Monday, December 28, 2009

Crowdsourcing an Ad Campaign

Public relations professionals have long understood the benefits of connecting with the social media to communicate important messages and reinforce brand positioning. What’s more, just a couple of months ago, I wrote about how one company, Del Monte, had tapped a micro-segment of consumers (dog lovers) to help with product development. Yet I must confess that even I was somewhat surprised to learn (via Ad age) that Unilever has terminated its relationship with its long-time ad agency to crowdsource its ads for its British snack sausage, Peperami, a popular and well-established brand in the U.K.
The $10,000 brief for the assignment was been posted on the Idea Bounty website, which bills itself as “the simplest way to hire 1000s of creatives and only pay for the ideas you want.” The winning idea will be produced by another company which will coordinate with Unilever via its small London office.

This is not just a one-off public relations “stunt.” Unilever’s Matt Burgess is quoted as saying, “We want to get the creative back from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ again. The best way to increase our chances was to increase the amount of creatives exposed to this brief. This is the overriding driver.” He admits that the move will also save on agency fees.

Social Media, Peperami, Idea Bounty, Unilever, communications, public relations, Makovsky

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Last week I had the pleasure of receiving an email from someone who served as an intern at our company 21 years ago. “It’s been a long time and you may not remember me,” he wrote. “I was an intern at Makovsky in 1989-90. For an intern with zero experience fresh out of college, you treated me exceptionally well and I have remembered that, if not the PR training!” He is now a partner at a small consulting firm and said his firm is at a crossroads with marketing, PR and communications – and sought advice.

Besides making my day, this email caused me to reflect on how what we do today as practitioners can set the stage for our companies’ future success. I remembered the job applicant who didn’t pick us, but who went to a Fortune 100 company and recommended us to her new company, which became a client for eight years. The former employees (many) who later became clients. The clients who went on to become clients a second time, and even a third time, as they changed their jobs.

Social media is able to multiply these positive effects… not just for us, but for our clients who wisely employ it in their communications. If we all do our jobs right, in 2031 we won’t have to worry whether that connection just happens to remember us… we will be able to depend on the fact they’ll find us.

Social Media, communications, public relations, Makovsky

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What Does It Take to Power the World?

Have you ever wondered how much land would have to be given over to solar panels in order to supply the entire world with carbon-emission-free energy? Using data from the US Department of Energy, the folks at the Land Art Generator Initiative have computed the answer — and it’s much less than you might imagine.

In addition to a map showing projected distribution of solar technology, there is also an alternative map based on offshore wind power.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

How Corporations Are Benefiting from the Social Media

A fascinating survey by McKinsey(via eMarketer) asked companies which Web 2.0 technologies were providing the biggest benefits, both internally and externally. While blogs were cited as the most useful tools — bringing measurable benefits to 51% of responding companies worldwide, followed by video-sharing and social networking, at 48% each — wikis, podcasts, ratings and tags were also seen as beneficial to some.

(Another recent study found that, among Fortune 100 companies, the #1 choice among social media channels is Twitter.)
Among the benefits flagged by the McKinsey research: more than half of respondents (52%) said that social media tools increased marketing effectiveness; 43% reported higher customer satisfaction; and 38% cited reduced marketing costs.

The industries reporting the most benefit from Web 2.0 were technology companies and business/legal/professional services firms. While the report doesn’t say why, it seems evident to me that it’s because companies in these industries are more likely to be engaged in thought-leadership marketing.

Labels: , , , , ,