Transmedia – Opportunity or Trend??

Most recently marketers and publishers have been buzzing about the impending demise of TV and print. Some have heralded cord cutters as the new breed of viewers, who took the first stab at completely disconnecting from TV and instead relying on the Netflix and Amazons of the world. Some have even said that its cord switchers, those who oscillate between  TV and online. Forrester Research went so far as to predict TV’s demise by 2016, when advertisers will spend almost $77 billion online, comprising 35% of overall ad spending. While, highly likely I am a bit weary of this statistic, I don’t doubt this will eventually happen but probably not this soon.

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Brands and Branding – Deep Dive into Dos Equis

I came across a fantastic article by Douglas B. Holt in the Harvard Business Review titled ‘Brands and Branding‘ and thought I would use the insights from that article to extend my previous post on Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign. So if you have not yet read that you can at

If you remember the Dos Equis campaigns brand persona/personality is a gray haired male played by Actor Jonathan Goldsmith, the Most Interesting Man in the World. When I first saw the campaign, and I am sure many thought it as well – why would they have an old guy represent a product clearly targeting a young male audience? Well Dos Equis creative team clearly thought of something that a lot of beer companies have forgotten.

The brand is essentially a product as it is experienced and valued by the user in everyday life. Dos Equis clearly figured out that most beer makers have positioned themselves as the beer for the young male, who is fun, likes to have a good time and getting into all sort of shenanigans. Positioning your product in a similar manner would be a waste, because your product would never stand out. So instead they developed a break away strategy to position themselves and stand apart from the crowd by borrowing from the identity of another category (I am thinking more like scotch or whisky). Take a look for yourself, here is a commercial for Miller and Corona. Would anyone want to be in this red ocean?

Although Heineken recently released a commercial that I thought was interesting and on the lines of Dos Equis. Now whether they can generate an integrated campaign that passes the test of time is another question. Although the latter is not a measure of success.

Then there are some commercials by smaller brewers that are simply hard to discern. Here is the Blue Moon 2011 Commercial.

Dos Equis took an approach towards marketing by showcasing and developing experiences, based on the values and characteristics their target audience is most likely to be drawn to.  If you notice each commercial tells a story through the brand persona and thereby speaks to the product. He is well traveled, interesting, likes new experiences, adventure, challenging himself and is so not the average guy. He is a leader. My favorite voice over is “His personality is so magnetic, he finds it difficult to carry credit cards]. These are also most likely the way Dos Equis target consumer sees himself.

The campaign’s integrated marketing and messaging strategy has ensured that all elements of the marketing mix – product, communication and channels – tell a story about the product. With 1.6 Million likes on Facebook its easy to see that fans love to engage with this brand. Why because Dos Equis has given them the stories and images to define a brand culture. One that people want to engage with and discuss. Plus the campaign has legs, Dos Equis extended the campaign this summer with The League of the Most interesting.

According to Holt, customers take on risks when they purchase products, particularly those that they purchase in the future. Brands also act as symbols that express customers values and identity, and by positioning itself as an experiential brand, Dos Equis has set itself on the path to success and at the same time differentiated itself from the competition.

Stay thirsty my friends.

I dont always watch commercials but when I do its Dos Equis

I have a confession to make, I skip ads. That’s right, I often leave the room after skipping the episode right to the end of the digital episode  and then come back to watch it all in one go without the pesky ads.

But every now and then there are a few commercials where I will actually sit and watch, rather than finding something to kill those 30-60 seconds that feel like eternity. Few advertisements have caught the attention of the public, target audience and advertising world as Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign.

If viewing the commercial for the first time, one might think this is a  Whiskey or Cognac commercial, but you would be wrong. Its beer.

Dos Equis’s brand spokesperson/symbol is a gray-bearded man engaging in a series of adventurous pursuits: close-combat sparring, jumping off a plane in a kayak, piloting a motorboat full of beauty-pageant winners, lifting two nurses simultaneously at a party.  He lives vicariously through himself. He is the most interesting man in the world.

While, most campaigns rarely last a few years. The most interesting man in the world campaign has been running since 2007. Of course what really sticks about this ad is the tag line. “I don’t always drink beer,” he says, “but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends.”

The brand certainly took a bold approach to advertising in the beer category, which typically targets 20-30 year old men with humor laden ads featuring their peers. Well for one the advertising clearly makes an impact. The grainy spots, mix humor with old world charm and charisma. I would even go so far as to call this an aspirational brand play, with a focus on standing apart from the frat boy advertising. This truly an integrated marketing campaign with TV spots, print, interactive, out-of-home (OOH) and event marketing components.

Now I don’t always watch commercials but when I do its Dos Equis.

So what do you think of the Dos Equis campaign? Do you find it odd that the brand spokes person is so divergent from the target audience?

Video Advertising and its growing role in the Online Display Industry

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true in marketing than today. This old expression not only highlights the effectiveness of pictures to capture our imagination but also its ability to communicate ideas succinctly. So it’s not very surprising that video is fast becoming a driving force in the online advertising industry.

Growth in display advertising dollars has prompted eMarketer to double its ad growth projections. According to projections, overall the market for display advertising is expected to grow at 20.2%, overtaking search to become the largest online ad spending category by 2015. One of the key factors driving this surge is the move towards video based advertising, with its share of pie expected to grow from 19.4% in 2011 to 35.9% in 2014, while Rich Media and Banner Ads are expected to moderately, by steadily, decline.So why are advertisers moving dollars from the once trusty search and banner advertising to video?

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Insights from ARF Audience Measurement Conference

ARF Audience Measurement conference - NYC 2011

I spent the last two days (June 13-14th) attending the ARF Audience Measurement 6.O conference in NYC, particularly the social media insights panels. It was exciting to sit there and listen to how companies such as Cisco and Verizon are using social media, as well as how media planning and technology companies are testing findings to roll-out of various advertising methodologies. The following post focuses on some of the insights I got from some of the Key Note and panels I attended.

Perfect People Meter:

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, presented a keynote on how people use digital technology and how that makes audience measurement more complicated than in the past. Rainie  listed out three revolutions – the Internet, mobile and social media, and then proceeded to discuss each in detail.

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Privacy in the digital age

Original cartoon by the US gov’t. Hat tip to Andy Baio.

Privacy, a need constantly demanded  by movie stars and other celebrities, has taken on a new meaning for the common man, who spends a large part of his/her day online. But do we really care about our online footprint or is this brouhaha just being generated to control the growing power of the internet and the media?

The government on its part is trying to be our knight in shining armor, passing along the ‘Do not Track Bill’ – providing consumers with the option to opt out of being tracked.  I think providing options is always a great, its important to have the choice. But on the flip side there are reasons why a bill such as Do not track impedes the growth of the internet. John Battelle in his book The Search, makes a great point that Clickstream data allows companies to identify what you are interested in and helps provides a better experience on the internet.

We all spend a large part of our days surfing the net, posting details of our day-to-day life on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, post pictures (often without privacy settings), check-in using Foursquare, so how concerned are we really with privacy. According to privacy expert Larry Ponemon most U.S. adults — 60 percent —claim they care about privacy but will barely lift a finger in an effort to preserve it. They don’t alter Facebook privacy settings, they don’t complain when supermarkets demand their phone numbers and they certainly don’t insist on encrypted e-mail. I was shocked to read about Gary LosHuerto experience of hacking and informing people they were on an unsecured network and those individuals did nothing to alter their behavior.

Statistics thus far show that the opt-out rate has received relatively low response. The click-through rate is just 0.002% and of those people who do follow the link, only 10% opt out of the ads, according to DoubleVerify, which recently won a contract from the industry trade group to license the icon for ad clients. Two other companies, Evidon and TRUSTe, also provide the service. Evidon, which has the longest set of data, is seeing click-through of 0.005% with only 2% opting out from 30 billion impressions. At this point, advertisers’ fears consumers would opt out of behavioral targeted advertising appears to be slightly overblown.

So how do you feel about the issue? Are you concerned that some company is going through your private information or are you just taking a wait and watch approach?