Case Study: Digital Winning Big Brand Awareness

Today as ever brand marketers are wrestling with how much of their media spend to put online and are looking for case studies that allow them to “trust digital media” the way they do traditional media.  All of the unique visitor metrics and total impressions numbers aside, there remains a confidence gap until big brands start to circulate big cases where digital has delivered big results.

Now they are starting to come in like this one from Ford published in the WARC News Email:

In April, Ford, the automaker, asked 100 influential US bloggers to test drive its new Fiesta for a period of six months, and regularly post their opinions of the car on portals like Facebook and Twitter.

By October, it estimated that the resulting material had received 4.3 million hits on YouTube and 3 million comments on Twitter, while 540,000 people had viewed photos hosted on Flickr.

According to Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of global marketing, recognition rates of the Fiesta have grown rapidly, despite the fact it won’t be available until mid-2010.

“If you would have told me that we would have 100 vehicles in the US … and we would have 60% brand awareness in the segment, I would have said there is no possible way,” he said.

“To get 60% awareness in traditional media, it costs somewhere north of $50 million (€33.6m; £29.9m),” continued Farley, who added that the web is now a viable, and more low-cost, alternative to these channels.

“Online has become mass media. A Yahoo or Google page takeover actually gets more eyeballs than a network TV commercial now. That hasn’t happened before.”

In April, Ford, the automaker, asked 100 influential US bloggers to test drive its new Fiesta for a period of six months, and regularly post their opinions of the car on portals like Facebook and Twitter.

By October, it estimated that the resulting material had received 4.3 million hits on YouTube and 3 million comments on Twitter, while 540,000 people had viewed photos hosted on Flickr.

According to Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of global marketing, recognition rates of the Fiesta have grown rapidly, despite the fact it won’t be available until mid-2010.

“If you would have told me that we would have 100 vehicles in the US … and we would have 60% brand awareness in the segment, I would have said there is no possible way,” he said.

“To get 60% awareness in traditional media, it costs somewhere north of $50 million (€33.6m; £29.9m),” continued Farley, who added that the web is now a viable, and more low-cost, alternative to these channels.

“Online has become mass media. A Yahoo or Google page takeover actually gets more eyeballs than a network TV commercial now. That hasn’t happened before.”

Media Automation – All media will be served

One of my favourite topics is the increasing complexity of media planning and how it is moving towards a search model where it literally is no longer planned in campaigns.  Basically the sophistication of what ad is served where gets so complicated it can only be managed by a computer. 

Automated Media-Buying Platforms Gaining Traction by Mark Walsh, Yesterday, 3:12 PM


As agencies increasingly turn to automated systems to buy media and manage online ad campaigns, more money is flowing to startups that provide that technology. In that vein, digital media-buying platforms MediaMath and Traffiq both announced new venture capital funding Monday.

New York-based MediaMath secured $12.5 million in venture capital and debt financing, with the $10 million venture investment led by Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and including QED Investors and European Founders Fund. The $2.5 million in debt financing came from Silicon Valley Bank.

Started in 2007, MediaMath says it serves billions of ads per month through its platform on behalf of 20 agencies, including the major holding companies.

Online ad marketplace Traffiq, meanwhile, has raised $10 million in a second-round venture financing led by Grotech Ventures and Greenhill SAVP and including prior investor Court Square Ventures. In connection with the investment, Grotech general partner Steve Fredrick and Greenhill managing director Brian Hirsch have joined the New York-based company’s board of directors.

Last month, New York-based Traffiq announced partnering with Havas Digital to automate online media planning and buying in the agency’s New York, Boston and Chicago offices. Both companies’ systems are designed to help streamline the notoriously outdated process for online media planning and buying that includes faxes and paper notes. The startups are also competing with established players such as Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank in pushing to develop state-of-the-art media-buying systems.

Future of Marketing

There were a couple of stories recently that remind me why we all have to understand Search.

Search Marketing is Marketing 2.0 on steroids.  It is not just the auction process or sponsored links or automated bid management, it is all of it and the fact that there are no campaigns but instead ongoing optimisation.  And it is constantly changing as engineers re-work their algorithms to make their search platforms work better and decrease search spam.

When you consider  the new concept of Link Intent and the fact that these marketing platforms will sit under our “TV” video viewing and you understand we all have some work to do.

Get ready madison avenue, soon, very soon, all media will be served!

Everyone recognises the positioning of a headline is critical.  What happens when the pages you’ve created, your bid strategy and the actual behaviour of searchers impacts whether your ad is shown at all?  Welcome to Link Intent.

Authority, temporal factors, anchor text anomalies, document ranking and relevance, excessive reciprocals, TrustRank and harmonic rank, page segmentation and humans all come into play when search engines determine relevance.

Confused?  Check out this article: Understand How Search Engines Consider Link Intent
or if you are  real glutton for punishment:  Detecting Nepotistic Links by Language Model Disagreement


GoogleLogo.jpgMOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google, the online search giant, has formed a partnership with a technology company that will allow marketers buying cable airtime via its television advertising platform to tailor spots for specific audiences.

It has been argued that Google
has exerted a mixed impact on the advertising, marketing and media industries, although the company was forced into a rare retreat earlier this year when it closed its radio and print ad services.

The internet pioneer has now agreed a tie-up with Visible World, which has developed a system enabling brand owners to “target viewers with real-time offers, products, and creative based on geography, programming, inventory levels, time of day, weather, and other business conditions.”

Such a result is achieved by drawing demographic and other information from cable set-top boxes, which can then be used to alter various aspects of communications, such as the script or promotional offers featured, as appropriate.

Among the other facilities the “intelliSpot” software provides is to allow advertisers to withdraw commercials that are found to be under-performing, and replace them with alternative executions.

Google will pay Visible World to use this service, which will be made available through its TV Ads portal, described by the Mountain View-based firm as a “flexible, all-digital system for buying more accountable and measurable TV advertising.”

Mike Steib, director of Google TV Ads, argued “audiences are more and more fragmented. One ad with one message for one audience is not the right thing for everyone.”

Lenovo, the IT company, has previously worked with Visible World to run 50 targeted ads containing bespoke offers and links to a campaign website, allowing the company to track results.

It originally bought the relevant cable inventory using Google TV Ads, and was said to have been one of a number of advertisers which encouraged Google to consider an alliance with Visible World.

CableVision, the cable provider, and DirectTV, the satellite broadcaster, are also both attempting to make inroads into behavioural advertising.

However, Craig Moffet, an analyst with Bernstein Research, recently wrote in a summary to investors that “addressable advertising on cable has been two years away from reality for, oh … about 10 years.”

YouTube, the video-sharing portal owned by Google, is also trialling a new service enabling its content partners to insert ads of their choosing into material they have uploaded to the site.

The FreeWheel ad-serving programme is also used by CBS and Warner Brothers, and effectively means YouTube is part of a broader, third-party ad network for the first time.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff, 29 July 2009

A Quick Review of Doritos iD3 Campaign

There is always a little trepidation when you are asked to review a piece of work — if the work is horrendous like a lot of it is, then you have to figure out how to tear it to shreds without completely pissing off an entire team, agency and client.

Doing a review of the Doritos iD3 campaign was easy — it is great work.  We all know how hard iit is to get really good interesting projects live and complex ones with a lot of moving parts deserve double credit.

I’m sure that on this one AMV BBDO did a little, Initials did a bunch and are getting the credit, and Rehab Studios have probably killed themselves.   In fact I would guess there is a team inside Rehab that have worked every week-end for 3 months and loved every minute of it.  I have the idea because we did the same for SE Bond and that is what it takes, regardless of budget.

Here are some more links about the campaign:
Rehab Studio’s Blog Post
Inside Facebook Comment
Digital Arts Article

My Review on Brand Republic

Promo Review – Doritos iD3 promotion

LONDON – “An amazing piece of work” is the view of joint managing director of iris Digital John Baker as he tests out Doritos’ ‘iD3’ campaign.

Promo Review - Doritos iD3 promotion

Every brand manager knows that media has fragmented, consumers are in control and that big headlines like “Try our new flavour! It is new and improved and extra spicy fresh!” get about as much attention as a double glazing salesman in the tropics.  The challenge is what to do.

Doritos new iD3 campaign is a great example of the Brand as Entertainer strategy.

It is an amazing piece of work and really goes well beyond the multi-level online game.  It has a promotion to drive uptake, a brand teaser campaign to build expectation, on pack code integration to drive trial, sophisticated integration of Facebook Connect to make registration easy and extend communication in social networks, a call out to bloggers that talk up the campaign, integration of retail and prize partners to help cover costs – and that is just looking at the surface!

Clearly the game is central to this promotion and it is clear that Doritos have put some real effort into it.  It uses branched video and 3D rendered game levels to keep people interested.  The puzzles are complex enough that it isn’t just a “skills-based question” promotion requirement, but a real effort to challenge the audience which assuming it is younger and familiar with gaming should work incredibly well.  For people that use Facebook Connect, personal content is brought into the game to make it more relevant, and achieve the techie cool factor.

What remains to be seen is if the campaign is central to the brand advertising that is always the heartland of FMCG launches.  Will the advertising drive people to the game?  Will the winners feature in the advertising? Will mass media be used to offer clues that are critical to success?  This is incredibly hard to achieve but if it happens it would put this campaign in the leagues of RBK’s Whodonit and Microsoft’s Vanishing Point. These campaigns were also fully integrated using DM packs for engaged participants and events to generate even more buzz.

The only challenge for the campaign — which probably has the brand planners hopping in circles — is the connection between the idea of “identity theft” that drives the game and a new lime and curry flavoured crisp which is the product.  The crisps do feature in the movies and the game but it is hard to demonstrate food product features and benefits in games.

All that said, there will be a lot of gamers out there fully entertained and talking up Doritos.  And assuming the crisps taste great, we can be sure they’ll tell their friends and the whole lot of them will all buy lots of Doritos.

Promo score:  8 out 10

Agency: Initials

Cognitive Surplus and Looking for the Mouse — Clay Shirkey

Just came across this speech from Clay Shirkey at the Web2.0Expo last year.  It is a great piece of thinking — entertaining, informative and thought provoking.  Makes you want to get back out on the speech circuit!

The premise is straightforward — we have a “congnitve surplus” since industrial revolution took hold and gave most of us 5 day work weeks and evenings off from farming or hunting and gathering.

At first on industralising and moving everyone to cities, society turned to gin.  It wasn’t until libraries, local government services and parks were established that people left gin behind.

As society was given free time, we turned to sitcoms.  I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island and Desparate Housewives have consumed our free time — to the tune of 200 billion hours a year in the US alone.  Or the equivalent of 2,000 full wikipedia projects.

Today the solution has finally been offered through the internet and the “tools of participation” that allow people to pretend they are elves in World of Warcraft or write about Pluto on Wikipedia or send around LOL Cats.

Society didn’t want to drink gin and gave up drinking themselves into submission.  People today are realising they don’t want to sit passively watching tv in a similar stuppor.  They want a mouse.  So if anyone asks “where do people find the time?”  Simply point at the the TV in the corner and ask how many hours their family has watched in the past month.

We are in for significant changes as this Internet thing takes hold.

Earth Hour – Still Time to Take Part

A friend Robin Grant is working on this campaign with his company with his comapny We Are Social.

Can’t wait to hear how social media impacts this is an on / off-line event. 

Sort of like a high-profile, main-stream, quasi-flash mob.  The effect of doing something, even as minor as turning off your lights, somehow makes it all different.

We’ve already seen a host of e-mails go across the office network.

Great to be able to do a simple post like this one as well.

Richard Jenkins + Donkey

Will it get indexed?

Yes – Google never ceases to amaze.  20 minutes after creation … 2nd after Digg in organic search.

Will it get traffic?

Yes – 19 views faster then anything else on this blog in … 20 minutes.

Will it get people engaged?

Nope – doubtfully here.  First movers win and this NYU Lawyer blogger was up first.  Put up when it showed in the US and number 2 on Google (still a day later, until I put up mine, apologies) and 22 comments and counting.  Including mine which proves I didn’t come up with the idea. And others after which proves the idea isn’t dead.  Amazing.

What am I talking about?

Jon Stewart talked about googling “Richard Jenkins + Donkey” on his show this evening.  And of course I did.  As did others.  But then again I live in the UK so I was a day late.   And I DVR’d it so I was 10 minutes behind the UK live broadcast.  But when I saw the lawyer’s blog I couldn’t resist the test.  And it is still fun.

What does it prove?

Nothing drives traffic like good tv.

And sorry I couldn’t come up with a more rewarding set of images.

Check out Six Feet Under – great show if you haven’t seen it.

Digital Marketing — Banners, Microsites & E-mail?

As more of the media we watch, read and enjoy becomes digital, more of the marketing community is taking up the digital mantel.  Welcome.  It is true that if the work is kept fairly straight-forward and the agency team have a good production partner they can deliver the banners, microsites and e-mails that check the “digital” box.

But is that really digital marketing?

One of my favourite tests for a digital marketing campaign is to ask if it is “interactive” not just digital.  Can the audience act and does the ad react?  Hard to do in traditional media.

A second test is whether it is impossible to run the work without using the computer that serves it.  Having a film or pieice of video call your mobile phone like our St. Mary’s Ghost campaign did is hard if you don’t have a processor behind it and the forethought to use it.  This is different then putting a film on YouTube or print piece in e-mail.

But really the real point is that digital marketing is different from traditional marketing at a more fundamental level.  Consider the article below.  There is a fundamentally different way of thinking when you do real Digital Marketing — It isn’t about campaigns, it is about programmes.  It isn’t about who (audience demographics), it is when (mindset and interest).

And it isn’t just about creative that needs a computer to run, it is about marketing plans that can’t even be organised, much less executed, without some very specific applications and very big networked computers behind them.

At Last, What Agencies Are Learning From Ad Networks Revealed

Posted November 6th, 2008 by Joe Mandese

“More and more we are starting to look like advertising networks,” Don Epperson, CEO of Havas Digital acknowledged during his keynote kicking off the OMMA Ad Nets conference in New York this morning. “I am here today to tell you what agencies can learn from advertising networks.”

And he did.

So what’s the main takeaway? Well, agencies are learning to target consumers based as individuals, not based on advertising placements. To illustrate that, Epperson showed a banner ad for Havas client Air France on the, and implied it may no longer be making such placements based on the context of the editorial content, but on the context of the user that happens to be on that page.

“That’s a very big change,” Epperson emphasized.

Before he went on, he added the obligatory disclaimer: That for all the power of Havas Digital’s super, hyper-targeted optimization capabilities, it’s still fundamentally a brand steward that relies on all the powerful consumer insights that traditional shops have always relied on.

“Regardless of what we talk about today, strategic planning, communications planning, brand planning are never going to go away,” he emphasized, adding, “They will always be very important. It will always be art and science.”

The More Things Change …

Just came across this article that was written back in 2000.  We were a year into having set up in the UK and the dot com boom was still expanding, although had collapsed.  The amazing thing about this article to me is seeing how much of what we said then, we still say and do today.

Feature: Decoded: Organic – no call for booing

Decoded: Organic – no call for booing

Date: 25 July 2000

Along with Razorfish and, Organic is one of the main US players operating on both sides of the Atlantic and, like many US interlopers, it’s quick to claim its relative years of experience as a competitive advantage. But Organic can legitimately claim to have been involved in one of the most salient experiences the sector has so far seen; one of its clients was

Not that the company bears any malice. John Baker, who moved across from the New York office to become UK managing director, says they parted on good terms and that Organic still stands by the work it did. “We still have people tell us that it was one of the most innovative sites,” he enthuses.

He does emphasise though, that Organic’s contribution was a small part, creating the Flash applications for the products and dressing room, as well as all the rich media advertising for Boo’s online campaigns. And, not surprisingly, there’s no longer any mention of the failed online sports fashion retailer in any of Organic’s press material; not so much standing by as saying bye.

Nevertheless, the experience is just one in Organic’s portfolio. Like it or not, the big US players are big precisely because they started earlier, and in a young industry, experience is all the more valuable.

3 card trick

Founded in San Francisco in 1993, Organic now boasts nine offices and 1200 employees worldwide. It opened its first international office in Sao Paolo, Brazil, at the end 1997, and is now operating in London, Singapore and Toronto, as well as across the US.

Having opened in London in June last year, the company has 90 employees based in its Queens Park office, including 25 engineers, 15 designers, 15 project management, 15 marketing solutions and 10 strategy consultants.

“We tend to operate with dedicated core teams, and build them out as we go,” explains Baker. “Unlike some agencies, we give the client around five key contacts -[for example] an engineering lead, creative lead and strategic lead, as well as the project leader.”

This, he says, helps keep communication open. “Experience shows us that if you only have a single point of client contact, like an account manager, it can become a bottleneck.”

As befits an agency located in Queens Park, just a stone’s throw from dotcom mecca in Notting Hill, its focus is on the more glamourous end of interactive services, specialising in design and marketing. Organics UK services are split into three departments: online marketing, i-business development and strategic consultancy.

Each of the sectors do operate standalone but, pressed for a particular strength, Baker says: “it has to be the integration,” meaning the offering of its three strands as a complete service.

Baker says i-business, the engineering part, forms the core of Organic UK’s work accounting for about 60% of its business. “We have strong skills in Flash, and with the ATG and BroadVision platforms. And we don’t think of WAP as a separate thing either,” he says. “It’s important to keep the engineers centralised, because they need to know how to make applications extensible to all devices.”

On the marketing side, which accounts for around 20% of business, Organic offers full online media services, from planning and executing basic banner campaigns to striking portal deals and running email campaigns.

Strategic consulting, which accounts for the last 20%, also includes offering its US-based customer services and fulfillment brokering. Baker explains: “We also offer consulting on everything after the customer hits the buy button – what kind of warehousing or packaging do they have? In the US we have relationships with warehouses and call centres, and can integrate our clients with these services if they require.”

Again, the Boo experience has bearing: “Boo had great (order) fulfillment in place and well-branded packaging. It’s just that their e-commerce engine was so horrendous.”

These services are currently only offered to UK clients on an ad hoc basis, but Baker says a full roll-out will take place here later this year. In the US, Organic is facilitating fulfillment for clients including Tommy Hilfiger and Iomega.

Clients and partners

Organic is one of IBM’s Global Services and Pervasive Computing partners, and does a lot of work with its WebSphere platform. It also has formal relationships with BroadVision, ATG (Art Technology Group), Open Market and Pandesic.

As Baker points out, such a range of partnerships is important because no one platform fits all clients. But while the company is not limited to these platforms, he also advises that the relationships are more than just marketing deals, providing training and technical support to Organic’s staff.

The company has a lot of its experience in industry verticals, such as electronic retail and telecoms. Clients include, for which Organic has recently completed its SME portal and Business Store on the BroadVision platform. It also built the front-end of IP telco’s site and

As well as BT, Daimler Chrysler is Organic UK’s cornerstone client, working on its pan-European site. The company’s major US clients include, Blockbuster and Hewlett Packard.

Organic works on both fixed payment and retainer-based accounts, preferring the former for dotcoms and the latter for large corporates. Baker says this is because they tend to hand completed projects over to dotcoms, because, unlike traditional companies, the website is the dotcom’s core business.

Keeping to the front

Organic’s focus is very much on front-end solutions, with its skills in Flash and e-commerce systems. The company doesn’t do backend, preferring to work with other solutions providers for this, such as Unisys on the Quip account. “We don’t have a systems integrator approach,” explains Baker, “so we don’t do ERP or legacy integration.”

As is becoming increasingly common with larger agencies, last May it opened an R&D lab in its New York office, principally to experiment with wireless and broadband solutions. The lab operates in two ways. Firstly, the company funds research in areas it feels it needs to develop, to generate case studies and best practices, and secondly it co-funds with clients developments that directly benefit them. It’s currently running a WAP project for an undisclosed UK client.

Organic offers the usual company incentives to try and attract and keep staff, with “benefits, a recreation room, bagels, beer bashes and the like,” says Baker. It also stubbornly clings to one of the internet’s original business differentiators, proudly claiming its professional services take a “C2B” approach. As Baker puts it: “This reflects our user-centric development and the change in control from manufacturers to customers.”

Despite such platitudes, Organic is one of the few agencies that can point to some longevity. So what was the biggest lesson from the Boo experience? “I think it’s definitely a preference to have full service engagement on a project, to be accountable for what we do,” says Baker. “There were eight partners working on Boo, and we saw a lot of changes taking place that we couldn’t control, and all we could do was end on good terms.”

Source: Netimperative

Great Digital Outdoor Inspiration

This is a video — or rather an ad in fact — that shows off some great use of smart digital outdoor and use of video in car and on mobile. It is really great piece of digital outdoor inspiration.

What is more amazing is that as the number of digital outdoor sites grows — we aren't being more creative about how we use them. In most places (like the London tube) we've gone for video using the same 30 second ads formats that are being ignored or skipped on TV. Or as this Thompson video shows, we're using smart, internet-connected displays to cycle through static print!

Just a little bit of imagination and a motion sensor to make the signs at least a little bit interesting and — a key word that has been losing favour of late — interactive.

Taken to an extreme and by adding a touchscreen you have an kiosk or outdoor website or video wall as they are commonly called. Nice thing is — like using video assets in the Tube — you can repurpose web assets. And there are some great case studies of these being put in airports and trainstations where people have time and appreciate a brand giving them information or entertainment.

But in many of these examples we are still in brochureware. Where is the live feed of relevant data? The personalisation of information that is relevant to the viewer who has been identified by RFID or their mobile phone? The tying together of a set of signs into an application that is both useful for the customer and reinforces the brands point of view? Something to look forward to.