Welcome to the Interact Congress Blog. We have invited some leading European guest bloggers to share their observations on interactive marketing and communication skills within the integrated experience. The blog also offers you a first opportunity to interact with your peers.

For more information about the congress, please visit www.interactcongress.eu

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Guerilla marketing used to be celebrated, now it can get you arrested

The World Cup 2010. Massive amounts of media dollars spent by a few big brands wanting to associate themselves with the beautiful game and getting some exclusive media rights to the tournament. For every other brand the challenge is to punk them without the need to be an official sponsor. Nike have pretty much done this already with their Write the Future campaign and despite the cool Adidas Originals Star Wars mash up, most of Adidas’ publicity has been about THAT ball.

And then there’s the official alcohol brand. Budweiser have spent gazillions to be FIFA’s drinking buddy and I’m still a little gobsmacked when I see some people in the crowd clutching a bottle. There’s a good reason it’s banned in stadiums over here, not entirely sure why it’s not over there. Anyway, I digress.

How do you ambush the Bud party, get yourself noticed and talked about?

1) Buy a load of tickets of an ex Wimbledon player who has somehow managed to get to the World Cup as a pundit – and subsequently been fired for his lack of ability to keep his ticket allocation to family and friends (and with the best headline so far from The Sun – tout of Africa). If only it was Mick McCarthy, is he the dullest man in the universe?

2) Hire a harem of hot, blonde, Dutch girls.

3) Dress them in matching orange mini-dresses and give them the match tickets to the Holland game.

4) Rely on TV camera crews to pick up on hot, blonde, Dutch girls in short dresses and let the lingering camera shots do the rest. Bonus points if the game is dull and therefore more crowd footage.

5) People will go “phwoooar, look at them! Why are they dressed all the same?” Google becomes your friend. Voila, everyone knows it’s for Dutch beer Bavaria. And they’ve done it before.

Hurrah! Job done. Girls in newspapers everywhere, brand gets noticed, Bud punk’d, less money spent. Everyone loves you.

Except in this case, FIFA and Bud didn’t like being punk’d. They got mad, they got the girls evicted (somewhat expected) and then the organisers arrested (most unexpected)! The world has gone mad. Sure they want to protect their investment but there was no overt branding on the dresses. No one really has a clue what Bavaria beer is still. This just makes Bud and FIFA look like dorks. Shame on them.

But good for Bavaria – they’re planning on more stunts with different colour dresses. Perhaps this World Cup will get interesting at last. Especially if Mick has been generous with his tickets.

Who wants to drink Bud with football anyway? I’d rather have a bevy of hot girls in orange dresses any day.

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn |nicholas.r.gill@gmail.com

Social media opportunities and threats

Resource, control, senior stakeholder support.

The key threats of social media as viewed by a selection of UK senior marketers in this IDM download. The disturbing thing is that these threats are easily overcome. Social is no longer a fad, the case studies are out there of the huge impact it can have to amplify a brand message, activate a community of fans or instigate change. Control is an irrational fear. Use the channels you can control, plan accordingly and get upfront buy in from those bad boys in legal. Resource. Pah. In these uncertain economic times there will be activities that don’t pay back (commercially or brand equity) that do have resource. That have secured approval because the business “gets it”. By that I mean it’s traditional, always been there. If BT can change their call centre structure to have a team dedicated to active listening (listening and then participating in the conversations that are happening) then any brand can adapt. The biggest issue is senior stakeholder support. As Justin Billingsley, the former Orange Marketing Director said at the IAB Engage Conference in 2008, the biggest obstacle he had to overcome in turning Orange into a digitally focussed enterprise was the 60 year old man in the boardroom – he didn’t get it. And more pointedly, didn’t want to get it. We can help them get it, provide the evidence, create the excitement and continue educating and inspiring. The threats can be overcome, the opportunities are endless.

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn |nicholas.r.gill@gmail.com

Why check-in anywhere else?

McDonald’s have just teamed up with Facebook to be the first brand to offer their new location-based service. While Foursquare stats are being touted aplenty of late with a million users and 40 million check ins, the numbers are dwarfed by the Facebook behemoth.

Facebook is HUGE. It’s ingrained in our culture, language and behaviours. Including more localised (and therefore highly relevant and timely) content will only make us more wedded to it. While we’re (marketeers and agencies) experimenting with the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla, Facebook will just swat these guys like flies because of the scale, high activity rates of the installed user base and acceptance among brand marketers.

Why check-in anywhere else?

Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn |nicholas.r.gill@gmail.com