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Archive for the ‘guerilla marketing’ Category


Ah, viral and buzz marketing. Good stuff. Remember the personalized phone messages Samuel Jackson sent out to your friends’ cellphones to let them know about Snakes On A Plane two years ago? Well get ready, because The Dark Knight is taking their guerilla/buzz marketing campaign a few steps further.

Pure genius.

From FirstShowing.net (via Panasonic Youth’s blog):

The Dark Knight’s Viral Marketing Gets Very Real –

Cakes, Cell Phones and All!

A couple of weeks ago we were following the latest viral marketing campaign online for The Dark Knight pretty closely. An online version of the fictional newspaper The Gotham Times arrived and was followed by numerous websites, including a defaced Joker version of the paper called The Ha Ha Ha Times and even a website for the Gotham City Rail with a subway map of the city. This whole campaign is on the other end of the spectrum of the teaser poster – this stuff is absolutely brilliant. I followed up on this whole viral campaign earlier today and discovered I’d missed something HUGE! The Joker has been recruiting, and I mean quite realistically!

After the bevy of new websites came online and messages started appearing where the result was to wait a number of days, most of us lost the ability to keep track of everything going on. Well a few hardcore fans have been keeping track and they’ve got one hell of reward – they’re now members of Joker’s army. This reminds me of the that scene in the Matrix, where Neo gets that phone from the FedEx envelope and it rings right away. Except this is real life folks.

On December 3rd a new page appeared at whysoserious.com/steprightup with a hammer game and some teddy bear toys. Each toy had an address on it located in a number of cities around the US. The note on the game told people to go to that address and say their name was “Robin Banks” (get it, “Robbing Banks”) and they’d get something there. It was first come, first serve, and each location was a bakery. What they were given was a cake with a phone number written on it. Now here’s the best part: inside the cake was an evidence bag (complete with Gotham City Police printing) that contained a cell phone, a charger, a Joker playing card and a note with instructions.


The note read the following:

“Wow. You really took the cake! Now put the icing on it. Call [number] immediately from this phone and this phone only. Do not give this phone number to anyone else.

Let’s hope your fellow goons come through as well as you. Once all the layers are in place, you’ll all get your just desserts. I’m a man of my word.”

When the person called the number, a lady answered from Rent-a-Clown to thank the caller. Apparently she said she knew who the caller was and then after hanging up, they received a text message. It read:

“Good work, clown! Keep this phone charged and with you at all times. Don’t call me. I will call you … eventually.”

If you can believe it, the Joker now has real, live people recruited to his army sitting with a phone awaiting his call. I thought this stuff only happened IN movies, not FOR movies!

Additionally, once all the cakes were handed out, a new page was linked where users can sign-up to receive a free screening pass on Thursday night at 7PM to see I Am Legend in IMAX which will include the first 7-minutes of The Dark Knight that was filmed specifically for IMAX. Another link also revealed the first teaser poster.

My first reaction to all of this: HOLY SHIT! That is the coolest thing I have ever seen in terms of viral marketing! They’ve got people armed with cell phones ready to go out and do whatever the Joker asks. Now I’m just frustrated that I wasn’t keeping up with this close enough to grab the cake and cell phone from Denver. However, now I’m armed and ready the moment another clue comes up (at any time of the day) to head out and be the first one.

This viral marketing for The Dark Knight is really getting quite “real” and I mean that it is really picking up and getting tangible. I can’t wait to see what happens next! There’s still 7 months until the movie even comes out!! Thanks quite a bit to HollywoodChicago.com for the photos and info on this.

The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, is directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige) and co-written by Christopher Nolan, his brother Jonathan, and David S. Goyer. The movie arrives in theaters next summer on July 18th, 2008.



Clever as hell.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂

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From Lord’s oddly brilliant GLA blog:

Last night at Alcohol Wednesday I think we as a group came up with a great idea.

Marketing Ninjas!!!

Just think about it. Ninjas are stealthy masters of surprise and subtlety. They can swoop in, in a second, place an advertisement, and be gone just a quick. The sheer speed of their work will boarder almost on subliminal messages. And hell not a lot will make you remember the name of a company like a logo ninja star to the arm. Lawsuit you say? HAHAHA! Need I remind you that ninjas are deadly assassins?

Also it would be awesome when rival companies set their marketing ninjas on each other. I can just see it, another boring day at the office when Steve from accounting (aw, good ol’ Steve from accounting) comes running down the hall yelling, “Ninja fight in the break room! Ninja Fight!” Everybody jumps up from their desks and crowds to the break room to watch as the dexterous death dealers go at it. And inevitably some flunky from HR gets his ass katana-ed but everybody has a big laugh about it later (everybody except the flunky because he is super dead). I just feel that marketing ninjas would make the work place a bit more productive and if not that at least it would keep everybody on their toes.

Well put, Lord. Well put.

I have been advocating the hiring of Marketing Ninjas for years. Welcome to the fold, Grasshopper.

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It’s Friday and I am trying to get some things finished up before the weekend, so here’s a piece on the evolution of creativity in the business world from David Armano’s Logic+Emotion blog (published in June of ’06). It is relevant to some of the conversations we’ve been involved with this week, and even if it weren’t, it is well worth reviewing once or twice per year:

Are you a Planner who thinks about design? Maybe you are a designer who obsesses about the business impact of your designs. Or you might be an Information Architect who thinks about motion, transitions, multimedia, and uses tools like storyboarding and visual scenarios. Or how about a Developer who comes up with the “big idea”?

If you haven’t noticed, creativity is evolving.

The perception of creativity itself is slowly but surely transitioning into a mutated and adapted life form. In the traditional world, a “creative” person usually meant someone with savant-like talents excelling in a specific creative discipline defined by fairly concrete parameters. Copywriters wrote copy. Art Directors directed art. There are still talented visual designers who can make anything look good. Brilliant copywriters who can come up with that magnificent tagline which stops you in your tracks. And don’t forget about smart, methodical Information Architects who devote their existence to usability and being an advocate for the end user.

These skills, talents and abilities are needed—no doubt about it. But what’s also needed is the evolution of them—the next iteration. But what does this look like? An Information Architect who completely grasps Human Computer Interaction but can also think fluidly—can do things like rapidly create prototypes, facilitate user testing, understand visual design and occasionaly write copy. This kind of individual possesses a multi-dimensional creative brain that has evolved over time.

This type of mind is capable of creating customer experiences which provide competitive advantage in a fast moving world where customers are increasingly calling the shots.

With consumer behavior evolving toward a more empowered status—the definition of creativity has shifted from one-dimensional skills to a four-dimensional type of creativity that blends logical thinking with creative problem solving. Individuals possessing this “New Creative Mindset” blend Analytical, Expressive, Curious and Sensual qualities into their thinking process. The result is a holistic approach to creativity that is effective across multiple touch points and experiences.

Can an Information Architect embody this kind of mindset? What about an Account Director? I think as human beings we are all capable of thinking like this. But as designers, communicators, marketers and creators of experiences—for us, it’s even more critical to become multi-dimensional creative thinkers and problem solvers. I’m not the only one talking about this. Tim Brown from IDEO evangelizes “Design Thinking” and “T-shaped People”. Both principals are related. Design Thinking encourages Designers to think past aesthetics and design simple solutions for complex problems. T-shaped people have a core competency but branch out into other areas and can do them well (thus forming a T). And of course there is the new kind of collaboration that comes with this—where we combine people with diverse skill sets who often times speak very different languages but need to come together to make their collective and diverse skills work together. This kind of collaboration sounds easier than it actually is, because when you get a few T-shaped people together, they tend to “play in each other’s sandbox”. Translation? Ego’s need to be unlearned. In short, it’s not just about T-shaped people.

It’s about how we work together to create something that people will want to use, experience and ultimately—compel them to take action.

I don’t think that any of this is very new. It’s been happening for a while. In my time spent at agency.com, we developed pageless prototypes, pushed technology like Flash + Ajax and created human-centered “web applications”. But with the rapid and pervasive nature of Web 2.0 going mainstream—it’s becoming mandatory to be able to think and execute like this. Need proof? Take a look at this collection of thoughts + work from a recent grad of the IIT Institute of Design. Notice anything about how he approaches his work? He’s a “designer”, but aesthetics are only one small part of how he exercises his creativity. In fact, this brand of creativity is more like creative problem solving vs. the way many people still traditionally view creativity. And what about the teams? Aside from this evolved creative individual, what kind of team is needed to drive the next generation of communication, interaction and marketing engines? There’s not a clear answer to this question, but signs are heading toward smaller interdisciplinary teams composed of individuals possessing complimentary skill sets and overlapping talents.

So where does this all go from here? If you feel like you fit the bill, you’re probably thinking about how marketable you are right now. And remember, we’re not talking about a “jack of all trades” here. “Creativity 2.E” is not about doing everything and learning every application under the sun. It’s about being curious, empathetic, analytical, insightful and expressive all at the same time. It’s about being willing to do anything to get into the heads of your customer/user. It’s about adopting new tools, techniques and artifacts to help make your case for creating the right kinds of communications, interactions and experiences. So what to do if you’re feeling left out?
Resist the urge to become defensive and territorial—put that energy into developing an acute sense of curiosity and optimism. Become like a child.

Participate in the emerging media. Start a blog, update your site or if you don’t have one—set it up. Dive into the digital social communities and be willing to do what your customers do. Try methodology that you might not ordinarily consider. PowerPoint isn’t just for presentations. Flash isn’t just for motion. Move past boxes, arrows, colors, layouts, charts, funnels, and metrics.

Creativity 2.E is both old and new—and like evolution, will continue to change and modify over time. The question is will we?

Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂

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I was going to wait until next week to post this, but in light of last night’s lackluster lineup of multi-million dollar ads during the Superbowl (most of which were utter wastes of money), here is perhaps the most biting commentary on the relationship between many traditional ad agencies and the role they think they play in building brands… or in some cases, the role they play in hurting the brands they get paid good money to elevate. (I just had a vision of an elephant stumbling through a china store.)

Mike Myatt, Chief strategy officer at N2 Growth posted this gem last week about ad agencies and their typically failed brand building endeavors.

Note: Mike doesn’t say all advertising agencies are this way. He says that many are. And as much as it pains me to say it… he’s right. Here’s a little something to gently eeeeeeease you into his ever so subtle point:

“I would go so far as to say that many advertising agencies are almost obsolete in their approach such that they add very little value to their client’s brands. In today’s post I’ll share my insights on why most advertising agencies just don’t get it…”

Ahhhh… You know this is going to be good. Now… In case you’re already so incensed that you’re seeing red and preparing an epic response, remember that Mike is talking about building brands. He isn’t suggesting that these certain ad agencies don’t get advertising, but rather that in these cases, advertising is really all these agencies actually get. (Though after having seen some of the crap that tried to pass for advertising last night, I have to take my own comment with a big fat grain of salt. Read my previous post to see what I am talking about.) I’ll just shut up now and let Mike clarify his point:

“It is the CEOs responsibility to set the brand vision and then to evangelize and champion that vision. I have observed far too many CEOs and entrepreneurs who abdicate their responsibility by just turning over their brand to advertising agencies and hoping for great creative output. The problem lies in that the concept of “branding” has moved far beyond communicating product differences and building “image.” In order to improve brand performance, marketing experts need to consider product re-design, reengineering the supply chain, refining distribution, reducing costs, introducing loyalty rewards for customers and many other variables. While advertising will certainly retain an important role as a component of branding, it is clearly not the driver of branded businesses that it once was.

“Put simply, ad agencies create brand advertising. They don’t create brands…Put even more simply ad agencies create, buy and place media they don’t develop brand architecture and modeling which are used as a blueprint for all activities and communications for the brand. It is rare that you’ll find ad agencies that will even have the diversification of competencies that will allow them to provide strategic brand direction across mediums. While I have rarely observed a lack of willingness by agencies to dive into a project, I have often observed a complete inability to execute.

“Even within their purported areas of domain expertise (media and mediums) the marketplace is littered with agencies who have huge gaps in competencies in PR, direct marketing, blogging and other forms of social media, interactive media, search marketing, word of mouth marketing and any number of other areas. However it is their lack of experience and ability to deliver on brand strategy, business intelligence, knowledge management, innovation, corporate venturing, competitive analysis (and by this I don’t mean whose TV ad is better), intellectual property and other items that make ad agencies the worst possible choice to take brand direction from.

“Okay, let’s call a spade a spade and bring the ad agency agenda out into the light of day. Ad agencies get paid to sell advertising not to build brands…Reflect back upon your last agency pitch and you may have been wowed by creative talent, and yes even a bit of brand-speak, but at the end of the day you were pitched on buying advertising. Ad agencies speak to your advertising budget, not your brand equity.”

Read the entire post here.

Many ad agencies think, wish, and in some cases truly believe that they are in the business of building brands… yet few of them actually invest in the development of true brand planning teams (and among those who do, even fewer staff these teams with folks who have actually worked outside of the agency world). Big mistake. Huge, in fact. Most of these agencies don’t work with their clients’ designers to actually create the products. They don’t work with customer service or sales teams to design fantastic customer experience. And worst of all, they never have. They simply aren’t equipped to work at that level – nor do they care to be. It just isn’t part of the account service/creative team/media buying formula they know and understand.

Sure, go ahead and feel outraged by Mike’s post, but… you know, if the truth hurts, I’m sorry. Sometimes, the truth is just a hard, unforgiving kick to the huevos, but that’s why it’s so powerful. Unless none of this applies to you, you can either take it at face value and change, or bury your head in the sand and pretend that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Your call.

As far as I am concerned… Mike, your website needs a major facelift, but you’ve kind of hit the nail on the head with this one.

Agencies and firms that are making the transition to full service PSFs or have T-shaped brand planning groups get it. Traditional agencies who stick to their half-century-old model will probably continue to thrive… but will soon find themselves pigeon-holed in a shallow creative service no-man’s-land.

Sad but true. Deal with it.

PS: Don’t worry, my next post will be much, much…. nicer. Stay tuned. 😉

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A week ago, most people in North America had never heard of Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force. By this weekend, everyone will have.

Like it or not, I think we can file this one under Mission Accomplished.

Tyler would be proud, Interference. Proof at last that – for better or for worse – when it comes to increasing awareness and grabbing headlines, the more Guerilla Marketing goes off-track, the more effective it is likely to become. (That’s why it’s called guerilla marketing. Duh.)

It isn’t for everyone, but if all you are looking for is exposure, it obviously does the job.

If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what I am talking about, read all about it here and check out the photo stream here.

* * *

PS: I won’t claim to be a bomb expert but… does this really look like a bomb to anyone? (Or rather, would Islamic fundamentalist terrorists take the time to decorate their IEDs with Cartoon Network characters to make sure that people will… um… notice them?)


The arrests surrounding this little episode kind of remind me of the elementary school kids who were expelled from school for bringing tiny little thumbelina-sized plastic Star Wars action figure “guns” to class back in the late nineties. (Besides, they’re blasters, thank you.) Ridiculous.

Anyway, everyone knows that real terrorists would have used Nickelodeon characters. Pffft.

Update: If this whole thing didn’t have “media circus” written all over it already, this ought to do the trick. Watch the culprits’ press conference on Fox News via YouTube. Seriously, this whole thing is starting to look like an episode of South Park, only with real people.

Update 2: It’s rude, it’s crude, it’s made in some guy’s basement, but it makes some pretty good points.

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