While many brands and agencies are “exploring” iPad marketing and considering added-value apps, only a handful have actually made the investment and turned talk into action. I’m proud that our agency, Possible Worldwide, and client, General Mills, came together to produce one of the first and best branded apps in the marketplace. Now, the Betty Crocker iPad App has been nominated for a Webby People’s Voice Award, and I would appreciate your help in giving the combined team the credit they deserve.
The Betty Crocker App Case Study:
Betty Crocker is not just a national brand: She’s a national hero. The sharing and exchange of Betty Crocker recipes and tips between family and friends–and down through the generations–has made Betty the “original social media queen.” General Mills asked us to take this brand trust, recipe knowledge, and need for instruction to a new level by creating one of the industry’s first iPad cookbooks. The Betty Crocker team wanted to “take Betty into the 21st century” by creating a tool that cooks can more effectively use in the kitchen.
The new iPad app makes it easy to find recipes and features a “cook mode” that helps users who are deep into a recipe. We’ve created easy-to-read instructions and clear, enlarged food/meal imagery. We’ve also integrated multiple timers to help cooks stay on top of the tasks at hand, whether it’s boiling an egg or baking a soufflé. The larger screen and innovative gestural interfaces make the Betty Crocker iPad app a visual, as well as practical, aid in the kitchen.
The Betty Crocker iPad app was an instant hit: In its first week, it reached #1 on the free app best-sellers chart (above Netflix and WebMD), and remains a best-seller to date.
How You Can Help:
Voting takes a little more than one click, but please do take the time to register and vote. You might even discover some other great examples of meaningful digital marketing in the process. Here’s how to vote:
You might be surprised to know that most of the award winners come down to just a couple of votes. Last year our Pringles Can Hands banner barely edged out work from Apple and Burger King to win the People’s Voice Award–thanks to your help! So please lend a hand again and put the iconic red spoon on top.
That was my first line to kick off our seminar at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival on Friday, June 25. “Wow!” is also the easiest way for me to describe the amount of work we put into the event, and the combined reactions of those who had a chance to join our seminar. After months of planning and preparation we pulled off our first-ever seminar in Cannes at the annual gathering of the world’s leaders in advertising and marketing. Although I am still in a bit of a daze since coming off the stage nearly two weeks ago, my mind is already racing to develop ideas for the next big way that we can spread the next evolution of marketing. But before rushing on to what’s next, I want to capture and celebrate what we pulled off here.
Before I go on, though, I suggest that you invest the 45 minutes to view our complete seminar footage, which is up and available here. Or if you’re really time-strapped, first check out some highlights in the YouTube video above.
Way back around October 2009, our President, Jay Woffington, and I had lunch with Jim Stengel, former Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble and now global speaker/consultant and professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Business. My book had just launched and Jim was continuing to spread his belief in brand ideals. We talked about our common desire to change the way marketing is performed, and we agreed that there was no better place than the annual Cannes Advertising Festival—a place where advertising and marketing leaders from around the world gather once a year to judge the best work, compare notes on where the industry is going, and bring back lessons that might be applied to the incredible changes surging through business and society today. We decided to team up and the folks at the Cannes Lions organization were excited to have us onboard for a seminar in late June.
In retrospect, deciding to do a seminar in Cannes and getting agreement from its leaders was the easy part. The real challenge lay in deciding what to do on our big stage. Thankfully we had some help. Two of our top creative leaders at Bridge Worldwide, Jason Bender and George Alexander, came up with the idea of asking a Burning Question. They argued that people in our industry are spending too much time searching for answers to questions such as: “What percentage of my budget should I spend on digital?,” “Do I need a new ad agency?,” and “What should my Facebook strategy be?” They reasoned that marketers are spending too much time looking for answers in new media tactics, and are therefore missing the big, fundamental shift that is happening in business and society. Their idea was for Jim and me to ask our Cannes audience a Burning Question, that, when asked, could help organizations hit the reset button and fundamentally adjust their methods to not only improve business results, but also improve life for customers, employees, stakeholders, and society overall.
To prepare for the event, Jim and I set up interviews with key leaders at some of the world’s largest marketers in the world. We were blown away to get 100% of our requests accepted from IBM, AT&T, Kraft, P&G, Levi’s, Luxottica, Pepsi, and Samsung. We flew camera crews around the country to ask these leaders our Burning Question and learn about how they recognized a need for change, the initial efforts they are making to shift, and the business and stakeholder benefits that are resulting from these early efforts. We were surprised to hear similar stories, and eager to share them with our audience in Cannes and beyond.
And to engage with more than the relative handful of folks who can go to Cannes, we sought to bring marketers around the world into the discussion. On BurningQuestion.com we asked people to post what they believed are the questions we should be asking ourselves. And we even ran a contest to bring two people over with us based on their personal efforts to improve the marketing world. Our winners were Stan Phelps, who is pioneering a new way to “give a little something extra” through his Marketing Lagniappe project, and Tyson Adams, a budding “philanthroprenuer” who just started a business called liveGLOCAL, that sells high-quality coffee and provides books for children in Laos for each bag sold. Both guys are incredible leaders who will continue to drive the next evolution of marketing in their own unique ways.
After a week of final-final preparation and taking in the other seminars and award-winning work in Cannes (see my blog posts here, here, and here), I was very eager to finally take the stage on Friday. Overall I was very pleased with the seminar. As you can see in the full-length video, we did a lot of things to drum up excitement and ensure that no one was disappointed to be sitting in our session on a Friday afternoon. I think we were able to weave together many threads that were running through Cannes all week and give the group something to thinking about, our Burning Question:
“How can we, in marketing and business, hold ourselves to a higher standard to create a positive impact on those we serve, our employees, and even the world?“
After the seminar we invited everyone in the audience up to the roof of the Palais to continue the conversation. I loved the chance to meet people from places as diverse as Ecuador, Turkey, India, and Australia—all struggling to figure out where the marketing world is going, and all coming away with some new thinking that they can apply to their brands and businesses. I gave away a few hundred copies of my book and collected a pocketful of business cards from potential clients, partners, and even competitors who wanted to keep talking about how we might work together toward this common goal. (Check out some of the after-seminar photos below…)
I find that it’s always hard to look at the time and money investment of an event like this and figure out if it was worth it. This was the biggest thing our agency has ever put on, and ultimately we are betting that by driving the industry conversation forward we will attract new clients and further build our business. Just like all of you, we are betting that we will succeed by creating Marketing with Meaning.
The work is not over, however, as we’ve come back down to earth and back to our desks and day jobs. We are working on plans to further share our seminar and the hours of amazing interviews footage with industry leaders. Jim and I even have a few requests to repeat the performance at industry events and corporate training facilities.
And, of course, I’ve already started thinking about what we could do in Cannes next year. I think the topic will only be hotter in 2011, and we want to continue to build on the momentum we have started. I would love your ideas and feedback in the comments below!
For years I’ve been a big fan of the Webby Awards—mainly because they are not just another advertising industry occasion, but rather an annual attempt to reward what is truly the “best of the Web.” This year we are thrilled that our banner ad for Pringles—”Can Hands” (above)—is a finalist in the Webby Awards, and you can help by voting for it in the People’s Choice category!
If you love the ad and/or just want to do a favor for this grateful blogger, please take five minutes to register at the People’s Choice Webby center, and vote for Pringles in the “Banner Singles” category. The competition is tough in this little category—as we’re going head to head with banners from Apple (TBWA) and Burger King (Crispin Porter). Right now we’re leading with 31% of votes, compared to 29% each for these two. Net, it’s going to come down to the wire and your vote will be meaningful! Voting ends Thursday, April 29, so please vote now.
Thanks for your support—and please share with your friends!
This week I’m spending some time catching up on sharing some of the best, most meaningful marketing to be awarded in the annual Cannes Advertising Competition. Our President, Jay, and Chief Creative Officer, Peter, both came back raving about an incredibly powerful vending machine for Coca-Cola that was put up in the bottom floor of the Cannes conference. It ended up winning a Gold Lion in the Design category. Check out the video above for a glimpse of the experience.
The biggest lesson for me here is a reminder that everything your brand does with the consumer is a kind of marketing, whether it’s customer service, packaging, delivery trucks, or vending machines. And every consumer touchpoint in this broad view of marketing can be made much more meaningful. In this case, Coke has taken the boring, predictable, exchange-focused vending machine and turned it into something remarkable, entertaining, and fun. I also love how this delivers on what the Coke brand and drinking experience is really about: a few minutes of fun and enjoyment. Instead of just advertising to people on TV with equity spots that are meant to help trigger a feeling of enjoyment hours or days later when the drink is consumed, this makes entertainment and happy feelings happen at the moment of truth of refreshment.
I think there are some other really interesting things about these vending experiences. First, they are completely measurable (obviously, because they sell product). Second, they could allow Coke to charge more and achieve wider margins (say, charging $2 or more for the machine experience and fancy bottle). Third, they draw attention in public places, which attracts more users, buyers, and observers.
I am most interested to see what happens from here with the vending machines, and whether they will truly roll out broadly. Sure, it’s easy to create a concept such as this, install it in a few malls, and win an award at Cannes. The challenge is selling this in broadly and getting distributors around the world to embrace the concept. This is where the marketing department often bumps heads with the old-school crowd, finance guys and general bureaucratic commitment to not making waves.
“Marketing” sits in a skyscraper in Atlanta, Georgia, making ads, while “Sales” is out on the streets making sure machines and store shelves are full. Placing ads and maintaining fancy machines is not their job, nor in their budget. Coke distributors are used to paying $X for a basic vending machine that needs almost no service. But what happens when “headquarters” forces them to pay $5X for this special machine? Who’s going to fix them when they break? Anyone who has worked in a large company can play out this tragic scene from hours in boardrooms and conference calls. A quote that I developed in my days as a big marketer was, “Doing anything new is hard.”
My congrats to Coke on a killer idea, and our hopes are with you as you try to take this meaningful idea outside the ad-award world.
I am extremely excited to share the news that our very own Marketing with Meaning blog has been ranked the #1 Content Marketing blog by the Junta42 organization. The Junta42 list continues to grow each quarter (up to 224 total from 187 last quarter) and has a long list of very strong bloggers that I follow each day. I also was excited to see that another Bridge Worldwide blog, Dose of Digital by Jonathan Richman, is now at the list, debuting at #163. My thanks to Joe Pulizzi for running this list and offering a great opportunity for all of us.
If you are new to this space, the Marketing with Meaning concept aims to lead a shift away from the old, interruptive advertising model and toward one in which the marketing we produce actually adds value to people’s lives. It’s an idea we use in our work every day for clients such as Abbott Nutrition, P&G, and ConAgra Foods, and it is the subject of a book that will be published by McGraw-Hill in October 2009.
When I started this blog in May 2008, I never thought of it as a “content blog,” but the fit with Junta42′s list is very strong. Brands that aim to add value with their marketing often end up creating, well, content. For Abbott Nutrition, we have created programs such as Diabetes Control for Life and Similac StrongMoms, both of which are rich content for people with diabetes and newborns, respectively. For Healthy Choice, we created a live improv comedy show during lunchtime (which is the new prime time, if you haven’t heard).
What I really like about the Junta42 list is that its judging criteria is based mainly on the quality of our content, rather than the number of visitors, Technorati links, etc. Because our site is less than a year old, it is difficult to match the visitor numbers of other marketing blogs that have been around for years. This list gives us a more even playing field, pitting idea vs. idea rather than audience vs. audience. Of course, I hope our ranking on this list helps us build up a huge audience, too.
Overall, the entire Bridge Worldwide team and I are very proud to see our concept and blog continue to gain fans and momentum. And it’s really only the start. This week I turn in the draft of our book to McGraw-Hill, and then we will start developing more cool tools and a community of like-minded leaders. Of course, I will be sharing all of our progress and developments here.
I cannot promise that we’ll be able to stay #1 on this very competitive list, but I pledge that we will continue to help lead the charge toward marketing that improves consumers’ lives. Thanks for reading and I invite you join our cause.
I’m back in the office today after a whirlwind week in Cannes, as seen in the daily posts below. Here are a few random thoughts:
More Meaning in Cannes
Jonah Bloom in Ad Age has a summary of his favorites from the show. Two that I should have featured myself are here:
“Lowe Bangkok’s “Torture Test” used a white T-shirt as an envelope for a direct-mail piece containing a sample of Unilever laundry detergent. Consumers’ addresses were written on the T-shirt, and by the time the T-shirts made it through the Thai postal system they were filthy — presenting a real stain-removal test for the recipient. An ingenious way to put the product at the center of the marketing and show faith in its efficacy.”
“Publicis Mojo Auckland’s effort for Speight’s beer played off the fact that New Zealanders in London had to do without their native ale. The agency put a Speight’s-serving pub on a boat that would sail around the world, via numerous ports, to England. It then ran a contest to find barmen who’d sail with the bar. Six percent of the male population of New Zealand applied for the job, and Speight’s regained its best-selling-beer slot in the country.”
Great Client Feedback
Last week I got a message from one of my Account leaders saying that her client actually built Marketing with Meaning into the brief for a big upcoming project! Apparently they were inspired by our Ad Age article and wanted to jump right in. Very, very cool and inspiring.
We’re a Best Place to Work – Again!
Finally, we just got an all-company email to announce that Bridge Worldwide has been named the #6 Best Small Company to Work For in America. This is our third consecutive year on the list and our highest ranking yet! Did I mention that we continue to hire? Why are we a great place to work, you ask? Tons of stuff. Meaningful marketing is one. Another is the fact that our people get together for events like the 48-hour film festival, which was sponsored by Bridge Worldwide. Check out our entry below – and, yeah, that’s me as Captain Bob…
It’s (too) early Sunday morning and time to wrap up our week-long coverage of the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. Last night was the grand finale with top awards for “Film,” Integrated Campaign, the overall Grand Prix, and things like agency and agency network of the year.
One of the highlights was Procter & Gamble winning “Advertiser of the Year.” P&G CEO A.G. Lafley, and CMO Jim Stengel were gracious in accepting the award. First, Stengel gave all of the credit to the advertising agencies that helped them produce great work and results. Then Lafley finished up by asking the crowd to “come join us” in taking the work further.
As for the big winners, I was happy to see the Halo 3“Believe” campaign co-win the big prize last night. As a Halo 3 player and fan, I can say that the marketing was especially meaningful. I spent hours interacting with the website and videos, which were something out of the History Channel 500 years from now. The marketing built an emotional experience, and helped the game rake in $170 million in first-weekend sales.
I do have to say that this final event seemed a little overdone. Guys in tuxes were handing out awards to guys in T-shirts. Lots of comments about how wonderful the “films” were. And seeing the ads on a movie screen versus in a pod of commercials during a TV show was completely unrealistic.
In conclusion, I’m very glad we came to Cannes this year and I look forward to future visits. Clearly the crowd wants awards and recognition – but a spirit of change is in the air. What everyone seems to agree on is that we will succeed by producing work that consumers enjoy and choose to engage with. The industry is ready for marketing with meaning.
I’ve been here at the Cannes advertising festival less than 10 hours and what I have seen and heard so far has blown away my expectations in terms of meaningful marketing. Of course my going-in impression was that Cannes is a tribute to navel-gazing creative work that desperately wants to be considered artwork. I pictured a lot of people in too-school-for-cool outfits smoking cigarettes and exchanging cynicisms. Instead, I find Cannes to be a more egalitarian environment of people anxious to break our careers into something more meaningful. Net, the epicenter of advertising is ready for meaningful marketing.
There were two sessions that really got me charged up and had me wearing through a notebook. First was a session featuring Nike’s Stefan Olander, Global Director for Brand Connections. As you might have guessed, Nike is a leading brand in the move to create more meaningful marketing, and Stefan presented several killer insights. For example:
Nike added a design studio with consultants to its Nike Stores to help people better design their Nike ID shoes.
They created “The Ballers Network” after noticing that a big issue with playing basketball is organizing the dates and times among friends. It’s an application in Facebook that makes it easy for friends to coordinate. On top of this useful tool it adds locations and info from 1,700 courts around the world, player reviews and scouting reports, score recordings, and a mobile version for courtside.
Nike is promoting its Nike+ service with “The Human Race 10k,” which will have races in 25 cities and including people running and uploading from their homes. The hope is to have 1 million participants on one day around the world.
Finally, Nike announced the launch of a new avatar tool called the “Nike+ Mini” (example above). It’s like a Nintendo Mii that you design as you like and post to your blog or Facebook page. Further, it actually reacts according to how much you’re running in the real world, i.e., run a lot, and it goes faster, slack off and it, too, loses pace. It’s a great way to create fun, deepen the community, and add a little more motivation (“I don’t want to make my Mini look like he’s slacking!”).
Nike continues to blow me away with its wholehearted dive into meaningful marketing. Stefan also shared data, such as the fact that “30% of Nike+ users come to the site three or more times per week.” He said that people who don’t have their Nike+ sensors with them will simply skip running “because they want credit for their achievements.” Overall, Stefan summed up Nike’s approach as follows:
“If we can do something good for somebody, they will repay us with sales.”
My second interesting session came from Contagious Magazine and Leo Burnett Worldwide. Leo is driving a meaningful-marketing-type quote around “moving from ads to acts,” and Contagious has “been tracking the branded utility space for three years.” (In fact, a reporter from the magazine interviewed me two weeks ago for a big upcoming piece.) The two shared several examples of meaningful marketing, some new, some old. I was struck, though, by how the examples they shared touched so few people – especially compared to traditional advertising’s reach into the tens of millions. For example:
7,900 people downloaded a widget for Nike+.
Guinness created a mobile tour guide in Catonese for the 20,000 people who visited Hong Kong for a rugby tournament.
5,000 people in Australia uploaded photos for a Canon promotion.
Big brands are running product placement on a webiseries called “Kate Modern” that 1.5 million people view each week around the world.
These are small numbers. So small that I’d have a hard time telling a client these looked good, much less bragging in front of thousands of people at Cannes. I’m personally a big fan of much deeper engagement with fewer people, rather than a massive reach play with millions of interruptions. But we also need to take a hard look at the numbers behind these amazingly creative (and meaningful) programs, and ensure that they are achieving enough scale to actually move the needle on revenues.
OK, time to cat nap before my first night on the town at Cannes. We’ll see if the cocktail conversation is as meaningful as the work we saw today.
After several days working on a huge new business pitch, I’m headed to the beach. Nope, not your typical drive to the coast with the family. I’ve still got to work on this trip. Instead, I’m catching a flight to France to experience the biggest annual advertising event in the world: The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
There are a few reasons why we’re going this year. First, we’ve grown to a size now where we need to be in the mix at such events. Second, as part of WPP, this is a great opportunity to network with our network and connect with partners from around the world. Third, one of our biggest clients, P&G, is receiving an award as advertiser of the year.
Aside from these reasons, I’m also excited to attend so that I can measure the best in the business against the Marketing with Meaning concept. The Cannes Lions awards are often considered a distraction from both business and meaning building. It’s the most edgy, beautiful, or artistic work… that is often more about the advertising agency’s self-expression than work that is supposed to drive sales. But in recent years the Lions seem to be moving toward meaning. Last year, for example, the show’s overall Grand Prix winner was Dove’s Evolution viral video.
So I’m going into the event with as a kind of unbiased reporter, and I promise to blog daily on what I see and hear from the shows – not only the work on display, but the cocktail conversations as well. Au revoir!