It’s Complicated.

What works better, simplicity or complexity?

Marketing is all about ‘cutting through the clutter’, being different, and grabbing the attention of the customer. Probably my favourite slogan that practically encompasses the ideology of marketing into five basic words is the one that drives the creative culture of agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) – “When the world zigs, zag” 

In essence, do different. Do unique. Do what isn’t being done. Therefore in answering the question ‘simplicity or complexity?’, we must first ask – what is being done?

Digital marketing today integrates the real and digital worlds to create spectacular yet efficient campaigns. But are they becoming too complex? Depends on the definition of complexity, and the point at which an ad becomes so complex that it doesn’t effectively serve its purpose any longer. Dictionary.com defines complex as “so complicated or intricate as to be hard to understand or deal with.”

At the end of the day, it is up to perception. My perception of what is complex is different to yours. I may find certain ads extremely simple whilst you find them complicated. That’s because the knowledge, experience, and understanding of certain topics vary from person to person – and that’s what determines our perception of simplicity and complexity.

Here are two digital campaigns of which in my perception, one is simple and one is complex:

1. Volvo Trucks – Van Damme

Van Damme is best known for his martial arts. He is flexible. The Volvo trucks are able to determine their direction of travel so precisely that it maintains Van Damme’s split. Simple.

What about someone that doesn’t know who Van Damme is? What relevance does he have to the ad? And what about someone who isn’t familiar with automotive technology trends and who doesn’t realize or appreciate the precision of the truck? Complex.

2. The Dark Knight Rises – Viral Marketing Campaign

A marketing campaign / alternate reality game in which you must work with people online to find clues and hints around the world and solve a mystery. You must complete tasks that include painting your face to look like a clown, dialing a random secret phone number and buying a rigged cake just to dig your hands into the middle of it to find a classic Nokia with a clue that steers you to do other awkward tasks. Complex.

What about passionate Batman fans who know the story of the legend like the back of their hand and own a collection of comics and games that surround the superhero? And what about people who attend Comic-Con and immerse themselves in the fantasy world of good vs. evil by dressing up and behaving like their favourite character? The game is an interactive, enjoyable, social, immersive and unique way of getting them excited about the upcoming movie. And they love it. Simple.

Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether an ad is simple or complex. If you’re interested in the topic, know lots about it and interact with the brand often, the most complicated campaigns may seem like a piece of cake (a delicious Nokia-free Red Velvet) to understand. If not, the most interactive, fun and vibrant campaigns may repel you from the brand or product category even further than you already were.

It’s important for brands to consider their target audience and the depth of their knowledge and understanding of the product when tailoring a creative campaign.

Creating something complex is perfectly simple. Creating perfectly simple is something complex.

#digitallyinterweave

  • What’s one ad you found too complicated to understand?
  • What do you think works better today, simplicity or complexity?
  • Red Velvet or Black Forest?
Advertisements

The Man With No Mouth

NoMouthSmileyThe internet is our one stop shop for anything and everything these days. We do our groceries on the internet. We sell our cars on the internet. We play Scrabble with each other on the internet. We read our books on the internet. We conduct our business meetings on the internet. And we even make our [or buy] real [or imaginary] friends on the internet.

Our reliance on the internet has become so great that we challenge the credibility of people, issues, events and facts in the real world if they do not have a legitimate presence in the online world. Of course there is the issue that our reliance on the internet is so great that we become mindless gullible fools when absorbing knowledge from it. It’s like each person lies somewhere along this imaginary continuum of credibility that they attach to the internet. Some believe everything. Some believe nothing. Some believe some-things.

…but if you know how to use the internet (yes I believe there is a right way to use the internet), you can maximize the amount of non-fictional knowledge you obtain from it.

That being said, is the average human’s reliance on the internet so great that we question the legitimacy of a brand, company or organisation if it doesn’t have a website? Does that mean it isn’t…legit?

Maybe you looked up a car workshop on Google maps that you noticed whilst driving along Princes Highway and BMW’s showroom popped up as a result instead. Does that mean the one you saw initially wouldn’t be able to fix your broken headlight?

Maybe you met a John Appleseed at last week’s networking event who’s the marketing director at some big company, but you can’t even spot him on LinkedIn. Does that mean he lied?

It’s shameful but true. If we can’t find it online, a lot of us wouldn’t buy [into] it. And by ‘finding it online’ I mean on the first page of your Google search result – because who actually clicks Next at the bottom?

I would ask the question, “how many times have you seen a brand offline, searched for it and found it had no website?” but I know I wouldn’t get an overwhelming response. The point here is that it has become absolutely essential to create an online presence if the objective you are trying to accomplish involves other people. And the objective always involves other people. Always.

A company website is the first step – and probably the most important one too. Here’s why:

If you have a company, you have a goal. The internet and having a website can help you achieve that goal. Whether it be selling a product, offering a service, looking to raise capital or recruiting a new director, a website will help. The probability of each of these happening can be enhanced by occupying a spot on the virtually infinite space. Search results will direct lost souls towards your website if it helps them get what they want (and even if it doesn’t, at least you gained one more exposure for your brand).

Makes it seem more legit. A company website is the face of the company. Imagine meeting a stranger with a face mask on. Wouldn’t that just be super dodge?

Helps you compete. This includes competition against much larger companies as well. Once online, your website competes against other companies’ websites. Its website vs website, not company vs company. You’re all in the same ring. The size of the company is therefore concealed and a website can make your company seem as attractive as the market leader’s – to some extent.

Seriously, why not? Making a website is as easy as searching ‘make a website‘ and clicking on the first website result you see on Google’s website which then takes you to a website that practically makes a website for your company website.

See, it’s all about the websites these days..

#digitallyinterweave

  • What is your interpretation of the title of this post?
  • What’s the most awesome website you’ve come across?
  • Do you click Next on Google.com or is it just me?

Thinking outside the [X]box

If you’re the type that gets out and about, then you’re likely to have seen promo material that looks something like this:

destiny ps4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and if you haven’t, well then you just don’t get out and about. Or you’re just not a gamer. Or someone who uses the internet. Or social media. Or someone who keeps up with digital news for their MKF3881 blog posts. Ha, caught!

Anyway, this is Destiny.

Destiny is a brand new sci-fi shooter game from the developers Activision as well as Bungie, who are the creators of the Microsoft exclusive legendary hit, Halo. And if you haven’t heard of Halo then you really don’t get out and about. Because you don’t have to be a gamer [or someone who uses the internet, or social media, or someone who keeps up with digital news for their MKF3881 blog posts] to know Halo. Also, you’re missing out on lots.

The cool thing about Destiny is that it is also massively multiplayer, meaning it reaches a huge audience. To give you an idea of its potential, the game World of Warcraft has been played by over 100,000,000 people – that’s one hundred million, in case you got lost in the zeros. 

 

WoW players

It’s theoretically a gold mine for marketers. And Chinese prison bosses.

 

The other cool thing about Destiny is that the developers spent US$500 million on creating and marketing the title. What’s even cooler is that they made all that back on the first day of sale. A lot of cool things about this game. 

Sony were quick to make the most of this huge release by striking an ‘exclusivity agreement’ with Activision for the game’s marketing. The deal was meant that all advertising material would only be associated with Sony and Playstation, and would not feature other consoles’ brand names or logos. The whole point of this was to plant the idea in people’s minds that Destiny was a Playstation-exclusive game, deceiving them into thinking the only way to jump on the Destiny bandwagon was to own a PS3 or PS4.

Sony could smell Microsoft’s fear. And it didn’t smell good. So Microsoft came up with a fragrance to cover it all up.

Enter Destiny: The New Fragrance by Xbox

destiny-fragrance

That’s right, Xbox UK responded by cheekily advertising a “fragrance” called Destiny, through the website www.destinyfragrance.com. Of course, this isn’t a real perfume – although if it was, it would smell a lot like envy.

The website has now retreated its Destiny-associated material (probably because of a breach) and put up a boring message about Xbox One offers instead. But here’s what it looked like before:

DestinyFrangrance

 

Despite the retreat, the stunt has gone viral with all websites digital covering the story.

They weren’t allowed to promote the Xbox, so they’ve had others do it for them.

 

Finally, they’re thinking outside the box

 

 

 

#digitallyinterweave

  • What do you think of the stunt? Do you think the ‘fakegrance’ worked?
  • What else – quirky and creative – could Microsoft have done instead?
  • PS4 or Xbox One?

 

 

 

The Recipe for Money

Great, now that I’ve got your attention with that heading (I can see why pop-up ads succumb to using that line), let me tell you about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! JOKES!

Whilst the Ice Bucket Challenge raises money for the greater good, this week’s post is about raising money for you. Although it doesn’t come easy, funding your brilliant idea and bringing it to life has been made a lot easier thanks to a combination of risk-takers, the internet and social media. 

 

Enter: Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding in its simplest form is the ‘act of raising small amounts of money from many people’. Throw in a pinch of internet, a dash of social media, and a tonne of people with spare cash and what do you get? Online crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo that will have raised a projected $4.35 BILLION by the end of 2015. In short, you get money.

A great infographic on crowdfunding statistics is available here.

 

How it works

Different platforms have different restrictions and guidelines but at the most basic level, there are two main entities involved (adopted from the Kickstarter model):

  • Creators – musicians, filmmakers, artists, and designers who share their idea through text, images and videos
  • Backers – people who put their money into a project they believe or support in, or simply find awesome

Backers’ money –> channeled –> covering Creators’ costs and expenditures. In return, Backers are promised some sort of reward based on their contribution. And whatever Creators save through over-projected costs can be –> channeled –> covering a First Class airfare and a fancy bottle of wine for their next meeting. 

There are some flaws with regards to hidden costsfeasibility and tax consequences, but despite this, crowdfunding has seen the same upward trend as the ice bucket challenge in recent years.

 

CF growth

 

Some projects manifest ingenious ideas and are extremely successful,

some campaigns come extremely close but don’t make the cut

…and then there are these

 

I’m sure a lot of you would have skimmed through the first half of my post because you already know what crowdfunding is. However, mastering the art of squeezing money out of a crowd does require a closer read.

 

There are two parts to any crowdfunding attempt:

  1. the creation – the actual product/project
  2. the marketing – how you build awareness and attract funding

You’re on your own for the first half of the concoction, but I’ve created a delicious recipe for the marketing side of things.

 

Creamy Crowdfunding Cookies

Ingredients

Social Media Batter

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Countless Friends

Campaign Cream

  • 1-2 Videos
  • 5 Photos
  • 1 Heart

Extras

  • 1 Cup Coffee
  • Gummy Bears

 

Method

First, a couple months before launching your campaign, mix Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to create a foundation of awareness and understanding of what you are working on. This will make sure that your project stands out from the crowd during launch on one of the crowdfunding platforms. Beat this social media batter with posts and content to keep the crowd updated and don’t forget to include links to the campaign throughout. To help with the consistency, throw in countless friends to spread the word on all 3 social media ingredients.

Just before baking (ie before the campaign has been launched on Kickstarter for example (I’m really trying here, so work with me)) line the tray with one or two short, concise and to-the-point videos that highlight the benefit to the consumer. For that extra flavour, sprinkle some photos of your product prototype to instill some faith and trust in potential backers. Finally, pour your heart into the mix because people generate support for products that get personal and connect with the creator.

You’ll also need some coffee to stay active with backers, customers, media, donors, investors, and others who demonstrate interest in your…delicious…cookies.

And some gummy bears to sweeten the deal of course..

 

#digitallyinterweave

  • What cool campaigns have you seen on a crowdfunding platform?
  • What else is important in the brand-me-and-my-idea process of crowdfunding?
  • Do you like gummy bears?

 

QR in the ER

Many of you probably already know what a QR Code is – and if you haven’t, I’m sure you’ll recognize it when you see one.

QRCode

 

Ring a bell? Yes? No? Doesn’t matter – here’s a little summary:

The QR Code stands for Quick Response Code, and is used to store information in a visually displeasing arrangement of bricks (are they black bricks on a white background or white on black?) Using an appropriate app on your tablet or smartphone, you can scan this wonderful image (using the device’s camera) and it presents you with a surprisingly wide variety of information such as details on the business, a redirection to a URL or even a coupon you can use for your next purchase – at the brand that placed their QR code somewhere visually effective and got through to you.

That’s where the purpose of this post kicks in – QR codes suddenly lost their spark in the last couple of years, soon after creating a breakthrough in the way we interact with brands. One of the primary reasons for this sudden downturn in what could have been a powerful marketing tool is that they weren’t used correctly, often being placed in ineffective positions within the brand’s touch points.

I was in Bali over this past weekend only to be diagnosed with food poisoning and an overnight stay at the paradisiacal BIMC Hospital. Yay. Anyway, as I got off the bed to relieve myself of one of food poisoning’s treacherous symptoms, I saw this:

2014-08-20 10.28.16

A QR code on the base of the IV drip hanger. The person who came up with this idea is both a genius as well as…not so much one. He did foresee that hospital patients only look at two things whilst sick: the ceiling when they’re lying down, and the floor when they get up (therefore achieving 50% exposure success). But would any patient in their right mind (and body) put their pain and suffering aside to take out their phone and scan the QR code for more information on the last thing they want to see, an IV drip hanger?

 

For some fail examples of QR code placement, click here.

 

So what makes a good QR code then?

  • Location. They must be in a location that does not inconvenience the customer – not too high, not too far. Sometimes when they are large enough it can compensate for the distance but then this may drown the supporting stimuli that appears alongside the code. 
  • Incentive. The customer must be offered an incentive that makes it worthwhile for them to scan the code. Despite the simplicity in scanning a QR code, no one would carry out the action without purpose. Why should they?
  • Relevance. Many brands decide to throw in a QR code where they can, just for the heck of it or because it became a fast-growing digital trend. Marketers must learn to keep them when relevant and ditch them when not.
  • Mobile-site. The importance of leading to an mobile-optimized site is underrated. No one wants to be directed to a page where they have to scroll horizontally to read text, and where half the links are unclickable – it ruins the experience!

For some great examples of QR Code placement and marketing integration, click here.

 

#digitallyinterweave

  • What do you think is important for brands to consider when implementing a QR Code?
  • Do you think QR codes still have a chance at digital marketing?
  • What great/failed examples have you seen of QR Codes in your everyday lives?