Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Short Takes: 4.22.08

Here are some interesting XM and online marketing news items and links for your perusal:
  • Is UCG Dead? AdRants is always an interesting read. Most of the time I agree, but this time I don't. AdRants takes Red Bull to task for using a YouTube strategy that involves consumers uploading their own videos. Blogger Steve Hall declares User Generated Content (UCG) old and boring: "Memo to marketers: this idea is dead." He is incorrect; marketing tactics rarely die, but they can get boring when nothing new is brought to them. While tech early adopters may feel branded YouTube UCG campaigns are stale, they should remember how many consumers are still in the process of growing more comfortable with shooting and editing their own video. There's still room for these sorts of campaigns, provided the strategy is unique and creative, is focused on the right audience, and fits the brand. (Steve is right about one thing: "You STILL have to have broad-reaching awareness tactics like TV behind it if you're going to get anyone to participate.")

  • Email Still Works: As if reinforce the point that tactics don't die merely because they've been around awhile, a new eMarketer report announces that email is alive and well. Half of US adult e-mail users surveyed said they had made an online purchase in the previous year as a result of permission-based marketing. In addition, e-mail was second only to customer reviews on Web sites for influencing online purchases. eMarketer's report also has words of caution to email marketers: "Consumers are increasingly willing to revoke permission that they have previously granted and that the bar for relevance remains high. About one-third of respondents... said they had stopped doing business with at least one company as a result of poor e-mail marketing practices." I don't know why any of us in the marketing field would need a reminder to stay relevant, but there you have it.

  • Caress Puts Words in Spokesperson's Mouth: Brandweek features an article about Unilever's new campaign for the Caress brand, featuring Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. She's created a "Brazilian inspired" cover of Duran Duran's hit "Rio," which the brand is making available for download on CaressBrazilian.com. Jon Cohen, co-president of agency Cornerstone, says "It's not just enough for brands, in today's crazy media landscape, to talk about the product. We had to leverage the music and talent to really bring this brand to life." I agree, but his thoughts don't square with the overly-scripted "interview" video on the site. Nicole says, "I teamed up with Caress Brazilian Exotic Oil Infusions Body Wash to encourage women all over the world to unleash the sensual spirit and charm of Brazil on their own skin. I am so excited to be here to remake my own Brazilian version of Duran Duran's Rio for the launch of the Caress Brazilian Exotic Oil Infusions Body Wash." No one talks like that and the singer looks uncomfortable trying to string all those brand terms together. This detracts from an otherwise strong brandertainment strategy.

  • Tour Earth the Twitter Way: This is more of a time waster than it is a pertinent marketing link, but you still may enjoy a visit to TwittEarth. The site presents an image of the planet, and every few seconds it shares a random Tweet, geo-located on the globe. In addition to being voyeuristic fun, TwittEarth is also an excellent reminder of how quickly social media tools such as Twitter can go global.

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