Coke to appoint ‘happiness ambassadors’ for social media mash-up

October 22, 2009

Coca-Cola has launched a new ‘social media mash-up’ campaign, that will see the brand appoint three ‘happiness ambassadors’ to travel the world and spread their happiness and enthusiasm wherever they go.

cokeAccording to Coke, the chosen group will meet ‘everyday people’ on their 150,000 mile journey and will share their experiences on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as they go. Their mission is to ‘share their happiness and enthusiasm with the rest of the world’.

Nine people have been shortlisted to fill the positions and Coke is asking the public to vote on who they think is most suited to the job. The project, dubbed Expedition206, is part of the wider Open Happiness campaign.

During the year-long initiative, the chosen group will visit 206 countries, representing Coke’s various markets. According to the current proposed route, they’ll hit the region around July/August 2010, at the height of summer temperatures.

Coke hopes that people across the world will act as local travel guides, suggesting places for the group to go and helping them find the secret of happiness.

The group leaves Madrid on 1 January 2010 and culminates in the US on 31 December 2010 after visiting all corners of the globe.

Twitter should charge for usage of service says investor

September 24, 2009

Twitter should charge for the use of its service via mobile phones if it is to convert its huge popularity into cash, one of its venture capital investors said to the UK’s Brand Republic today.

The suggestion comes as momentum builds behind Twitter’s plans to devise a business model that can generate money from its large number of users. Earlier this month, Twitter altered its terms and conditions to allow it to implement targeted advertising across the site.

Joi Ito, a Twitter investor who has previously invested in Flickr and, said: “When Twitter grows, SMS usage goes up. Sites are now able to promote across friends’ [Twitter] networks, traffic to certain kinds of sites increases. There’s a lot of things Twitter enables. And as a normal internet company would do, we’d look at who’s benefiting the most in this value chain, and where is there the least friction [for Twitter] to get paid.”

Ito said he was not speaking on Twitter’s behalf, but added that he believes “mobile will be an important part of the [Twitter] strategy.”

Separately, a new Twitter-based hotel booking engine has launched as brands attempt to figure out a way to capitalise on the Twitter phenomenon.

Inoqo claims to provide a solution for recession-hit hoteliers and travellers who need a hotel room at very short notice. The service opened to hotels this week in the USA, France, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa.

Twitter users can book a room by following one of Inoqo’s “CityStream” Twitter feeds to watch the last-minute deals as they roll in. Once a user has identified a deal, they place an order via Inoqo’s own booking system. The company is privately funded, and has plans for an affiliate program that will allow bloggers and website owners to embed widgets on their sites.

Adwomen ME to hold ‘Behind the Brand’ conference

September 24, 2009

Adwomen Middle East, the first ever women’s marketing and advertising platform in the region, is holding its first conference under the banner ‘Behind the Brand.’    btb-logo

The conference by the not-for-profit organisation, aims to create dialogue around the importance of driving and growing brands in the region, as well as providing quality networking opportunities for women brand builders and stakeholders from advertising & marketing.

The event will be held on October 7  at the American University in Dubai and will see a host of speakers explore regional brand building from the ground up, discussing opportunities and risks, to expectations and the future for homegrown brands.

Attendance to the event is by invitation only. Those wishing to request an invite  can do so at the AdWomen Middle East website.

Dubai Metro makes it to number 1 in Twitter’s ‘trending topics’

September 9, 2009

The Dubai Metro has made it to the number 1 spot in Twitter’s ‘trending topics’, which indicates the subjects most discussed globally on the micro-blogging service on a particular day.

dubai-metro-1Thanks to a concerted effort by Twitter users in the region, the new Metro system, which launches today, has managed to overtake Jay-Z and The Beatles in terms of popularity.

The Middle East’s Twitterers used the hashtag #dubaimetro repeatedly within the 140 character message limit allowed by the service, with each use of the tag counting towards the Metro’s popularity rating.

An attempt is currently underway to keep Dubai Metro at the top of the popularity rankings as the USA begins its working day and goes online.

Gap scraps TV in favour of social media

August 17, 2009

Gap, the fashion retailer famed for its TV ads, is scrapping them in favour of social media for a campaign to promote its new line of denim wear.

GAP adThe high-street chain, which made its name by featuring stars including Audrey Hepburn, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler in its TV ads, is shifting its focus to the web for its ‘Born to Fit’ campaign.

Instead of TV advertising, the initiative will see Gap put Facebook at the centre of an online campaign aimed at targeting consumers who are already using the web to talk about fashion.

The ‘Born to Fit’ campaign uses cinema, print and outdoor ads to drive consumers to a branded Facebook page where they can watch a video of Rada Shadick, Gap’s ‘fit engineer’ explaining how the new denim line, dubbed 1969 after the year Gap was founded, has been devised.

Internet users can also upload photos and videos featuring their own ‘born to’ statements before clicking through to to make a purchase.

The campaign, created by AKQA, features customised banner ads running across a selection of blogs. The banners say what each blog was ‘born to’ do. For example the ads on say ‘Born to set Trends’ and the ads on say ‘Born to strategise’.

Gap has also devised an iPhone app that allows consumers mix and match outfits and interact with friends on the brand’s Facebook page. In addition, the Stylemixer app targets consumers with special offers when in the vicinity of a Gap store.

Gap has been scaling back its marketing spend recently to focus on new product development after seeing same-store sales slump.

Texts, banners and search ads are least trusted

July 29, 2009

Text messages, web banners and search engine ads are the least trusted forms of advertising in the UAE, according to new research from Nielsen.

According to Nielsen’s survey of consumers, 70 per cent of people in the Emirates have little or no trust in text ads on mobile phones, 65 per cent feel the same about online banners and 61 per cent feel the same about ads attached to search engine results.

Recommendations by personal acquaintances and opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising globally, according to the latest twice-yearly Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 internet consumers from 50 countries.

In the UAE, the survey shows 95 per cent of internet consumers trust recommendations from people they know, making word of mouth the most trusted medium. Editorial content came in second place, with 84 per cent of UAE respondents trusting it completely or somewhat, ahead of newspaper ads (78 per cent), brand websites (72 per cent each), brand sponsorships (68 per cent) and consumer opinions posted online (66 per cent). Magazine ads, outdoor media, radio ads, cinema ads and TVCs came next in the UAE list.

Jonathan Carson, president of online, international, for the Nielsen Company, said: “The explosion in consumer generated media over the last couple of years – we are now tracking over 100 million CGM sources – means consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process, either from people they know or online consumers they don’t, has increased significantly.

“However, we see that all forms of advertiser-led advertising, except ads in newspapers, have also experienced increases in levels of trust and it’s possible that the CGM revolution has forced advertisers to use a more realistic form of messaging that is grounded in the experience of consumers rather than the lofty ideals of the advertisers.”

A press statement from Nielsen added: “Regional advertisers will be encouraged by the fact that brand websites and brand sponsorships are quickly catching up to newspaper advertising, the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising in the UAE. Globally, the UAE is the 16th most favourable towards brand sponsorships (out of 50 countries surveyed), 18th most favourable towards brand websites and 31st for trusting consumer opinions online.”

Tahir Khalil, head of Nielsen Online for MENA, said: “It is clear from the survey that online is a medium on the move and the trust levels in it as a category are building momentum, not only here in the UAE but also globally. It is for this reason Nielsen has rolled out its new Market Intelligence offering, a service based on a precise site-centric measurement technology that provides competitive benchmarking and market-level information on websites for the publishing and advertising industries.”

Is anyone surprised by these results? Let us know what you think…

Obama campaign wins Cannes double

June 27, 2009

obama8As if winning the world’s premier political office wasn’t achievement enough, USA President Barack Obama has just added another accolade to his CV: winner of two Cannes Lions Grand Prixs in the Titanium and Integrated categories for the multi-platform media campaign that got him the job.

The jury for the categories, presided over by David Droga of New York’s Droga5, decided unanimously that there was no other close contender for the trophies. Speaking at a press conference prior to the awards ceremony, Droga defined the Titanium category as, “ideas that create a movement, bigger than just a disposable idea. Traditionally a public service campaign can’t win a grand prix. But Obama transcended that into becoming a brand that was created by the owner and the public. Our industry couldn’t ignore it. It’s inspiring, Obama sums up how our industry has changed.”

The jury were also keen to point out that the choice was a-political, citing the campaign’s breadth and depth as a truly integrated offering that made it the clear winner. “We didn’t vote for the man. It was a rational and unemotional decision. There will never be another political campaign that doesn’t use the tool the Obama campaign established.

Droga’s own agency also collected a titanium Lion, Droga’s third, for its component in the Obama presidential campaign. The film ‘the great schlep’ featuring comedian Sarah Silverman also collected a gold in the Direct Lions.

Annan and Geldof urge Cannes to promote Climate Justice.

June 26, 2009

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, and musician and campaigner Bob Geldof, launched the ‘Time for Climate Justice’ campaign in Cannes this morning on behalf of the Global Humanitarian Forum.

In a press conference ahead of their climate justice seminar at the Palais today, the pair unveiled the ‘tck tck tck’ device which is central to the campaign’s message. The work hopes to motivate people around the world to become climate allies by uploading their own personal ‘tck’.

The collective of videos will form a global petition in the form of a personalised ticking clock. The hope is to urge politicians to act decisively and with conviction at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on 7th December this year.

Introducing the concept of climate justice, Kofi Annan said: “Climate justice has, at its heart, the principal that pollution has a price and the polluter must pay. It addresses the issue that the world’s poor are carrying the heaviest burden for a problem they have done least to create.”

 Before beginning his part of the address, Bob Geldof passed on his condolences to the family of Michael Jackson who died yesterday, and spoke briefly of collaborating with the singer at the Live Aid event in 1985.

Though moving on to the topic of climate justice, he reverted to his firebrand self and spoke of the problem in explicit terms.  ”What we’re talking about is the death of humanity,” he said, citing examples of mass human migration across Africa due to the rapid desertification of the landscape. “I like humans. They fascinate me more than anything else on the planet. We need 1 trillion dollars, now, to put in radical measures. Carbon emissions must be cut by 30 percent by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050, or we will witness humanity’s death in our children’s life times.”

The campaign was created by Havas Euro RSCG worldwide and has open source access to all its logos. Advertisers, creative agencies and other interested parties can download any of the graphics to use for free in any communications.

Yes you Cannes, says Obama’s campaign manager.

June 25, 2009

After a stirring introductory film put together by DDB Chicago, the applause was loud and long when David Plouffe, manager and architect of Barack Obama’s boundary pushing presidential campaign, took the stage at Cannes this morning.

David Plouffe in Cannes

After extensive media coverage, the tactic of leveraging new media pursued by Plouffe to galvanise the USA’s electorate almost needed no explanation. But the capacity crowd was keen to hear the facts, figures and risks taken by the team first hand; particularly as Plouffe had an oratory ease to rival the man he so famously helped to power.

 As Plouffe was at pains to make clear, it was the combination of grassroots empowerment, plus digital, that had propelled Obama to power; the technology being an aid to help voters interact personally, one-to-one. The tactic mobilised an army of volunteers to their cause, 50 percent of whom had no prior political campaigning experience. It was, said Plouffe, an exercise in “giving people the responsibility to change the future of their country”. Beginning as no hopers, as Plouffe put it, they felt able to buck conventional campaigning wisdom.

 He also conceded that rival John McCain was actually the first candidate to raise substantial funds on the internet when he’d stood against Bush four years prior, though he had, suggested Plouffe, seemingly forgotten the lessons he’d learned. Obama’s team used personal fundraising, no matter how small, as the bedrock to their campaign and gained an average contribution of 85 dollars per fundraiser, who numbered in their hundreds of thousands.

 The fundamental component to the whole scheme, said Plouffe, was Obama himself, whom he described as a “great product”. “Nothing is more powerful than authenticity,” said Plouffe, citing Obama’s ability to connect with voters, and that people had a “sensitive bull**** meter”. With this in mind, the campaign team used YouTube vlogs to reiterate the message, with Obama and Plouffe himself reminding voters personally of what they needed to do to engender the change they craved.

Obama in Plouffe's presentation

 At the beginning of the campaign’s two-year journey, the now eponymous Twitter didn’t exist and only became a factor in the final stages of the campaign. The majority of the work was done, said Plouffe, by people taking the cause into their own hands and producing content outside the official campaign. The most famous examples being by musician Will-i-am and graffiti artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the now iconic Obama posters.

 The most famous self-initiated part of the campaign for Cannes delegates, though, was “The Great Schlep” film featuring comedian Sarah Silverman. The work, put together in conjunction with Droga5 New York, has just collected a gold in the Direct Lions.

Digital: not just any old click will do these days.

June 23, 2009

Hermann Vaske’s seminar on digital creativity was almost derailed before it had really begun at Cannes today. The presenter’s somewhat understated style of speaking had some delegates voting with their feet early on, with a distracting number of them filing out of the auditorium.  


Had they hung in there a little longer, they would have seen the seminar get into its stride on the topic of creating effects through digital creativity. When the speaker handed over to a film featuring some of the world’s most noted digital practitioners, the sheer scope of possibilities in the medium became apparent.

Work covered the McDonald’s Olympic sponsorship interactive game ‘the quest for the ring’, which saw participants log on daily to receive clues to the ring’s whereabouts. The risqué ‘Heidis’ work for Diesel was also a huge online hit. Two models, both named Heidi, ‘kidnapped’ a Diesel sales rep and took commands from viewers observing online as to what they should with him. The set-up was live and interactive for 5 days.

The point that all of those featured were clear to stress was the accountability of the medium. It’s no longer just about gaining clicks, but getting the ‘right’ click from a strong brand advocate who spreads the word.

As the recessionary focused festival’s phrase of the week looks set to be ROI, the traditional mediums, while far from dead, just don’t seem able to compete with digital’s clearly measurable accountability.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.