THE PLATFORM THE TECHNOLOGY THE CONTENT THE COLLABORATION THE APPROACH DERTY TRENDS Nov 2011
THE COLLABORATION What do MasterCard, Nike and Sony have in common? Not sure? Well read on to find out! Brands are itching to jump on the Olympic bandwagon that is gaining momentum towards next summer . To remind you the top tier sponsors are Adidas, BMW, BP , British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB and whilst these are allowed to advertise within the tight restrictions of LOCOG , the Olympics is unique as an event as no branding is allowed within the stadiums. But with multimillion pound expenditure for official status there is some debate on the end benefit in terms of recall and inevitably, sales. Coca-Cola and McDonald's are seen as the most recognisable Olympic sponsors according to Marketing Week . With two in five consumers aware that Coca-Cola has sponsored the games since 1928 and one in three recognised McDonald's . However the top tier brands BA, Lloyds and Visa only had around 23% visibility as sponsors. However with even more stringent rules governing guerrilla marketing ploys for non official sponsors this may change. Research shows that MasterCard, Sony and Nike are associated with the Olympics even though they have never been sponsors.
THE TECHNOLOGY The Facebook team are fans too, with the recent opening of the advertising API joining pages and insights open APIs - a tactic to encourage the creation of apps and services on top of its social infrastructure . Opening up an API (a solution to interconnect websites in a fluid and user-friendly way) is not a new phenomenon, but there is a clear upward curve of brands embracing a more open approach. Collaboration is at the core of an open API , or application programming interface, offering developers the chance to access the back end of a site or service and have a play around with it. EMI Music is one of the latest players, making thousands of music tracks, videos and artwork available to app developers to help create a wave of new applications for artists. Working closely with developers, EMI will market successful apps for artists on their roster, sharing revenues with the developers and rights holders. Music companies have been some of the most open, Edelman client Last.fm considers the openness of its API as a key driver for growth and creativity . A ‘playground’ on the site shares some of the most exciting quirks born from the API with Tastebuds.fm one of the most successful services to take advantage of it.
THE APPROACH Nostlagia. The clue is in the word. There’s nothing new about this trend. John Lewis have been making us cry with their Christmas campaigns for years. Check out Wonky_Donkey’ s take on the Naked Pheasant . Muller yoghurt has splashed some cash on their latest campaign, serving up Yogi Bear, the Mr Men , Muttley. and KIT. This rag bag bunch of childhood references is a bit random – but you can’t fault the message. Tapping into consumer nostalgia pulls on the heart strings and loosens the purse strings What we like though is how it’s not just brands on the band wagon. Digital platforms are being used to create some really interesting products and art projects. The photographer Irina Werning has a wonderful photo project where she helps grownups recreate the photos of their youth . There are some lovely examples (pictured). Another take on this is mybandshirt.tumblr.com – an awesome website where musos share the stories behind their faded gig t-shirt. It’s worth bearing in mind that reaching consumers doesn’t necessarily involve splashing cash on some nostalgic IP. It can equally be effective just to help them remember a feeling or memory from their own past.
THE PLATFORM A key strength of the platform lies in the ability for users to follow brands directly from search results . The video chat feature known as Google Hangouts and deep integration with YouTube also offers exciting potential. Perhaps most interestingly though, is the ability to create ‘circles’ of people that would give brands a valuable way of targeting different audiences to deliver relevant content . A golden rule of modern brand engagement and something which makes Google+ a definite one to watch. Google+ launched to a moderate fanfare in June as a social channel for individuals to connect with others and share things. The de facto search engine has now opened up the platform to commercial clients . Some of the first brands in the UK to stake their claim to a Google+ profile include Burberry, O2 and Mumsnet . The jury is largely still out on the social platform as users get to grips with the usability and make the inevitable comparisons to Facebook and Twitter. But digitally savvy brands are quick to adopt, noticing the benefits of a quick and direct route for consumers to reach a brand online .
THE CONTENT While brand engagement is an established concept , the rules are changing . Consumers are now relishing in the opportunity to take content from brands and customise it , often changing the meaning all together. When the John Lewis 2011 Christmas advert was premiered on YouTube , within a few hours people had already changed the meaning of the entire ad by changing the background music to the soundtrack from The Shining, this received over 300 views within the first 6 hours . Movie and game trailers are some of the hottest properties to be customised . One of the most popular examples is a mash up of Toy Story 3 with Inception which has amassed over 3 million YouTube hits proving the trend to be a mainstream form of entertainment rather than a one off quirk. The majority of the time, the brands themselves have nothing to do with it, but the bolder ones are cottoning on to the benefits of letting consumers play around with content. If brands embrace it properly they could benefit from getting exposure to new, potentially untapped and hard to reach audiences .