A 1000 Cranes for the People of Japan

1000 Cranes for Japan

The world has watched in horror and disbelief as the powerful earthquake and tsunamis on march 11 left thousands dead or missing throughout northeast Japan. The devastation, powerful aftershocks and subsequent nuclear plant problems have left millions of Japanese people homeless, displaced or living in fear of what could happen next.

BBDO/Proximity Worldwide has launched the 1000 Cranes campaign site to provide messages of hope from people around the world to the people of Japan. A Japanese legend promises that a crane – considered a mystical creature in Japan – will grant a person’s wish for a long life or recovery from sickness or an injury if they fold a thousand origami cranes. This makes them popular gifts for friends and family in that country.

If you’d like to create your own real origami crane, here are some easy-to-follow instructions.

In addition to sending a message, visitors can make financial donations directly to the Red Cross.

Ford Puts New Grand C-Max Into Customers Hands Using Augmented Reality

In late February Ford of Britain launched the an augmented reality campaign using Panasonic’s new 3D depth imaging technology to promote its new Grand C-MAX. The user interface is based on natural movement and hand gestures rather than using printed markers as a point of reference as in ‘traditional’ augmented reality experiences.

Users could interact with the display by holding their hands up to the screen. They can then use virtual buttons to choose the cars colours, open doors or fold down the seats, rotate and explore 3D ‘virtual’ models of the cars on the screen and in their hands.

Mark Simpson of Ford of Britain said:

Mark Simpson at Ford said: “Using live interactive outdoor campaigns is a great way to really engage with the audience in a way that is not possible with static posters. This has enabled us to create a targeted and tactical campaign that is relevant and fun to use.”

The campaign was created by Ogilvy & Mather and digital production company Grand Visual.

Share Your Breakfast Pictures and Help Fight Hunger

Kellogg's Share Your BreakfastFor the social media naysayers who’ve been quick with the “I don’t care what people have for breakfast” statement, Kellogg’s new campaign Share Your Breakfast will make them nuts.

But everyone eats breakfast, so maybe they won’t mind eating their words for a good cause – hopefully with a large bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes – and what the heck, throw in a side of bacon too.

Kellogg’s wants Americans to share pictures of their breakfasts at ShareYourBreakfast.com as part of National Breakfast Day (March 8), a day created to raise awareness of how important it is, especially for children, to start the day with a nutritious healthy breakfast.

With every breakfast image uploaded, Kellogg’s will donate one breakfast to a child in need, with a goal is to reach one million shared breakfasts. If you’ve already eaten breakfast there’s no need to worry, you can simply text a description of your meal with the word SHARE.

One of the interesting areas of the site is the Discover section. Here you can select a breakfast food and see which States shared that food as part of their breakfast. You can then roll over each State to get the exact percentage.

The good people of Wyoming and Maine are leading the nation in bacon as part of their breakfast, while it looks like North Dakota and Mississippi folks love their yogurt first thing in the morning.

Twitter Provides the Lowdown on Domino’s New Chicken

Domino's Chicken Chef Tate DillowSomewhere last night between laundry, wolfing down supper and catching up on work I caught a bit of a Domino’s Pizza ad that grabbed my interest. The ad features their chicken chef ‘Tate Dillow’, or Chicken Man as he’s apparently called behind his back.

What grabbed my interest was the delivery box that Domino’s CEO, Patrick Doyle holds up halfway through the commercial (you can view the embedded video below). Printed on the box is the question, “Did we get it Right?” with the options ‘Nope, Almost or Yes, We Did’. I thought this was a great idea, get valuable feedback right there while the customer is consuming the product.

Patrick Doyle has been at the forefront of the Domino’s efforts in recent years to make their marketing more transparent He was there in April 2009, reassuring customers after two employees at a North Carolina Domino’s posted videos showing themselves blowing their noses on pizzas (amongst other things). He was there in the fall of 2009 as part of the ‘Oh Yes We Did’ campaign, when Domino’s changed their pizza recipe showcasing customer complaints about the old one. In July 2010, Domino’s launched ‘Show Us Your Pizza‘, asking customers to post pictures of their pizzas for a chance to win $500 and be part of a national marketing campaign.

I had high hopes for the on-box evaluation form. I imagined the form to be perforated with paid postage printed on the back, then I realized this wasn’t 1982.  The customer is asked to provide feedback through Twitter using the hashtag #dpzchicken or on the Domino’s Facebook wall. Seeing Twitter (and Facebook) being used for this kind of instant customer feedback shows once again how mainstream it has become in 2011.

Judging by a quick glance at the feedback in Twitter, Tate may have something to worry about. The tweets, positive and negative, are being pulled in and displayed unfiltered on the more.dominos.com site under the headline ‘See What People are Saying About Tate’s new Chicken’.

While its admirable that they are showing the Twitter stream of reviews, they are definitely turning me off giving this product a try. (I’m also in Canada, and the delivery cost would be crazy)


Checking In On Foursquare

FoursquareFoursquare is coming up on its second birthday March 11. I’m not sure what that equals out to in human years but in social networking platform years it means its high-time for this location-based company to grow up and make something useful out of itself. And while I’m at it, “hey, you kids stop ‘checking-in’ on my lawn”. Or, are we expecting too much from Foursquare, after all, have their social-media siblings YouTube, Facebook or Twitter truly figured it out yet?

Foursquare may actually be on the verge of ‘growing-up’, the big question is “What does it want to be?” In a recent interview with CNBC, CEO and co-founder Dennis Crowley shared that the company has 6.5 million users (an increase from 100,000 a year ago) and 2 million check-ins each day, He said that they would be expanding  into 5 languages including Japanese, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but with any metrics the big question is how many of those people are active users.

Foursquare: a platform for experimentation

If nothing else, Foursquare has become a platform for brands and their agencies to learn, explore and experiment with the concept of location-based marketing. Foursquare’s check-in leaderboards, mayorships and badges seem like gimmicks now more than ever. Marketers are looking for more mature and sustainable methods to attract customers through their doors and to maintain those relationships through loyalty programs which they can control. Foursquare will be challenged to find that ‘special something’ that provides a true value that its users can’t live without.

Will Foursquare check-ins ever become part of people’s behaviour as they move through their daily lives, or will businesses and their customers evolve to emerging technologies such as Near-Field Communications and Geofencing to provide location-based services such as autocheck-ins and mobile offers. I am checking-in to locations much more sporadically now.

Only 4% of online adults use location-based services

In a widely distributed report released in Nov, 2010 the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project found that only 4% of online adults use location-based services and only 1% use these services to share their location with friends. The survey was completed before the release of Facebook Places so it will be interesting to see an update of these numbers later this year.

However, despite those low numbers there is no turning back now. Location will definitely be part of the mobile marketing mix moving forward. How will we be using location in 5 years?

You Write the End. Which Doritos Flavour Will be Destoyed?

Doritos Canada is back with ‘Write the End‘, another interesting campaign soliciting user-generated content to promote two new flavour experiments. You may remember the previous campaigns Become the Doritos Guru Contest; in which people were asked to come up with a name and 30 second ad for the plain-packaged mystery flavour and Viralocity; where people not only named the flavour, created and ad but were asked to try to make their ad go ‘viral’.  This time they’re asking consumers to create their own ending to the TV commercial embedded below.

In the commercial two flavour technicians are tolling away at the Doritos Research Facility creating new chip flavours. The young upstart has developed ‘Onion Rings and Ketchup‘ while the old master has come up with ‘Buffalo Wings n’ Ranch‘ flavour. The two researchers are led to the Flavour Master, who according to the website bio has 7 times as many taste buds as any other mammal on earth. The two flavours are presented to the Master, the video breaks up with the question “Which flavour gets destroyed? And how?”

Viewers are asked to write the rest of the story. 14 finalists will be picked, 7 for each flavour. The finalists will make a pitch to the ad agency and commercial director, who’ll select the winning entry to be filmed in secret to be revealed on May 5. The winner gets $25,000 and 1% of future sales of the winning flavour.

Making contest entry simpler

In an interview with Marketing Magazine, Tim Welsh, vice-president, group account director at BBDO Toronto explained that he feels change in how people enter the contest will help increase the amount of entries.

“The last couple of years we’ve done video… there’s all this rigmarole that goes with it,” he said. “By just asking people to write [their entry]… you just have to have an idea and it kind of levels the playing field.”

In a quick scan of the gallery this definitely appears to be the case. Last year’s Viralocity campaign received over 1,100 video entries, while it looks like ‘Write the End’ has brought in 6-7 times that many. It’s important to note that even in 2011, where video cameras seem to be everywhere and 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute that not everyone can or will create a video entry.

Where’s the Mobile?

I’m a little surprised that the bags don’t at least suggest a visit to a mobile site enabled by either a short code, QR code or a mobile redirect at the URL. I entered the URL ‘WritetheEnd.ca’ on my iPhone and iPad and was directed to a page with a message that ‘The Backup site will be up shortly… Please Go To WritetheEnd.ca’. An odd message considering I was already at the site – its possible that the mobile site was down this afternoon. I’m wondering if they left the mobile site out based on some research that despite people buying the product in a store while out, they still consume it somewhere that they have access to a laptop or PC

‘A’ vs ‘B’: The Taste Test
Doritos: You Write the End
As for the two flavours (yes, I did go to the corner store for samples), my taste buds are definitely siding with ‘A’ bag featuring Onion Rings N’ Ketchup flavour, the taste of ketchup is very strong, but the hint of deep-fried onion rings are definitely in there too.

The ‘B’ bag featuring Buffalo Wings n’ Ranch flavour is still burning its way through my body and must be destroyed immediately. My stomach may never forgive me for getting involved in this debate.

This Valentine’s Day Shout Your Love From the Mountain Tops

AT&T has enlisted the help of a group of very unconventional spokespersons for a special live Valentine’s Day event. A team of loud-talking mountain men will shout a special message to your loved one live from Mount Baldy, California.

You can submit your message on the AT&T Facebook application now. On February 14th at 8am PST the Mountain Men begin live streaming their shouts live for everyone to follow, plus they will send each person selected a video clip link to pass onto their loved ones. But hey kids, keep it clean, as the site explains even grizzled Mountain Men have mothers too. The event will promote the new HTC Inspire 4G and I’m imagining the phone and its 4G capabilities will be featured prominently.

The campaign was created by BBDO NY and features several hilarious video clips on the Facebook application and YouTube channel.

Matrix Barcodes Link to Classic Cocktail Recipes at the LCBO

LCBO uses QR Codes to direct shoppers to Classic Cocktail recipesAs part of the LCBO (Liquor Commission Board of Ontario) Classic Cocktails promotion, shelf signage for the brands featured in the campaign feature Matrix barcodes.

Matrix (2D) bar codes have been used throughout the rest of the world enabling users of mobile devices to connect with product sites, contest info, coupons or other additional information.

Unfortunately the experience of using matrix barcodes sometimes falls short of providing a great digital experience for the user. Issues with the sizing and positioning of the code happen frequently with inexperienced developers. Adequate instructions should always be provided for uninitiated users and even if everything does go perfectly to that point sometimes an unfriendly mobile experience awaits the user at the destination. You can read more about matrix barcodes in this post I wrote on the Delvinia Blog.

In this case the system worked flawlessly. I opened my ScanLife iPhone app and held it about 6-8 inches away from the shelf signage. The code was immediately picked up and my browser was directed to the  recipe for a Gin Martini made with Tanqueray on the Classic Cocktails mobile web site. At that point I could easily bookmark that with my browser for reference later.

Cheers to the LCBO and their digital team for such a useful application. Now to make myself a Gin Martini.

Originally published at Madtini.com by me.

It’s Complicated. Reuniting Ken & Barbie on Social Media

Ken and Barbie on Social MediaHonestly I had no idea that these two icons had even broken up. It turns out however, that Ken Carson and Barbie Roberts (yes, they did have last names) have been an on-and-off thing one since they first met in 1961. Things were not well at the Barbie dream house apparently. In fact, in 2004 Mattel issued a press release stating that they were going to spend some time apart, and as we all know it’s not true until the press release has been issued. According to the barbieandken.com website Barbie had actually started dating an Aussie surfer named Blaine.

Welcome Back

Now in 2011, on the 50th anniversary of the debut on the Ken doll, and after a triumphant return in Toy Story 3 he’s back and he’s looking to win Barbie’s heart again, and he’s looking to do it just in time Valentine’s Day.

Mattel has created a website at barbieandken.com where visitors are asked “Should Barbie take Ken back?”. Ken hopes that enough people say ‘Yes’ and that the Love-o-meter goes all the way to the ‘Soulmate’ status. Mattel has also created new profiles for Ken on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare and are the inspiration behind a new reality series Genuine Ken, a Search for the Great American Boyfriend. Oh, by the way there is a new Sweet Talking Ken doll available in stores, with the striking look and physique which makes Justin Bieber look like the Incredible Hulk. (sorry Biebs)

The streams on the various platforms are a combination of promotion and cute interaction between the two characters. Ken leaves a tip on Foursquare as he reminisces about better times, “Barbie was a little afraid of heights, but I held her hand the entire time during our ferris wheel ride. A little kiss always helps calm the nerves.” Or we see Barbie tweet, “No better distraction for me during this whole @OfficialKen business than #NYFW. See you at the shows!”

Finding Barbie on Match.com


While the campaign is very clever there is one thing that pops out at me. First of all, who is this campaign aimed at? It certainly isn’t the young girls who would be playing with them. It seems to me that this is targeted at adult users of these social media platforms, which begins to make sense as these are the people that will be buying the dolls for their daughters, nieces or younger family members.

It turns out the dolls were already appearing in stores a week before Valentine’s Day in boxes emblazoned with the message ‘She Said Yes!’. It would have been fun to see coordinated events happening in stores on the Saturday morning prior to Valentine’s Day, providing discounts on the dolls to people who check in on Foursquare of Facebook Places. Encourage tweeting and Facebook status updates, as well as uploading and tagging photos from the events to their profiles on Facebook.

Seems, you can’t keep anything secret these days. Good luck Ken on sorting out the ‘It’s Complicated’ relationship status.

Update: It’s Valentine’s Day and Barbie did say Yes! To celebrate Ken and his Kentourage appeared at Toronto’s Union Station handing out pink roses in celebration of his new relationship status. The current campaign will run until March and there  is a plan for two more phases yet to go in 2011.

Air New Zealand is looking for the Coldest Canadian

Air New Zealand - Are You the Coldest Canadian?Today on the way in to work I saw 12×18 posters for Air New Zealand’s Coldest Canadian Contest on a few mail boxes and power poles along King Street West. It looked interesting enough, certainly topical enough in the -10 degree weather, and I’m a sucker for these user-generated video submission contests. I took a second look at them at lunch time and noticed a couple of issues with my first interaction with the creative.

First of almost every poster I came across was mounted at waist or below height making it virtually impossible to get down and read the information including the URL. In the lower left corner was a very small QR code, I’d say it might have been a half-inch square. I squatted down in the slush and tried to scan it with my normally reliable QR code scanner, but it didn’t work for me. I assume it will redirect my mobile browser to the ColdestCanadian.ca site. I took a moment and typed the URL into my iPhone browser. The site that I saw was not optimized for mobile, it was the standard web page. It displayed fine, but I did have to enlarge and scan around in order to read. I did share the poster with a couple of friends, but the sharing was not done through the site. It was done by taking an iPhone photo and emailing it to them.

I’ll be on the lookout in other media for additional initial touch points with the campaign.

A few things that could have worked better with the poster and mobile experience:

  • Mount the posters higher so I could read them while walking by or standing at a crosswalk
  • If you are using a QR code think about how your viewer is going to interact with it. Having it at the top of the poster would have been better position.
  • Make sure the QR code is the correct ratio for scanners to pick it up. I am assuming the poster had been sized-down from a larger creative, so the ratio may have been correct to begin with.
  • A site optimized for my mobile device would have allowed me to check out the information while I was still in the area.

Once I arrived back at work, I did check out the site and the contest looks like a lot of fun. Air New Zealand is asking people who want to enter the contest to submit a three-minute video demonstrating why they are ‘The Coldest Canadian’. Once the video is approved its up to the entrant to collect as many votes, comments and likes as they can. The contest features weekly prizes as well as Grand Prize of a round-trip airfare to Auckland, NZ. There is a Google Map showing where the coldest Canadians are located and live reminders of how cold the temperatures are in different areas of the country (and how much warmer it is in New Zealand right now).