lauantai 19. toukokuuta 2012

How to use QR codes in advertisement most effectively


The ad for the movie The Dictator

Whilst waiting for the bus, the ad for promoting the new movie “The Dictator” caught my eye. Or actually the thing that made it unusual compared to other “traditional” ads I’ve seen - the QR code. As the number of smart phones is increasing all the time, we are going into the direction where QR codes are increasingly used in ads. Even though I liked seeing some creative thinking, there is still lot to learn how to use QR codes in a more effective way. In my opinion, the QR code wasn’t strategically well positioned (in the lower right corner) since you really have to look at the ad carefully to see it, unless people tend to look at their feet. In my opinion it would work better if it was on the eye-level so that people wouldn’t be able to miss it. Moreover, it would be more convenient to scan the code.

The QR code directs you to the trailer of the movie. I have my doubts, though. Does the trailer really engage possible consumers? I can only speak for myself, but I have to say the answer would be no. What I would’ve done is to create an application where consumer can find the nearest cinemas (there should be a possibility to change places, e.g. Adelaide CBD). After choosing the place the application would provide information when the movie is shown. Again, let the consumer change the date and time that suites best for him/her. When the consumer has found the best alternative, s/he should be able to purchase the tickets because that is the ultimate goal – to increase the sales. Otherwise all the effort you’ve put into the advertisement campaign is just waste of resources. I cannot highlight it enough that the most important rule for effective advertisement is: Do it nice and easy for consumers! They will reward you.

If you like to add more features to the application, you can put the trailer, possibly some (flattering) reviews to name but a few. But what you really want, is the consumer to purchase what you have to offer. When you lower the barrier to purchase, the people are more likely to actually do so. When thinking the advertisement campaign through the eyes of the consumer, you can gain a lot in a very cost-efficient way.

torstai 17. toukokuuta 2012

What makes you pay attention to an ad that is what kind of an ad is a good ad?

To that question, there are as many answers as there are people on this planet. We all look at the ads from our own perspective and interpret them. Because everyone has their own, subjective opinion, I can only speak for myself.

I've started to get irritated by ads lately since they are everywhere. Some reasearches say that people expose to more than 40 000 ads a year. 40 000! That's a huge number of ads. And to how many do we actually pay attention? I cannot recall too many of them to be honest. Especially Australian TV is full of ads – have you ever paid attention how much there actually are commercial breaks? I'd like to run an experiment and take time how many minutes they are showing ads during programmes. I will report the results later. Moreover, it is more tricky to try to capture people's attention since everyone's doing there own business during commercial breaks – unless there's something really interesting going on. ”You have to find your own pink elephant.” -Paul Rogers

As we all know, ads have different functions: to inform, to remind and to persuade your target audience. Even though an ad is informative, it doesn't mean that it should be boring. On the other hand, persuasive ads might end up being nothing but persuasive. It's becoming harder and harder for advertising people to try to come up with new, fresh and innovative ideas, because that is what companies and customers are eagerly looking for.

There are two elements that appeal to me in ads: humor and emotions. If an ad is funny, it makes me laugh and feel good, it is probably going to do the same when others see it too, so I'll share it. Nowadays, when the social media is a part of our everyday lives, it is almost too easy to share those Youtube clicks. The more people share it to their networks, lets say for 300 people for example, after a few shares, there's an enormous reach – cost effectively. I believe that it is not too hard to try to pursue managers when saying out loud the magic word ”cost effectiveness”. One of the best ads that will fall into this humor category is the ad by Carlton Draught. There are familiar elements that will from now on have new associations in consumers' minds and will definitely be on top of mind when someone's feeling like a can of beer.

Using emotions in ads might be an effective way to get your message through. I must admit that I'm quite a sensible person and when I saw the ad for quit smoking campaign, in Australia, I almost started to cry. Basically the ad asks what is more terrible than to hear the doctor saying that you have a cancer. The answer: to tell it to your children. Even though I've never smoked, it made me feel really emotional and really got to me. I hope it will also reach its target audience and not just anti-smokers like myself. Even if you didn't care that much of yourself, the ad might make you thinking about others and how your death would affect to your near and dear ones.

Advertising in its traditional sense is changing all the time, e.g. facial recognition I wrote about. Companies are also trying to create interactivity with consumers and try to engage them. One example of are experiential campaigns, where people are actually in the ad either participating or looking at it real time. This ad by T-Mobile promotes cleverly their telecommunication services since people start sharing to their networks what they've just experienced. In these kind of flashmobs, people don't might even recognise that it is actually an ad and therefore people don't be as irritated as they might be when just looking at an ad.

The main thing is to evoke discussion: either your ad is funny and people share it or it is terrible – and people still share it. It might be even the purpose of the ad to annoy people and get them involved so that there will be constant buzz going on in the social media. But there's nothing in between. If your ad doesn't evoke any discussion at all, it's nothing but average. Strangely enough, I sometimes have the feeling about my posts being average since there are no comments. Maybe I should change my strategy and persuade readers in different ways. If you have thoughts or ideas, feel free to drop a comment!

What kind of ads appeal to you and why do you think they are effective? You can for example leave Youtube link for me to watch and write a few words.

torstai 10. toukokuuta 2012

What is wrong with media?

Scandal after scandal, gossip after gossip.. As sales decrease, papers are doing whatever it takes to make profit, because at the end of the day it is the bottom line that counts. What seems to sell time after time are stories about celebrities. Nowadays media is putting a lot of effort on digging something out of their past, present or future. Any corps in the closet, any crimes convincted in the past, any messy relationships? Media is sure to find it out, you can rely on it.

Media's most important job is to inform public about things that are going on. Media is standing up for citizens and lead public discussion about important issues, which are affecting our everyday lives. But what I do not understand is why there's always a lot of (usually negative flavoured) writing about celebrities. I honestly feel sorry for them who are always in the frontline. The press is writing hoaxes about them, usually without even bothering to check the facts.(Reliable source, yeah right.) At the same time they are hurting people's feelings. Because that's what celebrities are after all – people, human beings.. Just like everyone of us. The fact that being a public person is a part of their job description doesn't mean that they can be treated badly. Furthermore, I think that in the era of social media the problem has culminated since not only is media attacking celebrities from every possible direction but also it is piece of cake to insult them anonymously in the wonderland of Internet. How gutless is that?

I keep wondering what is behind this change. Are people trying to underpin their self-esteem by mocking others or are they just simply jealous because celebrities seem to be flawless and deep inside people would like to be in their position in the limelight? Is it really that hard to be genuinely happy for someone who has succeeded in their life and spread the positive energy to others? I understand that one cannot like everyone. But it doesn't mean that one couldn't treat others with respect. ”Treat others as you want to be treated.”

The saying ”no one is a prophet in their own country” seems to be true. Artists are booed in their homecountry and greeted with joy elsewhere. I've witnessed this to happen a couple of times when it comes to artists in Scandinavia but Australia doesn't seem to be any better. The recent writings about Delta Goodrem (one of the four coaches in Australian version of the megahit The Voice) have really made me disappointed. Although I've never met her personally, she seems to be an inspiring person with a positive attitude toward life and a heart made of gold. And yes, I took a walk down memory lane. I remember clearly the teenage me singing from the bottom of my heart ”Lost Without You” even though I was on the other side of the world. So I cannot say I'm completely objective. However, it doesn't change the fact that in my opinion she has been treated unfairly. ”I never said I was perfect,” she said in an interview by Woman's Day. Nobody is, so why would celebrities make an exception. Instead of pushing others (not only celebrities but people we're in contact in our everyday lives) down we should encourage each other and make the world a better place to live in.

perjantai 4. toukokuuta 2012

Facial recognition – cool or creepy?

It isn't just something that appears only in sci-fi movies. In fact, it is reality - facial recognition, with which marketers can do miracles, is here. Using facial recognition in the ads is one of the most recent inventions within marketing. Whilst the usage of this tehnology is still in its infancy, I believe that within a couple of years' time only the sky will be a limit and we will see a more creative ad after another. Some might say that it is one of the coolest things on Earth while some might argue that companies are using the information gathered about consumers unethically and trying to trick them to consume more.

Facial recognition software is trying to define the gender by length of hair, lips or jewellery, age by wrinkles and mood by forehead and lips. Defining the gender and age will enable to show ads which are relevant to certain segments and therefore companies would be able to reach their target market more effectively and the cost of advertisement would eventually be reduced when companies would be able to reach the desired target market. The more the technology develops the easier it is to show relevant ads to consumers.
Magnum recently announced that it will be the first company in Australia which is using facial recognition in its ads. The ad will recognise when a person is smiling and thereby it causes an interactive element which enables the viewer to eat the Magnum – virtually of course. This is a step further from segmentationally tailored ads. An example of this kind of ”discrimination” of showing ads to certain segments only was the campaign ”Because I am a Girl” by Plan in the UK. A huge group of people, that is all males, were excluded of seeing the full ad which demonstrated the situation of those girls in developing countries who don't get the same chances as boys do. Effective? Totally.

When the technology develops further we are sure to see individually customised ads which are directed only to you. Companies might gather the data from various sources and the companies owning the information are going to make a lot of money out of it. Such sources might be for example companies' databases which include a lot of valuable information about demographics and what customers have bought. Moreover, one of the most valuable sources which consumers might not even think about is Facebook. People voluntareely share a lot of details of themselves and what they do like – all of which is desired by many companies. If companies have an access to that database they can produce ads which are directed to each consumer. Cool but creepy.

Like said, the sky will be the only limit when putting this into practise. While I was batting I came up with one idea. If I went for a holiday it would be cool to see restaurants, music events or shops nearby based on the things I like. Furthermore it could tell more information in detail, for example the opening hours, the route to those places and how to get there as well as the price to name but a few. Or if I was in a shopping centre, the ad could show what kind of clothes I should go and have a look at based on the brands I like. On the other hand, that would require that whoever has created the ad would have an access to my Facebook profile information. I am not quite sure whether I would like that to happen or not.

Furthermore, it might also be an effective tool in some campaigns for example showing ads about the dangers of tobacco to people who are smoking. Or when you are entering to a supermarket a billboard might show you an ad that you might start gaining weight (if having bought one chocolate bar too many lately) and suggest some healthier snacks instead. 

What kind of an ad would you like to see?

tiistai 1. toukokuuta 2012

It's all about the quality, not the quantity

I hear people complaining about many things in life but usually how bored they are with their work. A simple advice: either you change it or you change your attitude towards it. If you are not willing to take the first step, nothing will ever change. Only you can make the difference. If you change your attitude, you will see the gradual change in others' attitudes too. Like Mahatma Gandhi would say: ”Be the change you want to see in the world.”

People also complain that they don't have enough time for the things they really value: family and friends, hobbies, travelling.. That made me think of one solution: What if, instead of working like slaves, we would actually work less when counted in hours but more effectively. That is, when people are satisfied with their lives and have time to relax and enjoy, they could put a lot more effort into their job than they are currently putting.

Let's take an example of a phenomenon that is called optimization. When companies are trying to maximise their profit, they will keep producing a good or a service until the point where marginal cost equals marginal benefit. When the marginal cost gets too high, the company would make loss if it produced more – simple economics. This same example can be applied in our every day life: when will the cost of doing something be high enough that it is not worth continuing? We might work on a project for a long time just to realise that after one point we have only wasted the resources used (employees' time, money etc.) compared to the value added.

In case of an individual it is not that simple to measure their satisfaction because everyone values different things. There are some indicators, however, such as absenteeism and the cost for both the company and the society or effectivity, that is getting things done more quickly or being more creative and presenting fresh ideas which can give some insight whether employees are satiesfied or not. When employees, and why not managers as well, feel better all are better off. So instead of quantity we should concentrate on quality.

Not only do employees need relaxation during their spare time but also it is essential to create a great place to work. If the tasks are interesting and challenging, the atmosphere at the workplace is enthusiastic and encouraging and you actually enjoy working then the results will be phenomenal. When the circumstances are excellent you can be the best you can be. And even more.