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Successful Branded Entertainment Requires More Than a Creative Brief

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In a SXSW panel entitled Branded Entertainment: Do Brands Hurt Good Storytelling Proximity SVP Matt Di Paola said there is a fine line between selling and story telling. Each can't cross too far over the line of the other. Branded story telling must align with the brand's business, not a creative brief. The partnership is much bigger than a simple creative project.

Making a distinction, Di Paola said Product placement is not story telling. Product placement is a media buy. Story telling is a deep partnership between brand and content.

Disrupt Group Co-Founder Shira Lazar Says ad agencies are the new studios. For content creators, Lazar said the relationship must go beyond just business. Successful creative relationships require more than the simple exchange of money.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-15-11    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Industry Events



Age Old Battle Between Agency and Client Continues

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In a SXSW panel which took on a refreshing discussion-based approach entitled Bend Over? Surprise! Agencies Are Screwing You, one of the attendees made the point brands should be wary of paying an agency to use a free tool to speak the brand's voice calling it a slippery slope and a waste of money.

Agencies are paying good money for the so called social media guru who, if just a little bit of background research were done, could easily be found to have no experience at all. Be wary of the sharks was the advice given.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-14-11    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Industry Events



SXSW Day Two Delivers Rick Fox, Eliza Dushku

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If there seems to be a theme at SXSW this year regarding brands "going big," that theme has played out in the panel sessions as well. Yes, SXSW has a Film component to it at as but until a few years ago, Film and Interactive remained separate. Each year, the two merge closer together. Those of us in advertising, of course, are not surprised. We've been obsessed with celebrity endorsement since anyone can remember.

In a panel called Banking on Big Brands/Celebs for the Web, actor Kevin Pollak, former NBA basket ball player and actor Rick Fox, AOL's Amber Lawson and Innovative Artists' David Tochterman discussed the merits of brands hooking up with celebrities to promote products. With funny asides and a few F bombs dropped in, Pollak brought much needed levity to the panel which was filled with the usual rhetoric regarding celebrity endorsement, product placement and whether or not branded content is an ad or not.

What celebrity endorsement boils down to is simple. And complicated all at the same time. Basically, if all parties involved "feel" the pairing will work, it's a go. There's no science to it at all apart from the fact a celebrity may have an affinity for a particular product which can then be leveraged in an endorsement. And that's really all the hour long panel boiled down to.

We had the pleasure of meeting Fox later in the day when he and his girlfriend, Eliza Dushku attended at Mr. Youth sponsored event at 219 West. He is one tall dude and Eliza is as cute is real life as she is on screen. Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures during the event.

by Steve Hall    Mar-13-11    
Topic: Celebrity



SXSW Day One Delivers...Everything

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Day one at SXSW in Austin delivered on all expected fronts. Throngs of people descended upon the Austin Convention Center to pick up their badge and attend sessions which began at 2PM. But before sessions began, there was much mingling and plenty to do thanks to brand like Pepsi which set up an entire "playground" area called the Pepsi Max Lot adjacent to the convention center. There attendees could check out bands on a stage, play foursquare (the real kind), drink tons of Pepsi product. enjoy the sun on couches and generally mingle with friends.

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Sony took over an entire bar and converted it into Playstation Central. CNN took over an entire restaurant even replacing the restaurant's sign with a fully branded one of their own. And Fast Company took over the Moonshine restaurant and served up a delicious lunch to those lucky enough to have been invited.

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Inside the convention center, the Samsung-sponsored TechSet lounge was a happening place for bloggers who were treated to a live performance by He is We, given the chance to play games, drink and eat and hang with their fellow blog mates.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-12-11    
Topic: Industry Events



Marketers Overshadow Geeks at SXSW

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SXSW starts today and if yesterday was any indication, brands will have the biggest presence ever at the five day interactive conference in Austin. Historically, the gathering has always been for uber geeks and super techies but in the past few years brands have taken an increased interest in SXSW and what it has to offer. Which is a lot. From content, to connections to thousands of impressionable souls, the geekfest is, well, no longer a geekfest. Rather, it's become an full blown marketing event. And not just an industry event either. It's a chance for brands to get in front of actual consumers.

A stroll through the Austin Convention Center and surrounding areas made it clear, the conference is no longer a conclave for widget heads. Oh, they're all still here...and grumbling about the "invasion" of "marketing people" but they, perhaps for good, have been silenced by the deafening size and scope of an increasing number of brands who have decided to stake a claim here in Austin.

From Sony to Samnsung, to Chevrolet to Pepsi and many, many more, the ACC and surrounding areas have been plastered with some of the most elaborate brand statements we've ever seen. Yes. SXSW is no longer the geekfest it once was. And as we've said, it's been heading away from that cute little anachronism for some time now but this year, well, this year the brands have taken over every last square inch of Austin.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-11-11    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion



How Luxury Brands Can Benefit From Musical Partnerships

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This guest article is written by The Hours CEO Fabien Moreau and addresses the importance of using musicians in campaigns and how that approach can help build brands and sell their products.

There's been a significant up-tick in the number of well-known recording artists lending their names, music and public persona to brand-name designers' promotional campaigns. And while the strategy can be lucrative and beneficial for both parties, such a match requires mutual respect for and understanding of the value each brings to the relationship.

From Lady Gaga to The Ting Tings and Lou Reed, musical artists have begun lending their talent and image to the promotional efforts of luxury brands in ways never before seen in the marketing industry. Beyond the traditional concept of celebrity endorsement or paid spokesperson status, today's musical marketing marriages bring a much deeper level of creative influence to the message and the campaign.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-11    
Topic: Opinion



Daily Deal Space Gets Its Own Conference

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With the popularity of Groupon, LivingSocial and others, the daily deal space is quickly becoming a market unto itself. And when that happens, there's sure to be a conference to follow. Enter the Daily Deal Summit.

Held April 6 at New York's Grand Hyatt, the conference will dive deep into the topic with speakers such as LivingSocial's Jake Maas, SailThru's Neil Capel, BuyWithMe's Andrew Moss, RapLeaf's Auren Hoffman, Thrillist's Mike Rothman and many others.

Check out the conference here and use this link to get 20 percent off the price of registration.

by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-11    
Topic: Industry Events



Lyrically Linguistic Leprechaun Pimps Shamrock Shuffle Scratch

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Denver agency Cactus is out with new work for the Colorado Lottery. The agency was charged with developing a "fun and memorable" method of promoting the lottery's new St. Patrick's Day themed Shamrock Shuffle scratch ticket.

The agency's solution? Lyrically linguistic Lucky Liam the leprechaun. Liam raps about his bangin' life and how lucky he is which, of course, is to convince the rest of us we can be lucky too. If only we drop a little coin to buy a Shamrock Shuffle scratch ticket.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-11    
Topic: Video



Agency Delivers See Through Walls, Concert Hall Cows

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Here's a couple on interesting pieces of work from Jung von Matt/Elbe. The first, for Mercedes Benz calls attention to the vehicle's Pre-safe precrash system which works to automatically avoid accidents. The agency created projections which is placed on walls near hard to see corners which allowed drivers to see around the corner thereby helping to avoid potential collisions.

The second, for a local concert hall, the agency held a live concert...for cows. Yes. Why? Because apparently cows produce more milk when they listen to classical music. What does this have to do with a concert hall? Well, the agency introduced a brand of milk from these cows. The milk bottle labels contained information about the concert hall. It all seemed to work brilliantly giving the concert hall its most financially successful season ever.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-11    
Topic: Agencies



Keenan Cahill Lends Lip-Syncing Talent to Juicy Fruit

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It seems YouTube lip-syncing kid Keenan Cahill has been busy lately. We just saw in in Jennifer Anniston's SmartWater video and now here he is in some new work from Evolution Bureau for Juicy Fruit. Cahill has been teamed with the brand's Serenading Unicorn for some video foolery courtesy of a lip-synced rendition of Devo's Whip It.

Two more videos are scheduled to follow on March 22 and April 5. So stay tuned for more whackery. Visitors to the Serenading Unicorn site can also choose from a selection of Wallpost Serenaded to junk of their friend's Walls.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-11    
Topic: Campaigns, Video



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