Rules of engagement

Ok, I’ve had to make a few changes. For some professional reasons, there is some stuff I need to keep for myself. I realise it might come as a slight disappointment for some of you but such is life. šŸ™‚

This is what I can share. The presentation is now only the 3 case studies, and are young male biased.

– Halo 3

– Nike Joga Bonito

– Red Bull

As Jacob pointed out, I cannot claim that they were successful because they were using an innovative communication plan. I don’t have the data. I think no one actually has that data. I’m not sure any of these companies actually spent a huge amount of money researching the influence of a pop-up or a print ad in the overall mix.

They went with their gut feeling and created complex campaigns that were successful as entities in their own right.

Even the best econometrics can hardly isolate the effect of one piece of communication in the whole marketing plan.

So yes Jacob, I don’t know what was the impact of each different part of the campaign. Or whether they would have achieved the same results by just having a TV spots.

I agree that Halo 3 was going to be successful even if they weren’t going to do anything at all. But they weren’t expecting it to be so successful. Would have it been as successful without all their plan? No one can tell.

All I’m doing here is mapping what they did do and concluding some interesting principles.

If you want to know what these successful campaigns were made of, you can have a look at the presentation below. Please note that all the figures have been found on the Internet, so I can’t guarantee their accurracy.

Here are my conclusions / principles:

– These brands / campaigns rely less on media spent but more on content. They invest a bigger part of of their budget in content production.

– They have a strong point, active point of view (joga bonito, believe / finish the fight, giives you wings)

– They create rich experiences

– They create different content for different audiences (simple vs deep and immersive)

– They engage people in a terriroty, not just a brand campaign

– They create social currency

– They are complex in their executions, but are consistent with their main idea

Not an exhaustive list at all and not one that can be applied to any case, but a beginning it is…

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  1. Jacob
    June 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    So the problem with this J is that your case studies are not robust enough to convince me. You can’t just say “the brand did these things and it was successful”. You have to prove that it was the things the brand did that MADE it successful.

    Halo is the biggest entertainment franchise in the world (well, maybe second now to GTA) so of course they were going to sell shitloads of copies. It’s incumbent on you to prove that they sold more than they would have done because of their participatory approach. (as opposed to because of the vast amounts of old-school one-way PR that the launch generated, and which was certainly the reason I bought the game (well that and having played both the previous two)).

    Similarly with Nike you have to separate out the TV campaign (which is traditional) from the other elements. Can you prove that Nike’s success was because they did the other stuff or is it all explainable by the TVC?

    The reason that (to my mind) digital/social/participatory marketing is stalling out right now is because nobody can push beyond the “we can see the world has changed so lets respond to that” point to the “we can prove this stuff works” point. And that proof has to be made to the same standard of robustness that we’d expect from traditional media.

    Basically we’re in a situation where there are two competing hypotheses: a structtural one (that it’s all about participation) versus an essentialist one (that it’s all about great ideas independent of media). I could use the exact same case studies in your deck to prove the opposite point. Until you can demonstrate that your explanation the right one, it’s still just theorizing…

  1. June 12, 2008 at 9:02 am
  2. June 12, 2008 at 1:57 pm

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