Avenue A | Razorfish Unveils Top 10 Digital Brands

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that my Avenue A | Razorfish colleague Joe Crump was going to discuss “Digital Darwinism” at the Cannes International Advertising Festival on June 21. Today I’m making available to you his final presentation courtesy of SlideShare. Make sure you check out the top 10 digital brands, which Joe unveiled at Cannes using the Avenue A | Razorfish proprietary Brand Genes Scoreboard:

1. Google

2. Apple

3. YouTube

4. Flickr

5. Netflix

6. Nike

6. eBay

8. IKEA

9. Coca-Cola

10. Mercedes

These brands scored the highest when we measured them against atributes like immersion (how easy it is for a consumer to become engaged with your digital home), social (whether a consumer finds your brand worth sharing), and adaptive (how well a brand responds to a consumer’s digital environment), among other qualities. By contrast, the Interbrand top brands are as follows:

1. Coca-Cola

2. Mercedes

3. General Electric

4. Nokia

5. Microsoft

6. IBM

7. Disney

8. McDonald’s

9. Toyota

10. Intel

Coca-Cola and Mercedes are the only two Interbrand top brands that make the Avenue A | Razorfish top 10 list. So . . . do you agree or disagree with Avenue A | Razorfish? For more reading on Digital Darwinism, go here.

Avenue A | Razorfish Unveils Top 10 Digital Brands

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that my Avenue A | Razorfish colleague Joe Crump was going to discuss “Digital Darwinism” at the Cannes International Advertising Festival on June 21. Today I’m making available to you his final presentation courtesy of SlideShare. Make sure you check out the top 10 digital brands, which Joe unveiled at Cannes using the Avenue A | Razorfish proprietary Brand Genes Scoreboard:

1. Google

2. Apple

3. YouTube

4. Flickr

5. Netflix

6. Nike

6. eBay

8. IKEA

9. Coca-Cola

10. Mercedes

These brands scored the highest when we measured them against atributes like immersion (how easy it is for a consumer to become engaged with your digital home), social (whether a consumer finds your brand worth sharing), and adaptive (how well a brand responds to a consumer’s digital environment), among other qualities. By contrast, the Interbrand top brands are as follows:

1. Coca-Cola

2. Mercedes

3. General Electric

4. Nokia

5. Microsoft

6. IBM

7. Disney

8. McDonald’s

9. Toyota

10. Intel

Coca-Cola and Mercedes are the only two Interbrand top brands that make the Avenue A | Razorfish top 10 list. So . . . do you agree or disagree with Avenue A | Razorfish? For more reading on Digital Darwinism, go here.

Life and death in the news business

The June 9 Advertising Age read like an obituary for the news publishing industry. On Page 1, Ad Age reported that U.S. News & World Report is dropping to a biweekly frequency in response to declining ad page sales and readership of the print edition. On page 3, Ad Age reported on Tribune Company’s announced plans to downsize its operations for essentially the same reasons. (Ad Age also printed a copy of a sometimes cringe-worthy memo that Tribune owner Sam Zell wrote to company employees, in which he refers to employees as “partners” and dances around the specter of layoffs.)

Apparently the downsizing begins at the top. On June 13, the Chicago Tribune reported the departure of publisher Scott C. Smith.

Ironically enough, I was meeting with a bright 20-something professional this week, and in the course of our conversation, she casually mentioned that she’s never purchased a hard copy of a newspaper in her life. “I’ve grown up digital,” she told me. “Why would I want to mess around with ink-covered paper in my hands when I can get all the news I want each morning on my personal device?”

Her remark speaks volumes about the news publishing industry’s struggle to transition to the digital era.

So what do you do about it? If you’re a news daily like, say, the Chicago Sun-Times, I think you need to realize that readers don’t care about your brand. I’d make the Sun-Times brand recede to the background in favor of promoting its individual superstar brands like Roger Ebert and its sports columnists. The Sun-Times is no longer a news destination that many people care about. But a copy of the Sun-Times can serve as the go-to place for the best entertainment and sports commentary in the industry, if it wants to be.

Meanwhile, back in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine did something completely audacious to lock in readers of its print edition: it offered a lifetime subscription for a one-time fee of the ridiculously low $99. That’s right: for $99, you got Rolling Stone for life. Rolling Stone is one of my all-time favorite publications. So the choice was a no-brainer. Sure enough, my subscription tag has an expiration date of August 24, 2056. Which raises a few intriguing questions:

1. How did they decide I was going to kick the bucket by then?

2. In the unlikely event I do hang on that long, can I demand a free renewal?

3. In the more likely event I croak before then, will each issue simply pile up in my mail box for decades?

The lesson from Rolling Stone: desperate times call for desperate measures.

Life and death in the news business

The June 9 Advertising Age read like an obituary for the news publishing industry. On Page 1, Ad Age reported that U.S. News & World Report is dropping to a biweekly frequency in response to declining ad page sales and readership of the print edition. On page 3, Ad Age reported on Tribune Company’s announced plans to downsize its operations for essentially the same reasons. (Ad Age also printed a copy of a sometimes cringe-worthy memo that Tribune owner Sam Zell wrote to company employees, in which he refers to employees as “partners” and dances around the specter of layoffs.)

Apparently the downsizing begins at the top. On June 13, the Chicago Tribune reported the departure of publisher Scott C. Smith.

Ironically enough, I was meeting with a bright 20-something professional this week, and in the course of our conversation, she casually mentioned that she’s never purchased a hard copy of a newspaper in her life. “I’ve grown up digital,” she told me. “Why would I want to mess around with ink-covered paper in my hands when I can get all the news I want each morning on my personal device?”

Her remark speaks volumes about the news publishing industry’s struggle to transition to the digital era.

So what do you do about it? If you’re a news daily like, say, the Chicago Sun-Times, I think you need to realize that readers don’t care about your brand. I’d make the Sun-Times brand recede to the background in favor of promoting its individual superstar brands like Roger Ebert and its sports columnists. The Sun-Times is no longer a news destination that many people care about. But a copy of the Sun-Times can serve as the go-to place for the best entertainment and sports commentary in the industry, if it wants to be.

Meanwhile, back in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine did something completely audacious to lock in readers of its print edition: it offered a lifetime subscription for a one-time fee of the ridiculously low $99. That’s right: for $99, you got Rolling Stone for life. Rolling Stone is one of my all-time favorite publications. So the choice was a no-brainer. Sure enough, my subscription tag has an expiration date of August 24, 2056. Which raises a few intriguing questions:

1. How did they decide I was going to kick the bucket by then?

2. In the unlikely event I do hang on that long, can I demand a free renewal?

3. In the more likely event I croak before then, will each issue simply pile up in my mail box for decades?

The lesson from Rolling Stone: desperate times call for desperate measures.

Coors embraces Social Influence Marketing™

A May 28 article by Stuart Elliott of The New York Times and a June 8 Associated Press article mention how Coors Brewing Co. has embraced Social Influence Marketing — or employing social media and social influencers to meet the business and marketing needs of the enterprise. As discussed in this blog post, the effort has not been without controversy.

As reported in The New York Times, the Coors Light brand, working with my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish:

  • Launched a MySpace page to strengthen its brand relevance among males aged 21-29. The MySpace page isn’t just another destination plastered with ads. The page provides downloadable widgets such as a Happy Hour Locater that you can use to find bars in your zip code that serve Coors Light, and an “Excuse-o-rator” that generates random excuses to leave work early to celebrate happy hour.
  • Created a viral video, the “Perfect Pour.” The video, posted on YouTube, is a humorous stunt — intentionally and obviously doctored — in which beer drinkers seemingly pour beer flawlessly from the new Coors Light vented wide mouthed can into a drinking glass from impossible angles and locations like behind one’s back or from the top of a roof. The video comes in two versions, one at a party, and the other at a bar.  Since their launch on April 8, the videos have been seen more than 400,000 times.

In both instances, Coors isn’t employing social networking sites and YouTube videos to embrace social media for its own sake. Rather, the company wisely employs social media and the power of viral marketing to achieve two business objectives: build brand with Gen Y males of legal drinking age and promote the vented wide mouth can.

Since The New York Times discussed the efforts, some bloggers have expressed disappointment and even shock that Coors did not disclose the fact that the “perfect pour” videos were actually the work of an agency. The implication is that Coors deceived consumers by not disclosing its role or that of Avenue A | Razorfish.

At the risk of sounding like an apologist, I disagree with the criticism, but I’m also interested in your opinion — should Coors have been more transparent in the effort or not? Here’s my take:

  • How many people seriously believed those perfect pour stunts were the work of amateurs? The opening disclaimer (“this video should not be viewed by anyone under the age of 21”) should be your first clue right off the bat that this is no amateur effort. And it’s obvious from the comments posted on YouTube that most viewers were in on the joke from the start. Some were even critical of the video for not being even more imaginative.
  • Coors is simply tapping into the engaging and social nature of the digital world by providing an entertainment experience. Experiential marketing is all about engaging consumers instead of pushing messages at them. The branding comes through in the obvious product placement of Coors Light and the conversational references to the wide mouth vented can throughout the video. I would argue that Coors revealing its role more obviously would be like a magician explaining a magic trick in the middle of a performance, thus spoiling the fun.

For another perspectives, check out this post from Launch Squad.

I’m interested in your reactions.

Coors embraces Social Influence Marketing™

A May 28 article by Stuart Elliott of The New York Times and a June 8 Associated Press article mention how Coors Brewing Co. has embraced Social Influence Marketing — or employing social media and social influencers to meet the business and marketing needs of the enterprise. As discussed in this blog post, the effort has not been without controversy.

As reported in The New York Times, the Coors Light brand, working with my employer, Avenue A | Razorfish:

  • Launched a MySpace page to strengthen its brand relevance among males aged 21-29. The MySpace page isn’t just another destination plastered with ads. The page provides downloadable widgets such as a Happy Hour Locater that you can use to find bars in your zip code that serve Coors Light, and an “Excuse-o-rator” that generates random excuses to leave work early to celebrate happy hour.
  • Created a viral video, the “Perfect Pour.” The video, posted on YouTube, is a humorous stunt — intentionally and obviously doctored — in which beer drinkers seemingly pour beer flawlessly from the new Coors Light vented wide mouthed can into a drinking glass from impossible angles and locations like behind one’s back or from the top of a roof. The video comes in two versions, one at a party, and the other at a bar.  Since their launch on April 8, the videos have been seen more than 400,000 times.

In both instances, Coors isn’t employing social networking sites and YouTube videos to embrace social media for its own sake. Rather, the company wisely employs social media and the power of viral marketing to achieve two business objectives: build brand with Gen Y males of legal drinking age and promote the vented wide mouth can.

Since The New York Times discussed the efforts, some bloggers have expressed disappointment and even shock that Coors did not disclose the fact that the “perfect pour” videos were actually the work of an agency. The implication is that Coors deceived consumers by not disclosing its role or that of Avenue A | Razorfish.

At the risk of sounding like an apologist, I disagree with the criticism, but I’m also interested in your opinion — should Coors have been more transparent in the effort or not? Here’s my take:

  • How many people seriously believed those perfect pour stunts were the work of amateurs? The opening disclaimer (“this video should not be viewed by anyone under the age of 21”) should be your first clue right off the bat that this is no amateur effort. And it’s obvious from the comments posted on YouTube that most viewers were in on the joke from the start. Some were even critical of the video for not being even more imaginative.
  • Coors is simply tapping into the engaging and social nature of the digital world by providing an entertainment experience. Experiential marketing is all about engaging consumers instead of pushing messages at them. The branding comes through in the obvious product placement of Coors Light and the conversational references to the wide mouth vented can throughout the video. I would argue that Coors revealing its role more obviously would be like a magician explaining a magic trick in the middle of a performance, thus spoiling the fun.

For another perspectives, check out this post from Launch Squad.

I’m interested in your reactions.

Don’t miss Pangea Day May 10

Indiana Jones isn’t the only movie blockbuster this summer. On May 10, get ready for Pangea Day: a first-of-its kind global film festival broadcast live in more than 100 countries to promote tolerance and understanding of other cultures. You might have heard about Pangea Day in the blogosphere. Here’s a quick overview of what it is, how you can participate, and why it matters.

What is Pangea Day?

The purpose of Pangea Day is to use the power of film to foster tolerance and understanding of other cultures. From 2:00-6:00 p.m. Eastern Time May 10, Pangea Day will broadcast 24 short films, music, and presentations to a global audience through public screenings, television, the internet, and mobile devices. The films were chosen from an international competition based on their ability to inspire us to see the world through other people’s eyes. You can view details on the Pangea Day films here. On the Pangea Day website, you’ll learn about efforts from personalities like Sumit Roy, an independent filmmaker from India who contributed Dancing Queen, a brief movie about the joys of dance (shot on a mobile phone).

Continue reading

Don’t miss Pangea Day May 10

Indiana Jones isn’t the only movie blockbuster this summer. On May 10, get ready for Pangea Day: a first-of-its kind global film festival broadcast live in more than 100 countries to promote tolerance and understanding of other cultures. You might have heard about Pangea Day in the blogosphere. Here’s a quick overview of what it is, how you can participate, and why it matters.

What is Pangea Day?

The purpose of Pangea Day is to use the power of film to foster tolerance and understanding of other cultures. From 2:00-6:00 p.m. Eastern Time May 10, Pangea Day will broadcast 24 short films, music, and presentations to a global audience through public screenings, television, the internet, and mobile devices. The films were chosen from an international competition based on their ability to inspire us to see the world through other people’s eyes. You can view details on the Pangea Day films here. On the Pangea Day website, you’ll learn about efforts from personalities like Sumit Roy, an independent filmmaker from India who contributed Dancing Queen, a brief movie about the joys of dance (shot on a mobile phone).

Continue reading