6 foundations of great digital creative

Stumbled across this succinct presentation from Ashley Ringrose from BannerBlog, on The 6 Foundations Of Great Digital Creative.  It was presented at the AdAge Digital Conference a couple of years ago but still acts as a useful reminder to anyone who spends their working day trying to come up with engaging banner ads!

via digitalbuzz

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11 virtual stores you should know about

Virtual stores are nothing new.  When you think about it any branded website which replicates the shop environment through interactive visuals or e-commerce functionality  could be classified as a virtual store. But what I find interesting is the emerging trend of extending this concept into other digital, mobile and social spaces.   In a lot of ways it makes perfect sense to take your shop to where your customers are rather than wait for them to find you.

But simply replicating e-commerce in different platforms doesn’t necessarily cut it.  In fact, the WSJ reviewed a report by Forrester recently which warns brands not to rush out and add ecommerce functionality onto their social platforms as the ROI is still questionable.  Their study suggests that  early adopters of shopping carts on Facebook had seen only modest results, and in most cases not until after they’d established a loyal-fan following. But there does seem to be an emerging opportunity here for brands to explore, whether that’s incorporating e-commerce or replicating the store experience in some other way.  So here’s my pick of the bunch which I feel work brilliantly.

#1 – Asos Facebook page

Asos claimed to be the first in Europe to open a virtual store on Facebook where fans could buy their merchandise without even leaving the site.  Whether that’s true or not I don’t know but it’s clearly paying dividends for Asos who now boast almost 1 million fans already.   The e-commerce app they developed has the same functionality as that used on their main website including add-to-basket, edit cart contents, check out and order-tracking features.  But now they can tap into all the benefits of building a fanbase on Asos at the same time.

#2 – Amazon mobile app

I have the Amazon app on my iPhone and have to say I absolutely love it. It’s so simple to use and brings all the benefits and convenience you’ve come to expect from Amazon directly into the palm of your hand – so you can effectively browse the whole Amazon store without even getting off the sofa (or the loo for that matter).  But for me the best function is the barcode scanner.  I used this the other day when I was buying a flat screen TV.  I popped into various stores on the high street to review the latest products.   I checked them all for picture and sound quality and prices.  I even spoke to the friendly salesmen for advice.  Once I’d decided on the one I liked the most, I simply scanned the barcode using the Amazon app and found the exact same model on Amazon.  Not only was it £100 cheaper but I could also check all the consumer reviews to give me the social validation to go ahead with the sale.  I completed the transaction with a couple of clicks on my mobile (whilst in the other store) and had the TV delivered the very next day.

I must admit I did feel slightly guilty about abusing the high street retail system but since they didn’t have the one I wanted in stock that was their look out.  Also at least I paid something for my TV, which is more can be said for the London looters!

#3 – O2 Guru TV

If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should check out O2 Guru TV – they’ve delivered a fabulously engaging virtual store experience by creating a custom channel on YouTube.  It’s not a virtual shop which uses ecommerce as such but rather a portal for handling customer service queries. So customers can go there to find videos on a range of topics from the latest handset reviews to how to reduce your mobile tariff when travelling abroad. It’s a a video rich resource which is not only social and interactive but also excellent for driving awareness through video search optimisation. I’ve heard it’s had a positive impact on reducing call centre volumes too.


#4 – BMW on eBay

It’s easy to think of virtual stores within the retail sector but what about other industries like automotive.  Well, if you’re a BMW owner, the prospect of driving to your BMW dealer to pick up a spare part or accessory could be a thing of the past.  Nowadays you can simply visit their virtual store on eBay – BMW Direct.

#5 – Ocado on the Go

The Ocado on the Go app is available on the iphone and android. As you’d expect you can browse and buy all your groceries, as well as book a delivery slot directly from your phone. Very impressive functionality.  I probably wouldn’t do a complete weekly shop on it as it’s quite a protracted process – not sure my iphone battery would last that long – but I do occasionally amend existing orders or do a mid-week top up shop when I’ve forgotten something. According to econsultancy, they have 10,000 users registering every month and 4,000 checkouts a day. In fact, mobile transactions now account for 12% of Ocado purchases.

#6 – First Direct iphone app

I guess First Direct’s whole raison d’etre is around the virtual store proposition – after all if it wasn’t for telephony or online banking they wouldn’t exist.  But their latest app is a natural extension of the virtual store. It only has limited functionality at this stage – so all you can do is check your balances and make payments/transfers directly from the app. But for checking things on the fly, it’s perfect.

#7 – M & S mobile site

M & S recognised the importance of virtual shopping or ‘mobile retailing’ a while ago and launched their mobile ecommerce site in May last year. Since then, their site has received nothing but praise due to its simple usability experience and seemless ecommerce integration.  In fact, according to eDigital Research which publishes the mCommerce Benchmarking Study 2011, the M & S mobile site came out on top.

#8 YouTique by French Connection

French Connection have created a well designed custom channel on YouTube called YouTique. It hosts a range of video including anything from fashion tips to more leftfield content to keep things interesting. They have incorporated video annotation too to  guide visitors through the channel.

#9 – Google shopping

If you can’t run to the cost of producing your own virtual store, there’s always Google Shopping.  A search on Google Shopping will collate all the products within your vicinity so you can see at a glance what’s the cheapest. You can then go on to buy online with just a few clicks.

#10 – Tesco Homeplus & John Lewis

Tesco in Korea came up with an innovative idea recently where they decided to bring the store to the people. By creating a virtual store on the underground platform, commuters could shop by scanning the QR code with their smartphone which would then add the item to their shopping basket. Neat.

Funnily enough, John Lewis have recently come up with a similar execution in Brighton where they’ve converted a window display from one of their Waitrose stores into an interactive shopping experience using QR codes.

#11 – Virtual Facebook

Perhaps saving the best till last. Here’s an exciting idea by Shaker who have created a virtual world within your social network. The video is a bit corny but if you jump towards the end of the clip you’ll get the idea. Who knows it might catch on.

This isn’t an exhaustive list so if you know any other virtual stores, whether that’s ecommerce based or simply replicating the store experience on other digital or social platforms, please share them below.

Trick or tweet!

When I arrived at TMW offices today I discovered an unsuspecting pumpkin in the cafe rigged up to a laptop. It transpired that the pumpkin has hijacked the agency twitter account and is posting random tweets whenever you push his nose…!

We also had some other impressive entries in the pumpkin competition which you can see here.

If you know of any good campaigns which tap into Halloween feel free to share below.

Mobile shopping goes underground

This clever idea by Tesco in Korea works on so many levels:

  • i love the fact that their mobile e-commerce doesn’t simply replicate the main ecommerce site but provides an additinoal benefit  ie it kills downtime when consumers are waiting for a tube;
  • It leverages mobile QR technology to great effect (although I admit Asia are well ahead of the game in that respect);
  • It’s a great example of how to create a virtual store environment – which means it can take its retail proposition to the consumer rather than hope consumers will come to them;
  • it demonstrates how mobile really comes into its own when combined with other media such as OOH
  • It positions Tesco as an innovator or forward thinking company
  • It’s just reminded me I need to get a food shop in before the weekend!  Too bad I shop with Ocado!

Nice job.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Desperados interactive YouTube ad

We see more and more brands these days creating interactive ads on youtube instead of  TV.  The Bear Hunter by Tippex was a great example and so is this latest campaign by Desperados. They’ve managed to create a fabulously immersive and interactive experience on YouTube  including page morphing, video annotation and Facebook Connect integration.  Someone buy these guys a drink.

Ever heard of screen hopping?

What with moving house, xmas, panicking to get my tax return in on time and pandering to my newborn baby boy, I’ve rather neglected my blogging duties I’m afraid!  Not that you noticed 😉 Anyhow, I’m back on track now with this rather cool campaign.

Honda has just unveiled “This Unpredictable Life” – an interactive TV campaign to launch the new Honda Jazz which enables viewers to interact with the ad via a dedicated iphone app.  Whether you’re watching it on your TV, computer, or on another iPhone, you can basically grab the characters from the film using your iphone as they appear on screen.

‘Screen hopping’ is a new term for me but I believe it works by using sound recognition in the iphone app to register what’s being played on the ad. In doing so you can effectively present pre-defined elements on your iphone app to give  the impression they’ve hopped over from the TV screen. I think even David Blaine would be impressed with that trick!

But to me it feels like the technology is driving the idea here rather than the other way round. Whilst it’s definitely an neat innovative idea I’m not convinced consumers will go to the trouble to download the app as there’s little reward for their efforts apart from the obvious wow factor of experiencing the technology.  I’m also struggling to see the connection with the model positioning for the Honda Jazz.  That said, this is the first time I’ve seen a brand adopt screen hopping as a way to engage consumers, so it will be interesting to see if other brands will try to emulate this and take it to the next level.

via digitalbuzz

The Bear Hunter

This campaign by Tipp-pex was doing the rounds last week and had everyone in the office in stitches.  A hunter encounters a wild bear in the woods and instead of shooting it he invites the viewers to rewrite the script, building on the brands strapline ‘white and re-write’. I’ll leave you to enjoy the different permutations but make sure you type “marry”, “laughs” and “sex”!

It’s got heavy influences of Burger King’s subserviant chicken from years back, Old Spice’s latest campaign (with mulitple iterations) and that youtube campaign for cyber bullying which I reviewed earlier in the year. But don’t let that take anything away from it. It’s still an entertaining, interactive campaign which is very well-executed, imaginative and innovative. In fact, it has all the ingredients to ensure viral success.

I can’t remember the last time I used Tipp-ex so hats off to Paris agency Buzzman for putting this back on our radars.