Sponsor an F1 Car

John Dodds points out that someone over in Honda F1 marketing must be paying attention to global trends.

Launching myearthdream.com, Honda are bringing together an increasing global interest in global warming and environmental issues and employing one of the Internet’s greatest hits of last year — the million dollar homepage.

At this site, you can pledge money to a registered charity (the trust will distribute funds to environmental charities around the world) and in return you can have your name appear on a pixel on the car. There are 600 pixels per car and there are two cars. The cars will be unveiled at the first Grand Prix in Melbourne on 18 March 2007.

The site also has some great tips and tricks for helping the environment. My favourite:
"Give up ironing – Endorse the crumpled look. An iron uses as much energy as a kettle is it really worth it? A great excuse to avoid a household chore!"

While I like this site and the idea behind it, it is a shame that there are a couple of things missing from the execution — a "blog this" function for the site — and a good copy editor.

Smarter than Me

Originally uploaded by danielsoh.

Writing with Ann Handley’s MarketingProfs Daily Fix has been a fantastic opportunity. It has allowed me to participate in some excellent discussions, cause others, and importantly, to meet and become friends with some of the brightest minds in marketing anywhere in the world.

There are a couple of people, in particular, who have had a deep impact on my thinking about marketing — Lewis Green and Michael Wagner. They are both very principled people and whether they know it or not, they have provided me with inspiration and guidance in many areas — from the way that I think and craft ideas to how I express them or demonstrate concepts. They have also helped me understand what it means to "own my own brand" (though I continue to work on that one).

What I love about Mike is his unrelenting focus on narrative. I am inspired by the way he highlights the way that brands can have an impact on our everyday lives. He is able to reach deep inside a brand experience and draw out, and humanise, the effect that a brand can have on a person’s life. This is more than simple storytelling and much more than an understanding of brand experience. As Mike tells it, the story or slice of life becomes enmeshed with a sense of personal history — making the brands that we love or the brands that deeply affect us, part of the fabric of the way we live.

And the best thing about Mike is that he also demonstrates this in everything he touches. When I first commented on his blog he sent me an e-mail. He was "owning his own brand" and following up a comment with a "thank you" e-mail. But it wasn’t a form letter … it was a thoughtful, well crafted e-mail that prompted a conversation and it kicked off a series of e-mails between us. Mike provided me with suggestions and was a great sounding board for some of my thinking … always surprising me with his generosity and his personal openness.

Lewis also is a master storyteller. His stories come from a deep personal history and self knowledge … and he is able to clearly articulate his stories in an entertaining way. His strong social conscience manifests in all his posts and is backed up with a great business mind. I love the way that Lewis asks the hard questions of us all … why blog?, what about those gadgets?, and why we should believe in marketing. He reminds us to ask questions of the work that we do and the way that we write. He constantly pushes us to remember the human aspect of our work and creativity — that there is a need to focus on people, not money.

If you are new to the blogs of Mike and Lewis, there is great insight locked away in the archives on their sites. Spend some small amount of time to investigate the categories and posts they have on their sites. Read the posts AND the comments — and also check out MarketingProfs.


Late for Lunch

late for lunch
Originally uploaded by yodelingisfun.

I am supposed to have lunch with an old friend of mine today. I postponed last week … but with all my email problems I seem to have lost her contact details — and of course my webmail only displays mail that has not been downloaded to my PC at home.

So … Sharon, if you are out there … please email me again.

Looks like I am buying!

Social Media is Not a Silver Bullet

AdliteratebrandideasI almost always read Richard’s Adliterate blog, but with the drama in the lead-up to Christmas last year, I must have missed this post on building better brands. The diagram here came out of another discussion that Richard was hosting, and it distills a whole range of thinking around whether or not you have a brand idea. What Richard was driving at was the difference between a brand idea and an advertising/creative idea.

In that I have been thinking about the nature of brands in some depth recently, it is quite fortuitous that I have stumbled upon this. I love its simplicity. And I think this is well timed considering the resignation of Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago over CareerBuilder’s Super Bowl ads (via JaffeJuice):

Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago, has resigned as CareerBuilder’s agency of record after a five-year run. In an internal memo issued today, the agency’s president, Peter Krivkovich, said CareerBuilder put its account up for review after the agency’s Super Bowl ads failed to rank in the top 10 in USA Today’s viewer poll.

It seems unbelievable that the measurement of the success of a Super Bowl ad could hinge on a viewer poll. But it is even more unbelievable that the marketing team over at CareerBuilder could have such a narrow view of a brand — or at best, a confusion over the nature of a brand idea.

But it seems that this is not as crazy as first thought. Reading through the comments over at Adliterate, I found this interesting comment by Robert:

When planning, I try to find a truth people can embrace. I guess ‘beauty’ is about attraction. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think that is right. When someone feels attracted to a conceptual thought, proposition, message, story – whatever you want to call it – it is because they recognize something important from themselves in it. People don’t see the world as it is; they see it the way they are. And if they feel attracted to an idea, that is because they see their truth. A truth that ties in well to their beliefs.

Marketers are also attracted to ideas. The CareerBuilder team were focusing on user polling. They must have expecting buzz. Or YouTube viewing statistics. Or … Or … And while their expectations were obviously not met, it is clear that the "idea" of social media was top of mind. Whether this was communicated to the agency or not … I don’t know. But just because social media is growing in influence, it doesn’t mean that its measurements can be used to judge all media/creative. Sometimes social media is NOT the answer …

It is just a shame that ideas can sometimes overtake commonsense. It is why I prefer lots of small, momentum building ideas than one BIG one … when your big idea misses the mark, it can take you out.

How Deep is the Hole Your Brand is In?

Interbrand’s Brand Marketer’s Report for 2007 has been released and makes for some interesting reading. You can download your own copy here.

Interestingly, "consistency" is seen to be the most important aspect of successful branding. This made me think. It made me wonder. It made me realise that there are many brands and brand managers out there digging themselves a very large hole.

If consistency is one of the most important aspects of branding, then how is your brand going to withstand the forces of co-creation? How will you and your organisation cope with the ravages of consumer generated content? What will you do about blogs? YouTube? Flickr?

I am all for consistency — but consistency of story ranks high for me. Get that right and your brand is safe in the hands of your consumers.

NYC Pillow Fight

Pillow Fight
Originally uploaded by davegolden.

OK … so I am jealous that there are events like this that I simply cannot get to. Though now I am thinking this would be a neat addition to our coffee mornings in Sydney (well I am close enough to sleeping that early in the morning anyway).

But for you folks living in NYC … check the details of the massive pillow fight in NYC. Happening today … well, your today.

Me? I will be tusselling with my own pillow … deep in dream.

Email Me!

Originally uploaded by Mrs. Bickerson.

So it seem that my e-mail is working again — and my inbox is open for business.

Sorry Luc and Marcus for the bounces … I don’t know what happened there but am checking with my ISP. Now … if only Typepad can sort out my commenting it would be great!

Update: It looks like Typepad have had a small breakthrough on my commenting!

Too Funny

OK … so I still cannot comment on ANY Typepad blog — and it seems that some of you cannot comment here. I don’t know what is going on, and the Typepad folks don’t seem to be able to fix it. So it seems I will have to write my comments here and link back. Unfortunately this means that I can’t really engage in the conversation … and it is quite frustrating, because there are some great discussions taking place at the moment!

  • In celebration of Paul’s 1000th comment, he is handing over blog control to his readers — well to the reader who submits the 1000th comment. So, at last count, it looks like the winner is Tim Jackson who promises a fistful of curses and sharp insight that will make your eyes bleed.
  • Cam is upset at the ongoing corporate branding and trademarking of common phrases. I agree.
  • Ariel explains that men who look at women for 10 minutes per day achieve a similar level of health benefit as those who exercise for 30 minutes at the gym. Finally a type of exercise that I can cope with!
  • Roger shares his travel adventures in Egypt with us all … showing his restless creative interest never holidays even when he does!
  • Marcus has taken his bat and ball and gone home.
  • His alter-ego continues to apply for jobs with top European agencies, finding that his approach while "genius", does not achieve the desired outcome.