March 28, 2010

Crowdsourcing: Online Video

Filed under: Social Media,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 3:01 pm

With the Internet’s ability to reach worldwide for the brightest talent, we are starting to see an increased use of crowdsourcing to create the best products.  Check out a great example of crowdsourcing a choir:

March 27, 2010

Brand-Sponsored Film Done Right

Filed under: Current Events,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 6:05 pm

Thanks to @blakerutherford for pointing me to this. Yesterday, I wrote about brand-sponsored music done right. Today’s example is film. Spike Jonez, of Where the Wild Things Are fame, has released a short film (30 minutes) titled I’m Here that was paid for by Absolut Vodka. Although the brand has no representation or product placement within the film, the Absolut brand has prominence on the website where the film can be watched online and had 230,000 unique visitors just last weekend. While it may be difficult to understand why a brand would make this kind of investment, with the historical success of Spike Jonez Absolut could feel that not only would the investment generate a creative and profound product, but that people would seek it out.  And ultimately, Absolut endears themselves to consumers with support of arts like this film.  It is brand-sponsored film done right.

Here is the trailer:

March 26, 2010

Brand Sponsored Music Done Right

Filed under: That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 9:20 am

This video is way cool, but did you notice the State Farm sponsorship?  OK Go is a band mostly known for their videos (remember the one with the treadmills?), and I had the opportunity to sit in on a panel session at South by Southwest (SXSW) where Damian Kulash of OK Go talked about the making of this newest video and working with State Farm.

The band’s record label didn’t have enough money to pay for the video, so OK Go reached out to State Farm.  Kulash talked about this being scary for them because the band did not want to be in the business of making advertising.  But, he said that State Farm was surprisingly hands-off and understood that they are not content creators.  When they first formed the relationship, State Farm requested that the video be available only on the State Farm website for the initial launch.  OK Go, a band that understands the power of the internet, refused to do this: there is no sense in trying to control where people go on the internet as they will always find a way around the limitations you put on them.  Ultimately, State Farm agreed and the video was posted everywhere.  To give State Farm their money’s worth, the brand as made part of the story, with no attempt to hide the relationship (remember, the internet is about transparency).  And, the video is so interesting that people watch four or five times.  State Farm managed to relinquish control, introduce and endear themselves to a whole new set of consumers, and come out unscathed.  There are even positive comments on YouTube about the brand and the sponsorship.

This is a good lesson for brands looking to expand their audience base in new and interesting ways.  To tap into consumers beyond the brand’s existing reach, sometimes it is necessary to play by the rules of those consumers.  Attempting to force corporate rules on potential new consumers can have disastrous effects (see Nestle’s Facebook meltdown).

Interesting facts about the development of the video:

  • It took 65 takes to get the entire sequence shot.
  • They actually made it all the way from beginning to end three times.
  • 60 engineers worked on the project.

March 25, 2010

An Introduction to Location-Based Services, Part II

Filed under: Business,Social Media,SXSW,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 2:25 pm

Check out Innovate Arkansas for the second part of my two-part introduction to location-based services based on sessions attended at South by Southwest.

March 24, 2010

An Introduction to Location-Based Services, Part I

Filed under: Social Media,SXSW,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 2:35 pm

Check out Innovate Arkansas for the first part of my two-part introduction to location-based services based on sessions attended at South by Southwest.

March 21, 2010

Arkansas Native, Navy SEAL Adam Lee Brown Killed in Afghanistan

Filed under: Current Events — Emily Reeves @ 11:24 am

Allow me to step away from advertising, social media and technology for a moment today and honor Navy SEAL Adam Lee Brown, an Arkansas native, who died in Afghanistan just a few days ago. He was serving with my brother, also a Navy SEAL. From my brother:

“I’ve known him since 1999 while we were going through BUD/S together. He was a good friend and probably the most religious, moral man I knew in the teams. Huge loss for us and I just wanted you guys to take a minute and give a toast to him. He left
behind his wife and two kids.

“Adam considered Arkansas to be the center of the world and will be buried there…We are making a memorial patch with a Razorback on it…”

Senator Lincoln’s statement is here. And information is also on the Navy SEALs blog here.

March 19, 2010

SXSW: Trends

Filed under: Current Events,Social Media,SXSW,Technology,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 2:14 pm

As a way to discern trends from the SXSW sessions attended, I created a Wordle graph using the daily recaps.  Check it out.

sxsw-wordle

SXSW: Day Five Recap

Filed under: Current Events,Social Media,SXSW,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 1:56 pm

This was the last day of the South by Southwest (SXSW) interactive festival in Austin. The conference lasted five days and was been jam-packed with educational sessions about emerging technology. It was long, fun, exhausting, engaging, informative, crowded and worth every minute.

According to reports, the interactive portion of the festival outsold both the film and music portions. There were 12,000 interactive badge holders this year. For those that have been attending SXSW for several years, this number was almost too much to handle: they complained about the mass and accompanying lack of intimacy among the group. This being my first year, I was in awe of event and appreciated everything it had to offer. Maybe they are right and SXSW interactive has jumped the shark, making it less valuable than before, but that was not my experience.

The last day offered approximately 140 sessions, of which I attended the following:

  • “LBS 101: Geolocation on the ‘Horizon’”
  • “Social Business”
  • Keynote presentation with Daniel Ek, CEO and founder of online music service Spotify
  • “Interactive Infographics”

“LBS 101: Geolocation on the ‘Horizon’” was a continuation of the location theme that was prevalent throughout the conference. This particular session focused more the technology aspect of the services rather than the user aspect. To emphasize the demand and opportunity for location-based services (LBS), the presenter started with the statistic that approximately 55% of all text/SMS messages sent are some variation of “where are you?”. That equates to almost 650 billion location-based service text messages in 2009. To further demonstrate the potential, the presenter revealed that of the 200 million mobile subscribers in the United States, 18.5% are smart phones with built-in technology for geo-location. However, for most of the market, downloading an app for updating location status is a barrier to entry. The benefit of using a location-based service will need to be pretty great to jump that hurdle with the mass-market user.

Today, location-based services are being used for navigation, family location (if on a shared mobile service plan) and friend finding through social media applications. The future of location-based services could include notification when friends are nearby, location aware advertising, location aware marketing/couponing, crowdsourcing traffic systems and fraud prevention. The technology already exists today for location-based advertising, but it is not being implemented. Just last week, Starbucks announced a partnership with FourSquare to award a barista badge to frequent visitors, but won’t be sending coupons or promotions through the service just yet. An example provided in the session for how location-based advertising/marketing could be used: the Starbucks on a corner in Austin is having a slow day so they push out a coupon for everyone within 25 meters for 50% off to bring in customers. Based on the amount of conversation at SXSW this year, it is safe to assume that we will see location-based services increasing in use over the next two years, both among business and consumers.

“Social Business” was a panel presentation from three communications people (marketing, PR, customer service) talking about how social media has impacted them. The panelists included David Meerman Scott and Captain Nathan Broshear of the Air Force. David Meerman Scott, a professional marketing and leadership speaker, as well as author, started the session. Scott presented many quotable one liners for this captive audience: speak to buyers in their language, not yours; create triggers that encourage people to share; the most overused terms in press releases include “innovate,” “unique,” “pleased to” and “leading provider”; lose control of your brand. Although his presentation style was engaging and entertaining, the content was pretty generic.

Captain Nathan Broshear is Director of Public Affairs for the Air Force. He talked about how the armed forces can use social media with every airman acting as a spokesperson using his iPhone and Flip cam as tools. The Air Force now allows members to post content to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, knowing that this assists in spreading the message about their work efforts and can help with recruiting. The embracing of social media has resulted in media calls to the Air Force to expand on intriguing stories, rather than the Air Force having to reach out to the media to “sell” their stories. As a result, the Air Force claims to have not issued a news release in eight years. The Air Force is using social media is used to humanize the organization.

Tuesday’s keynote presentation was an interview with Daniel Ek, CEO and founder of online music service Spotify. It was a nice transition from the interactive portion to the music portion of the SXSW festival. Spotify is a music sharing site that is not yet available in the United States. The site and service allows users to build playlists, access them from anywhere (mobile or online) and share them with friends. Because most in the audience was unfamiliar with the service, Ek did a demonstration and overview of how Spotify works both online and through a mobile app. Ek’s stated the Spotify goal as wanting “to make music like water” in its availability. He talked about the social nature of music and our human desire to share it with others.

“Interactive Infographics” was a session for designers to understand the impact of presenting data as interesting graphics. The panelists include designers from the New York Times and GOOD magazine, as well as a representative from Processing.org and Stamen Design. The majority of the session was spent showcasing the work of the four panelists as examples of the possibilities.

There was a lot to take in over the five days of SXSW. As we digest the information and figure out how it applies to our businesses, it will be interesting to see if and/or how the predictions hold true.