9

Super Bowl Sunday night, a fantastic group of new and old friends gathered on Twitter to create the #BZBowl. The #BZBowl Twitter chat, sponsored by The Brainzooming Group, provided the opportunity to share perspectives on how various brands elected to invest a minimum of $3 million each to tell their stories through 2011 Super Bowl ads. As we found in last year’s #BZBowl, sitting at a computer or on a smartphone for 4 hours of tweeting is ridiculously fatiguing. Despite that, over the past week the #BZBowl hashtag registered nearly 2,500 tweets from almost 400 individuals. The Twitter transcript for this time period comes in at 86 pages!

The consensus about half way through the evening was that both the 2011 Super Bowl and the Super Bowl ads were both pretty lackluster.

The second half, however, redeemed the game (which wound up going down to the last minutes before the Green Bay Packers pulled out the win over the Pittsburgh Steelers), and to a lesser extent, the commercials. At one point, a number of #BZBowl participants were hoping and praying for a quick end to the proceedings. I asked the group if it just might be a collective pissy attitude making us all feel that way. We convinced ourselves, however, that we were fine; it was all a function of how bad everything we were watching was!

Suffice it to say that once I got past all the bad ads, it was pretty easy to identify my take on the best Super Bowl ad in 2011: the Detroit-centric ad for the Chrysler 200. The Chrysler Super Bowl ad best matched story, images, music, drama, and passion to engage viewers. In a year when so many ads seemed to have walked away from fundamental principles of engaging creative, this Super Bowl ad from Chrysler got so much right:

  • It started in a familiar setting, yet its use of industrial images differentiated it from the other commercials surrounding it. The depiction of average people also placed the ad in sharp contrast to many other ads.
  • Unlike many of the Super Bowl ads, it uses narration throughout to tell the story.
  • Despite the initial sense of mystery about what the ad might be about, by the fifth shot (just 8 seconds in), it clearly established Detroit as its location.
  • Throughout the rest of the commercial, there’s interplay between contrasts: luxury and industry, adversity and hope, bad news and an underdog’s determination, blue collar workers and a celebrity (Eminem).
  • The music bed throughout the commercial ties to the message, the images, and the sense of drama and mystery that move the commercial along.

In polling the #BZBowl participants, the Chrysler ad was getting a lot of nods for one of the best ads of the evening.

Throughout the rest of the week, we’ll be having a variety of guest posts recapping the Super Bowl ads from a whole variety of perspectives. I’ll be weighing in with more thoughts as well. We’ll finish out the week with several of the bloggers appearing Friday on the “Smart Companies Radio” show hosted by Kelly Scanlon on Hot Talk KCTE 1510 AM in Kansas City, and streamed live on the web. I’ll be sitting in as guest host as we cover lessons growing businesses can take away (both the do’s and the don’ts) from Super Bowl ads to incorporate into their own marketing efforts. Mike Brown

For a creative boost, download the free Brainzooming ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to enhance your creative perspective! For an organizational boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3

Super Bowl XLV is today, and you’re invited to join us for #BZBowl 2011 as a great group of cool marketers, branding experts, creative instigators, authors, and pop culture mavens create a running commentary on how brands will be using the biggest advertising, marketing, (and social media?) event of the year.

BZ Bowl Official Start Time

  • 6:00 pm EST / 5:00 pm CST (This is the official broadcast start, although we’ll be tweeting before the game broadcast)

Participating on Twitter with Hashtags

  • To participate in the BZ Bowl, simply add #BZBowl to your tweets.
  • To get your tweet seen in other Super Bowl Twitter streams, you can also use: #BrandBowl, #SuperBowlAds, #SBXLV, or #ADBowl
  • There’s a widget at the bottom of this post to track #BZBowl tweets.
  • Beyond using Twitter, Tweetdeck, or Hootsuite, Tweetchat is a convenient site to log in with the #BZBowl hashtag to track and share your tweets on Super Bowl ads. The great thing about Tweetchat is it automatically adds the #BZBowl hashtag to each tweet so you don’t have to remember.
  • All the #BZBowl tweets will be archived at wthashtag.com.

#BZBowl Participants

Preview Super Bowl Ads Ahead of Time

Going to a Super Bowl Party? Take the #BZBowl Super Bowl Ad Clichés

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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2

On Wednesday, Barrett Sydnor shared the “Cracking the Ad Code” model he’ll be using this year to evaluate Super Bowl advertising. As one reader emailed last night, the model has a lot of elements to think about with a Super Bowl ad when you’re attending a Super Bowl party.

Great point!

So for those looking for a little simpler Brainzooming approach to following along with Super Bowl ads, we created a party version of the #BZBowl game. You can download and print out these #BZBowl party game sheets (there are 20 different sheets in the PDF), and the first time one of the Super Bowl ad clichés on your sheet is used, you receive the associated score in that quarter (or during half time).

Pass the sheets out at your party and give out prizes to the party guests who have the sharpest eyes for clichés and score the most points overall and during each time period.

Sorry though, you’ll have to supply the prizes.

And while you’re at it, join us live on Twitter, with the Super Bowl XLV broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. CST this Sunday, February 6, 2011. Share your opinions on Super Bowl ads by including #BZBowl in your tweets before, during, and after the game! – Mike Brown

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3

The Super Bowl has long been the sporting event of the year.  Over time, it has also become the biggest advertising event of the year.  Numerous major brands launch campaigns during Super Bowl, catapulting the price of a 30-second spot to around $3 million.

Social media, however, is starting to challenge the nature of Super Bowl advertising.  According to a recent survey from Lightspeed Research, a unit of WPP’s Kantar, 18% of people will look up ads online with smartphones on Super Bowl Sunday.  So, the internet has definitely became an integral part of Super Bowl advertising, and smart brands are learning how to leverage social media to make their ad campaigns work that much harder.

The shout out for the “smartest” brand in this area must go to Old Spice.  It’s an old brand that has been revitalized and reborn from the Super Bowl campaign Old Spice ran last year.  In an effort to improve sales, Old Spice launched The Old Spice Guy campaign that targeted men and “their ladies.”  (After all, the ladies are the ones shopping the aisle.)  The campaign launched with traditional tactics such as television commercials and print ads, plus online display banner ads.  On top of it all, there were Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube components. These tactics were designed to work together and reinforce each other.  This is what nirvana looks like for an integrated marketing campaign with both traditional and new media:  The Old Spice Guy from TV replies to tweets via YouTube videos!

The results say it all:

  • The campaign achieved 1.4 billion impressions.
  • Video views were 40 million per week.
  • Sales increased double digits.
  • Market share grew, challenging for segment leadership.

I haven’t even got to the smartest part of this whole campaign – this Super Bowl campaign DIDN’T INCLUDE a $3 million Super Bowl ad! The television commercial was released around the Super Bowl.  Then, the marketers bought key search terms.  So, when the 18% of people looked up “Super Bowl ads” online, they found have the Old Spice Guy!

It was genius!

And it called for a second act from the Old Spice Guy.

This year, all the forums for the Old Spice Guy to engage with fans have already been set up from the prior year.  Old Spice Guy is already posting on Facebook.  Tweets are flying.  Teasers are on YouTube.  It’s reported that a fan will have his/her own ad, and it will debut on Super Bowl Sunday.  The new Old Spice Guy TV commercial will start running on February 7, the day after Super Bowl Sunday, though I have no doubt that if you search for “Super Bowl Ads”, you will find the Old Spice Guy. – Jeannie Chan

This guest post was written by #BZBowl participant, Jeannie Chan. Jeannie is a passionate brand manager, who’s fueled by intellectual curiosity and caffeine.  While Jeannie has been a marketer for nearly a decade, each day still brings her new challenges.  She keeps tracks of it all on her blog CuriousMarketeer.com.

Guest Author

The Brainzooming blog has a wonderful group of guest authors who regularly contribute their perspectives on strategy, creativity, and innovation. You can view guest author posts by clicking on the link below.

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1

Super Bowl ad “best of” lists tend to rely on one of three perspectives:

While these lists are often entertaining and the comments potentially insightful, they generally lack any objective criteria that allow you to apply the success or failures of Super Bowl ads to your own situation.

In an attempt to provide criteria, last year #BZBowl, sponsored by The Brainzooming Group, used ratings from the SUCCES (Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotional, Stories) model the Heath Brothers explained in their book on effective communication, Made to Stick.  While this raised the Super Bowl ad analysis above “I liked it ‘cause I thought it was funny,” I’m not sure that an ad that hit on multiple parts of the SUCCES criteria is any better than one that hit really well on only one criteria.

In their book, however, the Heaths cite research on advertising creativity from a group of Israeli social scientists. That research showed award winning ads nearly always make use of a rather short list of tools. The researchers’ subsequent book, Cracking the Ad Code, describes the eight tools and two complementary principles present in nearly every ad professionals judge as award winning and audiences describe as “creative.”

Briefly, the eight tools are:

  • Unification – using an element of the medium or in its vicinity to deliver the message.
  • Activation – using the viewer as a resource to reveal the message.
  • Metaphor – exploiting symbols or cognitive frameworks that already exist in the mind of the viewer to deliver the message.
  • Subtraction – excluding an element of the medium considered to be indispensible.
  • Extreme Consequence – presenting an extreme—sometimes negative—situation that happens as a result of using the product.
  • Extreme Effort – depicting the absurd lengths a consumer will go to obtain a product or the extreme lengths a company will go to in order to please a consumer.
  • Absurd Alternative – showing a possible, though highly outlandish and impractical, alternative to the product being offered.
  • Inversion – suggests how horrible the world would be without the advertised product.

The two complementary principles are Fusion and Closed World:

  • Fusion involves melding the symbol for something, its story, and the product or brand you are advertising. If your story is connection and your product is a telecommunications, the fusion is your logo becomes the world, i.e. ATT.
  • Closed World uses symbols or ideas from the actual world of the product. E.g. detergents would use clothes, stains, washing machines, not flowers, sunshine and mountaintops.

Ads employing Fusion and Closed World are judged more creative.

So for this year’s #BZBowl, The Brainzooming Group will track Super Bowl ads to see which ads employ  these tools and principles. We will also look at a sampling of “best of” lists to see if use of those tools match up with the ads on those lists. Look for our #BZBowl analysis recap mid-week following the Super Bowl.

Remember, if you want to tweet your thoughts live on which Super Bowl ads are good, better, best (or even crappy), include the #BZBowl hashtag in your tweets and join us for the smart, intimate, and conversational Super Bowl ad chat before, during, and after the Super Bowl this Sunday, February 6, 2011!Barrett Sydnor

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming at gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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10

Southwest Airlines Communication Specialist Laurel Moffat spoke on the airline’s successful social media strategy at a January 25 Kansas City American Marketing Association lunch event. While the presentation was overly heavy on how many fans and followers Southwest Airlines has, underneath, there were many beneficial insights and lessons only a brand experienced in social media can provide. The great thing was Laurel’s social media lessons apply to smaller organizations as well:

Big or Small, “Listen and Personalize” Is Fundamental

Laurel’s recommendation was “listen first,” which is a fundamental lesson for any organization. Listening provides an understanding of content that’s meaningful and appropriate for your audiences. Once you get active, it’s important to personalize audience experiences. Some ways Southwest does this:

  • Team members handling Facebook duties sign their names to their responses.
  • Southwest tries to share “real” content on topics customers are thinking about relative to flying.
  • It encourages localization, with 20 local station Facebook pages covering specific Southwest airport operations groups.

Social Media Takes People, but Not as Many as You Think

Southwest Airlines is HUGE online:

  • 12 million monthly visits to its website
  • 1 million Twitter followers
  • 1.3 million Facebook likers
  • 29,000 reviewers on its Travel Guide

So how many people does it take to handle that volume of activity?

Try 5.

Yup, 5 people are in the Southwest Airlines emerging media group. The Southwest Airlines presence is monitored 24/7, including hourly check-ins during normal sleeping hours, with 2 people typically trading off responsibilities on major outposts.

So yes, it takes people to keep a social media effort going. If 5 people can monitor and manage it for a multi-billion corporation though, your much smaller organization doesn’t need an army to accomplish its objectives.

There Are Huge Opportunities in a Collaborative Social Media Strategy

With all the content Southwest Airlines creates to keep its presence fresh, a collaborative approach is vital.  Some collaborative examples that serve as lessons for everyone else:

  • There’s internal collaboration: marketing creates the feel for its social media channels, and the communications team (through its emerging media group) drives content. The legal and investor relations departments are also closely involved.
  • All emerging media team employees complete customer service training to ensure they are well-prepared to address customer questions and issues directly and expeditiously.
  • Southwest Airlines works with outside partners as well, including Kansas City-based VML and Buddy Media.
  • Southwest reaches out specifically to influencers: travel bloggers, brand fanatics, avid travelers, and importantly, employees all contribute content.
  • To increase broader employee involvement, Southwest organized an internal social media conference (BlogCon) in January 2011 to bring employee contributors into Dallas for overviews and training on social media and content creation (plus receiving Southwest Airlines-logoed Flip cameras). This is in addition to sponsoring a social media club within the company.

Oh, and About that Kevin Smith Deal

Without a doubt, the customer service and social media teams have to be linked. It can be very formal, but at a minimum, the communication channels and protocols need to be set. If nothing else, the Kevin Smith meltdown emphasized that important lesson. Laurel talked about the February 2010 situation in her presentation.

During Q&A, I asked about the degree of direct interaction between people monitoring social media channels and gate agents. In the Kevin Smith case, it seemed Smith was allowed to cool his heels for some time while tweeting with increasing fervor (and furor). Laurel said gate agents do get social media training and are taught that any customer incident can blow up dramatically through social media channels.

Even Veteran Players Don’t Know What Will Get Attention

Undisputed facts:

  • Southwest Airlines has been in social media since 2006 when it launched its blog.
  • It stepped up into Twitter and Facebook in 2007.
  • Southwest Airlines has an award-winning, significant presence.

All true, but you want to know my favorite comment of the day from Laurel?

Southwest Airlines is surprised by what videos on its YouTube site get the most views. One example? Its engine cleaning video is right near the top. For anyone continually baffled by what social media content gets viewed and shared, it’s comforting to know even the big guys can be left guessing!

Social Media Doesn’t Fix Bad Brands, but It Sure Benefits Already Great Ones

More undisputed facts:

  • Southwest Airlines is a strong brand.
  • It got into social media before it had everything figured out (it didn’t have a formal policy until the past year).
  • It’s had a few stumbles along the way, but it sees clear positives and high regard for its effort.

If not for Southwest being a strong brand already, getting into social media and having some stumbles could have been disastrous.

Lesson for everybody else: Fix your brand first, and then worry about fixing any inadequacies in your social media strategy.

Wrap-Up

If you were in Kansas City and didn’t make it out to this event, you should be kicking yourself. Thanks to Laurel and the Kansas City American Marketing Association for making this informative presentation happen!  – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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7

Model/Actress Brooklyn Decker’s photo is on the cover of this month’s Esquire, in case you hadn’t noticed. I didn’t didn’t notice it right away, since the arrival of the February Esquire with its rather sexually provocative cover was strategically obscured. Someone other than me (and there’s only me and my wife in the house) placed it under the current Bloomberg Business Week with its rather textually provocative cover, “Apple without Jobs.”

The Challenge

Perusing the table of contents, Esquire features a special flap on how to “read” the issue, including a blurb for fans of scavenger hunts. The paragraph describes the interactive strategy Esquire has concocted to allow readers to find more Brooklyn Decker photos beyond those in the physical magazine. The interactive steps involve:

  • Downloading a free app from iTunes
  • Going to a Barnes & Noble store
  • Locating the magazine aisles
  • Triggering the app, and
  • Pointing the phone around the store until additional Brooklyn Decker images (suitable for taking your picture with) appear on-screen, where they can be easily shared and tweeted.

In print, it seems like a lot to do, and very counter to earlier Brainzooming posts on not creating an interactive strategy that places undue burdens on your audience to engage with your brand and the how attractive simple interactive strategy can be. Five steps, including one step each in visiting both virtual and physical stores, seems onerous, even to interact with photos of Brooklyn Decker.

Is It Worth It?

Interestingly enough though, when you convert the instructions to video, as Esquire did on the video below showing the scavenger hunt in action, it just doesn’t seem like as big of a deal to clear five hurdles for a personal Brooklyn Decker photo to show your friends.

The number of hurdles aside, this interactive strategy from Esquire has several things going for it:

From what you’ve seen, what do you think about this? Would you jump over five hurdles to get your picture taken with a virtual Brooklyn Decker? Maybe you’ve gotten your photo taken with Brooklyn Decker already, so how was it? Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to see how we can help you define a brand strategy firmly tied to business yet recognizing the impact of social networking on your customers.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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