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Viral Marketing. (That’s an ad?) January 25, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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2 comments

old spice 1There are two forms of marketing which are very effective, and yet very hard to pin down to a strategy. One is guerrilla marketing, and the other is viral marketing. Lets have a look at viral marketing.

Viral marketing is when an idea, a video, or a tweet, or a picture, is circulated around the internet at the speed of thought, exposed to millions of people, and remains in the social consciousness for a long time afterwards. Just think of the ‘Old Spice Guy’. The commercial first aired during the 2010 Superbowl in the USA. The ad, on you Tube, had close to a quarter million views in the 2 hours after the Superbowl, and was increasing 100 000 every few hours after that. The ad was so well thought of, it even garnered positive responses on 4Chan!

Following on from the success of this, the marketing company behind this viral hit then had a 2-day marathon of video responses to questions raised on Twitter. Again, this was a huge success. Responses came back to the twitter questions with amazing speed and hilarity. The company earned nearly 11 MILLION video views, 29 000 Facebook fans and 58 000 new twitter followers. And, to hammer home the point of the viral marketing aspect, and how popular it was, the actual Old Spice product was barely mentioned in any of the video responses.

More recently, Dick Smith has been the fortunate recipient of viral advertising. A funny, tongue-in-cheek ad he created for Australia, playing off his name, encouraging everyone to eat his Australian made products, or, ‘eat dick for Australia day’, was banned from prime time early evening TV because it contained potentially offensive material.  dick_smith_ad_640x360

This news hit the internet, and almost immediately people were posting links to the ‘uncut and original’ ad on social media. Dick had interviews on talk shows, and on Sunrise, the hosts even congratulated him on having his ad shown on their show for free.

There is, of course, a formula to viral marketing. But, it is a formula whose ingredients are volatile and may not mix well. You need the right balance to make it work. You may have seen companies try and build a viral marketing campaign and fail. One of the best (or worst) examples was when the Chevy car company in America, opened it’s advertising space for people to make their own commercials for the newly launched SUV, the Tahoe. You could choose from different clips showing the vehicle doing, SUV stuff. You could run them in any order, have inspirational music, and then put your own messages up there.

You can possibly imagine the result when The Internet had finished with this marketing campaign. If you would like some help imagining that, have a look at these great examples – Great Padded Cell, or this one, encouraging you to Murder Your Family , language warning on that second one.

A viral marketing campaign, as I said, has a formula, but is not something that you can force, crowbar into popular culture. You need a reason for people to share it- an emotional connection, a ‘what the…?’ reaction, something is really funny and witty. You need the call to action to be subtle (depending on your message). That call to action can be to actually share the video, or as in the case of ‘Help for Paws – how and iPhone saved the lives of 5 puppies‘  the call to action is obviously- donate NOW! And, you need a good story to go with it. It needs to be compelling, hold your attention and make you want to watch all of it.

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Guerilla Marketing (What did I just see?) January 25, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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guerilla6

This is one of those phrases which, ironically, is hard to pin down to a definition. It is not Viral Marketing, which we will look at in a future blog post, it is more having your brand seen, often in sneaky and cheeky ways.

How many times have you seen a bunch of guys, painted up and chanting at a sporting event? If you are in the crowd, you are looking right at them. If you’re watching TV, chances are the cameras have focussed on them during a lull in play. What if those guys were wearing something with your brand on it? Not blatantly out in the open, but some branded shorts, or a flag in team colours and your company’s name on it? Suddenly, your brand name has reached millions of people, depending on the sport, and you haven’t had to pay a cent in sponsorship money.

Have you ever seen large golf umbrellas at the 18th hole on a PGA play off? The camera shows a vision of a professional golfer, concentration etched on their face. And in the back is an umbrella, in distinctive colours? You see a red umbrella with a swirl of white you think- cola. If you saw an orange umbrella with a white arrow? FedEx. Was there an actual paid commercial for either of these companies? Probably not.

There is a trick in making sure you are casually sitting where the camera will see you in the background. If you see a reporter on the street, standing behind hem but in the line of sight of the camera, with a logo visible, and there you have it. Or, as I have often seen on the morning breakfast shows, the windows which open on to the public, so you can see them live to air. Well, the people on the other side of the camera can see you too, waving and on your mobile phone. So why not take advantage of that and have a sign, a colour scheme, a printed t-shirt?

A fantastic example of guerrilla advertising was during the Sydney Olympics. The Triple J radio station held a competition – Beat The Drum. If you could get their Drum logo show to the widest audience possible, in a legal way, then you would win your rent paid, for a year, or all your bills paid for the year. The winner was a person who had seats right behind the medal podium at the swimming. Every time athletes stood there to get their medals and sing their national anthem, there was the Triple J drum logo.

Triple J paid nothing for the campaign, and trust me, there were plenty other attempts to get the logo out there. A woman on the Sydney foreshore with body paint; signs on busy freeways; costumes at rock concerts. Sure, there was a cost in the prize, but to have so many people getting their brand and logo out there?

It can be hit and miss, but if you can pull off an ingenious, subtly, but telling guerilla marketing campaign, the money made for very little outlay, could be significant.

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Guerrilla marketing gone wrong, with this man arrested at the 2004 Athens Olympics

Motion Sickness on the rollercoaster of writing life. January 10, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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I thought long and hard about writing this here, but then I thought- this is a blog about me as a writer. I am an author of fiction, I am a professional writer with clients whom I write for. But all of this is my writing experience, which is why I started this blog. I won’t mention names, since they are irrelevant when it comes to my experience, or my impact of their actions upon me. But those of you close to me, will know whassup. Yes, I just used the word wassup. pony 1

 

In one week I have crashed, and then risen, in regards to what people think of me as a writer. With the support of family and friends, and wife, I chose to become a full-time professional writer. The thing I had been quietly telling people I was good at, I chose to actually tell the world- I am good at this. Writing is my passion, it is what I am here to do.

This decision was scary. The past mumblemumble months have been scary. 2013 is looking to be awesome, but, it hasn’t happened yet, so it is still scary. Having less than $100 to your name but still having to write STUFF, can be a very scary, soul-squeezing thing to do.

So, this week I was following up on a job. I have had some good leads of late, creative people who have a job, and need to hire a writer. It’s an agency model, but in miniature. I like it. A friend tells me I would be perfect to work in an agency, so this is, kind of, like training wheels. I think. Hmm, metaphor went a little screwy there.

Anyway, the project lead is unavailable, and in my puppy-dog-like keenness to get the job completed and make client happy, I rang him directly to obtain some feedback about a revision he had asked for.

Now, before I go any further, let me just say to those playing at home – this is not a wise idea. You only ever liaise with the person who hired you. If someone comes to you and says- I need help with a current job, you only talk to them. If a client hires you directly, you speak to them. Never cut out the middle man. But, I was keen to impress. Let me continue.

It was a brief conversation, however, as the gentleman said to me- “In short, I don’t like it. Either the brief you were given was not very clear, or you’re not very good at what you do.”

I ended that conversation quickly, assuring the client that I would speak with my guy when he comes back from break, and we will fix whatever, something, thanks, bye. That statement ripped the guts from me. I was left utterly stunned and literally shaking. No one, ever, has told me ‘to my face’, or ear, in this case, that I was possibly not good at what I do.

I took a HUGE leap of faith and risk to be a freelance writer because I had finally nutted up the courage in myself to say- you know what, I am good enough for this. And then suddenly, in … eight words, I am floored. My whole world is suddenly in chaos. What do I do? I’m not good as a writer? Does this mean I will have to go back to retail? Customer Service? Work my way up through office admin to a level of middle management and be a slave wage office monkey and OH MY GOD! (No offense intended to those who are in the white-collar work force. This is my brain going nuts, not my actual opinion.)

The first thing I did was ring my dad. Hey, I may be (mature age) years old, but still, I had to ring my dad. I then found a couple of people online and went- this guy just said stuff! I then had to go for a walk, which rid me of the jitters, but I still had that hole in my heart. I then had a slouch on the couch with my wife, and started to feel better.

All of these wonderful people reassured me that I am a good writer, and it is possibly something to do with the brief, or the client might not be clear about what they want, and when they saw what they DIDN’T want, lashed out at the person who produced it, without possibly taking time to think of constructive feedback, etc etc By later that evening, while not back on the horse, I was tentatively leading it around the corral and waiting for the right time to possibly get back in the saddle while no one was watching.

The next day dawns upon my world. I am still doing work, finishing up the edit and proofreading of a book, re-writing an awesome ‘about us’ page for a client, who is linking his staff to super heroes. I like it. I keep the basic structure of the piece, get some grammar into it, put some ‘superhero words’, like POW and FLASH and .. stuff, into it. I then wring my hands for an hour or so because of what was said the day before.

NO! I will get this out there, I cannot stop everything I am doing, because clients have asked me to do work! So I send it to this gentleman. And his response was – “I love it! Great work! It has my ideas but reads like velvet!”

In less than 24 hours I went from all the way down there, to all the way up there, but not with a look of glee on my face, more a look of – wtf just happened? holytaco---2-1279780296

Bad experiences will happen, I have been told this, and I have experienced this. But, looking at the statistics, more people say I am a good writer than those who say I am not. But isn’t it interesting how easily someone can be affected by negative opinions of themselves?

As I write this, I still have a lot of work lining up to do. I am still a little shaken, and will be for a few weeks, until I get back into that rhythm of writing, back into my comfort zone. The job for the person who thinks I might not be very good, is still to be reviewed and completed. So, I am not ‘there’, yet. But, I am hardier than I have been in the past. I am closer to the ‘fuck you I so am totes an awesome writer’.