Viral Marketing in its simplest form is the spreading of an idea which helps to benefit your business or cause (a charity in this case). Since July 2014 when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began reaching critical mass, the phenomenon has steadily taken over people’s news and twitter feeds. The organisations website is as recently as the 27th of August reporting a staggering €94.3 million in donations for the period (July 29 – August 27). This is in comparison to $2.7 million for the same period last year. It goes without saying the campaign has been a tremendous success.

We at OMD wanted to explore why and how the Ice Bucket Challenge was such a success. We have broken it down to a number of factors.

Celebrity Seeding

The campaign took hold when Peter Frates a former Boston College Baseball star and ALS sufferer popularized the campaign. Peter had close connections with well-known Boston athletes and as a sufferer he was a fitting voice to both publicise the campaign and tie it into the ALS association. The campaign has seen celebrities like LeBron James, Rory McIlroy, Justin Bieber and even George W. Bush complete the challenge. These social influencers and hundreds more like them, endorsing the campaign has been worth billions in terms of what traditional contractual endorsements would have cost the ALS association.

Video

Marketers don’t create a phenomenon like the Ice Bucket Challenge. They create an idea which they hope is compelling. The audience’s reaction is what will create the phenomenon. Video happens to be the perfect medium to facilitate this reaction and social media is the channel in which we distribute the content. Video was fundamental to the campaigns success as I’m sure you can imagine the same posts with still images wouldn’t have generated near as much cut through. Short snappy video is both engaging and shareable. This applies to a large amount of social content and can be proved by the higher click through rates on video vs. standard display.

Viral Component

The campaign has an in built viral component. The fact people nominate at least three other people to complete the challenge spreads the cause automatically. It is almost like the concept of chain letters from years past. The virility of this campaign has reached all demographics. Although its initial boost may have come from celebrity participation, the campaign has spanned all generations and social demographics.

Simplicity & Timing

The challenge excluded very few people as access to the raw components is readily available to most. The simple act of dumping a bucket of water on oneself is both funny and enjoyable. People also enjoy seeing people they know or admire (celebrities) in compromising positions. Although the task was quite easy it allowed the competitive nature in people to make the funniest and most original videos come to life. Timing cannot be under estimated in terms of the campaigns success. The warm summer months have lended themselves perfectly to the challenge. I’m not so sure people would have been as eager in New England during the snowy winter months to run outside and kick start this phenomenon.

Feel Good Cause

This weighed in extra impotence behind the campaign as people felt the moral obligation to support such a worthy cause. Most people wouldn’t have taken part but for the charity element evoking an emotional connection with the challenge.

The above factors combined allowed the Ice Bucket Challenge to be one of the most successful viral marketing campaigns of all time. It is proof that a simple, entertaining idea which is executed at the right time can reach every corner of the earth and truly show the worth of earned media.

We look forward to seeing how much the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge eventually nets for the worthwhile charities and how the funds can help in the battle against motor neuron disease.

See the link below to OMD’s own Ice Bucket Challenge.

Thanks

DK

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These events have more in common than one might think. Not alone the obvious fact that they both begin in the next few days, they are also the biggest events within their respective fields.A Cannes Lions is the most prestigious award a person within the creative communications industry can hope to win, while the FIFA World Cup is the biggest tournament any aspiring footballer could dream of winning.

So who are the big winners going to be this year?

Cannes Lions

On a weekly basis we admire best in class ideas from around the world in our Ignition 5 sessions and often we see the cream of this crop rise to the top when the Cannes Lions come around. Some of the favorites to pick up golds are Guinness for their “Made of More” campaign featuring “The Sapeurs”, British Airways real time digital outdoor #lookup campaign and Volvo Trucks “The Epic Split ft. Jean-Claude Van Damme”.

In terms of creative, these are some of my favorites but only time will tell if these campaigns get the recognition I believe they deserve.

World Cup

Brazil – The bookies’ favorite has to get a serious nod; they have home advantage as well as a cracking team. Interestingly, Goldman Sachs have created a statistical analysis which suggests the home side are favorites for a reason.

As usual with large sporting events, brands have come in their droves to get a slice of the World Cup audience. Nike have two new World Cup specials, and there are brilliant new ads from Adidas and Beats by Dre. A collection of the best ads can be found here.

Here at OMD, we have been working on our World Cup impact reports. We are monitoring each country’s interaction with the event and creating global reports on how brands and consumers are interacting, viewing and engaging with the World Cup across every market. If anyone is interested in getting their hands on this report be sure to get in touch and we can share it with you.

Best of luck to all the teams and agencies in both competitions!

DK

Twitter TV Ratings

November 6, 2013

nielsen-twitter-logos-300pxThere are so many “Hot Topic’s” in media at the moment it seems we are spoiled to be living during an age of such rapid change and evolution. Programmatic Buying, 2nd Screening and how Netflix is changing the media landscape are just some of the many topics crossing peoples lips.

I found myself being engrossed in a story I heard almost 3 weeks ago. Rumblings about Nielsen and Twitter partnering up to create what they call Twitter TV Ratings very quickly became a hot topic. The idea of the Twitter TV ratings is not the same as your typical TV rating (how many people watched a TV show). The twitter TV Rating looks at how much activity the particular TV show creates on Twitter. Both these metrics show very different results for different demographics. An obvious assumption to make is that programmes which are popular with a younger demographic will score higher in terms of Twitter TV Ratings as this audience are more engaged with the platform. However the results even with a younger more engaged audience are very programme dependent. Some programmes lend themselves nicely to 2nd screening and twitter conversations while others don’t. Here is the Top 5 US programs from 30/09 until 06/10.

Top 5 US Twitter TV Ratings 30/09 - 6/10/2013

Top 5 US Twitter TV Ratings 30/09 – 6/10/2013

Are there any major surprises? Not so much. American political thriller TV drama, the most talked about artist of the moment, the equivalent of our Late Late Show and The Voice. These shows are typically going to arouse in a traditional sense, conversation about their outcomes. Traditionally people would have sat around together and watched these programmes. Nowadays, the communal friendly aspect to watching TV has been to a certain extent lost. I feel the exciting thing Twitter is doing is restoring an aspect of social conversation to the act of watching your favourite TV programmes. It’s giving viewers a platform to share their opinion and enjoy other peoples in “real time”. Even if none of your close friends are watching the latest episode of House of Cards you can find a community of people online who are.

From a media perspective Advertisers are going to gain a wealth of knowledge about their target audience. People’s interactions with TV programmes are going to filter down audiences into minute targeted groups. The kind of groups traditional media have been lacking in comparison to digital media. It’s obviously going to take some time for the technology and implementation of such measures to reach Ireland. I just know I’m personally excited about the prospect of RTE selling advertising in the newest series of whatever Love/Hate type programming is running with a big Twitter TV Rating sitting alongside.

Donnacha – Account Exec OMD Ireland

From weddings, to birthdays to last days in work – speeches are written all the time. Although often predictable, or lacking in originality, sometimes speeches have the power to change not only our thinking, but our motivations and behaviour. The best speeches are those that inspire.

Brands communicate consistently too. Just like speeches, ads are all too often easy to ignore. Yet sometimes, an ad comes along that’s so powerful, it both moves and stays with us.

I would urge anyone who shares my passion for communication to check out two videos. The first features Lord Saatchi discussing the importance of beliefs. The second is a particularly moving scene from Mad Men. This is one of the best examples I’ve seen of how powerful an insight can be when arrived at properly.

 

Of course, most ads are made with some sort of KPI in mind, whether its sales or market share. But isn’t it wonderful when an ad holds the power to move us? When we’re forced to revaluate a long held certainty, or when a belief is reinforced?

-Carly

Failure to Communicate

June 18, 2012

I read recently in Campaign about how the British Government have restructured what was the COI (Central Office of Information) into the Government Communication Centre.  It all sounded quite dull actually and seemed to get a qualified acceptance from Ad land that if nothing else “the new system can’t be any worse than the chaos we have at the moment”. This side of the Irish Sea we have our own version of organised chaos I suppose, so on one level we can congratulate ourselves that our approach appears to be no worse than anyone else’s (and in fairness this can be an intricate and complicated space) but like any other system certainly has room for improvement.

What frustrates me as someone who plies his trade in Ad land is the failure of successive governments in embracing the advertising community in trying to solve some of our country’s ills. Most government interaction with the advertising community appears to be at arm’s length, is infused with a lack of understanding (often on both sides) and is largely confined to an exchange of written submissions around the pros and cons of advertising regulation, the most high profile of which, alcohol restrictions, is a case in point. I don’t think you’d find many people in Ireland who argue that we as a nation have a dysfunctional (he said politely) relationship with alcohol. We frequently read about the negative knock on effects be it societal violence, the  impact on the health of our nation and when the two come together the ability of our health service providers to do an already difficult job in the most testing of conditions. Imagine what it would be like trying to do a simple task like typing an e-mail with a drunkard shouting abuse at you, let alone attempting to provide medical assistance. The health debate rages further as my radio tells me this morning that most of us are overweight and alcohol plays a significant role in the reasons why. Then there is the counter argument that alcohol is part of who we are, the fact that we are the land of the ‘Cead mile failte’, that we can have the ‘craic’ and that despite Roy Keane’s aspersions any football tournament in the world is very much the better for the performance of Irish fans, if not necessarily our teams. That’s before we mention the positive impact of sponsorship revenues from the alcohol companies that touch most sporting organisations in the land. The debate can and does rage on, far beyond my own rambling paragraph above.

To me, the knight in shining armour for Ireland and our dysfunctional relationship with alcohol is communication. But not through curtailment and regulation (these have a role, don’t get me wrong, but the impact of regulation only goes so far). It is through engaging the advertising community to do what it does best. Influence long term habitual change. Guess what? This doesn’t happen overnight. This won’t happen by accident. This won’t happen when the responsibility for relaying the message lies with the drinks industry. The government need to get together a crack team of communication experts who can devise a long term strategy (and I mean long term). A strategy that evolves over the next 20 years that helps us as a nation grow up. We’re doing it the hard way at the moment filling the holes that the banks left behind.  Next up should be our relationship with alcohol. If governments looked beyond their own twitter accounts and trying to mimic Barrack online to get re-elected and looked at how they communicate our stance on some social ills, our country would be the better for it. The government and it’s agencies spent around €50 million on advertising last year.  We can all pick holes in the way any sum of money is spent. Guess what? A lot of it was spent really well, led by great marketers within the state sector. Give some of this people a brief and  budget , sit back, enjoy your next pint in the knowledge that our children and grandchildren will enjoy their future relationship with alcohol in a collectively more considered way that we are currently collectively all guilty of.

Tim

Integration

February 25, 2012

Last Thursday, the Sponsorship Summit 2012 was held in Croke Park. A series of talks and discussions took place around why sponsorship works, and how to execute it properly. There were a number of key lessons. The audience was told that there has to be a good cultural fit between the brand and sponsorship asset. Think Guinness and Irish Rugby . It’s not enough anymore to badge an asset with a logo. A good plan should make the most of the sponsorship, and consumers’ should be excited and involved. Musgraves brought to life it’s partnership of the GAA with ticket sales at local stores, the use of characters from their TV ads in store to entertain young fans and buses organised to bring supporters to games.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of the day was integration. A fantastic case study, which I would urge anyone to investigate further, is P&G’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics. Stemming from a key insight that consumers are in fact aware that brands such as Olay, Gillette and Ariel are part of a larger group; a decision was made to promote the P&G brand itself. Giving access to billions, the sponsorship of the Olympics is one with huge potential. P&G is highlighting its association with a number of moving ads, incorporating the ‘Proud Sponsor of Mums’ tagline. Ticket giveaways and the use of the P&G/Olympics logo on products are aimed at driving consumer loyalty and sales.

p&g

P&G and the Olympics brings to mind OMD’s own strategy of insights, ideas and results. With all three interdependent, it’s a useful reminder that although an idea may seem ‘nice’ and may even be something that a client has ‘liked’ in the past, it needs to be grounded in insight and driving results for the business in the form of sales, market share or stakeholder value. With many brands proud to showcase success achieved with best practice, others need to make sure that they don’t get left behind.

-Carly

Something happened somewhere along the line that we all missed.  We missed that meeting, we slept through it.  We meant to spend a bit of time getting our heads around it, but somehow it kept slipping off the urgent list.  I remember when there was no Google and I know that it’s everywhere now.  It’s just the in-between bit that I’m sketchy on.

I’m also convinced that there’s nothing we can do about it.  So, really, questioning the rights and wrongs and moralities of it, whilst it might be interesting (or not?) is kind of an irrelevance.  It rains a lot in Ireland.  In some ways I wish it didn’t, it’s pretty annoying.  In other ways I’m glad that it does, the green landscape is really beautiful.  But I’d never sit around debating whether or not it should rain so much here or not.  What’s the point?  There’s no ‘should’ about it – it just does.  Rainfall is up to God, Superman, ComReg, the BAI, ClearCast or whoever it is that regulates our weather.

 

Back to Google.  They’re on the cusp of being the single biggest ‘media’ vendor in this market and beyond.  As I asked at the beginning, when the hell did that happen?  It doesn’t matter when it happened.  How did it happen?  Doesn’t really matter either, it just did.  So what are we going to do about?  Well, nothing we can do about it.  They went straight to the client on this one – that is the consumer, the public, the people using the world wide web.  They voted with their traffic and that’s the way it is. 

 

As long as they have a monopoly on the audience, we haven’t a leg to stand on.  Imagine a world in which the biggest media vendor doesn’t give you a percentage of discount, a percentage of media commission.  No volume deal, no share deal, no early payment deal, no annualised incentive.  Even talking to them is on their terms.  Depending on which of their client categories you fit into, you get to speak with a specific layer of their sales organisation.  Thanks for your business.  Paulie in Goodfellas had a similar service ethos.

 

And yet, and yet, and yet…  Flip this on its’ head and is this not the best thing to ever happen to a media agency?  We don’t want to be commoditised, we don’t want a race to the bottom, we want to add value and be rewarded for more than just bulk buying media space as if it were paper clips or ink cartridges, right? We said that, didn’t we?  Alright then, let’s get on with it.  Google is a level playing field for every agency, every client, everyone who wants to do business with them.  The only differentiator is how well you use their products and services.  In other words, the only differentiator is you, the agency, through your people.  Which is what we said we wanted all along. 

 

So get out there and start differentiating, get a competitive advantage and leave the moral navel-gazing to someone else.

John Clancy.

Creative Destruction

September 27, 2011

I first came across the term Creative Destruction when I read Alan Greenspan’s memoir, The Age of Turbulence (a quick Google tells me it was actually Karl Marx who came up with the term). The former Chairman of the United States’ Federal Reserve used the term to hypothesise that for economic markets to grow, existing trading methods need to be broken down and then rebuilt in new improved forms. Reading the book back in January 2008 it felt like reading the blueprint for financial success. I’m sure if I were to revisit the book now it would feel more like a blueprint for financial disaster. Context is everything.

I came across the term recently again as I dipped into John Hegarty’s book, Hegarty on Advertising. He defines Creative Destruction as the breaking down of old habits and practices that, in turn, create new and more powerful means of expression. He sets it in the context of various cultural revolutions through the ages, from Caravaggio to Elvis, from Michelangelo to punk, and applies it to modern day advertising, which he encourages to embrace technology and the new branding techniques and audience landscapes that come with it.

Last week announcements in the world of social media, were I guess, the latest form of Creative Destruction as both Facebook and Google moved to the next steps of their evolutionary processes. Indeed Facebook spell it out to us with the introduction of Timeline. And while a lot of the debate has focused on the corporate power plays of both of these organisations, the more fundamental point is that of John Hegarty. People, our consumers in marketing speak, are changing their behaviours every day and some companies adapt quicker to them than others. I’m told that Google+ has made 91 documented changes in its first 90 days of existence.  Now a breakfast cereal mightn’t be able to do that, but it can evolve its communication because if not, relevance can be lost in this modern world very quickly.

I read yesterday that in the world of marketing, Google is currently the most desired company to work for and on some levels one can see why.  Yet their world, all encompassing in so many ways, is only part of the picture in others. There have been more water cooler conversations about Downton Abbey in the office this week than Google and it’s the skill of understanding how all consumer touchpoints come together that give a broader perspective and understanding of the world that makes media the intellectually challenging and fun environment of which Google and Facebook are but an important (if rather sizeable) part.

Tim

I haven’t seen the movie Killing Bono, but having watched the trailer, I love the conceit: “I was nearly in the best band in the world but fate dictated otherwise”.

I’d love to be able to say the same is true of me and how close I came to being Liverpool’s centre forward, but if Killing Bono is a ‘true-ish’ story, any claim to me having a fledgling football career would be a downright lie.

What are the near misses of the marketing and advertising world? What left turn did Harp take that only those of a certain age have fond memories of Sally O’Brien and “the way she might look at you”, whatever happened to the Radion family and their stain busting washing powder, and more recently what caused Bebo to be overrun by Facebook and why does Nokia look like it’s once unassailable position in the handset market is crumbling before their very eyes.

I guess the truism that the only constant is change plays its part. Harp, once part of an (un) holy trinity of Guinness, Smithwicks and Harp suddenly found itself fighting against the Americans and Nordics as Budweiser, Carlsberg et al entered the scene with seductive allure of unconquered worlds on their side. Radion fell to a combination of multi-national rationalisation and the ever evolving technological advances of its stable mates and competitors. Facebook garnered the momentum of the adult social network that it has become and Nokia came face to face with the genius of Steve Jobs and the creative positioning of Samsung and HTC in the android world. There are hundreds of other examples one could choose.

So how do we protect ourselves from ending up being the second best band in Artane? To use another marketing cliché, stay in touch with our audience. More than ever consumers can garner information, move quickly and switch loyalties. We need to stay in touch, stay relevant, engage and at times entertain. Bono once claimed that U2 were re-applying to be the biggest band in the world. I think he wouldn’t make a bad marketer if the music thing doesn’t work out. The McCormack brothers are waiting in the wings, only to eager to fill his shoes.

 

Tim

Pope Paul III - invoked the Council of Trent

Blame this blog post on a hungover Friday.  My mind goes to odd places at such times…

Where to begin?  A friend of mine works as a vision mixer in RTE TV.  Vision mixing is like a live version of editing, with a director shouting at you through a headset to cut and transition to and from different camera angles and VTs.  So she works on live TV programming – like the News, current affairs shows and live sport.  Champions League weeks are busy for her, as are elections.

The other programme she also has to work on is Mass.  Mass has to be broadcast live as the miracle of transubstantiation must be seen live to be experienced.  So you might be out on a Saturday night having a pint with her and she’ll make her excuses as she’ll be up early to cover Mass in the morning.  It was the Council of Trent in its’ 13th session, ending 11th October 1551, which officially approved the term ‘transubstantiation’ (as opposed to ‘consubstantiation’).  And which also, unofficially, cut short my friends’ Saturday nights on occasion.

But do people actually watch Mass live?  Or do they record it and watch it later – and therefore miss out on experiencing the miracle?  Well, since ‘consolidated ratings’ (recorded on your NTL / SKY box and watched within 2 weeks) were introduced to the Nielsen system, we can now answer such burning questions.  And the answer is, by and large, no, people don’t record Mass.  They watch it live.  Only 3 transmissions of Mass, since the introduction of consolidated ratings, have shown any impacts for non-live (consolidated ratings) – 3rd Oct, 1st Jan, 6th Feb (total of 1,400 impacts).

Roger Chilids, editor, RTE Religious Programming, kindly answered my emailed query on the subject.  As to whether it has to be watched live, he said:

“I’m no theologian, but that’s certainly the advice I’ve always been given.  Mind you, I also find that the priest or archbishop celebrating is usually the first to ask for a DVD. I’m not sure how that works – a repeat viewing of the miracle!”

When Sky and NTL introduced their Tivo style devices into this market, a lot of us thought that this would be a significant blow to spot advertising on TV.  Why would anyone watch ads on TV if they could record everything and fast forward through the ads?  There’s many reasons as to why people continue to watch ads, even with the proliferation of these devices – but bottom line is, they still do.  In fact for Jan-Feb this year, for the total market, only a half of a percent of all ratings were ‘consolidated’ (non-live).  Studies by SKY TV would also show that when people invest in the hardware and subscription for their home (SKY box and station package) they watch more TV overall, be it recorded or live – just more.  So in fact their advertising exposure increases as a result.  Going out being the new staying in these times and all that.

So there you have it, bit of a circuitous journey, but thanks for taking the time! 

Amen.

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