Becoming a Right of Spring

Anyone in the communication business dreams of creating something that hits a nerve and draws massive, global interest. But few might expect that to come from ballpark signs created by the Board of a Wisconsin little league.


As reported in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one player’s dad, Evan Primakow, posted this photo of their sign on Reddit as the season opened in mid April. In less than two weeks, it’s garnered over twenty-eight thousand reactions and 715 comments (of course, being Reddit, a lot of those are trolling humor, but still…).
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Ideas > Media Dollars: Using Facebook To Make the World Love Obermutten

ObermuttenChances are, you’ve never heard of the tiny Swiss mountain hamlet of Obermutten. We certainly hadn’t. But this article from Europe’s Digital Tourism Think Tank describes how a remote picturesque town with a mere 80 villagers created a viral sensation by taking a decidedly personal approach.

The offer was remarkably simple: if you liked Obermutten’s tourism page on Facebook, the town would print out your picture and pin it to a bulletin board in the town square.

That’s it. No t-shirt, no cash, no cars; just that most human of rewards–recognition. They also promised to answer any question posted on their page.

The response started slowly. Here’s an early video showing the town Mayor pinning up the first ten likes. In short order, they would need a bigger board and eventually, the postings would cover every major wall in the town.

Maybe it was the direct engagement. Maybe it was the palpable sense of participation. Maybe it was the simple reward of being part of something. Whatever the reason, this unassuming idea made Obermutten’s the most liked Facebook page in Switzerland. Before long, their quirky campaign was picked up by the international media and tourists began flocking to this town in droves. Within six months, Obermutten attracted over 60 million fans from 32 countries.

And the real kicker? The total investment totaled just over $11,000 US, for an ROI of $2,500,000 in tourism increases and media attention. That’s a multiple of 240.

There are lessons here for digital and social marketers;

  1. Keep things simple and whenever possible, make them personal.
  2. Create delight by engaging directly.
  3. If at all possible, build a community to belong to.

It’s like the old theme song from Cheers: “You want to go where everybody knows your name.” Or face.

Mike & Dennis

Teddy Goalsevelt on What Makes Shareworthy Content

Mike D’Amico is a wonderfully talented art director. We worked together when he first got into the business with a gig at Element 79. As a digital native in a largely TV shop, he was an amazing font of information about these new things like Twitter and Foursquare.

But today, suddenly, he’s far better known to soccer fans around the world as “Teddy Goalsevelt.” As you can see in this interview with Chicago’s Very Own WGN Channel 9, he’s rode his costumed-enthusiasm to massive social media fame.  Check out these write ups from Buzzfeed, the NY Post and ESPN. He is viral. And truly winning the internet.

TG

Despite what must be a dizzying maelstrom of international attention, Mike makes an incisive point that is nothing short of absolute genius at 5:31 of his WGN interview on what he’s learned about this experience.

“It’s funny. My job literally is to make content go viral online. And I’ll tell you what; if there’s one thing to learn from this about the internet, it’s that you can not do this on purpose.”

For those of us who work in this business, that statement is undeniably true. Trying to ascertain what will capture the fleeting attention of our ADD society at a specific moment in time is something of a crapshoot. Still, in those rare moments when you do, the result is pure joy. And Mike, you’ve brought a ton of pure joy to fans of US Soccer, and by association, our ever-manly 26th President.

By the way, epic gloves Mike. So fired up for you. So. Much. Fun.

 

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

I’ve Been Kind of Distracted But This Snapped Me Back to The Blog

I wish my distraction was preparing for the Holidays: buying gifts, writing Christmas cards, baking something. But instead, we were kinda busy at the office pulling together this.
The hiatus was starting to weigh on my mind when I noticed this on Facebook today. And it seemed perfectly apt…

Thank you Shakespeare, Enya (again) and Hungarian animation firm Delov Digital.

Even in digital form, Chuck Norris has no equal. After all, Chuck Norris doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Christmas celebrates Chuck Norris.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

FBomb: The Fundamentals for Shareworthy-ness Apply to Infographics Too

Want to make your video clip more viral? The basics of shareworthy-ness are simple.

  1. Give it a strong POV that lines up with a well-defined group or community’s values.
  2. Give it a strong element of surprise (as a corollary–if it involves a celebrity, make their appearance or actions the surprise).
  3. Make it super simple to forward on mobile.

Those principles don’t just apply to video. They apply to everything from photos to essays to games…and yes, infographics too.  Last August, MediaBistro’s AllTwitter blog reported that infographics shared on Twitter get 832% more retweets than articles or images. That’s rather staggering. (find their wonderfully easy-to-digest column here).

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

But to be shareworthy, your  infographic  still must be remarkable on its own. Which brings us to FBomb

The idea behind FBomb is simple: at this very moment, who exactly is dropping that expletive via Twitter? And where are they?

FBomb is realtime, it’s interactive, and it’s a fun little divergence courtesy of Canadian student and developer Martin Gingras. It’s a hill of fun that’s not meant to be posited as social commentary, yet a stunning amount of wet blanket comments in response to Martin’s creation all seem to take issue with his science. “This is only Twitter users, not the general population.” “It’s an English word so of course the US and UK seem disproportionately sweary.”

It’s not science, it’s a lark. And a hilariously entertaining, highly shareworthy one at that.  Happy Friday!

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Start Your Monday With Your Heart In Your Throat

Look, it’s no surprise to anyone that GoPro absolutely kills it when it comes to Shareworthy Content. Their cameras are perfect for first person experiences of epic experiences. Like this bike ride…

 

Seriously?  Seriously?  I wouldn’t walk down that path and this guy goes down it hell for leather with a camera on his helmet. And not only does Kelly McGarry achieve a sort-of internet fame, GoPro is right there with him, bookending the experience. Yes, Red Bull sponsored it, but GoPro gets the lion’s share of credit. Because man, when he pulls that back flip, that could only be GoPro.

This, like so much of their online strategy, is brilliant marketing. And why Olson’s duties on this amazing brand remain mostly focused on PR; these GoPro guys have branding figured out all by themselves.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Continuing The Prank Advertising Theme…

Back in June, Leo Burnett London released this viral clip on behalf of UK THINK!, a government organization designed to encourage safer driving to reduce road injuries and fatalities…


Contrast this with yesterday’s Carrie viral and it’s pretty clear the whole genre of “prank advertising” is quickly evolving and maturing. In contrast to higher profile clips like the Jeff Gordon Pepsi MAX prank or the LG Meteor prank, this one never lets the prankees in on the joke and withholds its point from viewers until the end super. The net effect is that this piece feels like a longer form commercial instead of something new and shareworthy.

At 8.6 million views for a government message, it definitely qualifies as a success. But with the others climbing into the tens of million viewers (16.4 and climbing, 38.9, and 12.6 million views respectively), engaging viewers seems like a better approach to this still nascent advertising form.

No doubt, we’ll be seeing lots more of these pranks as brands try to jump in on this opportunity. Many of them will be incredibly clever and inventive, finding new ways to surprise, engage and encourage viral sharing. But I can’t help feeling that prank advertising is enjoying a bubble of popularity at this moment in time.

A bubble that will pop when someone gets hurt by one.

 

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Thinkmodo Does It Again: A Brilliant Prank for “Carrie”

Surprise. It’s the hardest thing to truly create but it’s also the most devastatingly effective. And it’s become a massive asset for breakthrough marketing. Which explains why marketers build so many shareworthy clips around pranking–there’s nothing quite as fun to watch as peoples’ raw reactions to surprises.

The two man viral shop Thinkmodo leverages pranking again and again. From Bubba Watson’s hovercraft golf cart to a shaving helmet, they feed story after story to media outlets starved for content and conversation topics. And the one they just released to promote the upcoming Carrie remake is spectacular…
 


 
With nearly three million views in the first twenty four hours since its release, Thinkmodo has another bona fide hit on their hands. And traditional movie marketing evolves another step forward to better leverage a new, socially-powered world. Films thrive on buzz and word of mouth because opening weekend box office is so critical to their success. This makes short-lived, conversation sparking and shareworthy engagement particularly smart for promoting them.
 
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Punking Online Commenters Is A Great Idea. Of Course, Heineken Is Nice About It

Online trolling is an unfortunate byproduct of web 2.0. At their best, these commenters create lively debate by presenting alternative points of view. But far more typically, their writings consists of left wing-right wing political name-calling where both sides shout and neither listen. Or the character-slagging mud slinging of AgencySpy. Or even the ‘I’m-smarter-than-you’ nitpicking from the country’s most-famous astrophysicist (I’m calling out you, Neil deGrasse Tyson–not everyone goes to the movies to watch a documentary).

In the latest longform installment of their popular “Departure Roulette” series, Heineken looks up those who have commented or tweeted about their program, albeit in a truly fun and engaging way. They find a few people who boasted how they’d jump at the chance to participate and offer them a chance to do just that. Right away. In front of a camera crew. Suddenly, hyperbole gets real and it makes for good, squirmy fun.

This viral video has done very well, earning 5.7 million views over the past two weeks. The notion of dropping everything and leaping into an exotic adventure has an undeniable appeal and the immediacy lends tremendous drama to the idea. This is a shareworthy clip that really engages the imagination. And that’s a rare and powerful thing. Nicely done.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Your Monday Morning Cry. (I Apologize In Advance)

No, this isn’t a Boomtown Rats kind of thing. This is a bit of brand content from a telecommunications company out of Thailand that’s been all over Facebook the past week, along with the admonishment/dare: ‘try not to cry.’


I’m sure many people didn’t. With a challenge like that, it’s not particularly hard to summon one’s inner smart ass, the world-weary cynic that festers inside all of us. But I’ll be honest–I enjoy the simple pleasure of feeling. My wife and I have a phrase for it, forged long ago as we watched the whole town of Bedford Falls rally around the beleaguered George Bailey yet again (even Harry who flew home in the middle of that crazy snowstorm): we call it “people being nice to people.”

In a world wracked by so much hateful stupidity, so much selfish violence, so much dictatorial foolishness, the immediacy of compassion, of people being nice to people, shines with amazing clarity. And it’s a lovely thing to witness.

Of course, extending the selflessness celebrated here to a mega-corporation is admittedly a stretch. But the film, the story, all the marvelously underplayed production is inspirational and shareworthy nevertheless. And it clearly touched people: within it’s first two days, this three minute piece crossed the million views threshold on YouTube.

Yes, I had to look up what a bill for 792,00 baht would equal in this country (about $25,000) and no, I won’t have any reason to use a Thai phone company.

But those details don’t diminish the fact that True walked away with the humanity branding contest this week. Lovely work.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

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