Bits & Pieces?
It’s not a secret anymore in today’s market that user participation in social networks is more a necessity than it is a suggestion. With over 800 million users on Facebook (yes folks, that is the population of the entire continent of Europe) there is obvious demand by consumers for fun things to contribute to their social networks.
So when our client, Alverno College. came to us with the great news of being voted number one in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report—we had an idea. Why not involve the students who made it happen? Why not give the students a chance to show their pride for their school? And why not make it fun?
So we got to work. It was simple. We created a 32×40 polaroid frame and recommended an event. Alverno created a fun lunchtime-in-the-cafeteria event, distributed the frame to students, and had a contest to encourage them to take their photos in the frame and update their profile picture on Facebook. Slowly but surely the news began to spread. Student and faculty participation turned into alumnae participation and tens of thousands of eyeballs could see Alverno’s news in their Facebook newsfeeds.
Who’s #1 in the Midwest? Why Alverno College is.
Special thanks to Facebook for making this way too easy and to our client for teamwork on a great idea.
We took a week off, sorry folks. If you were wondering where we were last Monday, we were all feverishly working hard on projects that keep the lights on around here. Speaking of around here, this week’s theme is Jigsaw, which just turned 7 at the beginning of the month. Please, no gifts necessary, but votes would be great!
This week Matt O’Donnell returns to see if he can win two showdowns in a row. Joining Matt is Jen Kuhn, Allison Luebke (contest newbie), and myself. Here is what we found around the office:
Like them or hate them, Matt Stone and Trey Parker are marketing geniuses and many of us could learn some things from them. For the people that don’t recognize those names, how about names like Kenny and Cartman? Matt and Trey are the creators of the 15-year running “South Park” and have created a small empire from an idea that started off as construction paper cut-outs. With a successful TV series, a box-office hit (Baseketball) and numerous other side projects and endorsement deals, they are the epitome of success.
And now, they have finally cashed in on the most obvious and most sought after item of all for South Park fans: Cheesy Poofs. The favorite snack of Eric Cartman, these cheese puffs (basically puffed Cheetos) will now be sold in Wal-Marts beginning in August. The prediction is for huge sales, if for no other reason than the novelty of it.
But more to the point of this post is the fact that Matt and Trey were able to take a fairly simple idea and turn it into a blockbuster by following some very basic marketing rules that even the professionals can sometimes forget when getting caught up in details.
- Connect with your audience – South Park is such a tremendous hit because it strikes a chord in those of us fed up with the level of PC-ness these days. The biggest reason (IMHO) for the success of South Park is that they use kids to say all the things we’re told we can’t. Who can really be upset with a kid? After all, they say the darndest things.
- Make your message simple and straightforward – If it makes sense to a fifth grader, how hard could it be for an adult to understand?
- Avoid the small print – There are some times when this is impossible, however people never read it and tend to think the more of it there is, the less they can trust the message. The only mumbling in South Park is done by Kenny, and only the other characters can understand him. Sounds like legalese, right? The rest of the messages on South Park are right there in your face for you to deal with however you choose.
- Protect your brand – South Park is known for being brash, bold and very opinionated. It doesn’t matter what the topic, on every episode you know there will be moments that make you laugh and moments that make you cringe. That’s their brand. It’s what they stand for. Can your brand say the same thing (and stick to it)?
There is no question that once a show has reached the level of success that South Park has that there are some very smart marketers behind it. Matt and Trey are two of the best. Who are some of the best celebrities/marketers that you know? Timberlake? Gaga? Beyonce? Shaq? Kenny Powers? What do you think?
Always Greener is the winner. This beautiful shot below was taken by Ben Halpin, who moves on to defend his title next week with the theme “Humanity”.
1. Always Greener, Ben Halpin – 34.55%
2. CHARCHAR, Micheal Prince – 30.91%
3. This Is My Serious Face, Trevor Eiler – 20%
4. Jon Lester, Yankee Stadium, Nick Pipitone – 14.55%
See you next week.
Let’s face it, as humans we tend to stick to our daily routines. It’s a relief that mostly lives in our subconscious. It comforts us. It’s what we’re used to and that’s generally easy to deal with. But with our routines comes ruts. Mental roadblocks that usually put’s everything on hold until we can get back on our self-indulged schedules. This is where the problem comes in. It’s not always as easy as flipping a switch. As a matter of fact, it can take a lot of energy, time and focus to get back in your creative zone. I have one solution for you. Whether you embrace it is your call, but I think everyone should do this. Ready? Go and spend some time in the woods. Get out of your comfort zone. Shake it up a bit. Go where there’s nothing to taunt you this way or that. No car horns, lights, concrete, advertisements or annoying people telling you what you should be doing. Go back to the basics. Spending a couple of days in nature is sort of a re-boot for your brain. It leaves you feeling refreshed and gives perspective on what you need to do. I think spending too much time in one place, particularly in the city, is problematic as it tends to shape who we are. In the same sense, doing the same thing over and over and over limits are ability to explore our inner selves and what we’re capable of. So the next time you find yourself looking out that window pouting to yourself because you don’t know what to do next, consider looking at your calendar, pick a campground, and take yourself out.
Featured Blog Posts
Given two studies on preference for mobile web versus mobile…
Anyone can be creative. Often the biggest obstacle to innovative…
I’m involved in a couple of professional groups that are…