KONY2012: a call to action speaks louder than words!

By now you’ve probably seen the KONY2012 video – it’s been everywhere in the last few days; on mainstream on and off line news outlets, social networks, and was the first video to reach 100 million views on YouTube.  One of the stated objectives of the campaign by Invisible Children was to raise awareness of the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony in Uganda.  [TICK]

The video talks about the desire to arrest Joseph Kony and bring him to justice, and then asks supporters to sign up to an online petition and buy a kit that will ultimately end in what it calls ‘Cover the night’… where supporters paste posters in towns and cities around the world on April 20th 2012.  On April 21st [a Saturday, for the record] the world will likely wake up to poster-covered towns and cities… but how does this help achieve the states objective of bringing Kony to justice.

I suspect that Invisible Children will forward on their petition, containing millions of names to some pretty powerful people… but, at the end of the day, it’s just another document with a lot of names on it.  Will it really persuade political leaders to take action?

Having used social networks to spread the word, why not use these same networks to lobby the people ultimately with the power to find, arrest and try him?  What if the call to action had been for each and every person that has watched the video to email, call or write to their senator, their member of parliament, their Prime Minister or President?  It’d be hard to ignore 100 million emails… 100 million letters, 100 million voices.

A campaign can raise awareness… but, no matter how admirable the sentiment, unless it has a call to action that will mobilize the audience to actions capable of delivering the intended objective all the awareness in the world won’t help the cause.


A glass and a half of pure brand advertising genius!

As part of my recent thinking about the importance of brand – and intelligent brand advertising – I wanted to share what I believe is one of the best examples ever.  I won’t spoil it for the first time viewer by telling you too much about it before the fold but it was raised many an eye from colleagues and friends who grew up outside of the UK.  I remind them that they weren’t the intended audience… the millions of children that grew up seeing the infamous ‘a glass and a half’ slogan on the side of every Cadbury’s chocolate bar they’d ever eaten was.

Initially run as a 90 second TV spot the video very quickly went viral.

One of the marketing team behind the advert was asked what the point of the advert was, to which he is reported to have replied, ‘it’s a Gorilla playing the drums… that’s the point’.     Brand advertising at its simplest – and its best.

New iPad is another piece in Apple’s bid to change the face of TV

What do you think to the new iPad announced yesterday?  What about the updates to Apple TV?  For those wanting an Apple television and a revolutionary new iPad the announcement was, perhaps, an anti-climax but it was another marketing masterclass from the Cupertino-based company.  Yesterday’s announcements were, I believe, more about Apple putting the final pieces of its strategy in place for its attempt, later in the year, to revolutionize the television industry.

In recent years TV Everywhere – all your content on every device, when you want it – has become the latest service for Pay TV operators and telecommunications service providers looking to reduce churn and increase revenues.  Increasingly consumers are demanding 1080p [true HD] as the default resolution.  Apple’s iPad and TV updates yesterday play to  the launch of its own TV Everywhere later in the year… and yes, it’s likely that there’ll also be an Apple television before the end of the year.

HD video on Apple TV + a second 1080p resolution companion screen + Apple TV HD + iCloud + a revolutionary Siri-powered EPG + a large screen Apple television = an insanely awesome TV service?  The creation of an ecosystem that makes it easy to store content between pre-integrated devices is a critical part of Apple’s desires on the TV industry.  Oh, and there’s also likely to be some smart marketing!

Iconic Brands that disappeared… the question is, why?

This is an interesting article from CNBC that looks at iconic brands that disappeared.  There are a number of questions that it raises: what makes a brand iconic, and why do once household brands lose their appeal.

Over the next few days I’m going to publish a number of posts looking at the topic of brand and offer some advice on how to build, retain and grow a brand that will win the hearts and minds of your prospects, customers and the press.

What were your favourite brands that disappeared and what was it that made you loyal to them?


How well do you know your audience?

One of the things that, arguably, derails more communications programmes than any other is not knowing who your audience well enough.  It’s one of the most neglected parts of every strategic comms plan.

I always remember back in the 90s [it may still be true now] that The Guardian was fabled for the granularity of the data it had collected about its readers.  It didn’t just know what proportion was male or female, what age brackets they fell into and what job they did… The Guardian knew, with a large degree of accuracy, the likely names of its archetypal readers, how many children they had, it could also hazard a guess at their names and ages.  It also knew the make and model of the car driven by the average Guardian reader, their salary and their hobbies.

This data enabled it to put together a newspaper that it knew readers would want to read.  It could instinctively know how its readers would react to a column or news story, the sort of pictures it needed to use and, most importantly, how to engage its readers.

In a world where your target audience is bombarded by more information than ever before, via more channels of communication than ever, on more devices than ever knowing your audience is more important than ever.  So, before you start on your next PR, marketing or social media campaign ask yourself how well you know the intended audience [or public]. What publications do they read; which social networks do they use; what are the top three problems they are trying to overcome.  If the answer is ‘not very’, then perhaps it’s worth investing some time and money before spending time, money and resource on a campaign that may fail to deliver the results you’re looking for.