Maybe your phone? Maybe the ATM? Maybe the self-check out at the grocery store? Heck, maybe even something like the Kohl’s kiosk?
When I think of touch screen, I think of all of these things. But boiling it down, I think of physically touching a screen to elicit an action. Whether it be for utility or experience, my finger becomes the mouse and guides my path through and experience. The experience is the thing. With expectations of fluidity in movement and functionality becoming higher and higher, it’s less about the touch and more about what it enables. The touch, though, is something that makes the experience instantly personal.
I have this thing about non-interactive digital signage and suffice it to say, I think any screen outside of the home not only has the ability to be made interactive, but it should be. Particularly digital screens. And that doesn’t just mean touch. How easy is it to include an SMS shortcode?
Well, Skittles might have just made the game a little bit easier. They’ve introduced a concept that I think all digital signage content producers should take note of: how to make content interactive via touch without a touch screen. See for yourself. And follow instructions – hold your finger there.
How simple, right?
So far, they’ve released 5 different videos and they’ve been pretty popular in a short amount of time (150K – 1.7M views). They’re short, (questionably) entertaining, and engaging. And that’s the key – they’re engaging.
Throw out all of the challenges like hardware and software – as far as digital signage goes – and you can really start to think about the reality of creating interactivity through a simple concept involving the type of content always running – video.
This is not the end-all solution for all those digital screens, but certainly for many of them within physical reach. There are many other factors to consider when deciding on the actual type of OOH/DOOH solution, I know. The thing is, for an industry that is so technology and advertising-centric – two debilitating constraints in pushing the limits – this is an example of how a basic piece of content, even in the form of an ad, can be manipulated to create engagement. How it can turn an otherwise static screen and message into something that deepens the brand experience and strengthens the relationship. And how creativity in storytelling can break down barriers that technology creates.
After all, it’s the content, not the technology that really drives true interactivity.
On one hand, I love them because I think they’re a great enabling technology – a technology that bridges the offline world with the online, which is essential in driving any level of engagement when connecting with consumers outside of their homes. They’re efficient, convenient, and potentially rewarding. That is, they’re easy to use and they can unlock rich content.
This is the hate side of the equation. Bad QR code executions are commonplace out there in the real world. Brands don’t know where to put them – should they go on TV or other digital screens or just be confined to print materials? Brands don’t know what content to put behind them – should they just unlock a website or an entry form or some sort of rich, multimedia content? But most of all, brands don’t seem to understand consumers’ awareness and comfort level with them – should they include instructions or an alternate way to access the information or just leave it to consumers to figure out how to use them? These are all general statements, I know. Yes, I have seen my fair share of quality code-based initiatives over the past 1.5 years, but they pale in comparison to the poor executions.
I believe now we’re seeing something that normally happens with any sort of technology that doesn’t wash out to the ocean of nothingness – on the consumer side, there is an awareness with what the technology is, and on the brand side, there is a drive to understand how best to use the technology to impact behavior. This adoption/impact wave is a long one. Right now, we’re just seeing brands actually understand how to best use social media to build relationships and impact consumer behavior. And social media (er, web 2.0) was introduced 5-6 years ago. That’s not to say QR codes will take 5-6 years to figure out, but adoption of technologies and new ways to utilize them do not happen overnight. They also require a fair amount of deliberate thought. They’ll hardly work if they’re just thrown out into the world for everyone to figure out.
This is what I’ve seen more often than not with QR codes.
So, it was refreshing to actually see a brand utilize traditional media channels in their marketing mix to raise awareness of their QR code campaign. A couple of weeks ago, I saw this Macy’s commercial on TV.
I did a double take. I had to rewind it to make sure I was seeing this right. A brand devoting a national TV spot to their QR code campaign? Brilliant.
I think the true brilliance is in the spot itself. It doesn’t just highlight the technology, it explains it. It explains what it is, where to look for it, how to use it, and most of all, what consumers can expect to get out of it. It also doesn’t limit this content to QR-code-only access. Have mobile phone? Can text? Then, not to worry, you can still experience this same content.
Now, when consumers go anywhere near Macy’s and see one of these pixilated stars, they at least have a better chance knowing what it is and what they can get out of it – two critical pieces needed to drive adoption and result in success.
And they’re not just focused on TV. They’re using many channels in their ecosystem to introduce, educate, and drive engagement with this star. Like on their Facebook page:
On their windows:
And of course, in their store:
This, along print ads and even their staff wearing lanyards that explain what the program & code are, show how deliberate they want to be with this campaign.
Who knows if it will work? And more, who knows if QR codes, as a technology, will endure time and actually become adopted by the general consumer. In 5-6 years, we’ll know, right?
But this much is certain, and has endured over time – whoever reaches consumers at the right time with the right content will win.
The problem is – we’re living and consuming media in an evolving world, where consumers are on the go, out & about more than ever, technology is not the barrier it once was and everyone is connected. The rules have changed. Now, the right time to reach consumers is different for everyone. And it’s typically when they’re not in the confines of their homes.
Traditional broadcast channels like television are still great awareness channels, regardless of what you say about DVR. Non-traditional, emerging channels like Out-of-Home (OOH) and mobile are more and more becoming great engagement channels. Everything needs to work together. And Macy’s – much to their credit – has recognized this and is actually doing something about it.
I know the jury is still out on QR codes so I’d be interested to know if you think even a full-out marketing blitz like this will move the needle, in terms of QR code adoption and engagement? What do you think?
Over the past year, I’ve kept up with a few brands that I feel have done a good job of utilizing the OOH channel, particularly the “new” OOH channel – where offline is purposefully merged with the online and enabling technologies are at play. One of these brands is JC Penney.
I’ve featured them twice here, and I’ve been impressed with the initiatives they’ve executed in this space. To me, the fact that they use mobile and interactive Out-of-Home (IOOH) shows they understand all of the channels at their disposal and more importantly, that they know this is becoming more and more a preferred and effective way to reach consumers.
So, when then news about their SEO practices surfaced yesterday, I have to say I was surprised. My initial reaction – without asking any experts on SEO – was from the POV of a general digital marketer. How can a company make a decision to utilize emerging channels – mobile and IOOH – but not have a complete grasp on one of the basic (yet complex) fundamentals in their media mix? Or in simpler terms, how can they focus their efforts in building large, in-store touchscreen units rather than getting their SEO right?
It makes me feel – again, upon first blush, and not having any insight into their operation – that someone there doesn’t have their priorities straight. How could this be?
So, I dug a little bit deeper. And in what I read (here and here), the blame seemed to be put more on Penney than not. But did they really know? Or is everyone doing it, just in subtler ways? How can they not have an SEO expert? I started to get more and more interested the deeper I got into it. So, I asked our SEO guy – Ryan Smith – who is also actually one of the cinematographers in our office. And here’s what he had to say, just by me asking, “what do you think:”
Don’t mess with Google, it isn’t worth it 98% of the time.
We MUST be able to counsel our clients not to work with shady SEO companies, they will tell you they can provide results and then go out and buy links to do it. A brand could get burned like this very easily with very little knowledge of what was actually going on. I believe that this was the case for Penney, they can’t even get the URLs of their core pages right.
Many SEO’s have often pointed out major hypocrisy of how Google hands out penalties. Major brands have been given passes because they are “vital” to results. BMW could do anything because if they weren’t in the SERP for “luxury car” Google users would think less of Google. So I think this says that Penney’s must have been pretty blatantly buying links on a large scale and that Google doesn’t view Penney’s as important to their results. Also maybe they found a brand to make an example of to get everybody on the straight and narrow without damaging their results.
Penalty was confined to several non-branded keywords, if a lesser brand had been buying links on that scale they would have gotten blown out completely. They still rank fine for anything with JC Penney in the query.
This is clearly a manually applied penalty and Matt Cutts said as much. I can’t remember another time Google pointed to a specific penalty and admitted it was manually applied. Mostly in the past they have stood on everything being algorithmic to the point that it insulted the intelligence of anything that could fog a mirror. Interesting they chose to point to manual on this one all of a sudden, might be a bit of branding change from we have the best results because of our algorithm to we have the best results because we work hard at it.
JC Penney spends between $12 and $40k a day on Adwords, according to Spyfu.com. Don’t ever let anyone tell you Adwords has a direct link to your organic rankings.
Good stuff. I could probably expand on each one of the points above, but I don’t want to get into SEO-specifics here.
My personal takeaway is this – it’s less about JC Penney knowing whether or not this was going on (but seriously, how can a company of this size not know what’s going on on this scale, especially with their monitoring and even warnings???). It’s more about the seeming oversight of not having an SEO expert in-house/on-staff in some form or fashion – someone who would have directed, caught, and presumably fixed the tactics. And more importantly, someone who is accountable.
This is one of the hurdles this (D/I)OOH channel/industry faces – a consistent champion, from the agency and brand side, who will be accountable. Right now, I feel like the (D/I)OOH industry is fed by brands/agencies who are risk-takers. This is still an emerging/experimental channel, not a tried-and-true one like online paid/organic media. But the problem is, when there aren’t specialists who can take responsibility of those tried-and-true channels like SEO, when will there ever be specialist who can champion channels like (D/I)OOH?
I know I’m being a little dramatic, but it does give me pause, especially when looking at a brand holistically, not just in the interest of one channel over the other. I think it’s our responsibility, as marketers/communicators, to understand how each of the channels work together – especially when emerging channels like (D/I)OOH & mobile are at play – and then provide counsel accordingly. As much as we can. We must do this. Our executions, particularly in the emerging channels, will be made stronger and more credible. And that’s what it’s going to take to become sticky, when reaching consumers while they’re out and about – strong stories from strong brands. Who consumers can trust.
“Are you ready to change the way you watch television?” asks the voice in the video.
“It can do way more than that,” I say.
See for yourself.
Yes, I am a fan of Grey’s Anatomy (the last couple of seasons, I thought it had jumped the shark, but last year’s finale put it back in my good graces), so today when I caught news of their new iPad app, I went to check it out. What I found was something that could not only drastically change the way we watch television, but how we interact with brands and each other, and ultimately the places and things around us.
The app has everything you’d expect out of it – exclusive content, social hooks, game elements. But the real game-changer is its Sync Technology. (Similar to the type of technology that Ford uses in their cars.)
Real quick 101 on the tech – it picks up on audio waves within a certain distance and then takes action based on the audio cues. Here, in this app, when watching any Grey’s Anatomy episode, you can “sync” the iPad with the show. And when that happens, the app serves up custom content (polls, tweets, behind-the-scenes footage, etc…) based on where you are in your viewing experience. It reacts, real-time, to what you’re watching and then serves up the most appropriate content. Just by listening.
In a car is one thing. There, the technology is taking action based on the driver’s commands, allowing the driver to eliminate all futzing required of their hands, and focus on the actual driving part. It’s highly effective at serving a utility. Watching and interacting with a TV show is something entirely different. Here, the technology is taking action based on a storyline, as told by many different characters. It’s literally deepening with every touch point. Here, it’s highly effective at enhancing the experience. It turns a fairly passive & non-personalized experience (even tweeting during a TV show can only go so deep) into an (inter)active & personalized experience that’s efficient and smart.
Can you imagine what kind of experience this could enable from any digital sign? It could turn a simple newscast that’s projected on screens in an office lobby into a personalized newsfeed. It could turn a lecture in a conference booth into a deep and interactive presentation. It could turn that short elevator ride into a fun game with others riding with you. The requirements are few and the benefits are many.
This is one of those technologies that can turn anything that is originally general into something uniquely specific. Devices conducive to mobility (when consumers are out and about) along with enabling technologies like Sync are changing what “OOH” means (and can do) right in front of our eyes. It’s always been seen as a mass awareness channel, but thanks to these sorts of technologies, there’s nothing stopping it from being a purposeful engagement channel. Always on.
Because it’s already happening.
When I started this OOH exploration, it was very black and white to me what it consisted of – it originated from a platform/device that you don’t have to own and you can’t turn it off. But the more and more we advance (in only 2 short years) – as consumers and technology – the more and more grey it’s becoming. The channel becomes more powerful when you can have a unique experience and we’re seeing that play out through technologies like Sync, and technologies that bridge the offline with the online, and technologies that can be controlled through simple gestures – it is becoming an active engagement channel, not something that houses a display that you simply can’t turn off. You can now “turn on” the experience that you want and it’s quite likely it will be different from the person standing right next to you.
Last year, I wrote about 3 different technologies that transcend “DOOH” and could advance the medium/channel in a profound way – basically alleviate the need for physical “screens.” This is another one of those technologies, but unlike the others, this one becomes more effective through a screen. At least right now.
We are, no doubt, in exciting times. As I’ve said before, technology is no longer a barrier. It’s about how we creatively push those technologies and use what’s at our disposal (networks of physical screens) to connect and drive deep experiences.
So, I think it’s an interesting question – “are you ready to change the way you watch TV?” But it seems pretty narrow. It’s not about “watching” anything. It’s about “experiencing” everything. And it has nothing to do with being in or out of your home.
In an effort to understand how brands are utilizing the Out-of-Home channel in their initiatives – specifically the “new” OOH channel, where they’re creating experiences between the real (offline) and virtual (online) worlds – I’m going to focus on paying special attention to a select number of brands and their cross-channel efforts. Some of these brands are going to be personal favorites of mine (see Coca Cola), some will be those who I’ve seen utilize this “new” OOH channel in unique ways. They’re all leaders, in some sense, in recognizing the power of reaching consumers when they’re out in the real world, literally outside of their homes. This is not a new target for brands, but today more than ever, technology and consumer behavior has reached a point to where this kind of engagement is critical. The “new” OOH is not made up of networks of physical digital screens, rather it’s made up of people, and the places/things around them, as they all have the ability to be turned “on” and connected.
I wrote about Budlight’s Playbook initiative late last year, after I’d seen a TV commercial touting a scannable image on their packaging with the ability to unlock certain pieces of content. It piqued my interest so I went to the store and found a box with the image, scanned it, and was immediately driven into this Playbook experience.
That day, I experienced quite a bit of content by simply scanning the image, but by taking that action, I also ended up in their communication stream. Since then, I’ve received a few text messages, but not as frequently as I’d expect, and certainly not in line with the expectations they set me up for when I originally scanned the image – which was a “new play every week.
But the thing I wanted to point out today happened on my commute into work this morning. I have a short commute to the train station, so my time with Howard Stern/satellite radio (so glad he re-signed for another 5 years) programming is at a premium – I always hope that I’m not going to be in the car at the same time they run their very few commercials during his show. This morning was unfortunately one of those times. Before I could change the station, though, I heard him reading a script for a commercial, saying something about “unlocking special content by scanning an image on their packaging”, and thought, “I know exactly what brand he’s talking about – Budlight.” Lo and behold, sure enough, he paid it off by saying something about experiencing “Bud Light’s Playbook” and directed everyone to “look for the image on the side of the box” or “visit Bud Light’s Facebook page.”
I smiled to myself because this was yet another channel I uncovered in their marketing mix, specifically surrounding this Playbook campaign. And to top it off, they were reaching me when I was in my car, not in front of my TV or my computer, not inside my house. I was out and about, going through my daily routine, and was made aware of a) the product (no duh!), b) the Playbook campaign and the accompanying content and c) the most important thing, the ability to interact with an otherwise non-interactive thing – their box.
That’s the thing here – it’s not about them advertising on the radio or on The Howard Stern Show (although I think it’s a VERY smart buy), it’s about their commitment to this new type of engagement (via this enabling mobile technology) and making sure their consumers know what & how to interact with it. The image scanning technology won’t work if people don’t know what it is and/or how to operate it. If it doesn’t work, no one will experience the brand through this channel.
As I explore the different ways brands are utilizing this “new” OOH space, I think it’s important to recognize every channel they’re using in the ecosystem. OOH – whether in the traditional sense, even throwing the word “digital” in front of it, or this “new” one that I talk about – is only one of them. It can be made infinitely more powerful by using other channels and telling a consistent story across them all. As we’ve seen with Bud Light and their TV commercials, radio spots, online and mobile properties, they’re spending an incredible amount of time and money supporting this campaign, and at the heart of it all is this new type of engagement that allows consumers to experience the brand through a regular, everyday object – the box that holds their beer cans.
But here’s the real thing – unfortunately, the most important aspect to this whole experience – the payoff/promise at the other end – is now no longer available. As I look at the Facebook page, searching for anything around the Playbook, I am at a loss. There’s no mention of anything Playbook-related. So, the commercial, along with my previous experience, hooked me, and drove me to look for something that wasn’t there. As is the case with any sort of interactive technology when you’re out and about and it doesn’t work, here it is now – I feel jipped. Totally let down. This ended up being a huge waste of my time and as a brand, that’s the last feeling you want me to be feeling.
Wow. What a week. Do I say that every Friday? It’s felt like 5 weeks back from the break, not 5 days. As you can see, I’m making some changes to the blog. I haven’t been able to get it exactly where I want it, but over the next few days, it will be there. I hope you like the change. It’s really designed to reflect the depth of this space I’m calling the 11th Screen – a bit more robust, visual, and exploratory – and hopefully, it will be just as simple to get around (or simpler!).
I haven’t explored as much as I would have liked to on the Coke campaign that I posted about earlier in the week. A few people commented and gave me some insight on other components of the campaign (Kyle/Brian – thanks!) and I have been able to uncover a few more myself. But as I said, this is going to be an ongoing journey, so I expect the scope to be more filled out throughout the year. Since it’s all fresh, I thought it would be best to dedicate today’s Friday 4-1-1 to more of this Coke story.
1. Thanks to the guys at IndoorDIRECT, they clued me into a video that ran on their Restaurant Entertainment Network, specifically in Wendy’s (~200 locations).
As you can see by the video, they ran a complimentary ad (to the right of the video) advertising a special offer – obtained by texting in a short code. When texted in, consumers received a coupon for a $1 Frosty (Coke) Float.
They also received a link directing them back to the same mobile site I experienced from the “Secret” shortcode on my bottle. Smart, although I wouldn’t expect anything else from Coke, to utilize the same mobile property and create different initiatives to drive traffic to it. This is another example of how purposeful they are about touching consumers when they’re out and about, whether in a grocery store or quick serve restaurant, and enabling them a way to engage with the brand story.
And along with this whole promotion, Coke also included a nice piece of branded content by sending out the Polar Bear to give out Frostys at an LA Wendy’s to tie in the Frosty coupon offer as well. Thanks to Brian at IndoorDIRECT for bringing this to my attention, and kudos to the great work they did around this!
2. One of the best Out-of-Home experiences that I saw last year was Coke’s Happiness Machine. If you’re not familiar with it, it was a vending machine that they placed in a school (don’t know how set up it all really was?) and it delivered “doses of happiness.” See for yourself.
This is great because they took an object – a “thing” – around us and turned it into an engagement vehicle. It wasn’t digital. But it was highly interactive. Through good ol’ human touch. Thanks to Kyle for sending my way!
3. Although I can’t find this feature out there, I read about Studiocom and Hypnoticmedia partnering together to create an immersive website.
After two years of running its “Secret Formula” campaign in traditional media, The Coca-Cola Company discovered that its target consumers (18-35) weren’t hearing the message…Coke realized this was the perfect opportunity to both engage its audience in the digital realm and re-position the story behind the “secret.”…Studiocom filmed, developed and launched a highly-interactive, self-guided, video-driven web experience to show young consumers how Coke’s “secret” ingredients could make everyday moments better and serve as an anticdote to modern day woes. Innovative augmented reality features brought interactivity and engagement to a whole new level, allowing users to unlock additional video content using only printouts and their webcams.
Quite interesting that this campaign was recently “refreshed” and targeted to millennials, which brings me to the last thing I found….
Teens (Audience) + Coke (Brand) + SCVNGR (mobile) + Malls (OOH) = the type of engagement that makes sense because it’s a) centered around the idea of interacting with teens while they’re out and about b) supporting the brand’s story in a unique way and c) the thing that could make a memorable experience for this highly impressionable and influential target audience. And memorable experiences with a brand create trust and trust creates loyalty.
“Uh-huh” – as I’ve said before, in the end, it’s all about building trust-based relationships between brands and their target audience(s). In order to do this, I believe it’s imperative for brand’s to understand their story and the channels available to them. Once they understand those two fundamentals, they can only hope to utilize them to their fullest capability. Few brands do this well. Coke is one of the ones who do.
“Duh” – I have not uncovered 1 2D barcode (ie – QR Code) in this short journey and I haven’t come across any while I’ve organically experience Coke myself, in my personal, everyday life. And that kinda makes me happy. As you can see by all of the technologies that they’re already using – mobile SMS, mobile location-based SCVNGR, augmented reality, that good ol’ human touch – they’re driving consumers into the brand story just fine. If anyone’s seen a code-based implementation for Coke, I’d love to see it. I wonder if they ban them from their arsenal?
In one long week, I’ve been able to uncover a deep brand story that is being told through many channels, including OOH. The channel is powerful, for sure. It’s about understanding what you need to say, though, before getting to exactly how, or through what channel, you’re going to say it.
As always, I’d appreciate any thoughts you can send my way. Have a great weekend!
In an effort to dig in and really experience the brand, I’m going to take a few of my favorite brands and pay as much attention to them as I can. I want to understand how they’re engaging with consumers Out-of-Home and even beyond that, how they’re engaging consumers in the “offline” (non-digital) world. Not to get caught up in semantics here, but it’s important to differentiate the two. Here’s a quick grounder in my definitions:
Out-of-Home – any experience that occurs outside of the home that originates from a platform or device that the consumer doesn’t have to own.
11th Screen – the experience that occurs between the offline and online worlds, regardless of the device or ownership.
What I’m looking for are examples of brands who are a) present in the offline and online worlds and b) how well they tell their story in and between the two. From the story comes real brand engagement, at least sustainable brand engagement. I believe that the Out-of-Home and offline spaces have great potential in the brand ecosystem, but they have a different definition in today’s world than they did in the past. Because of this, few brands really utilize them to their fullest potential.
So today, we’re going to start the first brand journey with one of my favorite brands – Coke. As a marketer, I stay abreast of what brands are doing (particularly in the digital world), but as a consumer, I’m not fanatical about any brands, so I ‘m not dialed into their every move on every channel. These exercises are truly going to be journeys for all of us. As we go through any of them this year and you know more about the brand/what they’re doing than I’m discovering, I’d love to know any/all of that information. It will only help complete the picture so we can more fully understand the depth and breadth of the brand and their story, and particularly what they’re doing across all of the channels.
So, for Coke, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about them and their brand story?
For me, it’s their “Secret” Formula and Happiness. Polar bears and that snappy jingle from way back when are up on the list, but they both play into the Happiness theme. I never really gave much thought to either of them until this weekend when I had an empty coke bottle in my hand.
And, I just happened to look on the inside of the wrapper and found a message along with a mobile short code.
So I had to text it in. And then the journey began.
After my text, I received a link to a mobile website where I was introduced to Dr. Pemberton, big and bold, front and center.
Not knowing who this character was, I had to follow him on Twitter and come to find out, he’s the inventor of Coca-Cola. So, I checked out his feed and saw good, constant engagement. But the more I read, the more I felt they were a little off in the nuances of their brand story, particular in the voice of Dr. Pemberton. I mean, he was born in 1830 and invented Coke in 1885 – two important components of the brand’s story – and the Twitter voice sounds like it’s a 2010 person writing for an 1800’s character. Not an 1800’s character writing for himself. The language and colloquialisms aren’t consistent with what I would expect to hear out of an 1800’s guy. Details like this are critical when writing any sort of narrative and it’s something that would make the Coke story sing a little bit more in my opinion.
Nevertheless, I journeyed on. From my mobile phone, I also subscribed for SMS updates so I could constantly be connected to the brand and this particular campaign. Shortly after subscribing, I was sent another text indicating that I would receive more clues each week (this tells me they have a solid content strategy, sending me consistent, purposeful weekly updates) + a link to the Coca-Cola YouTube channel. I clicked on the link, found an “Unlock the Secret Formula” video, so I played it. The video was short, compelling, filled with imagery (there’s Dr. Pemberton again), good score, and a series of questions:
What is the secret formula?
Who is Dr. Pemberton?
Why would they want to steal it?
Wouldn’t you like to know?
Then it was over and I didn’t know what to do next because I was faced with many more videos on the channel. I don’t like getting in this deep, searching through videos and feeds, on my mobile phone. So, I went online to explore more – in a format more enjoyable to me – where I found the same video. But here on my computer, it was interactive. The bottles in the top right-hand corner are clickable (look for them and click if you feel so inclined).
I clicked on each of them and was directed to the following:
Pemberton’s Medical Files (interesting, amusing documents that give more character to Dr. Pemberton, but don’t do much at answering the “secret formula” question)
Ahh Giver Facebook App (send a friend a personalized message via grunting bear, but doesn’t do anything to answer and/or provide more clues to the story)
Vault Live Security Feed (video feed where the camera is pointed at the vault – presumed to hold the “secret formula” – and ninjas, dogs, ghosts, robots all pass by during the feed, and then someone – perhaps the ninja? – ignites a smoke bomb, blocking our view of the vault, then the feed goes snowy. Did someone just steal the secret formula? Hmm.)
2 Guys/Secret Formula Video (another YouTube video, this one eluding to the fact that there only 2 guys who know the “secret formula” – what about Dr. Pemberton, making a 3rd? – and asking the question, “what would happen if something happened to one of the guys?” Well, you need not worry because “thankfully the formula is safe, (in the vault!) so is the rest of the world.” No more answers, but another clue – there are 3 people on earth who know the “secret formula.” Is it safe from ninjas in the vault, though? Don’t know.)
Smile-izer website (microsite where you can create your own laugh and share with others, but no answers/clues)
Perfect Serve City (another microsite where you can play a game, take personality test and/or a history quiz, even uncover ingredients, but not the real “secret” ingredients. Perhaps the best secret ingredients though – “energizing refreshment and happiness”)
While I might not have found the answer on the ingredients, I have learned more about a central character in this story – Dr. Pemberton himself – and have been able to experience and share Happiness with others. All key components in Coke’s story.
The experience up to this point has been immersive. I’ve engaged in an interactive, compelling experience. Imagine going through any of this on an interactive kiosk. Or a digital screen. What about getting a little bit more of a hint to the campaign at point-of-purchase?
I haven’t found any OOH components to this campaign, but from the digging I’ve done, it seems like there are plans to integrate more offline/real-world components into the experience. Out-of-Home is an ideal channel for a brand to engage consumers in an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) like this. It reaches them when they’re out and about in an already exploring mindset. It would just be critical that the story evolves in more bit-sized chunks because I wouldn’t have the ability, time, and probably even patience to go through everything above in one experience while I’m on the go.
But pretty quickly, you can already see how many channels they’ve used. Originating from one simple text message on a bottle in a grocery store. Mobile, digital, and social. Plus offline, via the packaging. (And I see, via some comments on YouTube, that the “Secret Formula” video is a broadcast commercial and currently running.) They could do a little bit better with the offline story, but we’ll have to see what/if anything else rolls out in the future.
It’s also important to recognize all of the different forms of content they’ve used. Video (and many different qualities/types), animation, games, quizzes, grunting bears, and Tweets. Not to mention everything else they’ve got going on in their marketing mix, outside of this one campaign experience.
Even in one sitting, consuming just about as much information I can about a brand, I am impressed with the thinking and execution behind such an engaging multi-channel experience. It sucked me into the brand via their story. Not through gimmicks or technology, but through a consistent, cohesive brand story.
I think that Coke is one of the brands who does it right. I like their advertising and communications approach. They’re dialed into their story and they leverage the power of social media in a productive way for their brand (in fact, they just completed their largest ever social media campaign – Expedition206 – it was quite a campaign.) They obviously have the size and the resources to market and engage on a massive scale.
This particular campaign is a great example of a brand using their story to engage consumers, through various channels and mediums, with many different forms of content, and to pass it on to others. Which really might be the true key – “Happiness” is to be shared. Coke knows this and even if they’re not willing to really gives us the answer to their “secret formula,” they’re enabling us to spread what they center their story around.
No doubt there will be much more to come on this journey.
Have you seen any of these? Did you find the experience engaging? Any other examples from this campaign? Would love to hear your thoughts!
For the next 15 days, I’m going to participate in Reverb 10. It’s an open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead. We’re connected by the belief that sharing our stories has the power to change us.
Today’s prompt – PHOTO: Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
The holidays have gotten the best of me and I haven’t been as diligent about this Reverb series as I hoped to be. Now, since I’ve missed a few days, I have a well of prompts to choose from. So over the next two days, I’m going to pick a few out to share. When I initially saw this prompt, I wasn’t too excited about it. But then I got to thinking about some of the OOH graphics I’ve drawn and thought it was an ideal one. Again, this is not a literal response to the prompt, but in the same family.
You’ve probably seen an iteration of this in a previous post. It’s my model of all of the components in any OOH initiative, and specifically, their combined results in the experience (as indicated by the overlaps). It wasn’t as pretty then as it is now (thanks to my design team!), and I’ve actually tweaked it a little since then – the difference being where Place & Content overlap (Consumer Engagement) and Equipment & Content overlap (Technology Experience).
In the original version, I didn’t call out the technology component, rather it was a result that was implied by the each of the overlaps. However, after thinking about it a little bit more, it was apparent to me that it was an oversight and it was an essential component. Now, with this tweak, I feel like it’s a complete model. If you’re thinking about how to develop any interactive Out-of-Home solution, this model is intended to break down – in simple terms – all of the different components and enable you to think through all of the aspects of the experience. I hope it’s helpful and as always, am open to suggestions/refinement.
The other drawings were inspiration for another previous post – Awareness vs. Engagement OOH – and I haven’t shared them here before. In that post, I outlined the big differences between the two, but to get to those differences, I had to draw first. I’m such a big advocate of speaking in pictures vs. words, although I haven’t done much of that here (one of my 2011 resolutions). If done right, the picture can tell you in an instant what it usually takes many words to do.
So, here is my version of AWARENESS OOH:
Here, it’s simple – the brand is at the center and is pushing out messages to individuals. It’s a one-way communication “about the brand.” Digital signage allows for these messages to be pushed in a more efficient way, but in the end, it’s just a push/one-way message. Nothing more.
Now, the model drastically changes when you’re talking about ENGAGEMENT OOH:
Here, the model gets more complicated (but not really). First, the messages don’t have to begin with the brand and they certainly don’t have to begin with the brand pushing them out. They can begin anywhere, really. Individuals are already talking about the brand, in and out of the home. So, in Engagement OOH, it’s about being aware of that fact and whatever you do – as a brand – is secondary to the conversation. Here, the brand primarily serves as a connection between the individuals and its goal should be to add value to the brand experience. They can only add true, meaningful value to the experience by creating and participating in a two-way discussion.
The “hows” of all of this are not easy. There are many ways to do this and be effective. The main thing to be aware of, though, is consumers expectations are changing rapidly. With that change comes a change in the value that consumers are going to find in any Out-of-Home execution. We’ve recently seen a couple of great examples in Intel’s Smart TV interactive rotunda in NYC and Yahoo’s Bus Stop Derby in SF and to me, these are a sign of things to come.
Engagement, and everything it means, is going to be key for 2011 and I’m excited to see how both brands and consumers evolve in their Out-of-Home communications. There are many things at play to make all of this happen successfully, and I hope these drawings help in your process, regardless of whether you’re looking at this from a provider’s POV, a media POV, an agency POV, a brand POV, or a consumer’s POV.
Would love to hear your thoughts if you have them….
I hope everyone is having a great holiday season as the new year fast approaches. I’ve spent some much-needed time with my family and actually have the rest of the week off to enjoy more time with them. Right now, their sleeping time is my catch-up time and I feel like I’m just wading through emails, tweets, and stories.
Tonight, I re-read a post from eMarketer that a colleague sent me – “Department Stores Take Digital Out-of-Home Marketing to New Heights” and there were a few interesting nuggets that stuck out to me. As a whole, and to someone who’s been pretty deep into this industry for the last year, there weren’t any surprises about the channel (“DOOH”). What I latched on to, though, were the consumer behaviors that continue to change with the introduction and adoption of emerging technologies like smartphones, iPads and video games.
This eMarketer post provides some compelling information, probably the most is centered around interactivity and advertisements on the iPad. From the post –
And stores hope they will attract shoppers who have become used to colorful digital advertising on the internet, their mobile phones and increasingly on devices like the iPad, where bright colors and movement add interest and engagement according to studies like one from UM and Time Inc.
No brainer on bright colors and movement. This can be partly attributed to the technology, partly to the content, and partly to the simple human condition of recognizing movement over static. But it’s the “82% more likely to notice ads with interactive features” that I find fascinating. I mean, think about that – 8 out of 10 people are more likely to pay attention to an advertisement that includes some level of interactivity. Now how many of them actually interact is my next question, but this number is astronomical and quite encouraging to anyone who believes that the future of OOH/DOOH/digital signage is interactivity.
I’ve thought and had conversations with colleagues about mobile tablets affect on OOH/DOOH, specifically how they can be used with those installations to drive deeper brand experiences. But this study sheds light on another profound impact that tablets could have on the industry – not as a connection device, but as a behavior-changing device. If consumers react a certain way on tablets (and brands create advertisements a certain way), it seems like this, more than anything, can drive the need and acceptance for interactivity on anything outside of the home, on and off devices that consumers own.
Another point, not backed by data, but well made – Creating window displays powered up by digital technology, retailers aim to attract the attention of a generation of consumers who are increasingly accustomed to the on-demand, interactive, and technically advanced capabilities of smartphones and video games.
These non-OOH/DOOH technologies are already playing a large part in today’s generation, which is not made up of like-aged people, but of like-consumption consumers. Interactivity is all around, and technology is rapidly advancing. Along with both come the change in consumer expectations. I almost think it’s expected to see bright colors and movement – they’re table stakes – but consumers want the connection, and that connection happens through interactivity. Table stakes are soon not going to be enough because at the end of the day, regardless of the bright colors and movement, as long as brands are pushing a 1-way message, they can only accomplish so much.
Engagement and interactivity go hand-in-hand. They’re not based on demographics, they’re based on behaviors. And as we see here, they’re changing right in front of our eyes.
So what do you think? Do you think we’re in the middle of an Interactive Generation? And how much do you think these behaviors will affect the OOH/DOOH/digital signage channel?
For the next 15 days, I’m going to participate in Reverb 10. It’s an open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead. We’re connected by the belief that sharing our stories has the power to change us.
Today’s Prompt – TRY: What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?
A weird thing has happened to me this year, coming into the digital signage industry as a relative newbie – I have found myself fighting against the very industry that I came in to fight for. I’ve felt more and more like this as the year has gone on – just observing – and I have mixed feelings about it. I believe what I believe, based on many different experiences, and I’m passionate about the space (the opportunity to connect with and engage consumers outside of their homes) so my nature is to keep pushing, but the digital signage industry is obviously critical to the OOH space and deserves as many advocates as it can get.
It’s important to band together to affect change. Our voices and our hard work and more and more successful implementations (with the “old” and “new” OOH) can make a profound impact on our advertising and communications brethren. Sooner rather than later, OOH will be thought of in a new light, consisting of both digital and interactive signage/solutions, and thought of as a primary channel to reach and engage with consumers. The opportunity to deliver on this is the tie that holds us all in this industry together.
So, that’s what I want to try to do a better job of – advocating for, not fighting against, the industry. At the same time, continue pushing in the direction that I believe is the future – this “new” OOH. The opportunity is not going away and it’s going to take everyone – both old and new – to deliver. I’m excited about 2011. Are you?