Sunday, March 23, 2008

Short Takes: 3.23.08

Here are some interesting XM and online marketing news items and links for your perusal:
  • What does it take to market to young men? MediaPost has an interesting article entitled, "Markets Focus: A Very, Very Scary Place." The article shares information on Project Iris, a viral marketing campaign for the massive Xbox hit Halo 3. By using anonymous blog posts, email, and secret hints, Microsoft created an involving campaign that engaged the target demographic. Some of the innovative ideas included sending consumers to retailers' stores to collect hidden clues on Xbox kiosks and a fake Halo 3 book on Amazon, complete with an ISBN number and readers' comments. The campaign recognized a powerful fact about young men: Challenges and mysteries excite their psyches and engage their senses.

  • The best marketing isn't marketing at all. While not easily available to every product category, there are brands that find ways to build powerful experiences into their products or services; thus, the solutions and products they sell to consumers also act as their own marketing. I wrote about how the Disney-MGM's Tower of Terror creates powerful emotions of (safe and fun) fear that keep consumers coming back for more. Now comes word of another theme park attraction that continues to blur the line between consumer experience, function, and marketing. The Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit roller coaster will launch at Universal Studios in Orlando with some innovative features. The roller coaster's track will leave the park and race over the heads of consumers on the sidewalks of CityWalk, outside the theme park. And, riders will be able to choose their own music and claim a YouTube-ready video of their experience. These features position the product as its own advertising; a brilliant and impressive strategy!

  • In "Ad Agency Tries Chocolate Biz," BrandWeek shares how an agency, Brooklyn Brothers, is getting into the chocolate business. Says the agency founder, "One thing about running your own business is that it helps you understand each step needed to be successful, but also gives us an understanding of our clients needs." As an agency leader who is also a small entrepreneur, I find this comment very insightful; too often, people who've grown up within agencies do not and cannot appreciate the challenges faced by their clients. At the same time, this is a risky endeavor for Brooklyn Brothers. I've seen agencies attempt to diversify in this manner only to stumble; after all, their core competency is marketing, not engineering, manufacturing, distribution, quality control, and the myriad of other disciplines required to run a successful product company. What do you think? Brilliant strategy or distraction?

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