Vary Your Vernacular is a small intermittent series designed to increase one’s vocabulary relating to all things Web 2.0.

prosumer

n. pro·sum·er
A portmanteau of the words producer and consumer, playing particular importance with the increase of consumer generated content through new means such as blogging, podcasting and social networking.

Social Network Fatigue Syndrome (SNFS)

n. so·cial net·work fa·tigue syn·drome
Mental exhaustion and stress caused by creating and maintaining an excessive number of accounts on social networking communities.

to jump on the brandwagon

v. to jump on the brand·wag·on
To follow a trend based on another brand’s performance in a specific area.

In case you missed it, the title is a late night attempt at an acronym for the Australian Record Industry Association Awards (or ARIAS as they are known). The question of “Are Retailers Intentionally Advertising Subliminally?” should be raised after the airing of the 2007 Awards on the 28th of October.

Take a look at this footage as seen on Network Ten…

 

 

Notice anything?

Watch the clip again and you might see the logo of Olay splashed across the screen during several of the cuts between songs.

In Network Ten’s defence Olay was the sponsor of that particular award but similar tactics were also used by KFC, Big W, Toyota and possibly others in their own sponsored awards.

Subliminal advertising in Australia is illegal. Section 1.8 of the The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice prohibits the use of “any technique which attempts to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness”.

Clever sponsorship or subliminal advertising?

…then you’re probably going to be subject to similar campaigns. Or at least its likely if you drink Heineken and drive a Holden.

Julian Cole linked me to an interesting little blog Talent Imitates, Genius Steals written by Faris Yakob. After looking through it just last night and then watching an episode of House, I noticed a rather familiar commercial.

The “original” was for Heineken beer, and much like many of the beer commercials it was a pretty kickin’ advert…

 

 

And the “stolen” is for Holden’s new ute, which is also a pretty sweet advert…

 

 

Does anyone else spot the similar theme there?

Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re both great ads, particularly Holden’s use of Aussie rock band Jet (and their single Rip It Up), but it raises the question as to what level can two campaigns be similar? Where is the line between stealing someone else’s creative idea and imitating another?

Take a look at You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice? and see for yourself.

Is it really genius to steal?

Mozilla Firefox have released their latest marketing campaign; Operation: Firefox. The concept (like their strategy) is simple, develop a plan for where you would stick a giant one metre logo on display for the world. The top fifty plans are actually sent out the stickers and required to put them up as stated in their submission. In the end there will be fifty stickers on display somewhere around the world promoting Firefox, “infiltrating society one sticker at a time”.
For those of you, Firefox is a web browser that is quickly gaining popularity over Internet Explorer and other popular browsers. What I love about this concept is that it screams “Firefox” at me. The contest is creative, original and a little bit devious which are things I strongly associate with Mozilla. This should receive a fair bit of attention, not just from the stickers going up but from blogs like this one that I think will really carry it through.

In fact, its the way in which this contest really plays to the brand loyalty of Firefox users, which I think people often overlook, that I love. When I say “brand loyalty” many people might think of big companies like Apple or Google, but Firefox users I believe are among the most passionate consumers of a brand. It is so strong, where as a Firefox user myself, I hate IE and I can’t think of any other brand that has created such a negative relationship with its competitors. Every one I know who uses Firefox doesn’t have a bad thing to say but what’s more interesting is that they themselves promote it to their family and friends, acting as a credible opinion leader and testimonial to the brand. I know I have personally converted a few people.

However the campaign falls down in a few areas. Firstly, the prizes which certainly could be made a little more attractive to potential entrants. Not overly important, but still I’d expect to see more from in a project that will hopefully be quite big. And secondly, the fact that you can only enter this if you’re in countries with a Mozilla office, which is not my own and many others. The pros certainly outweigh the cons, but some things worth noticing.

Another clever promotional strategy from the people over at Mozilla.

Where would you stick your sticker?

The Chaser are an Australian group of six who focus on political satire. Starting with a mock newspaper at University, this comedic team have become well known for The Chaser’s War On Everything which first aired in 2006 on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

I’ve been a big fan for a long time, well before they became mainstream. However their popularity has increased exponentially over the past few months with two controversial stunts that have sent their ratings skyrocketing.

The first was a stunt breaching the security of the APEC Summit…

 


And the second, which aired only last week, was The Eulogy Song…
 


The first stunt reached international media and that episode reached 2.3 million viewers, which is phenomenal for Australian TV.
It was controversial with many saying it was over the top while others, like myself, loved it. And the second gained a lot of interest in the media, calling it poor taste and disrespectful, even to the point where the Australian Prime Minister came out and said it was disgusting. The general view was that you can’t make fun on deceased people, which is exactly what the song plays on. Again, I loved it.Personally I feel the Chaser guys are legends, as would the majority of the Generation Y. But how does this all tie into marketing I hear you ask? Well, lets take a look at their popularity and how it was reached.

The War airs on the ABC, which is a government funded channel with no advertising. Not only does this means their production is done on a budget far less than on the commercial networks, but it also means they cannot advertise. The ABC has a strict policy on this, meaning no commercials for the view but in fact its so strict that logos on the show are actually covered up as not to suggest any kind of sponsorship or endorsement. So how is it that these guys can win the ratings over commercial networks and gain such popularity?

I believe its more than the fact this show is hilariously humorous and obviously controversial, with a few main reasons that stand out.

Podcasting being the first. It seems to be something that the ABC has adopted and its definitely something that’s working in their favour. The War ranks as the most downloaded podcast for most of last year, only to be topped these days by ABC’s other high rating series Summer Heights High. Both of these shows have similar elements and the podcasting of these freely has significantly increased their audience, particularly to the Generation Y.

YouTube being the second. Many of their stunts have gone viral but rather than the ABC forcing this clips removed, they’ve endorsed it. Again this was done with Summer Heights High and again both of these are gaining the benefit from a much larger audience.

And their online support being the third and final factor giving this show such popularity. If you’ve seen the show you’ll know they run a regular segment called “The Ad Road Test” which involves testing Australian adverts to see how true they are. All of the adverts used are suggested by average consumers on their guestbook at their official website. They also have a strong forum community. The War are involved and as Joseph Jaffe would say, they are “joining the conversation”.

The combination of these three has successfully promoted their show. With no advertising budget and no access to commercial or standard channels of promotion, these guys are using new means. Its costing them less and is arguably a more successful approach.

And now, the whole point of this blog, was to discuss what could be called The War’s first serious marketing campaign. I say “serious” because they have placed billboards in Iceland and Estonia in the past (see below), but this is their first official campaign. Its called Sledge and basically it involves people to go out and filming their on satire piece based on the upcoming 2007 Election. It must then be uploaded on YouTube and the best clip has the winner spend a week working with the Chaser guys in Sydney with flights and accommodation paid for.

I must say I really do love this idea. At first I was hesitant, thinking it wouldn’t attract much attention. I haven’t really heard much about it, just through Triple J (An Australian radio station, closely affiliated with the ABC) and a small newspaper article, which is my main concern. The deadline is the eve of the 2007 Eelction, the 23rd of November, and if word doesn’t spread quick enough it could miss out on the involvement it deserves.

However I think the idea itself is great. Not only is it something new and creative but it really goes to the heart of what The War is all about. Its also integrating YouTube as a social network and pushing the concept for consumer generated content. I think its really a great example of a “prosumer” related contest with an interesting prize. I’m already working on filming a clip of my own but I think it will be great to see what people can come up with.

The War and the ABC are leading the way in new marketing.

Welcome to Pigs Don’t Fly, a new blog written by yours truly, Zac Martin.

I am an undergraduate student at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I’m studying a Bachelor of Business (Management) / Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and its because of this that I’ve decided to start my own blog.

The blog will focus on the most part on marketing, particularly keying in on innovative marketing campaigns across Australia. Inspired by numerous blogs and podcasts, I’ll soon make a link to these when this blog is customized correctly. I also have a logo and other images in the works, which will be uploaded when possible.

At this stage the blog will be infrequent depending on my time and content available.