Friday, July 2, 2010

Interactive heaven with 2011 Mustang

I drive a Toyota 4Runner. I like my Toyota and think they are very reliable vehicles. I had a Ford. Once. But something made me take notice when I started to see ads for the new 2011 Ford Mustang and hearing about how the NASCAR Nationwide Series was bringing a Mustang front-end to its new cars, so I started doing a little digging online. What I found was near perfect interactive execution and strategy.

According to Scott Monty, Ford's social media guru (@scottmonty), the campaign is the brainchild of Team Detroit.

What do I like about this campaign so much?

Total market segment understanding:
This campaign knows it's core potential customer base and knows how to appeal to them while still keeping the door open for new enthusiasts. I believe the accomplish this best with their 'Unleashed' video shorts. Instead of just appealing to sports car enthusiasts in a general way, they focused on segments within that category such as drifting, drag racing, rally racing, video game racing and bonding road trip outings.

Excellent interactive production values and execution:
The site itself offers a little bit of something for everyone such as a customizer that allows you to create and share your dream Mustang as well as user generated stories and videos that were part of a contest.

But what impresses me most is the creative execution that went into the videos. The storyboarding, the shoots, the post production, and most importantly, finding the subject matter and stories to tell. These videos are a clinic on how to attach human emotions to steel and machine.

They've taken the emotional attachment people have with their cars to a new level. I mean, they even got blind people to be passionate about the car.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tadich Grill ala Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain continues to be my travel muse. I rented a car with GPS on my trip to San Francisco just so I could make sure I found the Tadich Grill before it closed (I had about a half hour to make it from SFO before it closed).

Here's the scene from No Reservations that inspired me to go:

And here's my video:

I had the specialty Tony refers to and it was delicious!
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why do I love NACAR?


That's a question I'm often asked. The answer can be split into two primary reasons with one being personal and the other being a hybrid of personal and professional.

On the personal side, the Speed TV promo for NASCAR says it best: "I believe in God. I believe in Family. I believe in Country. I believe in NASCAR". That may evoke a few chuckles, but I've never seen another sport be more consistent and true to its values. There's an invocation before every single race. The drivers have their families on the track and often bring them on the road in motor homes. The sacrifice of our men and women in uniform are recognized and honored at every single race.

It also seems to be a requirement that every team and driver support charitable organizations in any way possible, especially children's charities. Almost every driver has a foundation and they manage to get their sponsors to donate generously.

And directly related to the racing, it's not just going left on an oval. That's just an uninformed view of the sport. Each track has it's own characteristics from the banking, track surface, length and speed. Then there's the tuning of the car before and during the race and pit strategy. The personalities of the drivers and the rivalries give the sport a WWE feel as well.

Professionally, NASCAR is a master of marketing. They know their core fan base inside and out to keep them happy while knowing who their next niche base is getting to know them well enough to reach them and make the sport appealing to them. This goes back to their slogan of God, family and country for the core fans, and bringing in the likes of Danica Patrick to the Nationwide Series to gain new fans.

For advertisers, there's no other sport that parlays the marketing into every aspect of the race. From the obvious team sponsorships visible on the car to highly publicized charitable contributions, advertisers are intertwined into every aspect of the sport. I love diving in and learning how it all works, the creativity and the execution. I learn something new every week and it makes me say, "I'm not worthy!".

In the end, NASCAR speaks to me. I find myself nodding and agreeing with many of the viewpoints of the drivers and the TV commentators. I love the music of NASCAR. I respect the recognition of our troops by the fans and NASCAR. The side benefit is that it's fun to watch too.

Some Favs
Here are some of my favorite NASCAR ads (The Speed TV/Fox promos are nowhere to be found online):

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympics don't like twitter

This tweet of mine apparently caused a stir with Olympic marketing folks. They felt that when Red Bull retweeted my post, they were in some way "ambushing" the Olympics because they were not 'official' sponsors. Seriously?

Wall Street Journal blogger, Emily Steel, did a story on it that can be found here. The Olympics need to understand that tweets such as this actually bring more attention to the games and, in the long term, provide more value for their actual sponsors. There's also this dated notion the Olympics seem to subscribe to, which is only traditional media outlets can cover events such as the Olympics.

Red Bull took down the retweet, but luckily I grabbed a screenshot so it is on the Internet for all of eternity (or at least until the Cylons take over):

I guess the Olympics were under a rock the last four years?
Saturday, January 2, 2010

Social Media...Watch Out for the 'Monkey House'

Over my career I've worked on a lot of things, mostly around communications, marketing and product development. The main reason I've stuck to these circles is that I am a consumer of it all and it's part of my personal life as well.

For example, when I was designing DVR user interfaces and finding cooler ways to find digital entertainment, it didn't feel like work because in a way I was also doing it for myself and not just my target customers. I feel the same way about social media. Be it Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, or YouTube, it's not always about work, especially if you do it as part of your job or it is your entire job. You need to look at how different segments use it.

I think there are good guidelines out there from "pros" explaining to other "pros" how to use social media for business. But I think one needs to be careful not to get caught in the trap of living in the monkey house. Tim Gunn explains the monkey house best. (I have a video of it, but it violates like a dozen copyrights so...we'll see how long it stays up).

My point is: Don't get too caught up with the pro blinders on and look outside your social (network) circles to keep things in perspective. Most "pros" have only been doing it for a couple of years too so they can't be THAT much more of an expert than the average person right? Even the founders of Twitter had no idea people would be using it in so many different ways for so many different reasons. There's definitely more than the official business ways to use it and that's why it's so successful. Once you box something in with too many rules, the cool people scatter and move on to the next big, cooler thing--It's the circle of life!

Personally, moments like this keep me engaged in social media:

That's Chad Rogers from Bravo's 'Million Dollar Listing' calling me out for questioning his reality.

That's an up-and-coming jazz singer I saw on NBC Nightly News. She was amazing so I found her on Twitter to ask her if she was going to tour in the US. Nothing on her Website, but ask her directly and get the answer!

And this is MCA recording artist Mallary Hope who I talk to a lot on Facebook and Twitter. I love country music and it's just fun to actually talk to the artist like this. I mean, what other medium lets you do this? I got to meet her at the Evergreen State Fair this past summer and she and her manager actually knew who I was when I said my name. Made me feel special...and made me a bigger fan. Sure, it's marketing on her part, but goes beyond that when you start having a conversation about Bedazzling a Snuggie.

Just plain ol' fun.