As marketers, we are constantly brainstorming ways to create the ultimate brand experience; an experience that is highly engaging, often times interactive, and extremely memorable in the minds of consumers. From experiential, live event activations to social media gaming to branded entertainment, at AMP we focus on creating this memorable brand experience for consumers. While I was reading my daily dose of AdAge, I was surprised to learn about a new, non-traditional method of reaching the millennial segment: interactive product-placement (see Ford, Sprint, Snickers Get With the Crowd for 'ControlTV'). Relinquishing control of their marketing message to consumers, brands such as Ford, Sprint, and Snickers are embracing our obsession with crowdsourcing and reality TV to allow us to have an authentic experience with the brand, before we even buy it. 'ControlTV'? is a reality TV series produced by actor Seth Green, Matthew Senrich and Richard Saperstein which chronicles six weeks in the life of aspiring stock trader, Tristan Couvares. With the help of the social media tool ' crowdsourcing ' consumers can actively participate in determining Mr. Couvares' every move. A camera follows Mr. Couvares attentively, live broadcasting his every move. In its first two weeks after release, ControlTV received more than 3 million completed views on the DBG Video Network, with interaction rates as high as 7% on some players. For comparison, previous DBG web series have acquired as many as 50-60 million views for advertisers such as Hewlett-Packard and Diet Coke. Sounding a little bit (or a lot) like The Truman Show? Yes, except for the trio of sponsors who've recognized this as an opportunity for a new type of product placement: Ford provided a 2011 Ford Fiesta for Mr. Couvares to drive, Sprint Nextel gave him an HTC EVO 4G phone, and Mars' Snickers just happens to be his occasional snack of choice. Unlike The Truman Show in which the consumer is a passive viewer, Control TV is all about an interactive collaboration between the consumer, Mr. Couvares, and his brand friends. As the AdAge article suggests, this show takes product-placement to the next level: not only is it interactive but it's seemingly transparent as if it were reality. Consumers may feel that Mr. Couvares is using the product in a very real way when in actuality, he is acting out consumers' desires and demands. This article left me thinking about what classifies a brand experience for today's consumer? Is it a lived experience or a virtual hyper-reality ' and which of the two has greater impact on your brand's performance and bottom-line?
Consumers have become increasingly aware of marketer's efforts to reach them. It's nothing new, though; the communications world has seen this happen with advertising ' the consumer's ability to switch the channel, or altogether tune out what's trying to be sold to them. In an effort to counteract these actions, marketers have stepped in with experiential marketing. With 12 plus years of leading the development and implementation of experiential programs, I'm always looking to execute my client's message and programs in a more innovative, more effective, always cost efficient way. As budgets have been slashed with the recent economic downturn, one tactic that often arises throughout our program development process is guerrilla marketing. Guerrilla marketing campaigns target consumers in unexpected locations and create a unique, engaging and thought-provoking concept to generate buzz. In 2010, I'm now realizing just how much the consumer has started to become aware of guerrilla marketing. I've learned that the guerrilla marketing that worked so effectively five years ago, no longer has the same effect. The guerrilla marketing of 2010 now needs to add another level of engagement that was not previously necessary ' the bottom line is that we need to be more innovative in our thinking. Technology is just one of the ways to take guerrilla marketing to the next step. Techniques such as interactive, digital interfaces are becoming a more popular form of execution. One new technology that AMP is exploring is the integration of digital TV screens on t-shirts and other non-traditional surfaces ' picture a brand ambassador roaming through a popular city park to promote a new video game by allowing consumers to play the game on the BA's shirt! Another new technology that caught my attention is flying logos. Take your brand's iconic logo, or current ad campaign, and translate it into a soap-like flying object'?¦ definitely an eye catcher! It's not just technology, though. It is out-of-the box thinking that is required to be successful in today's marketing programs. An unusual idea and element of surprise that are true to traditional guerrilla marketing now may include utilizing the social media trend with Facebook and Twitter or spontaneously showing movies on the sides of empty warehouses. Whatever the idea is, it needs to be, among many other things, just plain innovative. AMP is constantly creating that effective, lasting brand experience for consumers, and now more than ever we need to be creative about ways to reach these individuals. The marketing of today is not the marketing of yesterday; we know that better than anyone else.