I’ve been a great fan of Seth Godin ever since I read ‘The Purple Cow’ early last year. I really liked the book and am re-reading it again
The book talks about how a product/idea needs to be remarkable to able to spread like fire and succeed. The books lays emphasis on how marketing should be a part of product design and not just a follow up process after product development.
Call it a co-incidence that while facebooking I stumbled upon a link that led me to ‘Easy Tiger Corp’.
[Disclaimer: The content below might hurt your senses]
Easy Tiger Corp seems to have taken a leaf from Godin’s purple cow by offering something remarkable(weird?). Easy Tiger Corp (ETC) makes pre-stained clothing that free people from the embarrassment of having soiled clothing by selling clothes that come already soiled and thus making it a personal decision to wear soiled clothing and not a source of embarrassment.
Sounds weird? You are not alone in thinking that. But I wouldn’t get into how good/bad the idea is but I’d like to point out the fact that irrespective of how good/bad it is, it makes people talk. The product by it’s sheer design has a lot of remark worthy points
1) ‘Pre-stained’ clothing : When everyone is selling you detergents to remove stains, here come’s a product with in built stains. Readers from India might recall Surf Excel’s ad ‘Daag Acche Hain‘ (Stains are good) with completely opposite stand towards stains then what’s taken normally
2) Sense of Humour: With a product like this, you need a lot of confidence and sense of humour to do business and looks like the ETC folks have got it all. A quick look at the story of how the idea happened on their about us page and the on your face FAQ page confirms the same.
3) Hate all/Love some: Pre-stained clothing is clearly not a mass market product. In fact it’s quite the opposite it’s a product that most people will hate but a selected few will/might love. Then again the chances that those who like the idea or product will on average talk to more people about it.
ETC has been getting somecoverage in the blogosphere and it remains to be seen if Philip the guy behind the company would be able to leave his day job and jump into ‘Pre-Stained’ clothing full time. But what ever the case be, the point of this post is to share an example of a remarkable idea and product and how easy it really becomes to market them. Also, keep in mind being remarkable is quite different from being ridiculous.
It’s been a few days since that appalling video of Domino’s employees tampering with food at their outlet got attention of social media users and started spreading in a viral manner. A crisis like this can easily get worse if things are not handled correctly and in a timely manner but luckily(mostly) for Domino’s that’s not the case. Despite the huge wave of disgust that the video generated, it feels like things are under control now and the negative buzz which was generated will subside in the next few days.
1) Initiate action against the culprits:
The folks at Domino’s were quick to realize that “actions speak louder than words” and thus their first step was to initiate an inquiry into the matter and punish the guilty. Not only were the employee involved terminated from their jobs, they are now in custody and face felony charges.
2) Stop the negative content from spreading:
Stopping new people to talk about negative content and trying to control the spread of negative content should be next on the agenda. Domino’s got this right(though it took some time) and got the video off YouTube.
3) Participate in social media conversations:
Domino’s guys were decently quick to realize that they were getting a lot of bad PR in Twitter and thus they jumped into the scene by creating an account on Wednesday afternoon and started engaging with disgusted people. This works well for various reasons including pumping out positive things which otherwise don’t spread that virally as the negative one’s.
There is nothing more important or sacred to us than our customer’s trust
While the firefighting efforts had started on Twitter, Domino’s guys opened another front on YouTube by posting a nicely drafted public apology by Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s U.S.A. The apology helped in re-affirming brands commitment towards it’s customer’s trust. Patrick also mentioned the steps they plan to take to avoid future happening of any untoward incident like this( sanitizing stores, tighter recruitment process, daily audits etc)
While Domino’s did open communication channels on a few Social Media Tools they didn’t announce anything on their official web resources and didn’t do a press release as they feared this will lead more people to know about this debacle and invite more embarrassment for the brand said Tim McIntyre, Dominos spokesman. So domino’swebsites remain the way they were, as if nothing happened. While I see the point, I would have still preferred an official “what we are doing about the incident” channel.
Update: Domino’s site has an official update for their customers
While these efforts will definitely help in dozing the fire, it will still take a lot of continued effort on Domino’s part to keep the fire from spreading.
For example: It will take them a while to realize that while they have removed the video from YouTube, goodasyou still has that video and a few even gross one’s and some explaining for this(assuming it’s not fake)
and ensuring that people don’t start talking about other things which can further take down their brand value
The next few days would be interesting, let’s see how the situation stands then.
January and February of this year are particularly important months for Bollywood. With lots of big budget films like “Chandni Chowk to China”, “Delhi 6”, “Dev D” and “Billu Barber” hitting the screen, there’s going to be a lot of competition to seek people’s attention and get noticed. The marketing teams behind each film would try everything they can to spread the buzz and build a sense of urgency to watch the film. Lets see how folks behind “Dev D” are going about marketing.
Before you go any further, pick up your phone and dial 022-61424800. Just dial it for yourself and see what it is, trust me, it will be worth the call charges(if you are dialing from India)
Welcome. To proceed, please certify that you are above 18 by pressing one.
On pressing one, you are greeted by a husky voice that says
“If you want me in English today, press one. Agar hindi mein chahiye toh do dabaiye.”
Though what happens on pressing the next digit maybe disappointing for most callers as instead of talking(or hearing) anything naughty, all they get to hear is “to get an autographed cd of the film visit the website devdthefilm.com” or “to get a movie poster visit the website devdthefilm.com” , it’s a brilliant example of something that has never been tried before. If the lustline ever worked the way it was said to work it’s great but even if it never really worked that way it opens a whole new world of interactive marketing. The possibilities of using phone and sms lines for involving masses are immense and hopefully, we would soon be seeing more being done on these lines.
You have to certify that you are above 18 to view the site, interesting.
The lustline is also available on film’s website, where again you need to certify that you are above 18 by and select a language to get going. Though I couldn’t really get past this stage all thanks to the awfully slow site. I still don’t get why all the film websites are made in flash, other than poor SEO they all take ages to load, spoiling the whole experience but alas no one really takes note of what people are saying about these things online( see month old rants here).
Though only a few sections are working, the all red site looks intriguing just like its trailers. I liked the community links section and the fact that it has links to 10 external web properties but the site could have been a lot better and engaging(engagement is almost zero).
I am not really a TV person, so I rely on the web for updates on what’s new on the idiot box but if you are not like me chances are that must have come across
This song was uploaded on YouTube under the official UTVMotionPictures channel three weeks back and has got about 25,000 views while the official trailer uploaded two months back has been seen more than 59,000 times and has got about 117 comments, not bad at all.Not only this, UTV folks have been regularly uploading a minute long videos of the film songs every 7-10 days with the last one uploaded yesterday. Since the movie contains 18 songs, they can easily upload 10 songs without worrying too much. These videos have got almost 1,00,000 hits in total.
The films music is also available via streaming at BollywoodHungama. Anyone who listens to the songs of the film will definitely talk about it and thus spread the word. Some like me, may decide to buy the audio cd too. These songs have been listened more than 25,000 times already.
After reading this nicely written piece on passionforcinema I tuned to MTV and as mentioned their tickr is full of “atyachar”. What happens if you are pretending to be working in office when you are actually playing games ? Professional atyachaar etc etc. It’s another nice way to spread the word(like I just did). There are film promos playing every 5 minutes across the news channels, even if you want you cannot miss them.
An active official group with 920 members as of now, 7 videos, 86 stills from the film. The good thing about the group is that it’s regularly updated and admins are also participating in it.
An active fan page which is also heavy on content. The film has 686 fans already.
There’s also an event about Dev D’s tattoo launch. This is an interesting way of involving online audience into offline activities. Translate the lyrics contest: There’s also a contest to translate emosanal atyachar into English & get an autographed CD
Things definitely seem to be in the right direction as far as facebook is concerned.
Other social networks(Fishing where the fish are):
Not on facebook but want to join the film group, no problem. The film has official groups/communities on orkut (176 members), perfspot (137 members), hi5 (30 members), fropper (26 members),
bigadda (16 members) and goyaar (10 members).
It’s worth mentioning that despite the size of the group/community the information and content is same across all these groups and apparently there are profiles of some of the cast and team members also on most of the platforms covered.
passionforcinema is the biggest platform for Hindi film buffs and lots of experts in the field blog there. Anurag being an active blogger at PFC has written a lot of the film and engaged with his readers. There are lots of other posts written by other folks about the film.These posts must have easily got more than 10,000 views. There’s also a deleted scene video from the film exclusively for PFC which is certainly a great idea.
Nothing works better for making noise than a planned or accidental controversy. Dev D also has its share of controversy in the claims the film has reignited the infamous DPS mms scandal.
Not sure if it’s the right category but if news sources are to be believed there are plans to launch “Dev D Condoms”. If they pull of this one, it will be an historic(not necessarily successful) tactic, which will create a lot of buzz and be a remarkable event in marketing of bollywood films.
The marketing strategy for the film includes both offline and online activities, while Ghajini’s online marketing was more focused on stand alone sites, it’s focused more on social networks in the case of Dev D and apparently it has got to do with the fact that the producer of the film is UTVSpotboy. Apparently, they have a platform and a methodology which is used to promote their films. Given the rate at which buzz is spreading for the film and the fact that its release is about three weeks away chances are it will see a grand opening. Lets see if they come up with something else till the release date and how the movie performs.
Update: You can also download the case study in pdf formathere
Social media marketing suits the needs for film makers pretty well, especially for low budget films. Social media marketing works for numerous reasons including wide reach(sans borders) and better ROI, owing to lower costs. While Ghajini saw a slew of online marketing activities, bollywood is yet to see an extensive online marketing campaign. Lets see how the guys behind “The President is Coming” have used social media tools for marketing.
Given the fact that this group is advertised(someone is paying for it) its safe to assume that its an official one. It has about 850 members, one discussion and 45 wall posts. There are a few pictures from the film and some videos(trailers, interviews etc) added by the group owners.
Facebook is slowly picking up as a platform for marketing Indian films but there seems to be a lack of clear strategy(or focus) on how to leverage the platform better. The film’s facebook campaign is top down, like in most cases and has been used just to push content, not to interact or anything else.
The least that could have been done was talking to interested people instead of just broadcasting the content. The content and the information that’s shared could have been a bit more interesting and a fan page would have been nice too.
Website: Apparently there isn’t a website built for the film, or if there is one, its not at all discoverable, which is equivalent to it not being there.
A website though simple, is a must have to share content, build a community and involve/engage the audience.
Blog: No blog either.
MySpace: Myspace has also been used to spread the word. In place of a website, the main placeholder is the films myspace page
Few things worth noticing about the myspace part of the campaign.
1) “Friend us and write a comment about why you should be a part of the film. If we like it, we’ll contact you directly. Good Luck” reads the profile. This means for one that they started this profile a decent while before the film was expected to hit the screens and secondly it shows an attempt to involve audience.
2) Since the profile’s main page still shows November 28th as the release date, its easy to make out that nobody is really looking after the profile.
3) Content wise the profile is decent, it has a few stills, an audio clip and a video trailer of the film.
4) The profile has been befriended by 175 people so far(though there’s nothing more to it) and the public wall has managed some 14 comments. Once again no involvement from any team member or cast.
Just like it was with Facebook, the attempts at Myspace are either half-baked or poorly executed.
The least that could have been done was to keep the profile regularly updated, interact with audience and share some more information about the film. If this page is used as the main web property for the site, it should have links to other web properties like facebook etc
There are around a dozen different videos on YouTube for the film, ranging from “film trailers” to “behind the scenes” to “press launch” to even “post production problems”. Once again some work has been done in creating and uploading these videos but not much thinking seems to have been done to get the most out of it. Chances of you bumping into these videos are as rare as chances of you bumping into their myspace page, which are to be honest, quite bleak.
The least that could have been done was to make a channel,upload all videos from that account and cross link the channels URL to other web properties.
Imdb: Un-official page without much information and the default poster picture.
The least that could have been done was to create an official page,upload the movie poster and fill in more details.
All in all it seems like a volunteer(and informal) effort by the team members involved with the project, especially the more net savvy ones and thus you can find their imprints across various platforms discussed.
Only if there was a sound strategy in place, things could have been better and effective.
Here’s a nice trailer, apparently made by a fan(as claimed)
The first step in engaging customers online is to know where to find them. Unless you know where to find whom, your social media strategy cannot be effective. I’ve tried to collate a list of various site/services that can be used to engage customers or spread the buzz.
Social Networks: Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, Hi5, Friendster are one of the biggest hangout places on the planet and if your customers access the web, the chances of finding them in one of these networks are pretty high. If you are looking for young mainstream audience these are the places you can find them.
Microblogging platforms offer a good mix of community size and ability to hold conversations. They are probably the most effective and quickest way to connect with an existing or potential customer. Twitter, Plurk, Kwippy, Identica, Rejaw et all are some of the microblogging networks worth having your presence on. From my observation majority of the users of these networks are older than 25, are working and are there to explore and learn more(other than having fun). The audience is far from mainstream by most standards.
Social Aggregators: Social aggregators are currently underdogs when it comes for brands to engage with customers. Despite the fact that aggregators can ease out the effort spent in tracking the buzz and conversing with customers their usage for these purposes is yet to pick steam. Friendfeed, Social Thing, Profilactic, Flock, Strands and Plaxo Pulse are some of the popular tools. An even more niche audience, the majority users of aggregators are again older than 25, working and more active on the web.
Since there are lots & lots of popular sharing sites I have split them according to the content/social object shared.
Video Sharing Sites: Youtube is by far the most popular video sharing site and offers a great platform to share promotional content & build relationships with your customers. The demographics here are quite widespread with a lot of young/teenage users. Lots of families & artists use youtube to store and share their videos with families and fans. Checkout this for more.
Photo Sharing Sites: Flickr, picasaweb, photobucket and smugmug are some of the more popular sites which can be used to engage customer or just spreading the word.Majority Flickr users are above age 35 and have finished high school.
Presentation Sharing Sites: Another underdog when it comes to online marketing and creating a buzz presentation sharing sites can prove to be a nice hunting ground to engage with a niche and a bit more savvy netizens. Slideshare appears to be the only site which offers presentation sharing capabilities and has a good user community. Given the fact that most people don’t have a rendezvous with presentations until a certain age the majority users here would also be beyond their teenage years and would have finished education upto a certain level.
LinkedIn is another potential tool to connect and form relationships with people. I strongly think it should be an important part of one’s social media strategy.
I am sure I must have missed some sites/services, if you know of any please drop a note and I’ll include them
A great video presentation by Prof Wesch on YouTube from an anthropological point of view. I particularly liked the parts of talk about YouTube’s community and the website’s culture. As written previously, websites have cultures too , the fact that a good 5% of videos on YouTube are personal vlogs addressed to the YouTube community means something and common trends like remixing people’s videos and replying a video by another video demonstrate how cultures are built and grow. What do you think about the culture and community on your favorite site ?