Spread the Joy: A Little Augmented Reality and a Rosetta Snow Day

snowdayWhat do augmented reality, snowdays and New Orleans have in common?  A Happy Holidays card and helping to spread some joy from Rosetta.

Every year agencies of all types like to show their stuff with digital holiday cards.  Looking to raise the bar from last year, the Rosetta team is trying something new.  Our team took their passion for technology, social media and working for a good cause to dream up something fun – and we hope people find it to be a “different taste” from the usual agency card.  Grab your webcam and see what I mean.

Happy Holidays from Rosetta

What’s more joyful than catching snowflakes on your tongue?  If we catch a million snowflakes, on February 20, 2010, we’ll be in New Orleans providing some joy to local children at City Park: a snow day.  Read more at the card site, and I look forward to sharing stories of the joy from that event in a couple months.  Have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Note: We’ll be watching usage and looking to fix or upgrade features – would love your input on what we could improve.

UPDATE: The WSJ covered our holiday card today (“Stop Licking Your Monitor,” 12/15/2009).  My favorite quote is about “on-tongue recognition technology” from Rosetta partner Toni Hess.

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Is User Generated Content the New Campaign Standard?

terminateyourselfTwo recent movie promotional campaigns do a great job combining the storyline, user photos and content (not to mention the ability to share that content easily on networks like Facebook).  They’re fun, easy to use and engage the user in more than just an online impression.  Has this become the new standard for interactive marketing?

First, the site Terminate Yourself (http://www.terminateyourself.com) promotes the new Terminator Salvation coming out on May 21.  The site allows you to upload a picture (or take one via webcam on the spot, which I think is the best part) and then customize the “damage” to yield a photo.  Simple, effective, and potentially viral.  What is intriguing is a lack of big corporate sponsorship, unlike the Star Trek Counterpart.

Star Trek’s marketing team partners with Cheez-It to deliver Trek Yourself (http://www.trekyourself.com).  While more feature rich, it can take time to load and process making it slightly more cumbersome.  After uploading a picture, you select a character, a soundbite (custom text allowed, which is pretty slick), and a background, and you’ve got a moving, living image you can embed anywhere.  I’d say this site is much more robust than the first example, but both are good at accomplishing promotional goals and leveraging user generated content to drive results.

As an agency, we’ve done work on these campaigns in the past (most recently for client Nationwide on the Sanjaya-ize Me site).  They can be fun, effective ways of engaging people online and can have at least a good shot of creating viral success.  I think the Simpsons site is still the best example out there though.  What do you think?  Have any other good examples that get the concept right? (For those reading via feed, please click through to see the example).

Create Your Own

Celebrities Are Not Taking Over Twitter

crowdsCelebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Shaquille O’Neal and Britney Spears are not taking over Twitter.  A well publicized event like Oprah tweeting on her show won’t help.  Ashton vs. Larry King, in a contest to see which account, @aplusk (“a plus k”) or @cnnbrk can reach a million followers first is a publicity event that had lots of benefits for both in terms of building large networks, but they are not taking over.  Any way you slice it, their efforts are futile. They can’t take over Twitter because of one simple fact: people choose who they follow.

Twitter is a social network that allows a member to choose who to follow, and followers choose whether they follow back.  Follow who you are interested in.  Ignore spammers or folks who don’t interest you. It’s that simple.

The major benefit of all the celebrity activity around Twitter is that more people will be drawn to use the service.  For a concept that is so simple, Twitter is not the most intuitive network to navigate.  Understanding how to start and join in a conversation online is a little outside of the comfort zone of many people.  I’ve seen many people join Twitter and 6 months later they are following 10 people, no one is following back and the only post on their account is “Joined twitter, trying to figure this out.”  Take a look for yourself.

I will still contend that Twitter is not for everybody, but as more people figure out how to build their own communities on the platform, the more valuable content and discussion will be aggregated.  I like to think of the volume of content on Twitter as an unstructured Wikipedia – it’s not precisely accurate but directionally correct, and the more sources that contribute the better it gets.

Here’s an example.  I had a conversation last night with someone who had just joined twitter and had trouble convincing a friend why it is valuable.  I asked what that friend did for a living – the friend was a user experience designer, and very skeptical about Twitter.  I pulled up search.twitter.com and searched for “UX” – and immediately found UX job listings, informative blogs of well known people in the industry and a lot of people talking about user experience design.  I clicked through to a couple of twitter profiles and quickly identified the lead of user experience of AutoTrader.com.  Within a few minutes I could identify a dozen valuable resources that would help that friend in his career.

I’ve been using Twitter for nearly two years, and the community has changed and evolved.  I still keep to the core of interacting with folks who share common interests, whether it’s the Red Sox, social media or the fun of a lazy Saturday morning with the kids at home.  I’ve come to heavily rely on Tweetdeck to manage groups of friends and contacts that I don’t want to lose in the sea of “tweets,” but I am also continuing to find value by identifying interesting people who have something valuable to share.  With valuable contributors, searching Twitter has become an increasingly relevant way to get to content.  Celebrities joining twitter can only bring more interesting people to follow right along with them.

Are you using Twitter? Do you think celebrities joining is positive or negative, and has it changed how you use Twitter?  Feel free to reach out to me @adamcohen on Twitter to discuss, I’d love to hear from you.

Photo credit: Neon23 via flickr

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Healthy Choice Chooses Wisely

workinglunchEvery once in awhile I stumble across a great example of interactive marketing to share.  Today a friend shot me a link to a microsite from the consumer product brand Healthy Choice, that has a lot of the right ingredients for a successful campaign.  The campaign looks like it was launched last fall but I think it will have a long shelf life.  Here are some reasons why I like the campaign.

  • Comedy is good. The central theme around the microsite is a daily comedy improv show.  The actors are funny, regular people loosely resembling the successful TV show the Office.  They depict characters debating various agenda topics during a lunch meeting.  Quality comedic content can make a site more engaging, more viral and keeping people searching the site for more.  The site’s show had daily updates for several weeks when it was launched, for a “season.”  It appears Season 2 ended in November. With agenda topics such as, “What Not to Do at Work,” “Dealing with Flatulence,”and “Reuse Staples.”  This “best of” show from November 25th is a great example.
  • Consumers engage and direct the content. You can submit meeting agenda topics, vote on future meeting topics, and send a “care package” to a friend who has been in too many meetings.  You can subscribe to reminders about the next meeting, browse through many archived shows and read through dozens of humorous articles.
  • Product endorsement is pervasive but not overbearing. Healthy Choice could just have easily made a microsite about nutrition and product information.  Instead they chose a humorous platform and work the product placement in without diluting the quality comedy content.  When you “send a care package” you can share episodes with friends via email but there also is an option to send a Healthy Choice product coupon.


I’m curious what the cost was to produce the show, site and content, and what the overall ROI would be for a site like this versus an ad campaign in a magazine.  No question I spent more time on this site than reading an ad and that Healthy Choice will have ample metrics to measure consumption of the content.  Well done, Healthy Choice.  Do you think this type of microsite works?  What are some examples of others you have seen and liked?

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Nintendo Wii: When Good Content Speaks for Itself

A great advertisement disguised as a YouTube video of game footage from Wario Land for the Nintendo Wii is being passed around today.  If the counts are accurate it hit over 250K views today alone.  The ad cleverly leverages a flash physics engine and pretty much speaks for itself.  This is a great example where a creative team pulled together a compelling use of the technology to drive a marketing campaign.  The content is clean, well produced and is based off a great idea.  Simple, well-executed creative, matched with great execution can yield phenomenal results.  I’d love to find out whether an agency was involved in generating the content or the idea.


Check it out for yourself – it’s worth it:



Note: At the end, try grabbing some of the “pieces” with your mouse and dragging them on the screen.


Have any other examples of simple ideas that would make an interactive marketer think, “I wish I thought of that”?