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25 posts from June 2006

Kiss Extends Brand to Coffee House

Cb_5 What a commitment to staying close to their fans(?!) Rockers Kiss are branching out with a coffee house in Myrtle Beach, SC. Fans can rock and roll all night at Kiss Coffeehouse, 2006-Jun-29, Associated Press

060630b "You can live to rock, but you have to eat to live," Stanley told the crowd. Some fans drove from as far away as Colorado and Oregon. One came from Poland. "I can't believe I just met them," said Adrian Czarnbey, who introduced the band at a news conference. "It's just like seeing Jesus for me."

On Becoming a Virtual Brand

Em_2 If you think advertising in electronic games just means putting up a soft-drink brand billboard in a sports game, think again. While the hot area is youth-oriented brands doing product placements in action games, the emerging medium is brand development, testing and loyalty programs in virtual reality games like Habbo Hotel and Second Life. Trendwatching has done an exhaustive round-up of all the participating brands, what they've tested so far, with results for a few of the campaigns. One of the most intriguing areas is virtual product testing and exclusive pre-launch offerings, especially for brands with a fashion edge. You can't taste a beverage in Second Life, but you can try on a new outfit and see how fellow participants react before you order one in real life.

060630a July 2006 trend briefing Youniveral Branding, Part 1

Online worlds exist, consumers are living in them, they don't mind brands joining in (to a certain degree, of course) and a host of firms and agencies are ready to assist newcomers. Oh, and It's actually fun too, as it's not just consumers who enjoy creative freedom the moment physical borders disappear: that privilege is available to marketers as well. You can build and open a store in days. You can introduce virtual goods and services that would take years to develop and produce in the real world.

Irresistible Promotion from Crest

Vm_2 By my definition, a viral campaign has to ride along on borrowed interest. Viral marketing is more than getting a referral. It happens when a marketing message gets a free ride on an otherwise unrelated activity. The new Proctor & Gamble campaign for Crest with Scope Extreme is one of the strongest viral campaigns we've seen recently. Targeting the segment of adults involved in meeting new people to date, the company printed ads on cocktail napkins, distributed them in bars and encouraged people to use their cell phones to play a text-message-based game called Irresistibility IQ.

Cincinnati Business Courier Procter uses phones to sell Crest in bars, 2006-Jun-26, by Lisa Biank Fasig

060630 "It's not super serious, You can see how a group of people in a bar would try this together," said Carsten Boers, president of Flytxt Inc. Flytxt is among several firms Procter selected last year to help with a mobile marketing strategy, he said. Such marketing is common in Europe, largely because it is very cost-effective. Though he declined to specify the value of his contract with Procter, Boers said in general mobile campaigns run in the tens of thousands of dollars, plus the cost for products, such as cocktail napkins.

Coke Turning Vending Machines into Experience Machines

Ce_3 As part of the ongoing push to squeeze the maximum amount of productivity out of every inch of the universe, Coca-Cola is demanding more "consumer experience" from its vending machines. I'm not really outraged--it seems nice to be able to get a free gift from the machine after you buy your beverage. I'm not so sure about new dynamic displays on the front of the machine. I suspect they will also be noisier.

Financial Times: Coke slots in extras to new machines, 2006-Jun-26, by Jenny Wiggins (via

060629a The Cokefridge machine, on display at the CIES world food business conference in Paris last week, has an interactive screen that runs advertisements, and allows users to obtain free photos, games, logos and ringtones after they have bought a drink. Users type a numerical code inscribed inside the cap of the drink into the interactive screen to get access to the photos and games. The interactive screen says: "Available here: Cool mobile logos. SMS and ringtones and exciting mobile games. Every Coke and every Code is an experience!" Drinks available for purchase include bottled water as well as soft drinks.

AT&T Recruiting Demonstrators in the Neighborhood

Cgm AT&T is using many places to demonstrate its new U-verse TV service, including special displays in shopping malls and truck trailers dressed up like living rooms. One of their biggest efforts has been promoting TV parties, intially by employees but soon by influentials which have been identified for them by ViaNovo, the company of Matthew Dowd, who helped build community support the same way for the 2004 Republican presidential campaign. AT&T expects they will compensate their "champions" but they haven't decided exactly how. It seems likely that these influentials will get free TV service for either hosting parties are for recruiting customers. At the first parties, AT&T has averaged three new customers at the party with two more signing up the next day. Selling TV Like Tupperware, 2006-Jun-29, by Dionne Searcey and Peter Grant

060629 "From a marketing standpoint we've long been intrigued with the idea that certain people hold the power to market things and talk to others in a way that gets listened to in a different way," said Mikal Harn, vice president of consumer marketing for AT&T. "We're looking for people who are more likely than most to have a strong pull and power -- the word-of-mouth champions."

Co-Marketing and Shopping Advice

Um_2 Best Buy will offer some confused shoppers assistance from Blender magazine and the magazine will have a special section in the fall advising college student which technology products to buy at Best Buy. While only a certain part of Best Buy's audience will care, this looks like a very sensible strategy.

Advertising Age - MediaWorks: 'Blender' Stakes Out Shelf Space in Best Buy, 2006-Jun-27, by Meredith Deliso (via AAF Smartbrief)060628

Over 600 Best Buy stores now feature "Blender Approved" sections, where editors of the magazine recommend new music every month. Each pick features a Blender-stylized review explaining why the CD is a "best buy." "We're a trusted brand name that could lead people to buy CDs that are not top 30 on the charts," said Lee Rosenbaum, Blender publisher. Having that trust is "where we want to be," he said.

United Way Twin Cities Segments Donors but Doesn't Pigeon-hole Them

Cb_4 The Greater Twin Cities United Way (Minneapolis/St. Paul) has some of the best marketing practices I've seen. Realizing that people wanted to be more involved they studied and segmented their donors based on behavior, but they didn't then limit the donors' options. They set up programs that would appeal to the existing segments, then marketed all the programs to all donors. Everyone can select their favorite way to participate.

Inside1to1: United Way Creates Donor Communities, 2006-Jun-26, by Alissa Pepe

060626 For example, a 35-year-old-donor has an opportunity to join an Emerging Leaders program, even though she might be [demographically] part of the Young Achievers group. ...

"Participation usually leads to a stronger interest and relationship," [Sandy] Clifford [director of marketing technology and IT] says. For instance, the Emerging Leaders group recently held a wine tasting event. Four-hundred people attended, allowing those in the group to network and build the community.