The buzz online this week is about quirky French kitchen brand Cuisinella for this video featuring "real people not actors" (the video says) being shot by a sniper, carted off in an ambulance, and forced in to a coffin, for it all to be revealed as a kitchen promotion.
Here on the IM team we're as baffled as anyone else. This couldn't possibly be real, could it? Or is the buzz supposed to be from the debate driven by the campaign?
The past few years have seen brands escalating with content they hope will shock and, no doubt, go "viral." But this type of advertising is like the last death throes of interruption advertising, with brands trying to scream louder in a world where always addressable customers are now resistant to interruption or, in some cases, even trying to tune brands out.
Le Figaro reports that the brand has now removed its video from YouTube channel after a barrage of criticism. But, of course, this is the Internet; the video has been lifted and posted to multiple video accounts and will live on for all time - no doubt in many interactive marketers' PowerPoint presentations.
I thought my television remote was broken the other day. I'd gotten to the part of the TV show where there was a pause in the programming. Loud and colourful 30-sec adverts started dancing across my screen, pushing everything from shampoo for women with blonde hair (note my picture, I'm a brunette) to car insurance (I don't own a car). I was hitting the fast-forward button, but nothing happened. I got as far as taking the back off of the remote to jiggle the batteries when I realised I was watching live programmed TV and I COULDN'T SKIP THE ADS.
Watching live telly, this is just something I have to put up with for now, but online is a different story. From the films we stream online to the playlists we create and share with our friends within digital music services -- consumers are now willing to pay for ad-free content in a way that we couldn't have conceived of five years ago. Forrester's Online Paid Content Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (EU-7) shows that with successful paid services for music, video, games, and news now available in Europe, the number of online content buyers in Western Europe is set to grow between 8% and 12% over the next five years, and revenue from paid content is set to grow 65% -- from €6,2 billion in 2012 to €10,2 billion by 2017.
What does this mean for marketers?
You will have fewer chances to reach consumers with traditional advertising
The very services driving growth in digital content consumption are limiting pure advertising opportunity for brands, by adopting payment models that don't require brand advertising for revenue and even driving consumer appetite for more ad-free content.
Brands must develop content capabilities to avoid losing ground
Yodel is the UK courier company everybody loves to hate and official delivery partner of many of our top online retailers including Amazon.com. Just back in August, Mothercare and Matalan joined John Lewis in ditching the supplier due to overwhelming customer pressure. UPDATE: Yodel got in touch to point out that the reasons these retailers no longer work with Yodel are unknown and that Yodel does not believe it to be due to customer pressure] — pressure that miserable customers are consistently applying across social media and Amazon’s own online sites begging Amazon to stop using the courier. So widespread is Yodel despair — and trust me, one bad interaction with Yodel can leave one feeling despair — that an Amazon shareholder wrote to the company’s investor relations department in the US to raise the issue, reported The Guardian.
A few years ago, a barrister told me a story about an open-and-shut court case involving a burglar caught red-handed by police as he was carrying a television through the window of a house he'd just broken into. After the evidence had been presented, the jury made a request - would the prosecution present the forensic evidence they'd taken from the scene tying the burglar to the crime? "It's the CSI effect," the barrister lamented. You see, the general populace has watched a lot of crime shows on TV and now think they're experts in how and when legal evidence should be gathered and presented.
When it comes to health and well-being, there's something even bigger than a top-rated TV show influencing consumers - the Google effect. We all turn to the Web at the first sign of a cough and are happily diagnosing or researching our ailments daily. There's even a word for people who diagnose themselves mistakenly from the Web: "cyberchondriacs."
As the classic connected "Gen Xer," I'm constantly Googling symptoms and cures when I'm unwell. So despite my previously limited knowledge of marketing healthcare, I sought to answer these questions: Just how big is the digital opportunity for healthcare brands, and what are brands doing to take advantage?
It's not so much a case of paid search being less relevant, but that search and the process of "getting found" across channels has become more diverse with the advent of social media, growth in mobile search, and shifting budgets to SEO in response to rising cost-per-click (CPC) rates in mature European markets.
The last frontier for paid search? Interestingly, despite huge marketing cutbacks the troubled euro zone markets — Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain — maintain growth only just below Western European averages as brands in these markets shift budgets to search and focus on acquisition and return on investment.
Overall, interesting times are ahead for the search agency that can develop multi-channel marketing strategies or the more traditional digital agency which shores up it's search and discovery offering.
When I picked online video content marketing for my inaugral Forrester research report I knew it was a hot topic and an area of growing interest for interactive marketers. But even I was surprised when our data identified that for consumers branded online video content is as engaging as display advertising (read the report for more on this data).
I can guarantee that if I got a group of interactive marketers together in a room and asked for a show of hands comparing how many have a display strategy vs. how many have an online video content strategy, the display hands would vastly out number the video content hands. Seeing the levels of consumer engagement for video outlined in our research (and these days it's all about engagement right?) will hopefully make many brands start to sit up and take the medium seriously.
But how to use online video content?
When you talk to marketers who use video online it can feel a little more art than science. People enthuse that video "can work better than text" but struggle to validate or quantify how that can be. And most successful viral marketers seem to rely on gut instinct to create the next social video hit. No wonder the majority of marketers stay in the pay-to-display area of online video, never exploring content itself.
"I went to the Starbucks at the [redacted] campus today in between classes to pick up a drink. I was in a pretty good mood and I left the store with my drink. On my way to class, I noticed that the Barista had a better name for me. (See the picture attached). I have no clue what made the person write that. I wasn't mean at all. I don't think I'll be going back. That's too bad for Starbucks since I usually go 1-2 times per day. I'll be taking my business to Peet's Coffee.” - "Why Did Starbucks Write "Big D*ck" On My Drink Cup?" on The Consumerist.
Here is a picture of a cute cat doing something Internet related!
(Click image to see larger version)
That got your attention didn't it? Something else which gets a lot of attention is when customers share stories of exceptional customer service online (if those examples include cats that's just a bonus). This fantastic forum thread taken from UK ISP Be Broadband is currently doing the rounds. In it the customer complains his wireless network is frequently disrupted by his cat's fascination with the router. After some playful banter that issues with feline "agressors" are a known problem the customer was supplied with a tactical decoy router. Subsequent images of the clearly fooled cat were posted by the customer showing success.
Wow. If you were currently feeling disatisfied with your ISP what would your brand perception of Be Broadband be right about now?
I’ve been wondering if the PR role is slipping and if the growth in interactive marketing will make PR agencies largely irrelevant unless they diversify and get wise to online opportunities?
Forrester’s December 2010 US Interactive Marketing Online Executive Panel Survey showed that PR agencies held a respectable fourth place when it came to which agencies are helping with company/brand interactive marketing but the same survey also showed that 68% of marketers were working with at least two or more agencies for their interactive marketing needs (all competing for budgets and control no doubt).
In the 14 months since that survey took place interactive marketing has continued to mature, and I wonder if the full-service interactive agency is growing up and gaining control -- leaving the PR agency behind at the kids table.
Why is PR at risk of losing their seat at the interactive table?
If you didn't hear about it last year I guarantee the platform Pinterest has cropped up on your radar in these past few weeks of 2012. But does that mean it should feature in your 2012 digital marketing planning?
Why it's too early to use Pinterest for interactive marketing
There’s no denying that Pinterest is fun, looks great, and a lot of people love playing with it. That is also true of kittens but no one’s rushing to include them in their 2012 marketing plans (except for maybe Karl Lagerfeld).
A couple of talking points circulating are getting way out of proportion:
Rapid growth: The Hitwise figures released before Christmas show undoubted growth as a social network, but it’s nothing compared to the current growth of Google+. Pinterest is also lauded for making a list of Top 10 Social Networks in November which, while impressive for the little upstart, can’t be that meaningful if marketers aren’t deploying tactics for established Top 10ers like Tagged and Yahoo! Answers