Does silly stuff matter?

UK telecom company Three’s viral pony has been galloping all over the internet at breakneck speed. Launched on 1 March in a TV ad, it’s since picked up more than 3.5 million YouTube views in six days for the UK’s fourth largest mobile operator.



What’s more, Three wants people to create their own dancing ponies and has provided a Pony Mixer tool to enable them to do so. People can choose from different musical genres such as rave, funk and boyband, to see their customised pony move and can then share it via social media. In a veritable internet meme pile-up, there’s already a Harlem Shake pony mix. Also with a view to prolonging the pony’s viral success, the company is floating the hashtag #DancePonyDance.

So what’s the point of all this? Three is attempting to celebrate ‘all the seemingly stupid stuff we look at online on a daily basis.’ While it ‘may seem silly,’ claims Three, ‘it’s not – it’s what connects us through the simple act of sharing.’

Results: Wieden + Kennedy London, Three’s agency, claims that the video generated 14,000 tweets within five hours of its internet premiere on Friday 1 March.

Why I’m curious:

When most operators differentiate either on price or network technology, this is an interesting approach for Three to address identity crisis and to differentiate itself from its major rivals. Whether this will help Three to establish an emotional bond with consumers and hence to assert itself in the sector and attract new customers remains to be seen.

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Best Bus Stop Ever?

Mobile phone technology company Qualcomm produced this charming stunt at a bus stop, in order to prove that using your phone can make your life a lot more exciting.

Why I’m curious:

This is a very interesting example of using offline channel to commute directly with individual customers and provide personal experience. One thing they are missing here is social sharability. How about installing a camera taking pics of those people when they were offered the ride and allowing them to share on Instagram?

Twitter Metadata Change: Tweets To Be Assigned ‘High’ Or ‘Low’ Value

Twitter is going to start publicly assessing the value of each tweet.

In a blog post about metadata changes to its API, Twitter notes that tweets will be considered “low,” “medium” or “high” value. An alternate value of “none” may also appear in the metadata, perhaps for spam or something that makes no sense at all. The value will be assigned under “filter_level” in its API. That means developers can tap into the change to deliver more relevant tweets in third-party apps.

While Twitter doesn’t share how a tweet is ranked by the new algorithm, The Next Web speculates that “shares, views, engagement numbers and so forth” will be factors. It’s likely that the popularity of a user could also be taken into account.

The metadata change is expected to go live on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why I’m curious:

Besides third-party apps, Twitter is very likely to apply the filter to its Discover Tab and search function. Imagine the tweets show up not in a continuous chronological stream, but one ordered by value or relevancy to individual users.

Car rental firm aims to turn duped viewers into customers using fake skiing invention

Car rental company Hertz is taking an oblique approach to promoting its ski deals through an online hoax.

YouTube video shows a British winter sports enthusiast who claims to have invented SkiBrogues – a stylish leather version of the classic ski boot, except one that contains a retractable, spring-loaded ski in the sole.


The video directs people to a microsite that details how SkiBrogues were created in order to allow people to get on and off the piste quicker and to free up space in cars. Although three styles of the boot are offered for sale at prices ranging from £395 ($629) to £995 ($1584), each is apparently out of stock. A banner ad on the right-hand side of the single-age site displays Hertz’s weekly car hire rates for skiing resorts in Europe and the US.

Results: In the seven days since the SkiBrogues video has been uploaded to YouTube, it’s attracted 14,000 views.

Why I’m curious:

Considering that the CTR of a typical banner ad is around 1 percent in the best case scenario, Hertz is trying something new by creating content to increase engagement.

I would love to see the results for this as from my point of view this exercise is pointless. They would have been better off integrating the brand with the content so the users would have been more keen to view the offers.

INTERACTIVE YOUTUBE MESSAGE SCOLDS VIEWERS WHEN THEY PRESS PAUSE

Longstanding CEO of Publicis Groupe, Maurice Lévy, has made his annual Holiday Message an interactive experience capitalizing on the fact that many viewers of Youtube videos fiddle around with the controls rather than let the video play out.

The video reacts according to what the viewer does. Pause the message, and Levy looks bored waiting for you to return. Raise the volume, and Levy increases his voice. Go full screen, and see the ‘set’ for the production. Rewind or skip ahead and Levy goes through a stack of papers to ‘start again.

Why I’m curious:

The Christmas message, although clever in its own right, also shows the creative applications of hosting a video on YouTube. It’s a great marketing tactic for Publicis but also a masterful display of Youtube’s rich media capabilities.

File Under Slightly Creepy

Styleblaster is a slightly creepy social experiment “fills a need for live fashion information.” The website is a new kind of fashion blog that feeds a snapshot of every person exiting the Bedford Avenue subway station in the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood in NYC.

The idea is stemmed from the noticeable change in the neighborhood in the past 10-15 years: “To answer the changing times, we introduce Styleblaster, a realtime account of what people in Williamsburg are wearing. Unlike a typical streetstyle blog, Styleblaster documents all — the visiting fashion plates, the hipsters and have-nots, the native Polish and Italian proud who have for years called this neighborhood home. And above all — the dapper salarymen and businesswomen who stand to inherit the area.”

Why I’m Curious

Blogs and social media have opened a gateway for users to snap and share pictures of their daily looks.

This May Be the Best Response Ever to a Facebook Rant — Period

When the UK-based company Bodyform, received a snarky message from a dude on their Facebook wall, they didn’t let it go — they responded with an equally snarky (and arguably much more hilarious) video.

On October 8th, a man named Richard Niell posted a lengthy comment on Bodyform’s public Facebook page accusing the company (in a tongue-in-cheek tone) of misleading him for years. The full post reads:

Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger

After Richard’s message went viral, getting nearly 84,000 likes and over 3,500 comments (the Bodyform page itself has 4,148 likes), the company decided to respond in video form. They created a fictional CEO who apologized to Richard:

“We are always grateful for input from our users, but your comment was particularly poignant,” the company wrote in the video’s description. “If Facebook had a ‘love’ button, we’d have clicked it. But it doesn’t. So we’ve made you a video instead.”

The video went up on Youtube on Oct 16th, and so farther has gathered 2,194,564 views.

Why I’m curious:

This shows how brands can best use social media and leverage user-generated content- responding quickly, to an existing engaging topic, by creating content that is innately shareable. What Bodyform also did well was not only creating sharable content that speaks to consumer’s interests, but also conveys brand message , and hence successfully turned a brand that’s usually associates with cultural taboo into a popular topic.

Old Navy creates a scannable coupon out of humans

After reaching the five million fan mark on Facebook, Old Navy decided to celebrate by giving all their fans a big deal. Agency CP+B brought hundreds of people together to create a 30% off coupon. An aerial shot of the 120ft x 60ft promotion features colorful props and a barcode made of 88 placards, which is readable by in-store scanners.

The human coupon, which can be downloaded here, is valid from 12th-14th October and should encourage a lot of Old Navy’s online fans to visit their stores. Check out the video below to see how the coupon was created:

Why I’m curious:

I liked the cute creative execution that makes the main message “thank you FB fans” stand out and the benefit “coupon giveaway” more memorable. However, as a fan who sees this video, they’d have to go back to the website to either email or print out the coupon to be able to redeem it in store. Not that quite seamless in my opinion.

Alex Bogusky Takes on Soda Companies — Parody Video Mocks Beverage Giant’s Iconic Polar Bears

The ad legend behind Subservient Chicken is coming back to the creative world, in a new role. Bogusky’s video ad was created for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group based in Washington. It’s a nearly four-minute anti-sugary-drink animated film aiming to show the ill effects of drinking too many sugary beverages.

The animated video featured animated bears called The Real Bears, the papa bear in the film not only suffers from erectile dysfunction, but also contracts type 2 diabetes, which forces him to have a “grizzly” leg amputation.

The video drives viewers to a website, where visitors are invited to share the video via social media.”Facebook it. Tweet it. Pin it. Google+ it. Email the link to your friends and relatives. Show it at school. Sit down and watch it with your whole family. Host a movie night and watch it before the main feature. Talk about The Real Bears on your YouTube show. Embed it on your website or blog. Have at it. You are the messenger. Sharing is the only means we have to make sure the unhappy truth about soda gets out to the world.”

A little background story on this, this is not the first time Bogusky attacked industries. Some of you might’ve seen the anti-smoking campaign “The Truth” launched in 1998. Although the major difference between The Truth and this one is that the “Truth” campaign was the result of a massive settlement with tobacco companies and was funded with their help. It even undertook the most expensive ad buy: a spot during the Super Bowl in 2004.

Why I’m curious

A lot of people would argue that for a brand viral video to go viral, paid-media support is essential. But we’ve also seen examples such as Chipotle’s “Back to the Start”, which garnered millions of YouTube views and lived solely online for months before airtime was purchased for the ad to run during the Grammys. I am interested to see when it comes to a challenge of making a commercial go viral without any major paid-media support, if some celebrities’ fame, a good story and excellent execution is good enough to make “miracle” happen. The film went up on Youtube on Oct 9th and as of today, it’s got 697,406 views.

What Amputee Polar Bears Have to Do with Coca-Cola

– Jordan

The Center for Science and Public Interest (CSPI) is going after one of the largest corporations in the world, Coca-Cola, and it is using its own lovable cuddly polar bears as its weapon. The center has created an emotional campaign that ties the dangers of over drinking soda to an average family, using an iconic and easily recognizable symbol to do it. Along with the 3min long video, the center has created a dedicated site called therealbears.org that includes hard hitting truths about some of the misconceptions and dangers of overconsumption of many Americans favorite beverage.

Here is the main header for the site.

THE UNHAPPY TRUTH ABOUT SODA
It wasn’t so bad when soft drinks were the occasional treat.
But now sugary drinks are the number one source of calories in the American diet.
With one third of America overweight and another third obese, it’s a wonder
anyone is still swallowing what the soda companies are selling.

Why I’m curious:

This campaign is pure genius. Many PSA type spots fail to catch peoples attention because they usually land on the main message of “Don’t do this” which automatically turns many consumers away. The blend of a stylized visual only spot mixed with the use of a legendary icon that everyone can recognized makes this spot emotional, interesting, and educational.

Human Is Now On the Menu in New London Butcher Shop

Video

– Jordan

From Huffington Post

As our email spam filter proves, there are no shortage of PR stunts designed to promote video games. But this one might be on a different level.

To promote Resident Evil 6 – the latest in the series of zombie-monster horror shooters – Capcom has opened a butcher’s shop.

Selling humans.

 

The butchers even has its own webpage and Twitter account, if you really have to look…

The shop is open in London’s Smithfield market Friday and Saturday until 6pm.

Why I’m curious:

Being that the installation is only in a small shop in London the campaign has already had a big reach hitting top blogging sites like NeatoramaHuffington Post, LaughinSquid and Geekologie, which shows how a big impact idea can work harder per dollar than a constant blast of mediocre messaging.

With Halloween coming up there are a lot of brands capitalizing on the timeliness of the Holiday and coming out with ghoulish ads, but this one is going to be hard to beat.

How to Survive SXSX, illustrated via Pinterest

–Jocelyn

SXSurvival is a cool little pet project from GSD&M, a full-service agency in Austin, that utilizes Pinterest (amongst other platforms) to paint a primer for SXSW newbies:

– Pinterest boards cover basic SXSW Essential lists (what to eat/drink in the area, what to do in the area, what to pack, etc.)
– A blog feed with agency-produced survival adivce
– #SXSurvival, a crowdsourced help-line via Twitter

Why I’m Curious:

Not curious. Impressed. I’m impressed because this project not only takes advantage of its Austin, TX, location to become a self-proclaimed tastemaker of a tech influencer-heavy event, but it also takes advantage of the RIGHT platforms to do the RIGHT things while promoting the agency as an arbiter of all things “cool” and “now.”

– Pinterest: What better platform to showcase collections that ladder up to a single experience?
– Twitter (with a Quora bent): Why not have other people do the actual hard work of answering (and spread your original hashtag while you’re at it)?
– Blog: Why not use your already-existing, year-old blog to write about a hot event and then get a broader reach of people to finally realize, hey, you had a blog this whole time?

SXSurvival not only teaches those who are going to SXSW, but everyone else as well.

Blog-up Stores

We are all familiar with pop-up shops, especially during the holidays. But have you ever heard of a blog-up shop?

For the launch of a new online store, Swedish interiors retailer, Lagerhaus wanted to generate some buzz and build up their Facebook community. So they decided to do a little bit of a blogger outreach, but instead of just having interior design blogs share a link or a post about the launch, Lagerhaus used the blogs to create pop-stores before the launch of the new website.

Six selected bloggers were given access to a customizable widget to incorporate into their blog. Lagerhaus also incorporated the blog-up stores in their retail locations where they featured products handpicked by the bloggers’ as “blog favorites.” As a result of the campaign, the Facebook fanbase grew by 226% and interactions rose by 360%. (more at Creativity)

Why I’m Curious

Bloggers have content loved by loyal audiences/fanbases. Tapping into a relevant, already existing community was a great way to boost awareness and engagement with the Lagerhaus online store and social media. In turn, the bloggers also had new venue to interact with their audience, and the privilege of offering them something special. And unlike traditional pop-up shops, the blog-up stores were such a great success, that they’ve  permanent distribution channels for Lagerhaus.

Shuffler.fm Launches Its Nifty ‘Flipboard For Music’ iPad App

–Jocelyn

From TechCrunch:

Last year, Tim Heineke of Twones and Tone.fm, Marcel Corso and Diedrik Martens launched a new Amsterdam-based music startup, called Shuffler.fm, to let users listen to the tunes and artists being covered by music blogs while they read.

The startup thus began its career as a cool web app for music discovery, with the goal of aggregating music from blogs across the Internets — based on genre. …

With its initial functionality, Shuffler.fm was really a hybrid of Pandora and ex.fm for music blogs-curated tunes. Yet, on Tuesday, the startup expanded that influence to include Flipboard, launching an iPad app that transforms music blogs and websites into radio stations, curating them in a Flipboard-style layout of words, pictures, and streaming audio.

The Shuffler.fm iPad essentially app creates an aggregated music magazine that serves content from a diverse set of music bloggers and experts in realtime (content is updated by the minute), providing a ready-to-consume filtered stream of music optimized for discoverability and at the same time presenting a curated experience so that users don’t have to deal with parsing the ridiculous amount of noise being dished out by music content producers. In other words, it’s music listening with an editorial filter.

Of course, rather than basing the content it serves on your existing tastes, like so many other music services out there (Last.fm, Pandora), Shuffler’s audio is brought to you in genre-based channels that are populated by (only the coolest) blogs, like Pitchfork, TheMusic.FM, and Stereogum to name a few.

Users can create playlists of songs from these visual RSS blog feeds at the bottom of the app, where they can then listen via the app’s player, all while reading about the songs they’re listening to. The app also supports AirPlay so that users aren’t just confined to listening to music from their iPad’s speakers.

Why I’m Curious:

Music blogs have been hugely influential over how people discover new music (Stereogum, Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan), as has algorithm-based music suggesters (Pandora, Last.fm). What Shuffler does is mash-up the both of best worlds: you get to choose music based on genre (rather than a specific artist), and then Shuffler aggregates all the latest blogosphere news about them to display the most recent articles about them. It’s a full music immersion experience — learn about artists while you discover new ones.

What’s most interesting is sound’s immersion into iPad territory, an inherently visual playground. What Shuffler has done is given it some visual meat to accompany its audio juice, and also tapped into the iPad’s “touch here, swipe there” appeal. For music nerds, this could be a very cool thing. For marketers, it could be a very good lesson in adapting to platforms.

Uniqlo goes local with NYC streetstyle contest

— Jocelyn

Awhile back I wrote about Uniqlooks, Uniqlo’s global UGC streetstyle blog. Today — just in time for NYC Fashion Week —  they launched a Uniqlooks NYC streetstyle contest for a chance to take part in a professional photoshoot, be featured on our global Uniqlooks page, win a $1,000 Uniqlo gift card and entry for two to our 5th Avenue Opening Night Gala.

Why I’m curious:

UGC streetstyle blogs are not new; branded UGC streetstyle blogs kind of are. Sweepstakes are not new; local sweepstakes from a global brand kind of are. What’s most fascinating is the local aspect from a global brand. I don’t see any local contests from other fashion hubs like Milan, Paris, etc., but maybe they’re operating on the Fashion Week calendar to wait to drop the next local installment. Will be interesting to keep an eye out.

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s “The Human Doing” Social Media campaign

— Jocelyn

The Human Doing is the latest campaign by Minneapolis-based Mono for Blue Cross Blue Shield, in which they hired an overweight man to live in a glass box in the middle of Minnesota’s Mall of America, and embark on a 30-day get-heathy program with the help of people via Facebook, Twitter and the website.

Blue Cross’s mission: “groove your body and smart nutrition choices to prevent a host of health problems.” Apparently, over 60 percent of Minnesotans are overweight or obese, and Blue Cross Blue Shield wants them to know that they’re a local healthcare provider option that’s championing actual demonstrable results.

Why I’m curious:

Watch the man 24/7 via live UStream. Vote what he eats next with this Facebook poll. Read his daily blog. Watch his videos on YouTube. There is no traditional advertising behind this; it’s all social media.

It’s also very community-based. When you go to the Mall, the glass box is outfitted with a flatscreen that shows his “Do” activity votes, and big signs for the social media platform where people can vote. Not only does this encourage people to use their phone to remotely vote right there, but it also gives the passerby some sense that they their votes are actually measurable.

Tbis is a PR gimmick that’s trying to get the public involved in their own health by getting involved in someone else’s. Kinda makes you wonder if, after the man’s 30 days are up, anyone else will actually be doing it themselves.