Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toyota Lets Fans Customize Race Cars

In spite of the fact the Toyota brand has hit a few PR speed bumps recently, they are still coming up with some amazing work that extends beyond just TV, beyond just digital, but into a level of integration that allows Nascar fans (some of the most passionate sports fans in the world) to engage with the brand in a very deep way.

Through Sponsafier, fans could log in, design their own Nascar body, submit their car for voting (by the people of course), and have a chance for their design to become the official pace car of the 2010 Nascar Sprint All Star Race.

As evidence of the kind of buzz this has created, a simple search for "Sponsafier" on the internet reveals hundred of blog posts, forum posts, etc. in which people are asking friends, family, and the patrons of the internet to follow a link to vote for their fresh design.

Great TV spots, too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Future of Advertising: What Sci-Fi Didn't Tell You

As children we read science fiction books, many of which had a setting that took place in the time which we now live. Time travel existed, cars flew, and teleporting one’s self into work each morning would have been routine. Sci-fi authors wrote about many of these extraordinary advances in technology, as well as their inherent positives and challenges. But few, if any, made reference to how advertisers and media companies would embrace change and prosper, or reject change and fail in this futuristic landscape.

In the future, traditional media isn’t dead. Every day, millions of people watch ads on TV, hear them on the radio, read them in magazines, or commute past them on their way to work. Some brands still find success messaging exclusively in traditional media, but the audience’s attention is far too divided and media is far too fragmented for most 21st century brands to get by just “talking to” their customers. The messaging can no longer be one-sided; it must turn to “talking with” or “engaging with” the people. Digital media has become and will continue to evolve as the ultimate tool for dialogue and engagement between brands and their customers.

The top brands of today haven’t built themselves using traditional ads. In a Brand Channel study inquiring about which brands have had the strongest global impact, respondents top-ten brands included: Google, Apple, YouTube, Wikipedia, Starbucks, Nokia, Skype, Ikea, Coca Cola, and Toyota. Four of these brands didn’t even exist more than 15 years ago, four of these brands are entirely internet-based and produce no tangible product, but even more astonishingly, seven out of these ten brands built themselves into what they are today without heavy weight in traditional ads at all (Ho & White, 2009). Instead, they are built through interactions, user-generated content, and brand advocacy. To put the importance of brand advocacy into perspective, a Weber Shandwick advocacy study showed that “word of mouth is the number one purchase decision influencer, even opinions of strangers online trump advertising” (Striefler, 2009).

The tools that will allow brands to succeed in the future will be those that allow them to tell their story, listen to the stories of their consumers, and engage in a dialogue with them and their communities, both physical and virtual. This philosophy of engagement and social interaction is best served with fully-integrated campaigns. Media isn’t as cut and dry as it used to be and advertisers must think bigger. Every touch-point between a brand and its consumer is media, and when brands find ways to “talk with” their customers at all touch-points, the conversation deepens and so does the relationship.

This future of advertising isn’t science fiction, it is happening now. Brands can go digital, they can go social, and they can be in places that their competitors wouldn’t think to go. But there is one giant variable, and that is the brand’s behavior. We as advertisers are building relationships with our consumers. Just like a marital relationship, our brands’ relationship with their customers must be built on trust. In order to build trust, brands must be transparent; the days of sweeping mistakes, faulty products, or ethical faux pas under the rug are over. There is too much at stake and information is too easy to obtain and disseminate.

The sci-fi books being written today won’t tell us what specific digital tools we will be using five years from now, but it is guaranteed that digital media, social interaction/engagement, fully-integrated media strategies, and trust will all play critical rolls in the future of advertising.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pecha Kucha Night/OC Vol #1

Just found this pic of me from last week's inaugural Orange County Pecha Kucha night. A very cool night of presentations made possible by @nguyenduong and @buddingculture that featured such presenters as Dave Swartz of Medl Mobl and Jon Rose, surfer, writer, and photographer. Definitely looking forward to the next one in January.

Barrels in Baja


Today marks my first day back at work after a three day weekend in Northern Baja for a surf trip with some friends from my ad agency as well as some other friends of ours. We try to pull off this trip every quarter but lately the trips aren't nearly as well attended as they once were (before drug cartels started cutting people's heads off, striking fear into the hearts of surfers). This time around we had a decent turn out with 6 guys in attendance and a forecast that said it was going to look like this:
We ended up scoring some great waves in empty line ups at several top secret locations.


The trip was a success. We got overhead surf, uncrowded waves, came back relatively unscathed, and somehow never got pulled over by the policia. I am definitely looking forward to the next one.

Vans Kicks Ass in Q3

Just read today on Boardistan that VF (parent company of Vans, Pro-Tec, North Face, and Reef) has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.60 per share, an increase of $.01 per share. I don't dabble heavily in the stock market but I do dabble heavily in the action sports industry and am stoked any time a brand rooted in skate and shred culture is kicking ass, especially in such tough economic times. I am also stoked for all of my friends working over at Vans who know that their jobs are secure.
To put it into perspective, Boardistan posted just four posts later that Billabong's profits are down 13% in 2009.

Times are tough out there. Pray for snow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

All in a days work

Worked to design user experience into a product, learned how to make a documentary, saved the world, and learned how to design a great game. And that was just in day one of the Planningness conference.

Looking forward to day two tomorrow.

Mark Lewis rocks for putting this conference together. I will hopefully give a more detailed report on the event after this weekend.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Broken in HB

Went out for a quick surf in HB today before work with a couple of friends. It looked like it was going to be a fun day with some off shore winds, shoulder high waves, and maybe even a few barrels.

About 20 minutes into the session I dropped in on a left, got pitched, landed with my back on my board, and did this...

Kind of a bummer to break a perfectly good board, but on a happy note, I have had an outpouring of generous offers from friends to let me buy a board for cheap, or to loan me one until its feasible for me to buy a new one. I must say I have some pretty nice friends.