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30 posts from July 2005

Houston's Most Innovative Coffee Shop

Last night I gave my Marketing Innovations presentation to the East Montrose Civic Association, and we met in one of the most innovative spaces in Houston, 2115 Taft.

Owned and operated by Ecclesia, a arts-focused and exploratory Christian community, 2115 Taft includes a coffee shop, art gallery, recording studio, meeting space and more. The space and the web site are still evolving, but warm and responsive. Drop by often to see what's emerging.

Results Shine from Consumer-Genarated Ads

Over at BusinessWeek, David Kiley has a terrific article that describes the consumer-generated ad campaigns at Audi, Converse, Cadillac, Nike and Samsung. Plus, he prints the results of many of them--Converse sales up 12%, visits to up 300%, etc.

BusinessWeek: Advertising Of, By, And For The People.

Donovan Unks, a 28-year-old biotech researcher at Stanford University, spent valuable minutes every day for three months to follow an Audi marketing campaign. The ads for the new A3 hatchback, appearing in magazines and on TV, billboards, and the Internet, wove a complicated serialized mystery of a stolen car. Some 500,000 people, according to Audi, tracked the story by following online clues. But Unks and his friend Laura Burstein didn't just play the game. They were drafted to be characters in the plot by ad agency McKinney & Silver in Durham, N.C., after they answered an encrypted ad that only solvers of binary code could read in The Hollywood Reporter. In their Audi roles, the two drove all night to a music festival, crashed a party, were blogged about by fans of the story, and Webcast worldwide on the final night of the drama at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 30.

Mash-ups Innovate the Web

Watch for this new trend: developers are stepping out of their day jobs and using the programming tools provided by big e-commerce and search sites like Amazon and Yahoo to develop new services. There's no clear economic model yet, but this trend looks very ripe--expect some one to break out of the ranks with a successful business any day now.

BusinessWeek Online: Mix, Match, And Mutate.

People are seizing far more control of what they do online. In the process, those efforts are putting skin on the bones of Web services, the long-delayed promise of software and services that can be tapped on demand. "They're taking little bits and pieces from a number of companies and stitching them together in some clever way," Amazon Chief Executive Jeffrey P. Bezos noted recently. "You'll start to see the real power of Web services."

TiVo upgrade allows instant response to TV ads

Consumers want their advertising conveniently. So they share their contact information when they can get targeted offers. Those companies which do a good job of listening and sending the right thing to consumers will get to send more. Those who don't will eventually be blacklisted as marketers.

Yahoo News: TiVo upgrade allows instant response to TV ads

For years, TiVo has offered long-form commercials that are downloaded discretely to TiVo set-top boxes for viewers to view once they click over to a special area, or "opt-in." The new system creates an option for viewers who want to know more about a product to tell TiVo to release their contact information to an advertiser.

Innovation in Story Telling

At first glance, it's hard to believe that the art of storytelling, which has been around as long as people, could be subject to innovation, but over at his ClickZ column, Jeremy Lockhorn, an internet marketing strategist at Avenue A/Razorfish, makes a powerful point.

A few years back, I hypothesized that if you take interactive TV to the extreme, where the viewer is somehow empowered to control the storyline, you'd need a completely different skill set to tell a compelling story.

Making storytelling's linear nature interactive requires a different kind of creativity. It's at least partially why some offline agencies have trouble with online. So many have built their business around the :30 spot. It's a very linear (and short) format, whereas online is mostly nonlinear and consumer-empowered.

It won't be the master storytellers who will be the respected geniuses in this world, I hypothesized then. Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas -- they're all linear storytellers. Video game developers possess the right combination of skills and experience to succeed in this world.