Where passion begins

I was pretty amused when reading this post from my colleague Kevin: 'passion starts with two simple words'. It was so recognisable, especially after a meeting I had earlier today where about building passion for brands. In this conversation some talked about how passion starts with end user satisfaction, building great products, … Maybe it does and yes it's probably part of it but when does this passion come to live, how do you get it? For sure giving great support only won't do the trick. And I think what Kevin is talking about is so much on the point, I also want the "F**king cool!" as a reaction on what we're doing. As a marketer this is indeed the type of reaction I want to get when putting things together, nice thought! Read full post here.

Hotlist (2)

It has been a long time since I last got into these top 10's but here there are some nice onces again. First of all Guy Kawasaki and his top 10 lies, some of which you also might have read in Seth's book. Another top 10 is about the web. With all these web 2.0 services launched at us one after the other, you wouldn't think there are still that many opportunities left. The truth however proves differently, because most services/applications are more of the same and there are clearly underserved web 2.0 markets, dixit Richard MacManus at Read/Write Web.

PC World reports on the 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time, and you will certainly recognise the pain when you worked with some of those products. Compare with CNet's Top 10 worst products of the last decade and you'll find some interesting similarities. Getting curious to find out what Microsoft Bob was all about… Enough about the past though, the top 10 Strangest Gadgets of the Future might even give you an first view of some of the stuff that will feature on the 'worst product' lists in 10 years.

Invasion of the Robots

This contest went live a couple of days ago but I didn't have time yet to write about it until tonight. Microsoft is challenging developers worldwide to create conversational robots, or BOTs, for MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. The most original and useful robots collect 40.000$ in total prizes, more info at contest website.

If you are a developer but you don't have a clue what these BOTs are all about, I'll list some of the already existing BOTs right here so you can play around with them for a bit and this might get you some creative ideas. So add those to your MSN or Windows Live Messenger buddy list and get in a conversation. Unless mentioned differently, they're all English BOTs.

Existing BOTs:

  • TechEd06@hotmail.com (NEW)
  • encarta@conversagent.com
  • volkskrant@nieuwskraker.nl (Dutch)
  • blabla@chatman.nl (Dutch)
  • espbilly@msn.com
  • indeedjobs@hotmail.com
  • yellowpagesqa@hotmail.com
  • smarterchild@hotmail.com
  • msnguiftguide@hotmail.com

Have fun! And thanks David for pointing out the new Tech Ed bot on your blog.

Not in Microsoft’s DNA?

Well at least according to Dave Winer when he talks about efficient community marketing and why Microsoft is not doing a good job at it for the moment.

"At the same time, one of these three companies might want to try to make some friends among the bloggers. It’s not in Microsoft’s DNA, Apple sues the bloggers to keep them from talking about them, and Google is the most arrogant self-absorbed company to hit Silicon Valley since Netscape. None of these companies do community marketing efficiently, and they all really need to be great at it."

We can certainly always do better for sure, but I think that Microsoft hasn't done such a bad job on developer community marketing which it has been doing for a while and also more recently on Windows Live we are looking for community interaction and feedback. Or as Kevin puts it:

"Whether our marketing efforts with bloggers have been efficient or effective, at a minimum we try to be open about what we’re up to, and we always look for honest feedback."

On his blog he has written down quite well how we're looking at community marketing on Windows Live. There are 5 basic things he/we tries/try to do, read the full post to get the whole story, I only quickly summarize the 5 points:

  1. Listen and learn
  2. Support, energize, get involved in and help build the community
  3. Connect bloggers and the community back to the product teams
  4. Help the community connect with each other
  5. Get the hell out of the way

Hearing some of the feedback we got during the Phil Holden Session in Brussels or reading some of the blog entries & comments that resulted from that session I think there are some signs there that proof that this is exactly what we're doing.

Can we do a better job at it? Yes we can, we always can. Did we make some positive strides already? Yes we did. And on the things we can do better, we look at you to keep giving us feedback on what we could improve and how. Looking forward to it.

The Da Vinci Code

I've talked about this a couple of days ago as an example for online movie marketing, hinting that we hadn't seen the last of this yet. So for those who were not sure yet, The Da Vinci Code is hot! And certainly online. After the 'standard' official website for the movie, we had – still have – the Quest on Google that generated quite a lot of interest, with people sharing tips & info on each quest like this or this. About two weeks ago also Sony Ericsson launched its Da Vinci Code Trail, but as already pointed out on the G-marketinG-BloGit probably is not that sticky since it's only one game, and not one game/puzzle per day as with Google. The last one in the row – so far, I'm sure more are coming our way – is Eurostar. They just launched their own Eurostar Quest that will consist of 16 riddles. De Standaard reportsthat Eurostar aims at 1 million contestants with this game, "making it the most successful game on the internet". It would be good to see some results after the end of this campaign. So hopefully more to come around mid June on Eurostar, and we'll keep our eyes open on other co-branded internet promotions with The Da Vinci Code as I'm sure there will be.

Crossposted at i-wisdom.

Reassuringly expensive

Create a coupon so the product gets more expensive, you got to love it! It's always fun to see Stella Ads from oversees since the positioning is really different comparing the brand in Belgium – where it originates from – to the rest of the world.

Although InBev is trying to change the perception of Stella Artois also in Belgium from a normal day to day beer brand to something more exclusive, it has always been that way in other countries. Stella Artois as the "premium import" and this campaign – I hadn't seen before – reflects that in a very original way. Kudos.

[Via advertising for peanuts]

Online movie marketing

A few days ago there was this article on "5 reasons to market movies online" on iMedia Connection. I had expected a bit more specific movie reasoning in there although I fully agree with the point that Brad is making there. We see them using the internet for a long time already, but that's most of the time limited to the official movie websites with synopsis, trailer, cast & some desktop downloads. Not a lot of them are using the online in a more creative way and as Brad points out: they should.

I remember research we did at Kinepolis when I was still working over there, that showed that 60% – 70% of all people visited Kinepolis actually used the Kinepolis website to get some information related to that visit. I always thought that was a pretty impressive number. And the best of it is that they probably used other online sources too. And as you can see on iMedia Connection, entertainment just is one of the top destinations online so this really all makes sense.

I do think it's changing already and with The Da Vinci Code for instance we actually see some more creative online stuff pop up. You're having the Quest that Columbia is running with Google, you have the Trail that Sony Ericsson is doing (makes sense to see Sony taking full advantages of the movie over it's business units) and I'm pretty sure that we'll see more of this in the coming weeks. Typically with a movie like this, everybody is eager to do something with it. Let's just hope that there's enough advertising in those deals and that it's not just about co-marketing deals. I've worked with distributors for quite a while and that would be my only reservation to all this. It's good that they start to discover the online more than they were before, but it doesn't work on free tickets alone.

I know what I'm going to do. Anybody knows if there's already like an AJAX sort of beta version of what Moviecritic.com used to be doing in the nineties? If not, I think I just might.

If you want to see the full presentation that Brad from iMedia Connection has pulled together on this, you can download it here.

YouTube marketing

There's an interesting article on USA Today about marketers starting to use YouTube to get there commercials in the community. Partnerships with YouTube like the Scary Movie 4 trailer are getting great results, as well as marketers that aren't officially working with YouTube but just uploading videos on their own like Warner did for its Superman movie. And they're doing the right thing, but whenever you intend to upload your commercial to YouTube, check if it's not on it already. A lot of users are doing the uploading for you. I'm looking forward to do some testing ourselves using YouTube, but with the IE7 commercial and the fake Microsoft iPod packaging video, we already saw some nice results.

[Via Micro Persuasion]

Don’t we all just love great advertising?

ariel.JPGI always really enjoy it while visiting advertising sites like AdHunt, AdFreak, Coloribus and many many more because of all the great advertising you can find at these sites. Most of the time you see the best of the best pop up on other blogs after posting the ad, so normally I don't tend to do so. There were two posts at Coloribus however that I loved so much, I had to write something about it. Both came from Argentina and they were very good. The first one was for Playboy, about ads that were placed in female showers and on beaches, the second one was for Ariel and especially that one was a great case of outdoor advertising. Check them out and if you haven't got Coloribus in your feedlist, add them quickly, they're showing some really nice stuff.