Sunday, April 27, 2008

Short Takes: 4.27.08

Here are some interesting XM and online marketing news items and links for your perusal:
  • SMS Content That Focuses on the Audience: MediaPost's Mobile Insider has some interesting observations about UO TXT, Urban Outfitters' SMS messaging program. UO is using text for more than just coupons and alerts; members get notices about bands, receive free ringtone downloads, and participate in text polls and slogan contests. This might sound like a lot of SMS messages to old fogeys like you and I (sorry, I am making an assumption about you, aren't I?), but to the target demographic, the "media mix" is working. It's an interesting way to utilize text but before considering if it is right for your brand, it's very important to remember that this program perfectly fits a specific demographic. Plus, one has to wonder if this sort of program will be as successful once hundreds of brands are peppering subscribers' phones with these sorts of text messages. UO TXT is getting lift today by being an early adopter and finding a unique way to use the medium.

  • If You Don't Know What MMO Stands For, Start Here: Digital Trends has a video series called Players Only, where it covers the growing phenomenon of gaming. This week's video is about MMOs, Massively Multiplayer Online games, which merge aspects of gaming, the Internet, virtual worlds, and social media. Formerly the purview of geeks, MMOs are going mainstream and, in fact, are skewing more female than male. The video doesn't touch on what this means to marketers, but it's still an excellent primer if you're unfamiliar with MMOs and if you still think of gamers as teen males sitting in isolation at their PC or gaming systems.

  • Olympic Sponsors Fight Back: This year's Olympics was already proving a challenge to sponsors due to Tibet issues. This challenge got even worse when activist groups focusing their attention outside of China began to try to embarrass sponsors into action. Last week, Mia Farrow’s activist group, Dream for Darfur, issued a report card that criticized most of the major Olympic sponsors. One cannot fault Dream for Darfur for caring, but what is the link between Olympic sponsorship and the tragedies in Darfur? This tactic could backfire and encourage companies to withdraw rather than engage in additional and necessary international activities. Furthermore, it might be that Dream for Darfur finds itself more on the defensive than do the sponsors. For example, Coca-Cola is fighting back: "For an organization that has not eased the suffering of a single individual on the ground in Darfur to criticize those who are helping thousands every day is more than ironic." Read more on the New York Times Web site.

  • Starbucks Shakes Up Entertainment Unit: A month ago, we explored how Starbucks fumbled the ball with their music offerings. The program started very small, with shops offering CDs from unique and independent artists that fit well with Starbuck's brand, but as they sought to expand the program with less focused and more mainstream artists, their music program began to falter. This week, Starbucks showed to the door the executive who ran their music program since 2004. Starbucks reiterated its commitment to entertainment as part of their brand, but how these changes will affect the brand's music program remains unknown. The right music offerings will bolster consumers' perception of the coffee shop chain and will increase entertainment revenue, but continued hawking of the same music consumers can find elsewhere will dilute rather than help the brand.

No comments: