The Entertainment Age for Marketers

Are we no longer in the Information Age?_Are we destined to be “gamers”? Whether you’re in marketing particularly the digital side or just looking for a job in marketing and related fields, you may have noticed the growing emphasis on entertainment. Entertainment activities becoming more the focus of our digital and offline lives.

And, as you’d expect, entertainment marketing seems to be following that growth. I don’t mean entertainment marketing as in promoting movies, actors and actresses. I’m talking about entertainment marketing for the sake of having fun with a brand wrapped around that fun.

The traditional, age-old tactics of marketing to customers and prospects via one-way communications is falling by the wayside. Ads of all types direct mail and mass-distributed news releases will always have a place but those tactics of marketing communications are becoming a smaller part of the total marketing effort.

Today’s successful marketing is individually-focused and better targeted to people’s own interests. Mass marketing is slowing going the way of the dinosaur.

The strong potential of wrapping marketing around entertainment first hit me a few years ago, After reading an article in BusinessWeek I was convinced that this was the wave of the future, here is an excerpt from that article,

“Plenty of advertisers…have been putting their products in video games for several years now. But marketers and game-makers successfully pushed Nielsen Entertainment in 2005 to start measuring the impact of in-game product placement, where there had been none before. This in turn is drawing more ad dollars and making game-makers as eager as TV networks, perhaps more so, to open up their stories to the highest bidders.” In-game product placement is targeted and part of the users’ activities. It’s immersed in what the marketplace members do. It involves marketers in prospects and customers’ lifestyle and interests.
We’ve all read a lot about viral videos and how to create them. Of course, the main aspect of viral videos is their entertainment value. No one will share a commercial with friends and family unless they see it as entertaining first and foremost. Any marketing push in the video must be secondary and indirect.

There is even a web site with the most popular viral videos, here is a great example….

But, a successful viral video is not easy to develop and is not right for marketing every company, product or service. The trick in the entertainment and marketing combination is to develop some level of connection with your audience. Create tools, services and experiences that complement your company, products or services while being part of your customers and prospects’ entertainment habits and interests.

Here is a great example with over 300 million views! John West salmon.

There are other ways to connect marketing messages with customers and prospects’ lifestyle. One is video – and not on TV. The use of online video is becoming more and more popular. And, video is being used for entertainment purposes more and more, according to a June 25, 2008, eMarketer article.

Based on a study it conducted, Solutions Research Group “predicted that total hours with video-based entertainment would grow by nearly one-third to an average of about eight hours per day by early 2013.”

Another key stat from the eMarketer article is the trend to online rather than offline video:
“Key research from Deloitte Development signifies the shift away from TV to the Internet, with 69% of respondents in the firm’s second annual ‘The State of the Media Democracy’ survey saying their computer has become more of an entertainment device than their TV.” That same Deloitte study also found that 36% of all respondents use their “cellphone as an entertainment device.” That percentage soared to 62% for the Millenials (13-24 age group) – who will be the future targeted prospects for many of us as they age.

Marketing is evolving to have companies become connected with their audience much more so than just communicating to them. And, as more of the audience members are focusing on entertainment, it’s up to the marketers and communicators for companies to develop ways to connect brands with their audience around their entertainment preferences.

Leona Lewis Secret Album

I recently read this online, “Music mogul SIMON COWELL is infuriated after learning LEONA LEWIS made a secret album – which is due to be released alongside her official debut. Cowell was informed about the record, The Best Kept Secret, only days after Lewis’ single Bleeding Love reached number one in the U.K. charts on Sunday and is mounting an attempt to block the ‘unofficial’ LP before its release next month.”

Yikes too late…my colleagues have the rights to the “secret” album for Asia pacific and Japan and it is already in stores here in Japan.
Snapshot 2008-07-31 10-37-34
The Best Kept Secret, recorded with rival record label UEG, was made before Lewis signed a recording contract with Cowell in 2006. A statement released by UEG reads, “The situation has left a very bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths. A huge amount of time and energy was put into working with Leona, not to mention $35,000 (GBP70,000) in production and studio costs that still remain unpaid.

“We’ve got 12 tracks and will release them so we can cover the costs accrued in development.” However, a spokesperson for Lewis says, “These are unfinished tracks and UEG are clearly attempting to exploit Leona’s success. Our team is looking into this.”

I will post a track from the album as soon as I can. The music business is very tough and I am sure the original label did put in quite a lot of effort and expense to record Leona Lewis. I am also sure that Simon Cowell did a better job of making her a star right from the start…difficult call.

Simon Cowell’s album

Microsoft Makes Deal with Facebook

Microsoft recently failed in its pursuit of Yahoo. It is paying people to use its search engine. Now Microsoft thinks it has found a promising source of users for its foundering search service: Facebook, the social networking site.
Microsoft said Thursday at a meeting with financial analysts at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., that it would soon begin providing Web search services and associated advertisements by the end of the year on the American portion of the popular social network.
It makes sense in business the adage location, location , location is the mantra retailers use as one of the keys to successful business. “One of the issues with Microsoft search is that people just haven’t been exposed to it,” said Greg Sterling, founder of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm. “Familiarity and inertia keep people using what they use on the Web.”
To Microsoft, Facebook is a quick way to expand the audience for its search engine. More than 29 million people actively use Facebook in the United States. They will soon see prominent displays of Microsoft’s Live Search box on their friends’ and their own Facebook pages.

The agreement augments an existing advertising deal that the companies struck in 2006 and later expanded globally. Microsoft already sells and manages display advertisements on Facebook. Last October, the companies inched even closer together when Microsoft invested $240 millionfor a 5 percent ownership stake in Facebook.

The search deal could be a lift to Microsoft as it seeks to catch up with Google and Yahoo in the search business. In June, Google accounted for 61.5 percent of search queries in the United States, dwarfing Yahoo, with 20.9 percent, and Microsoft, with 9.2 percent of queries, according to tracking firm comScore. One of the reasons Microsoft pursued Yahoo so doggedly this year was to increase its share in the overall market.

The deal marks the second important distribution agreement for Microsoft’s search service in as many months. In June, Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest PC maker, agreed to put Microsoft’s service on its desktops.

Seven Reasons to Have a Career in Advertising

Matt Weiss of McCann Erickson Worldwide wrote this…I worked at McCann Worldwide for 17 years and with McCann I traveled the world literally so I added my two cents to his article.

Everyone loves to hate the advertising industry. The TV show “Mad Men” portrays the heyday of advertising as a men’s club of gin-swilling, secretary-exploiting, self-satisfied white men who live in Connecticut and work in a bubble surrounded by dim-witted, loyal clients. My mother loves this show.

Matt works for and I worked for the agency which produces work for Intel, MasterCard, the U.S. Army, Verizon Wireless, L’Oreal, Staples, Weight Watchers and other leading global advertisers.

Advertising might not be as exciting as Man vs. Wild or the NFL playoffs, but it does provide a career path that is more stimulating than Wall Street or the law or many white collar professions.

I love advertising because it is a unique combination of art, creativity, mathematics, industrial psychology, marketing, media and a host of other disciplines.

Here are seven reasons to jump into a career in advertising:

1) You can get a film deal. OK, we are both exaggerating here, but only slightly. The creative environment of advertising does provide a career path to Hollywood for dozens of writers and directors every year, from Michael Bay to the guys who directed the “Cavemen” spots for Geico. Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, my ex boss Phil Dusenberry who wrote the Natural all were great advertising directors.

Fincher Coke TVC when I first came to Japan

I think the best advertising is better than most of the movies and TV shows out there, and you can get paid accordingly. Until you can write screenplays for Steve Carrell or create the next “South Park,” you’ll be having more fun than should be legal.

2) Be the next Steve Jobs. The crazy-ass idea you have for faxing burgers or filling up your car online might just happen tomorrow. The world of advertising, media, the Internet and technology is changing so fast that no one can predict what will happen next month, let alone 10 years from now. You can change the world. (And it beats changing diapers.)

3) Be an outlaw. Renegade thinking and behavior is rewarded. Are you quirky and full of weird ideas? Are you innovative, prone to breaking rules, and feel you always see the world differently than your friends and colleagues? You’ll fit in perfectly at an ad agency.
Lee Clow of TBWA
4) This is not your parents’ career. Advertising is a youthful business, for people in their 20s and 30s. Your youth is valuable because you are talking to your peers. You can text your friends in a meeting and it will be cool. Well almost lee Clow is close to 65 and he is still creating great work…perhaps in his head he is 20?

5) You’ll never be bored. You actually get paid to surf the net, look at YouTube, talk about “the Office,” diss Britney and Paris, and discuss “American Idol.” You’re involved in every aspect of popular culture. You’ll think on your feet. Your lawyer friends will be sick with envy. You will never have to attend a conference in Brussels.

6) Leave the suits at your parents’ house. The uniform for creatives is t-shirt and jeans. Even the “suits”—the account people—don’t wear suits any more, because they are expected to be an integral part of the creative process. In the summer, you can even wear sandals or flip flops. And there are keg parties on Fridays. Seriously.

7) You’ll be on TV. Your work will be in the world. Your Mom, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your posse, your kids, they will all see what you do. If it’s good work, people will be talking about your work on the subway, on blogs, on TV, in USA Today.. Advertising isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, but it makes an impact. You can be a player. And you’ll never have to wear plaid pants or go near a golf course.

Lee Clow is one of my favorite Ad Men…his agency is TBWA and their office is every ad man’s dream. Conference rooms with surf boards for tables. a real basketball court in the lobby and they do creative work for clients like Apple.

Cadbury TVC Wins the Grand Prix at Cannes

Cannes has always been a great place for movies, directors and actors to get the credit that they deserve. But Cannes also has an advertising award week that is similar to the the Oscars for any ad man around the world. My former company got Agency Network of the year but the top prize went to Fallon a very creative agency in London. Here is the TVC for Cadbury that won the Grand Prix last night.

The Politics of Fear

Kudos to the New Yorker for putting the “The Politics of Fear,” as the cover is called, with all of its upsetting realities, on the table. I think it’s an amusing satirical illustration for a piece that dissects all the prejudice and misinformation that is out there.

Green Marketing and Communications

In the world of “green,” marketing has unique challenges, not the least of which is the lack of standards for determining what it means to be a green product, or a green company.

Along with the rise of green consumers, Activate see the rise of eco-labeling, green advertising and the importance of environmental reporting. That creates the opportunity for just about anything to be marketed as green, from simple packaging changes to products and services that radically reduce materials, energy, and waste.
I will publish a top ten list this week for green products.