Consider this. By 2010, Best Buy’s Twelpforce had responded to over 29,000 questions and accumulated 26,837 followers on Twitter. But consider this too. It was the largest electronic retailer in the country – it takes a lot of shoppers to generate revenues of $4.4 billion in the month of December 2010. Consider too the sheer breadth of its offering, and that there are 245,267,292 people aged 15 years and over in the United States many of whom will presumably be in the market for some kind of electrical goods. And remember that the service was promoted through TV advertising as well as in-store-messaging. Suddenly it begins to feel as if that utility was actually delivered to and experienced directly by a relatively small population.
So, it is worth considering whether the mere availability of this service worked to elevate the brand’s reputation as being knowledgeable and responsive amongst a much broader population. Even though they never took advantage of this piece of utility. So was Twelpforce really a piece of utility?
One of the most eloquent and thought provoking essays on Advertising, Brand Utilities and Tech hypes I’ve read in quite some time. If like me you’re craving for some food for thought and sharp analysis Re the intersection of / hype surrounding the (much vaunted death) of Advertising and the rise of Brand Utilities, this is it.
Read the whole essay by Martin Weigel (@mweigel) here » The Enduring Power Of Stuff That Isn’t Useful And Why ‘Utility’ Will Not Overthrow Magic.
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Instead of posting or explaining the concept here, I’d like to suggest you’d first take a look over on the site and experience it for yourself -especially if you’re a creative/interactive professional and haven’t seen it already.
[Performance warning: close down any other browser tabs/windows or any other application that has a direct net connection right now, I know I suffered from some serious lag the first time.]
Apart from the novelty(?) factor of this kind of creative content-integration, I’m not quite sure where the real added value for Honda and its customers lies in this particular case.
I’ll get back to that thought in a moment though; first I’d like to point to a section on the page that caught my attention. It clearly depicts how a viral starts spreading (see the 2 images below):
The table contains the statistics of said video on a daily basis, i.e.: how many times it was watched, “liked” and how many comments were made on the page itself, all in relation to each other and non-cumulative (note that the numbers are displayed on a per day basis!).
Clearly, the usual exponential viral mechanisms are at work here, which is fascinating in of itself, yet I believe that despite these pretty impressive numbers this mini-campaign as is will not enjoy a widespread viewer base and live up to its true potential, mainly because of the following 4 reasons:
- The content isn’t “spreadable”;
- A lack of a clear call to action;
- The quality of the content itself and
- There’s no follow-up.
The content isn’t spreadable, technically speaking:
Notice how I didn’t embed the video right here as I usually would, instead referring you to Vimeo, because there was no other way you could undergo it the way it was meant to be experienced.
In other words: people will first have to go to the Vimeo page and have a true broadband internet connection(!) to experience it smoothly and in full effect; detach the video from the context of this page and it becomes just another (attempt at a) cool viral. Pure branding, zero capitalization of the ensuing conversations.
Nowadays it’s more effective to take a channel-neutral and/or federated content approach to reach out to your audience on the net, and part of that means making your content spreadable through widgets, embeddable video’s, etc.. The Vimeo video is embeddable of course, but the page -and thus the experience- is not.
There’s no call to action:
The concept itself doesn’t trigger the visitor to do anything: You just sit and watch, just like on TV…
The creative team apparently embraced the technological and creative possibilities that the internet offers in marrying video with a webpage, yet somehow failed to capitalize on the buzz that it generated and thus at the opportunity to generate leads.
Honda‘s rich media take over is no interactive advertising but more akin to an online guerrilla advert, which could have been done offline, possibly generating more buzz and brand-awareness outside the digerati niche.
Then again, it was created by Wieden & Kennedy (Amsterdam), a traditional agency with it’s roots firmly grounded in offline advertising campaigns.
The quality of the content isn’t worth spreading:
If it’s aimed at the Marketing/Tech/Creative niche: they’re already accustomed to these “Breaking-The-4th-Wall” take-over actions by now on YouTube or dedicated viral mini-sites, and this example isn’t remarkable.
If it’s not aimed at said niche, then one has to wonder why on earth it was posted on a niche social video site like Vimeo.com in the first place…
Adding all the numbers together from the stats image above, there are over a 1.750 likes, 300+ comments and 177.000 views generated in less than two weeks(!), pointing to a cult hit and/or people watching it more than once (it’s not clear whether Vimeo filters out non-unique views/cookies).
On the other hand, the numbers in the table don’t depict all mentions of the video across the Social Media space, and it was only posted a few days ago, so this is just merely the tip of the iceberg. Here’s hoping that Honda’s campaign team has access to social media monitoring tools from Radian6 or TrackUr and have activated their BackType Alerts to keep a clear overview.
All in all, in terms of buzz and people interacting with the page this is no bad example of content integration at all, it’s just a shame there’s no apparent follow-up or integration in, say, a 360˚campaign for maximum effect.
Now of course at this very moment we have no idea what Honda’s campaign objective was in the first place: It could be a proof of concept, trying it out for a small fee, with little risk, before scaling it up on YouTube allowing the numbers game to come into play, leading to massive exposure and off course more ways for the community and consumers/prospects to interact with the brand.
As I’m a firm believer in the merits of content-integration instead of plain display bannering, for me personally it will be very interesting to see how this plays out and if Honda will release an evaluation on their company blog or industry titles like Ad Age or ReadWriteWeb.2 comments
Can you imagine the cost of putting this up as a TV-Ad during the Super Bowl or the Olympics? And would it have any effect? No, it wouldn’t, at least not in the way it can online…
My two cents are that this vid will be echoed for quite a bit in the coming days and people will want to share it and talk about it, not because it’s from Asics, but because it hit a snare:No comments