Crowdsourcing: Isobar’s Fiat Fired Up, Crispin’s Brammo Backfires, Unilever Fires Lowe’s

Fiat is building a consumer-generated car in Brazil, using input gathered through social media to inform everything from the automobile’s design to its marketing communications. Working with Sao Paulo-based AgenciaClick, part of Aegis Group‘s Isobar network of digital agencies, Fiat started a website this month requesting ideas for the work-in-progress Fiat Mio. “We’re inviting Brazilian consumers to invent the concept car that Fiat will exhibit in the Salao do Automovel, Sao Paulo’s auto show, in October 2010,” said Abel Reis, AgenciaClick’s president and chief operating officer.
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Most of Crispin’s clients seem rather pleased to stir up controversy. And this article is proof that their campaigns get attention. But a new company like Brammo can’t be terribly pleased that right out of the gate, they’ve been accused, by association, of being anti-design cheap skates.
crispin porter brammo fail
For some time, marketers have been using ad contests as one-off PR ploys for their brands. Now, Unilever is testing whether crowdsourcing can be a long-term strategy for one of its British brands — and the result could have far-reaching consequences for any number of agencies on the consumer-goods giant’s roster. Just ask Lowe, London, which was recently sacked by Unilever on its Peperami snack brand so that the marketer can run a contest to find ad ideas. Unilever is offering a $10,000 bounty to the winner of a competition to find TV and print ideas for the meat snack popular with schoolchildren.
peperami crowdsourcing
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Microsoft’s Photoshop Fiasco

Oh Dear. A lot of global marketing is about translating a single idea for dozens of markets. But these days local executions don’t stay local for long, especially if they offer bloggers a chance to embarrass a multinational brand. Microsoft learned this last week, when blogs and mainstream media alike seized upon an image from Microsoft’s Polish business website featuring a clumsy Photoshop job that turned a black man white. The original image appeared on Microsoft’s U.S. website and featured an Asian man, the black man and a white woman sitting around a conference table. On the Polish website, the same photo appeared with a white man’s head pasted over the black man — if you look [not even] closely, the black man’s hand is still there –apparently because of Poland‘s homogenous population. While Microsoft has since apologized and taken down the photo, evidence of the racially insensitive gaffe remains on major news sites such as the BBC and ABC, and countless blogs.
microsoft racist
I think Ford did this in Poland also in 1996?

Read the same article elsewhere:

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Brand Extensions: Nokia v Money

Phone Company Becomes a Bank
Using the mobile financial service provider Obopay, Nokia is poised to revolutionize the world of banking through its new service Nokia Money. It’s reportedly very easy to use, and will facilitate all kinds of financial transactions, such as bill paying. They are also building a large network of Nokia Money agents, where consumers can come in person to deposit money or withdraw cash from their accounts. Users will pay 25 cents to send any amount of money up to $1000, and receiving a payment is free. Right now, Obopay only works in the US and India, but more information will be released at Nokia World in September.

nokia bank

[Picture credit: textually.org]

Nokia already owns the global cell-phone market. Now Tero Ojanperä is launching the world’s biggest delivery system for services, apps, and entertainment.
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Sir Martin: Tough Times, Goin’ Digital

Economists may think the worst is behind us in this recession, but media people continue to be less optimistic. Earlier this week, Media Life published results of a reader poll finding that most respondents believe that recovery in the media economy won’t begin until second quarter 2010 or later. Yesterday the head of the world’s biggest advertising group, Sir Martin Sorrell, seemed to agree that recovery is still a ways off. Discussing WPP’s first-half results, which saw profits fall by nearly half, Sorrell told reporters that despite some big-ticket events in 2010, including the World Cup and Winter Olympics, he felt “cautious” about the possibility of recovery. Sorrell said that the shape of the recovery will be “an L shape, and an italicized L,” according to the Times of London.
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In a first half earnings statement released this morning, WPP Group announced that digital and direct marketing-related services now comprise 25% of its body. WPP Group owns labels like 24/7 Real Media, Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom, Mindshare, GroupM and Outrider. Digital and direct garnered $1.7 billion in revenues in the first half of ’09, with a projected annual run rate of nearly $3.5 billion total. But it is digital media and advertising that appear to be dominating the segment. Overall, first half revenues fell 2.9% to $6.4 billion in the first half on a reported basis, MediaPost reports. Like-for-like, however, total revenues slid 8.3% against the first half of 2008. According to WPP, traditional advertising and “media investment management” have been the hardest-hit amidst the economic downturn.
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Identity Crisis In British Design?

An Identity Crisis In British Design?
Is British design in the midst of an identity crisis? In a piece for the New York Times, Alice Rawsthorne wonders why so many British design icons have lost some of the impact and relevance their predecessors possessed, and ponders the challenges of capturing a nation’s identity and psyche in design, when that identity is increasingly complex.

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