Monday, October 12, 2009

eve reclaims milton's paradise lost

..or how a bunch of savvy marketeers plagiarised the creation myth & rebirthed a bad apple & womanhood in a more glowing light [for the love of commerical units].

call her eve, diana, snow white or whatever but since time incarnate we've been fed legends of chicks chasing apples to their detriment & often humanity's. seems a couple of ad agencies decided to reinvent the wheel & created a post-apocalyptic world where the skies are ruled by born-again feathered serpents where light & balance are restored to redesign a dilmunlike paradise. as a bad ass femme i'd argue that it's a shame the feral had to be a man but behind every good one is apparently one fallen eve [total babe that she is].

today the second delivery wave occured in the intermedia marketing campaign which was publically revealed through the complete usurpment of media channels by lion nathan's campaign for their toohey's extra dry cider brand : 5 seeds.

this was punctuated by a teaser TVC on sunday night as holler had hinted with me last week when punk monk followed the trail of crumbs back to the acclaimed digital agency's base... and what are holler particularly acclaimed for? yes, they are the award winning recently retained kids responsible for a plethora of lion nathan brands. deduction combined with a few well placed phone calls led us to believe at the corner shop that a new line of alcohol was about to be launched. fellow culture jammer dave carter earned his cigar when he repeated my earlier steps to come to the same conclusion.

utilising social media parameters with backends firmly entrenched in applications such as facebook, twitter & youtube the outline of this possible world was skilfully executed whilst the hub was generated through realtime treasure hunts. to the degree that holler sydney have temporarily shunned their main website & placed their address in FB realtorverse. all outside media shepherded to FB.

when asking the agency about the choices involved when viewing the culminated strategy, i questioned exactly the demograph 5 seeds was aiming for: with 50-60 year olds comprising the fastest user growth group on facebook this cider isn't just as i originally presumed for the young ones. old adopters are reversing trends to become new ones as they become increasingly wired for sound/sight. this concurs with social media apps such as FB allowing customised profile privacy options: perhaps it's nana that doesn't want you to see her salacious pix not vice versa.

as gen Y increasingly abandons mass ubiquitous use of facebook, myspace & deride twitter as being irrelevant or old in search for the next application flavor, these vehicles become increasingly specialised. click-thrus as currency still ring true in the viral environment where online behavioral trends are only as good as your last project. it's apparent that holler's widely cast net through arguably influential media, music & cultural blogs deigned to catch a vast spectrum of a thirsty target market.

if you saw a giant apple in sydney sometime recently [ended last week], yes it was a marketing ploy just like those spammed santa claus's standing on street corners with their incessant red fabriced waves. only instead of randomly spotting father christmas these concealed apples were revealed through a series of tantalising clues drip-fed through social media vehicles: twitter & facebook. find an apple, keep the doctor away, win a prize. we all know that game.

as account manager matt kendall said today when i spoke to him once more this ensured that by the time the more interactive component integrating bloggers/zine meisters around sydney came into place they weren't playing to an empty room. just don't believe the hype because there's a sequel... the eggs don't hatch, the birds are CGI. but btw. kudos to the awesome after effects. shades of in zerg swarms/meets diablo's act 3 flesh hungry locust swarms.

cut to a cleverly connected youtube CYOA [choose your own adventure] model the campaign takes on an extra dimension where participants can have a limited interactive experience in the world where birds rule the sky & humans lie feral at the bottom of the feeding cycle. happy to say i made it through the twists & turns much to punk monk's felix & michael's chagrin [obviously you eat the eggs]... still the feed the ferals game had me... um, stumped. this is supposed to be R18 years not months right?

back to the youtube strategy: augmented reality games implementing some sense of interactivity are a trend which appear to be here to stay as the traditional linear marketing approach employed for aeons becomes increasingly redundant and consumers become more demanding. check out the grand prix advertising winner at this year's cannes ad awards. a transmedia experiment with over 10 million participants over 75 countries:

TV is dead. long live the web. long live the tangible. concurrently. we view our content now on other channels at a higher rate than the television. disposable heroes of hipoprisy rapped about its brain denuding qualities 2 decades ago. intelligent audiences will not be passively fed to. we want to be involved. the thorazine shuffle is not the beat of the dance we choose to groove to. especially not in eden.


  1. Except that I don't really want to be involved in a Lion Nathan promotion

  2. naomi klein's in "no logo" refers to the immense corporate backlash when consumers revolt. some of us do not want to be brand clothes whores/horses.

    the downside about campaigns such as these for "thinking consumers" is that we ultimately become marketed to by those we're seeking to consciously avoid. self-regulated signal to noise ration is potentially violated. which is why fully integrated strategies such as these are so inherently powerful to the psychologically aware marketer.

    wolves in sheep's clothing anyone?

  3. Think the important thing here is to be aware of what information your being fed, whose feeding it to you and what vested interests are involved.

    In this instance a lot of Aus bloggers got caught up in the mysterious packages without taking a little bit of time to figure out who was behind it. All the blogs on the topic I've seen were aware of being marketed to but seemed irresistibly drawn to propogate the story and be 'in' on whatever was happening.

    This type of campaign can be very powerful but the medium needs to match the message and the recipients. The personalised, targeted nature of this campaign promised something special and unique but, in my opinion, didn't deliver.

    Think the danger here is a backlash as no-one likes feeling they have been tricked into spruiking for something they don't believe in.

  4. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your comments on the campaign. You’ve hit on some important points with regards to transparency. When we developed the campaign, we wanted to do something that would capture people’s imaginations and entertain them. In this case, it required a level of mystery and intrigue. It involved storytelling and we couldn’t kill the story by showing the last page first. However, it was important to us that we were upfront about the fact that this was a marketing exercise. We left it to the bloggers to make up their own minds as to whether or not they wanted to partake in the journey. Several of the bloggers we approached did not post about the first pack because they didn’t know what it was advertising. Those that did post, did so knowing it was a marketing exercise, but were also fully aware that they had no idea what for.

    We at Holler love the opportunities that digital and social provide for storytelling and entertainment. The only way to grab people’s attention is by taking risks and shooting for things that haven’t been done before - otherwise your work gets ignored. With the real-time web, you find out pretty quickly whether or not people are engaging with your message and what the sentiment is. The vast majority of the engagement and sentiment on the campaign has been really positive, but that doesn’t mean we only listen to the praise. Working in this space is a heuristic process and we need to listen and engage with the negative as much as the positive. Following ms_monk’s coverage (and the commentary around it) has been fascinating and provided insights into our campaign that we weren’t previously aware of. And using ms_monk’s excellent blog as a platform to discuss some of these issues openly is one of the reasons why I love working in this space.

    We had an immense amount of fun creating this campaign and wanted that to translate into an entertaining experience for those that stumbled across it as well as the bloggers we targeted. I believe we’ve been successful in achieving that – but if anybody at any point felt that we tricked them into advertising something they don’t believe in, it was certainly not our intention.

  5. i [obviously] loved the campaign. i don't even care it was lion nathan & i'm a political spender. who drinks.

    i felt it fizzed & sparked [no pun intended] a little abruptly at the end but storytelling in a realtime digital environment runs the risk of an ADD-like response rapidly so can empathise that there was pressure to perhaps pounce a little prematurely once interest/intrigue was piqued [budgets never last forever, perhaps lion nathan is exempt?].

    golden filmmaking rules: capture audience, then bang, release the hounds into theatre of consciousness. the first ten minutes of any film is what determines level of engagement.

    i'd definitely engage with holler again [after gaffer taping up their delivery boy/girl]. nothing is invisible/sacred online. the information is there if you choose to find it. i don't feel in anyway violated by this ending. HT: matt.

  6. Matt,

    feel like I've hit a nerve, apologies.

    Should clarify that I thought the campaign was interesting and obviously the bloggers involved were 'self-aware'.

    Not suggesting you necessarily set out to deceive anyone, but by the same token I note that Jerry at Who The Hell seemed less into the campaign when he knew what it was about and who was behind it. By that stage he'd already helped you spread the word.

    Your aims for the campaign were (I assume) primarily about brand recognition, rather than demand creation per se.

    The cynic in me imagines the brief was something like – launching a new product for the summer market; want to compete with Bulmers, Magners, Little Creatures; what can you do to help us get traction?

    Judging by the people you identified as tastemakers I'd surmise you were targeting a different audience to the XXXXAngels campaign. Clearly there's no way you would have got those bloggers talking about a cider so you came up with a cool teaser – and it was cool, I should reiterate that I thought it was a really interesting campaign. I like mysteries and puzzles and after reading a post on your campaign over at WhoTheHell I wanted to find out more.

    For me, I think the campaign started to break down at this point due to a lack of immediacy – having piqued my interest I had nothing to do but wait passively for you to reveal the next bit of information.

    Obviously the online space doesn't work like that so I started entertaining myself by snooping around. It was obvious you had gone to a little bit of trouble to hide your tracks – this made me more interested and it became a puzzle to be solved. If you'd found a way to direct my curiosity within the boundaries of the campaign I would have been happy to play along. This is significant because at this point the game stopped being about the story you wanted to tell me (via the blogs I read) and became about who you were and why you wanted my attention.

    By the time I had an idea what was going on I'd lost interest in your message because, for me, it had become about the medium.

    But I don't think I was your audience anyway...