Tag Archives: Mechanics

Begging the Question – Is Questionable Execution Worth A Good Buzz?

Just like most marketers, I’m always looking for innovative ways to draw attention and get the message out.  Sometimes, a bunch of buzz is generated for an execution that seems – on the surface – like it is a brilliant use of the technology.  Unfortunately, when you actually check it out, it leaves a little to be desired when it comes to actually conveying the product’s narrative.  One such case is the French adventure/outdoor products company, Quechua, and the Facebook Timeline piece they launched yesterday to launch their new commercial. The concept was cool, but in practice, the experience was clunky and actually acted counter to the product they were trying to promote.  It certainly begs the question whether buzz about marketing products is good even when that execution is not all it can be.

The Quechua Experiment is getting buzz specifically as the “First Scrollable Commercial on Facebook Timeline.”  I don’t know how much people were waiting for that feat to be attained, but the buzz it’s generating is technically correct. In this case, is that such a cool thing or just a media hook?  When a user goes to www.facebook.com/QuechuaExperiment, they are asked to scroll down on their timeline and push the equivalent “more” button 15 times.  Once at the bottom, press both the SHIFT and SPACE buttons to start the frame-by-frame movement upwards through the images in the Timeline.

Essentially, they are trying to explain the benefits of their 2 second tent with a web mechanic that, annoyingly, takes much longer to experience. When you look at the “video”, it provides beautiful imagery that makes people want to camp out in the wilderness and, at the end, shows how simple it is to break the tent down when you are done. It’s frustrating because we always talk about how interactivity makes the experience deeper for the user – yet this interactivity takes away from the original source of the information, which is the beautiful video.  If all you are getting is another version of the video, is it worth it? It should have been as quick and simple as the “flick of a wrist” that it takes to set up the tent…

Courtesy of Quechua

The company seems to be cutting-edge in general – not just in the materials they use, but in their marketing.  One such example is a beautiful commercial for their products – melding the campers and the environment beautifully – and then enabling a rich behind the scenes environment through technology to explore more. I give them and their agency, Fred + Farid credit for trying new things with this Facebook Timeline execution, but I think the actual mechanics of it miss the mark.

I can’t fault them as they are getting buzz about it. I’m just saddened when a good mechanic is not optimized to become a great marketing product.  With the emphasis being placed on being the first ones to try something, you really want that “first time” to be something really special.  I don’t feel they’ll get anything negative from this and I definitely wouldn’t have known about their products had it not been for the buzz – so that’s a positive for them.  I’m just looking at it as a marketing product, and the full mechanic didn’t convey the product benefits as best it could have. I almost would have rather them had a tongue-in-cheek message that it will take longer for the user to experience the marketing than it would to either set up the tent or take it down.

In the end, I would rather the good buzz support a good marketing mechanic – something that better conveys the product. Additionally, except for in the most extreme cases, buzz is mostly good for a product. I’m always up for some good buzz – I just get disheartened when it leads to a marketing execution that is not all it could have been.

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Spectacular Out Of Home Opportunities Optimize Success Or Confusion

With the further development of Out-Of-Home (OOH) advertising due to technology and placement advances, there are certainly some eye-opening executions popping up in malls and on roadways.  The thing is, they don’t always make sense – even if they are being leveraged in the best way.  In the past few weeks, we’ve seen some interesting executions pop-up in relation to some entertainment properties coming out his week and one that come out in a few months.  All of it points to opportunities optimized and missed – and not all of those are based on sound creative.

ProjectX brought Twitter into their digital billboard ads, and while they came up with a reasonable “cheat” solution for not having real live feeds in those billboards, the rollout added to confusion.  Their cheat is that they have booked numerous panels in a cycle so that, while a viewer is at a light, they might see it two times with different Tweets at the top of the feed.  One problem I had was that the first ProjectX billboards only showed the Twitter feed box that is showing  in the first example.  Obviously, at the time, it did not have the “3 Days” call-out.  With no clear dating shown, it made it seem that the movie was already out as the Tweets were in past-tense.  It wasn’t until this week that they started showing the anticipatory tweets along with the release countdown.  I do look forward to a time when you can actually have a live feed – I’m sure the Warner Bros. marketing team felt the same way.

The images below are related to the introduction of future-tense Tweets.

Universal is releasing THE LORAX on Friday and their OOH has been as varied and head-shake inducing as you would expect from a Dr. Seuss-inspired film.  The top image is the facade wrapping for the cinemas at Universal Citywalk.  It conveys the required wonderment for the story in a scale that works perfectly.

Where they get a little wonky is in the standees placed in front of the box-office (please excuse my equally wonky image.)  It’s great that they allow the public to interact with and take their own pictures as part of the film’s iconic image and character.  But, I don’t understand why they would design it so that the entire head fits in the hole instead of just the nose and above.  They should have done a better job of incorporating into the actual character design rather than looking like a bizarre Amish Lorax…

In addition to the standard billboards, Universal did both a Digital Billboard and a three-dimensional one.  It’s too bad they didn’t do anything to animate either one.  Even if they could have just moved the eyes a little bit on the digital one, that would have been nice, though I don’t know if it was possible on the digital billboard.  I do think it was a huge missed opportunity on the Sunset Strip-placed billboard shown below that had three dimension element.  I really wanted to either see automation that moves the eyes or the sides of the moustache to bring it to life.  Even if they had used the technique employed by Disney in their Haunted Mansions with a concave (or negative) build of the eyes to give the effect that it’s following you.

Even though THE DICTATOR doesn’t come out until May 11th, bus shelters and this huge billboard below have been popping up all over Los Angeles.  They all have little to no explanation of what the images of Sacha Baron Cohen’s character is related to, but they are great teaser posters.  The one below is on La Brea Avenue (a major North-South artery in Los Angeles) and it is huge – the image doesn’t really do justice to how much it stands out.  Of course, the void from fact that they don’t clearly state the movie information is negated by the television and video support for the title.  First, there was the Super Bowl tease trailer and then, at the Oscars, there was the hugely popular video of Cohen’s altercation with Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet.  The video that E! placed on YouTube a few days ago has already garnered close to 7 million plays.

Lastly – and related to the Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel always has a great show directly following the award telecast.  This year, they even placed raw postings around town to tease this year’s long-form video – the latest in the annual string of huge videos created for his post-Oscars show.  The interesting thing is that it was very unclear what the posters were about.  Even knowing that it was related to Kimmel, I did a search of M:TM prior to the show and found nothing.  I searched for M:TM and Jimmy Kimmel and found little more – and was still confused.  It was only after the show aired and the video was posted that I was able to figure out that it was about their trailer for Movie: The Movie.  I guess they figured it would be all good for the re-airing in Prime-Time tonight.  For the general cost it took to execute this campaign, it seems like the penetration and awareness were not the highest among Kimmel and ABC’s marketers.

Here’s the actual star-studded trailer of Movie: The Movie

This very clearly was a small spattering of OOH executions for entertainment properties and, even though we are just beginning to see what digital executions are providing, there is still a long way to go.  The point of real interest is that it doesn’t matter how cool the technology is or how simple (or old-school) it is. Without proper thought and execution behind it the best case scenario behind a fail is that it is not noticed.  The worst is that it can cause confusion.