Bits & Pieces?
Somehow I have managed to win your gracious votes again. Thank you for picking Bigest? as Photo Showdown VIII’s winner.
1. Bigest? – Trevor Eiler, 44.64%
2. Letters Home – Jen Kuhn, 23.21%
3. The Sixties – Ben Halpin, 21.34%
4. Door 5 – Nick Pipitone, 10.71%
Next Monday we move onto Photo Showdown IX, and the theme is Curious. And yes, that should be interesting. Next weeks players are Sue Spaight, Danielle Fritz, Michael Prince, and of course, your back to back champion (“He’s HEATING UP!” – NBA JAM). Once again, thank you for your votes and please look forward to next Monday.
In the past year or so the use of QR codes and Microsoft Tags in the USA exploded. (Ok, maybe exploded isn’t the right word, but if we use it to describe the location-based services phenomenon, I should be able to use it here.) Brands like Calvin Klein, Gap, Best Buy, McDonalds and Heineken placed the scannable codes on pretty much anything from posters, billboards, magazine ads, business cards and t-shirts to TV commercials, product packaging and in store displays.
Usually used to quickly link consumers to specific mobile content like product demos, consumer reviews, coupons, etc., QR codes and Microsoft Tags can close the sale. They are also an interesting way to engage consumer on multiple channels at the same time ( we already know people are using their cell phones/tablets/lap tops while reading magazines and watching TV). Most importantly they have a call to action that the consumer can immediately act upon: scan now, before you forget, or before you get bombarded by 78377642 similar messages, and buy the product/watch the video/find a retailer/get a coupon/etc.
A shiny new toy with a lot of potential, QR codes and Microsoft Tags can easily be used to position a brand as an innovator in a category and/or to provide utility to consumers. (If you haven’t noticed yet, I have a thing for brand utilities.)
The boom in this country naturally leads to the quest of finding the most interesting and innovative examples of how the little squares are used for marketing. At least that is a natural quest for someone obsessed with making lists.
The first prominent example of interesting use of the technology is Calvin Klein’s Get It Uncensored billboards from last summer. The codes pulled up an exclusive, 40-second commercial featuring models Lara Stone, “A.J.,” Sid Ellisdon, Grayson Vaughan and Eric Anderson. After the spot played, viewers could share the code with their Facebook and Twitter networks. Replacing images of almost naked models with QR codes is not innovative, but the campaign achieved the impossible: making consumers seek advertising.
Moving on to USA Today, which just started placing Microsoft Tags in its print editions. Each section of the daily now features at least one Tag that leads to additional online content such as videos. I am not sure who still buys newspapers, but it is a great way to provide more utility for the readers.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is promoting its Picasso Exhibit “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” with QR codes in print and out-of-home ads. The codes, incorporated into portraits of Picasso, access a website featuring 15 pieces of his art, plus a link to buy tickets.
“We started thinking about Picasso and how progressive he was as an artist and it made sense to use technology,” Keith Cartwright, the creative director, said.
The next example comes all the way from Japan, where QR codes are as common as Starbucks shops. About 50 people came together, each taking a piece of the biggest QR code to a designated spot before an Audi drove the last piece in to complete the code. The mobile content was a 15 second animation celebrating 100 years of Audi.
And my personal favorite one is from two weeks ago when RedLaser and Lupe Fiasco took over Union Square in New York with video projections, lasers and a custom QR code to promote the upcoming release of the rapper’s latest album, Lasers. Not only was the code flawlessly integrated into the creative and the overall experience, but it also enabled fans to pre-order the album and purchase merchandise.
These five examples of QR codes show how the technology can provide utility, extend the offline experience online and engage consumers on multiple channels at the same time. Of course, the logical question to follow is “When will the technology become mainstream?” My bet is that, if used regularly by brands, it will happen before location-based services become mainstream.
What are your favorite examples of QR codes used for marketing? Are they effective?
When it comes to pregnancy, the woman does all the work.
There. I said it.
It’s not like I don’t have experience. I have two children, ages 10 and 13. I was a personal witness to the trials of pregnancy, the happiness, joy, the pain, and the pushing. My wife was valiant for the 9 months of pregnancy and both deliveries.
Fast forward to 2011. As a creative director, the task to create a commercial for Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph came across my desk. St. Joseph is an institution in Milwaukee, especially when it comes to labor and delivery. Its long history of neonatal care has earned it the title “The Baby Hospital.” For expectant Moms with a high-risk pregnancy, it’s one of the safest places to have a baby.
It makes you all fuzzy inside.
But back to the creative brief. How can we tell people about The Baby Hospital from a new angle, yet still get our point across and keep the tone emotional? The universe of health care advertising is loaded with testimonials, doctors and shots of technology and patient rooms. We have to try something different.
It occurred to us that one point of view that hasn’t been explored is one of the Dad’s, the understanding, tough, squeamish, not-so-innocent bystander. He’s just as much responsible for the pregnancy as the Mom, right? I thought of my own experiences, and the things that were important to me, and they really were many of the same things as my wife. Yet, my attitude towards those things were slightly different. Slightly, um, … male.
So we wrote scripts and had the Dads be real. I used my own experiences and the experiences of the people I talked to. And we were able to sell The Baby Hospital in a very natural way. And kudos to our client for having the courage to take the journey with us.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a 13 yr. old who needs help with her math homework.
It’s Monday, and since you’ve already spent a marginal amount of time looking at things on the internet today, why not one more thing to captivate your eye balls. Today’s showdown features Ben Halpin, Jen Kuhn, Nick Pipitone, and myself, as I was fortunate enough to win your votes last time. This week’s theme was letters and numbers. You know the drill.
I liken this period of time in the advertising industry to what it must have been like in the Space Race.
It wasn’t long ago, that as a creative, I felt like every time I got a job I was lighting off an other rocket for the world to see. Each built to do the same thing. To raise awareness , change perception and sell something. We’d build and launch a campaign—usually with TV, print and radio—sending a message into space. The message was fueled by our concept. Media would direct it toward the target. Women 25-54 years old. Men 18-34 years old. And so on.
If the concept was good enough, and the rocket carried the message far enough for the audience to see it, we’d hopefully find out that it “appeared” that we moved the needle. More things sold, better scores on awareness and perception studies. Inevitably, as soon as we lauched one rocket, we were building the next. Maybe the fuel was different and the direction changed, but it was, like the Space Race was for a while, growing, but not exponentially.
But then something happened. Technology offered the opportunity to challenge how we built a rocket. For the U.S. that sent us to the moon. In our industry going to the moon, metaphorically, happened with the internet. Things were possible that never were before.
Where are we now? Well, while the real Space Race was always at the mercy of politics and popular opinion, digital technology is embraced by all. What does that mean? It means that all of us who were busy for years launching rockets—who then learned to take it to the moon (our new territory the internet)— now have free reign to travel throughout the universe.
Today, the race in our industry has advanced at light speed. We are far beyond landing on the moon. Now we are building rocket ships that travel to distant planets. Social media has quickly made it so that we not only land that rocket on the planet, but we allow people alien to us board that ship and fly home with us. Because they are “fans” or they “like us.”
And this race isn’t slowing down. It gets better. Now we are building rockets that go get those aliens, befriend them and then, what the heck, let them drive the space craft where ever they want. Doritos let consumers create Super Bowl commercials for the second year. Look at an American icon, Harley Davidson, who hired crowdsourcing Victor and Spoils to replace their more traditional rocket-firing Carmichael Lynch as agency of record.
Has the industry changed? Absolutely and forever. Is traditional thinking obsolete? Much of it is.
But there is something fundamental that gives me hope. It’s why I created this metaphor to explain it. It is what gets me up in the morning to go to work. It’s what keeps me up at night, wondering how to solve the day’s challenge. It’s why I believe some of the thinking is obsolete, but not the thinkers.
I say look at the rocket, the thing we are building. Sometimes it may just fly around the sky (people will see an ad) . Sometimes it will attract some who want to travel with each other on that journey (people will “Like” a brand). And now, sometimes those along for the ride will actually drive (people will create content for a brand).
But no matter what we intend the objective of the mission, one thing is constant—it’s a propellant, a fuel, an ignitable idea called a concept. There is always a concept and that concept always carries a message.
A campaign today can encompass anything, but devoid of a concept, it’s not going anywhere. Perhaps, the lines are getting blurred between the people concepting and people executing an idea. But someone had a concept to let customers do some concepting and produce some TV spots for the SuperBowl. And Victor and Spoils is capitalizing on selling other people’s concepts.
I believe a concept can take you anywhere. Even into the future.
How do you see it? Where are we headed? Is concept King? Or a thing of the past?
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