July 25, 2006
    MTV tests the social water

Logo_fluxMTV has realized that it too cannot become a spectator in the Social Media Arena. Even though there are still many issues such as copyright that have yet to be fully addressed with the explosion of online viewing led by YouTube, MTV launched a television channel devoted to content created by its users.

MTV Flux will allow users to upload video content via mobile phones and internet along with a voting system for music videos ensuring that content is decided by the masses for the masses – a further democratization of the traditional media model. Like all other companies, the objective is to create a unique and differentiating experience whilst being able to integrate a business model to ensure that the shift in viewing behavior is accompanied by the respective shift in financial return.

If MTV’s Flux is a success, which by all accounts should be if you analyze the present internet makeup, the cable channel will be the first to move content created online onto the traditional television network. The future, therefore, is taking shape in the redefinition of what television is today. The quest continues to target the hard-to-reach 16-24 year old audience.

read more at FT.com
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in London
July 23, 2006

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in social media ,viral marketing ,youth marketing
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    myspace - the party continues...

MyspaceWhen Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corporation, beats Viacom (includes MTV) to MySpace with a price tag of $580 million, you have to take note. Murdoch is the epiphany of the old establishment, printing presses and ruler of the skies. However, it became obvious to him that the deep changes caused as a result of the growing online community would have an impact on his empire’s future.

“Technology is shifting power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, the media elite. Now it’s the people taking control”, claims Murdoch,”the Internet is the media’s golden age.”

The shift from top down, one fits all, is being replaced at lightning Internet speed to delivering what the audience wants, when and where they want it. And it’s not easy to control let alone apply traditional business models. One wrong move and the disruptive forces that built the community can turn on you.

MySpace is described as a 24/7 party with “pimped” pages that has left the ever so in tune with youth MTV looking sedately out of date. It’s core values are what the users want it to be and to find a way of taming the beast will all but kill it. How frustrating to have a community of 90 Million, 280,000 added EVERY day, a billion page views PER day and still be at odds as to how to obtain a return worthy of the audience.

To Murdoch, an audience this size agglomerated with NO marketing, in other words a virally produced site with the added bonus of having no content costs, is a refreshing concept to him, used to paying out millions for hits such as the Simpsons, 24 or even Fox News.

So the playing field has changed. The new order is an emphasis on connecting people with people, keeping them sufficiently motivated to produce their own content whilst adding widgets (gadgets) to the party ever so often. They are no longer watching – they are indeed participating. It’s all about keeping the party going on auto pilot until the right mix of autonomy and control can be reached without interfering.

MySpace, like any other community online, will enable its “keepers” to spot micro-niches, track early trends, identify new buzz words or concepts and ultimately has the power to make hits, market hits and replace hits with new hits all within the virtual walls of the community

“Popular culture will become more truly popular than ever before”.

read more Wired Magazine
Spencer Reiss July 2006

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in social media ,viral marketing ,youth marketing
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July 20, 2006
    youth marketing: TV vs. Online

JunkfoodMarketing products such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola and potato crisps along with other food classified, rather uncouthly, such as “junk food” has come under a lot of pressure as of late including calls for banning soft drinks machines in schools. Many have blamed the growth of obese individuals, especially teenagers, on the consumption of “junk food” coupled with the new “thumb” generation (reference to game playing).

Television has been the prime medium for reaching kids and a report out by Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that “nearly all food marketers (85%) who aim television ads at kids also attempt to reach them online via branded Web sites”.

It goes on to site that “those sites might be far more captivating than TV ads”, according to the report, highlighting an important factor that even though "online advertising's reach isn't as broad as that of television, it's much deeper," according to Vicky Rideout, vice president and director of Kaiser's Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and Health, in a statement.

77 branded food Web sites were analyzed and found that 73% contained advergames with anywhere between 1 and 60 games online. Nearly a third used tell-a-friend to virally escalate their message. Other methods included promotions (65%), on-line TV ads (53%), incentives to buy the product (38%) but surprisingly only 25% offered some sort of membership. I say surprisingly, because of the impact on-line communities are having on the way marketing is now tackled.

The sites (53%) are becoming conscience of the need to inform or at least appear to inform their audience on nutrition and healthy eating (27%). Again I say appear to inform as companies need to go further – Phillip Morris (an example in another industry but blatantly targeting the same segment) dedicates almost their entire site to supplying information on the dangers of smoking and giving “useful” help on how to quit smoking – unfortunately it doesn’t stop them from applying dirty tactics and pursuing a continuous recruitment of adolescent potential consumers. Transparency is one of the main factors adolescents most treasure so the fact that only 18% clearly indicate that they carry advertisements is disappointing.

TV has received most of the brunt of criticism regarding their failure to promote a healthy lifestyle so companies marketing to this segment could take a real look at where they missed the point with TV ads and ensure that they don’t repeat the same error with on-line content. This new generation is astute and very aware with little or no time for brands that don’t deliver – they are not the brand loyal generation so many companies got used to in the past.

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in social media ,youth marketing
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July 14, 2006
    how NOT to market or sell

Logoelis Our offices are on the 7th Floor of an office building in one of the main avenues in Lisbon. There are several predominant companies with strong ties to some of the largest companies in Portugal.

This morning, a sales person from Elis, a company that supplies “services to businesses and administrations”, walked into the reception of our office building and asked at security to visit all the offices. As the building has in the past suffered several security breaches and all those present have communicated that under no circumstances can people disrupt their working day, especially as one of the offices, which is a specialized recruitment company, conducts evaluation tests for some of the largest companies in the World.

The salesperson, who was identified, dismissed the security’s request and for half an hour tried to get through acting in a highly provocative manner. Security had to call the police and this was only resolved when two police cars arrived and the salesperson was asked to leave the premises – which he did.

You have to ask the question – not how much revenue did the salesperson from Elis accomplish from this visit; not how much this cost to Elis in salary terms, but more importantly what type of damage does an episode like this bring to a brand such as Elis.

Analyze the following: Ignore for now that I will use this as an example probably for the rest of my life as an example of WHAT not to do and the hundreds of people who are either decision makers or have close links to decision makers that will hear this as an example and then retell it when discussing an example of exceedingly POOR customer service.

Security guard works in a company that has hundreds of security staff that work in hundreds of office buildings. This will no doubt be a hot topic discussed for the next few days and passed on and passed on. Not intentionally, but because bad news travels quicker than good news and in this case, an unfortunate disadvantage to Elis, the security guard is female (and the salesperson male).

In turn, the next time that someone from Elis steps into the foyer of any office building serviced by the same security company, I doubt they will even be able to open their mouths. Those with Elis contracts in those office buildings will inevitably be retold this story. Not that that will persuade companies to switch service provider, but certainly next time Elis underperforms their customer’s tolerance may be that much smaller.

The security guard informed me, as she did to all other offices, fuming at the episode and all companies in the building will no doubt be retelling this story (again to the disadvantage of Elis that not only do they not know who’s talking about this but also when they will talk about it – a mere reference to Elis, the service they provide, their competition or any reference to poor service will bring about The Elis Story.

The companies will talk to companies who talk to companies. So what did the salesperson accomplish in 40 minutes? Incalculable damage. If you think I’m being dramatic, ask Comcast (nearly 700,000 views in 3 weeks) and AOL (nearly 300,000 views not to mention a special appearance on WNBC). Word of mouth is one of THE most powerful methods of unfiltered communication wrapped in trust & transparency presently associated to those you believe most – your friends & colleagues.

Luckily the video and audio footage from the security cameras is not available to anyone as it would no doubt have the hallmarks of a YouTube blockbuster, including police!

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in customer (dis)service ,viral marketing ,why do they do that?
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July 13, 2006
    green wows university students

Gogreen The press has always and continues to portray University students as hard drinking young adults that actually initiated this habit earlier than previous generations.  However, a new study, "The 5th Annual College Explorer Study," from Alloy Media, conducted by Harris Interactive, sheds new light and breaks with this myth once and for all - as reported in eMarketer 13th July.

The online study was conducted in the United States using 1800 University students and found that this much fought after market segment, was actually prepared to award companies, which respect green issues, with their loyalty. This is very much in tune with the ideology behind the surge in social media whereby trust and transparency have become key factors in evaluating a brand.

When asked about factors that drive their purchase decisions, 33% of the students said they prefer brands that are environmentally safe or are connected to a cause.


Socially responsible ranked higher than brand image and celebrity endorsed brands when analyzed against discretionary spending. Moreover, 24% named a purchase this year based on the brand’s social consciousness.

The 2006 Alloy U Award winners for "Top Socially Responsible Brands," according to University Students, are:

  1. Ben & Jerry's
  2. Newman's Own
  3. Burt's Bees
  4. Yoplait
  5. American Apparel
  6. Starbucks
  7. Seventh Generation
  8. Nike
  9. Body Shop/Coca-Cola (tied)

As the University student market, with increased importance as they become early adopters in an IT world, continues to grow, their sights have focused in on social issues. Brands will have to rethink their brand positioning and campaigns in the coming year, according to Dana Markow of Harris Interactive.

So is your brand green enough?

Posted by Nuno Machado Lopes in business strategy ,smart marketing
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