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Tag - advertising

Patience Makes Perfect Content

Those advertising types have it soooooooooo easy! If you have the money you can shout wherever and whenever you like: ‘BUY NOW! 99% OFF! GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU IRRESISTIBLE TO THE OPPOSITE SEX!’ And then the...

Just Add Happiness – Coca Cola Marketing

You’ve read posts like this one before – it’s about Coca Cola’s marketing campaigns and why they’re great. We love the way that the soft drink company has raised the standard for content marketing – not so much using content as a tool, but as a marketing strategy altogether. Recently we’ve had the pleasure to see a couple of new interesting campaigns, more often than not including the famously loved vending machine. Here’s a pick from Coca Cola’s momentous archives:

      The invisible vending machine (above); this vending machine was built into a wall and camouflaged. It would only become visible if a couple passed by, asking them their names (which would show up on the wall when told) and offer them a bottle of coke;
      The “hug me” vending machine; this one offered bottles of coke in exchange for hugs;
      The Christmas vending machine; the day before Christmas, this vending machine located in Argentina would open up a secret door when people put money into it. This would give them access to a snowy, Christmas decorated room housing Santa Claus;
       The happiness vending machine; these ones appeared at a number of locations and could as well be called the “gives-away-lots-and-lots-of-free-stuff” vending machine. People who interacted with the machine got free coke, surfboards, skateboards and pizza among other things, provided by the machines anonymous inhabitants;
       The dancing vending machine; this one had people dance for free coke;
       The transformer; this one wasn’t really a vending machine, but a person dressed as a transformer capable of turning into one (the ad was so great we didn’t want to leave it out!);

Some of you probably see a reoccurring theme in some of these videos; give away free stuff and people will love you. This is true to some extent, who doesn’t love free stuff? But Coca Cola does more than that. The people in these videos only expected a bottle of coke, but ended up enjoying something out of the ordinary instead.
Coca Cola makes the consumers in each campaign feel special (not EVERY machine out there will hurl free stuff at you), and the company get to use their reactions for some unique and compelling content. By making more of a happening out of these campaigns, they create an “I was there” kind of discourse, having people from Hong Kong to Argentina discussing the brand. This way, consumers come to look forward to the company’s next move.
We may all have different takes on Coca Cola, but you’ll have to admit that they have made their marketing into an art. “Happiness” is a keyword, showing that they know what advertising is all about. A great ad will leave that positive imprint and association – having you come back for more.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs. 
Image & video courtesy: thedrum.com, Youtube; Coca Cola, Openhappinesskorea

Mad Men meets marketing

Target’s effective content marketing strategy could be the future of advertising…
A few months ago, Target was making headlines in Australia for apparently mishandling its response to social media criticism. And now it is in the news again – for completely different reasons.
In a campaign worthy of Mad Men (and, incidentally, directed by an award-winning Mad Men director), the US version of Target has created a content marketing coup with its new video. Not a TVC, mind, but video content created specifically for Target.com.
The 12-minute-long video, called ‘Falling for You’, stars Hollywood actress Kristen Bell and will be released in ‘episodes’. Cleverly, it puts a fresh new twist on the 100-year-old product placement technique by making almost everything on screen available for immediate purchase from Target.
As the characters interact, icons of their clothes (which of course come from exclusive Target brands) appear to the right of the video window. Viewers can click on them to check out after each episode, then buy them immediately or (better yet where content marketing is concerned) or share them through social media sites like Pinterest and Facebook.
Whether this represents the future of advertising remains to be seen, but it is an excellent way of generating interest in a website and brand through inventive content – which is precisely what effective content marketing is meant to deliver.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

A brief history of culture jamming

From counter-cultural statement to accepted content-marketing technique, culture jamming is almost everywhere in the digital age. Which could be the death of it…
Chances are that at some stage you’ve spotted someone wearing a T-shirt with this now iconic image of Che Guevara’s face on it. Did we say iconic? Sorry, we meant ironic.
Like so many things that start out as counter-cultural statements, Seńor G’s image has been commoditised and mass-produced to a point where not only is its original meaning unrecognisable, but it has even come to represent the exact opposite of what it once did.
Another concept that has gone the way of Che is culture jamming. A phrase coined in the 1980s, the practice was once the utmost in sublime social commentary, the anti-advertisement that flew in the face of the corporate world.
Almost as soon as it came into the public consciousness, however, it was appropriated by the very institutions it sought to challenge. Today, the battle continues in the digital age to separate the fraudsters and the money-grabbers from those with a genuine message to deliver.
What is culture jamming?
In essence, culture jamming is the act of subverting mainstream media, political or advertising agendas to promote a (usually) anti-consumerism message. More than simple parody, it involves taking the elements of a popular advertisement or media statement and using them to highlight its hypocrisy, or to twist the message in order to make a social comment. Like this…

In the beginning…
So how did the whole culture jamming trend begin? Subversion and opposition to corporate brainwashing aren’t exactly new concepts. After all, Michelangelo was painted the visages of his oppressive patrons as the faces of the damned in the Sistine Chapel in the 1500s – surely one of the first documented acts of culture jamming.
Key players in more recent times include the Billboard Liberation Front (BLF), with hundreds of culture jamming efforts including its now famous twisting of the Max Factor billboard in 1977, and more recently, it’s add-on line to an American Red Cross billboard in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Officially, the phrase ‘culture jamming’ came into public consciousness through the combined efforts of San Francisco-based experimental audio-collage band Negativland, and writer and cultural critic Mark Dery.
In 1984, Negativland put out a cassette-only release entitled JamCon ’84. This was the first time the concept behind culture jamming was discussed, and it was presented as a series of radio-style interviews. Inspired by the band’s work, Mark Dery delved further into the concept (and, being something of a self-confessed ‘grammarian’, changed the original phrase from ‘cultural jamming’ to ‘culture jamming’ in the process) in his New York Times article entitled: The Merry Pranksters and the Art of the Hoax.
Perhaps ironically – or expectedly – no sooner had Dery’s article been published than mainstream media and advertising got hold of the trend and began using it to push products.
Particularly ironic is the fact that Ad-busters, a magazine Dery himself wrote for on several occasions, took it upon itself to essentially commoditise the concept. As Dery states:
‘After I published my New York Times article, I wrote a series of articles for the Canadian anti-consumerism magazine Adbusters, beginning with “Subvertising: The Billboard Bandit as Cultural Jammer” (Adbusters, Fall/Winter 1991, Volume 2, Number 1), in which I introduced editor/publisher Kalle Lasn to the term “culture jamming” and the theories it embodied. 
‘Lasn took the concept and ran with it, branding his magazine as the house organ of the Culture Jamming Movement®, peddling anti-consumerist swag through the magazine’s website, and publishing a jammer’s manifesto of sorts, Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America, a strategy that has earned him the ire of jammers like Carrie McLaren, who in her essay “CULTURE JAMMING ™ brought to you by Adbusters” charges Lasn with reducing the phenomenon to:
‘“…a few pointless vagaries (“challenge your economics professors to justify their scientific credentials in class”) and things to buy—air-time on local TV to air Adbusters’ anti-commercials, Buy Nothing Day promo goods (irony, anyone?), and the Culture Jammer’s toolbox, where, for $35, you get a poster, stickers, The Culture Jammer’s Video, a Buy Nothing Day t-shirt and extra copies of Adbusters. Then inside the back page, in case you missed those two pages, there’s a full page of Culture Jamming materials. A set of six posters and postcards ($15), the Culture Jammer’s Calendar ($13), The Culture Jammer’s Video and Back Issues. Order before September 15 and get a second calendar free! …Beat ‘em at their own game, I guess is the thinking. But what comes out is no real alternative to our culture of consumption. Just a different brand.”
‘What she said. I share McClaren’s pique at Adbuster’s complicity in the commodification of anti-consumerism (not to mention Lasn’s benign neglect, in too many interviews, of the role my work played in bringing the concept to his attention).’
Here are examples of how culture jamming has been adopted by advertisers…
Cultural jamming in the digital age
So what of culture jamming in the social media age, where not only do the tools of technology enable virtually anyone to warp a message, but also to disseminate it effortlessly? Does it mean that with further reach the original ideals of culture jamming can be reignited?
Not really.
To alter a billboard in the dead of night you have to have a real passion for the message you’re creating. It has to be well-planned, well thought out and concise. Anyone with a hacked Photoshop program can whip up a digital effort in the time it takes to run off a group email and hope it goes viral. Which of course it doesn’t, because everyone else is doing the same thing.
This is not to say that there aren’t still great examples of culture jamming in the online space. Video content in particular is useful for culture jamming, such as this example by Jesse Rosten:

All in all, however, content like this is rare in a digital landscape where immediacy wins out over considered content. It’s a race to create the first meme, not the cleverest one.
Perhaps there is something to be said for the content that’s hard to make versus that which is created for the fleeting validation of a like on Facebook or a certain number of views on YouTube. Perhaps Mark Dery said it best when he wrote:
‘Seventeen years after my manifesto hit indie bookstores, the look and feel of culture jamming, at least, have been appropriated by the mainstream, tirelessly promoted by Adbusters (oh, the irony!) and hijacked by guerrilla advertisers to ambush unsuspecting consumers. Perhaps it’s high time we asked whether it, like the medieval Feast of Fools to which it is distantly related, was always just a socially sanctioned release valve – a tactical outlet for class resentments and pent-up dissent over social injustices and economic inequities that might have found more profoundly political expression if they hadn’t been harmlessly exorcized via rituals of resistance.
‘But that, wise crowd, is a question I leave to you.’
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

The truth shall set you free

Online content lets marketers tell the truth. But are they brave enough to do that?
In marketing – in fact, in the entire media industry – much of what people do is smoke and mirrors. But there’s a shift afoot. What if – drum roll, please – they just told… the truth?
Hear that? That’s the sound of us being laughed out of marketing land.
But whether the residents of said marketing land like it or not, social media and online content has brought the marketing and advertising industry into a far more truthful light. Consumer reviews, Facebook brand pages and an ever-increasing and almighty army of truth-telling bloggers are contributing to marketers and advertisers being held accountable for what we say.
Talking to a consumer – and, importantly, having a consumer talk back – makes it far harder to tell porkies. It’s kind of like trying to boast about your achievements with your big brother in the room. Stray too far from the truth and he’ll interject with a hearty ‘BullS**T!’ and you’ll look like a bit of a tool in front of your friends.
Conversely, it will make you more determined to go out and prove him wrong by achieving the things you’d been boasting about earlier. And so social media and engagement with consumers helps brands walk the talk. Being able to listen and to change when a customer picks up on the strong smell of bovine manure should be looked on as an opportunity rather than a hindrance by marketers. And while there’ll always be spin, social media allows for the injection of some serious substance to back it up.
So in the vein of honest advertising, we’d like to share with you some brilliant and hilarious artwork from Viktor Hertz, a freelance graphic designer from Sweden.
Why? Because it fits with the message of The Message that if you can create engaging, intelligent content that makes people laugh or think or that challenges them, and wrap it up in a package they already understand and relate to – like a magazine – then you stand a very good chance of keeping them coming back for more.
If anything, this will probably boost traffic to YouTube…

We all know this is bang on the money…

And our favourite…


To check out more of Viktor’s ‘honest logos’ head here. The truth, it seems, is out there in more ways than one…
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.