November 2008 Archives

Beware the Social Media Critics!

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Sometimes I find that many of us in social media are unnecessarily harsh on ourselves and overly critical of each other too. I felt this recently while discussing a JC Penny campaign with a few others in the blogosphere. The digital campaign called "Beware the Doghouse" allows women to put their husbands or boyfriends in the doghouse for misbehaving or being just plain stupid. The husbands can get themselves out of the doghouse by buying the partners diamonds!

Now its meant to be light, whimsical and fun. And the campaign (especially the introductory video clips) are just that. The campaign uses Facebook Connect to help you choose someone to put into the doghouse. Basically you are able to choose someone from your friends list in Facebook to add to the doghouse. In my opinion a straightforward and perfectly appropriate use of Facebook Connect. However, a couple of fellow bloggers felt that using Facebook Connect in the a digital marketing campaign is a "poor implementation" of it. And I couldn't disagree more.

Firstly Facebook Connect is new and there are a lot of potentially different uses for it. Just because Facebook Connect isn't being used on for the retail experience but in a campaign doesn't make it a bad implementation. Furthermore, to use Facebook Connect to find friends (known peers) is exactly what's needed to make this campaign a success. It is a fun way to use a person's social graph. Why then is it a poor implementation?

Many of us in the social media space are techno-centric in our outlook and we're obviously bullish on social media. But we're definitely doing the cause a disservice by trying to judge what is and what isn't a good use of a social media technology. Let the users decide that. After all, social media is about democratization too. For more on interesting implementations of Facebook Connect read this post.

Disclaimer - Razorfish bought the media to support the campaign but was not responsible for the creative idea or the execution.

Digital Drag Race Launches! Go Win

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digital_drag_race.jpgIntel is launching its new microprocessor, the Core i7, which is the most significant update to the Intel microprocessor since the Pentium Pro in 1995.  But unlike any other processor Intel has produced, the Core i7 target audience consists of creative professionals, like film producers, gaming developers, and animators – a largely untapped audience for Intel. So they asked Razorfish to help them with the launch. 

We conceptualized, designed and launched the Digital Drag Race in partnership with Intel. Graphic designers and gamers are given the same software, system build and set of design assets to race against the clock in a timed, motion graphics design challenge. Go to Digital Drag Race to watch and to cast your vote too. The graphic designers have to use computers with the Intel i7 processor chip inside. The winners are being posted on a YouTube channel and the final race will take place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Let me know what you think. Does this meet your criteria of a successful social media campaign?

Can Social Networks Predict What You'll Buy?

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I certainly believe so and was quoted in an Ad Age article discussing how this has already been proven in academic circles and is just seeping into mainstream digital marketing now. There's no question that by knowing what one person's interests are, you're likely to be able to target peers in his or her circle of friends more effectively. Also, people are most influenced by their social graphs than by any other form of advertising or influence dynamic. 

Two companies were discussed in the article - the first was Media6Degrees which takes a tacit approach to leveraging somebody's social graph by using cookie data to target advertising to one's peers. The other is which uses a person's explicit actions as an advertisement for others in his or her social graph. They do this within the canvas pages of applications on Facebook. Both are very interesting approaches and time will tell how significant their results are. 

One thing is certain, we're just beginning to understand how we can leverage our social graphs now that they're more explicit than ever before. To reduce this to advertising on a social network I believe is missing the larger point though that too has potential. I believe every website and every web interaction is going to become social and our social graphs will be a part of all those interactions. And just because we're harnessing our social graphs, it doesn't mean that brands won't have a place in those conversations.

For a more provocative perspective, read Kristen's post over at Social Times.

Academia meets Social Marketing

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logo_adweek1.gifAdweek just published a piece by me on how we should start leveraging insights from academia once more to really tap into the power of social influence. A lot of what we talk about and practice has deep foundations in academic research and the goal of this piece was to draw attention to some of that research. Needless to say, each time I write an article like this it turns out to be a humbling experience as I learn how much I don't know!

Marketing has always had an uneasy relationship with academia. However, with the rise of social media and its transformative impact on digital marketing, there's a new imperative to look towards academia -- to understand how people form networks, influence each other and organize into online communities.

This article highlights some of the thinking we should look towards while navigating the uncharted territories of marketing on the social Web. It is impossible to be comprehensive, so treat this as a sampling encompassing some key thoughts in academia and how they should impact marketing.

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