Our Marketing Blog

Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

Losing a Customer for Life After Death

Here at AMP, we talk at length about ways to drive brand awareness and advocacy but what about the other end of the marketing spectrum? What about those instances where a company has screwed up so epically, that it has actually caused a consumer to swear off the brand forever (and no, it's not a tobacco brand)? In 1987, when I was just a little tyke in short-pants, my family signed up for cable TV service. This ground-breaking entertainment option gave us a seemingly endless supply of TV channels. Never again would I have to play with an oversized antenna to watch the Fall Guy (epic show, BTW) and I was free to practice all my at-home, amateur stunts off the arm of the couch in the crystal-clear glow of our RCA television. In 1989, my father suddenly passed, forcing my mother to deal with a burden of responsibilities. Chiefly among them was raising the nightmare that morphed into the blog author before you, along with taking over all of the family's finances. She dutifully paid her cable bill, every month for the past 21+ years. Our local cable company happily took her money. As I grew over the years, so did her entertainment options with the advent of digital cable, Internet service, HDTV, DVR and the occasional dabbling in movie channels. Never Cinemax though, my teenage years lamented. Her bill had inflated over time along with a separate phone bill until ultimately it made sense to consolidate all these services under one provider. There was a great deal running with a competitor, so she decided to make the jump. Once the new service had been installed, she called our old provider to discontinue service and cancel the account. That's when things took an unfortunate turn. When she spoke to a customer service rep, he asked to speak to "Robert". My mother explained that she has been managing the family account that's been in her late husband's name for the past twenty-something years. Apparently, my mother's name was not on the account and the account holder was my father (it was the 80s! THAT'S HOW THINGS WERE BACK THEN). The customer service rep, unsure of what to do, again stressed that he needed to speak with my late father. My mother, sense of humor intact, wished him luck then explained that she has been managing the finances for all utilities in his absence. Then the customer service rep insisted to see a death certificate. Or a newspaper clipping announcing his death. I'm going to pause here so you can let that sink in for a minute. It is this company's policy that only the account holder (and approved persons) can make changes to an account, whether it's adding more service or cancelling. This is especially interesting since DVR wasn't available in 1987. Clearly they had revised the rules over the years, but why not grandfather her in on the former policy / agreement? Oh right, because the agreement is subject to change. It'd be nice if the other party in said agreement had that type of power. "I've actually revised my terms and conditions and I'll only be paying 80% of the bill, effective immediately." Man, that'd be awesome. I learned from a personal follow-up call to the company that my mother could have simply produced any document that lists her as an executor of the estate or owner of the property (i.e. a copy of her mortgage). Wouldn't that have been a lot easier to ask for? Way less dramatic, though. The above experience lies at the intersection of bad policy and poor customer service. I understand that in these economic times people have resorted to desperate measures, faking one's death notwithstanding. But there are a number of other utility companies out there that do not employ that policy. Best practices be damned, I suppose. The result of that experience is a customer who has switched to a competitor solely based on a better offer but now has vowed never to return.

Event Recap: Buy Buy To Shopping As You Know It: Hello To The Future of Consumerism

At the newly launched AMP Insights Lab, our team of doctors, scientists and doctor-scientists* have been diligently working behind the scenes to uncover the latest trends in technology and consumer behavior. Recently, they've been working on a proprietary quantitative/qualitative study titled Behind the Buy, which explores the path to purchase within the digital space, across 500 consumers. The full study will be available in the coming weeks so check back on AMPAgency.com and our blog to learn more. For this event, Allison Marsh (VP, Consumer Insights) and Jason Rivera (Director, Consumer Insights) took us through some topline findings of the study. Today's average U.S. consumer will take in 12 hours of information, (not counting personal conversations) every day. 12 hours! Think about that for a second. It seems like the only time we're not consuming media is during bathroom breaks and while we're sleeping. No, wait, scratch that. And after watching Inception this summer, I bet we're probably on borrowed time there, too. Our study explores five key product categories (fashion, consumer electronics, food and beverage, health and beauty and baby). What we've noticed is that a large number of consumers are doing research across the board, even for seemingly low-impact categories (food and beverage: 36%; health and beauty: 31%). This dynamic has made us think carefully about consumer influences and data resources while reevaluating the flow of the traditional purchase cycle. CONSUMER INFLUENCES There are many influences that weigh-in on purchase decisions, the importance of which, are usually category-specific. There are some interesting qualitative data-points that are worth noting. For example, In food and beverage, 'taste'? is more of a priority than 'natural / organic'?. Sorry, organic-Spam, maybe try again in a few years. It also depends on where consumers are in the purchase cycle. In the fashion category, 'trends'? may inform consumers' decisions but 'cost'? and 'fit'? will ultimately close the sale (each influence outweighs 'trends'? by nearly a 2:1 margin). It's no huge surprise that to learn that these influences are refined through many different sources of information (blogs, expert reviews, in-store representatives, brand websites, competitor websites, magazines, consumer reviews, and opinions of friends and family, among others). What our research has confirmed is the thought that there's no single source of information and the majority of consumers are overwhelmingly taking into account several information sources before making the purchase. The good news for brands is that there are many detours on the path to purchase and each one represents an opportunity to influence consumers' decisions along the way. THE NEW PATH TO PURCHASE Traditionally we've thought of the path to consumer evangelism as the following: Awareness -> Consideration -> Purchase -> Loyalty -> Evangelism. But today, the first couple of steps have become much more complex as more information and data has empowered consumer decision-making. At the Consideration phase, consumers are identifying a 'need state'? (ex. 'I need a new digital camera'?). Once that need state has been identified, that consumer then engages in 'passive consideration'? where many brands are considered. As that consumer does research, they may refine their need state further (ex. 'well, I don't need something that is going to take 25MP photos, I just want something small to take candid family photos'?). Once their need state is refined and more research is uncovered, the consumer enters the 'active awareness'? phase, where very few brands are considered. Once the consumer identifies the best match from the various aforementioned influences, the purchase is ultimately made. According to McKinsey's The Consumer Decision Journey, after the purchase is made, the consumer follows a 'loyalty loop'? based on expectations from the previous purchasing cycle. Therefore, additional brands are still considered during the next purchase cycle with brand loyalty tied to how positive/negative the previous experience was. Somewhere, a Product Manager for Cheeseburger-in-a-Can weeps. EMERGING CONSUMER ENGAGEMENTS Our team shares a few interesting examples of emerging consumer engagements. Our first example was 'haul videos'? (or the male, tech-equivalent called 'unboxing'?, way manlier). You may remember our take on haul videos from a piece we did with FOX25 last month. Current TV also has a great take on this fad as well. Yes, people are actually doing this. Author's Note: I bought an iPhone case last month and sifted through a handful of unboxing videos before realizing that the sounds of overgrown teenagers breathing heavily while they futilely fumble with vacuum-sealed packaging is a hell that I wish upon no man (or woman). Another interesting consumer engagement is the cartoonishly-named Stickybits. Stickybits is a platform that joins barcodes with social media behavior allowing users to attach messages through both new and existing barcodes. Just imagine being at the grocery store and scanning a new flavor of Pretzel Crisps to find out what other consumers had to say about it. Or better yet, scanning the barcode to find a BOGO offer for use at checkout. Or BOTH! The mass adoption isn't quite there yet, but these are all very-possible applications of this new technology. Not futurey-enough for you? Let's take a look at what the wunderkinds at MIT are up to'?¦nothing big, just a hugely-ambitious, environment-aware, interactive, projection-based user interface. The technology is called Sixth Sense and it aims to seamlessly integrate the digital and physical world. Crazy stuff. Oh and it's open source too, FTW. Finally, is there anything more entertaining than old videos from yesteryear that tried to predict the future? Always a good source of unintentional comedy. Our team showed a video from the 60's that dreamed up wacky consumer engagements with retailers and peer-to-peer communication. Actually, it's not as far off base as you may think. Check out what Don Draper and friends thought the future would be like. Thanks to all who attended our event earlier this week. Stay tuned for our upcoming study Behind the Buy, slated to be released at the end of the month. * Job titles have not been verified.

Event Recap: Buy Buy To Shopping As You Know It: Hello To The Future of Consumerism

At the newly launched AMP Insights Lab, our team of doctors, scientists and doctor-scientists* have been diligently working behind the scenes to uncover the latest trends in technology and consumer behavior. Recently, they've been working on a proprietary quantitative/qualitative study titled Behind the Buy, which explores the path to purchase within the digital space, across 500 consumers. The full study will be available in the coming weeks so check back on AMPAgency.com and our blog to learn more. For this event, Allison Marsh (VP, Consumer Insights) and Jason Rivera (Director, Consumer Insights) took us through some topline findings of the study. Today's average U.S. consumer will take in 12 hours of information, (not counting personal conversations) every day. 12 hours! Think about that for a second. It seems like the only time we're not consuming media is during bathroom breaks and while we're sleeping. No, wait, scratch that. And after watching Inception this summer, I bet we're probably on borrowed time there, too. Our study explores five key product categories (fashion, consumer electronics, food and beverage, health and beauty and baby). What we've noticed is that a large number of consumers are doing research across the board, even for seemingly low-impact categories (food and beverage: 36%; health and beauty: 31%). This dynamic has made us think carefully about consumer influences and data resources while reevaluating the flow of the traditional purchase cycle. CONSUMER INFLUENCES There are many influences that weigh-in on purchase decisions, the importance of which, are usually category-specific. There are some interesting qualitative data-points that are worth noting. For example, In food and beverage, 'taste'? is more of a priority than 'natural / organic'?. Sorry, organic-Spam, maybe try again in a few years. It also depends on where consumers are in the purchase cycle. In the fashion category, 'trends'? may inform consumers' decisions but 'cost'? and 'fit'? will ultimately close the sale (each influence outweighs 'trends'? by nearly a 2:1 margin). It's no huge surprise that to learn that these influences are refined through many different sources of information (blogs, expert reviews, in-store representatives, brand websites, competitor websites, magazines, consumer reviews, and opinions of friends and family, among others). What our research has confirmed is the thought that there's no single source of information and the majority of consumers are overwhelmingly taking into account several information sources before making the purchase. The good news for brands is that there are many detours on the path to purchase and each one represents an opportunity to influence consumers' decisions along the way. THE NEW PATH TO PURCHASE Traditionally we've thought of the path to consumer evangelism as the following: Awareness -> Consideration -> Purchase -> Loyalty -> Evangelism. But today, the first couple of steps have become much more complex as more information and data has empowered consumer decision-making. At the Consideration phase, consumers are identifying a 'need state'? (ex. 'I need a new digital camera'?). Once that need state has been identified, that consumer then engages in 'passive consideration'? where many brands are considered. As that consumer does research, they may refine their need state further (ex. 'well, I don't need something that is going to take 25MP photos, I just want something small to take candid family photos'?). Once their need state is refined and more research is uncovered, the consumer enters the 'active awareness'? phase, where very few brands are considered. Once the consumer identifies the best match from the various aforementioned influences, the purchase is ultimately made. According to McKinsey's The Consumer Decision Journey, after the purchase is made, the consumer follows a 'loyalty loop'? based on expectations from the previous purchasing cycle. Therefore, additional brands are still considered during the next purchase cycle with brand loyalty tied to how positive/negative the previous experience was. Somewhere, a Product Manager for Cheeseburger-in-a-Can weeps. EMERGING CONSUMER ENGAGEMENTS Our team shares a few interesting examples of emerging consumer engagements. Our first example was 'haul videos'? (or the male, tech-equivalent called 'unboxing'?, way manlier). You may remember our take on haul videos from a piece we did with FOX25 last month. Current TV also has a great take on this fad as well. Yes, people are actually doing this. Author's Note: I bought an iPhone case last month and sifted through a handful of unboxing videos before realizing that the sounds of overgrown teenagers breathing heavily while they futilely fumble with vacuum-sealed packaging is a hell that I wish upon no man (or woman). Another interesting consumer engagement is the cartoonishly-named Stickybits. Stickybits is a platform that joins barcodes with social media behavior allowing users to attach messages through both new and existing barcodes. Just imagine being at the grocery store and scanning a new flavor of Pretzel Crisps to find out what other consumers had to say about it. Or better yet, scanning the barcode to find a BOGO offer for use at checkout. Or BOTH! The mass adoption isn't quite there yet, but these are all very-possible applications of this new technology. Not futurey-enough for you? Let's take a look at what the wunderkinds at MIT are up to'?¦nothing big, just a hugely-ambitious, environment-aware, interactive, projection-based user interface. The technology is called Sixth Sense and it aims to seamlessly integrate the digital and physical world. Crazy stuff. Oh and it's open source too, FTW. Finally, is there anything more entertaining than old videos from yesteryear that tried to predict the future? Always a good source of unintentional comedy. Our team showed a video from the 60's that dreamed up wacky consumer engagements with retailers and peer-to-peer communication. Actually, it's not as far off base as you may think. Check out what Don Draper and friends thought the future would be like. Thanks to all who attended our event earlier this week. Stay tuned for our upcoming study Behind the Buy, slated to be released at the end of the month. * Job titles have not been verified.

Rockstars Can Teach Us a Thing or Two About 'Going Viral'?

Earlier this summer, my esteemed colleague Matt Rainone shared his thoughts on ways that content can go viral online. The content he specifically referred to was related to memes ' organic user-generated content that happens to catch on and gets rapidly spread across users online. On the other end of the viral video spectrum is manufactured content, created by brands with the specific goal of 'going viral'?. One such example of this is something that we all grew up with ' the music video. As the music industry has been turned on its head over the past decade and a half, the music video has become even more of a critical element to an artist's promotional repertoire. While music videos have moved largely from TV rotation to online, the dynamic for how we watch music videos has changed as well. We no longer have to endure brutal cable countdown shows (remember TRL? guuhh) for the hottest videos; instead, we can watch virtually anything on-demand. Therefore, the need to create unique, buzz-worthy music videos is as important as ever. Many brands today share a similar goal with their own unique content (and often, what sounds appealing to a brand manager does not nearly sound as appealing to a consumer). What can we learn from music videos that will allow marketers to create better content? Now of course Lady Gaga is going to get a ton of traffic for any video that she releases, regardless of what the actual video contains. I'm fully expecting the next video to be her dressed as an overgrown baby, covered in cows' blood and dancing in a midnight graveyard surrounded by eunuchs. Seriously, I swear some of her videos are filmed inside my night terrors. But other videos have been hugely successful that haven't been driven by that same caliber of star power. Here are three examples of great videos that have become big hits on the tubes: 1.) Cee-Lo ' F*** You Oh! Profanity! Is it the catchy retro hook? The easy-to-follow typography? The use of the f-bomb? Probably all three. This video is a great mix of an amazingly simple but effective creative direction paired with an incredibly catchy song and a chorus that is decidedly radio unfriendly. The video was posted August 19th and within one week had nearly 3 million views. Key Takeaway: Simpler can be better. Shock-content does have talk value. 2.) Bed Intruder Song ' Antione Dodson and The Gregory Brothers Clearly, sexual assault is a not a laughing matter and luckily nobody was hurt during this incident. When Antoine Dodson was interviewed by WAFF in Huntsville, AL after an assault on his sister, he was naturally upset and provided a very animated response to the reporter. That first video, in and of itself, was hugely popular and made its way around the Internet. But when Autotune the News got a hold of it, they turned it into Internet gold. The result has been a single that is currently ranked #44 on iTunes. Mr. Dodson has also enjoyed microcelebrity status and is currently selling merchandise and fundraising to move his family to a better neighborhood. Preferably one where kids, wives and husbands don't need to be hidden. Some may recognize that the Bed Intruder video was similar to DJ Steve Porter's Press Hop videos (Press Hop 1, Press Hop 2 that took classic moments from sports press conferences, chopped and remixed them together in a similar fashion. Key Takeaway: Quality ingredients make a quality product. Both instances of remixes reused content that was already very popular with audiences (copyright infringements notwithstanding). 3.) OK Go ' This Too Shall Pass This may have taken the better part of a long afternoon to build'?¦ The thought of building a four-minute-long Rube Goldberg is enough to give me a slight migraine (luckily we have an in-house production team!). Now imagine filming it in a single take. Sheesh. Obviously, the appeal here is the astonishment of the scope of planning and execution that is involved. I'm willing to bet that 16,261,591 viewers probably agree. This isn't OK Go's first trip to the rodeo either, you may remember they had another killer video with Here It Goes Again, another great single-take video from 2006 which has net over 52.3 million views. Key Takeaway: Creating compelling content is not an easy task. Sometimes it's the most difficult road (both in time and cost) that will yield the best results.

AMPception'?¦ BRRRAAAAHHHHMMM!!!

  Here at AMP, we're always trying to get into the minds of our consumers ' much like DiCaprio's character in Inception but with far less gunplay. If you've seen the movie or any of the trailers, you are probably familiar with Zack Hemsey's Mind Heist. The signature score from Inception is dramatic, tense, and will get completely stuck in your head if you hear any more than the first six seconds of it. That's exactly what happened to us. After seeing it played over a few funny YouTube videos, we wondered what would happen if we applied it to our AMP Agency capabilities video. The video and song were both the same length. Weird. Then we watched it'?¦ Our minds = blown. And if you haven't seen our original capabilities video, which might help the above video make a little more sense, check it out here.

How I Became a Brand Evangelist

In an attempt to make my life even more sedentary, I recently bought a new HDTV. At the moment, my TV is on a stand precariously sitting atop a cheap IKEA dresser. I've had a few visions of me overzealously opening my sock drawer only to have my new Samsung come crashing down. This is not good. Inspired by one of those empowering and uplifting Home Depot commercials, I decided to wall mount my new HDTV. Armed with a mounting kit for my new TV, I immediately ran into a problem when my stud scanner failed to find any studs in the wall. Interesting. I figured my best resource would be asking for advice from the experts at my local do-it-yourself megastore. The employee that I spoke with wasn't as helpful as I had hoped but did point me in the right direction to the appropriate hardware for the job. Moments later, I found myself standing in front of a pegboard of anchors, toggles and fasteners, carefully reading the packaging of each. While I didn't have a definitive product that I was sold on, I had a few frontrunners in mind and figured I'd do a little more research and come back later. After scanning the web for a while, I eventually came across Toggler.com, which provided a detailed overview of their products along with how-to videos for common installation projects. So far, so good. But since I was in a unique position of not being able to identify the wall type (and not wanting to hack into it to find out / too lazy to ask my landlord directly), I still needed some additional consultation. I noticed they had an 'Ask an Expert'? section. After reviewing a few dated posts, I figured there was a slim chance I'd actually get a response. I sent my question via a submission form into what I thought would be a black hole. A few days later I get an email from an Executive Vice President (!) at Toggler asking me to call him at my earliest convenience to discuss my problem. And that is how Toggler got a customer for life. The point of my story is not just that I'm an incompetent 'do-it-myselfer'?, but rather that there are many steps throughout the shopper marketing process where a brand or retailer can affect purchase and gain traction and affinity. There were several opportunities throughout my own personal buying experience ' from employees at retail, to product packaging, to website content ' all fresh opportunities for me to become a buyer. It just so happened, that one brand delivered so far above and beyond my expectations that I have now become a lifer and will recommend them to friends and family (and loyal blog readers!) for years to come.

Lost Finding a New Show to Watch

As we wrap up another year of May 'sweeps'? we bid farewell to one show that has captured the imagination of millions, left audiences on the edge of their seats and will forever be remembered as one of the most groundbreaking network series of all time. I'm talking of course about ABC's Happy Town. Authors Note: Happy Town was cancelled after two episodes. No, clearly I'm talking about LOST. A pop-culture centerpiece for the last six years, wraps up this Sunday (!) with much fanfare. While viewers will be divided over the finale regardless of what happens, it's hard to argue against the success LOST has had as it leaves on a high note. Want proof? The finale is slated to get Super Bowl-sized ad buys. As the LOST finale wraps up, I'm left scrambling for a new show to get hooked on. This past year when I tuned into ABC's FlashForward, I broke one of my cardinal rules of TV watching (Don't Ever, EVER Watch a TV Series in Its Premiere Season). The show started out great, with even a subtle nod to LOST to keep rabid LOST fans speculating about a link between the two shows. FlashForward started off with a 4.0 rating in the 18-49 demo with 12.47 million viewers but hit a low 2.1 rating with 7.1 million viewers. And just like that, it gets axed. Shame. There's a disturbing trend at work here. Networks are wary to jump into big budget series and ride them out for the long haul and quick to cut their losses, leaving viewers frustrated for investing time into a show that usually ends with little closure. For examples of how this can end tragically, check out this list of awesomely bad TV show finales. We've talked at length over the past few years about the continuing fragmentation of media. Consumers now have more choices than ever for places to get their news, find entertainment and stay connected with friends, and the commentary on this has been typically glowing. But there is a flip side to this digital revolution. As media becomes more and more fragmented, and audiences follow suit accordingly, there's less incentive for networks to get behind new big-budget TV dramas like LOST or FlashForward and ride them out when the going gets tough. New York Times writer Lorne Manly (great name, BTW) discussed this issue with LOST showrunners Damon Lindelof and Cartol Cuse in an NYT Q&A last week. MANLY: Do you think a show like yours ' big budget, serialized, very intense, lots of characters ' can still work on network television? CUSE: One of the nostalgic elements of experiencing the end of 'Lost'? is that I also think it's the end of an era. The media landscape has changed dramatically even in the six years of this show. Here we are, we're shooting a show, there are somewhere between 425 people who work on the show, 325 in Hawaii and 100 here in Los Angeles, we shot the show on Panavision, 35-millimeter film, we had two full crews ' the scale and the scope and the size of this, this is the most expensive television series made anywhere in the world. And in this media landscape, it's incredibly hard to capitalize something the way 'Lost'? has been capitalized. We have a fractured media environment, and there are many more choices, but as a result there are smaller resources for every show that gets made, and so we feel a little bit like we're blacksmiths in the Internet era. It's kind of sad because we are big fans of action-adventure and genre and things like that. And when you see the 'Lost'? finale, it's like a movie, and just as fans of television, it's sad to realize that there just won't be that many rolls of the dice of this size and scope. Well, that sucks. Now we'll be left with safer bets, like dime-a-dozen criminal justice-themed shows (current 2010 U.S. shows include: Bones, Castle, The Closer, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, Dark Blue, Detriot 1-8-7, Flashpoint, Fringe, In Plain Sight, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Los Angeles, Medium, The Mentalist, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Numb3rs, Psych, SouthLAnd, White Collar, The Whole Truth). And don't even get me started on reality shows. It's unfortunate that there is a very real possibility that primetime television will fail to continue to capture our imaginations in favor of more cost-conscious content. The mythology of LOST is something that has continually kept fans theorizing, speculating and guessing over the past six years. The social engagement of the show was one of the most compelling reasons to watch. The intense level of fanaticism that would have my iPhone buzzing with texts about the origin of Jacob, post-episode message boards burning up with insanely convoluted theories about religion, philosophy, and metaphysics, along with the watercooler conversations in the office the next morning trying to figure out just what the hell Ben Linus is up to next. I guess finding another show that will give me an experience like that is something that is truly lost.

NFL Picks To Be Announced Early on Twitter?

The Associated Press is reporting that the NFL will look into teams revealing their draft picks early, even before Roger Goodell announces the selections live at the podium. With no existing policy to curtail the social media activity of each team, the NFL will likely address this policy, or lack thereof, for the 2011 NFL Draft. The NFL Draft is far and away the busiest and most frenzied day on the NFL calendar. As teams are hard at work in their respective war rooms, reporters like Adam Schefter (@Adam_Schefter), and Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) are trying to report back to viewers with the latest rumors and trades. Surprisingly, one of the teams that will be reporting draft picks in real-time is our hometown New England Patriots. Wait, what? 'We might even get a few draft picks out via Twitter before they are announced on TV, so any Patriots fans following the draft closely are encouraged to begin following RealPatriots on Twitter,'? Patriots spokesman Stacey James said. 'Of course, this is the first time we are attempting this, so it should be interesting.'? Did Belichick really green light this? Has Stacey James gone rogue? While the Pats do put themselves in a great position to grow their Twitter followers around Draft Day, it begs the question of how this benefits them from a football standpoint. This seems like a departure from a coach who is involved in almost every facet of the organization and treats player injuries like classified CIA intel. Maybe a matter of seconds doesn't really matter that much in the grand scheme of things. Conversely, maybe those few seconds are a slight competitive advantage in a league where any advantage possible is seen as valuable. What do you think?

Are You With COCO?

As NBC has reached a buyout agreement with Conan O'Brien and his staff totaling an estimated $44 million, the past two weeks have been an amazing case study in many areas, including but not limited to, executive mismanagement, PR fiascos, and social media. While seemingly everyone else on the internet has weighed in on Jeff Zucker's epically terrible strategy and tact in handling the Tonight Show franchise, we thought this was a great chance to take a quick look at the social media impact of this disaster. It's no shock that Conan has the younger audience and therefore is receiving much more support in the social media space. Conan-related hashtags have kept the soon-to-be-former Tonight Show host atop twitter (#imwithcoco, #teamconan, #inconanwestand, #conan, #imwithconan, #coco, to name a few). Fellow celebrities have also voiced their support for the copper-coiffed star. Over on Facebook, the biggest group in support is found on the Fan Page I'm With COCO which has mobilized over 530,000 supporters in just over a week since Conan's 'People of Earth'? statement. They've demonstrated outside NBC studios in New York and Los Angeles with the Los Angeles rally drawing over one hundred people in the pouring rain. Their dedication was rewarded with an appearance by Conan himself who ran alongside the protesters and showered them in praise from a studio rooftop. He even bought the crowd pizza! How can you NOT like this guy?! Caught up in the cross hairs of this is Jay Leno who is certainly the beneficiary of the Tonight Show fiasco but is also being made out (wrongfully so, in my opinion) to be the villain in this drama. For the man who is supposed to be the savior of the franchise there are no I'm with LENO groups, no rallies and no overwhelming social media buzz. Wait, that's not true. There has been a quickly developing Leno hashtag meme (#lenofacts) where users associate Leno as the root of many evils ' think Chuck Norris facts, but in a bad way. -          bpcrum: Jay Leno destroyed the housing market #lenofacts -          Grimace233: Jay Leno is single-handedly keeping us from universal health care. #lenofacts -          invalidjoker: Jay Leno forced Bob Barker into an early retirement #lenofacts So Conan certainly has social media momentum but how much do studio execs really care? Ratings equal revenue and while Conan has diehard fans, Leno is more mainstream and has a larger audience. This could be a very short term strategy since Conan's younger fans will tune-in for years to come and there's always the very-real possibility that Leno retires. Yikes. Regardless of what happens, years from now we'll look back on this as a moment that will shape late night for years to come. Who do you think will end up being the big winners from this?

5 Warnings Marketers Can Heed From Horror Movies

Every year in the weeks leading up to Halloween I try to work a steady amount of horror movies into my entertainment diet. This week I have been thinking about some of my favorite slasher flicks and I realized that horror movies draw interesting parallels to strategic approaches in the marketing arena. Disclaimer: The following post contains many links to classic scenes from horror movies. PR Stunts Can Generate Great Buzz but Can Also Go Horribly, Horribly Wrong (Carrie, 1976) ' Sure a fun little stunt may seem like a good idea at the time but the next thing you know you're locked in a high school gymnasium being burned alive by a telekinetic social outcast. Or you might even be wishing that as the best possible outcome (right Richard Heene?). Take for example Snapple's attempt to erect the world's largest popsicle (17.5 tons, mind you)'?¦on an 80 degree day in Manhattan. You can guess how that one ended up. Before jumping in with both feet, make sure you are working with a partner that has experience (and insurance) to make sure every single detail is well thought-out and accounted for. Viral Videos: Proceed with Caution (The Ring, 2002) ' Viral videos can be effective if they catch on (and by 'effective'?, I don't mean 'a follow-up phone call, then killing the viewer seven days later). However there is an inherent amount of risk to be had when rolling the dice with a viral video play. There is no way to guarantee it will catch on. For every Cadbury Gorilla video that has blown up, there's a dozen video that haven't. Side note: thank God YouTube wasn't around during either of The Ring movies, that clip would have totally blown the doors off of this video. 'You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat'? (Jaws, 1975) ' We field a good number of requests from clients interested in our 'Brand ChAMPion'? campus ambassador programs. One thing we've found through execution is that in order to be successful, we must commit the appropriate resources to our campus ambassadors. We like to surround our reps with as many resources as possible including but not limited to: campus PR, campus media, social media and a local marketing budget. The more we can commit to them, the higher chance for success. Without this kind of support, it's easy for a campus ambassador program to fall flat. Think of trying to catch Jaws from a canoe. That's what it's like trying to force a campus ambassador program with a tight budget. Sometimes, you just need a bigger boat. Find Creative Ways to Engage with Your Audience (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Various: 1984 ' 2010) ' One of my favorite things about Freddy Krueger is that he didn't just kill people like a Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, but rather he created a unique nightmare experience. Whether he's transporting sleepy teens into video games or comic books or turning them into cockroaches, Freddy has a always had a knack for creating an over-the-top experience for his victims. Here at AMP, we find that deep, experiential consumer engagements can have a lasting effect on your victims'?¦er, uh, consumers. Consumers. User Generated Content Can Be a Risky Proposition (The Blair Witch Project, 1999) ' Some brands have stars in their eyes when they think of the concept of UGC ' a consumer, spending all of this time engaging with their brand sounds incredible. Brands can then use that content which saves money that would otherwise be paid out to a Creative department to develop. Sounds too good to be true, right? Often times, it is. Because content development is so accessible, content quality has become inflated as a result. Some may think an average consumer is capable of filming and editing a brief movie, but what really ends up happening? Three kids get lost in the woods and all hell breaks loose. Uncomfortably close nasal close-ups ensue.

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