First launched in 2000, Kotex has updated it's "Red Dot" ad campaign that puts forth an honest discussion about feminine care products. Created by Ogilvy & Mather, the campaign will include TV, print, sky mural and a mall tour. Other campaigns featured in this week's MediaPost Out to Launch column by Amy Corr include Nintendo's "Touching is Good" campaign, a $30 million national broadcast campaign for Canon, a holiday-themed point of sale campaign for Jose Cuervo, a new "Frozen" campaign for Stolichnaya, yet another "encourage teens to vote" campaign from Rock the Vote and Mekanism, an interactive Times Square billboard for Unilever's Dove asks "Wrinkled?" or Wonderful?" aside the picture of 96 year old Irene Sinclair, a stem cell research campaign from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and a radio campaign for Unisys.
Dan Gilmore shares a PR pitch he received from a company that offers to "manage and monitor digital influencers" and how companies can use the service to take action against those who don't speak kindly about a company. The key element that public relations professionals do not understand about blogging and all Citizen's Media is that conversation can not be manage - it can be joined. Any company that thinks they can "manage" the conversations taking place through weblogs and other conversation-enabled media is asking for a backlash so powerful, the company could be brought to its knees. In this country and in any free country, people are not told what to say, they are asked why they said it and asked to converse about it. If a public relations entity seeks to influence thought, it should enter the conversation - not attempt to ban the conversation. (Make sure you read the insanely short-sited comment from Flackboy Kevin)
GM is facing a $236 million loss and plans to lay off 12,000 employees in Germany. The Gap has announced a ten percent drop in European sales volume. Coca-Cola no longer symbolizes the American dream. Some pin these drops on the political situation. Others pin it on the falling European economy. What's certain is American brands are no longer viewed as favorably as they once were internationally. It may be time for some major, worldwide sucking up by both politicians and marketers.
The Viral Awards, an international showcase of Viral and Buzz marketing, has announced a new category The Hall of Fame. The new category has been created by the judging panel who intends to bring light to the best viral and buzz marketing efforts. The new category will be open to advertising campaigns that have created a hype or buzz, be it intended or not.
Not to be outdone by traditional agencies need for self gratification, a new overall Award for The Best Viral Agency has been created in response to a number of self-esteem challenged ad agency types who have submitted entries.
For those in need of a "hug," the deadline for entries is 5th November 2004. The Viral Awards will be held in London on 13th January 2005 at The London College of Fashion.
Andy Sernovitz has been named CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and aims to bring organization to the burgeoning word of mouth and viral marketing segments. He describes one facet of the organization as, "a reasonably organized industry effort can stamp out potential problems."
Another association, the Viral & Buzz Marketing Association which focuses on "bottom-up", consumer-driven, peer-to-peer marketing, recently published a manifesto to define viral marketing.
As the viral and word of mouth segments endeavor to define themselves, Sernovitz hopes these efforts will stamp out privacy and disclosure issues so the segment does not experience the fate of email which has been brought to it's knees by spam.
Today's teens want to lead, not follow; do whatever they want, whenever they want; actively involve themselves in consumerism and expect to live forever. These and other wants where discussed at the second annual What Teens Want: Marketing to Teens Using Music, Movies and the Media held in Beverly Hills Tuesday. The upshot of the conferences seemed to be that marketers can n o longer "control" teens. While they take an active role in consumerism, they refuse to be talked down to and hered into a single direction. They demand control and are getting it. Teens do not understand a world once controlled by big media telling them what, when, where they will consume content.
In iMediaConnection, Rebecca Weeks tells marketers they must change their ways writing, "effective marketing requires brands to demonstrate authenticity (voice brand opinions and stories and do not stray from it), be bold (make a statement that offers them something new), connect consistently (responses to messages in all media should be consistent or you'll lose their interest and trust), build relationships over time and learn to speak in the teen's own idiom."
While that may not sound revolutionary in theory, it is revolutionary in practice as many marketers are not creating a "consistent connection" with teens by allowing a conversation nor are they providing the two way street to enable that connection. Brands are still guarded and controlled as if above reproach. Apart from providing capability to enable conversation, marketers are fearful of allowing the kind of conversation that might turn negative. In the long run, however, negative commentary is really a positive for a brand because, if heeded, it results in a better product. Teens want to be heard and they won't "do business" with a marketer who won't converse with them.