If You're Not Making It Up As You Go Along, This is Not Your Time
As if there weren't a Republican in the house, ad:tech keynote speaker Shelly Lazarus gushed with excitement about the uplifting optimism brought on by Obama's presidential win the night before. No doubt, she had planned to speak about Obama's campaign, universally agreed to have been stellar and one of the best ever, but the fact he won couldn't contain the glee clearly resident in the room.
In her keynote, Lazarus commented the Obama campaign dubbing it a masterstroke of CRM and the digital realization of Obama's "yes we can" mantra. While the Obama love in the room was, without doubt, palpable, Lazarus did not spent the entire keynote talking about Obama.
Stepping off from her belief "if you're not making it up as you go along, this is not your time," Lararus shared work done for Lenovo in relation to the Beijing Olympics. As you may already know, Lenovo handed out laptops and other digital devices to Olympic athletes giving them the power to share their experiences with the world as they lived it. Hmm...maybe that's why it seemed every single athlete at the closing ceremony had a camera.
The experience of the Olympians became Voices of the Olympic Games and was dubbed, by Lazarus, "the largest social media campaign ever conceived during the largest sporting event of the world." With blogs and video, the Olympian's experiences were seen by 1.6 million viewers on a daily basis. The outreach was so successful in terms of it's delivering "the Olympic experience" to the masses, The IOC actually threatened (idly) to shut it don claiming the effort was "stealing" from the multi-million dollar deals put in place with the networks and other media outlets. As Lazarus pointed out, that line of thinking just doesn't play any longer.
Another campaign Lazarus discussed was Diamond Shreddies. That was the campaign which centered on a fake focus group which attempted to explore the introduction of a new diamond-shaped cereal -- which was nothing more than the already existing cereal turned 45 degrees. Hilarity ensues, of course. Even to the point of introduction Diamond Sheddies, The Combo Pack, offered in reaction to people's claim to having found square-shaped Shreddies in boxes of Diamond Shreddies. Hilarity ensues.
But hilarity did not ensue when sales for the 67 year old dormant product rose 20 percent. Again, not the normal approach to an ad campaign but one which closely follows the "if you're not making it up as you go along, this is not your time" line of thinking.
Lazarus touched on the Dove Evolution campaign which, originally, was intended to be nothing more than a lark. The girl in the video was the photographer's girlfriend who assured her not many people would see it. 500 million views later, the couple is, uh, no longer a couple. So yes, making it up is a good thing. But there can be unforeseen side effects.