Saturday, February 23, 2008

SlipStream shows us how it's done

On February 22nd, in a press release shown on, Slipstream Video, a company specializing in online videos as marketing tools, announced their launch of an interactive video streaming website, The website exhibits how adding video to a website or in representation of a company or brand can significantly increase product sales.

The new site focuses on the skills that SlipStream has developed in order to successfully reach a client's target demographic, provoke interest, and influence a consumer's purchase decision; something that many companies, being in-house or boutique, have yet to accomplish. What's great about SlipStream and their concept of an how-we-do-it website, if you will, is that it doesn't hide their expertise like a secret weapon, but makes the information available to other businesses to use as a tool in improving and updating their marketing techniques.

Not only does the website provide how-tos to online marketing, it also reveals elements of SlipStream's very own internet marketing strategy, which employs social networking, mobile technology, search engine optimization, "e-blasts," blogs, and viral marketing. This incredible online marketing resource of strategies is accessible to any company, and business transactions can be done through email.

Of the many new elements of the website, a"Customized Solutions" video has been uploaded which showcases SlipStream's ability to design, update, and improve websites and provide e-commerce and search engine optimization strategy. There is also a gallery of SlipStream's previous work to see the product of their skill.

I think it is very important for this company to be in the Rolodex of any business, small or large, because of their knowledge of the transition in the involvement of technology in marketing. And if a business can't afford to hire an out-of house firm, to at least take some tips from these guys; thanks to their new website, information on this new marketing tool is readily available.

To learn more about SlipStream video, go to

To learn more about the release of their new website, click here for the entire press release.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Coffee + Internet= my typical day... and a new ad campaign!

Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter, well, reported, that Kraft and Ogilvy & Mather;s branded entertainment group are teaming up to create a viral marketing campaign of a series of webisodes circled around the Tassimo, a hot beverage maker, which is a sub-brand of the Kraft family. This is Kraft's first webisode marketing campaign ever. They have hired writer/producer Jim Biederman, whose previous acclaimed work includes The Kids in the Hall" and "The Whitest Kids U Know."

The webisode series is titled "Who Hired Bob?" which is set in an office and centered around the misadventures of the main character, obviously named Bob who is fanatically obsessed with the office's Tassimo machine. Currently there are already two webisodes released, which have three acts per webisode, that can be seen on Each act has two possible endings, so the viewer can select the fate of Bob after each act. There's also a contest where people can send in their own versions of Bob-like situations and the winner will be have the next "Bob-isode."

Concerning Kraft's marketing strategy, Joseph Frydl, the director of Ogilvy's branded content and entertainment group, states "Creating original, entertaining content gives Tassimo both cultural currency and permission for further conversations with consumers." I couldn't agree more. Coffee and office life are two symbols in American culture, and to pair those two elements of our pop culture into a progressive and influential cultural icon of the internet is a recipe for popularity and buzz.

Frydl expects that the webisodes well receive 70 million hits or acknowledgments over the span of a month, and I wouldn't disagree with it!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Viral marketing is getting political

Apparently viral marketing has a new use that is as strategic as the people who thought of it: viral marketing is now being used as a modern, effective edge for political campaigns. The Boston Globe caught up on this new trend, and by writing an article about it, is really expanding this phenomenon and making viral marketing a more public and mainstream element of our culture.

Campaigns are taking advantage of what the Globe calls "the first-ever broadband-fed presidential race" in a variety of ways. In a more forward, gung-ho competitive approach, Republican Mitt Romney's campaign released a video directed towards competitor John McCain dubbed "The Democrat's Favorite Republican" that highlights certain criticisms and damaging footage about McCain's agenda and beliefs. On a lighter note, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton created her own web videos, including a spoof on the Soprano's finale in which she "reveals" her winning campaign song. What's great about presidential candidates and their campaign creating their own videos featuring themselves is that it is a great humanizing quality; their videos are on YouTube next to kid's dance recitals and teenage pranks.

The beauty of releasing this type of video on the web is that there is no time limit (compared to the TV limit of 1 minute), there is no restrictions for content, giving the campaigns more leway and enter a level of riskiness that campaigns haven't had before. The biggest upside to viral video? It's free.

Whether or not the videos persuade voters to lean one way or another, one thing is for sure: they are undeniably visible. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that almost a quarter of the US population has seen a campaign-related video online. That quarter of the population consists of about 41% of people under 30 and 20% of people 30 or older. Considering that these age groups, particularly the under 30 demographic, is more politically-conscious and influential in the election than ever before, these numbers are incredibly significant.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Google is fueling the creative fire

Google has created an awesome contribution to the advancement of buzz and viral marketing-- the company developed The Google Online Marketing Challenge. It is a contest, which is open to any student in any part of the world, to participate in creating an online marketing campaign for a local business, and the winning ad team will receive a trip to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, with a 7-night stay at a 5-star hotel in San Francisco. Question to Park administrators: how did all of these people in the world (look at this Google Map to see 'em) know about this, but we didn't!??!?!?

So anyway, the contest works like this: student teams from academic institutions (who must register for the contest prior to students being able to participate) are given $200 US dollars worth of free online advertisting with Google AdWords. AdWords (see right) are links to a company in a column on a Google search result page labeled Sponsored Links. These AdWords pop up when a person types in a word (which to advertisers, is a want or need) that coincides with the company's product or service.

Students use this $200 to work with their local business of choice (which must be under 100 employees and has a website BUT does not use AdWords) and create their own AdWords account within a competition time span of three weeks. The team must submit a competition report before the competition begins, and one after the three week campaign has ended. The teams can compete in any three week period between February 10th and May 24th of this years. The campaigns are judged by an international smorgasbord of professionals and the winners will be announced this June.

Google explains this opportunity and challenge to interested students as "great opportunity for you to gain practical, real world online marketing experience and gain valuable skills that potential employers are looking for. And for all of those loyal to the mom-and-pop stores, "It's also a great way to help local businesses and your community by supporting them with your online marketing knowledge."

As a person who's enthusiastic about both causes, I give Google serious kudos for seeing the potential in the intellect and talent of the upcoming generation, promoting the increasingly important mode of viral marketing, and supporting small business. That said, when can Ithaca sign up? Guess we'll have to wait for next year...

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's true! "Chatter Does Matter!"

According to the Adotas website, a NYU study revealed on February 7th, 2008 concluded that viral marketing is economically effective marketing strategy.

NYU's Stern School of Business professor Vasant Dhar, along with NYU student Elaine Chang, released their study in a research paper titled "Chatter Does Matter." In the first few months of 2007, the researchers followed a sample of 108 albums four weeks before and after their release and tracked the amount of online chatter in blogs, social networking sites, and other online communication tools, and measured their amount of influence on each album's success. This is the first study of its kind to measure the economic influence of viral marketing on the music industry. Dhar, who specializes in the strategic implications of information technology, found that the amount of blog posts regarding an album prior to its release significantly and positively affects the album's success.

The study revealed other results, which can be found in NYU's faculty archive. Dhar and Chang also found that social networking sites have an impact on the popularity and financial success of an album; the amount of "friends" a recording artist accumulates week-to-week on the social networking site MySpace prior to the album's release has a weaker, yet still positive correlation to the artist's album's success. Lastly, the study reaffirmed the traditional promotional tactics; albums released by larger, mainstream record labels and are reviewed by well-known publications such as Rolling Stones will tend to have significantly higher record sales.

Dhar and Chang's work has a significant influence on the marketing industry as a whole, especially for the music marketing industry. The World Wide Web is like having an entire population at your fingertips; by looking at the amount of online reception regarding an artist's upcoming album, music executives can now predict how successful the album will be.

Just another step in discovering the potential that the internet has for the marketing industry... it's a regular buzz machine.

The entire research paper on the study can be found here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Volvo wants to get its buzz on

As I was searching around for what companies are developing buzz and viral marketing campaigns (which in my opinion, couldn't be a smarter move; traditional marketing is just like traditional everything else-- IT'S GETTING OLD!), nothing shocked me more than seeing an article in DirectNews about Volvo's new marketing strategy to create a viral marketing campaign in order to connect with a younger audience.

It's no secret that Volvo doesn't have the youngest, hippest image out of all of the car manufacturers. However, their decision to put more efforts into buzz marketing, as Volvo's marketing director Anita Fox tells Precision Marketing, "We want to create a campaign that creates 'buzz' marketing, as well as something that's relevant to the target market... we want the brand to have more 'talkability' to put Volvo on a lot of people's radars and show a more human side to the brand."

Volvo hopes to connect with their younger target market by portraying themselves as a brand focused more on having fun than they're traditional focus on their safety and functionality. They hope to create "buzz" through using social networking sites, mobile marketing, and simultaneously with the release of the new, sporty C30 model, will incorporate email marketing and banner advertisements.

Volvo is definitely taking the appropriate measures by using not-so-traditional marketing for a not-so-traditional target market, however, I think it will take more than naggy emails and Web site banners to transition the brand's image-- perhaps a little more delving into the internet marketing world and more consideration of other alternative marketing methods would make the brand's new marketing strategy more effective, but any big move takes babysteps.