Everybody loves sex!

If there’s one thing that entertainment companies know, its that two things sell: sex and violence. Racy ads get viewers. Racy videos get more. So what did Fortnight Lingerie do? They made a racy viral video disguised as a public service announcement to hit their target audience. The Super Sexy CPR and the Super Sexy Abdominal Thrust videos feature ladies dressed in Fortnight Lingerie demonstrating proper procedures for CPR and choking first aid. The ad campaign never showed up on TV but instead only on the viral video sites Vimeo and Youtube, where its gained over 1.5 million views.

Now I know what you are thinking: women looking to buy lingerie aren’t going to be swayed by racy videos objectifying women. But think again. Fortnight was targeting a specific audience with the videos: men, who will probably be buying the lingerie as gifts. The CPR and Abdominal thrust videos are prime targets for the sort of work-day office email pass arounds that can launch a video to stardom. Men watch under the guise of a sexy video that they can pass off as “demonstrating” CPR and then, as a side, they get hit with the ad for Fortnight. Next time they are thinking about what gift to get the girlfriend or the wife, Fortnight might just pop into their heads like an incessant buzzword.

Check out the video:

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Walkin’ on water

These days you can’t just sell a product by starting a marketing campaign. To sell a product, you have to create a phenomenon and sell a lifestyle. The trick is creating the phenomenon and selling the lifestyle without anyone realizing that you’re also trying to sell a product. Enter Hi-Tec’s Liquid Mountaineering ad campaign.

Back in 2009, a video popped up on Youtube introducing the world to the newest extreme sport sweeping the world, Liquid Mountaineering. In other words, walking on water. The video was shot like a documentary and ostensibly filmed in Portugal featuring a number of foreign athletes who helped “invent” the sport. The video interviews these athletes and they talk about how the sport got started and then show a number of attempts to liquid mountaineer. In the video, the athletes are all discretely wearing T-shirts and sweatshirts branded with Hi-Tec. A few of the athletes make mention the fact that the sport became possible due to their discovery of a pair of 100 % water repellant shoes. The video gained over 4 million hits. Suddenly everyone was talking about Liquid Mountaineering. If this all sounds a bit fishy to you, it should. A lot of people fell for the video. It was shot documentary style and seemed plausible enough. A Facebook page and a blog were made in homage to the new sport and the “athletes” were obscure and foreign enough that any person on the internet would not be surprised if the only mention they found of them was through the Liquid Mountaineering sites. When a few people noticed the Hi-Tec branding and questioned them about the video, they at first denied any involvement. It wasn’t until some time later when they acknowledged that yes it was an ad campaign and yes the videos were not real.

When asked about the campaign Simon Bonham, the head of marketing at Hi-Tec, explained that the goal of the videos was to “capture the fun, spirited side of our brand.” Bonham and Hi-Tec wanted to sell the Hi-Tec “lifestyle,” as the most extreme of all the extreme sports clothing brands. To do that, they invented an outrageous sport and sent into the blogosphere where they got all the free publicity they needed. When a video goes viral there’s no telling how large the audience and the exposure will get, certainly more than any commercial on a hit TV show. And you can bet anyone that saw that video wont be forgetting who orchestrated the gag.

Check out the video:

Murketing and the Movies

Murketing is one of those catch-all phrases that we can apply to a number of marketing tactics these days. However, one of the most common murketing techniques is viral marketing. Viral marketing is the sort of marketing that we see most often in entertainment these days. Its the subversive advertising that does not always even say what its advertising but is catchy and provocative. Because of that, it gets you to find out what they’re trying to sell you. Its the integration of the real world with the fake world of their movie. And no is one better at that type of marketing than Lost’s J.J. Abrams.

 

J.J. Abrams is the producer of Lost, Cloverfield and Super 8. His marketing schemes for all of them are nothing short of genius. Abrams released a Cloverfield trailer along with one of the most popular movies of the summer, Transformers. The trailer never said the name of the movie and instead featured only a date. If viewers went to the movie site (which was only the date in the trailer 1-18-08.com) they were treated to only a series of photos and random audio clips that were just as mysterious as the trailer released. What did all this do? Help generate huge buzz as to what the movie was about. By the time the movie released, viral tie-ins were everywhere including websites for a drink company called Slusho! and a Japanese drilling company called Tagruato, all to further the mystery of the plot. The film ended up grossing over $170 million dollars.

Another example of viral film murketing is the marketing scheme for 28 weeks later. If there’s one thing we know, its that everyone loves zombies. To market the film that depicted Britain as a giant zombie apocalypse, the marketing team in charge projected a massive biohazard sign onto the White Cliffs of Dover, ramping up speculation as to what it was for. Then across the cities of London and Birmingham, the marketing team spray painted biohazard signs in random locations with the web address ragevirus.com (the name of the disease in the film). All of these are just short intriguing buzzwords  to get people to start asking questions about the ad and then the movie. By the time you go to the web address, they’ve already got you hooked. And that is murketing in the movies.

Get ’em early!

We all know what advertisers want: Cradle to grave brand loyalty. According to Susan Linn, cofounder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, “Marketing to children in this country is pervasive, it’s virtually unchecked, and it’s escalating,” In today’s world, everything a child uses is branded from diapers to clothes to toys. No longer do babies have mobiles of stars and globes and other shapes. Now, they have mobiles with Elmo and Mickey Mouse, instilling a brand loyalty before they can even begin to think.

The question now for advertisers is how do you convert a child’s brand loyalty to Sesame Street into brand loyalty to Lexus or Toyota when they are older? Ford is attempting to do just that with their latest ad campaign, a partnership with Lego, the popular toy maker. As part of their new partnership, Ford commissioned Lego to make a Ford Explorer entirely out of Legos. The Lego Ford will then go on tour to the Legoland Theme Park in Orlando, Florida where it will undoubtedly be ogled by countless Lego enthusiasts and, of course, all the children at the park. Before it arrives at Legoland Florida, however, the car will be loaded onto a trailer with transparent sides so that motorists from Chicago (where it was built) to Florida can witness it in all its Lego-Ford glory.

The partnership has gained a lot of press for both Legoland and Ford, undoubtedly due to its unusual nature. It follows the typical structure of viral murketing. In order to gain attention in this media saturated world, you have form unusual partnerships that capture the imagination, even if you can do so for only fifteen minutes. The Lego Explorer is unusual enough that they are now getting free press and advertising from news outlets that report the story and interview Ford and Lego executives. By simply building a car, they find free independent advertising that can’t be Tivoed out. Check out the car:

Blending entertainment and advertising

Effective murketing is about getting the kind of exposure that you cant “tivo” out. With DVRs, cable tv, and internet, entertainment is more on-demand than ever. People fast-forward through commercials, watch television programs on their laptops and turn to alternative sources of entertainment such as youtube. To get people to pay attention to your product, you really have to cut through the noise and capture the zeitgeist. To do this, you have to turn your commercial and your product into something more than an advertisement. You have to turn it into entertainment.

One of the most famous examples of this type of marketing is the Will It Blend campaign by Blendtec. In this popular series of youtube videos, Blendtec founder Tom Dickson puts various items in his sturdy Blendtec blender to see if it will indeed blend. Some of the items include iPods, golf balls, marbles, Nintendo Wii, and even a car, a Ford Fiesta. The Will It Blend series is popular (all of its videos have a least one million hits) and irreverent. It features the type of off beat dead pan humor that sells so well on the internet.

So, of course, the campaign is impressive for getting us to want to watch its commercials. But that is only half the ingenuity of the campaign. What has made it so popular is that we get to watch Dickson blend various brand name items that we know such as the iPhone, the iPad, and the Wii. Free advertising and brand exposure anyone? If anyone had any doubts about just what Tom Dickson is up to, then check out this video where Dickson attempts to “blend” a Ford Fiesta. The video is essentially a three minute Fiesta commercial with the punchline of Dickson blending the various items in the backseat of the Fiesta for “roadtrip smoothie.”

The Blendtec videos have become a phenomenon in many circles. They are a perfect example about how to create grass roots brand exposure that spreads through “word of mouth” faster and more effectively than any traditional means of advertising. Instead of spending millions on commercials during peak TV hours, Blendtec made a series of cheap, clever videos that pay for themselves. I bet the guy who came up with that idea got a big raise.

Here’s the video that started it all:

 

Targeting Generation Y

In the old days, Television was the zeitgeist. Everyone watched it and there were only a few channels, so everyone pretty much watched the same thing. As such, the most effective marketing strategy was to appeal to the largest cross section of America as possible. Because of this, we got inelegant but widely appealing commercials like this, from Chevrolet.

The internet and cable TV has fragmented everything into niches. It’s ineffective to go after the whole apple pie these days. Now you have to go for the right slice. It is here that we see the marketing strategies of today. Enter the Toyota Free Yr Radio campaign. When Toyota designed the Yaris, their goal was to create a car that marketed directly to Generation Y. It had to have the DIY indie spirit and street cred that seems so pertinent to our generation’s psyche. So what did Toyota do? They launched a campaign in conjunction with Urban Outfitters (sounding hipper already, eh?) that partners with independent radio stations, providing them with funding and awareness. In addition, Toyota sponsored concerts with the radio stations that feature hip bands  such as Tokyo Police Club, Portugal the Man, Yeasayer, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.  The concerts are free of charge and on a first come, first serve basis.

Let’s break down that strategy. So Toyota sponsors radio stations marketed directly to their target demographic. The radio stations are basically obligated to mention Toyota all the time by proxy of the sponsorship. There is a built-in audience that is always listening. The audience is happy because Toyota is propping up radio stations that might otherwise go under. In addition, the radio stations generate buzz for the concerts which will surely sell out because they are free. Is there something we love more than free concerts? I don’t think so. What to know the final kicker? Toyota gave the radio stations free Yaris’s to give out to listeners during their buzz building events.

And that, my friends is Class A marketing for the new generation.

Facebook’s decision to sell you

Notice something new in your newsfeed? Maybe its a band you’ve put in the favorite music section of your profile. Suddenly they are showing up in your newsfeed even though you haven’t officially “liked” them.You are suddenly getting updates from their new tour, a show is in your area and a new limited edition album is coming out next week. Sure, it sounds pretty good to you. You like the band and maybe you’re interested in what’s showing up.

Guess what? That’s exactly what Facebook and advertisers want.

Facebook is a treasure trove of personal information on you, the consumer, providing the most in-depth access to the things you are likely to buy and be interested in. This information does not just come from the way you’ve set up your profile. .

The valuable information that advertisers covet is the information that you post, the links you share with friends, and now, with Facebook Places, the restaurants and bars that you frequent. Never before has so much individual knowledge been housed in one distinct space (except maybe at Google) and that’s what Facebook is betting on.

This year, Facebook launched “Sponsored Stories,” a service for advertisers that picks up when you mention say Starbucks or Urban Outfitters in a post. These “stories” then become featured more prominently on a sidebar or in your friend’s newsfeeds. Every time you “check in” to a restaurant or a store, that check-in can then be picked up by Facebook and broadcast to your friends.

These stories often appear as innocuously as any other newsfeed story, yet they show up more often, reinforcing the idea in your head that X company is good and referred by someone you trust (a friend), which is better than any commercial that company could run.

According to Readwritebiz,” sponsored stories” have a 46% higher click-through rate than regular ads on Facebook.

What to know the kicker?

You can’t opt out of these sponsored stories. As soon as you start using Places or writing about a particular company, if that company has paid for it, your story gets sponsored. So add that to your list of ways Facebook is turning into an Advertising Big Brother.

It’s like I always say. The difference between movies and real life is that the evil villain in real life doesn’t want to rule the world, he just wants more money.  Cue Mark Zuckerberg doing one of these:

If you want to learn more check out this article at eweek.