My second nomination for New Product Launch of 2008 is of course, Barack Hussein Obama,
His campaign to the White House could almost be said to be the blue print for today’s communication campaigns and not just in politics.
First, they studied the product, analysed what was authentic about it and then distilled it down into one clear word.
A word that was both a product truth and something that would inspire the consumer.
He stood for change. That was it, above everything else, the one thing you knew you’d get was change.
They didn’t cloud this with too much detail about policy - that would just defuse the clarity of message. While for those who wanted to know more, it was there to be searched out, but that was your choice.
Instead, they just pushed the truth behind the claim in little nuggets of information.
He was a change from the previous government. He was a change from the usual type of person who became a politician. He looked different. He sounded different. He connected different. And he communicated different.
They embraced new media and online social network. They gave up control for advocacy, trusting his supporters to represent him to their peers in the way they wanted to. Entrusting the brand to them. The result was some extraordinary marketing.
And then there were posters, which were created for the campaign not by the campaign
They facilitated connections through online communities that added a new dimension to what was already out there. Mybarackobama.com, was/is a social network of sorts that allowed people to create blogs around issues, and send in policy recommendations to the man himself.
They assisted in fund-raising activities with ideas and tools. And they encouraged people to fundraise however they wanted to.
They were light of foot. If there was a sudden rise in traffic from certain sites or communities they engaged with them and kept engaging with them with regular updates. By engaging with people wherever they gathered they were able to make maximum impact.
And this is just a fraction of the numerous marketing activities that the campaign spawn.
He was seen as inclusive leader, embracing everyone into his vision for Change, probably best summed up by slogan, Yes We Can.
And now there is a real belief the world over, that there is a President of the United States of America prepared to listen and lead rather than ignore and dictate.
A welcome change for politics, I’m sure you’ll agree.
My first favouirte NPL of '08 goes to the Venezuelan Black company - manufacturers of fine cacao - pure cocoa to you and me, pretty much.
A niche product by anyone's imagination, but one that was successfully launched with a multimillion pound TV campaign that succeeded in getting it listed in both a major supermarket chain across Britain, the shop of choice for WAGS - Selfridges and no doubt, all good independent delis.
Not bad for a company less than two years old and with a handful of employees.
Admittedly it was far from perfect with some surprisingly basic mistakes made, such as absolutely no cohesion, for example - packaging never matched their communication in style, tone of voice or, and perhaps potentially most damaging, name.
Because the VB Co. is probably better recognised as Willie and his Wonky Chocolate Factory, the name of the TV series which was shown over 6 weeks on Channel 4 in the beginning of 2008, repeated in late autumn and ending with a seasonal burst with it's very own Christmas Special, .
A series that followed the charismatic/annoying (delete as appropriate) Willie Harcourt-Coozie (above) as he followed his dream to get Britain using a previously little-to-unknown ingredient.
We saw every aspect of his business, from where it was sourced to how to use the product, to expert endorsement, to finding out about the health and slimming benefits of his product - nothing it seemed was over-looked.
The series was a venerable marketing masterclass for how to launch a product.
I can't believe there wasn't an fmcg marketing director out there wondering, how did pull off launching his company with 30 minute commercials shot at the production company's cost and with airtime (and a lot of airtime at that) donated free by a TV station?
Unfortunately I can't tell you much more, despite digging around on the web, I've failed to even come up with the name of the production company. Anyone any ideas?
Still, it's not all been one way sunshine basking. Maybe now would be a good time to take another look at that business plan when it comes to employee salaries
There was a time when creatives could steal a smart idea from any number of sources; a student's graduation film, some obscure art house nonsense, a pop video, and the like - safe in the knowledge that few would know the source and so their originality could be lavished with money and awards.
In two memorable cases I can think of, the only contribution from 'inspiration' to ad was literally just adding a company's logo - okay so they made the connection between what they saw and a product). And both won loads of awards.
But that was before YouTube hosted everything and made it available to everyone. Which has made being a creative both so much easier and so much harder - oh, the irony.
So, I thought I'd start an occasional series showing the inspiration for ads hitting your screens in the coming months. (Feel free to join in with your own suggestions).
First up is for a sauce, something with the endline: Make your meal a masterpiece, or something about an artist's palate (getit?!)
Following on from my earlier post on Wii and it's build-in viralability, I have been pointed in the direction of this flickr set, by Russell. As, the man says, create something great and the marketing will be done for you.
Originally this was called, A snapshot on Camera Usage, but I found myself starting with an apology for the pun, as I really should know better. There is no place in modern society for puns - good, bad or otherwise.
Anyway I found this on flickr. The screen grab doesn't do it justice, as it's just the tip of an iceberg loaded with information on what cameras are being used in their community. I'd be mighty happy if I were Canon.
Personally, I find the whole thing massively impressive for lots of reasons, not least because it's authentic. Consumer-generated (albeit not consumer-authored, but then curating is going to be massively important for brands in the future). And pretty comprehensive - I can visit manufacture's sites and see shots taken with the cameras by flickrites. It also works for Flickr, I love that they've put this together, it makes me feel warmer to them, makes me feel they're passionate about cameras and photography etc.
Next time I'm in the market for a camera, this is going to be part of my purchasing decision. I wonder how long it is before they add a purchase facility?
All of which started me thinking, with the fragmentation of mass media is it now possible/desirable that a brand could be percieved completely differently in different markets? Could brand schizophrenia be the next think, I might rift a bit more about this once I've given it some thought.
Either way these sites do go to show, product demonstration can be mighty entertaining in the right hands.