners who in turn distribute them to their audience.
Besides Amazon and other well known brands, many found affiliate marketing a profitable business in other business line such as diet and nutrition and investment tools . In many cases a small operation of two to three smart people, with strong knowledge in SEO and PPC can make a lot of money in these activities.
Affiliate marketing is in many cases more a science than art. Where everything can be measured, smart affiliate marketers optimize their efforts again and again to reach the best conversion rate possible. The ability to instantly measure every activity as well as reassign resources makes it a very dynamic business.
Some in this business are using tactics that are ethically questionable such as fake blogs and spam.
Brands are interested in creating meaningful relationships with their audience, in order to make their brand affect buying decisions.
In short, while affiliate marketing is all about one night stands with customers, branding is more like a long term relationship. More

OMG! Twitter wants to make money!

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Twitter announced that it will stop 3rd party apps from injecting ads to users streams without its permission. The reason is simple – they are going to launch a new ads products that, well, injects ads to user streams ( that’s the idea behind promoted twits).
And immediately the blogsphere starts with it’s almost knee jerking response: they are alienating developers! How can they do these? Another post describes the tearful eyes of a developer whose company is ruined by this move.
Come on guys, let’s stop the bs. Twitter is a company. With board of directors. And investors. And bills to pay. And this company managed to accidentally create an amazing service. So they need to pay the bills. Simple. Easy. They could improve the way they interact with developers, but nothing more.
Let’s grow up. Social platforms change the world. And should make money for their owners.
The dumbest thing ever is to base a business model and a company entirely on someone ELSE’s platform.
Enough said.

The Future Of Publishing (1): P&G Explains Publishers How To Survive The Digital Age

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Last week I was invited to speak at Digital Innovation Summit in Berlin, organized by VDZ, the German Magazine Publishing association. In this series of posts I’ll cover some of the topics discussed.

Susanne Kunz, media and communications director, Procter & Gamble, Germany, spoke at Digital innovators summit in Berlin last week, and had some very direct words to say to publishers. She stressed the fact that magazines are facing competition for ad money – and they aren’t necessarily delivering premium value.
First she explained that magazine publishers in Germany are missing the most important value they could provide – customer insight. Publishers are not investing enough in knowing their customers and provide valuable information to advertiser.
Second, she believed that companies and brands should be present on all platforms, cause their customers are on every platform too.
Third, she stressed the fact that with content becoming more and more open and free, magazines should focus on bringing truly unique content to customers.
And last but not least, she mentioned mobile as more than a content distribution platform – but also could be used for virtual goods and product delivery.

The session was meant to be a wake up call to publishers – it seems that at least in some cases it worked…

Facebook New Marketing Rules – A Cheat Sheet

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Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Facebook is slowly removing many of the elements that made it a marketer’s wet dream.

Facebook announced several major changes that affect marketers using the platform to promote their services:
1. Splitting feeds to news feed and live feed – users see, as defualt, a feed with only content and comments from their friends. Information about groups etc was moved to a separate feed.
2. Removal of app notification – Facebook apps will not be able to send notifications to users.
These changes reduce the virality of the platform in a major way.
For example, if in the past one could invite friends to become fans of a page, and his friends would have seen that he joined, now they wouldn’t see it unless they look for it. This effect was crucial for virality of fan pages and applications. The same goes for notifications.
While many users rejoice, as they see more relevant and focused information on their feed and notification tab, marketers should rethink the way they interact in Facebook.

The two most important consequences for marketers are:

1.  Advertising becomes more important in creating traffic to Facebook applications and fan pages – without virality, paid advertisement within the platform, or in other channels, is an important part of any Facebook marketing activity

2. Fan pages and apps should provide more value to users, as it will be more difficult to attract repeat visitors.

In the next part we will discuss additional changes in the platform and what are the opportunities for marketers in this area.

Is Twitter the Che Guevara of Microblogging?

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Page_1Twitter revolutionized the way people interact online.

It’s phenomenal growth shows that a limited, real time network answers a market need, which in turn becomes an opportunity for brands and service providers.

We also see a phenomenal click through rate on links in Twitter messages, probably due to the fact that  Twitter users are there in order to interact and consume content. This interaction makes Twitter a powerful distribution platform.

Twitter started the real time microblogging revolution.

But, risking actually having to eat my hat for this post in the future, I believe that in the long run it won’t sustain as an independent network.

Twitter suffers from several core issues:

1. Lack of context – there is almost no way to track conversation and actually understand how conversations develop in the network

2. Limited extensibility – the 140 characters limit makes it extremely complex to create services based on this protocol (tip hat to Gil Dibner for this one)

3. Lack of groups and filtering – users cannot group contacts based on interest or other parameters and broadcast a message only to them. For example, if I am on a diet, and would like to share it with a community in real time, it might be the case that I wouldn’t be interested that my business partners will be aware of that. Today, the only way to do it is to create separate Twitter accounts for each group, and convince relevant people to follow it.

4. Non intuitive interaction and interface – how many times did you try to define what’s Twitter to your mom? And how easy it is with Facebook? And how complex it is for new users to “get” what is it all about? I believe that this is one of the main reasons of the 60% service churn reported recently.

I strongly believe that real time Microblogging will prevail – as it has a lot to offer. But taking these issues into consideration, we will see that Twitter as a service, will have limited long term growth.

So what will be the future of Microblogging?

1. We will see more and more communities integrate Twitter-like functionality in their sites – for example, no reason why a diet site won’t allow users to interact in a closed, real time, microblogging environment. These niche real time communities will fragment Twitter potential user base and diminish the value of a general purpose network.

2. Major portals will add their own version of microblogging as well – Yahoo! is already doing it, and Facebook/Friendfeed deal might show the direction they are taking. This will be another nail in the coffin of Twitter as general purpose network.

3. Twitter as an independent network will either collapse due to spam, lack of groups and other issues, or will be bought by one of the major online players – for their users base. It will always have a hardcore fan base, but it won’t be enough, in my opinion, to sustain it financially.

Twitter might be the forerunner in bringing the real time microblogging revolution to the masses. But it might well be,  that just like Che Guevara,  it won’t enjoy the fruits of the revolution it created.