Obama has changed his mind and will travel to Copenhagen this Friday to deliver a personal appeal to the IOC on behalf of the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. My friend George Hirthler (one of the very best sports marketers today) who is working hard on this bid thinks this decision may well break the tape for Chicago. Many other people think Obama's decision significantly increases Chicago's chances of winning the games. Many an IOC member has been swayed by the passionate voice of a city advocate. An Olympic win would be a bright and piercing bit of positive news in America this autumn.
Rio in my mind has the strongest bid. Never before has the Olympics been held in South America. Never before has Rio had such a strong proposal for how they would hold the games, and never before have they had the kind of experience they've mustered over the past few years, having held numerous international sporting events such as the pan-American games in 2007.
A few years back, I was the Creative Director for the 2004 Stockholm Olympic Bid, and Rio was one of the contenders. The Rio bid was very good, though the city remained risky and unproven. The bid process is an enduring multi-year marathon, with an unending list of marketing communications and elements that must be developed and honed, produced and disseminated. Much of the work we did hangs in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The Stockholm Bid film I responsible for:
I worked on the Stockholm 2004 bid with George too. He did much of the writing in the bid books, with a steely resolve and an incredible natural lexicon of Olympic vernacular. But getting back to Rio for a moment, back then it faced a number of problems, many of which have been overcome by a dynamic city that is world class. Today, Brazil is a country on the rise, one of the world's fastest growing economies, Brazilian sport players have inspired people around the planet, and Rio is majestic, fragrant and safe.
It's down to the wire and it's mighty exciting. Both cities would be terrific Olympic venues. The breath-taking Chicago coastline along Lake Michigan, one of North America's five Great Lakes and the grand beaches of Rio would be equally inspiring and soothing to the soul during a hot summer games. Here is the official site of the Chicago bid and here is the official site of the Rio bid.
I'm holding my breath. Peralta the CEO StrawberryFrog Brazil was in New York last week and we were debating the two bids. We talked about how incredible the games would be in Rio and I told him about the beauty of Chicago. In the end after hours of discussions, we agreed that whichever way the IOC went, we would meet up at these games for a celebration. The only difference between the finalists, we agreed, other than Obama's decision to attend the final IOC meeting, is a growing movement of Chicago's citizens wanting the games to go to Rio: Chicagoans for Rio 2016 vs an unprecedented 85 percent of Rio's citizens standing behind the bid. Strange twist of logic but an added element in the nail biting finish.
On Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 4:00 pm, Sophie Kelly, Partner of StrawberryFrog is speaking on a panel called Cutting-Edge Creatives on the Evolution and Impact of Digital.
This talk is a part of the annual Advertising Week in New York and will focus on a key question of this year's event: how to do cutting edge creative work in an ever fragmenting, ever expanding media universe, while still stewarding the brand?
The subtext of this will be how to do this while maximizing social media. "After all, in the not so distant future, all media will be social." says Bob Greenberg in Adweek Magazine yesterday. I agree with Bob's sentiment that all media will be social and there are a lot of really amazing things going on in this space.
If you have any examples please leave ideas for me to pass along to Soph. She is working on her talk and over the next few days anybody interested in this topic please contribute your thoughts. Since StrawberryFrog's DNA is Cultural Movements, if you have great examples of movements send them along as well.
t appears that the panel discussion, which will be led by Microsoft's Mark Young and include Omnicom's Organic CCO Conor Brady; Razorfish's creative director Marc Lucas; The Barbarian Group's CEO Benjamin Palmer; and WPP Grey NY's COO Tor Myrhen, and StrawberryFrog's Sophie Kelly, is a popular event and tickets are going quickly.
The rest of the week has some terrific speeches, discussions and debates. You can find a list of them on advertisingweek.com/events
You can catch Sophie's panel on StrawberryFrog's Facebook page.
The advertising world is spinning with change, with an ever expanding array of new media. It's exciting. It's also dizzying. But still, brands need big ideas inspired by universal insights that are executed in a multiplicity basis.
What mindset is needed to create these ideas?
One way to approach this is with a mind that is open and receptive. A mind that's not limited by agendas, roles and expectations. The great Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi, said, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
It's an interesting thought that in today's advertising world, radical change has brought all of us back to the starting line. From this vantage point you learn to look with fresh eyes.
Clear magazine has been a truly great inspiration for me since I moved to the US from Amsterdam a few years ago. Every issue puts a smile on my face. Detroit based, this independent fashion and lifestyle magazine must be one of the most original and best photographed magazines in the fashion world. I think it's roots in Detroit give it a pedigree in the car world, though this is first and foremost a style magazine. It always has a playfulness about it in the editorial but also in the choice of materials used to make the magazine - like rubber covers and plastic pages. It's certainly a challenger to the standard beauty magazines serving up new perspective yet with nod to the great ones like Horst and Newton. Clear has its own page on FB here>>>
If you are interested in Swedish design, or modern design from around the world evaluated and written about by a renowned Swedish journalist (in English) check out this amazing blog entitled: Things Can Always Get Better.
Here is a wonderful example of a theme:
The world’s first zero carbon emission house lives in Denmark. The Active House, as it’s called, was developed to be a more comfortable and user-friendly response to the Passive House, which has set the standard for sustainable living in the last decade. Passive houses rely on incredibly effective insulation, plus a heat exchanger that warms fresh air on the way in during winter. A true Passive House has no conventional heating system because, in theory, it doesn't need one. In practice, owners tend to install back-up systems, because it's no fun even to risk being cold.
Over the next two weekends, New York's Governor's Island will host a design bonanza curated by Droog, the grande-dame of high-concept design. Curated by Ramakers, the co-founder of the pre-eminent Dutch design collective, Droog, the exhibit is part of NY400, a series of events around town sponsored by the Netherlands. Marking the 400th anniversary of the first Dutch exploration of New York.
Droog are an incredible design firm and I was totally inspired while working with them on a pan-European campaign a few years back, together with Mark Chalmers (who was CD at SF at the time and now runs Perfect Fools).
The campaign we created out of StrawberryFrog Amsterdam was to develop a pan-European campaign for Hoegaarden, the Belgian white beer. It was called "Welcome to the Hoegaarden". It was intended to awaken a premium beer brand in a saturated market is by thinking outside the crate. Our client at Interbrew envisioned Hoegaarden as a ‘discovery brand’ that trendsetters find for themselves and then talk about. To achieve this, we promoted a new culture that nudged Europe’s discerning middle youth away from laid back lounging towards fresh air and open-minded experiences. To stimulate trial, we were the first agency in the world to turn SMS virals into beer tokens. Our 'Sundaay Services' enticed the in-crowd to hang out at pre-selected bars. We worked with Droog and designer Frank Tjepkema to create the evolution of "lounge", with a new garden-themed furniture set for a new kind of bar scene, positioning Hoegaarden as a unique, natural drink that refreshes the mind. A ‘Saampler Tour’ led our curious target to the coolest DJs, the kookiest furniture and hip new art and fashion events throughout the year.
If you have time the Droog design experience in NYC is a must see.
I’m in bed in my pajamas at the moment writing on my macAir, still dusty from too much airplane cabin air. I'm somewhere between Europe and New York, and early calls to Mumbai and Sao Paulo. Welcome to my day.
I just got back from Amsterdam and some other stops in Europe. Things are really starting to get homogenized out there. Lots of new Starbucks on lots of corners. Style is homogenized everywhere. I think it’s because of the force of the internet that is bringing us together as one. You could be in Amsterdam, Mumbai, Sao Paulo or New York and you see a really homogenized look happening. In Geneva there are the small old 1920s French bistros with hand drawn paintings of people of another world along with a delicious rösti a national dish (like a large latke) – but you have to look hard for it among the sushi bars. Talking about sushi, Japan is still a place you always see young people pushing the boundaries a lot in style, but overall fashion has become very conservative. The economic mood of the world has added to this. Flair is out, beige and black are in.
It used to be that traveling influenced a person’s style. Of course this still happens. Last week in Amsterdam I saw a very cool look of sneakers that I hadn’t seen before. I was very interested in these sneakers because they were hand painted, individually made for each consumer. It reminded me of an incredible shoe designer in India named Savia Jane who makes the most extraordinary sneakers, hand painted by hand.
When I started StrawberryFrog in Amsterdam with Karin, we used to travel with the agency every year someplace. Ballooning over the Ardennes, Marrakesh, Iceland, Istanbul – every year 100 frogs would gather from different places and conference while experiencing the local flavor and inspiration, visiting media companies, creative companies, inspiring clients and thinkers. Reykjavik was the craziest trip. Istanbul brought frogs from the Americas and Europe together.
Travel is a part of me and a part of the agency. Our clients are global so there's a lot of travel for meetings and for research and in new and different organizational structures. One assignment I've been working on is a huge ecommerce/social media site for a massive Brazilian beauty brand that will span three continents. Lots of airmiles and hotel breakfasts behind that work.
Traveling has always been a passion. I have time to think more when I travel. But travel is a double-edged sword. I am sure that anyone who travels with work knows how lonely it can be when you’re wide awake in the Park Amsterdam hotel at 3 am in the morning in between two important client presentations. The hotel has recently undergone a massive renovation and was a delight to stay in. But I really do love the people I work with – they are truly inspiring especially when we are traveling, and we can laugh together when we are on the road delirious from lack of sleep and too many short haul flights and bad coffee.
One inspiration for me is Peter Beard the incredible African photographer who captures the adventure of travel, the way one must have it in your mind when you’re off to some new and distant land. It’s incredible to have his words and images in mind. There’s an amazing hotel in Arles France of all places that has one of the best original collections of his work, called Nord Pinus. A gem of a place.
Well…here’s to melatonin, and off to dreamland.
In this world of social media and an ever growing set of communication tools, it's easy to miss the big picture. My partner in Brazil Peralta has written a wonderful story that brings all the pieces together. Enjoy.
SHARE THE LOVE
by Alexandre Peralta, CEO of StrawberryFrog Brazil.
History goes back a long way. But it is still repeating itself, in other ways, with other people. (See the WSJ today).
I was on Twitter for professional interest (anybody who wants to talk to the new consumer these days must really get to know every possible tool that may be employed for this purpose). Soon after I registered, a blank space, 140 characters long, beckoned me irresistibly to post my first tweet (that's what posts on Twitter are called). My watch informed me that I only had 5 spare minutes before I had to leave for a meeting. The first thing that came to mind was "We are hiring graduated journalist. Contact Patricia: 55 11 3642-9300". We actually needed a person of this description and Patricia, the agency's Planning VP, was in charge of finding someone to fill this position. So, I decided to help her out.
In the taxi, coincidentally together with Patricia, only about 5 or 10 minutes later, on our way to the meeting, she passed me her mobile phone and said, "Have you seen this?" On the screen of her mobile phone there was a press release from “Bluebus”, a local on-line advertising news website: "Peralta says through Twitter that StrawberryFrog Brazil is hiring a recently graduated journalist and requests applicants to call Patricia on 3642-9300". Before I could say anything, my own mobile rang. It was Paula, our assistant: "I don't know what you've done, but the phones here in the agency are ringing off the hook with people asking about a vacancy for a journalist".
It is important to emphasize: all this happened literally 5 or 10 minutes after I sent out that tweet.
We received more than 500 CVs from people interested in the vacancy, all resulting from that single tweet. That was my introduction to Twitter, and since then I have been an assiduous user, not just for professional purposes, but also as a regular person.
One of the best things about Twitter is its great potential for making a message go viral and the way you can use it both as a communications tool and as a means of self-expression; but another great thing doubtlessly is, as you start to follow people and institutions, you can create a customized page perpetually at your service with the subjects that most interest you.
Right at this moment, for example, as I am writing this article, I have tweets from CNET, Veja magazine, HSM, Ana Clara Costa, CNN, Jornal Nacional, Sally Hogshead, BBC News, Time, Trend Hunter, BBC News, Media Week, NY Times, MoMa and my father, all mixed together on the same page.
And that has become part of my daily routine. It doesn't matter whether you are in a taxi, in the office, in a restaurant waiting for your meal or finishing up a meeting, the subjects and the people that interest you will be there, waiting for you in the palm of your hand - oh, and this is very important: having Twitter on your mobile device changes the whole experience - for the better.
I often see people trying to compare Twitter with Facebook, stating their preferences for one or the other, but its kind of like trying to compare a banana with an orange.
Facebook has its status area (“What’s on your mind?”) that, like a tweet, is also there for you to post a short message; however, there are a series of other resources, such as photo album storage, applications to remind you about friends' birthdays, movie and pop star fan clubs, and several others, appropriate to a more personal use of the service.
Twitter, on the other hand, is less about "what I am doing" and more about "what I have to say". It is information. Generally, among the 140 characters of a tweet, you find a link that will take the recipient to a website or a blog that complements the information.
In fact, there is another curious phenomenon that also demonstrates the power of Twitter: in the beginning, it was usually used to generate traffic to blogs; today, however, it appears that this sequence of importance has been reversed. Twitter has become the main channel and blogs are now the supporting service - given the restriction to 140 characters, blogs have often become just an address to host some additional lines about the subject in question.
But the most important point about this whole discussion is that today people are surrounded by a lot of tools to help them express what interests them - and, regarding our profession, the social element of marketing is a very important conductor.
What passes from one person to another by "word-of-mouth", according to surveys, is generally about 5 to 10 times more efficient than any other form of marketing.
C2C is the new B2C. In other words, if before we were used to getting results with a top-down kind of communication model ("business to consumers"), welcome now to the modern world where, to get the result, you need to have the consumer spreading your message to other consumers ("consumer to consumers").
When Burger King said on Facebook "Ditch 10 Facebook friends and get a free Whopper", where the deleted friends got a message saying they had been traded for a Whooper, it was getting the consumers themselves to spread the message that "Whopper is incredible" to other consumers, all for only the cost of a hamburger.
Amazon was the pioneer in creating tools capable of making consumers share messages with other consumers through their “Share The Love” setup. If you have ever bought a book on Amazon, then you've had this experience: after you pay, they ask you if you know anybody that may be interested in buying a copy of the book you have just bought. What do you get out of it? Ten percent in credits. What does your friend get out of it? A ten percent discount if he or she buys the book within a week. In other words, he or she will not be upset with you for having received this e-mail. Furthermore: there is a context for this recommendation that makes it non-invasive, which is the content of the book itself.
Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist at Amazon, calls this the “Social Data Revolution”.
“Customers who bought this item also bought...”. Customers very often don't know what they want. When they come across reviews from other customers, they discover what they want and they make a decision. They trust the comments of other customers more than marketing messages.
Rather than books and other things that you can buy there, Amazon offers something much more important: to help the customer in his or her decision-making process. This is the core business of the enterprise.
This "Social Data Revolution" has also brought on other opportunities, like using the internet not just for selling products, by also for providing customer feedbacks to enterprises.
Visit a website called Flatseats.com. The website features an evaluation of the executive- and first-class seats on several airlines, created from comments posted by passengers that flew on them. Consumers can vote for the best companies - and they really do vote.
The social network is an environment where, if I love a product, I am going to want to tell my friends, I am going to want to share this information through a post, a tweet or a link.
Having others talk about you is always much stronger than you talking about yourself. The best media that you can have nowadays is people.
In his book “Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the importance of identifying the "influencers", who are necessary for spreading all and every type of message. Influencers are nothing more than people who can reach everybody else for free. This changes a little the way we used to think when we put together our plans: instead of how many people we are going to reach, today its more important to ask whom are we going to reach?
Influencers can be activists, as long as you give them content. For a message to grow and spread from a simple spark, it needs to represent something larger.
Talking specifically about marketing, consumers don't want to buy brands anymore; they want to buy the causes that brands represent.
Brands that want to have greater and deeper meaning in the lives of people need to have a cause; products that have a meaning go beyond their product category, they need to represent a struggle.
If you are a company like Quaker, in Mexico, you need to say that you have a product that improves people's health, and you can't do that simply by presenting the promise of the product. Especially because, how many products of the same category, or so many others, say that they improve people's health? No, the promise of a product needs to ride the wave of a greater cause. What if, instead of saying "Improve your health", we say "Arrange a meeting with someone you love 20 years from now"? And what if we make on-line tools available to enable people to make their invitations and get these invitations to their intended targets?
However, it is clear that enterprises can only defend causes which have some relevance to them. Because this is also the age of "Radical Transparency", a term forged by the psychologist and best-selling author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman. The name of the game, in the current age, is legitimacy. Consumers value authenticity and reject mere marketing strategies and whatever is not part of the daily activities and the values of the company. Having sustainability in your ads and not having it in your actions, or the way you relate to the entire chain of production, has a name - its called "greenwashing".
In the age of "Radical Transparency", there's no point in trying to hide. The consumer can find out everything and anything about your company. All you have to do is type a few words into Google. Or visit a few websites.
Want to know which enterprises are committed to the solving the global warming issue? Climate Counts.org. Want to know about product safety, toxicity and sustainability? GoodGuide.com. Greenpeace has an on-line Consumer's Guide, which talks about the use of transgenic components in food.
It may not even be possible anymore to keep your industrial formulas or the ingredients of your products a secret from consumers. The Hannaford supermarket chain in Maine, for example, gives grades to its products in the food sector, based on nutritional evaluations carried out by the Yale and Dartmouth universities and these grades later feature on the prices labels on store shelves.
Accordingly, with the necessary tools offered by the social network in hand, the consumer has earned the opportunity not just to take better purchasing decisions, to help friends and other consumers to take better purchasing decisions, to spread messages, to be the influencer and the media, but also and, especially, to decide which enterprises will be part of our lives today and in the future.
It WAS bold of marketing directors to invest in digital and social media campaigns a year ago. In revisionist marketing thinking, if you hadn’t done it, you’d be crazy. If you’re the least bit curious about how digital and social media is impacting your brand, I’ll call your attention to a weeklong series about media growth in the F.T. (see link below).
I’m also trying to demonstrate one of the biggest changes happening in the world of media. Namely that friends are shaping culture more than editors, by doing exactly what I am doing for you: Directing you to an interesting series of articles in the F.T.
“Traditional news portals and sites are being spurned as sharing content makes news personal,” shouts the headline in today’s F.T.
What does this mean exactly and why should you care?
Well, for one, you need to fish where your fish are swimming. A year ago, I started my day with a peek at the NY Times online edition and then a quick peek at the Yahoo. Today, the first thing I’m doing in the morning is Facebooking with friends and clients alike, then popping over for a quick fix on Twitter, and occasionally I jump over to Digg and StumbleUpon and Tumblr. In this process I am scanning more news stories highlighted by my friends and less news stories selected by daily editors. On Saturdays, I pre-read the NY Times on my iPhone and then leisurely re-read the paper on Sunday mornings over a latte. My favorite pieces are the Op-Ed’s and alas editors are still providing a most valuable purpose. Less than 2MM people read the WSJ newspaper each day and over 14MM people read the WSJ online, and increasingly links to stories are moving to people via word of mouth. The Huffington Post, for example, says that 20% of their audience comes into their content via social media and friends links. Wow.
How are mainstream news organizations reacting? What can you as a brand manager learn from this? The New York Times is aggressively promoting its Twitter feed (it has 1.7 MM followers) and it’s Facebook page (it has almost 500K fans).
Implication? As the F.T. says blatantly: The broad strokes are clear. Media companies’ efforts, coupled with the increase of sharing online have effectively turned social networks into massive engines of recommendation, responsible for directly and ever larger amount of content and viewership. Take away for brand managers? You are relying on the kindness of strangers to spread the word about your brand to their friends. So you need to ensure that your message isn’t too narrow or boring that they simply won’t want to spread it around.
Bigger implication? According to the F.T.: Editors are losing ground to a broader array of interests and contents. Social networks are changing the way people navigate the information landscape, share and consume media. So again, if you want to attract a mass following of consumers to your brand, a narrowcasting of your message will be less likely to attract the kind of pull that would make a $1 million dollar investment turn into a $20MM investment with lots of legs and a rich enough idea that would unleash tremendous creativity and inspiration on the web.
Asking friends to spread a boring message around is like asking your friend to wear your father’s old tattered pajamas. No one wants to spread a bland message around for fear of coming across as, well, really boring to their friends. They want a story; they want an edge, something cool and inspiring.
Headline? The role of the brand in this increasingly fragmenting media world is to crystallize a movement that is highly relevant to as broad a range of the population as possible, one that inspires strangers to pass the message on to other friends, and in the process tie this movement to your brand idea in such a way that you get your core message across. Think of it as putting your surfboard on a wave and riding the momentum instead of paying money to punch a hole in the natural movement of the oceans (traditional paid TV and banner advertising).
Oh, by the way, here's the link I promised you above here >>>.