Saturday, May 30, 2009

Caution on Click Through Testing

Direct response methods have tremendous potential. The promise really is to introduce the scientific method to choices advertisers have to make. The trick is to have a complete model of consumer response, and to get the measurement right.

On the Web, this is not as simple as just tossing up a variety of ad executions and counting the clicks for the differing promotional offers.

Indeed, studies have shown that extrinsic rewards, such as promotional offers, can erode the intrinsic motivation underlying consumer intent. Here's the top-line on one recent study.

So the risk is that by "buying consumer interest" as demonstrated by a click-through response to a sales promotion offer, marketers may actually demean the value of the brand in the eyes of consumers. It is vital that the entirety of consumer brand response be modeled and measured, and not just the click-through rates.

Advertising should always have a well-conceived communication strategy that is based on a leverageable consumer insight. It also helps to have a Big Idea based on the strategy.

Of course direct response methods are critical to success, but scattered testing of discount offers to promote click-through rates can erode the brand's vital value proposition.

Data mining should always take place in the context of smart strategic thinking. Said another way, you don't have a science unless you are testing a theory. Here's a link to more on the study shown in the chart.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Valuation of FaceBook

There is a lot of discussion about the valuation of social networking companies such as FaceBook and Twitter.

Sky Technologies, the Russian IT investment organization, just purchased almost two percent of FaceBook. This translates to a $10 billion valuation for FaceBook.

The preferred stock acquired by Sky Technologies confers special rights and so maybe $10 billion is an over-estimate. But various sources have speculated on the valuation and contrasted this most recent purchase to the earlier investment in FaceBook made by Microsoft.

It is important to recognize that the most valuable commodity on Earth is attention. So an alternative valuation approach might start with that foundational perspective.

Today Facebook reports that it has “over 200 million” active users on a world-wide basis. The Nielsen Online chart gives the latest on the size of the FaceBook audience within the United States.

In April, there were 53.8 million active FaceBook users in the United States. This amounts to 34.8 percent reach of active Internet users in the US and 17.5 reach of the total US population.

The United States audience for FaceBook averaged about 2 and a-half hours on the site in April. This amounts to about 5 minutes per day.

Coming back to attention as the most valuable of commodities, it is within this 5-minute average daily window that the valuation of the company must make sense.

And, looking at it a slightly different way, the $10 billion evaluation equates to $50 per each member of the currently active audience for FaceBook. So it is within those 200 million five-minute daily “attention structures” that the advertising model will have to pay out for FaceBook. It is an intriguing challenge for sure.

For more perspective on the Psychology of Advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Global Internet Use Down in April

Nielsen Online provides helpful information each month on how the online world is growing and changing. One of their most interesting charts shows global use of the Internet.

Today they up-dated the chart to show growth through April.

Interestingly, you can see that growth eased somewhat in April. The number of online sessions, domains visited, web pages per person per month, all declined somewhat. The active digital universe was also down about a percentage point for April.

This may reflect global economic conditions. People may be spending less on Internet access time, or they might be deciding to use their time differently for various reasons. Up-dated survey research could help uncover changing perceptions of time use and motivations.

Here's the link to Nielsen Online. You can follow their monthly chart on global Internet use, as well as charts showing some country-specific information on the most popular parent domain names, such as Google, Yahoo!, and FaceBook.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nearly half the US population uses social media every week

Yesterday Knowledge Networks released results of an online panel survey of the marketing impact of social networks.

The company reported that while 47 percent of the "full U.S. population" uses social media on a weekly basis, less than 5 percent say they turn to social media sites for guidance on purchase decisions.

Of course people turn to social media for social purposes. The question is, "What happens when they get there?"

Over 100 years of survey research have well documented that people turn to their friends first for the most credible information about what they should buy. This underscores the importance of interpersonal communication, including social media.

So, the important finding of the study is the 47 percent figure for weekly use of social media. The company also reported that 34 percent said they used these media more often then they did a year ago, while 18 percent said they used them less.

The bottom line really is not changed by this study. Organizations that do not productively embrace social media will fall behind competitors that do.

My earlier post today shows one way McDonald's is doing it.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Co-Op the Photo-Op

Summer vacations are underway, and that means plenty of photo and video sharing on social media.

Here, a mother takes her daughter's photo in front of the McDonald's animated outdoor display in Piccadilly Circus, London. The Charlie Chaplin hat is being shown at the moment, but the display will quickly change to many others.

The daughter sees herself appearing to wear the hat and smiles.

Doubtless that photo, and those of thousands of other tourists will be shared via Flickr, FaceBook, Myspace, YouTube, or even Twitter.

Here's the McDonald's viral video promoting photo and video sharing.

This demonstrates the inextricable link between mass communication and interpersonal communication. Clearly all of these people are "Lovin' It" and "sharing it" with McDonald's.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Difference in Detail

"From the assembly line to the road" is a familiar story line for automotive advertising.

Yet this new commercial from Ford shows how details can convey a strategic message in a fresh and confidence inspiring manner.

The precision of the Mission Impossible inspired assembly, the breath of life to install the air bag, and the brand reveal as the car emerges from its protective bath, all these details work to evoke an emotional response of confidence in the car.

The kiss to the brand mark seems a fitting transition to the road scenes.

The commercial was done by JWT Shanghai.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sense of Purpose

Brand loyalty is ultimately based on core values shared between the brand and its followers. In this commercial for Calvo tuna every step along with way is infused with a sense of purpose.

Indeed, the music has a percussive flamenco insistence. This commercial asks for the order in every frame.

The commercial was done by Publicis España, the Madrid agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Future Looking Advertising

Iberdrola, S.A. is the world's largest operator of renewable energy generating systems. The company is based in the Basque region of northern Spain.

Here is the company's latest television commercial.

The commercial is creatively and strategically brilliant in its support of the business plans of the company. If you are in public relations or advertising or business leadership (or even politics) the larger significance of this commercial is well worth reflection.

The music, of course, is Carly Simon's Academy Award winning song. "We're coming to the edge, running on the water, coming through the fog your sons and daughters. Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation. Come, the new Jerusalem."

In the commercial, the swimmers depart from Palos de la Frontera, Spain. This is the point where Columbus set sail for America.

The artist Evaristo Dominguez depicted the departure of Columbus. The Rabida Monastery, where Columbus met with Franciscans to plan his expedition, can be seen in both the commercial and the painting.

The commercial was done by Publicis España, a Madrid agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sustaining Brands

This 1959 Volkswagen commercial looks back on the 1950s to position the brand against the excesses of competing brands. The commercial speaks to brand sustainability based on improvement of utility.

It is a humble commercial demonstrating a profound business truth. That truth is to always plan for long run social sustainability.

Most economic models marginalize the things that matter in the long calling them "externalties." The thought was not lost on Keynes.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Creative Ambiguity

Advertising creativity calls for a frame of reference. It must be to a purpose or the work can be questioned.

This week's 50th annual Clio Awards show has sparked some discussion along these lines. Here's the work that won the Grand Clio for print for CLM BBDO, a Paris agency. It is a charming page.

Here's how art director Bill Taubin presented Alka-Seltzer during the creative heyday of that brand. Bill's name is in the Art Directors Hall of Fame (1981).

This spot was on Bill's last reel.

Of course the commercial is of another era. Yet its content reminds us of David Ogilvy's bottom line advice, "No sell, no eat."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

YouTube Portfolio

Here's how to use the latest technology to propel your career forward as a creative person.

In this video, freelance artist Evelien Lohbeck demonstrates her original thinking and artistic talent. You'll see four vignettes in which she plays with our expectations.

This work is more than technique, Lohbeck can surprise us, charm us, and make us think. She lives in the Netherlands making videos and commercials. She released this video on YouTube about a week ago.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Godzilla Saves Copywriters

In times of crisis Godzilla always shows up to save the world. He also regularly saves advertising copywriters.

In 1984 Godzilla showed up to save Dr Pepper.

In 2009 Godzilla returned in a new form to assist another beverage.

Archetypal action heroes can be good for advertising.

The 1984 Dr Pepper commercial was done by Young & Rubicam, then the world's largest advertising agency. Lou DiJoseph's group did historic work for Dr Pepper in those days. The 2009 Oasis commercial was by Mother, the agency in London.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Original Advertising: Never Dull

There's a story in the news today about a major brand's search for its advertising roots.

It reminded me of the advice Richard Olmstead once wrote in a house ad for Young & Rubicam. He was the master of advertising writing, and his advice applies to all advertising.

Dick Olmstead wrote:

"Disciplines? Start with a clear definition of exactly what the advertising is to accomplish. And exactly how you plan to measure it's success or failure.

And exactly who it's talking to.

Then remind yourself that no one really wants to read advertising. You have to make your ads so compelling that people can't help themselves.

Which means telling your story - any story - in terms of the reader's self interest. They want to know, 'What's in it for me?'

Talk like a person, one-to-one. Not preaching, but conversing with a friend."

Dick Olmstead was a perfect writer. BTW, the visual is not from the original house ad, its just my spin on a good old brand.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Performance Advertising

You can't have a new idea if you only have one idea. That is the basis for creativity. Collide ideas to create new ones in surprising ways.

Some idea "collisions" are pleasantly surprising, others can be strident, yet sometimes surprisingly productive.

Spreading steadily on the Web is a pleasing combination of Love Story (Taylor Swift) with Viva La Vida (Coldplay). The latest from Viral Video Chart shows 615,014 views of the video and 610 blog postings over the past 30 days.

In the 8 minute video, music arranger John Schmidt performs his "mish/mash" arrangement with cellist Steven Sharp. If you have a Bose sound system connected to your computer this 3-minute excerpt will definitely "activate your subwoofer."

This is a good example of what I call "performance advertising."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Circulation Advertising and the Web

Advertising in conventional mass media can play a role in driving traffic to websites. Yahoo! demonstrated this approach early on.

But "circulation advertising" centered on current editorial content is a long-standing method used by magazines and newspapers. Now we see it driving traffic to the Web, and from the Web to conventional media.

Here, BBC Two uses viral circulation advertising to drive traffic to a current television program.

The spot captures our interest and transfers it to their television show. We want to see the surfer's emergence from that monster barrel wave.

Medium to medium "excitation transfer?" Possibly.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hot Hot

Creative people sometimes encounter writer's block. Some of us called this "glass elbows" when I managed the creative department at Y&R in New York. My break out advice was always, "Think of the most arresting demonstration you can muster, we can always dial it back."

Creating an arresting demonstration of the benefits of the product attributes is a productive pathway to transformational advertising.

This work was done for the McIlhenny Company by Duval Guillaume, a Brussels advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

The Viral Distribution Process

Susan Boyle's video from Britain's Got Talent appeared on April 11. The latest report from the Viral Video Chart shows the video spread rapidly and now has moved into the "Long Tail" phase on the Web.

This video has set the standard for rapid and extensive viewing. As of today, the Viral Video Chart reports 135,153,354 viewings of the video, as well as 12,575 blog posts and 460,658 comments.

Here's a look at their chart in the fashion of Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations. This is the actual distribution, however, not a Normal Distribution as used in the Rogers typology.

At Phase Change 1, you can see the suggestion of an early inflection point and rapid acceleration. Phase Change 2 involves the transition to a continuing lower level of blog posting interest. This pattern is often described as the Long Tail phase of the diffusion process.

It took about three days for Sara Boyle's video to undergo a phase change to highly accelerated diffusion. The peak occurred in about seven days. The phase change marking the beginning of the transition to the Long Tail took place in about 10 to 12 days. The video has been a phenomenon and its diffusion pattern provides a basis of comparison and reflection when thinking about the role of blogs in the diffusion of viral videos.

The points of comparison involve the timing and slope changes seen in the two phases identified in my chart. The timing and extent of the peak point is also a key consideration. Of course, there are many other factors, such as the audience involved and the video content.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Advertising as Aspiration

Advertising is aspiration, and never is it more so when given responsibility for a majestic brand.

You can experience this in the newly released video for Chanel N° 5. Viewership is spreading rapidly now on the Web. The video stars Audrey Tautou in a wonderfully crafted story of romance and the Orient Express. You'll find one-minute and four-minute versions.

But, in the video below the director of the commercial speaks of his work. Jean-Pierre Juenet captures the majesty of the moments a perfume can bring. He also captures what advertising can be, and why we seek to do it at such a level.

Jeunet speaks of the joy involved in a meticulous creative process.
Among his remarks, Juenet says, "I put the bottle in the story, since it was a sleeper train. We could get reflections from the bottle. My wife puts her perfume on a small cabinet and the bottles refract light creating lovely reflections. At the end there is a mosaic of the two Cs in the Chanel logo."

Jeunet also speaks of the discovery process and complications of filming in Istanbul and on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait. He reflects as the video ends, "It brought me four months of happiness... There were so many magical moments."

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Social Propensity to Share Joy

T-Mobile's advertising idea "Life's for Sharing" perfectly reflects the human social propensity to "seek and share." This propensity is of course amplified by electronic communication, and can produce dramatic effects in the viral context of the Web.

On March 4th I wrote about T-Mobile's success with its mob dance viral videos. When people experience unanticipated joy they act to share it with their friends.

Last Friday T-Mobile released a new video. The latest results from the Viral Video Chart show it to be spreading rapidly.

About 13,500 Londoners were drawn to Trafalgar Square under the guise of participating in another mob dance. Instead, they found themselves to be participants in a spontaneous rock concert.

Two thousand wireless microphones were handed out, song lyrics were displayed on a giant video screen, and the crowd sang various rock anthems as 22 video cameras captured the event.

There were surprises too, including Pink singing "Piece of My Heart."

Here's the viral of the crowd in Trafalgar Square singing "Hey Jude" as released by T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is showing how brands can use the Web in an idea-driven way that is strategically, creatively, and socially smart. It will be interesting to see how viewership builds for this newly released video.

Saatchi & Saatchi, London is the advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Simply Natural

Here is a simple story...this cordial orange drink is all natural.

A wren-like bird instantly establishes itself as a personalty. We get a charming bird's eye view on the choices we make and they lead us naturally to the brand.

The commercial is at once simple and complex. There are layers of discovery that come to us from repeated viewing. It is a good example of "rich media."

This commercial was done by BBH, a London advertising agency.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.