For the upcoming 'From Mass to Grass', the CMA's Word of Mouth Marketing Conference a challenge was put to me. In 300 words of less what is your best WOM campaign for the ultimate consumer product Chia Pets. Here goes after 5 minutes thinking, sadly that will show in the quality:
Chia pets are obviously something that nobody needs, everybody knows about, and a handful love (you've probably already identified that person from your circle.) Chia Pet is the ultimate frivolous gift. Even the biggest haters deep down wants to receive one, even if the kitsch only validates someone knows you exist enough to bother giving you one.
Therefore lets harvest the Chia lovers and make a space for their Chia love. Everyone knows what a Chia Pet does, but what does it do that we never knew? We create a Chia Hacks space online through a wiki space like Wetpaint to serve as the aggregator home of all hacks Chia. Whether it's videos on hosted on YouTube and the like, images or anything else that sprouts on intimate objects.
Reach out to Chia lovers and challenge them to do what we never you could do. Reward with new and special edition Chia Pets. These guys are your first recruits. As it rampsup add an R&D lab too as delightful tidbits of chia sprout all over the interweb. From there mirror sites for other As Seen on TV products are the natural next step. Spray Hair Hacks or Magic Bullet Hacks (actually that one's already started.)
There you go my Chia friends...
When you start looking at a problem and it seems really simple, you don't really understand the complexity of the problem. Then you get into the problem, and you see that it's really complicated, and you come up with all these convoluted solutions. That's sort of the middle, and that's where most people stop.... But the really great person will keep on going and find the key, the underlying principle of the problem—and come up with an elegant, really beautiful solution that works. That's what we wanted to do with Mac.
—Steve Jobs on the original Mac, from Insanely Great, written by Steven Levy
Love this film produced by Mountain Dew on emergence of skate culture in NYC called Deathbowl to Downtown. More than just a coop of something cool they have added something to the cultural repository of what's now a mainstream activity. Very tastefully done and the trailer already makes the film look fascinating. Nice to see they have evolved from the XGames mindset and do something cool rather than try to be cool.
Just a thought, if you run a global brand, shouldn't the first media priority be how to maximize your investment in the one and only truly global media network - the world wide web? Not how does each country maximize as part of their overall plan - which they should - but how do I multi billion dollar a year marketer create singular ideas or repositories of compelling content that anyone in almost every country can touch and engage in. If I was engaged in the same media and material that someone in India does, that makes my Coke experience feel really big. Really really big. I like what they as a company have done with the Coke Side of Life, and the localizations are great, but wouldn't that be an awesome brief - develop an idea around the Coke Side of Life that unites the world. Doesn't talk about uniting the world, or teaching us to sing, but is a single idea that me on my computer in Canada that soemone on their 3g phone in Idea can enjoy.
Just a thought...
One of the more phenomenal retail experiences of late was the Uniqlo store in SOHO the other week. The delight of shopping in another world and retail theater is taken to a whole new level. The the designs of the products themselves are stunning. What is stunning about such retail experiences is how great they are doing in terms of sales.
They haven't just spent huge on environment but have delivered with good design and good service. Apple stores are another example. The products aren't always flawless but one's tolerance for a bit of imperfection is much higher when the entire experience is fun.
And the fun doesn't stop in store. The online experience though different carries the same light hearted sensibility. Was delighted to see it take best of show last night at the One Show Interactive awards for their website. Great example of global thinking both in terms of markets/consumers and in terms of extensions - see the little localize widgety doodad below for my own Vancouver version of the site.
On one hand looking at the work it doesn't drip with over thought meaning but when you read the brief it still had a strategy (aka plan.) It tips the questions, when it comes to fashion does it have to have meaning? Can it not just have a sensibility and style that can evolve with it's target and culture.
As a counter comparison, look at the Gap. There was a time when they could do no wrong and were the best designed and most delightful shopping environment in the local dreary mall. But they had deep meaning, more than just clothes they were a new way of looking at life. They were the beacon of corporate casual, having a little bit of personal style. To the point of conformity and they never had a chance to evolve out of their angle and stores while better today still aren't much different than in 1993.
Even though I didn't buy anything, I hope one comes to my town soon. H&M is dull as bricks by comparision.
"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work and the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will, through work, bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never dream up if you were just sitting around looking for a great art idea. And that a belief in that the process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel everyday.
It's back, and bigger and better than before, The Age of Converstation 2.0 and your's truly is currently working on crafting a chapter under the category of 'Conversation to Action.' An especially exciting one as these days they simply seems to be way to much talking going on and not enough getting on with it. Hopefully witting a chapter will illuminate some insight into how to talk less and do more.
And with the new edition comes a new Widget. Grab it, post it, blog it and if you haven't buy the buy.
Phone captured in L.A. west of Downtown.
Something I've been thinking a lot about lately is in a more integrated world, where all aspects of business from product design to sales channels and marketing gets ever more complex to a higher degree of technical difficulty do we manage the teams that must produce the work. But not just get it done, but get it done right and great.
One of the biggest challenges at agencies is quite simply operational when it comes to developing creative. Just as in innovative companies how to innovate is as much an operational challenge as it is innovation itself.
Having specialists and deep creative thinkers are essentials to success in any creative/innovative field. But when in comes to pulling together not just the ideation but the production of ideas there are increasing numbers of hands touching an initiative. Just as there are increasing numbers of opportunities either due to new production techniques, sales platforms and places to reach consumers.
What if the most important emerging new role in industry is the person who connects all the moving parts. They must be good at dealing with people naturally, have an appreciation for creative/innovative processes and attracted by the idea of creating links between all the moving parts. And they are empowered and recognized to do so. They are not managers. Or account handlers. But connectors.
For example, take Russel's post on pre-experience design and the point on the VW night driving campaign. This campaign was a fantastic marketing initiative that was produced in fairly tight timelines amongst a couple other concepts tested. If the marketing campaign could quickly have been part of the product development 'campaign' there could have been some amazing product integration. Imagine a special night driving mode - instead of sport mode, and custom night driving soundtracks, headlamps configured for driving empty city roads and naturally an updated VW version of the film C'Etait une Rendez Vous.
I am a Nike guy but really admire what Adidas has done with the Impossible is Nothing meme. The line itself is meaningless but the way it has been brought to life is very meaningful. This quote was painted on the wall in the SOHO Adidas store in NY. This unto itself would be an amazing creative brief to hand off to a team. Would love to know whether it was a one off or if it started as an internal brand statement or campaign articulation.
By achieving their own version of Just Do It Adidas themselves is proving impossible is nothing in branding as in athletics.
Yesterday, in Portland where we are doing some work with the fantastic folks at Bent Image Labs, I exited with a freshly trimmed head of hair from my second favorite brand of the moment Rudy's Barbershop (the other being Stumptown Coffee and a close contender with the h ) which happens to be on the retail street front level of the Wieden Kennedy mothership.
Walking out of Rudy's a man crossed my path, I looked up, he looked over. I didn't recognize him, he didn't recognize me... but then once he was three steps past I recognized him. It was Dan Wieden. Who was on his way to pick up his own lunch from Whole Foods.
I didn't think much of it at first but then on the flight home realized I crossed paths with the man who inspired me to be in advertising. He is the reason why I do what I do and love what I do. Specifically because of the Nike work his hand crafted that I grew up with. It is a brand I've always related to and enjoyed trying to figure out their strategy even before I knew there was such a thing as strategy in advertising.
It is interesting using hindsight to understand why you did what you did, or do what you do. Coming from sport continual analysis is as important as breathing but when it comes to careers it's easily overlooked. Seeing Dan poignantly affirmed how I got into what I'm into and also made me appreciate why I didn't just get into advertising anywhere, but specifically got into advertising in Canada at a place at the time called Palmer Jarvis which matched well with my personal values and took a similar creative standard as WK to be a challenger agency from a small corner of the advertising planet, in Palmer Jarvis' case from Vancouver BC.
If I happen to cross paths again I might just thank him, but then again that will be awkward for both of us.