Could Google Goggles replace QR codes?

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I’m liking this new experiment by Google.  They’ve recently teamed up with Diageo, T-mobile and few other household brands to see if they can drive their consumers from  offline communications to mobile web environments via the visual search device Google Goggles. So if anyone has the Google Goggles app installed on their Android or iPhone they can effectively scan one of the ‘goggles-enabled’ print ads, posters or DM packs and have a more interactive and virtual experience on their mobile.

Could this ultimately replace QR codes? The mind goggles!

Via @iDMcD. More details here on the official Google Blog.

Cannes Lions International Awards – Integrated/direct

Orcon is a New Zealand telecommunications company offering fast broadband and is relatively unknown in a marketplace which is dominated by major players. Their latest campaign, however, has just been awarded the Grand Prix for Direct Lions and it’s easy to see why.

The campaign invited Kiwi musicians to audition online for a chance to perform ‘The Passenger’ alongside Iggy Pop in a virtual performance.  In fact, it’s not too dissimilar to the wonderfully ambitious YouTube’s Symphony Orchestra.

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more about “Iggy Pop – Cannes Lions International…“, posted with vodpod

To me, this is another example of the growing trend of using digital live events and participation marketing to convey brand messages in a more involving and compelling way.  Whilst there was ATL support, online and social media were central to this campaign from managing and showcasing the audition process via Facebook to performing the track live online from multiple locations with Iggy Pop in his Miami studio.

To be honest, the campaign results are not that impressive in my view which is a shame as I like the idea.  200 auditions and 3200 fans on facebook is not exactly going to set the world on fire and I’m sceptible of their claim that sales were up by 30% since last year, as I doubt this can be totally attributed to this campaign. (Don’t you just love award entries?!)

I can only speculate but had they invested more heavily in ATL support this campaign would have been more successful.  It’s essential  for online events like this that the audition process gets given enough airtime to gain traction as it’s often this which creates the buzz more than the event itself.  You’ve only got to look at Ford’s Fiestamovements to see that the recruitment phase was a critical component to the campaign’s overall success .  I don’t know the brand well enough but I would also question whether aspiring musicians are perhaps a little too niche to appeal to the wider broadband audience.

But hey,  it’s easy to sit here with the benefit of hindsight and fire off cricitism – it’s much harder to actually get something like this off the ground and make it happen.  So overall, I think it’s an ambitious and innovative campaign for what is a relatively uninspiring, low engagement sector and for that they deserve this recognition at Cannes.

What do you think?  Creative over-indulgence or an inspiring way to generate brand engagement?

Orange Spot the Bull digital campaign


This latest banner campaign by Orange is interesting as it boasts a number of creative innovations which sets this apart from your run-of-the-mill banner campaign.  The ad is a basic competition mechanic to win tickets to Glastonbury but the way they have executed this is particularly intriguing. They’ve created a 3D banner which hosts a variety of technical wizardry including Papervision3D, Flash AS3, a live two-way data feed & even GPS tracking of the bull which is relayed back into the ad. The ad has been created by Poke and Unit 9 with media planned & bought by Mediaedge CIA.

I’m almost tempted to say this campaign takes digital banner advertising into a completely new field!

Of course, Orange is not alone when it comes to using music to attract a younger demographic. O2 run the Blueroom for priority access to music events and T-mobile created Street Gigs a while back, not to mention the well documented karaoke flashmob which I reviewed recently.  What I find interesting is that whilst they are all aligning themselves to music to connect with the younger generation, they’ve all adopted vastly different marketing strategies in an attempt to differentiate themselves. As the ‘Spot the Bull’ campaign illustrates, it’s not necessarily what you say that’s important as how you say it.

Vodafone Zoozoo campaign gains cult following

This entertaining campaign by Vodafone was brought to my attention by Interactive Marketing Blog and is proving to be particularly popular in India by all accounts. It’s a series of ads created by Ogilvy & Mather (India) which aims to dramatise various service features including voicemail, cricket score alerts and musical greetings to name but a few. You can see a collection of the amusing clips here.

Some executions work better than others in conveying the service benefits but there’s no denying there’s an irresistable charm to these sketches and the rather alien-looking characters. It’s no wonder they’ve amassed a cult following already. As well as a YouTube channel which is now the second most subscribed channel in India, Vodafone have created the Zoozoo facebook fanpage which has attracted no less than 137k fans so far, generating a fair amount of engagement. You can view all the ads, vote for your favourite clips, download ringtones, screensavers or wallpapers and even partake in a quiz using their Zoozoo facebook app.

Vodafone Zoozoo facebook fanpage

Vodafone Zoozoo facebook fanpage

Is this a good example of using social media marketing to support the above the line? On the whole, a resounding yes. There’s no doubt that the social media elements of this campaign will help to build brand equity and affinity. Instead of passively watching the occasional ad on TV, consumers can now engage with the content, demonstrate their allegiance and actively voice their enthusiasm.

The two social media environments also help to aggregate content, making it easy for fans to engage with the whole campaign and consequently familiarise themselves with the wider range of product benefits. Furthermore, I’m sure the fanpage has attracted new followers through peer-to-peer recommendation who may not have otherwise come across the campaign.

However, despite its apparent popularity, the fanpage appears to be little more than a campaign showcase. For a fanpage to have longevity and remain truly active, the community really needs a reason to create content so that it builds momentum of its own accord and that’s what’s currently missing in my view. Whilst instant polls or asking viewers to talk about their favourite ad has its place, it’s hardly going to fuel discussions for the long term, let alone drive footfall to the Vodafone stores.

One way to make this fanpage work slightly harder would be to provide some additional info and advice around the actual features communicated within the ads. Whilst I admit it’s a fine line to tread, this campaign fanpage could helpt to educate the audience further on the various Vodafone service offerings being promoted in the campaign – perhaps in the form of discussion threads – provided it’s done tactfully and with a degree of restraint and humility.

If only we’d thought of a karaoke flashmob

Following T-mobile’s success of the ‘Dance flashmob’ in Liverpool Street Station, the telecoms brand has followed this up with the next iteration of the campaign…a karaoke flashmob.

For any sceptics out there who may think this is just a simple publicity stunt, think again. This recent campaign is an excellent example of how Participation Marketing, combined with social media, can be employed to create significant brand engagement.

To build anticipation and encourage consumers to take part in the event, T-mobile posted a video clip on YouTube inviting them to come to Trafalgar Square on Thursday 30th April at 6pm. The video was viewed 28,000 views.

A crowd of 13,500 people turned up to the event where they were provided with microphones to sing along to a number of tunes including Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, The Foundations’ “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Hey Jude”. Pink was also there as a mystery guest to add to the excitement.

The ad was then broadcast last night for the first time during Britain’s Got Talent which boasts viewing figures of 11.9 million.

Post event
Where participation marketing comes into its own however is the way in which participants vocalise their enthusiam for the event off their own back. There was heightened chat on Twitter leading up to the event and this has been growing ever since.

A quick search on flickr also reveals 330 independent search results for ‘T-mobile Trafalgar Square‘ which will be viewed by an extensive network of flickr followers. And as you’d expect, literally hundreds of participants have uploaded their own mobile clips from the event on YouTube, generating hundreds of thousands of views and discussions to boot.

To help fuel the hype T-mobile have also created a YouTube channel dedicated to their sing-along ‘Life’s for sharing’ campaign which currently enjoys 3,500 subscribers and 1 million views across a number of video assets.

Perhaps what’s most impressive is that all this buzz has been achieved within the last 3 days. Which goes to show that Participation Marketing, when combined with the power of social media and broadcast TV, can be an extremely effective way to build brand awareness, engagement and evangelism.

If only we’d thought of a light sensitive website


Ever thought of creating a light sensitive website? Probably not, but that’s exactly what Y & R Interactive have done to promote Orange’s new internet movie portal “Orange Time”. ‘When the lights are off, the site is on’ is a microsite which uses light sensitive technology in webcams to simulate the effect of watching a film at a cinema. For it to work, visitors have to literally switch on their webcam and dim the lights in order to activate the movie preview content on the website.

It’s an original and, dare I say it, enlightening idea but not without its obvious pitfalls! Bounce rates are bound to be high, not just because it excludes non-webcam users but also office workers who are unable to dim the lights. Which let’s face it, excludes pretty much all of us unless you’re lucky enough to enjoy siestas or work in the creative department 😉

That said, according to Contagious, Orange became the No. 1 video-on-demand-portal in the country and the site saw a 50% increase in visits during the campaign. Whilst 100% webcam penetration is a long way off, it’s still a huge market and growing exponentially. The webcam market was valued at $1.8 billion in 2008 and is predicted to reach $3.2 billion by 2015 [Source: Worldwide WebCam Market Shares Strategies, and Forecasts, 2009-2015] . It’s also worth noting that as many as 40% of facebook videos are submitted from webcams.

So perhaps we should thank Orange for having the strength of its convictions and showing us the light.

Is this the best widget out there ‘right now’?


Sprint, the US wireless telecommunications network, have created an interesting online widget to promote the ‘Now Network’ mobile broadband service.  It works by aggregating a number of interesting statistics and live feeds to communicate what is actually happening around the globe right now.  The stats range from the number of flights currently airborne to the number of post-it notes being manufactured at this moment in time – all brought to life with some entertaining flash animation.  If you’ve got a second (literally) and curious to find out what’s happening right now, click here

The  concept integrates well with the new TV spot which presents various metrics of digital communication at any one time.

Many widgets, in my view,  fall short in delivering a suitable return on investment, requiring a lot of upfront investment with limited shelf-life but I suspect this particular example will gain in popularity as more people find out about it, helping to build awareness for the brand as well as drive valuable traffic to their website.

Unfortunately, the one important statistic which Sprint failed to include is how many people are actually interacting with this widget at this precise moment in time!