It gets harder every year to think of an industry that hasn’t been disrupted by the internet. Brands big and small are finding themselves sandwiched between a dead (or dying) business model and an uncertain future.
Blogger, podcaster and Twist Image president Mitch Joel calls this state “purgatory” and in his new book, CTRL ALT Delete, he argues that it’s time for businesses and individuals to “reboot.”
Mitch has been a friend of Sparksheet since the beginning and he joined us for a Google+ Hangout to talk about his thoughtful and thought-provoking book, which comes out on May 21.
Our conversation covers everything from screen shifting and mobile marketing, to how to have “safe sex with data” and why the world should be a little more “squiggly.”
If you’re full of good ideas and passionate about content, media and marketing, then come join Sparksheet for the summer! We’re looking for a smart, web-savvy editorial intern to spend a few months with us in our Montreal office.
As Sparksheet’s editorial intern, you’ll work with our content and design teams to create and curate content across our award-winning platforms. You’ll also be involved in day-to-day editorial stuff like researching images, navigating our CMS, and coming up with story ideas.
Because we’re a small team, you’ll be encouraged to bring your own unique skills, talents and interests to the table. Journalism students, recent graduates, and anyone with relevant writing and editorial experience will be considered. Design skills and social media chops are always a plus.
Think you’re the right person for the job? Know someone who is?
The Sparksheet team is in Toronto this week for Dx3, Canada’s first and only digital marketing, digital advertising and digital retailing trade show. We’re proud to be the event’s official content partner for the second year running. Here’s what we have in store:
Sparksheet has a booth on the trade show floor (#201) where we’ll be showing off our content creation chops through live visual storytelling. Let us turn you into content!
Over the past few months we’ve published a series of exclusive Q&As with digital thought leaders (Canadian and otherwise) on the Dx3 Digest. Stay tuned for our very candid interview with Kim Kelleher, former worldwide publisher at Time magazine and current President of Say Media (Dx3′s gold sponsor).
If you’re in the neighbourhood, come say hello. We’d love to meet you. If not, we’ll be doing lots of live-tweeting over the next two days, so stay tuned!
Doritos’ “Crash The Super Bowl” ad campaign. Image via Doritos’ Facebook Page.
More than a hundred million American sports fans will be glued to their TVs this Sunday for Super Bowl XLVII. The rest of the world will be paying attention to the ads. And for good reason: This year could turn out to be the high-water mark for crowdsourced commercials.
The trend of crowdsourcing, or bringing fans into the ad’s creative process, can be traced back to 2007, when Doritos debuted its massively popular “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. Brands haven’t stopped experimenting since.
Here is a taste of crowdsourcing strategies brands are deploying for Super Bowl 2013.
Crowdsource the script
Super Bowl ad rookie Lincoln (the car company, not the U.S. president or Oscar-nominated film) will be airing a commercial based on tweets from its #SteertheScript promotion. The car brand teamed up with comedian Jimmy Fallon, who chose his favourite tweets as inspiration for the ad. The brand has been dropping occasional teasers for months now, building anticipation for the main event.
Crowdsource the ad
While Doritos is the only brand to put the entire creative process in the hands of its contestants, other brands are starting to head in that direction. Coca-Cola and Audi are each running separate ‘choose your own adventure’ style campaigns, where fans get to vote online for which ending will appear on TV.
Sometimes it’s not the crowd that decides the fate of an ad, but the network. That’s what happened to Sodastream, a home carbonation product.
The Israel-based brand had intended to break into the American market with a Super Bowl ad mocking Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but CBS (the network airing the game) disapproved of the spot.
Turns out people love controversy. The original commercial went viral on YouTube before being replaced by a toned down version, which is scheduled to run on Sunday.
Even if this social media tie-in was accidental, Sodastream has made a far bigger splash because of it.
It’s almost certain that every ad will be accompanied by a hashtag. The only question is how integrated into the campaign that hashtag will be. Toyota encouraged people to upload images of themselves on Instagram and Twitter with the #wishgranted hashtag for a chance to appear in the ad.
In the same vein, users who upload selfies with the #PepsiHalftime might appear on screen during the Pepsi-sponsored Beyonce halftime show.
Send your fans to space
Hashtags and user-generated content are likely to make an impact, but they won’t necessarily send a brand into orbit.
That’s why Axe is using their first-ever Super Bowl spot to promote the Axe Apollo Space Academy contest, in which participants compete for a chance to get flown into space. The sheer boldness of the contest has been enough to generate lots of buzz.
Gaming the crowds
It’s easy to see why brands are so committed to crowdsourcing and social media tie-ins. As Jason Therrien, President of social media marketing agency Thunder Tech explains, “If you have an emotional attachment to a commercial, you’re more likely to sit through it.”
And if brands can nurture that attachment by crafting a contest around the ad, or build anticipation through sharable teasers, then all the better.
Super Bowl ads are expensive. This year brands paid an average of $3.7 million for the privilege. For perspective, the cost of a 30-second spot a decade ago was $1.9 million.
So it’s no wonder that ad agencies and brands are pulling out all the stops to earn as many impressions as possible. Bringing campaigns online is a surefire way to do that. As Mashable reports, those ads shown before the game get 600 percent more YouTube views.
Brands love to rise above the noise, but sometimes it’s better to stick to the crowd.
It’s a brand new year and we’re gearing up for some big changes around these parts.
Over the past three and a half years you’ve seen Sparksheet evolve from an upstart agency blog to an award-winning multiplatform magazine. We’ve taken on more and more topics, industries and platforms, tweaking our site’s design along the way.
We don’t want to fix anything that’s not broken and we’re not about to change things up just because we can, or because we think we’re supposed to.
But we do want to keep evolving and, most importantly, we want to make sure that Sparksheet continues to serve you, our loyal readers, with relevant content in 2013 and beyond.
So before we do anything crazy we’re asking you to fill out a short reader survey. We know that no one likes surveys, but this one is pretty painless, we promise.
Basically, we’d like to know a little bit more about who you are and why you come to Sparksheet. We want to know what sort of content you’re into, what we’re not covering that you think we should be, and what you’re sick of hearing us go on about. We’d also love to know how you use the “good ideas” you find on Sparksheet – who you share it with, why and how.
It will only take a few minutes of your time. And we’d really appreciate it.
We’re off to recharge our batteries, soak in some sun (or snow) and celebrate the holiday season with friends and family. On behalf of the Sparksheet team I just wanted to say thank you to all our readers, contributors and advocates for your engagement over the past year.
We’ve got big plans for 2013, including a big redesign, new content and more platforms. We want to make sure that Sparksheet remains useful and inspiring to you. Let us know if you have any suggestions.
Thanks again for your support. We’ll see you in the new year!
Silver – Best Digital Edition/Digital Magazine Design (Ozzie)
Comprising the Eddies, which recognize editorial excellence, and the Ozzies, which honour excellence in magazine design, the Folio Awards are one of the largest international awards programs in magazine publishing.
The U.S. presidential election is tomorrow and despite what the pundits may have you believe, it’s not just a political event. Like the Olympics, with its four-year cycle the U.S. election tells us a lot about the evolution of media and technology.
If 2008 was the social media election, this is the year that cloud computing is powering American politics, according to an infographic by Rackpace, a… cloud computing company.
From absentee voting and online registration to mobile advertising, cloud-based platforms and the “big data” they store are transforming American politics.
The Obama and Romney have access to more demographical information via data mining than ever before and that data is being used to deploy targeted ads through social media platforms and on mobile devices. Cloud-computing software like LiveBallot is even making it easier for people to vote.
So how much of a game changer will these technologies turn out to be? Keep your smartphone tuned into Twitter on Election Day and chances are you’ll be the first to know.
Come join us on Thursday, November 1, for a free webinar with me, Sparksheet editor Dan Levy. In conversation with McKay Allen from LogMyCalls.com, I will share some key insights into becoming a “brand journalist” and a few tips for more effective content marketing. Some topics we’ll cover:
Google says that content marketing is now the key to SEO–why?
Great examples of content marketing – from Spafax to John Deere, Michelin, Lexus, etc.
How to get more traffic from your content
How to turn your expertise into content
Getting started down the trail to effective content
If you haven’t been following the latest news from Apple, let us bring you up to date. Earlier this week Apple announced an update to their iMac and Mac Mini lines. Their 13-inch Macbook will now come with a high-resolution Retina display and their iPad will come with a faster processor.
But the biggest announcement wasn’t the updated list of existing products. It was the very new 7.9-inch iPad mini.
By releasing the iPad mini, Apple seems to have succumbed to competition from Amazon, Google and other Android tablet makers. A 7-inch tablet is easier to hold than the original 9.7-inch iPad and it’s a practical choice in terms of cost and transportation.
Image via www.apple.com
Seeing an opening in the market, Apple’s competitors jumped on that tablet size right away with the launches of Kindle and Nexus 7. Now, Apple has moved in with the iPad mini in order to solidify their dominance in the tablet market.
It would appear that this move is all about market pressure. Apple isn’t known to be influenced by its competition, customers or third-party vendors. The company’s secrecy, focused product line, design-first attitude and vertical business model often leave hardware and software vendors scrambling to catch up with each new iProduct release.
For years, Apple has been the trendsetter. This time, it’s rushing to catch up.
Just more proof that competition spurs innovation and benefits the consumer.