By James Cherkoff, Collaborate Marketing.
A couple of years ago, I heard Sir Tim Berners-Lee describe the muddled state of his splendid creation in this way :
‘If your sink is blocked for a few weeks and you remove the plug to dig out the obstruction, the offending mangled mess of soap, fish bones, human hair and other horrible gunk in which bacteria has set up home, is exactly like the World Wide Web’.
Now, for many tech-heads, geeks, tinkerers, everyone in Silicon Valley and other early-adopters it didn’t get much better than this organic mush. And the gooey paradise remained intact for a long time. However, for the mainstream (aka Everyone Else In The World) the web remained a mysterious, slightly sad place where only-the-lonely gathered.
But the online social revolution has blown away this view. In part, by throwing up some gated communities, such as AppStores and Social Networks, where regular folk can talk to each other without fear of their Gucci loafers getting sullied by geek-grime. In fact, for many, it even became rather exciting to mix with the technorati and let some of their magic coding dust rub off. But not too much. And certainly none of the whiffy stuff.
Personally speaking, gated communities where the comfortably-off huddle from the excrutiating ravages of real life, such as potholes and unmown lawns, always sound pretty dull to me. However, there are times when we’d all like to withdraw into sanctuaries of expert topiary and poo-free paving, away from the open clutter of the real world. In such harbours of tranquillity there are no worries about unsightly neighbours or anti-social viruses. The no-nonsense management are constantly poised, ready to pulverise any shady individual who dares to disturb the peace. For some, such walled gardens become claustrophobic as they tire of the same faces and fences. The security staff start to look like prison guards and the disorderly streets where the everyday folk dwell begin to look enticingly vibrant.
(Not that I’ve ever spent anytime in a gated community you understand. Although I did once spend two weeks at Centre Parcs and was very relieved to escape, er, I mean depart).
However, for many these well-ordered suburban enclaves that consist of friends, family and neighbours is exactly what’s required. All the time. And this is what the early-adopters, geeks and webnorati struggle to understand. The gurus who rail against the vice-like grip of Steve Jobs brighter, lighter, whiter Appstore, or Zuckerberg’s perfectly manicured Facebook empire, overlook that most people don’t want to see what’s blocking their sinks. And they don’t mind if that hardwired convenience means the management is watching over them. They just want to get on with their happy, gunk-free lives.
Cameras flashed and champagne flowed as independent publishing’s finest were honored in New York Tuesday night at the IPPY Awards.
Among 3600 entries, The Chaos Scenario by Bob Garfield (Stielstra Publishing, August 2009) was one of just two books to win dual awards. It won Gold in the Current Events category and Silver for best book marketing.
Recognizing how the digital revolution had disrupted traditional publishing but had also created great opportunity for independent publishers, IPPY Awards organizer Jim Barnes asked Bob Garfield to say a few words on the topic.
The Best Book Marketing award is a tribute to the remarkable contributions of Team Chaos, the various companies who applied their talents and technology to promoting The Chaos Scenario. The list includes: AY Digital (formerly Adyatra), Buddy Media, Magnify.net, CREO Productions, Ethos3, Advertising Age, Fabian Baber, and Email marketer Emma, The American Marketing Association, the Public Relations Society of America, the Direct Marketing Association and the American Advertising Federation.
The Chaos Scenario by Bob Garfield (Stielstra Publishing) won two IPPY Awards in the 2010 competition. the book was awarded Gold in the category Current Events I (Political/Economic/Legal/Media) and its promotion won Silver for Best Book Marketing.
Congratulations to Bob Garfield. This honor is well-deserved.
Congratulations as well and thank you to the members of Team Chaos whose contributions to the book’s promotion made the Best Book Marketing honor possible.
Medals will be awarded at a gala awards ceremony in New York on May 25.
A big beer executive posed a very good question the other day to my pal Ted Wright of Fizz Corp., the word-of-mouth consultancy.
“If all of this is true, why aren’t the big ad agencies doing word-of-mouth marketing?”
That’s how you get to be a CEO. You ask incisive questions, and this guy asked a word-of-mouthful. But the answer is disturbingly simple:
Agencies don’t employ WOM marketing because they don’t know how to make enough money doing it. No matter how nominally “fee based” their client relationships are, their revenue is still correlated to the size of their media buys. The straight 15% commission is long gone, but agency compensation still tracks parallel to media tonnage. And, because they are owned by publicly traded holding companies, they have to make their numbers. WOM, like other digital-marketing disciplines, is too piddling in cost for them to bother with. In other words, they have a structural conflict of interest.
They’re not stupid. The know they have to change their business models (if they can locate one) to survive in a digital world, but they can’t do so without euthanizing the cash cow.
Editor at Large, “Advertising Age”
Co-host, NPR’s “On the Media”
Author, “The Chaos Scenario”
Check out Bob’s take on the post advertising age and admire his avatar on Second Life right this minute. http://www.metaversebooks.com/
|From The Chaos Scenario|
Garfield is ready to rock SXSW and there’s still time for you to sign up and join him. The apocalypse begins on Tuesday March 16 on the Day Stage.
Already attending? Then be sure to light up the back channel with your thoughts during Bob’s talk and make sure to introduce yourself afterward.
Here are the details of Bob’s appearance.
1.) An out of work actor cast as the ultimate fan of T.G.I. Friday’s, who
2.) claims to have made a bet with Friday’s: If he can score 500,000 fans to his Facebook page by Sept. 30, Friday’s will give away a free burger to all who have fanned him.
Initial coverage, particularly from advertising industry news sources, was pretty positive. This was no surprise, since sign ups started strong and it took only 11 days for the Facebook page to exceed the 500,000 goal. High fives and fist bombs all around, let the Dom Pérignon flow baby! Only, before anyone’s liver had time to sustain significant damage, a few “issues” had emerged:
• Many fans who signed up believed “Woody” was a real person and that they were helping him out while taking part in a real challenge. They felt stupid and betrayed when they found out it was a manufactured ad campaign. This made them angry. Fortunately, Facebook is an excellent place to express one’s feelings.
• Everyone else already knew it was fake and was playing along for the free mammal tissue patty. Most of these people had no real attachment to T.G.I. Friday’s or the other bribe takers on the page and were excited to mock and torment the people complaining about being duped. At this point the conversations went from, “cool, a free burger” to dark and abusive.
• Then it got better. After the 500,000th person signed up the realization that anyone beyond this point wouldn’t get jack began to sink in. This over 500,000 group that were no longer eligible for the coupon quickly swelled to more than a 100,000 disappointed and angry people. Many of them were very motivated to join the conversations in progress. Their influence redirected the bile and venom between fans to everyone’s new favorite antagonists; Woody and T.G.I. Fridays. Impressive, Publicis had managed to create a vast digital mob of T.G.I. Friday’s haters in less than two weeks.
Could it get even better? You betcha. The offer might have been over, but the campaign still had two weeks to run, and the big guns had been saved for last. 15- and 30-second national TV spots were scheduled to run every day for another 14 days. Now, according to articles written at the time, Publicis and T.G.I. Fridays (and likely much legal counsel on both sides) engaged in “passionate” team huddles to figure out what to do. At 6PM on Tuesday September 16th, after days of excoriating brand hate flowing conspicuously on the Facebook pages, Woody announced that burgers would now be free for the first one million sign ups. Huzza, the day was saved; everyone again loved Woody and T.G.I. Friday’s. Well, not quite. People began almost immediately to demand their coupons, and the negative tone regarding the overall experience continued unabated until September 30th, when freebie burger coupon day finally arrived. And that’s when things went totally off the rails. Thousands said they never got the link to the coupon, others said that the application that they had to download and install to print the coupon didn’t work, still others were pissed to discover that the coupon was only valid for four days and they wouldn’t have a chance to use it. Everyone who voiced their complaints was derided and taunted by those who claimed to have successfully gotten their coupon and free burger. The Facebook conversations became so confrontational and filthy (pedophilia and bestiality were common themes) that Publicis had to block all “fans” from posting to the Wall. Nothing says, “successfully executed social marketing campaign” like the application of the Myanmar Junta technique of trying to keep everyone from communicating. Facebook fans are resourceful though, even after the Wall was shut down the love kept flowing. Although Fans can no longer post they can start discussions and comment on anything Woody posts, and dear reader, the vast majority of it ain’t good. Discussion topics include, “Where the hell is my burger?” and “Where to file a BBB complaint” while comments to Woody’s posts are generally off topic, angry, or pornographic.
So what’s the final score? T.G.I. Friday’s paid millions of dollars (hundreds of thousands of free burgers, agency fees, and media costs) for countless bad brand experiences and a handful of Woody Facebook pages drifting on the digital ocean with no apparent direction. The only faint stirrings of life are the comments peppered with smoldering anger and derision whenever the obvious agency crafted ad messages are posted from “Woody.” Mercifully, even these are becoming more and more infrequent. Which brings us to the moral of the story, otherwise known in the Official Book of Social Media Marketing Rules as, #2 and #3.
Social Marketing Rule #2: Only real people, not brand personas, can build real relationships.
Social Marketing Rule #3: Money can’t buy you love.
Update March 9, 2010: TGI Fridays vanishes Woody and his 900,000+ Facebook “fans” but 12,000 fan-natics live on, and they want blood.
It appears that Woody has joined Jimmy Hoffa in a location known only to “Tony Jack” Giacalone, the TGI Fridays C-suite, and an anointed few at the Publicis NYC office. What may have come as a surprise to Woody’s creators is that unlike mass media, “disappearing” your creation isn’t so easy in social media. When a traditional advertising campaign isn’t doing so well (or in this case, is hated and despised) you simply stop the media spend and it quietly fades away. Not so in the magical new world of social media. The Woody campaign has shown that if you really tick off enough people you can pull the plug, delete all your Facebook pages, and vanish the almost one million “fans,” but what you started may still not go gentle into the good night. In fact, the fan-natics might create their own Facebook pages dedicated to ongoing demands for the undelivered free burgers, threats of lawsuits, restaurant boycotts, and giving the brand the digital equivalent of an old fashion tarring and feathering. Which segues nicely to…
Social Media Marketing Rule #4: The passive audience has been replaced with active participants, treat them with respect.
My son Dominic is a high school senior and so we have been visiting various universities as he prepares for his secondary education. Nearly every one has a building on campus with the following words chiseled into its stone facade, “Mass Communications.”
During each tour I make it a point to ask the department head if he or she is aware of the changes occurring to “Mass Media” in light of the digital revolution. How are they adjusting their curriculum, I ask? How are they preparing students to succeed in a world that may look very different when they graduate in four years, I queary? Will they be sanding the words “Mass Media” from the facade or chiseling the word “Formerly” in front of them?
Sadly, many mutter something like, “Yes, well, something does appear to be happening and sooner or later we mean to do something about it.”
I am pleased, therefore, to say that three more universities can be added to the list of those who “get it” since they have recently adopted The Chaos Scenario as a textbook. They are…
Adjunct professor Aaron Cohen at NYU
Adjunct professor John Durham at the University of San Franciso and
Professor Harold Wood at UT Dallas.
Congratulations to you for recognizing the changes that are occurring and for preparing your students to understand them so that they may thrive in the post-advertising age. The words on the outside of the building may not have changed, but the words they are teaching on the inside surely have. GS
Last week we submitted The Chaos Scenario to the IPPY Awards. The IPPY’s honor the year’s best independently published books. We entered The Chaos Scenario in three categories; Business, Current Events and Best Book Marketing. Winners will be announced in May at an awards banquet in New York, just prior to the American Booksellers Convention.
For the Business and Current Events categories judges will consider the book itself. For Best Book Marketing, however, we had to submit support materials highlighting what we had done and why those efforts might deserve the honor.
Since we have tried to employ “Listenomics” in almost every aspect of the book’s creation, we thought it appropriate to share the document we submitted to summarize the book’s marketing. So, here’s a pdf of the The Chaos Scenario Marketing Overview.
As you review it, please pay special attention to the members of Team Chaos and consider using them for your next project. They really are the best and brightest in their fields and can help your business as much or more than they’ve helped the book. Spread the fire. Greg Stielstra, PyroMarketing