Posts Tagged ‘iTunes’

The HSBC 'Points of View' Campaign   

The HSBC ‘Points of View’ Campaign

For the past four years, HSBC has run a provocative poster campaign from JWT.  Using a brilliant media buy in high traffic airport jetways, the ads highlight paradoxical points-of-view.  Simple graphics and headlines illustrate the insight that people from different regions, backgrounds or cultures often view the same phenomena in vastly different ways.

More than anything, this campaign demonstrates the fungible nature of opinion; something that’s become all the more relevant with the massive informational and behavioral changes brought on by the pervasive, worldwide adoption of the participatory Web 2.0.  By most any measure, opinion’s recently emerged mass distribution channel makes it far more impactful than TV, print, and radio combined.  We may not think of it as a traditional medium per se, but we ignore it at our peril.  As word-of-mouth experts are fond of saying, as much as 92% of all purchase decisions are driven by recommendation, which is nothing more than vocalized opinion.  More importantly, opinions have never been easier to come by; out culture is literally awash in it.

Google “review of Pixar’s Up” and you get 3.6 million entries in .33 seconds…  Every product on Amazon features buyers’ ratings and other key retailers like iTunes, NetFlix and eBay encourage prominent feedback opportunities.  The crushing volume of blogs and soon the exponentially larger world of Tweets can be simply searched.  We even edit our own networks to match our personal opinions, watching Fox News, listening to Air America, or subscribing to magazines and blogs because they reflect our personal politics.  Opinion is literally everywhere and louder than it has ever been.

All of which threatens the relevance and usefulness of those long-held marketing saws ‘brand truth’ and ‘consumer truth.’  What is ‘truth’ in a wold where opinion holds such dominance?  And whose truth?  Can there truly be a universal product or consumer truth?

Instead of the classic Venn diagram that guided years of integrated marketing by highlighting the intersection of ‘brand truth’ and ‘consumer truth’ we now have one vastly larger, much less uniformly shaped universe of consumer opinion, with all of it’s variants, anomalies and conflict.  Brands are opinions–and so our agency job today is to determine not something as debatable as brand truth, but rather the Brand Authenticity (and yes, Authenticities) within all of that opinion and then help meld and coalesce them into a universally-accepted Brand Authenticity.

Do that, and you bring powerful alignment to the often warring worlds of paid and earned media.

At least, that’s my opinion…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Industry visionaries have been touting this for a few years now and while I agree that mobile will be an important platform, I’m hoping it hurries up and gets here before my eyesight starts to really fade and I can no longer read that small screen.  If it does gain critical mass, the Mobilenet will be the second new mass communications medium in twenty years.  That will introduce even more profound platform, behavioral and social changes for us to adjust to in a wickedly short period of time.

Sent from my iPhone

Sent from my iPhone

Stephen Riley, our resident social media power user, monitored the Twitter posts from yesterday’s first day speakers at the Ad Age Digital Conference in New York. Of the long list he forwarded, the ones that really stood out quoted John Stratton, CMO of Verizon.  Among other things, he talked about how 13-19 year olds text eight times more often than they call.  They also average a four minute reply time to an SMS versus two days for an e-mail.  But the most remarkable fact Stratton highlighted was the rate of App Store downloads and how they dwarf the rate of iTune downloads.  In many ways, the rapid adoption of this platform demonstrates that the handheld computer is already here.

To purists of course, the iPhone is merely a really good smartphone, not truly the portable computing device they envision as servicing a mobilenet-enabled future.  And yet, hackers and bloggers have rated this little beauty roughly akin to a PowerBook, circa 2000, with a CPU clocking at 400MHz, bus speed of 100MHz, and 128 MB of RAM. Mobile gaming advocates even claim it has more power than the Nintendo DS and PSP systems combined.  Which means the iPhone has no shortage of app driving power on hand.

And talk about app opportunities.  With more than 25,000 to choose from and more coming on line every week, the App Store stands as a testament to the value of free content and open source.  The iPhone itself will celebrate its second birthday in June; this past February marked the first birthday for the crucial iPhone development kit.

The social impact of relatively young technologies and platforms like the iPhone and YouTube and Facebook blows historical precedent out of the water.  And yet ultimately it reinforces a great truth that many seem resistant to grasp: we are not led into the future on platforms, we are led by ideas.  Platforms enable ideas, but without ideas, you simply have the Newton.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young: most reasonable people would accept the argument that the three of them together don’t add up to a single great vocalist.  And yet as rock singers, each reigns sublime in their own right.  How is that?

As noted by critic Daniel Durchholz

Said by critic Daniel Durchholz...as praise.

We respond to their idiosyncracy, their remarkability, their singularity. We respond to them much like we respond to characters in a story; if they were perfect, we wouldn’t care because they wouldn’t feel realistic, but a flawed hero gets us every time. The imperfections, the shortcomings, the blatant failings draw us in, make us relate, and flesh out these characters as believable people. Like us.

As we create brand stories instead of mere campaigns, we need to tap into this sense of what makes a hero human and tie that to our products or services. The challenge lies in convincing a client that admitting, or even touting imperfections will actually increase relatability; with marketing dollars at a premium, few want to invest the time, money and effort in anything short of high-gloss perfection.  After all, manufacturers value perfection.  Their assembly lines eliminate inconsistencies and hone tolerances to microns.  Yet when deep rows of exactitude crowd shelf after shelf in our superstores, the imperfect product creates the most interest.  This  fuels the rise of the handmade movement and outfits like etsy.com but that’s probably fodder for another post.

As advertisers, we can serve this simple truth best by bringing humanity to our brand stories in terms of authenticity: not perfection, not idealization, but authenticity.

For a great example of that, go to the iTunes store, punch up Tom Waits and just listen to the sample for his song “Gun Street Girl.”  Listen to the hard-edged experience limning his gravelly growl and you tell me this isn’t a man who knows a thing or two about dying his hair in the bathroom of a Texaco or getting liquored up on roadhouse corn.  Bless him…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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