ReTweetable Advertisements

Federated Media has just completed a deal with TweetMeme that lets marketers attach a retweet button to their advertisements.  This is not a completely new idea to the social scene, as Digg’s advertisements have had this capability since August.  Although it seems like retweeting or redigging would always be in the marketers favor, it does scare a good number of companies because it no longer allows them to control who their message is going to.  Companies and agencies spend a lot of time and money researching their target demographics and preparing ad campaigns around those consumers.  With the additions of the retweet, redigg and share (Facebook) functions, the ad placements are no longer solely at the marketer’s discretion.

On a more positive note, for those advertisers that are looking to grow their brand virally, these new buttons take the labor out of passing a message along to friends.  Consumers will no longer have to email or cut and paste URL’s in order to share them, they will simply push a button.

For more information about the TweetMeme deal, as well as the successes and challenges that Digg has faced since their August ad sharing debut, go to: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3ie96e2720eadfdfa3c183445b50501131?imw=Y

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Forget Black Friday, Check Out Cyber Monday

CyberMonday.com is a website that was introduced by Shop.org 3 years ago.  More than 700 companies will come together on this  site this year to showcase their Cyber Monday deals.  The website will feature hundreds of promotions (discounts, free shipping, etc.), some that are exclusive to CyberMonday.com and others that circle back to the retailer’s site.  The site will also feature a “Deal of the Hour” on both Black Friday (new this year) and Cyber Monday.

Research is showing that over 87% of retailers plan to offer a special promotion for Cyber Monday, up from 83.7% in 2008 and 72.2% in 2007.  The Shop.org eHoliday Survey also shows that 53.5% of workers, or 68.8 million people, will shop for holiday gifts via their work computer.  In addition, retailers are also saying they will ramp up their online marketing of Black Friday deals.  The study found that 74.3% of retailers will market their sales via email, 62.9% via home page advertising and 54.3% through search ads.

I don’t know about you, but it’s only Wednesday and my email has been inundated with coupons, discount codes, etc.  I don’t know that I will be venturing out into the wild on Friday, but I will definitely be one of the 87% who will be shopping at work on Monday!

For more information check out CyberMonday.com or http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/retail/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212200086

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Taking Solar Energy Underground

Wouldn’t it be great if you could be part of the green energy movement without having to install those large, expensive solar panels on your roof? Well, soon you can.  According to ABC Science, the newest way to harness sunlight and convert it into electricity is done with a fiber-optic wiring that is barely wider than a human hair.  The wires are coated with zinc oxide and connected to a photovoltaic cell.  Light is able to be absorbed at the tip of the wire, where it then zips down the length and back, letting the zinc oxide convert it into electricity along the way.   Since all these wires need is their tops to be exposed to the sun, they could be installed on a roof, underneath a house, or even inside of its walls.

Although the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are not completely happy with the 3.3% conversion rate, they believe they will be able to get that number to 8% really soon.

For more information on this innovative technology, go to: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/11/10/2738182.htm

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8 Lessons from AdAge’s Technology Conference

There were more than 300 attendees at the AdAge Creativity and Technology conference, who were treated to speeches from agency creatives, technologists, writers and heads of design.  Below are eight ideas to takeaway from the conference:

  • Curation is key – Choice is not always healthy.  Companies need to utilize their expertise to give consumers a smaller set of options, which in turn manages expectations.  With fewer choices, consumers are less likely to feel they could have gotten a better deal if they continued to shop around.
  • Re-imagine digital as product development – Fiat’s Eco: Drive, “the web-based tool that turned data into recommendations for consumers to save money and reduce their carbon footprint,” won best in show at One Show Interactive this year because its interactive efforts grew beyond a microsite.  The website provides consumers value indefinitely, creating a product not just a brand.
  • Sit close to technologists – Technologists are now ad agencies best tool.  They should be invited to creative meetings early on in the process to accurately show what can be done in the web development arena.
  • Making technology easy, isn’t – The challenge is making the highly technical into an intuitive consumer experience.  The consumer experience is what matters at the end, not necessarily how much skill when into building the product or website.
  • Look beyond short-burn ROI – Building a brand’s personality takes time, and agencies should take the opportunity to create a platform with staying power.
  • Learn how to design data – Creatives need to become versed in how to design data that this easily understandable for consumers.
  • Content will soon be tagged to the real world – Real-time and real-world applications started as just a cool way to interact but have now turned into a staple of the technology industry and agencies need to familiarize themselves with the technology.
  • Think outside the box – With the introduction of smartphones, agencies have the potential to re-imagine what can be done for a brand.  With the ability to take pictures of barcodes from your phone, there is a whole world of possibilities that opens up.

For  the full article on the conference, go to: http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=140678

You can also check out a play-by-play from the event, go to: #crcat on Twitter

Behind the Redesigns: Coca Cola’s Juice Portfolio and Virgin.com

The Coca-Cola company will be bringing cohesion to its portfolio of global juice brands, beginning this month and throughout 2010.  The re branded packaging will start with Minute Maid and will expand to Del Valle, Andina and Cappy.  The company believes the cohesive packaging message will further strengthen its place in the global juice category, and will also reduce operating costs while increasing speed and efficiency of the packaging.  According to the company, this change in packaging is also “the first step in a larger business strategy that will include product and sustainability innovations, new partnerships, support for local businesses and the expansion of juice products to new markets.”

Coca-Cola must be very confident in its new design if they are attempting this rebrand so quickly after PepsiCo’s Tropicana nightmare.  For more on the new look, go to: http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3i9610b6e791fa83a2fb3edff95c8433ef

Richard Branson has never been one to rest on his laurels, so it comes as no surprise that when he was redesigning Virgin.com that the site would have a little of everything.  Not only does the new Virgin.com let consumers learn about the company, but it also includes real-time dialogue.  The goal of the site was two fold: lead generation and social activity.  The site hosts several modules, which are flexible and allow each company within Virgin to manage their own pages while keeping the look consistent.  The modules host the following corporate and social features:

  • Quick Talk — Allow users to chat with Virgin.com employees
  • Ask Richard — Ask Richard Branson anything you like, and the highest rated question gets answered.
  • Deals & Offers
  • News and Press Releases
  • Video
  • Photo Slide Show
  • Your Say (Recent comments)
  • Fans (of a particular Virgin company)
  • Support
  • Community Activities

For more details about how this site came to fruition, go to: http://adage.com/digitalnext/article?article_id=140599

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The Truth About Women’s 2009 Holiday Shopping

In a new survey of 2,000 women, researchers wanted to expose the half truths (what women will admit) versus the whole truths (what women really believe, do and buy) for the 2009 Holiday season.  Some of the results are listed below:

1) Half TruthRetailers fuel the hype, which encouraged some women to pledge, “I’ll do most of my shopping on Black Friday.”

Whole Truth – 49% of women said they have been worried about the holidays all year long and have already been shopping, so the Black Friday marketers are going to have a tougher time getting women into the stores.

2) Half truth: Sixty-one percent of women agreed that “holidays are the one time of year to stick with gift giving, even in this economy.”

Whole Truth – 80% of women admitted they will be cutting back on gifts this year.  In fact, 37% say their spouse and families will be getting kisses instead of gifts this year.

3) Half truth: Women will say, “I like to buy gifts that show I really care.”

Whole Truth – 29% of women with incomes of $50,000+ won’t buy full priced items.  34% of that group also said they will be using cash, another way that drives spending down.  Further proving to marketers that right now, everyone wants a deal.

4) Half truth: Eighty-one percent brag, “I like to choose thoughtful gifts.”

Whole Truth – Women are into gift cards, especially if they are for the “right” store.  More than 1 in 4 women are planning on giving them as gifts because it allows women to pick out exactly what they want, without being inconvenienced with returns.

5) Half truth: “I’m tired of saving and cost-cutting, so I’m going to splurge a little this holiday season.”

Whole Truth – Women will find a way to treat themselves this holiday season, especially with all the resistance they’ve had to do this whole year, but it won’t be to the extent or extravagance that it has been in year’s past.

From a personal standpoint I would have to admit that these whole vs. half truths are true to my situation this holiday season.  What about our Rox readers? How do you feel about the data that is presented above?

For the full article, go to: http://adage.com/cmostrategy/article?article_id=140593

Inside Coke’s Global Social Media Campaign

When you are a global giant like Coke, you have the budget to go big with not only your traditional media campaigns but also social campaigns.  Coca-Cola’s newest social media campaign is going to force global markets, who haven’t dabbled or been involved with digital media, to jump in head first.  The campaign, Expedition 206, was an internal collaboration between the communications, public relations and marketing teams at the company.  Expedition 206 will send 3 20-somethings into 206 countries and territories where Coke is going to be sold in 2010.  Starting on Jan. 1st, these 3 will take their laptops, video cameras, smartphones and plenty of other gadgetry, in order to document their adventure and search for their happiness, and will be dubbed “happiness ambassadors”.

There is a website set up for viewers to track their journey, www.Expedition206.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube pages.  These pages will not only allow viewers to see what is going on, but it will also allow viewers to weigh in and suggest things the trio should do at each destination.  Coke will be able to see the success and value of the campaign by how many Facebook and Twitter followers the campaign gains, as well as how many pages views Expedition206.com gets.

By forcing some of the smaller countries and territories to participate in this social event, Coke will be able to use the “happiness ambassadors” idea to tie together and  promote their global sports sponsorships, including “the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and even customer-focused events, like the 20th anniversary of McDonald’s in Russia.”

For more information about the logistics of the campaign, go to: http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=140591

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Social Media and Cell Phones, Santa’s New Helpers

According to Deloitte’s 24th Annual Holiday Survey of retail spending and trends, social media and mobile phones are emerging as key influencers this holiday season.  The survey states that 17% or one out of five consumers are planning to use social media to help them find gifts this holiday season.  Sixty percent of these consumers are counting on social media to provide them discounts, coupons and sale information, while 53% of these consumers are using the networks to research gift ideas.

The mobile phone is also going to be a helpful tool for people this holiday season as 19% of consumers will count on their phone to assist with their holiday shopping, including 55% who need help locating a store, 45% who are researching prices, 40% finding out product information and 32% searching for discounts and coupons.  The study also believes that a staggering 25% of consumers are expected to make a holiday purchase via their phone.

The Internet and the information that it can provide is another way that people will be shopping this year.  Thirty-nine percent of consumers read customer-generated reviews of stores and or products online and 25% say they will purchase a product based on online recommendations.  In fact, more than a third of people say that online consumer reviews are more influential in their purchasing decision than advertising is.

In order for a company to have a successful holiday season, it wouldn’t hurt to test out the online waters.  There is no cost to set up a facebook and twitter page and when you reach out to your consumers directly, it is more likely that the word-of-mouth advertising (which is becoming more and more important) will be more positive and if it isn’t you have more control to minimize the not-so-positive responses and reach out to the consumer and change their opinion.

For more information from Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, go to: www.deloitte.com/us/2009HolidaySurvey.

TV and Web Converge This Holiday Season

Millions of ordinary tv viewers are about to start using the Internet from their living room, via Web-on-your-TV.  Large TV manufacturers including Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Vizio are all about to launch their new generation of sets that easily integrate Web content with traditional TV news and entertainment.  Some of these Web TV’s (Sony and Samsung) do cost about $200-$300 more than their non-web connective counterparts.  Research shows that in 2014 there should be 45 million of these Web-on-your-TV sets in North America (69% of all TV sales).

The key to marketing these new sets is to allow consumers to relate to them as televisions, not computers.  Although it will force consumers to start looking at more than just the picture and sound quality, but also the strength of the set’s processor, amount of memory and specific software installed.

This new technology is not only going to affect the television manufacturing market, but also the cable industry.  Cable operators will have to start offering TV/Internet service quickly before subscribers go to Internet devices like Apple TV, Roku, Tivo and the Xbox.

For more about the Web-on-your-TV sets as well as the race to be the first cable operator to offer services for these new sets, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/test/test4/money/2012-12-21-1Awebtv13_CV_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

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Green Shopping

The holiday season is upon us and consumers will receive  more catalogs, direct mail and coupons in the next few weeks, then they do the rest of the year.  If you are into going green, check out CatalogChoice.org.  The website allows you to sign up for electronic catalogs instead of being inundated with paper ones.   When you visit CatalogChoice.org you can enter your customer data from the address labels of the catalogs you receive and either sign up for an iCatalog or cancel the delivery altogether.

Catalog Choice is a non-profit based in Berkeley.  For more information as well as to sign up and start reducing your paper and unwanted mail, go to: CatalogChoice.org

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