My Black Friday odyssey

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I awoke with a start at 2:50 a.m.

I lay awake in the darkness of my quiet home acutely aware of a vow I’d made yesterday over Thanksgiving dinner to experience Black Friday first-hand — not just vicariously through breathless media reporting, but in person with the shoppers and retailers in hopes of understanding why.

Here is my story.

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3:45 a.m.: I’m standing in front of Best Buy marveling at the throng that has gathered in the freezing weather. By now I’ve consumed a large cup of coffee and listened to the soundtrack to The Song Remains the Same in the comfort of my car, wondering if I look as creepy as the other middle-aged men sitting alone in their cars in the dark. A woman in an SUV swaddles a toddler in her arms. In front of a deserted Old Navy across the parketing lot, some kids amuse themselves by ramming a shopping cart into the wall. Either they are out way past curfew or their parents are in line at Best Buy and just don’t care.

Continue reading

My Black Friday odyssey

p1000975.JPG

I awoke with a start at 2:50 a.m.

I lay awake in the darkness of my quiet home acutely aware of a vow I’d made yesterday over Thanksgiving dinner to experience Black Friday first-hand — not just vicariously through breathless media reporting, but in person with the shoppers and retailers in hopes of understanding why.

Here is my story.

p1000952.JPG

3:45 a.m.: I’m standing in front of Best Buy marveling at the throng that has gathered in the freezing weather. By now I’ve consumed a large cup of coffee and listened to the soundtrack to The Song Remains the Same in the comfort of my car, wondering if I look as creepy as the other middle-aged men sitting alone in their cars in the dark. A woman in an SUV swaddles a toddler in her arms. In front of a deserted Old Navy across the parketing lot, some kids amuse themselves by ramming a shopping cart into the wall. Either they are out way past curfew or their parents are in line at Best Buy and just don’t care.

Continue reading

Have you embraced immersive marketing?

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Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk recently asked whether the future of marketing might be “immersive marketing,” or creating an all-encompassing brand experience across any channel where the consumer lives. The answer is a definitive yes.

My employer Avenue A | Razorfish completed a Digital Consumer Behavior Study in 2007 that examined consumers’ media consumption habits. The study found that consumers are snacking on niche content across the entire digital world to interact with consumer brands, whether reading blogs or sampling videos.

The implication is that marketers cannot afford to simply design better websites or banner ads in isolation. Instead, we need to design immersive brand experiences for the “everywhere consumer” — across websites, search, banner ads, blogs, and mobile devices.

So who knows how to do that?

Continue reading

Have you embraced immersive marketing?

ambrielle3.jpg

Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk recently asked whether the future of marketing might be “immersive marketing,” or creating an all-encompassing brand experience across any channel where the consumer lives. The answer is a definitive yes.

My employer Avenue A | Razorfish completed a Digital Consumer Behavior Study in 2007 that examined consumers’ media consumption habits. The study found that consumers are snacking on niche content across the entire digital world to interact with consumer brands, whether reading blogs or sampling videos.

The implication is that marketers cannot afford to simply design better websites or banner ads in isolation. Instead, we need to design immersive brand experiences for the “everywhere consumer” — across websites, search, banner ads, blogs, and mobile devices.

So who knows how to do that?

Continue reading

What can marketers learn from dumb luck?

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About 30 years ago, an unknown movie director named Steven Spielberg was in the throes of despair.

He had been entrusted with filming a best-selling novel about a shark that terrorizes a town in Martha’s Vineyard, and everything was going wrong.

The movie was over budget. The on-location shoot was a hassle. And the mechanical shark built expressly for the movie, and crucial to many scenes, kept breaking.

Faced with the prospect of shutting down production, Spielberg decided to improvise.

Instead of relying on the presence of the shark to provide shock value, he created tension by suggesting the possibility of the shark’s appearance in many scenes.

You know the rest of the story: his project, Jaws, was one of the most commercially succesful and influential movies of its time. Critics agree now that Jaws was scarier because it only hinted at the shark in most scenes, leaving it up the viewer’s imagination to construct more terrifying images.

Jaws became a better movie because of a happy accident. But can we as marketers learn anything from these moments of serendepity, or is it just a matter of accepting dumb luck?

This blog posts examines the question through the experiences of an acting legend, a singer, and baseball player.

Continue reading

What can marketers learn from dumb luck?

cary2b.jpgjohnnycash_sanquentin21.jpgjaws-poster1.jpgpiraphu16hm01.jpg

About 30 years ago, an unknown movie director named Steven Spielberg was in the throes of despair.

He had been entrusted with filming a best-selling novel about a shark that terrorizes a town in Martha’s Vineyard, and everything was going wrong.

The movie was over budget. The on-location shoot was a hassle. And the mechanical shark built expressly for the movie, and crucial to many scenes, kept breaking.

Faced with the prospect of shutting down production, Spielberg decided to improvise.

Instead of relying on the presence of the shark to provide shock value, he created tension by suggesting the possibility of the shark’s appearance in many scenes.

You know the rest of the story: his project, Jaws, was one of the most commercially succesful and influential movies of its time. Critics agree now that Jaws was scarier because it only hinted at the shark in most scenes, leaving it up the viewer’s imagination to construct more terrifying images.

Jaws became a better movie because of a happy accident. But can we as marketers learn anything from these moments of serendepity, or is it just a matter of accepting dumb luck?

This blog posts examines the question through the experiences of an acting legend, a singer, and baseball player.

Continue reading

Build a kitchen on your laptop at brevilleusa.com

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Let’s say you’re thinking of buying a new espresso machine but you’re not sure how it will look in your kitchen. You might turn to brevilleusa.com, where you can drag and drop Breville products like juicers, coffee makers, and toasters inside your own customizable kitchen countertop.  Designed with my employer Avenue A | Razorfish using Adobe Macromedia Flash, the Breville Concept to Kitchen plays off three consumer insights:

  • We’re using the internet to test-drive products before we buy them.
  • We want to see how products look in our living spaces without having to physically lug them home.
  • Increasingly we’re empowered by broadband to simulate the experiences we want with the simple click of a mouse.

At brevilleusa.com, you can watch interactive videos that demonstrate how, say, a Breville Juice Fountain Elite turns a pineapple slice into a yummy glass of pineapple juice. Then you can toggle over to the kitchen to see how the juicer might look in context of a kitchen counter whose look you can customize to match the style and color of your cabinets, countertop, and backsplash.

You can also view product specs, purchase products online, or find out where to buy them offline.

Brevilleusa.com is one of many consumer experiences that appeal to emotion. Researching an espresso purchase or learning how to install a product in your home need not be a left-brain, transactional experience as companies like Breville and AT&T have demonstrated (the latter through the AT&T Digital Lifestyle Center). The web can and should be playful, fun, and interactive.
Now go build your own kitchen.

Build a kitchen on your laptop at brevilleusa.com

breville3.jpg

Let’s say you’re thinking of buying a new espresso machine but you’re not sure how it will look in your kitchen. You might turn to brevilleusa.com, where you can drag and drop Breville products like juicers, coffee makers, and toasters inside your own customizable kitchen countertop.  Designed with my employer Avenue A | Razorfish using Adobe Macromedia Flash, the Breville Concept to Kitchen plays off three consumer insights:

  • We’re using the internet to test-drive products before we buy them.
  • We want to see how products look in our living spaces without having to physically lug them home.
  • Increasingly we’re empowered by broadband to simulate the experiences we want with the simple click of a mouse.

At brevilleusa.com, you can watch interactive videos that demonstrate how, say, a Breville Juice Fountain Elite turns a pineapple slice into a yummy glass of pineapple juice. Then you can toggle over to the kitchen to see how the juicer might look in context of a kitchen counter whose look you can customize to match the style and color of your cabinets, countertop, and backsplash.

You can also view product specs, purchase products online, or find out where to buy them offline.

Brevilleusa.com is one of many consumer experiences that appeal to emotion. Researching an espresso purchase or learning how to install a product in your home need not be a left-brain, transactional experience as companies like Breville and AT&T have demonstrated (the latter through the AT&T Digital Lifestyle Center). The web can and should be playful, fun, and interactive.
Now go build your own kitchen.