As I was picturing myself stop, drop, and rolling out of inspiration from the work in the Sandbox, I realized that I have the perfect contribution. It’s called The Giving Wall, and it’s a project I worked on last semester in my Strategic Creative Development class (credits to the four other teammates: Mike, Jiri, Rachael, and Ashlyn).
The class was taught by Edward Boches, the Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen, and we basically got to do the coolest assignments in the history of education. This one in particular went a little bit like this:
Identify problem you will solve. Create a company, project, cause, movement that you want to make happen or effect. Clearly define it. This is the what.
Create something that starts this off. A Youtube video, a new social media idea, and experiment, a blue wristband bracelet, or whatever.
The Giving Wall is what came out of this. Granted, it doesn’t actually exist in the real world … But if it did, it would be in the Sandbox. And the five of us who concocted it would be catching frisbees in our mouths with glee.
The initial idea was inspired by some simple research into Boston’s census files. What we saw there was a 23% increase in the number of homeless families between the years 2007 and 2008. And sadly, the trend has only been increasing since 1998. What we also found out was that the vast majority of homeless people are not the ones you see sitting out on the street. Most homeless families in particular are living in shelters.
When we started thinking about how to get people to donate to families in need, we realized something: how completely and totally outdated donations systems are today.
Let’s think about this for just a few seconds, shall we?
Typewriters = Gone.
Floppy disks = Really gone.
8-tracks = Huh, what’s that?
But somehow, dropping quarters in a Styrofoam cup has stuck around.
Our goal became to modernize and simplify the donation process through The Giving Wall.
The Giving Wall is actually way more than just a wall. It’s an entire system that brings together homeless families on one end and donors on the other to encourage interaction, provide for the families based on their individual needs, and make giving shareable.
On one end, a homeless family enters a dry shelter, passes a sobriety test, and creates a Heart & Home profile with the log-in system (aka a computer with an Internet connection) stationed in the shelter. Their profiles contain information about their families – as much or as little as they want to share – in either video, audio, or written form so that donors can get to know them on a more personal level. They also contain the family’s wish list, up to $100 worth of items they need from Amazon. Once the profile and wish list are completed, they submit their wish list and can track its status.
On the other end, someone who wants to donate can see families’ profiles and select a family they connect with the most. They choose one item – or two, or three, or ten depending on how generous they’re feeling that day – to donate, pay for it, and can add a personal message to send back to the family when they receive their item. In return, they receive a pre-recorded thank you note/ video from the family that they can then share on their social media profiles if they so desire. If they want, donors can opt-in to create their own profile, where they can receive notifications about when their donation is delivered and send/ receive more messages from the families they give to.
(P.S. You can see our presentation on Slideshare for more details)
Now, the reason it’s called The Giving Wall is because … well, this all happens on a wall. A giant, interactive, touchscreen wall. Originally, the wall would live in some key locations. Our personal favorite was a luxury storefront on Fifth Avenue in NYC. But we also envisioned a mobile wall that would travel the country and appear at events aligned with the cause.
Unfortunately, the most obvious, glaring flaw of this plan is that it would cost some money. Like, a whole lot of money. And it really doesn’t make sense for a nonprofit organization in the business of making donations to spend millions of dollars to build, promote, launch, and maintain this thing … when they could have just spent those millions on the families in need.
Which is why we needed something like the Creative Sandbox. Because we know a company like Google could pull this off with the technology they have. No problem. Sure, they might not make a profit off of our little venture. But they sure would get some great publicity … and show off their capabilities in the process.
Maybe the Creative Sandbox actually needs a more generous sister playground, more of a Helping Sandbox. Where ideas like ours that can make the world a better place – but need the support and backing of a tech company to exist – have the chance to come to life. Google could use the same type of voting system it already has in the Creative Sandbox to determine democratically which causes and projects people feel the most passionate about. And once a year, help make the winning idea a reality.
Because why can’t giving, volunteering, and helping become just as convenient as it is to tap our Google Wallets?
Q: How do you get the world’s most innovative people to advertise your products to the world for free?
A: By getting advertising agencies to use your products to create their campaigns.
Q: And how do you ensure that they’ll do this?
A: By giving them a platform to brag about themselves when they do, of course.
Enter Facebook Studio. A platform developed by EVB in 2011 to educate and inspire agencies and marketers by showing off examples of true creativity in a “connected world.” In this context, “connected world,” really means “Facebook” because all submissions must use some element of the social networking site to get posted.
Okay, let’s be totally honest here … The real brilliance behind Facebook Studio is that there’s plenty of marketers who don’t know how to use Facebook appropriately. Even fewer marketers know how to use it creativity. And here’s to hoping someone will come along who pushes the limitations of the medium … but don’t hold your breath.
So creating a platform to show off the glimmering examples of campaigns that do use Facebook appropriately, creatively, and even push its limits is a ridiculously smart method to teach others how to do so too. And in doing so, improve your relationships with advertisers … and give your users a better experience (by that, I mean fewer stupid ad campaigns).
Similar to Facebook Studio, the Creative Sandbox is a dedicated space for ad agencies to show off their best digital work, creating an “online hub for inspiring and creative new campaigns.” Also similar to Facebook Studio, users of the site can vote on their favorite campaigns, allowing the most popular ideas to rise to the top of the heap.
Google designed a platform for awesome digital creative, and my, my, my are the big boys coming out to play. Brands ranging from BMW to Band-Aids and Axe to Ikea are showing off their guns.
The cool thing about the Creative Sandbox (and what makes it inherently different from Facebook Studio) is that the work showcased there doesn’t have to be based on Google’s technology …
But wait … Why would Google let agencies show off how they’re using other technologies and platforms on its own site? Like * gasp * even Facebook.
Well, for one thing, most of the campaigns use Google technologies anyways (Exhibits A and B). And for another, it’s not like Google is in a position where it really needs to show off its innovative chops. We’re all well aware that they’re there.
But more than that, the Creative Sandbox creates a cycle of mutually beneficial relationships between Google and the innovators using cool digital technology in their ad campaigns. Ultimately, the guys and gals inside agencies and creative shops that are churning out the awesome ideas featured on the site are doing the same thing Google is: using technology to push boundaries. Be they tech boundaries, marketing boundaries, societal boundaries, or even making miracles.
So when you think about it that way, it only makes sense that Google would help innovators who in turn help them, so that they can continue helping the innovators who then … well, you get the point.
It’s a way for Google to see how creative people are using all technology – not just its own – and therefore see what holes need to be filled in with new products, product updates, or a just new way of thinking about something (does anyone hear the words “competitive advantage” here?).
And it’s a way for agencies and other creative organizations to be inspired and enlightened as to what technology can do for them, their brands, or their clients. And therefore, be the most creative and most cutting-edge that they possibly can be (and then crushing the competitors … and probably winning a few awards along the way).
Basically, it’s a win-win situation.
And when you throw in all the advertising students out there, it really becomes a win-win-win … because then we get watch hours of Youtube case studies. Which is actually pretty freakin’ sweet.
As a continuation of my previous post on the evolution of storytelling … Not only must the way we tell stories change, the way we think about creating those stories needs to change too. If we’re going to talk the talk of crafting experiences and multi-touch point immersions, then we have to walk the walk outside of the printed page or television storyboard.
Now, before all the art directors and copywriters out there come after me with silver stakes, let me say that good art direction and good copy still have a very important place and time. Take the script in Axe’s “Fear No Susan Glenn” commercial, for example. Or the art direction of this Samsonite print ad.
However, to really change our thinking and approach to marketing problems (and their solutions), we have to shake up the creative team a bit. Mad Men is a TV show, not a present-day documentary (Surprisingly, I find this is a common misconception). A creative pair that throws paper balls into trash cans until some lightning bolt of brilliance strikes them in the form of a catchy slogan just ain’t gonna cut it anymore.
More important than being a “creative” is how creatively the people on the team can think. In addition to art and copy, you need user experience designers, information architects, public relations experts, social media gurus, product developers, and members of the media team.
I know what you’re thinking (especially those art directors/ copywriters who are still sharpening their pitchforks): “Listen, you crazy kid, too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup.”
Well, in case you haven’t noticed, we aren’t making soup. We aren’t even necessarily making ads. We’re making whatever it takes to get the consumer’s attention, affection, and advocacy (P.S. alliterations are awesome). Which might be an ad. But more than likely, it will be something much more interactive, far-reaching, and multi-faceted than just an ad.
Like this. Or the Coke/Google Re: Brief video posted above (I know it’s long, so you have my permission to skip to 7:40 to really get to the good stuff … But fair warning, you’ll really be missing out if you do).
Talk about some freakin’ genius campaigns. They also just so happen to serve as freakin’ great examples to support my point about the new creative team (well, that part might have been intentional, I’ll admit).
For starters, the new creative team is collaborative. It’s not siloed or broken across floors or working in isolation. A big idea can come from anywhere or anyone … be that the product developer (take Puma Social’s product extensions, for example) or the media team. And being open to these ideas creates a more fertile (aka fearless) environment from which even more big ideas can bloom. Naturally, the more big ideas that are bouncing around the office, the greater the chances of landing on one that is truly brilliant.
The new creative team also has a more integrated understanding of its consumer. Beyond knowing about consumers’ relationships to the brand or category you’re working on, you must understand their behaviors, media consumption, where they hang out, what they’re doing there, and how they interact with each other (I know, not surprising that an aspiring planner would say these things … but still true). Take Coke’s project with Google, as an example. When you really think through consumer behavior, it becomes rather obvious that utilizing a drink machine makes perfect sense. What else are thirsty people interacting with or hanging around when they’re out and about? And then when you throw in that little bit extra to connect these people around the world, the consumer relationship is taken to a whole new level.
And lastly, extending the creative team beyond art and copy lets the ideas expand, live, and breathe beyond art and copy. Where is the art direction or copywriting in this? Thinking in terms of life experiences and less in terms of advertising is what the new creative team is all about. It doesn’t even matter if the ideas are “possible” … That’s why we’re adding all those designers and engineers to the team. Because they can make it possible (within reason). And if they can’t, well let’s be honest … Google probably can.
The bottom line is that to succeed in thinking in these news ways takes a new creative team. I don’t know about you, but I sincerely hope to find myself on one of those teams someday.
The world needed stories. They taught us our moral codes, passed on our histories, and were down-right entertaining … especially considering most other options included something like sewing, going to a public bath, or watching gladiators kill each other (none of those very sound appealing, though for very different reasons). Our lives actually depended on good stories. How else were we supposed to remember how to plant our corn? Or who to blame for that drought?
Being a bard (or shaman or raconteur or whatever other fancy name you prefer) must have been incredibly difficult. They had a lot of words to remember. And telling a good story could earn them a free meal or a place to rest their weary heads. No pressure or anything.
But then something magical happened. People learned to write. And learning to write meant they didn’t have to remember their stories anymore.
Then something even more magical happened … We had a machine that made copies of the things that were written down! Now everyone could remember everything we wrote. (First the printing press, and then … well, Xerox.)
And then the greatest magic of them all. The computer … and the Internet. Ooooh ahhhh. Now we don’t even need books or copies. As long as we have Google, I can learn anything.
(My extreme compression of human history would appall many a history major out there, I’m sure.)
Ever since mankind became literate, the nature of storytelling has been evolving. Because we simply don’t need it for the same purposes anymore. And entering the digital age has been no exception. We don’t even have the time or attention for stories anymore unless they’re told to us in 140 characters … or less (gotta leave room for the retweet, you know).
We all know that storytelling is still important. It’s just a lot different. No longer are stories shown or told to us. We choose what stories we want to be a part of, along with when, where, and how we experience them. No longer does a “story” simply mean sitting and listening to a crafted message. We can experience them across multiple touch points for immersion, interaction, and interpretation. No longer is there one source from which the story is handed down like Moses and the 10 Commandments (especially since less than half of people even trust advertising messages in traditional media, which a recent campaign for Rice Krispies Squares mocks with awesome vigor). We are all storytellers. We tell our own stories, we tell our friend’s stories, and we tell a brand’s stories every time we write a Facebook post, check-in on Foursquare, or post a picture to Instagram.
So in the age of the everyman storyteller, how does a brand get its story heard? Allow your consumers to become a part of your story. Give them an experience they will want to spread. Or collaborate with them to fully immerse them in your brand.
People love to brag. Especially when they find something super cool that none of their friends have heard about. People brag so much, there are people who blog about how much people brag (check out these stats about how much content is generated on Facebook alone). So naturally, give people something to brag about, something to discover … some kind of experience. I mean, a real experience. A cool experience. An immersive experience.
This, my friends, is a cool experience. So is this. And this is totally worth bragging about (and probably worth a few extra toasts at the reception).
As far as collaborative storytelling goes, let consumers contribute to some part of your brand. People love being a part of something. It makes them feel important. And people will always come back to something that makes them feel better about themselves than they did before.
What all this means is that we, as marketers and advertisers, have to change the way we think about our brands’ stories when we start creating them. We have to meet our consumers where they are. Thanks to digital media, mobile technology, and a growing number of screens, that means meeting them basically everywhere with multi-platform experiences.
How many of you have ever actually read Marshall McLuhan? Or, let me rephrase: how many of you have voluntarily read Marshall McLuhan? Probably none … Mostly because his books are about 33% crazy and 33% confusing. And the other 33% genius can sometimes hurt our heads to think about.
Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for me, grad students have no choice. We read Marshall McLuhan. Which means I get to spend 33% of my time being confused, 33% getting headaches, and 33% telling people about the latest crazy McLuhan-ism I’ve come across.
Just for funzies, let’s try a few on for size …
“The electric light is pure information.”
“Schizophrenia may be a necessary consequence of literacy.”
“I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.”
“The computer can be used to direct a network of global thermostats.”
Riiiiiiiiight. Okay. Moving on.
As much as I would love to hate McLuhan for putting me through the pain of first reading his books and then writing papers about them … He kind of predicted the future. So, I guess I’ll give him a break.
Let me remind you that McLuhan was writing during the 1960’s, long before the Internet, social media, and smartphones came about. With that in mind, read these quotes and tell me if it’s not freaky how prescient (SAT word alert!) they are …
“We live today in an Age of Information and Communication because electric media instantly and constantly create a total field of interacting events in which all men participate.” Social media? Facebook stalking? Anyone, anyone?
“The classified ads are the bedrock of the press. Should an alternative source of easy access to such diverse daily information be found, the press will fold.” A) Craigslist is totally the new classifieds section. B) Online sites killed the newspaper star. (Well, maybe not killed, but at least mortally wounded.)
“Those external extensions of sense and faculty that we call media we use as constantly as we do our eyes and ears, and from the same motives.” This is all I have to say about that.
* Insert twilight zone music here *
But what’s even cooler than thinking about how McLuhan might have acquired his psychic powers (hint: you can find one possibility here in the third paragraph down) is thinking about this statement: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” It’s basically the “you are what you eat” declaration of the media world.
In all seriousness, though, think about how we’ve changed since the first release of the iPhone in 2007 (my, how far we have come since then). We have the attention span of goldfish. While I can’t blame this totally on smartphones, second screen behavior hasn’t helped this and neither has the fragmentary thinking of an app-driven world. We’re also so irrationally dependent on our technology that WE’RE TOTALLY GONNA DIE without it. Or at least that’s what people think.
On the other hand, mobile technology has given us more freedom. We can go anywhere and do anything … as long as there is a wireless connection to access our Dropbox or check our emails. And it’s given us 24/7 access to knowledge we would never have the opportunity to own before. Just to sound like an extra nerdy grad student, I like to call this the “democratization of knowledge.” Think of the awesome possibilities when knowledge becomes the commodity of the common man.
And of course, digital technology has changed the way the marketplace sees us. Consumers are no longer just consumers. They’re walking media channels … creating content, sharing links, earning social currency all along the way. And becoming more valuable to marketers than ever before. The coolest campaigns we’re seeing now are those that rely on word of mouth to spread awareness or go viral. Here are just a few examples for your viewing pleasure: Kotex, Budweiser, and TNT.
So maybe McLuhan was neither a psycho nor an actual psychic, but he did make us more aware of how technology and media affect and shape our behavior, attitudes, and worldview.
And the next time you pick up your smartphone to make a new move on Words With Friends, I want you to think … Am I shaping my tool or is my tool shaping me?
1 if by land, 2 if by sea: The Skinnygirls are coming
As every young female watching her girlish figure knows … Skinnygirl cocktails are pretty much the greatest thing since sliced (100% whole grain, calcium-added, fiber-licious) bread. They taste great, they’re incredibly convenient, they’re made out of natural ingredients, and they’re low calorie. Like really low calorie. Like 100-calories-per-serving-that’s-awesome-alcohol-won’t-make-me-fat-anymore low calorie.
Aside from the fact that Skinnygirl cocktails will help keep you, well … skinny … There’s some other really cool things about the brand too. With a mantra of “simple solutions for women,” Skinnygirl has extended itself beyond being simply a party drink to becoming a woman’s best friend of sorts. There is now an entire Skinnygirl line of products, from skincare to body shapers to workout routines and healthy recipe books.
Hey, they’re really taking care of us here. So why don’t I just hand my life over to Skinnygirl and let them maneuver it for me? That would really save me a lot of stress and trouble.
Okay, that sounds absurd. Or does it? Because actually … on Springpad, they could do almost just that.
Let’s keep this quote from Skinnygirl’s website in mind: “When girls get together, we talk about everything … food, fashion, gossip, cocktails, and more!” Then let’s take their stellar combination of advice: pamper yourself … but stay healthy while doing it. Then let’s make some Springpad notebooks about it. And then let’s target some women who are just as kick-ass as Skinnygirl cocktails are.
That’s a lot of steps. Are you still with me?
When I think of the type of woman that Skinnygirl most aligns with, I can’t help but think of myself … Not because I think I’m kick-ass (although I would love it if someone called me that). But because of how Skinnygirl fits into my life. And by that I mean … like a glove.
Skinnygirl is for young women who are busy, but still want to be able to kick back and have a little fun every now then. We love our friends, we love good times, and we love life. Unfortunately, we don’t really have time for any of the above. Why? Because we’re grad students … Okay, maybe I’m projecting. But seriously, these women are smart, talented, and too busy figuring out how to rule the world to take no crap offa nobody.
Knowing this, Skinnygirl could make some awesome Springpad notebooks.
Oh look, I took the liberty of making some examples for you … you lucky dog, you.
A notebook that appeals to that fun-loving side inside every real life Skinnygirl. It’s filled with products or tips to enhance their time and experience when they’re kicking their heels off and just being silly with their Skinnygirl friends.
Let’s not forget these Skinnygirls are incredibly busy … So busy that they often feel they don’t even have time to plan a get-together with their besties. This notebook takes some of that responsibility off their shoulders by planning Girls’ Night playlists, providing instructions for speedy apartment-cleaning before the friends arrive, and a listing some quick-and-easy snack recipes to whip up while pretending to be Martha Stewart.
Let’s be real, the number one reason why girls like Skinnygirl is because it doesn’t make them fat. The Skinnygirl brand prides itself on this fact and already does a good job leveraging this identity, as can be seen in its brand extensions into workout videos and healthy recipe books. A notebook like this leverages that identity even further to offer useful solutions to a sweet tooth or (if you’re like me) a chocolate addiction.
Remember that quote from Skinnygirl’s website about how girls love to talk? Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: (girls love talking about boys … Shhh). What better way to let a young female audience know that you’re on their side (or know them like the palm of your own hand) than by providing them with a little eye candy? ‘Nuff said.
Skinnygirl drinkers want to become Wonder Woman. Because then at least they could get from meeting to meeting efficiently in their invisible jets … and save the world while doing it. A notebook like this gives them the inspiration and motivation they need to keep on kicking ass every single day. And for that, they will thank you (trust me on this one).
Now that we know what real life Skinnygirls are getting from these Springpad notebooks … what good does it do for the Skinnygirl brand?
A lot actually.
Creating a suite of notebooks that plays off of Skinnygirl’s brand values shows their current and potential consumers exactly what they stand for … without ever having to say a word. And we all know that old “show, don’t tell” adage. Creating these notebooks positions Skinnygirl to become the “girls’ best friend” that they want to be … and with the brand identity they already have, certainly can be.
On top of that, Skinnygirl was founded on the concept of empowering women by giving them a choice. A choice between a calorie-laden, sodium-rimmed margarita … or a Skinnygirl margarita. And while women love staying skinny, they also love that someone else is on their side, especially when being on their side means putting more power into their hands.
Springpad notebooks can do just that … be it the power to choose a healthy diet, the power to choose which beautiful male specimen to drool over next, or the power to become a kick-ass woman.
Occupation: VP Digital Strategy, Allen & Gerritsen
Assignment: Gather insider information on the tricks of the Strategist’s trade
Potential Dangers: B-line trains on Opening Day; impatient cab drivers with vendettas against pedestrians; sleep-deprived students battling for your hazelnut latte at Thinking Cup coffee shop
Debrief: See below
After bravely facing all the dangers listed above, I sat down at a tiny table with a very delicious (and hard-won) hazelnut latte. Shortly thereafter, Tamsen McMahon, VP of Digital Strategy at Watertown’s (soon to be the Innovation District’s) Allen & Gerritsen sat down in front of me.
Only several days prior, I had been across from her as she interviewed me for an internship position … My what a role reversal as I was now the one peppering her with questions. I learned a lot that day, including the fact that Thinking Cup has pretty good coffee.
Let’s start with the basics: The Job.
What does a strategist – more specifically, a digital strategist – do on a day-to-day basis? First and foremost, the exciting part: They get to solve a new problem every day. Now for some people, that might sound like one gigantic and never-ending frustration. But for those us who think that solving a problem is as exciting as solving Nancy Drew mysteries was to me when I was 8, that just sounds like Heaven.
Digital strategists are also those who take the “what’s next” of emerging media and introduce it to the “what’s now” of setting business strategies for clients that tie all aspects of their communication – from paid to owned to earned – together in one big, happy marriage.
Sounds cool, right? So now that you’re interested, what does it take to be a digital strategist?
Skills and Qualities
It is an interesting person who wants to become a strategist … I think this is true mostly because strategists must pull knowledge from many different aspects of their lives in order to successfully set business strategies that resonate with particular groups of people. Strategists must be able to wear many different hats. I don’t think anyone is arguing that talking to a client, a creative, and a consumer is, well, just not the same conversation. In this way, strategists are the translators: from business to market and market to business and in the language of whoever else just so happens to be listening.
Other important skills include (but are not limited to) listening, scenario-planning, language/ writing, emotional intelligence, humility, observation, and presentation ability.
Of course, we must never forget what is arguably the most important commandment for planners and strategists: STAY CURIOUS.
And we’ll throw this one in too, just for good measure: Always want to make it better. Whatever “it” is (the client’s business … the strategy …the agency’s creative output … yourself).
Okay, so now we’ve established that being a strategist is basically the sh*t. (Is it more acceptable for me to say that if I use an asterisk? I thought so.) BUT it’s not all fun and games … darn.
Challenges and Sacrifices
While some of us have a vocabulary that includes words like “blogosphere,” “twitterati,”and “interest graph,” other people in this world surprisingly do not. This is difficult for us to fathom, I know. But these people are the same ones who are probably going to be your clients. Enter Challenge #1: selling social and emerging media to skeptics and digital illiterates. I’ll leave it at that while you ponder how troublesome that might become when your occupation as a digital strategist depends on this.
Another challenge for digital strategists is finding the right way to get an idea out in the world when there are just so many gosh darn media channels to pick from. And just to make it even more complicated, there is a plethora of ways to think about this too. From how you understand media (influence vs. outreach) to how you buy media to media research to how the audience interacts with media to … you get the point.
So after taking a few days to first digest this information myself … what do I now think about it?
Well for starters, I’m convinced that strategy is the place for me. It plays into many of my strengths as well as my goals … which sounds like a win-win situation to me.
I consider myself a problem-solver, so the fact that problem solving is part of the everyday job description of a strategist gets me feeling really jazzed (insert image of me doing jazz hands here). It plays into the big picture mode of thinking that I love to live in. It is also a challenging area … And anyone who has ever told me “no” knows that I love a good challenge (my mother would be more than happy to talk your ear off about this one).
In terms of my aspirations, strategy is a place that lets you be a key component in the planning of a client’s business. And if the planning is done properly, then it lets you make an impact.
What I know for certain is that I crave the intellectual challenge of strategy and the impact it can allow me to have. I’m just not exactly sure of what path will get me there. Working in an agency? Working for a brand/strategy consulting firm?
But then again, if there’s any one thing I learned from my chat with Tamsen – and after the incredibly long and winding description of how she went from a BU undergraduate to a VP of Digital Strategy – it’s that there is more than one way to skin a cat … or achieve your career goals, for that matter.
“Homeless families often simply need an affordable unit to end their homelessness. While some families may need significant support navigating barriers such as lack of employment, inability to afford child care, or substance abuse, many only need limited support after accessing permanent affordable housing.”—Homelessness in the City of Boston Annual Census Report 2008-2009
When I started thinking about the problems that I want to solve, my mind immediately went to resolving some of the trials and tribulations I face in Boston on a daily basis. Slow sidewalk walkers. The impossibility of finding an available taxi when you really need one. The fact that the T stops running at 12:30 (don’t even get me started on that one).
Then I started thinking about something else I’ve noticed in Boston. Something that most people have gotten really good at (intentionally?) not noticing: homelessness.
Of course, there is homelessness everywhere, and there are plenty of people trying to do something about it. You might even think of calling me “cliché” for picking this topic. But don’t do that … then all the homeless people in Boston will be very mad at you. And so will I.
Because here’s what I found:
According to the “Homelessness in the City of Boston” Annual Census Report from 2008 (this is the earliest available data I could find), Boston is experiencing the highest number of homeless family units (often a single mother with kids) in the last 29 years. Between 2007 and 2008, the percentage of homeless families increased 22% with 1,212 family households in shelters around the city … 1,902 members of those households are children.
But here is the real heartstring tugger: over 50% of those children in homeless shelters are under 6 years old. And 11% of them are under the age of 1. Wait, homeless babies? Seriously? That really just makes me want to cry.
Okay, so if this isn’t depressing enough for you, here’s just a few more not-so-fun facts. 69% of the families in homeless shelters in 2008 were Boston residents before becoming homeless; 35% of these people lived with family and/ or friends before becoming homeless. What all this boils down is that these homeless families most often simply need affordable housing … not jobs, not medical attention, not many of the common homeless needs. Just an apartment they can afford.
Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t look like finding one of those is going to be getting easier any time soon. Between 2010 and 2011, there was a 7% increase in rent in the city of Boston. Grrrrreat.
Okay, so that’s a crappy situation. And what do we do about it?
Well, it seems to me that what many of these families need is an “apartment starter kit,” if you will. Maybe a few months rent to get them on their feet and give them a jumping off point. So what if we could find a way to provide rent money to homeless families?
Alright, that’s a start.
But how are we going to do that?
With music, of course. I know, I know … for those of you who know me well, it comes as no surprise that this would be my answer. But I’m being serious. If you can find me a single person who is not moved by music in some way, shape, form, or fashion, then I’ll give you a million bucks. Because that’s just not possible. It is the universal language, after all. And we can leverage that to our advantage.
So with the objective to raise enough money to fund rent for a few a months/ 6 months/ a year/ however long we can for Boston’s homeless families, let’s appeal to the Boston community to help those living on their streets.
And here’s how …
We find a few locally based bands in the Boston area looking to break out and make a name for themselves (this shouldn’t be too hard with Berklee right down the road), and recruit them to do what they do best: make music.
… With a twist. The only instruments they can use are those they make themselves with the resources that would available to a homeless person in Boston. For example, instead of drumming on a drum, they would have to drum on a trashcan or cardboard box. And if anyone tries to tell me it’s just not possible to make good music with everyday objects, I will tell you go watch “Stomp.” Then when they come back to me, all I will say is … “I told you so.”
The bands participating in the project (tentative title: Hymns for the Homeless) will also be competing. Within an established competition time period, the bands will be battling for likes, views, comments, and votes on Facebook, YouTube, and the Hymns for the Homeless blog page. They will also be taking song requests via Twitter. For smaller bands looking to garner some fans, this couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity to show off their skill, creativity, and style … contributing to a good cause helps too. Of course, on each of these platforms, viewers and fans will be encouraged to donate money to the project.
At the end of the competition period, there will be a concert for each band to strut its stuff on a real stage and announce the contest winner. All ticket proceeds will go toward the rent fund as well.
Now to keep the money rolling in, we can host more competitions or better yet, generate a revenue stream for products. Such as a partnership with iTunes to sell the bands’ homeless-inspired songs or selling the instruments to anyone interested in starting their own homemade experiment.
Let’s kick off the competition on each of the digital platforms that it will utilize: an event invite on Facebook, a YouTube video calling for participants, and blasts from the Hymns for the Homeless Twitter feed. An extra presence at universities around Boston couldn’t hurt either.
Could Hymns for the Homeless go viral? Could it be picked up for news coverage? Keep your fingers crossed … and your feet tapping to the beat.
It’s been a long time since I saw you last, and boy do I miss you. I know that my recent move to Boston has really put a strain on our relationship. It is one of the great tragedies of this century … truly. However, in our time apart, I have come realize that partners in a real relationship support each other. So I’ve decided to help you spread your awesomeness and delicious waffle fries to watering mouths everywhere.
We all recognize your traditional advertising. Yes, those cows are mighty funny, especially when hanging upside down from water towers and speling evurytheeng inkurrectly. But the cows are just that: traditional. It’s time for some modernization, Chickie. Step into an experiential, interactive world… and that doesn’t mean interacting with people in cow suits on the sidewalk.
You have an awesome personality. Really, you do. You were founded on the concept of “making a positive impact on our communities and the people in them.” The great thing here is that you can more easily build communities (and therefore loyalty) in digital and interactive spaces than just by getting a few giggles out of a clever television spot. So you can modernize and still reflect your own core values as a brand at the same time. In fact, they go hand-in-hand.
Here, let me show you.
I want you to be present in people’s lives the way you deserve to be. You’re more than just fast food. You can provide both utility and meaning. And trust me, people eat that stuff up (pun intended). For example, think about the context in which a vast number of your other adoring fans nom-nom on your food … during road trips, of course (fast, easy, healthy(er) … you’ve got those other fast food spots beat). You could create an app for road trippers (or other general explorers) that provides rest stop locations along the way. Not only that, you could crowdsource information from other app users about their favorite local joints at which to stop when they need to stretch their legs or take a break from driving. The best local coffee shop in that small Southern town or the obscure-yet-cool museum on the outskirts of the city. All brought to you by Chick-fil-A.
You also deserve to be a part of our lives not only when we’re hungry. You always make me happy, be it your super friendly staff or the yummy milkshakes. So why not be a part of my life any time I need a pick-me-up? For example, you could create a “Good Morning Truck,” painted like a barn and staffed with Chick-fil-A cows passing out free biscuits, coffee, and orange juice each morning to passersby. Another option would be to create spaces for the community. Give people a place to hang out (not just at Chick-fil-A) like a public space lounge or a park. A place to meet up with your friends or kick back and read a good book (or should I say Kindle?) in the sunshine. Make your core value something tangible and usable … and help strengthen a community while doing it. Yay, it’s win-win.
And, Chick-fil-A, while you contribute platters of chicken nuggets to my parties, I want to contribute something to you too. What if you actually let me? You could host a contest every year for communities with resident Chick-fil-A restaurants to get together and brainstorm a new item on the Chick-fil-A menu. Each community would submit its idea, brand its item with its community pride (I’m picturing something like “Thomasville tater tots” from my hometown), and the winner would take its place on the menu for a year. The next year, it begins again. Not only would this stir up excitement around the restaurant, you could also get some really creative menu ideas out of it. You never know where the next sous chef might come from.
Oh, and one last thing … Open a restaurant in Boston! Okay, okay, I’m just being selfish. But really, could you at least mail me some Chick-fil-A sauce?
Does anyone else find it awesome that the Guardian is a brand that has truly embraced its consumers? Think about it: they have embraced their consumers so much that their consumers are now contributors to the running of their business. This newspaper has taken the principles it stands for (providing the “big picture”) and literally embodied them by making itself into a brand that is inherently social and open. The Guardian has taken a giant step forward in the way its markets itself by taking its relationship with consumers from one-way street to a dialogue to partnership. Their new TV spot (while already stunning just in its production value alone) expresses this more than adequately.
So, with the Guardian taking three steps forward, where does that leave other brands and marketers? You guessed it: needing to catch up. Luckily for them, there is an excellent case study sitting on the “tube” right in front of their eyes. But for all those marketers out there who sadly left the room to refresh their beer or go to the bathroom while the Guardian’s spot was on, let’s recap the lessons you missed out on. No, no, you can thank me later.
What I think is the most important lesson here is that brands should adopt a strict “be, don’t tell” policy (for clarification’s sake, this is one step further than “show, don’t tell”). Brands shouldn’t tell me what they stand for. They shouldn’t even show me what they stand for. Like the Guardian, they should literally be what they stand for.
Alright, so once the brand has done some good old fashioned soul searching, it needs to make this information relevant. Part of the reason the Guardian’s TV spot is so effective is because it is relevant to homeowners’ struggles against banks and mortgages, and part of the reason the Guardian itself is so effective is because it is relevant to the way its readers consume and use media. In relevancy, as in dating, timing can be everything. The timing of your story can make your story relevant (see Operation Christmas also by BBH for an example of this). And relevancy is what hits your story home for your consumers.
Speaking of consumers … I think “consumer” is the wrong word to describe this group of people these days. Consumers don’t just “consume” and digest brand messages anymore. They contribute and collaborate; they engage in a dialogue with the brands they use. These people are much more than consumers. In fact, they’re more like partners. And brands should treat them as such. For example, give them opportunities to participate in your business or model (see the Sam Adams Crowd Craft Project).
All of these components should work synergistically to support your brand’s core identity. I like to think of it as the perfect storm of target audience + message + context + media. Now this is where the real creativity comes in. Think of all the different ways you could shuffle this mix around. But which one of these ways is going to be the most memorable? The most relevant? The most stopping-people-in-their-tracks-because-it’s-so-freaking-cool? To accomplish these tasks, brands need to think in ways they haven’t already thought before (see The Great Schlep for examples of how to use the above equation in creative, unexplored ways for effectiveness).
How can all this stuff that I’m spouting be applied in real life? Well let’s take a real example: American Apparel, the clothing store well known for its "slutty" ads, sexual harassment lawsuits, and (hey, who’s surprised?) declining sales. To say that American Apparel has problems is an understatement. So what should they do?
First things first, they need to come to terms to with their identity. According to America Apparel’s website, they want to do things the “right way.” Sadly, landing your CEO in court and having your ads banned for sexualizing minors does not send out a message of the “right way.” The store needs a little self-reevaluation to come back to this core belief and build its “perfect storm” around it.
American Apparel is well known for its print ads and online banners … Wait, who looks at those? Oh, that’s right, no one. Especially not the youthful, hip audience American Apparel is targeting. The store needs to find a way to engage this audience in relevant ways. This means meeting consumers where they are (which is probably going to be out-and-about and/or on mobile devices). Because American Apparel is built on the concept of being “right” and being real, it would make sense and appeal to their target audience to collaborate in a crowdsourced event, such as designing outfits for next season’s stock or building an augmented reality mobile app that allows shoppers to “try on” clothes for different occasions before ever stepping foot in the store.
If American Apparel – and many other marketers, for that matter – took a page out of the Guardian’s book, we could be seeing, experiencing, and participating in much more relevant and meaningful brand engagements across the board. Even if the concepts of “social” and “open” don’t apply to a particular brand (toilet paper seems to come to mind), this way of thinking still can.
For any small businesses out there looking to grow your business and increase sales, maybe you should take a page of out of the record books from Orabrush. For eight years, the inventor of the tongue cleaner tried to sell his product, with minimal success (“minimal” being an overstatement here). $40,000 dollars and an infomercial later, and Orabrush still only sold less than 100 brushes.
Yes, Orabrush was doomed to fail … until it stumbled upon this little thing called social media.
In 2009, Orabrush inventor Dr. Wagstaff took the product to a marketing class at Brigham Young University as a last ditch effort for ideas on how to save his brand. All of the students there told him to give up. Except for one. He suggested Orabrush try YouTube.
And the rest is history.
Orabrush has been making history quite literally since then. Utilizing a completely backwards marketing model by branding and promoting first and distributing second, Orabrush built an enormous YouTube following. In fact, Orabrush’s YouTube page is the second most subscribed sponsored video channel on the website (that’s better than Apple, folks) with 39 million channel views. Today, Orabrush has over $1.4 million in direct online sales from 114 countries, as well as sales in Wal-mart, CVS, and other retailers in the U.K., Japan, and Canada.
It was this uncanny YouTube success and a $28 Facebook ad campaign (yes, that’s $28) that got Orabrush distribution in 3,500 Wal-mart stores around the country in 2011 (keep in mind they turned the tooth cleaner down for 8 years running prior to this). That, and the leverage that 175,000 subscribers and 39 million views on YouTube can give you.
In addition to YouTube, Orabrush also has over 300,000 fans on Facebook and almost 5,000 followers on Twitter. This once-tiny brand demonstrates the true power that social media holds today in terms of leveling the playing field for brands both big and small. However, simply utilizing social media isn’t enough. Using social media smart is the key. Ultimately, Orabrush’s success is based on its understanding of this concept: “Social media is, above all, social. It’s about communities and conversations … Find communities that interest you. Start interacting. Learn how the conversations work. Once you understand how it works for the people using it, then you can understand how to talk to them as a brand.” Orabrush’s Twitter feed does a great job of leading by example of this front.
Quite simply, Orabrush’s was able to build its immense social media success because of the nature of its product. For starters, who doesn’t have bad breath? No one. Therefore, who needs a cure for bad breath? Everyone. And who utilizes social media? Well … pretty much everyone. Orabrush’s presence on social media websites was able to give them the mass media exposure they needed to sell a product like a tongue cleaner without needing the muchos dolares to back up television spots or a national distribution chain. Which is good because they didn’t have muchos dolares (remember the $40,000 flop of an infomercial?) Second, when is the most inopportune time to have bad breath? In a social situation. And where do you find the highest proportion of social people? That’s right, on social media. Orabrush’s equation for small business success was to make a product available on social media where millions of people can stumble upon it and then use it in real life social situations.
Furthermore, Orabrush’s Bad Breath Detector iPhone app (okay, the app doesn’t actually check your breath … but it does look like a lot of fun) says a lot about what Orabrush understands: how real people live real lives (on the go) and how their product fits into it (gets rid of bad breath fast). This understanding comes from – you guessed it – social media, the place where Orabrush and its consumers converse.
As it turns out, many of the creative executions on Orabrush’s YouTube page stem from precisely that: questions that consumers have posed about Orabrush are often answered with a video. These videos are highly effective, blending both humor and information together. With hilarity and likeable characters (Morgan, the Dirty Tongue and Austin, the “Good Breath Expert”/Orabrush spokesman), Orabrush has given itself the most positive of brand images. The videos are short, engaging, witty, and helpful. Who wouldn’t want to watch that? The channel itself is filled with more videos than you can watch in a day. With all of these things combined, it’s easy to see how Orabrush made its mark with videos that went viral.
On the flip side, Orabrush’s brand videos have a very distinct sense of humor. For those of you who think the idea of watching the “Diary of a Dirty Tongue” sounds more like misery than entertainment, then the Orabrush YouTube page probably isn’t for you. Unfortunately, the “awkward” humor might drive some people away from the Orabrush channel. However, it will still most likely stick with them … so they’re still earning memorability points.
Not every brand could pull off what Orabrush did effectively. However, one brand immediately comes to my mind as an example of a product that could have benefitted from a campaign such as this one: Oxiclean. Unfortunately for Oxiclean, they hit the market in the days before Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube did. But had Oxiclean emerged post-2006 (the year of YouTube’s launch), they too would have been prime to capitalize on an engaging spokesperson and a new product with mass appeal. Instead of dominating our television screens with repetitive commercials, Oxiclean would have been a great brand to launch a YouTube channel of quirky mini-videos … and saved themselves a lot of media money in the process.
Another, more timely, example of a brand that could benefit from a social media campaign like this is Phiten, a company that makes products for athletes with “Aqua Titanium” technology to alleviate chronic pain and maintain the body’s natural balance and energy. A social media campaign could answer consumer questions about the technology behind Phiten products and whether it really works (yes, there is skepticism on this front … are you surprised?). It could partner with professional athletes as entertaining brand spokesmen. And there is definite potential for engaging videos demonstrating the uncanny abilities people acquire when wearing Phiten products … I don’t know about you, but I’m picturing Major League Baseball players walking tight ropes or something to that affect. I would watch that. Would you?
Oscar de la Renta, one of the world’s leading fashion designers, recently debuted the newest addition to this seasons New York Fashion Week collection: The Board. “The Board,” as he’s calling it, is a “digital inspiration board” where fans can post visual images under a quote from the designer that says “Don’t tell me, show me.” The goal of the project is for de la Renta to gather inspiration for next season’s collection, the creative development process for which will begin soon. Anyone can post on the board and even include an explanation of why the photos or images inspire them or what they represent. The Board will stream live into de la Renta’s office on a 27-inch screen. As next season’s collection begins to take shape, calls for submission to The Board will become more specific, specifying color scheme or silhouette ideas.
The move is a genius one on the part of the almost 80-year old designer to tap into a younger market and stay trendy. Drawing inspiration from Pinterest and the immense amount of popularity it is currently enjoying wasn’t a bad idea either. Already, de la Renta’s brand is well known for its social media presence, from Youtube to Facebook to its pseudo-famous “Oscar PR Girl,” Erika Bearman, who manages its Twitter and Tumblr pages. In fact, the Oscar de la Renta brand has been utilizing Facebook to its advantage for several months now with its “SHOP Exclusives,” a capability on its Facebook page that lets fans purchase specialized products released each month available only to those who “like” the Facebook page. So far, the products have been selling out. And the beauty of these SHOP Exclusives is that once visitors to the page see one thing they like and purchase, think how much more likely they would be to continue clicking through more posted pictures of products they like … and will also want to buy.
What makes The Board so freakin’ great is the number of advocates for the brand Oscar de la Renta is creating. The site has only been up and running since February 14 and it already has a seemingly endless supply of photos posted. The brilliant thing is here is that de la Renta is not only providing his fans and consumers with increased access to his brand, he is also involving them in the brand’s process. And who doesn’t want to be a part of something like that? Once you post your image on The Board, it is seamlessly linked to allow you pin your photo on Pinterest, tweet it to your followers on Twitter, or share it with your friends on Facebook. In this way, the Oscar de la Renta brand is tapping into its fan communities and then taking it to the next level by further tapping into the friend communities of these fans. Thus, The Board has enabled Oscar de la Renta to fully utilize the possibilities that social media has for brands and become a brand that doesn’t buy its consumers’ attention or hit them over the head with messages. Instead it collaborates with them.
However, the company refuses to allow the “crowd sourcing” label to be put on their newest project (unlike these cool projects by Dolce & Gabbana and Tiffany & Co. with similar ambassador-building goals). The company CEO says that The Board is “an experiment, but not a democracy or an exercise in crowd sourcing.” Ultimately, the final arbiter of any stylistic decisions is Oscar de la Renta himself, who is not obligated to utilize a single photo, image, or idea from the inspiration board. Well, that’s fair, I suppose … I mean, it is his creation after all. But it seems to me that this could slow some of the momentum for the project. Imagine if de la Renta did create one completely crowd sourced ensemble. The response, in terms of submissions, pre-product word of mouth, and post-product buzz, would probably be overwhelming. And who knows who might buy the product to wear? A red carpet celebrity?
I’m sure Mr. de la Renta could tell me … but I would rather he show me.
Dove "dovetails" social accountability and brand promotion
Many of us have watched (and probably re-watched because it’s just that cool) Dove’s “Evolution” video above since its release in 2006.
But what many of us probably don’t know about the 11.4 million Youtube hit video is that it aired in response to and support of Spain’s ban of underweight models during Madrid’s Fashion Week that same year. I suppose it was about time that somebody pointed out the damaging effects that underweight and overly sexualized models and pop culture icons can have on females, especially young girls …
… But why Dove?
Because Dove had an idea. A big, fat, enduring idea that has been defining their brand, their behavior, and their advertising since 2004. Enter the “Campaign for Real Beauty,” a simple idea that became extraordinary.
To show that it was “rooted in listening to women” (aka its consumers), Dove launched a campaign to “provoke discussion and encourage debate.” They’ve been linking their brand and its marketing to the social responsibility of mentoring girls and celebrating “real beauty” ever since. In all of the extensions of the Real Beauty idea – including the Movement for Self-Esteem, “Evolution” video, “Little Girls” Super Bowl ad, and “Onslaught” online video – Dove has called attention to a legitimate social problem, as well as positioned itself as the right product – natural and positive – for anyone who agrees with their stance on the issue.
By focusing on both a fundamental belief and its consumers, Dove has melded itself so intimately with Real Beauty that the idea guides both its brand behavior and its advertising strategies. In an age where the traditional marketing funnel has been flipped on its head, Dove utilizes an inverted funnel in the most genius of ways. By targeting consumers with (primarily emotional) support, Dove doesn’t focus on converting its consumers into advocates; it makes itself an advocate for its consumers. In using advertising dollars to boldly proclaim that it supports, believes in, and encourages women no matter how they look, Dove has been a loud voice in every female’s battle against societal pressures. In return for its advocacy, Dove saw a 600% increase in sales within the first two months of 2005. Well, that’s certainly one way that Dove’s consumers can say thank you.
The best thing about Dove’s Real Beauty idea is how pervasive and long lasting it has (and can continue to) become. Because the campaign concept is based on an issue embedded in our society, it doesn’t seem that Dove will run out of topics to touch upon any time soon. In 2010, the Campaign for Real Beauty was extended to include the Movement for Self-Esteem; partnering with organizations like the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and the Boys and Girls Club, Dove has reached 7 million girls with programs, activities, and weekend retreats that mentor to a younger generation of females and celebrate “real beauty.” (Have you seen the theme yet?) Women can submit stories for inspiration on Dove’s website, as well as pick up a Self Esteem Toolkit to use with girls ages 8-12 and 13-18.
From print ads and a Super Bowl spot to a collaborative website and experiential programs, I think it’s safe to say Dove’s Real Beauty idea has transcended mere branding and taps into what Dove, as both a brand and a product, can provide not only in the shower or on your skin, but in a woman’s life as well.
Altering expectations engrained in society sounds like a mighty tall order, but while Dove may not be able to change beauty perceptions en masse, they are at least encouraging steps in the right direction … One small step for skin care, one giant leap for womankind.
Get ready to welcome the world’s first ever crowd sourced beer. Dubbed the “Samuel Adams Crowd Craft Project,” these Boston brewers have launched an interactive Facebook application (#crowdcraftproject) to spark collaboration, conversation, and engagement among followers.
Here’s how it works (and trust me, I tried it myself about 1 second after I saw this article): Go the Samuel Adams Facebook page and like the brand – if you haven’t already – and use the new app to “Start Brewing.” Here, you go through several steps to craft your ideal beer, selecting everything from color, clarity, body, and malt to hops and yeast. Fortunately, for those of us with limited beer brewing knowledge, the app also explains each characteristic you’re selecting … Who knew that malt could taste like a “biscuit?” The application is open until February 5, when Sam Adams will use fans’ most popular qualities to develop a brand spankin’ new recipe.
The new brew debuts in March at the interactive festival-party-shindig Guy + Girl (#girlguyparty) in Texas, with the beer available for your preferred imbibing methods in both Austin and Boston from then on.
I think this is a truly creative strategy to combine the inherently social nature of beer with some of beer’s most social media savvy drinkers in a way they will respond to. Aimed at younger beer drinkers – especially the notoriously difficult to reach young adult male demographic – Samuel Adams is appealing to people who might not consume media via traditional platforms … but who certainly enjoy consuming Samuel Adams. By allowing Sam Adams’ drinkers and fans to engage in crowd sourcing for the brand, the company has deepened consumers’ connections and engagement by making the drinkers feel oh-so-special. Furthermore, the brewers have further instilled their brand attributes of quality and craft in participant’s minds with their explanatory blurbs on each page. All this in one fell swoop. The best part is that I can’t imagine a single person who contributed to the new recipe not buying at least one bottle to taste what they helped create.
This is a clever move on Samuel Adams’ part, especially as a departure from their traditional documentary-educational heritage style commercials. The interactive move plays into the current shift of focus to consumers as content generators (see Dorito’s Crash the Superbowl contest and the Ford Fiesta Movement). And widens the base of consumers being reached, touched, and engaged … and if there’s one thing this audience is good at it, it’s spreading their content with word-of-mouth fire. I’ll admit I already sent this to several people with the instructions, “Do it.”
It’s hard to say how successful this campaign will be now (remember, ongoing until February). However, I think its transmedial nature across Facebook, Twitter, and the live Guy + Girl event places the odds heavily in its favor by creating an online presence that will last long after this particular campaign ends. This cohesion across multiple platforms absolutely embodies the goal of interactive campaigns to connect the digital realm with the real world. I mean, how much more real can you get than an ice cold beer in your hand? By inviting such depth of participation with the company, Sam Adams is successfully leaving a very lasting impression on its consumers.
Personally, I think the campaign could stand to extend even farther. Imagine if you walked into your favorite bar, whipped out your smartphone to check in, and were then directed to a Sam Adams app that let you craft your own brewsky. Of course you would share it with your bros (or gals). The rest could be history.