Category Archives: Creativity

Lessons from Book Quote’s Viral FB Meme


The Book Quote Game Goes Viral in Facebook

Virally speaking based on watching my own response along with others in my social graph, a clever little meme called the “Book Quote Game” is exploding over on Facebook. Over the weekend a quick challenge gambit  appeared in my Facebook socialgraph and I took it. I responded in to a friend’s post asking me to find a random but specifically-placed quote from “a book near me.”

What followed surprised me: within 12 hours 18 others added their quotes–more comments than my FB posts usually get; their socialgraph represents 3641 people and inspired another 23 comments. I didn’t crawl their comments to see the network effect in added reach, but if we use the averages based on mine, the echo would include another 9300 in reach. With an average friend duplication of 7.75% you still reach over 10,000 people per post in the first two generations of the meme. Because the active socialgraph/profile will bury this meme, it needs to reappear at different times, which it does as others replicate and comment. I expect to see this meme come back around many times in the coming months.

More surprising is that this isn’t even a Facebook application. It’s an activity that’s as catchy as an application but relies on The Groundswell to crawl all the SocialNetwork’s carriers to produce the Metacalfe effect. So, without any programming and low-production content you can create a viral campaign by following the best practices of The Book Quote Game.

I’ll give more evidence and details then see if there are best practices that can be applied for Marketers. Please add your reactions below in the comments area as well. Continue reading

Ben and Jerry’s Killer Facebook Ad Integration

Facebook Election '08 Application/PageCheck out this page. It’s content right? This is the Election ’08 page on Facebook.

It’s got your voting booth location mash-up powered by Google Maps, some info graphics and even a gift/badge for you to wear your colors–Red or Blue. It showed volumes in real-time as people clicked the “I voted” link on their Facebook profile page after visiting the polls. I tweeted about the page in the morning of election day when 1.1 million people had already been counted and watched the numbers swell each hour until the polls closed. Nearly 5.5 million acted making it one of the highest daily-use apps to date (think about how few YouTube videos get that much play in a single day, let alone month for comparison).

The genius is in the Ben & Jerry’s map/application integration. This is content, but it’s also a delivery mechanism for the advertising sponsorship by Ben & Jerry. Simple. Natural (as in additive and not interruptive). Brilliant.

In this case you were able to find the local Ben & Jerry’s store to get the free icecream cone they were offering for those that voted IRL and in the integrated link you could also send a “vote cone” virtual gift to your friends in Facebook.

For Ben & Jerry’s it’s a win across the board. The association is perfect for a brand that has in its roots social change and political activision. That future analysis will likely attribute SocialMedia and Facebook’s influence on 14mm new young voters heavily skewed to Obama as a determing factor in the race can’t hurt the brand. And the message was party-neutral regardless of the results. These are the kind of brand-fit filters every connection planner should find: Content, Context and mission.

As a campaign tracking mechanism, free cone redemptions will be an easy metric. Virtual gift talleys will also be telling as will traffic to the Election ’08 page. Without a doubt, Buzzmetrics and other influence trackers will be tallying total blog mentions and related viewership. And, I’d love to see the total impressions this campaign earned from the SocialGraph as well. We’ll reach out to Facebook, the brand and related agencies to see if we can get the numbers. And, if you’re related to the brand and know, feel free to share below.

Ben & Jerry’s won big on this campaign–even before all the numbers are in–by hitting the right tone of placement and pitch. I learned about new retail locations in a relevant way. I also didn’t feel like they were selling me. In fact, they were offering a number of value-exchanges I couldn’t get without them entering my social interactions on Facebook. Consider how different this is from the “Market Stall” approach of fast and casual food retail where the strategy based on ad spend (shout louder, sooner and with a better offer than your competitors) dominates their consumer communications. The Market Stall has 90%+ of ad spend concentrated on TV and traditional media in a cluttered, interruptive market place. Ben & Jerry’s essentially opened a new market away from the noise, clutter and lack of relevance of the traditional approach.

Every brand marketer should be asking themselves and their agencies: What’s our occasion(s) that should be so integrated with Facebook? And then buy the date to lock out your competition and outplay them.

Added: was reminded that I previously posted about Lee LeFever’s Common Craft show,  “SocialMedia in Plain English” and it was the metaphor told via Ice Cream retail. Fun conincidence. All our SM Answers Haz Ice Cream.


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How Do You Do Digital Focus Groups?

Digital Focus Group research is a subject we’d really like to hear your thoughts and input on. Occasionally we commission unique Focus Groups to vet our digital content and distribution strategies. Usually digital is tested along with all other media in larger Focus Groups covering multiple cities and target segments. There are pros and cons to both.

Without delving into the merits or demerits of the Focus Group format, we find them beneficial and additive to our thinking on the whole. There’s always a gem or two of Insight that we can synthesize from participant attitudes and comments. And we expect to get a thematic “zinger” comment that flavors our understanding of the target or our proposition. An example of this is when exploring attitudes about where we could take a certain beverage category a few years back, one participant called it a “chick drink” in less polite terms and that moniker flavored our consumer understanding and marketing approach.

One of the challenges we face in digital is that many Focus Group facilitators, while comfortable with the advertising creative and media of traditional media–a familiarity developed over 60 years of representative experience–simply can not successfully moderate around digital and emerging platforms. We’ve consistently seen digital thinking represented in the “Integrated Media Focus Group” as flats or print campaign equivalents. Or, even in animated form, presented as a website and not as an element in a holistic digital marketing approach. It’s challenging to take the armada of activity around which we go to market and have most moderators–let alone consumers–be informed about various digital media and interpret feedback on digital. Without good interpretation, it’s difficult to get a feedback loop that drives to the most insightful places.

The reason we do less focus group research in digital is because we have the laboratory of real time data, A/B testing, instant SocialNetwork surveys, campaign qualitative research and search as a proxy for intention and needs. At the same time, we’ve yet to find a better substitute for a client to participate “behind the glass” with our team hearing directly from consumer groups what they think, what informs their opinions and how they’re willing to behave around a variety propositions.

So, here’s the request and challenge to you: Who are the best at directing in-person Focus Groups for Digital and/or what other alternatives to you use? Let’s use the comment section below to create our compendium of resources.

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Little Known Fact-In Case You Missed It

Twitter search results on Little Known Fact Sarah Palin

Twitter search results on Little Known Fact Sarah Palin

Starting Friday and over the long Labor Day weekend the twitterstream was full of a new meme, “Little Known Fact, Sarah Palin” It was a gambit that started to fill in the lack of information on the new McCain ticket running mate, Sarah Palin, with disinformation and humor. Within three hours of the announcement the meme started, and thousands of tweets were submitted by every corner of the twitterverse. It was a spontaneous gag that kept getting better or worse, depending on how you view the sophmoric humor. It was a “Saturday Night Live” skit that took off with the collective contributing at a furious pace. In most cases it kept to the humorous bend, but ranged from critical to fawning. Here are some selected tweats; where attribution is missing they were pulled from

Brand Promise (bringing it back to digital marketing for a second)

@podcastmama Little known fact: Sarah Palin softens your hands while you do the dishes.

@diabolos: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin isn’t qualified for VP, but she did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

@MovableHype: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

@kevinbinversie: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows what’s in her wallet.

Sarah Palin will pry your Klondike bar from your cold dead fingers.


@JonHenkeSarah Palin’s enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List

When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

Sarah Palin plays Whack-a-Mole with her forehead, and always gets a perfect score.


Sarah Palin knows who was on the grassy knoll.

@stuartturner: Little known fact: There is no ‘ctrl’ button on Sarah Palin’s computer. She’s always in control. Too bad McCain doesn’t have a computer

@podcastmama Little known fact: Sarah Palin know’s what it’s like to be the sad man behind blue eyes.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

@markaiken: Little known fact: Sarah Palin IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU

Chuck Norris Comparisons (follows the “fake Chuck Norris” meme format and consumes it)

@DarkAdapted: Little known fact: Chuck Norris backs down from no man. He does back down from Sarah Palin.

@brennanm: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin blows her nose with Chuck Norris.

@steezydeezy: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin and Chuck Norris together in one room would create a black hole!

@miketrap: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin once kicked Chuck Norris’ ass, just because he thought about looking at hers.

@conblog: Little Known Fact: There are only 2 forces Chuck Norris recognizes: brute force & Sarah Palin. He practices one & lives in fear of the other

Pop Culture

@neoskeptic: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin’s milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. She could teach you, but she’d have to charge.

cheesie_67: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is the last daughter of Krypton.

@wolfcat: Little known fact: Sarah Palin will eat the twitter fail whale for breakfast if elected

@I_aint_Eddy: Little known fact: Sarah Palin is never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.



@cscan:Little known actual fact: Sarah Palin has been governor for less time than John McCain has been running for President.

@YooPlaceTop: ★ Little known actual fact: Sarah Palin tried to ban book …

@Trudaluck: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is simply the best….better than all the rest

@fpaynter: Little known fact: Sarah Palin shot the state trooper, but she did not shoot the deputy.

Sarah Palin’s finishing move in the VP debate will be pulling Biden’s still beating heart from his chest & taking a bite.


Impact:Like a lot of internet memes and one-hit-wonders, this one lived strongest for about 24-36 hours getting discovered at varying points by MSM and bloggers. I wouldn’t be surprised if this catches fire a few weeks from now when another media discovers it. I’m also confident that these results will game the search engines and take over top search results, perhaps even influencing some votes. The good news about these memes is that they eventually fizzle out. They’re the equivalent of Sunday Funnies for those that remember, or a good Sienfeld/Simpson’s line that crept into popular culture. They serve their entertainment purpose for the moment, then need to go away.

If you liked any of this, you might also like:


Transformers and Me–More Than Meets the Eye

space-era, robotsI’ve got a lot of robots and Transformers in my office. The quick explanation is “they’re cool.”
The more involved version follows.
I have a small collection of 1950s-60s space/atomic era rockets in part because I love the naive notion that “science will save and lift us” and the object lessons this notion offers.
I added robots—some original and replicas—to my “save and lift” collection.  FWIW, I share the starry-eyed optimism in all pursuits. And I have enough experience to know that there’s another pole to that perspective.

Inspired Thinking

There are more resources surfacing inspired thinking thanks to Web 2.0. YouTube videos catch like wildfire thanks to ratings, sharing, embedding and bookmarking. The Flickr stream–even the one in the right column of this blog–has uncovered beauty and provocations. Digg gets inspiration voted to the surface. And in my daily twitter stream–also displayed in the right column if their service isn’t down–offers posts from those I follow that never fail to inspire. In a previous post I applauded those that take the common and infuses it with inspiration. Today, there’s no lack of sources of inspiration nor ways to find it.

Here are a couple of inspired snacks, courtesy of Dave McClure:

 Jan Von Holleben, Flying

And 37 Signals:

Thanks to Rodney Rumford for tweeting the BMW Gina vid/post. Awesome inspiration about thinking around a challenge.

A Real Brand Can Stand Parody, Flattery

A great idea usually inspires other great ideas, even if in reaction to them. You see a fair amount of parody, imitation and adoration when searching brand terms on YouTube, Flickr, etc. That’s merchandising for Real Brands and can be an opportunity to listen, respond, stunt (IMHO, Marvel’s Cease & Desist to Techblogger Arrington re: Iron Man screening was just that) and maybe even innovate. The mega-benefit of posting + parody + commenting + rating + @replying + blogging + sharing is trust for consumers and the search algorithms that crawl all this activity. In terms of the latter, that means better organic placement.

So, if you see something out there about your brand that you don’t like, consider all your options for response and remember that your customer is smart enough to tell the parody from what’s real, even in your actions. A Real Brand can stand parody and even benefit from it. Who knows, you might even have your next big seller, as in this video for an innovation-on-innovation violation (consider watching with sound on mute if in shared office or if potentially offended by lyrics):

4×4 Blog Tag

This is a belated response to Tim Brunnelle’s March 24 post Tagging me with the 4×4 meme making its way around blog circles. It’s a concept that gets bloggas posting out of their normal zone, especially if they are more business oriented. Tim quoted Marketing Prof, Ann Handley, on it: “The object is for the tagged writer to reveal personal bits about themselves that you wouldn’t know otherwise, and then to tag other blog authors to similarly spill their guts.” I’ll probably add this as a page on my blog because it has an evergreen and personal quality that the “About” page won’t capture. On to my 4×4:

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“Your YouTube Connected to Your SumbledUpon”

Here’s your Friday snack. A great video mash-up with retro talent–The Delta Rythm Boys–and a soundtrack about Web 2.0 connectivity brought to life on dem iPhones. Cheers!

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Ten for Ten @ SF Addys

We entered ten client executions into the SF ADDYs earlier this year and won 10 awards, including a Gold, 5 Silvers and 4 Bronzes. The greatest source of pride for me as a principal is that these awards represent work across diverse clients, execution-types, media and account/creative teams. That speaks volumes to our success in institutionalizing a winning digital marketing approach broadly within the shop. Congratulations to our clients and the entire team for expressing our mantra, “Be Great,” by showing up with stellar work to win. A list of the awards follows.

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