Clare Werbeloff: the last word

Clare Werbeloff is just a 19-year-old kid from the Northern Beaches of Sydney with a loud mouth who’s watched too much Fat Pizza. She ran in front of a camera and mouthed off what she has copied from TV ethnic slang without thinking about the implications for others – like the person who was shot and his family.

Here’s Channel 9’s response to the whole incident, explaining what their contract cameraman did and his experience and attitude to Werbeloff.

And here’s the final ACA interview with Werbeloff, (direct to ACA site) where the implications of what has happened start to sink in for her. Talk back radio (like blogging commentary and twitter) can be an amazing measure of the zeitgeist of public opinion. You get a feeling that speaking to so many angry people had an impact on the previously oblivious young girl.

However, regardless of the specifics of this incident (it is now clear none of this was related to a marketing campaign), what disturbs me is that most punters probably don’t care whether they were duped or not. Werbeloff had many supporters and ‘fans’. Has the average media viewer become so use to fake news stories through people ‘punking the news’ or the media itself creating hyperbole or artificial events, that (a) it has become a great game to guess what is real, or (b) no-one cares anymore – news IS entertainment.

For marketers and brand custodians, however, this bizarre, artificial media environment can only last for a short time historically and can only ever be a short-term marketing communications strategy for those that pursue it.

Creating brand-value – establishing communication between users and giving them a reason to recommend your brand DOES NOT START WITH A LIE. Even one that goes massively viral super fast. Further, the more people get sick of being duped (and it’s happening NOW) the more they will attached ‘negative’ value to any brand that involves themselves in any dubious, cloaked, faked, viral, social media campaigns.

For a look at some of the excellent ‘spoof’ videos of Clare that are already out, mUmBRELLA has a selection here.

We now know that the Kings Cross Bogan had nothing to do with a marketing stunt (though, congrats to Tooheys for investing in that OOH poster for the 6beers of separation campaign, who’d have known!!) – advertisers, however, will now be chasing that viral magic that saw Werbeloff and Susan Boyle go balistic over the past few weeks and try to create ‘a story’ that will take their campaigns to space.  Nothing wrong with great, honest, engaging stories, of course – so it will interesting to see what viral plays come out over the next few weeks as agencies push the envelope.

Viral jacket fake stripped Naked

Well, as they should be, Seven’s Sunrise team seemed annoyed at being duped by Naked and their fake Cinderella jacket girl viral video that they ran as a news story on Monday morning. Sunrise had Tim Burrowes on this morning explaining why it really wasn’t a very smart way to promote a brand. Naked came out defending themselves yesterday against claims their faked video for clothing brand Witchery was deceptive. Adam Ferrier, Naked’s planning partner claimed, “The word deception implies an element of harm. This campaign hasn’t harmed anyone, not even close”.

Well, creating false news that is circulated virally or otherwise,  especially with the intention of having it end up on prime-time media, and then denying  involvement seems like deception to me. It also paints our profession in a bad light.

An interesting discussion took place on Adam Ferrier’s own blog between Ferrier and Stephen Collins of Acidlabs, where Ferrier has tried to justify Naked’s actions. He asks, “Who in social media understands consumer behaviour”, and goes on to say,

“I think people with a history in social media who want careers in marketing and communications should get educated in the broader aspects of human behaviour and marketing. Please. Some of the comments people are making in this space are at best naive.”

Consumer behaviour is not the nub of the issue for most commentators. The discussion has not been about whether people will fall for false information and buy products. The concerns are focused on the falsification of the information in the first place. Is this what Ferrier means when he councils people to get “get educated in the broader aspects of … marketing”. Is he suggesting that as marketers we have become delinquent deceivers, and that people don’t care anymore – that they like it?

Does the marketing machine feel justified pumping out anything to the public under the guise of “tease and reveal communications” as Ferrier called it in B&T, or “light entertainment”, a phrase Warren Brown from BMF used when asked to comment yesterday?  Brown did go on to say that, “if you deliberately deceive the public, it’ll only bite you in the bum“. And there’s the rub, the ROO. Ultimately, Naked feel they will be judged by how many people buy Witchery Man jackets, or say they know about Witchery selling men’s clothes. However, as I said in my last post on this subject, creating a fantasy or fiction that viewers happily buy into is one thing, but misleading them is quite another. The slap-back from any loss of trust is reduced sales and diminished brand value. Check out the mixed (mainly negative) feedback from the market at the end of this news.com.au piece. What’s the multiple on negative/positive comments when evaluating social media campaigns?

The late, great David Ogilvy once said, “The customer is not a moron. She is your wife”. Regardless of who the customer is nowadays, when they watch the news they don’t want to be fooled by a deceptive ad for a jacket.

The jacket team came clean yesterday publishing another YouTube video exposing the truth as news of the fakery quickly broke across the web before they had a chance to continue the series with a rumoured follow-up from the “man in the jacket” himself.

For a more complete run-down of the www’s reaction to the event see mUmBRELLA’s coverage here.

Wassup2008 hottest viral video sequel

Remember that quintessential American advert for Budweiser that introduced the world to America’s version of G’Day Mate. Well it’s returned, but not for Budweiser, this time it has a tragic-comic political stance that has taken the blog world by storm over the past two days. Here’s both the original and the current version of “Wassup” for comparison.

Update: Here’s an extract from a post that goes behind the Wassup2008 viral video and explains how it all came about.

Who’s behind the “Wassup2008″ Obama ad. Not Budweiser – by Burt Helm (Business Week)

This morning when I blogged about the “Wassup 2008” Obama video, two questions sprung to my mind. First, who paid for this thing? The production values are very high – one person from Budweiser’s ad agency, DDB, estimated it could have cost as much as $750,000 (she also said DDB had nothing to do with the video). Second, how could Budweiser possibly be cool with such a clearly partisan advertisement?

After some digging, I found out. First, it cost way less than $750k. Second, Budweiser had no clue it was happening until after the video hit YouTube on Friday.

The man with the answers? Charles Stone III, the director of the original “Wassup” commercial and the movie Drumline (and the guy who answers the phone in the first frame of the video). He decided to make it about two weeks ago, he told me, with a crew of about 50 volunteers (all professionals working pro bono). They put it together in 9 days.

Read the rest of Burt’s post here.

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Doritos viral campaign that every advertiser should fear

I attended a social media breakfast this morning held by Bullseye digital sevices agency where Ian Farmer presented on his Social Media Action plan.

At the breakfast I caught up with Ian Lyons of PureProfile and The Cool Hunter who sent me the Doritos Banner Takeover viral video from YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, it is an eye-opener for publishers, advertising-network operators, advertisers and everybody else operating online – or thinking about transitioning their media business onto the interweb and using advertising as the revenue source. Yet another issue to consider. As Ian Lyons said, “here’s the video all publishers need to see”.

The only problem for Doritos, with all the viral traction they’re gaining from the immediate interest in this campaign, their website and download doesn’t seem to be up and running yet at onlythegoodstuff.com. Perhaps the video was leaked and escaped Doritos’ advertising camp too early?

Update: I was just doing some research on this campaign and found a reference in the Twitter Search logs from five months ago by @tbrunelle saying “thestuffyoulike.com offers a Doritos plugin that works as a banner blocker. An advertiser removes other advertisers.” Yet again, there is NO plug-in at www.thestuffyoulike.com – there is, however, a live site with print and outdoor ad samples as well as other basic campaign info, including the video. I will continue to investigate, all the way to Sweden, to get an answer on what is happening here. If anyone else knows, please let us in on the mystery with a comment below. Maybe this is part of the elaborate and fictitious Doritos SNACK STRONG Productions that involves an online game, Crash the Super Bowl campaign, UGC and more.

The Swedish agency is Papercut and notes that it has won several awards for the work already in 2008.

Update II: Well, as you can see from the links above, thestuffyoulike.com has been taken down, Onlythegoodstuff.com still doesn’t exist. However, it is most likely because the video was created by a couple of very talented Swedish students, Carl Frederick Jannerfeldt and Tomas Jonsson. I’m unclear how much or little of the work on the Papercut site is student work or client work, but it’s certainly worth having a look at for ideas and inspiration. Check out the lightart campaign for Maglite.

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Don’t Vote: viral marketing election campaign 2008

Thanks to Zac Martin for his I Like to Sneeze blog about viral marketing. Another excellent product from the young marketing student who also writes Pigs Don’t Fly. In his latest viral post, Zac shows Don’t Vote which is a video specifically designed to go viral by asking viewers to send it on to five friends. However, the video is also compelling and very watchable, grabbing your attention for nearly five minutes. As Zac says:

Featuring a number of Hollywood celebrities discussing the upcoming 2008 United States Presidential Election the clips runs at 4 minutes and 45 seconds. This is a long time to keep the viewer engaged, but the content is that good it works.

But that’s not the only key to this campaign’s success. As I mentioned above, it holds a number of different places in today’s top viewed videos. This is only possible if the video exists in a number of different places.

In this case, four on YouTube and one on MySpace Video. Only two are official (interestingly both on the same account) with the other three appearing unofficial. The people behind this campaign have realised the importance of letting complete control of the message go and allowing consumers to upload it.

The Don’t Vote video has fallen back now on the Video Viral Charts, however, it was obviously a well structured and managed viral campaign. As Zac identifies in many of his posts, developing an online Viral strategy is about far more than just creating compelling content and hoping people will pass it on. It’s about identifying where to host the content for maximum impact, who to target with sends, how to follow it up with PR, and a myriad of other online and offline marketing manoeuvres to kick it along.

UPDATE: And then there was the sequel to Don’t Vote which I wanted to put here for the record.

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“Slammin” Sam takes Photon to a new level

If you haven’t seen “Slammin” Sam Kekovich announcing the Photon Group Annual Report 2008, then you’re probably missing a breakthrough moment in corporate engagement.

The design, delivery and humour of Sam and Photon’s execution has created a successful viral video of an Annual Report – what? Yes! Imagine sending good financial results around in a humorous viral video to maximise the confidence in your organization in these dark days. Not to mention the whole delivery encapsulating your brand values, positioning and philosophy.

Yesterday, I watched Mark Pesce discuss how, as a community of users, we have spent many years working out how to maximise the functionality of the internet. Many tools have been available for over a decade (for example, wikis) but have not had their inherent value understood until recently. As Pesce points out, the big move to web 2.0 came when we made the shift from thinking about the web as a publishing environment to a communications environment.

Pesce also talks about hyperconnectivity. With the grey matter of our human brains we can only handle around 150 contacts – Dunbar’s Number (maybe a few more according to other anthropologists such as Bernard and Killworth), however, with the aid of electronic equipment and social networking tools many humans have hundreds and, often, thousands of “friends” in their networks. Forget targeting those A-type influencers, nearly everyone feeds into a massive network of hyperconnectivity. I watched another presentation, also by Mark Pesce, yesterday (it was one of those catch up on Mark’s blog days) and saw 1200 twitter avatars race through at superspeed – it’s amazing how many faces, including my own, I recognised. I purposely keep my network tight so I can follow the stream of tweets coming through (another issue Pesce talks about), but I realised, regardless of my pathetic number, that if I sent out an important message on twitter, it would very quickly spread into the hyperconnected internet at lightening speed. It’s this velocity that internet tools such as twitter (and many others) allow; this speed  feeds this hyperconnectivity and creates a new paradigm of information transferal. People are happy to buy into connection because they know that it leads to timely knowledge.

Viral marketing is all about capturing this community of hypeconnectivity and velocity of information spread. So, how can we use the internet more effectively in managing financial reporting? Here is Photon and Sam for a laugh and your thoughts.

Sam Kekovich on Photon's site

Sam Kekovich on Photon


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