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Apple Patent Suggests User-Relevant Ad Serving

Recently, Engadget uncovered a very interesting entry from the US Patent and Trademark Office from Apple that would allow 'systems and methods [to seamlessly switch] media playback between a media broadcast'?¦and media from a local media library.'? For example, say you're listening to streaming radio that cuts to a brief video ad and the algorithm determines that this ad isn't something that you would be receptive to (either based on specified preferences or previous usage / engagement), then you would instead be met with a video from your own iTunes library. Remember those puppies you recorded at Bob's house last weekend? SO ADORABLE. Ok, now back to your Creed channel on Pandora. Out of context, it seems as though this is an odd concept. Media networks can target a specific audience and if they happen to miss a few on the fringe, oh well (still nailing those impression numbers!). The idea of not serving an ad at all, not even an alternative ad, seems a bit odd as there could be missed advertising opportunities that the algorithm doesn't pick up on thus money left on the table for the media property. But what if that interpretation of the technology is not necessarily the case? What if this technology is using this algorithm to hyper-target, ultra-customize, uber-personalize the ads down to not only what it knows about the user but also has access to? For example, say in a few years, you're watching a stream of Apple's latest Worldwide Developers Conference and between speakers the player runs an ad for the new iPhone 8. The ad features a bunch of teenage hipsters playing around with the phone with the latest Gotye song playing in the background. But jump over to the cube next to you and your coworker Jim, is seeing that same video but set to a Phil Collins song. Next to him is Mary who has that video set to a song by Adele. Next to her is Frank, the IT Guy, who is yelling at everyone to STOP STREAMING, YOU'RE SLOWING DOWN THE NETWORK. (These problems still exist in the future.) What do they all have in common? Those songs were all on their respective 'recently played'? playlists on iTunes. Of course, this scenario is purely speculative (and totally ignoring copyright laws), but it's always fun way to think about what new and creative ways the advertising experience will be enhanced in the not-too-distant future. Source: Engadget, USPTO

And Now, An Argument: Pre-Releasing Super Bowl Ads

With the Super Bowl only a few days away, every aspect of the matchup on the field has been ruthlessly dissected, overanalyzed and predicted. Almost equally as important to the action on the field, is the drama that will happen between TV timeouts, namely the commercials. With a record cost of ad placements, the country will be tuned in to watch the best and worst spots and discuss them over bagels at work on Monday morning. One trend that has been picking up steam as of late is the strategy of releasing these marquee spots AHEAD of the big game and seeding them online prior. Is this a good strategy? As in most cases, there's no simple right or wrong answer but an argument to be made for either side. Today, Matt and Ellis defend each point. Rainone: Super Bowl Sunday. Advertisers are paying a ton of money ($3.5million) not just to reach the largest television audience each year, but also to create conversations. What's the big deal if those conversations start the week before? In fact, that's actually more coverage for the brand now as opposed to next week when ALL of the commercials are going to be dissected. Watts: The goal of the spot should depend on the individual advertiser. While some may want the buzziest of buzz, others might simply want tangible results (i.e. sales, drive to web, etc.). While conversations are great, it may not be the end goal. Take for example the 'Old Spice Guy'? campaign. It debuted during the Super Bowl, had TONS of coverage and viral-ness (virality?), but actually didn't quite catapult sales as much as everyone thought as it was supported by an unprecedented, national couponing effort. Another factor here to keep in mind is how that campaign / experience was refreshed with a boatload of great content, not just hammering home the same commercial over and over again. Rainone: If advertisers are confident that they have developed great commercials, it should be good enough the second or third time viewers watch it. Watts: How many times can you realistically expect a viewer to watch a commercial with complete interest and intrigue? It's not like the audience is watching 'Inception'?. While we industry folks may have a romanticized vision of a captive audience getting caught up in the artistry of a :30 second production ' the reality is anything but that outside of Super Bowl Sunday. The GEICO caveman wasn't funny the first time I saw it, and it won't be on the thirtieth, no matter when it airs. Rainone: We also have a bit of a skewed outlook on this since we're in the industry and we're actively searching for the spots. In reality, that the majority of the Super Bowl audience probably hasn't seen the commercial by the time it airs. The ad that's probably getting the most attention this year is the Ferris Bueller/Honda spot. At the moment, it is hovering just under 15 million views if you aggregate views across a few sites. Assuming there's probably going to be almost 100 million more people than that watching the game, it's safe to assume that there's no harm in doing an early release. Watts: I wouldn't look at is as, 'what's the harm?'? but rather, 'how can we make this even better?'? For those that consider an early release, the opportunity to deliver a simple 'refresh'? of the spot, still exists ' that way it's entirely new to new viewers but still rewards those that have seen it. Refreshes can range from introducing a longer spot (from a pre-release :30 up to a :60) with additional scenes and longer narrative to a simple tag that drives online for more info / entertainment. Doritos has been pushing their user-generated 'Crash the Super Bowl'? contest for a couple of years now and it's possible that some of the best entries won't make it to air (or even as finalists). I'm expecting to see a call-to-action somewhere for viewers to go online and view the other finalists. Rainone: What's the worst thing that could happen for advertisers that do pre-release? Someone says 'oh, I've already seen this one'? and then gets up to use the bathroom. What's the net loss in impressions there? 0. The best thing that could happen is that someone says, 'oh, I've already seen this one, you guys, quiet down so you can hear the punch line.'? What's the net gain on that? A fully-attentive audience. Watts: I wouldn't say there's absolute harm in it per se, aside from losing some thunder from the anticipation and reveal when it first runs. With information moving faster than we can even understand, and an era where spoilers are released in the blink of an eye, this shouldn't come as a surprise. You want to consider the worst case scenario? If the Super Bowl no longer becomes about releasing the latest and greatest, the idea of it being an event-within-an-event is lost as well. How intently did you watch the commercials during the AFC Championship? Imagine that same level of bland interest except that the advertisers paid a fortune for that time when you're planning your next trip to the nacho platter / bathroom (not necessarily in that order). Boom. Super Bowl ad dystopia. Terrifying stuff.

Five Groundbreaking Apps from CES 2012

One of our favorite events from this year's CES was the Mobile Apps Showdown. Hosted by Howard Stern regulars Jon Hein and Gary Dell'Abate, this event gave ten app developers four minutes to pitch their app concept to the audience and conduct a quick on-stage demo. The top app was determined by an Applause-O-Meter winning a shiny trophy, the admiration of attendees and a landslide of CES media coverage. In a previous blog post (http://bit.ly/zJTZje), we discussed 'CIA: Operation AJAX'?, one of the top ten finalists. Today, we take a quick look at five finalists that inspired our imaginations. Aurasma Lite by Aurasma Developer's Description: Aurasma is a new technology that brings the physical and virtual worlds together. Available as a free app for iOS and Android devices or as a free SDK for developers, Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition to recognize and understand real-world images and objects in much the same way as the human brain does. It then seamlessly blends the real-world with interactive content such as videos and animations we call 'Auras'?. Auras can be created for printed images, products, clothing and physical places. Users can even use the simple tools in the app to create and share their own Auras. Since its launch in July 2011, Aurasma has had more than two million downloads. Over 1,000 partners around the world in markets including consumer electronics, retail, sport, automotive, entertainment, advertising and publishing are using the free technology. Aurasma was developed by and is part of Autonomy ' an HP Company. Cost: Free Link: Website (http://bit.ly/ycTMoX), iTunes (http://bit.ly/zHWYVf) Ellis' Take: This platform has HUGE upside. Augmented reality is something that to most is complex, confusing, and costly. This app empowers everyday users to tag and affect the digital world around them. Will it evolve into the next big digital platform or linger on as a simple novelty adopted and loved by a core group of hobbyists (like a new evolution of geocaching)? Matt's Take: Interesting opportunity here for brands. While augmented reality is something a lot of brands are looking into, the price tag is usually a barrier for entry. Being able to utilize pre-existing technology to create branded information with your products is something that should be very enticing for most brands, especially in the retail space. Magisto by Magisto Developers Description: Magisto is an amazing app that takes your raw videos and turns it into a beautifully edited & produced clip perfect for sharing. And it does it all in a click, for free. Right now, all these special moments are too long and boring to share. With Magisto you can create videos that your friends actually want to watch and you can do it with minimum efforts and maximum quality. Magisto will analyze these videos, understand it, find the best parts and make it look amazing! Now you have a way to express yourself and to capture those special moments that you want to share with the people around you. Cost: Free Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xwXL3P), iTunes (http://bit.ly/xPbikY) Ellis' Take: Three easy, mindless steps to create a highlight reel from videos of my dog. Win. Matt's Take: Really liked this at first, but upon further review, all videos need to stream from the site and you can't actually 'own them'?. Their plan is to move to a 'freemium'? model that gives you added capabilities for a price. Cinefy by App Creation Network Developers Description: Cinefy is a mobile video editing platform for iPhone where users create and share videos mixed with high quality special effects. Cinefy empowers users with no editing skills to quickly insert footage, add music and apply visually stunning effects with its intuitive and simple interface. 'As a former television director, this is a thrilling product to see in action'? said Gary Stover, Product Director. In Cinefy, individual themed or branded effects packs are available for in-app downloads, offering TV and game studios the ability to market products in a way that creates exciting and massive viral exposure potential. 'We made Cinefy to put the most exciting Hollywood quality production tools directly in the user's hands,'? said Dan Hellerman, CEO of App Creation Network. 'The ability for studios to promote their brands, by empowering users with actual effects elements themed to their shows or games, is an explosive marketing tool.'? Cost: $2.99 Link: Website (http://bit.ly/w6dl86) Ellis' Take: I don't know if this will make home videos better'?¦just different. For brands with user-generated content strategies in place, this could be a valuable tool that you may want to encourage consumers to consider. It could certainly raise the presentation of user-generated content, adding more value to those campaigns. Matt's Take: Much like Magisto, I like the idea of being able to easily create better videos than the ones most people are uploading to Facebook now. SecuraFone by SecuraTrac Developer's Description: SecuraFone is a multi-purpose smartphone app that functions as a powerful, personal safety solution. SecuraFone helps prevent distracted driving and accidents, provides instant emergency response, and offers 6 other GPS tracking and alerting features including: real-time tracking, historical tracking, geo-fence alerts, SOS alerts, and covert, emergency help calls to emergency response centers or the primary account contact. The alerts are sent using email and text messaging. 45% of teen drivers text while driving and 11 die each day in accidents caused by distracted driving. 35% of seniors will fall each year ' the leading cause of injury-related deaths among seniors. Employers spend over $60 billion a year in medical costs, legal fees and property damage related to employee driving accidents. SecuraFone serves as a tool for instant communication in this type of emergency situation and as a proactive solution to prevent accidents and dangerous conditions before they occur. Cost: Free Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xKPtOv), iTunes (http://bit.ly/A10nYP) Ellis' Take: It was interesting to hear the audience reaction to this app being presented. While many of the other apps received 'oohs'? and 'aahhs'?, this app had a strange impending sense of 'big brother'? to it ' especially when the developer referenced being able to track your employees locations in real time. You can imagine that at a conference held in Las Vegas, the response to that feature was rather lukewarm. Matt's Take: Absolutely horrifying. I must download this immediately. Foam Fighters by AppGear Developers Description: AppGear is an innovative line of apps that seamlessly interact with cool, collectible toys, shifting digital gaming into your reality. Foam Fighters is a collectible line of detailed foam airplanes that really fly and look fantastic on their own. These foam fliers also unlock missions in the digital world by scanning them into a smart device. Once unlocked, these planes are attached to the front of the device with the included arm, then dive in to the digital world and battle for control of the skies. The plane is mounted on the front of the smart device, dog fighting and taking digital damage in the app. The real world plane is now flying in the digital battle for the skies. This new product category will redefine game play by upgrading the physical experience with digital action. Cost: App is free; Retail play set is $9.99 Link: Website (http://bit.ly/xG1g1r) Ellis' Take: Is it wrong if I wish I was ten years old again? Or if society didn't have a stigma about adults playing with toys that they've outgrown by two decades? We're seeing augmented reality starting to enhance playtime, a trend that is very likely to continue as brands look for ways to connect real-world, physical play with digital extensions. Another great A/R example at CES was Intel's booth that featured a demo of LEGO's Intel-powered augmented reality retail display (http://bit.ly/ycmj3T). Matt's Take: Meh. I understand they're trying to be creative mixing in the physical plane with the game, but it seems like the game could be just as successful without having to attach a foam plane to your tablet. It just seems like an unnecessary step.

2012 CES: Key Themes

We ate entirely too much Sbarro. Hey, it was a quick meal fix in a pinch and there was so much at CES to view / listen to / play / swipe / poke / drool over, that a microwaved pizza slice was often the best option. The three-to-five minutes that it took to inhale a triangular piece of mediocrity was ample time to reflect on the handful of key themes that kept popping up across the miles of exhibitor floorspace, conference track events and flashy keynote speeches. Back at the office, I managed to gather my tomato-sauce-stained notes and expand on the most prominent dynamics from this year's CES. The Year of the ________? In most years at CES, there is typically one product or category that grabs all the media attention and consumer buzz. Last year tablets were the big craze. But there doesn't appear to be a clear winner this year. Some may argue that the emergence of Intel's Ultrabook category won that right with a dizzying number of models released from leading brands, while others may contest that OLED TVs were the next must-have. Aside from those two examples, there weren't really any 'game-changers'?. Maybe it wasn't a product or category at all but a trend known as the 'ecosystem'?'?¦ Owning the Ecosystem If we had a nickel for every time the word 'ecosystem'? was uttered, we'd have a big ol' bag of nickels. But what does this new buzzword mean? Simply put, the ecosystem is the synergy created by a single provider that can offer users hardware (devices), software (an operating system), content for those devices (music, e-books, games, apps, etc.), and an online marketplace to purchase content ' all working together seamlessly. Apple has this structure in place now ' you can download a book from iTunes, read it on your iPhone on the train home from work bookmark your spot when your stop arrives, then resume reading from that point on your iPad while reading from the couch when you get home. Because it took Apple years to build and integrate this model seamlessly, they're in the leadership position and competitors are scrambling to catch up. In most cases, one single company does not have the necessary resources in place to handle an across-the-board solution so they have naturally turned to strategic partnerships or acquisitions to fill-in the gaps. Last year the industry saw these building blocks being put into place. In February, Nokia and Microsoft announced a strategic alliance where that mobile cog helps Microsoft build out their own ecosystem. In April, Dish acquired Blockbuster's assets from bankruptcy auction, giving them more content firepower against a slew of competitors in DirecTV, cable networks and Netflix. Finally in October, Sony bought out Ericsson (you'll see the 'Sony Ericsson'? brand phased out in favor of 'Sony Mobile'? in the next few months) in a move that gave Sony complete control of the device end and allows for future integration opportunities with PlayStation 3 and content from the PlayStation Network. To best understand the marketing implications of this ' first marketers must understand how consumers engage with these devices. Long gone are the days when a consumer sat in front of a TV with undivided attention. Today, that consumer could very well be using multiple devices at the same time. It is the responsibility of the agency/advertiser to understand the best way to reach the audience across multiple screens through a comprehensive brand experience. The benefit of these ecosystems is the ability to provide an integrated, one-stop solution across all touchpoints completely customizable to the assets (physical or digital) available. However, the downside is the device fragmentation, where consumers have multiple devices but not from the same manufacturer / ecosystem ' then that synergy and compatibility is lost. Convergence on Convenience In this ecosystem model, the ability to move from device to device with similar entertainment content is the ideal experience. There is a similar dynamic of interoperability through a 'connected'? home where various 'smart'? devices, appliances and systems work together for a more functional, efficient and cost-friendly residence. Imagine being able to get a text from your fridge to remind you to pick up more eggs because it knows that you're running low and you're close to the grocery store. Or maybe your bathroom shower mirror is voice controlled with the ability to give you today's weather and top news stories as you get ready for work. These experiences are getting closer to reality and as they do the ability to enhance existing behaviors will come with it as well. For example ' your fridge then sends you a coupon on premium free-range eggs (because it syncs with your search/browsing history and recognizes that you're a foodie with a golden heart). Or your bathroom shower mirror gives you headlines from the New York Times that you can bookmark and sync to your phone to read on your drive in ' all included with a single NYT subscription. Such emerging communication channels and opportunities may be a few years off. Fragmentation issues will still remain and there needs to be sufficient consumer demand for market viability but it's interesting to think about how a truly connected home might affect our day to day lives. 3DTV Today and Beyond 3DTVs aren't going anywhere. There's still a battle between active glasses (battery-powered, with a lens shutter) and passive glasses (polarized lenses like the kind you get at the movies). There were only a few autostereoscopic or 'glasses-free'? models on the exhibition floor ' mostly in some beta form from the big CE brands or offered by smaller specialty companies. In past years, the adoption of 3DTV was a 'chicken vs. egg'? scenario ' content was scarce so consumers didn't want to spend for the extra capability that they would use minimally and content creators and distributors didn't want to front the cost against a small universe of capable TVs. This was the same growth pattern that HDTV went through about a decade ago. But now, with most new higher-end sets featuring 3D capability (at a marginal cost), there is less consumer trepidation, especially when considering dedicated 3D television channels (ESPN3D, 3Net, etc.) and an ever-increasing slate of 3D movies released each month. All of this points toward consumers becoming more comfortable with 3D engagements. That doesn't necessarily mean that the format will lose the luster of its impact entirely ' it just needs to be approached with caution. While it's easy to fall into the trap of creating gimmicky content (i.e. a soccer ball flying out of the TV), the approach should be the same as any other advertising medium where the focus is on the message and communication to your target audience first, not the effects. Designers don't say 'holy crap, we HAVE GOT to put a lens flare on this'? then build a concept using that as a starting point. Once that message is crafted, a few ideas to potentially explore are applications that can show size and scale (i.e. various classes of pickup trucks), precise details (i.e. industrial design of a sleek new handset), or use to provide depth to a scene / environment (i.e. panoramic shot of a tourist destination). What's Next? It'll be interesting to see these dynamics shape up over the next twelve months. It's highly unlikely that a game-changing product pops up this year. Any announcements from Apple (traditionally absent at CES) can shake things up as well. Who knows if any of the industry's leading brands will be able to gain traction on Apple's ecosystem, but it's certainly an uphill battle. Smart appliances could become more widely adopted as consumers become increasingly tech savvy leading the way for further growth in that category in coming years. 3DTVs and content will continue to grow but by the end of the year will it remain a fun novelty or will it become a serious way to enjoy the home television experience? As for next year's CES, making predictions for what we'll see is always a crapshoot. I'm guessing 3D-capable mobile devices. And hoverboards. Over the next few weeks, we'll be reporting back on a cross section of our time at CES ' everything from industry trends to brilliant new products to mind-blowing apps. Stay tuned.

Early Impressions from CES

It's definitely been a great start to CES. We primarily hit the conference track panels yesterday with some brief time on the exhibitor floor in between. One key theme we kept hearing was around the idea of convergence. While this is nothing new, as we continue to move towards an always-connected, always-open-for-content lifestyle, it's something that isn't going away anytime soon. Technology brands are increasingly looking to own both hardware and software with a way to augment content across their own devices. Apple has been incredibly successful with this structure and many brands are late to the party and undergoing the associated growing pains. And while it was an ongoing theme, this goes beyond the idea of content across multiple screens and devices. We're moving closer and closer to a day when all of our devices and appliances are going to be connected and communicating with one another. From our brief time on the exhibitor floor, it's apparent that 2012 won't feature any game-changing products. We caught a glimpse at LG's 55" 3D OLED, which is every bit as crave-worthy as you'd imagine and Sharp's portable flat screens which are every bit as head-scratching as you'd imagine but nothing has really owned the show so far. After seeing some of the big guys, we're thinking that if there's going to be anything really ground-breaking, it's going to be from some of the smaller exhibitors.     Looking forward to the next few days; we will have plenty to report back on this week.

What we're looking forward to at 2012 CES

This week a small cadre of AMP's most tech-minded individuals (nerds) will be going to the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And fortunately for all of you, what happens there will not stay there, but instead be blogged, live-tweeted, filmed, twit-pic'd, and recapped for your viewing pleasure. While this isn't our first CES rodeo, this will be the first year that we'll be covering our trip there in such detail. Here's a quick outlook of some of the things we're looking forward to seeing next week: Microsoft's Last Keynote We're praying that it had more to do with Microsoft's product cycle timing and not because they heard we were coming and decided that the show jumped the shark. The next gen versions of everything Keeping our fingers crossed for hover boards, but will certainly settle for anything mobile, makes great use of social media, or can be used in an event atmosphere to improve a branded experience. 2011 was the year of the tablet, 2012 is destined to be the year of the Ultrabook. Having a sneak preview of the new generation of sleeker notebooks from our friends at Intel has us super psyched about the new ones that will be coming out in 2012. TV Wars In the past few years, mainstream TV innovation has been a mixed bag. HDTV costs have dropped quite a bit. 3DTVs have become more accessible (and all signs point to that trend continuing) but additional features such as connectivity and applications have been met with lukewarm response. This year it sounds like LG and Samsung may be unveiling their latest OLED (Organic LED) TVs ' a display type that has the potential to greatly reduce TV width and more importantly, cost. Additionally, it will also be interesting to keep an eye on MDTV (Mobile Digital TV) that hasn't quite picked up yet, but could become more widely adopted in 2012. Fewer Wires Wireless could be a big theme with more advances coming across a suite of consumer electronics from mobile phones hooked up with NFC (Near Field Communications) to allow mobile payments, Bluetooth 4.0 and a sneak peek at inductive charging. The Mobile Apps Showdown We're cool with anything that makes use of an Applause-O-Meter. The basic idea is that developers have 2 minutes to demo their app and audience applause determines the winner. Not a thing you can hate about that. We're also going to try to get a few video interviews with some of the ones that pique our interest and relay them back to you all ' so that will be fun. Feel free to follow #CES2012 throughout the week or stalk us via the usual channels (@AMP_Agency, Facebook.com/BrandAMPlification) to get live updates, photos and videos.

So You Want An App?

On the business development front, we've noticed a handful of clients and prospects that have expressed interest in developing a downloadable application for their brands. Who can blame them? I personally get giddy every time I fire up the Urbanspoon app on my iPhone. "Where should I eat tonight?? The possibilities are ENDLESS!" And we've all killed an hour or 70 playing Angry Birds. But is this the right solution for your brand / product / service / Russian mob scam? Let's examine a few questions that you should ask yourself to see if it makes sense. Will it drive sales? First you need to be honest with yourself and ask, 'Is this critical to my business?'? For a brand like REI to develop a mobile app with e-commerce capability that allows users to purchase a new camping tent with a few swipes, a mobile app can be an incredibly powerful way to connect to users. The app delivers a new, convenient purchase channel to drive sales thereby justifying the ROI for building an app in the first place. However, if your brand is Yoplait, you may need to think twice since the same e-commerce opportunity is not there. Instead, you'll likely explore content centered around brand positioning and identity, perhaps exploring more health-specific / promotional content. Which brings us to our next point'?¦ Will it be good? Sounds easy, right? Let's continue to use the Yoplait example. So we can't purchase online (cause that'd be gross) but maybe instead we build an app tied to healthy dieting and exercise. That is a very competitive space and you'll be competing with best-in-class applications that will often be so much more robust with content, support, maintenance and updates. Think about the competition among health (Lose It!, Weight Watchers Mobile, Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker) and fitness (Nike+GPS, FitnessBuilder, RunKeeper). Building a mobile app on the cheap to compete against these is like trying to build a bike in your garage on the weekend, then racing it in the Tour de France in July. Although this space is expected to experience tremendous growth (2010: 10.9 billion downloads; 2014 (projected): 76.9 billion downloads!), maintaining user engagement will continue to be a challenge as one in four apps that are downloaded are only used once. Will it be costly? It could be. Very quickly. Alarmingly so. Let's say you wanted to develop an app for iPhones, which only account for a quarter of the total smartphone market. Don

What Marketers can Learn from Livin' the Sheen

AUTHORS' NOTE: AMP Agency does not condone making fun of someone potentially struggling with drug-related issues and/or mental health challenges, the media's irresponsible coverage and promotion of someone who is struggling with drug-related issues and/or mental health challenges, or the movie Major League II. Please, stop me if you've heard this one: 'I am on a drug, and it's called Charlie Sheen!'? This is one of many seemingly-mad rants of Carlos Estevez (d.b.a. 'Charlie Sheen'?), who within the past week has launched a one-man cross-media assault (radio, TV, social, print) on pop culture. He hit one million followers on Twitter within about a day. Since January, Google searches for 'Charlie Sheen'? have increased tenfold. It's safe to say these aren't just Two and a Half Men fans, either. While these Busey-ian quotes may seem completely devoid of any logic, reasoning or mental stability, there are some marketing-relevant applications to them, if you listen closely. After the past week, we've uncovered the following five key lessons for marketers: 1.) Pick One Brand Message, and Stick With It ' Sheen has recently unveiled his one-word personal tag-line, 'winning,'? and he hasn't strayed much off message. When asked if he was bipolar, Sheen promptly quipped back with, 'Wow. What does that even mean? '?¦I'm bi-winning. I win here and I win there, now what?'? Think of brands that you've seen that switch their brand message multiple times per year, or have multiple creative campaigns in market at the same time. It's hard to grow a brand that way. 2.) Think Holistically ' Keeping with the 'win'? theme, Charlie has promised, 'I'm going to win at every moment.'? For shopper marketing folks, this is the golden rule. There are numerous opportunities to influence consumer buying decisions along the 'path to purchase,'? and a holistic mindset helps you win at every consideration point along the way. 3.) A Unique Voice Rises Above All ' Every agency stresses the importance of 'breaking through the clutter'?, but very few brands are able to actually do that. Is it risky? Absolutely. But can it be effective? Yes. Look no further than any one of Sheen's several hundred grandiose quotes from the past few days. They are far more memorable than most PR-vetted answers and statements from an embattled celebrity. You could even argue that Sheen's quotes are so plentiful and so cutting that they have created an entirely new level of Sheen-clutter, where it's actually laborious to sort through the crazy. A few that specifically come to mind are: a. I've got tiger blood and Adonis DNA b. Imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists. c. 'I'm tired of pretending like I'm not bitching, a total freaking rock star from Mars'? d. Touch my children and I will eat your hands off your arms Clearly, we would never recommend that a brand speak about eating human hands off of arms. Though you do have to admit that in the world of celebrity pop culture, you've probably overheard people say 'I am on a drug, and it's called Charlie Sheen!'? more than any other celebrity quote in the past week. 4.) Plan Better ' On Thursday, he unveiled his latest Sheen-ism 'Ready for my next fastball, world? PLAN BETTER Applies to everything where an excuse now sits. Try it. U won't be wrong. Ever. #PlanBetter'? Seems pretty straightforward. Why didn't any of us think of that first? 5.) Be Prepared ' "I'm sorry man, but I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time - and this includes naps - I'm an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground." EVEN DURING NAPS, this guy is on fire. Good social media lesson here, that while customer service hours are traditionally some iteration of 9-5, social channels are always on and brands need to be prepared to resolve problems at any time. Don't get caught napping. Unless, like Chuck, you're an F-18 while doing it.

What Marketers can Learn from Livin' the Sheen

AUTHORS' NOTE: AMP Agency does not condone making fun of someone potentially struggling with drug-related issues and/or mental health challenges, the media's irresponsible coverage and promotion of someone who is struggling with drug-related issues and/or mental health challenges, or the movie Major League II. Please, stop me if you've heard this one: 'I am on a drug, and it's called Charlie Sheen!'? This is one of many seemingly-mad rants of Carlos Estevez (d.b.a. 'Charlie Sheen'?), who within the past week has launched a one-man cross-media assault (radio, TV, social, print) on pop culture. He hit one million followers on Twitter within about a day. Since January, Google searches for 'Charlie Sheen'? have increased tenfold. It's safe to say these aren't just Two and a Half Men fans, either. While these Busey-ian quotes may seem completely devoid of any logic, reasoning or mental stability, there are some marketing-relevant applications to them, if you listen closely. After the past week, we've uncovered the following five key lessons for marketers: 1.) Pick One Brand Message, and Stick With It ' Sheen has recently unveiled his one-word personal tag-line, 'winning,'? and he hasn't strayed much off message. When asked if he was bipolar, Sheen promptly quipped back with, 'Wow. What does that even mean? '?¦I'm bi-winning. I win here and I win there, now what?'? Think of brands that you've seen that switch their brand message multiple times per year, or have multiple creative campaigns in market at the same time. It's hard to grow a brand that way. 2.) Think Holistically ' Keeping with the 'win'? theme, Charlie has promised, 'I'm going to win at every moment.'? For shopper marketing folks, this is the golden rule. There are numerous opportunities to influence consumer buying decisions along the 'path to purchase,'? and a holistic mindset helps you win at every consideration point along the way. 3.) A Unique Voice Rises Above All ' Every agency stresses the importance of 'breaking through the clutter'?, but very few brands are able to actually do that. Is it risky? Absolutely. But can it be effective? Yes. Look no further than any one of Sheen's several hundred grandiose quotes from the past few days. They are far more memorable than most PR-vetted answers and statements from an embattled celebrity. You could even argue that Sheen's quotes are so plentiful and so cutting that they have created an entirely new level of Sheen-clutter, where it's actually laborious to sort through the crazy. A few that specifically come to mind are: a. I've got tiger blood and Adonis DNA b. Imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists. c. 'I'm tired of pretending like I'm not bitching, a total freaking rock star from Mars'? d. Touch my children and I will eat your hands off your arms Clearly, we would never recommend that a brand speak about eating human hands off of arms. Though you do have to admit that in the world of celebrity pop culture, you've probably overheard people say 'I am on a drug, and it's called Charlie Sheen!'? more than any other celebrity quote in the past week. 4.) Plan Better ' On Thursday, he unveiled his latest Sheen-ism 'Ready for my next fastball, world? PLAN BETTER Applies to everything where an excuse now sits. Try it. U won't be wrong. Ever. #PlanBetter'? Seems pretty straightforward. Why didn't any of us think of that first? 5.) Be Prepared ' "I'm sorry man, but I've got magic. I've got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time - and this includes naps - I'm an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground." EVEN DURING NAPS, this guy is on fire. Good social media lesson here, that while customer service hours are traditionally some iteration of 9-5, social channels are always on and brands need to be prepared to resolve problems at any time. Don't get caught napping. Unless, like Chuck, you're an F-18 while doing it.

When Reality is Boring: Augment It!

It's election time which means, among hours of black and white negative campaign ads, it's time for CNN to go overboard with a new technology that adds little value to their reporting. In 2008, it was the Magic Wall that was amazingly spoofed on SNL. This year, their new toy was augmented reality. Now, we can't hate on A.R. ' we love it, we've blogged about it multiple times, and it has even become an office meme to yell out 'Augmented Reality'? in brainstorms without additional information behind it. But, the point of this post isn't to talk about our love (gosh, it really is cool) or hate for A.R., but more to discuss the use of new technology and marketing as a whole. Every year there always seems to be a new 'it'? tactic that brands want to employ. This is great, brands who are constantly pushing the next technology are better for it. However, many times it happens for the wrong reason. It's not because it's an effective vehicle to deliver a brand message, but rather because they saw a competitor use it, or they read an article about it and absolutely need it; NOW. As with anything; using it for the sake of using it without thinking about if it makes sense, or adds value to your consumers, is pointless. Seriously CNN, no one would think less of you if you simply showed a graph with an anchor voice-over. Was there any value added to your viewers by sticking your anchor behind a series of Tetris-like blocks? Absolutely not. So here's the learning. Push your brand, try new technology. When done right, it can create a great consumer experience and have a lasting effect on your brand. But understand that sometimes the best ideas are not simply based on the use of a new medium but come when we execute an older or traditional marketing channel really well, or in a way that no one has ever done.

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