Extending the channel mix

22 Mar

It’s been a while since I sent a mail out, so I thought I’d send one today. I know I’m off, but times must and all that…

In mainstream advertising the rise of the internet usage in comparison to TV, has forced creative directors to rethink how they capture the attention and interest of the ‘man on the street’. One output of this has been the increase in channels used for a single campaign; as a matter of course these days, campaigns tend to incorporate at a minimum, posters, a website, online advertising and search. Another output that is becoming more prevalent is campaigns that cross disciplines. The most obvious aspect of this is the blurring boundary between PR and advertising, but we are also seeing the inclusion of disciplines like product development, TV production and events marketing.  So the focus this week is on such campaigns: we see celebrity endorsement, product promotion, Big Brother style viewing, Events Management, Guerrilla Marketing and TV Production.


The Tiger Trap
Back in the heyday when Tiger Woods was a rising star and could hide in bushes on golf courses without being accused of ‘hunting for prey’, Buick came up with an incredibly innovative way of promoting the launch of their latest vehicle with the creation of a TV series called the Tiger Trap. The premise was simple: each week, on a pre-selected golf course, a golf club would be left on a fairway for unsuspecting golfers to stumble across. Whilst they were deciding what to do with it, out popped Tiger Woods, who then challenged them to a competition – if anyone could beat his drive to the green, he would give them his Buick. We, the viewers, got to watch the events unfolding via a series of Big Brother style hidden cameras. In the way of such things it was completely addictive.

The interesting thing about this campaign is that the approach was in response to some research conducted that highlighted that on Digital TV between 80 and 90% of people switched off advertising when given the choice (TiVO is a digital recordable television that is quite popular in the States). The creative directors placed this series in the advertising section of TiVO and found that because of their approach, viewers were actually tuning in to the advertising channel to watch it.

Man in a Box
I came across this the other day. It was a running video stream of a man living in a box for 30 days. There was a competition to see whether you could guess where he was. If you guessed you could win a shedload of money. Sounds dull, but rather like Big Brother, it was quite intriguing. There were some functions on the site that allowed you to irritate Tim (the man), like playing loud music or switching the lights on late at night. No-one guessed the location, Tim ended up hospitalized and I’ve no idea what it was advertising, so it seems like a pretty poor campaign. BUT it did get over 6 million viewers and there will be a Man in the Box 2, so I wouldn’t write it off quite yet.

Refreshing the parts other beers cannot reach
The indomitable Mr. Dix mailed this link out the other day and it is worth watching. Essentially, on the day of the biggest football derby of the year in Italy, Heineken conned over a thousand people to attend a ‘free’ concert instead of watching the football (a ruse that required girlfriends and wives to get in on the act to persuade their football-mad partners to miss the match and attend the concert). Heineken also managed to con a bunch of celebrities who thought the event was real, Sky TV who televised it and a whole lot of other people.

On the day of the concert, the audience is subjected to some pretty awful Music Noveau (I’m not sure whether this is the correct term, but whatever it was, it was dire). After 15 minutes the men in the audience start to get restless and it is around this point that Heineken reveals the joke and then televises the event live. I presume they supplied beer as well.

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